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Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 9 Nov 1996 14:49:51 -0500
text/plain (121 lines)
> As Ada-Belgium Board member, I cannot help but comment on the recent
> post by W. Wesley Groleau to the Team-Ada mailing list which contains
> a.o.:
>
> = I haven't yet looked at the Ada-Belgium pages that Wasserman allegedly
> = showed contempt for.
>
> This is the second time the "Ada-Belgium pages" are mentioned in this
> context, and each time without any additional detail.

I was there at the briefing. I asked the panel whether they had collected
data about non-defense Ada success, especially in warfighting-like
domains. Tony asnwered, simply and dismissively, "Yeah, we found
the Ada-Belgium web site. We looked into a couple of those stories,
and found that they were not exactly successes."

There was no time to ask him exactly what he had found there. It was
a press-conference-type situation, with about 40 people vying to ask
questions.
>
> After Mike Feldman wrote that Wasserman mentioned at the NRC hearing
> that "they discovered the Ada-Belgium home-page", I asked for more
> details, but didn't receive a reply yet.

That is all I have. Here is my guess at what happened - he hasn;t got
a clue about what's where about Ada on the web, and Ada-Belgium is the
first site he happened to fall into. Not surprising - in a web search,
I think it's first alphabetically. He searched from there and found some
success stories - he did not say which ones, or just on which site (if
you're not paying attention to the URL, of course, the Web bounces you
all over the world without you're realizing it - this is the great
thing about the Web!)
>
> What exactly is wrong with our pages?  Please at least tell US!

I have no idea what he meant. He implied that maybe some of the success
stories are exaggerations, or were preliminary reports of projects in
which Ada was later dumped. Who knows? None of us (except maybe AdaIC)
get paid to keep following up on the stories.
>
> = But I have seen (again VERY few) Ada pages that were (to be tactful)
> = inaccurate.

I don;t know who wrote the above; it was not I, and in any case
if there are inaccuracies, they are likely not on the Belgium server but
in the original stories. Who knows?
>
> Please point out what is "inaccurate" on our pages and we'll do what we
> can to change or delete it.  But don't forget WE do not receive 1 M$
> per year for our Web-server: it's all a volunteer effort in my "free"
> time (and highly appreciated by a lot of people who DO tell US).
>
> = Some exaggeration is expected in advertising, but too much is
> = counter-productive.
>
> Again: please tell me where we "exaggerate" "too much".

I'd like to know, too, obviously, since I collected many of those stories.
Remember how I got them - they were either sent to me by their authors,
or I just scanned them in from vendor newsletters. How would anyone suggest
we follow up to check the accuracy of these (supposedly authoritative)
reports?
>
> = It may be that some of our "success stories" even can hurt Ada.
>
> The success stories on our server were based upon the success stories
> collected by Mike Feldman, at that time only available in text format on
> the AdaIC server.  After Mike converted them to HTML, we have put them
> on our server for wider dissemination in Belgium and Europe (this was
> even before they were on what is now the Ada Home Web Server).

Much of adahome, and my HTML work, was done before AdaIC discovered
HTML. THey have done a nicer editing job on many of these stories
(they ought to - they get paid!), so IMHO we ought to point there
where possible, to avoid duplication. The student who's working
on the SIGAda educator site has edited my file of success-story
pointers to point to AdaIC where their rendering is nicer than mine.
So you can surf over to

http://www.acm.org/sigada/education

and go from there to the successes.

A while ago, I suggested to Magnus that we try to "harmonize" the
success stories so that everyone links to a single copy of the actual
text of the story. I'm not sure what happened from there. I do know
that I'm trying to get the sigada site pointing to the best-looking version
of each story, and - in my opinion - this is, in general, the one at
AdaIC. Where AdaIC doesn;t have the story, I guess we are still
pointing to my directory. But AdaIC's are more professional-looking.

> BTW, an Ada success story doesn't become less of a success story because
> the company switches to another language later (IMHO).  If Ada
> contributed to the success of a project, we should continue to tell
> that, even if the company decides later to switch (sometimes for very
> irrational reasons).

I agree, but OTOH we also should try to be sure that these stories are
not completely obsolete, though I have no idea how we could systematically
follow throough on this. AdaIC gets funding for this (among their other
activities), and gthey do have journalist-types working for them who
do occasionally get assigned to follow up.

> Finally, let me ask everyone who notices inaccuracies, errors or
> exaggeration on Ada-related Web-pages, to inform the maintainers of
> these Web-pages.  Let's cooperate, instead of just spreading rumours.

I agree. Please let us all know!
>
> After all, aren't we all on this "Ada Advocacy mailing list" trying to
> increase awareness of Ada's qualities?  Ask yourself: "what's the last
> thing *I* did to promote Ada?"

Don't flame so much, Dirk - we are all doing the best we can, especially
the volunteers.:-)
>
> Dirk Craeynest
> Ada-Belgium
>
Mike Feldman

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