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"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Richard L. Conn
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 15:44:53 -0500
text/plain (89 lines)
Hi, Britt,

The people I know at Microsoft are definitely
aware that Ada exists, and they are even lending
support by sponsoring an ASE library on the
Microsoft Academic Cooperative website and sending
me a ton of Microsoft-oriented material at no charge
(I've gotten over 200 CDROMs from them in the last
two years).  The subject of Ada and Visual Studio
does come up on occasion, but I really don't think it
will happen.  They want to sell a million compilers
at low cost to support the rest of their activities.
Introducing Ada won't help that sale from their
point of view.  I can always be wrong, of course,
but I think that's how they think.  The ASE and MAC
union is more symbiotic (I hope) than anything ...
helping each other to our mutual benefit.  That's
how I view it.  Corey Schou (who may be reading this)
may shed more light on Microsoft's position than I ...
Corey is the head of the MAC.

A part of Microsoft has a CMM Level 3 rating.
I think this is more of the path they want to follow.
The rating, as I understand it, came for business
reasons (part of Microsoft wins contracts from the
government), but I also think they are well aware
of their quality reputation.  I've talked to an SEI
Lead Assessor who has insight into the Microsoft
evaluation, and their ideas on how to achieve quality
are interesting to say the least ... increasing
object orientation based on trusted, reliable
components and teaming developers with people in
both a test/SQA role.  It's funny, but contrary to
the "common" notion of Microsoft's poor quality, my
experience with their Visual Basic controls is the
opposite.  I've used very complex controls (a Web
Browser, for example) that simply worked correctly
the first time, and I've seen no problem since.
So, I think Microsoft is working quality, but not
along the language lines.

Both Gates and Ballmer definitely run the show,
but Microsoft is changing, and under Vision 2,
UNIX is in play (there's actually a division devoted
to UNIX applications last I looked).  I suspect quality
will be more of an issue, altho I think it already is.

Richard Conn, ASE and PAL Manager

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [log in to unmask]
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 2:45 PM
> To: Richard L. Conn
> Cc: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: What the competition looks like
> Rick,
> You mentioned that you had some contact with Microsoft.  Do you
> know any "Ada
> aware" people who work for Microsoft and might be in a position
> to consider
> including Ada as one of the languages in Visual Studio?
> This is probably a silly, hypothetical question but I think Microsoft has
> finally been forced to notice that they have a poor reputation
> with regard to
> software reliability.  If someone of influence within Microsoft could be
> convinced that using Ada would help them produce less defective
> software then
> maybe some of Microsoft's own money would be spent promoting Ada.
> They would surely get some good press in the Wall Street Journal if they
> announced they were developing the next version of Windows using the same
> "safety-critical" language as the Boeing 777 commercial aircraft.
> OK, back to reality now...
> F. Britt Snodgrass