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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 00:03:59 +1000
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Alan E and Carmel J Brain <[log in to unmask]>
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Jacob Sparre Andersen wrote:

> I kind of like the idea of writing an operating system in
> Ada, but we shouldn't just recreate Linux, MSW, OS/2, or
> whatever our favourite operating system happens to be. If we
> do it, it should be designed completely in the "Ada spirit"
> (whatever that means in operating system and user interface
> design).

> Would it be stupid to attempt to write a portable
> browser/HTML renderer in Ada? If our propaganda is true it
> shouldn't take nearly as much work as the Mozilla project.
> This could also gain valuable statistics for a comparison of
> Ada95 and "C++".

I'll try to avoid ranting, and confine myself to the possible.

Question One: Is there anybody out there who seriously thinks that
Windows in any of its incarnations has a design or implementation of
acceptable quality?

No? Didn't think so. So far no controversy. Now for something that I'm
sure will rub many the wrong way. Sorry, but "I calls em how I sees 'em"

Question Two: How about Unix? In particular, them many different
mutually incompatible brands of Unix? e.g. HP's BLS (B level Security),
Solaris, Linux in its various incarnations? Are these good, solid,
highly secure OS's greatly improved from the days of the late 70s? How
does, for example, your Brand X Unix (without any add-ons) handle GUIs,
Multiple Threads, Networks and Hard Real Time in a portable, simple way?
Some do one thing well, but none AFAIK does them all well, or even
adequately considering it's 1999.

In 1976, when I had my first experience with Unix, I said "This is
wonderful, it is THE Operating System for the 1980's!". It's now late
1999, and I still think it's an operating system for the 1980s.

Now's the time when I should be adducing the qualities of X the Wonder
OS, in order to make yet another sterile contribution in an OS Religious
War. But AFAIK there is no 'good' OS at the moment, not one that's kept
pace with advances in technology.

So what do we require of an OS these days? I have a few ideas of my own,
but I'd like others to chime in first. Because although such a Really
Good OS would almost certainly languish like a certain Really Good
Language has since 1983, it would still be a -um - Really Good Thing if
it existed. And as far as I can see, Ada's the way to implement it. But
is Ada perfect? Nope. Are there any easily defined features that Ada
doesn't have that it perhaps should if it's to be used for writing this

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