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"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 17:23:32 -0500
text/plain (169 lines)
I see your point about Rational, but I would not be
too hard on them.  The purpose of a company is to make
money for its stock holders ... not to wave banners and
promote a vision unless those banners and vision lead to
making money.

The universities are more in the "vision promoting"
business, but money is also a concern to some degree.

The consortiums are in the business of serving their
members.  That's more of what we are, but, unlike
the X Consortium, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium),
and the Software Productivity Consortium, our
Ada Resource Association and SIGAda "consortiums" don't
get $1.5M from each member organization each year with
more for special tasks.

The government is in the business of serving its
people, but with all their special interests and down-
sizing, there does not seem to be the resources there,
either.  The recent Information Technology budget is
an example.  The President's Information Technology
Advisory Committee (PITAC) proposed a number of rather
far-reaching, good-for-the-future projects in a wide
variety of areas, the President turned this into a
proposal to Congress of $366M (a 28% increase over
last year, but still short of the PITAC recommendation),
and Congress knocked it down to around $200M (last I
heard).  Compare that to Microsoft's $2.6B/year R&D
budget, which is funding all kinds of visions (not just
for money, altho Bill would like to see more profit
coming in from R&D work), some of which are being
reported in MIT's Technology Review magazine.

Part of my Reuse Tapestry support comes from Microsoft,
who invested in the "vision" of an Academic Cooperative
to the tune of more than $55M (last I heard).  Walnut
Creek is investing also and making some profit from
the ASE CDROMs as a result.  Kennesaw State University,
Washington University in Saint Louis, and others are
giving freely of their resources.  But it all costs.

I think one of our best investments for Ada visibility
has been the Ada Awareness Initiative out of SIGAda,
which Hal Hart is managing.  It took the SIGAda booth
to about 12 conferences over the last 12 months and
is still going.  It runs on profits from the SIGAda
conferences and (I think) some funds from the ARA.
It is largely run by volunteers who go to the conferences
on their own money by and large to help (they do get
free passes to attend the sessions, usually, tho).

But this is not enough for us.  However, I don't have
a better answer.  The financial infrastructure simply
is not there to support a more elaborate scheme that I
can see.

Rick

----------------------------------
Richard Conn, ASE and PAL Manager
http://xenadu.home.mindspring.com/

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of AdaWorks
> Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 2:49 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Programmer's Paradise
>
>
> 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).
>
> Rush,
>
> 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
> time.
>
> 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.

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