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Re: [ontolog-forum] C and Ada (was: Please thread the discussion)

To: <edbark@xxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2007 17:24:57 +0200
Message-id: <032401c822e4$b42cc560$0100a8c0@Dev>
Ed Barkmeyer said:    (01)

> Sean said:
>> My impression was that Ada was Pascal++,
> Jean Ichbiah (designer of Ada) would be horrified.    (02)

Yes, most likely.  Shortly after the release of Ada, Ichbiah was asked 
in an interview why, seeing that the Ada design team in their rationale 
for Ada had admitted to inspiration from Pascal, they should have 
ignored the simplicity of Pascal and produced such a complex language as 
Ada.  Ichbiah's reply (to the best of my recollection) was this:    (03)

"Yes, Pascal is a simple language.  But with a simple language you can 
only do simple things simply.  Ada is a complex language, but it works 
for the programmer!"    (04)

Surely, Ichbiah would have put a strong emphasis on that "works", that 
is, he had meant it in the "works hard" sense of his native "travailler" 
rather than in the "works okay" sense of "marcher", either of which 
could easily have translated into "works".    (05)

I suspect that with ontologies, so central to all conceptual work, we 
should also be aiming for their working in the sense of "travailler". 
But what a pity so much current ontology-like application is so 
lightweight!  (What comes most easily to mind there? - fancier searches, 
further attempts at automatic translation, XML merely for interfacing or 
other data-storage, most if not all implemented uses of RDF, 
'folksonomies', and other such shallow manifestations or cousins of the 
ontology notion.)  Surely there is something missing in apparent 
conceptions of the proper potential of ontologies?  Where is the fuller 
semantic exploitation that must surely arise?    (06)

Christopher.     (07)

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