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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Stanley Allen <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 08:11:57 -0500
"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
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Hi, Stan,

I agree with your words about real-time.  Ada
certainly has a place there, altho it is a target
to other languages as well.  I have a video tape
from Sun's Sunergy teleconference in 1995 where they
introduced Java, and they clearly designed it originally
for embedded, at least quasi-real-time applications
originally and later adapted it to web applications
when they saw the in-road.  Microsoft is also hitting
quasi-real-time with Windows CE, as is evidenced by
its contracts for entertainment systems on airplanes
and in home cable TV boxes (I've heard that Windows CE
may soon be in as many as 1/3 of the cable TV boxes
in the US).  Visual Basic and Visual C++ target to
Windows CE.  I suspect Visual J++ (Microsoft's Java)
will be there soon as well if it is not already.

I still think Ada has an in-road in real-time because
of what I view as the quasi-real-time nature of the Java
and Windows CE environments.  Pausing for a few seconds
every now and then for garbage collection is not a good
thing in hard real-time systems.  But Sun and Microsoft
know this, and it's just a matter of time before they
address it one way or the other.  Right now, Sun has
a disclaimer in the Java license.  We cannot assume
this will always be there.  But, then again, Sun and
Microsoft may or may not be interested in the real-time
markets.  After all, they have shown time and again
that they are in it for the money, as companies should
be.  Selling millions of compilers for web-based
development kind of outweighs selling one compiler to
a team of 75 software developers who use cheaper, non-
real-time compilers for initial development followed
by the real-time compiler for the production build.

We need to be practical when it comes to the limited
resources in our community.  That's what I'm saying.
If someone wants to forge out, do research, and build
in a new direction, more power to them.  I hope they
make it.  But for every star on broadway who made it,
there are thousands of aspiring actors who did not.
The Man of LaMancha had a beautiful dream, but the
windmill still won.  Ada's already won in some areas ...
let's keep it that way if we can.

Richard Conn, ASE and PAL Manager

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Stanley Allen
> Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 3:09 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: What the competition looks like
> Geoff Bull wrote:
> >
> > I am surprised by your defeatist attitude.
> >
> For better or worse, Richard Conn is right about
> trying to compete with Microsoft on its main turf.
> Believing that Ada can have an impact on mainstream
> PC development these days is like believing that the
> Pricipality of Liechtenstein can mount a successful
> land invasion of the United States.  MS will continue
> to be unassailable on the PC for at least another decade,
> whatever the final outcome of the 'monopoly' trial and
> in spite of the zooming stock price of RedHat.
> On the "server" side of the internet, the situation is
> not as bleak, but almost.  Entrenched forces and billion
> dollar investments there ensure that the development of
> that software will be done for the most part using the
> "mainstream" languages.
> Unlike Richard Conn, however, I don't think I'm
> whistling Dixie when I say that Ada can be a player
> in the *real-time* market -- the larger bubble in
> the Venn diagram that includes the 'safety-critical'
> circle.  The reasons are that the real-time market is
> not so well-defined as the one for PC applications,
> and that Ada has at least a sliver of mind-share in
> "real-time software".
> "Grand schemes" of developing Ada replacements for
> Windows and/or Linux should be discarded.  The Ada
> Dream -- all software in the world well-designed,
> coded and commented in pure Ada -- is long dead.
> "Success" for Ada now means (1) making sure that it
> stays in use for current projects (a considerable
> task in itself); (2) seeing to it that it continues
> to be chosen for future projects in its own current
> domain -- safety-critical systems; and (3) expanding
> into some other subsectors of the real-time market.
> The last of these is crucial because it has the
> most significant potential for *growth*.  I don't
> think the 'safety-critical' market has the growth
> curve Ada needs to thrive.
> Any other here-and-there usages of Ada are pure
> serendipity.  Meaning that there will be no
> sustainable *economy* in those areas.
> This does not mean that if you want to create a
> great new application for the internet that you can't
> or shouldn't do it in Ada.  It just means that if it's
> a programming product -- one that requires its users
> code in Ada -- it is doomed.  Even Liechtenstein knows
> better than to mount its canons at the US border.
> Stanley Allen
> mailto:[log in to unmask]