> I read through the comments posted at the SlashDot site, and some of the
> misinformation was so mind-bogglingly ludicrous that it warranted its own
> Douglas Adams' metaphors.  I was embarrassed for some of the contributors
> that they not just believed, but would actually post, such foolishness.
>

In spite of this, I was really pleased to see the question "Why not
Ada?" being posted on Slashdot.  That Ada is on people's radar screens
is a Good Thing.  I'm not seeing "Why not Haskell?" out there, for
instance... (no offense intended to any Haskell fanatics :-)

These are good opportunities for the Ada community to rise to the
occasion by dispelling mythology and FUD in a gracious way.  Here are
some guidelines I try to keep in mind -- maybe they will work for others
as well:

    1) Don't mistake ignorance for stupidity, or either one for malice.
       The task is to educate.

    2) There are people who are able to write in a reasonably articulate
       and persuasive style about things of which they in fact have no
       real knowledge.  The Internet breeds this type of person, and I
       know because I have fallen into this trap myself before.  A good
       example is the guy on /. who was parroting the "designed by
       committee" and "feature creep" mythology.  He actually sounds
       like he might know what he's talking about, if one didn't know
       any better.  Have sympathy for these people, but correct them so
       they can become propagators of facts instead of fiction.
       Treating them right may help win them over.  Remember, this
       person likes to be right, so if you give them good evidence they
       will often change their tune unless they are unusually
       opinionated.

    3) There's way too much paranoia and "fortress mentality" in the
       Ada community, so make a conscious effort to overcome it.  It
       really doesn't play well to the rest of the world.

       Someone posted regarding the Embedded Systems Journal on-line
       poll that "they'll just keep re-running it until they get the
       answer they want".  I just don't understand this type of
       thinking.  ESJ was under no obligation to run the poll in the
       first place, nor to include Ada in it.  They way to really trash
       Ada would be to deliberately ignore it.  ESJ included Ada in
       their poll, and they were equanimous enough to list the languages
       in alphabetical order :-).  Similarly, I dont't understand the
       level of contempt that would lead someone to stuff the ballot
       box.  Someone actually thought ESJ was dumb enough not to check
       for duplicate votes, and that they didn't deserve enough respect
       not to multiple-vote.  As a result team-ada ended up looking like
       bozos.

       If we want others to think we have our heads up our
       u-know-where, all we have to do is justify their beliefs by
       our actions :-)


--

Mark Lundquist
Senior Software Engineer
Rational Software
Development Solutions Business Unit
Aloha, OR, USA