April 1, 1997
by Magnus Kempe
In a widely expected announcement, the US DoD announced today a revised software engineering policy. This new policy (promoting the use of C and hence referred to as "the C mandate") should not be seen as "dropping the Ada mandate"; during the press conference, DoD officials repeatedly stressed that the Mandate is a complete success and that the revision is merely intended to ease enforcement.
A few hours later, Microsoft Corp. announced the release of MS Visual Ada++ and confirmed that all its C products would be abandonned immediately. CEO Bill Gates declared "we want to stay one step ahead of the market, and will remain a profitable company even under attack from the Departments of Justice and Defense". Industry observers believe that the Windows 97 delay is due to a change of language in the operating system APIs.
The AdaIC (Ada Information Clearinghouse, sponsored by the DoD) will become the CIC (closely allied to the Atlanta-based CDC). The CIC will spend $15 million annually to expand the existing C industry; $1 million will be devoted to the creation of a C Web site, and $2 million will be awarded to encourage the development of Fortran-to-C reengineering tools. The AJPO (Ada Joint Program Office, sponsored by the DoD) will give up on compiler validation, to concentrate its activities on the standardization of debuggers, since that tool helps discover 90% of C errors, and C programmers have been found spending more than 80% of their time with debuggers.
The Ada Home (http://www.adahome.com/) will transmogrify into the C Hut or C Cavern (other names are under consideration; Internet domain name to be announced when secured).
In unrelated announcements, senior Rational scientist Grady Booch unveiled new UML extensions modeling bit shifting and void pointers of the C language, NASA delayed the space station Freedom another 50 years due to the need to add screens and debuggers in all critical as well as non-critical systems, and Lloyds decided to deny insurance coverage to any property containing computer devices.
An anonymous official summarized the events of the day as "Ada Dumped, Your Fault".
To obtain detailed references, or to add fuel to the fire, please contact the author at the email address indicated above.
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Page last modified: 1997-04-01