This anger at the NRC report seems misguided. The problem really is not
a branch of the Federal Government decides to do or how it goes about
but rather how do we popularize Ada.
The Adaphobes will twist and turn any Government study, pro or con, to
advantage. If the report is pro-Ada, they will rely on anti-government
sentiment to proclaim a whitewash. An anti-Ada report draws the 'I told
you so' response. Either way, Ada looses.
The real battle lies in proving Ada's worth, not in the DoD backwaters
the commercial marketplace. Remember, C's dominate position is only a
occurence and is primarily due to the success of Unix (where would C be
out Unix?) and the 'workstation' concept. The advent of the IBM PC
C's position simply because it was easy to write a C compiler that ran
limited memory and disk available on those machines. Does anyone
that the MacOS was written in Pascal? And that Microsoft based Windows
MacOS and wrote Windows in Pascal? (Look at all those '_pascal'
interface modifiers in the Windows headers.) Microsoft's switch to C
happened in the
1985 time frame.
When the two most popular platforms, Unix and Windows, went to C, were
was the commercial world going to go? To quote a former British Prime
is no alternative".
The commercial world is not to happy with C. Look at the success of
VisualBasic, Delphi, or any of the database 4GL's such as Progress.
What the commercial
world needs a compelling case to use Ada, and no government report is
to supply that case.
Sometime ago, on this mailing list, Paul Pukite made a case for a
application' written in and based upon Ada, something along the lines of
Borland's Delphi. Give people a reason to look at Ada. One 'killer
is a far more effective argument than thousands of pages of reasoned
Would it not be more fruitful to apply our minds to finding and building
applications, than to be expending so much energy on a talking-shop
Boolean Solutions, Ltd.
I am an example of the kind of person Ada needs to attract. As a
engineer I have seen scores of applications writen in dozens of
languages and semi-languages. My earning come from fixing broken systems
written in C/C++.
I wanted a language I could depend upon for writing my own applications.
after working in C for a decade, the language was never satisfying. I
very hard at understanding C++, but after five years I realized C++ is a
hole because no two compilers accepted the same language and implemented
the same semantics (this realization came after a contract where I was
responsible for testing a C++ optimizer for a large computer system's
My search for a replacement lead me to Gnat and Ada 95. I rejected Ada95
because it appeared too complex (I printed out the annotated language
reference manual when I should have gone for the unannoted manual!) I
briefly looked at Modula-3 but gave up since I could not get a language
reference and I found it
full of inconsistencies. Lucky for me that I took another look Gnat.
everything I wanted in a systems implementation language. For the last
two years, Ada has been my language of choice, and it won on its
The point is that Ada can win. The 'killer application' for me was the
Gnat compiler--It ran on all the platforms I need and its price was
right. Without Gnat, I would never have even looked. People are lead by
Show them something that excites them and you have made the sale. Given
right application, Ada can win over many more just like me.