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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: "S. Ron Oliver" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 09:00:08 -0700
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Reply-To: "S. Ron Oliver" <[log in to unmask]>
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At 10:24 AM 1/31/01 -0600, Tony wrote:

. . .

>I spent the week recording my "Poor man's language" list of things I did not
>like about Java, . . .

. . .

>P.S.  I would be terribly interested in finding a place to discuss other
>Ada-philes views on the Java language and how Ada can learn lessons for
>possible future iterations.

The two most serious problems with all C-class languages are so well known
to us it seems we forget about them.   The real tragedy with Java is that
Sun had people working the Java project who knew about these serious
problems, yet virtually nothing was done about them.

Problem 1:  C-class languages are FULL of ambiguities.  It is just
professionally irresponsible, especially for an academic, to endorse such
ill-conceived languages for any meaningful purpose except as examples of
how NOT to specify a programming language.  (Indeed, some of the more
serious flaws in the language were well known to be problems, as
experienced with other languages, even when Richie and Thompson did that
first dastardly deed - they simply didn't bother to do their homework.)

Problem 2:  By the time Java was conceived there were a LOT of languages,
including Ada, that had shown the benefits of having some powerful language
features, such as clearly understandable parameter modes, range
limitations, well-conceived generics, clean block structure, etc.  C-class
languages, including Java, offer very little "language power".

The reason C-class languages become so "popular" is because the
overwhelming majority of software types (including academes who really
SHOULD know better) who THINK they are a reasonable development tool, are
just utterly incompetent.  They have had neither the proper education, nor
the proper training to be permitted to make language choice decisions.

Believe me, we do NOT want Ada to become attractive to these people.  We
want our industry, and society at large, to begin to demand that people who
do or teach software development have some credible preparation for doing
so.  This change is admittedly slow in coming, but it is inevitable.  And
Ada is doing surprisingly well, holding its own, and being adopted by more
people, in all sectors of the industry.  It'll still be here when sensible
people start making sensible, scientific decisions and stop being driven by

'nough said (for now).


S. Ron Oliver, semi-retired professor of Computer Science and Computer

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