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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: Ken Garlington <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 1996 16:51:48 +0000
Organization: Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems
Reply-To: Ken Garlington <[log in to unmask]>
Parts/Attachments: text/plain (60 lines)
Brad Balfour wrote:
>
> There is a theme running through the above three paragraphs from Ken & Sy
> that I don't understand. Both of you seem to be under the impression that
> it is important for a compiler targeted at the "commercial 8-bit
> microcontroller" market to implement the full Ada language, to be
> validated, and then to enforce restrictions on using many features (via
> Annex H).
>
> It would seem to me to be much simpler to just:
> a) have the compiler process only those features that you want, and
> b) ignore formal validation of the compiler
>
> No one else in the commercial marketplace (e.g., automobiles, washing
> machines,etc.) worries about whether the compiler for their langauge
> (assembly or C) is validated. Why should they care if their Ada compiler is
> or not?

1. I worry about validation, because I am concerned about _military_ applications
using 8-bit controllers.

2. There is an argument for commercial applications as well, that says a compiler
that doesn't have a validation certificate (even a restricted one) may be more
difficult to market because of a perception (right or wrong) that the compiler
wasn't "good enough" to validate. This perception could be particularly difficult
to overcome in safety-critical applications, or when dealing with ISO 9000.
There is also a related argument for dual-use (military and commercial) applications.

> If you, the maker of the compiler, want to ensure it's correctness, then
> all  obtain a copy of the ACVC, delete those test that don't make sense for
> your (subset) compiler, and run the test suite. You can even provide these
> results to your customer upon request.
>
> As long as we are not talking about the US DoD -- and we are not -- then
> validation is not a requirement at all. Let's not let this impede our
> progress into new commercial domains.

I would think that if it's that easy to perform the tests and generate the
results, then it should not be that much _more_ difficult to get an
official-looking ceritificate that says, essentially, an independent
organization agrees that you passed those selected tests, and that those
tests were selected in some reasonable manner. Let's not let a
cumbersome validation process (if it is cumbersome) prevent vendors from
having a useful marketing tool, particularly if a non-DoD organization
(NIST) is going to be doing these validations!

>
> Brad
>
> --
> Brad Balfour                            SIGAda WWW Server
> CACI, Inc.                                http://www.acm.org/sigada/
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