TEAM-ADA Archives

Team Ada: Ada Programming Language Advocacy


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 6 Dec 2002 12:50:21 -0500
text/plain (72 lines)
At 08:31 AM 12/4/2002 , G. Booker wrote:
>Hi everyone,
>I usually just lurk quietly, but thought I'd throw in my two cents here.


>Three major causes, IMHO, of the downturn:
>1) the complete lack of support or mention of Ada by major vendors like
>Micro$oft. Ada is like a third party candidate - it doesn't get invited to
>the debate over who's best, so no one knows it exists.
>2) the dropping of the mandate for military preference of Ada unless
>proven otherwise.
>3) a complete lack of interest in dependable mainstream software.  Oh
>sure, everyone will claim that's a priority, but when push comes to shove,
>getting SOMETHING out the door will win over a quality product every time.
>So what is the future of Ada?  It (she??) will remain a niche language -
>never going away in the foreseeable future, but not taken seriously by
>most, either. Kind of like Apple's Macintosh, who seems destined to stay
>in single digit market share, no matter how clever they are.

I have another (theoretical; I have no data to prove this) cause:

Lack of a Big user (thereby increasing the cost of using it).  Unix (and
the original C compiler) was written by AT&T for their own purposes.  They
licensed the source for a small amount of money, and it took off.

Microsoft uses the tools it sells (maybe they have reliable versions
internally :-) ), and thus can afford to sell the software for very little
(the non-recurring cost is paid for by everyone who buys the Windows
OS).  Thus the Visual XXX (Basic, C++, etc.) use by all the Windows developers.

Sun is behind the Java phenomenon.  There is no way ACT (for example) can
compete with Sun since, again, the cost of creating the many libraries and
the support code can be spread across Sun's products.

So, if a large company (such as Boeing, for an example) were to really see
Ada as beneficial, it could probably absorb the cost of development of all
the tools and libraries needed to satisfy the worst critics, and come out
ahead of competitors, even by allowing the software to be open source, by
having what they want in tools and libraries first in priority.

Low cost and critical mass (supply and demand) would help immensely.

One other thing (maybe more practical, but related):

Be as visible as possible.  My manager went to the Embedded Systems
Conference in Boston last month, and came back saying she heard absolutely
no mention of Ada.  I went to the Digital Avionics Systems Conference and
can say the same thing.  It does not matter if Ada is used by only 1
percent of developers; if the perception can be made that it is larger than
it is, it might have a chance of growing.  If, on the other hand, it
appears that no one is using Ada (the impression left on my manager), it is
more likely to go in the other direction.

By the way, I just went through the exercise of convincing the Program
Manager and Technical Director, on a project just starting, to allow me to
use Ada.  It was not easy, because of the above perception.  Luckily, I was
able to point to some web sites (thanks to the web site maintained by
Michael Feldman) showing that Ada is being used on similar programs (this
program is not quite under contract yet, so I will not mention its name).

Roger Racine
Draper Lab
Roger Racine
Draper Laboratory, MS 31
555 Technology Sq.
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
617-258-3939 Fax