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AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
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Tue, 16 Nov 1999 11:48:39 -0800
TEXT/PLAIN (93 lines)
On Tue, 16 Nov 1999, Kester, Rush W. wrote:

> Perhaps the ARA should spend some money promoting the Ada industry in a way
> that is more obvious and visible (like Programmer's Paradise).


This might be a good idea if the ARA had any money.  I am not certain
there is a budget for promoting Ada now that all the DoD funding has
disappeared.  Rather, ARA seems to have taken the approach of maintainting
a presence instead of actively developing a new following for Ada.

Those of us who have smaller companies with small annual revenue, including
companies such as RR Software, live hand to mouth.  We have very little
left for larger promotional projects.  We try to do a fair amount of this
throughout the year by taking Ada to non-Ada venues.  This year, ACT,
Aonix and Green Hills have been Ada-visible at non-Ada confereneces. DDC-I
and Rational come to Embedded Systems conference, although Rational seems
eager to hide its Ada products when they are not at an Ada conference.

OCS has been pretty good at making itself visible in some non-Ada arenas.
ICC and most other compiler publishers are usually at the annual Software
Technology Conference, once a conference hospitibable to Ada.  Sadly, STC
seems to have become anti-Ada, and we may see a deescalation of participation
there before too many more years pass.

The saddest story is probably Rational.  I know that Steve Deller and others
devoted to Ada are doing their damndest to keep the language credible within
the corporation.  Here is a company with the financial resources to make
a difference in the success of Ada in the commercial world, and they are
giving the impression of being embarrassed by their original involvement
with the language.

It is probably not too strong a statement to say that, if Rational were to
wake up to its potential from promoting Ada, if Rational management were
to understand the possibilities from publicly acknowledging its commitment
to Ada, and if they were to let Ada become more than a specialty product
for miltary applications, we might see some progress.

At present, there are too many people within Rational who are just as
anti-Ada, people who don't understand it, as there are in the rest of
the industry.  The management has essentially whimped out and accepted
a weaker technology, C++, because of its marketing power.  This is
indicative of the corporate focus on financial health instead of
technological vision.

I wonder how many people at Rational recall that Rational was founded
on a vision based on Ada.  Even those who do know that obscure fact
seem to believe that the company has now moved beyond the limited
scope of a marginal programming language.

Wouldn't it be a pleasant surprise to go to a trade show and see
Rational openly promoting its Ada products, openly demonstrating
the advantages of Ada, openly admitting that it even has such products.

I am not hopeful about this.

We need more publicity in the mainstream press.  Where are the press
releases from compiler publishers touting the use of Ada for this
or that software system?  Where is the article on the F-22 or the
upgrade to the F-16, or the Boeing 777 in ComputerWorld or other
widely read publications?

I will continue to write and, when accepted by the editors, publish
articles in some of the magazines that like my writing.  But I have
limited resources [read, time] beyond my own efforts to earn a living.
The Marketing Communications departments in the larger Ada compiler
companies do have the resources for this.  I have never seen any
articles written and placed from Aonix or Rational about successful
projects using their products.  So far, I am not seeing much in the
press at all, except what I and a few others publish from time to

So, Rush, I am short on optimism that anyone will take a well-organized
set of actions to promote Ada anytime in the near future.  This is not
to denigrate the excellent efforts of volunteers such as Hal Hart, Mike
Feldman, and many others. However, if we are going to get Ada more
visibility, we need a planned approach and substantive support from
those with the deeper pockets.  Perhaps we need an ARA auxiliary in
which smaller companies can participate since ARA has essentially
shut out those Ada companies with limited financial resources. I
wonder what would happen if we were able to become associate
members of the ARA for a small fee.  Enough small companies paying
dues might be the equivalent of one or two larger ones, and the
money could be used for the promotional activities that seem to
be non-existent or invisible at present.

Richard Riehle

      P.S.  Sorry this is a "hit and run" message.  I will be leaving
            the country tomorrow and may be unable to respond to
            email as easily for the next week or so.