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Re: Reenabling Ada by default

 >     One of the powerful ways people learn is by reading the patch
 >     list, *if* the patches follow our rules.  A self-contained patch
 >     with an explanation (and testcase if appropriate) is much easier
 >     to grok than a sterile jumbo batch.  You merely help maintain
 >     Ada's marginal status by keeping everything cloistered and the
 >     expertise all within ACT.
 > "Self-contained" is not nearly as easy as you think.  Ada is a quite
 > large language.  GNAT has been around for over a decade.  Although
 > there are still the occaisional "how did *that* ever work?" sort of
 > bugs, most bugs found are quite subtle and the amount of information
 > needed to make their explanation "self-contained" and understandable
 > to people who aren't Ada experts is large.

"Self-contained" refers to the patch, not the explanation info.  The
patch posting doesn't have to allow someone unfamiliar with the Ada
language and the underlying compiler to understand everything from
zero to guru level in one post.  What the patch should do to be
"self-contained" is address one single issue.  I.e. one kind of bug
fixed or one new feature added, etc.

 > Neither Robert, Arno, or myself are saying this is impossible.  What
 > I'm saying is that the cost-benefit analysis of this is different from
 > the other front ends on both sides.  On the one side, the benefit of
 > doing it is far less because there isn't a set of people out there who
 > are eager to learn all about Ada (it would be nice if there *were*,
 > but let's be realistic!).  On the other, the cost is higher for the
 > reasons I've outlined.

It costs every contributor time and effort to do this.  Everybody else
does it, why do you feel ACT gets a free pass?

 > But the question, from a practical and realistic perspective, is
 > whether this information is really *useful* to the "rest of the
 > world".  Who would want to use it and for what purpose?  Before
 > deciding to commit resources to *produce* information, it's important
 > to be sure there will be *consumers* of that information.  And I don't
 > see that.  The argument "if you make it, they will come" doesn't seem
 > that convincing to me in this case.

I recall the same arguments were made about GCC itself at one point.
Clearly using an open development model has increased the amount of
volunteers capable of contributing.  I believe Ada is not somehow
immune to this effect.

 >     Lot's of contributors work for companies that have customers, none
 >     of these customers use GCC head either.  When their customers
 >     report bugs against older versions of GCC, the patches are
 >     submitted correctly according to our rules and tested on every
 >     branch they are installed.
 > Arno tests patches with the latest branch. And I test my patches to
 > the C part of the front end with the latest branch as well.  The issue
 > is the cost of having *everybody* who develops front-end patches doing
 > that as well.  You're talking about a dozen people here.

Again, somehow every other contributor/company somehow manages to do
this.  They see it as part of being good citizens of the GCC
community.  There's over 200 contributors listed in the GCC
MAINTAINERS who follow this rule.  I can't feel sorry for "a dozen
people" at ACT having to abide by the same rules.

Kaveh R. Ghazi

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