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Colin Paul Gloster <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 29 Jul 2003 17:45:10 +0100
TEXT/PLAIN (61 lines)
At last month's DAta Systems In Aerospace conference
Christophe MORENO of Alcatel Space announced in his "Plug &
Play Architecture for On-Board Software
Components" presentation that he is using Ada 83. 24 minutes
later during Astrium's Matthias Wiegand's "Next Generation
Avionics System for Satellite Application" presentation,
Matthias Wiegand said "Ada is possible". During the
"Software Agents 2: A Minimal Real-Time CORBA ORB for
Space" presentation by what Science Systems (Space) had
become, it was revealed that the company is working on a
minimal realtime CORBA ORB for which Ada 95 support is being

CNES's Francois Bossard spoke about a software architectural
model in his "Event driven architecture for hard real-time
embedded systems" presentation which has been implemented in
Ada. An interface for C in middleware was later added.

A strange part of the conference ...

GMV had a presentation on its "CPFPS: Development of a
Safety Critical Hard Real Time Distributed Application for
EGNOS". The programmers programmed in C. They coded over
120000 lines. They were worried about memory leaks. They
found hundreds of memory leaks which had not already been
detected in testing. For the project, verification was
automated whenever possible, including memory leak analysis.

Hundreds of errors were found at unit level. After fixing
these, about twenty errors were found at system level.

MISRA C was not used because of its restrictiveness, but
'99%' of MISRA C was used. The GMV presenter claimed that a
lot of erroneous C programs can not be detected by Lint.

He had spent about seven years with Ada, so it may have
seemed that he would want to have used Ada for EGNOS's
CPFPS. However, he complained that Ada compilers he had used
or an Ada compiler he had used is buggy. Also the abstract
at the conference reveals "A trade off was performed between
C and Ada, other languages being discarded very early in the
process, and finally C selected. The DoD dropped the Ada
mandate for any kind of software in 1998, but reports from
the AdaIC state that Ada was not the dominant language for
Weapon Systems already in 1994, [..]".

Colin Paul Gloster

P.S. While I am emailing an Ada advocacy list, an excerpt
from an email from an email list of the Association of C &
C++ Users of July 27th, 2003:

"Your argument seems to boil down to the question of what's 'morally' a const
or non-const method.
That's fair enough but I think that C++ has always had a problem here in any
case. Const methods can so easily modify the logical state of composite
objects that I don't see how you can rely on const to tell you that the
logical state is left unaffected - at least not at the level that the
language can enforce."