Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Ada talks the talk

I found it interesting that your June 28 edition contained both an article in which the Defense Department's chief information officer, Arthur L. Money, referred to much commercial software as 'absolute crap' [Page 3], and an interview in which S. Tucker Taft talked about the undeservedly maligned Ada [Page 17].

Is there perhaps a connection between the 'crap' commonly sold as software today and the prevalent mind-set that prefers the please-let-me-shoot-myself-in-the-foot language to the carefully structured Ada?

As someone who currently uses C and Ada, I have noticed how projects done in C take longer to do and are more frustrating to deal with than those done in Ada. I can personally attest to the advantages of Ada mentioned by Taft.

With my experiences in mind, I occasionally ask those I encounter who prefer C over Ada why they have such a preference. They generally fall into two categories: those who have never tried Ada, and those who hate structured programming. The latter often say such programming allows them to be creative.

Creative? I thought software engineering was about building useful applications in an efficient manner, not providing a computerized playground for would-be artists. What is even more unbelievable is that companies whose bottom line is involved actually hire these people as programmers.

You can write bad software in any language, and you can write good software in any language. C, with its anything-goes philosophy, helps you do the former. Ada helps you do the latter.

Laura L. Mann

Computer specialist

Air Force Research Laboratory, Nondestructive Evaluation Branch

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

How's NT a secret service?

I read with interest 'Marines find notebook PCs are semper fi' [GCN, July 5, Page 1], about the Corps' use of Microsoft Windows NT for its networks.

One thing in particular caught my eye concerning their having a Non-Classified IP Router Network and a Secret IP Router Network.

Can you explain how they could be using NT in a secret environment when the operating system still has not passed the C2 certification?

I am baffled how administrators can be using NT in this manner when it clearly does not meet the requirements.

Name withheld

Looking to save some cash and still get a quality PC? The field of competitors to processor giant Intel Corp. is dwindling, but there are still a few alternatives to buying PCs built with Intel chips. Check the Aug. 2 Buyers Guide for who's got what in PC-standard x86 CPUs. Find out the factors and risks when considering Intel alternatives.

In the federal market, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s ink-jet printers finish on top. Reliability and good graphics performance are two reasons feds cited in GCN's Aug. 2 Product Preference Survey. Read why HP accounts for 66 percent of the installed base.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com)

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (Shutterstock.com)

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected