Re: Ada GC (Henry Baker)
4 Feb 1996 12:36:54 -0500

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From: (Henry Baker)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers,comp.lang.ada
Date: 4 Feb 1996 12:36:54 -0500
Organization: nil organization
References: 96-01-037 96-02-023 96-02-028 96-02-043
Keywords: Ada, GC

In article 96-02-043, (Robert Dewar) wrote:

> I don't know what compiler vendor Jay worked for in the early 80's,
> but if he heard customers asking for garbage collection (I mean real
> customers with money), I sure did not see them around, and I *still*
> do not see them around. As I noted in an earlier note, we have had
> many serious and interesting requests for enhancement of GNAT from
> serious users, but not one such user has even suggested garbage
> collection as a useful addition.

> It is not "slacking-off" to listen to your customers and implement
> what they want to see. For example, I think far more customers were
> interested in bindings to standard libraries than GC.

A company that offers what people ask for will do ok. A company that
offers what people didn't realize they needed will do fantastically.
I'd be surprised if Sun's customers were blowing down their doors with
requests for a garbage-collected scripting language that masqueraded
as C++, at least until Sun showed them what it was good for...

The second approach is called 'market leadership'.

> I must say that, having gone through the effort of implementing the
> finalization features of Ada 95, I would guess that full GC could have
> been implemented with much less effort, and for many purposes it would
> clearly be preferable.

I've been saying this for years. Ada included all the strong typing
necessary to do a real GC, including the run-time typing of union
types, and the more-or-less proper handling of exceptions but then
snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by chickening out. The net
result is that all Ada programs pay the _costs_ of GC, but aren't
getting any of the _benefits_.


BTW, I understand that the new Telecom Bill that just passed Congress
has outlawed the ab*rting of tasks (or at least the discussion of it
on Usenet). This process will heretofore be called 'termination
enhancement', and an ab*rted task will be considered

Please update your programs and language standards.

www/ftp directory:

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