Letters to the editor

In your Buyers Guide on imaging [GCN, March 15, Page 67],
you incorrectly state that JASC Software Inc.’s PaintShop Pro has no layer support.
Version 5 does indeed support layers.

We have used PaintShop Pro in our office since Version 3 for Web site and
computer-based training development, and it has proven itself an excellent, low-cost
alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

Steven Simmons
Computer specialist
National Business Center
Interior Department

Regarding the Women in Government IT Spotlight [GCN, March 29, Page 39]: The Ada programming language began as a modest attempt to develop a
business-oriented Pascal to replace Cobol. This was before fourth-generation languages,
and Cobol was clearly too labor-intensive as the world evolved from expensive iron and
cheap labor to cheap iron and expensive labor. It was originally called DOD-1.

Ada was a less-than-successful attempt to port the functionality of the C language into
Pascal. The Ada 83 language description clearly is a description of the C language’s
functionality as it existed then.

While I am no fan of C++, it clearly is superior to Ada, as its industrywide adoption
has demonstrated. Also demonstrated has been the superiority of Cobol over Ada for
business applications, the original target area for DOD-1.

In a gross oversight, a true giant in computer history, Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, was
nowhere mentioned in your report.

To the total embarrassment of the Pentagon’s good ol’ boys, Cobol was, in
fact, a one-woman show. It is by any measure the world’s most successful computer
language, with about 2 billion lines of code up and running and an additional 200 million
lines being added each year.

It was the mistaken impression of those early programmers that Cobol would be dead and
gone by year 2000. The very fact that it exists is a compliment to the author of this
enduring computer language.

There is the impression that nothing the government does is as good as what private
industry can do.

The Navy gave us Cobol. Cobol-61 was the first widely used version, popularized by IBM
Corp. Anyone want to bet how many Microsoft Windows platforms will be around 40 years from

Cobol changed the way business does business and thereby changed the world. It was
Grace Hopper who changed the world.

The scandal noted in your book review involved Lord Byron’s half sister, Augusta
Leigh, by whom he had at least one child, Medora. Some contend that Ada was the
illegitimate issue of that pairing.

The terms of the separation between Lord Byron and Lady Milfred (Ada’s mother) are
unknown, as her father arranged for the records to be sealed by the Crown. They still are.

Name withheld

Editor’s note: The writer is a civilian employee of the Navy.



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