Hi, this is something that I have been contemplating for a while to the point where I now think all the effort in maintaining an Ada ISO standard is unnecessary. The reasons are the following:
(1) There are only a few Ada compiler vendors around and among them, only AdaCore is consistent with staying on top of the latest ISO standard. While a couple other vendors have been updating their compilers, their migration to a newer language revision has been extremely slow.
- I think it took about 10 years for PTC to finally update their ObjectAda compiler to Ada2012. For some reason, they have yet to even get their Rational Apex compiler up to Ada2012. Furthermore, nothing that I've read online or videos that I've watched about Rational Apex gives any indication they have any near plans to change that (I really hope I am wrong about this).
- Janus/Ada by RRSoftware is still primarily Ada95 with small amount of Ada2005 and Ada2012 support. No doubt they will continue to add more support for those, but it will take a while.
- AdaMULTI, despite Green Hills being a far larger company than RRSoftware, is even more behind Janus/Ada with *only Ada95 support*.
- Irvine Compiler has only updated their compiler to Ada2005 with no indication of it ever going beyond that.
(2) A good portion of the the Ada Rapporteur Group (ARG) consists of AdaCore employees, with no other Ada vendor involved. This fact, along with (1) means that nothing in an ISO standard matters if AdaCore decides not to implement it. In addition, any prototyping of features will be based on GNAT technology only which means that a new feature could very well be too difficult for another vendor to support (e.g. I see Ada2022 parallel programming support a perfect example of this).
(3) Many if not most opensource Ada software completely depends on GNAT (i.e. dependence on GNAT specific libraries and language extensions). Examples include Alire, Simple Components, and GNOGA to name a few. There is little to no interest by authors to ensure their software is standard Ada nor even portable to non-GNAT compilers. This is especially true given that other Ada compilers are priced too high for an individual (note: Only Janus/Ada can be considered a more affordable *paid* option).
(4) SPARK is not an ISO standard and even adds language extensions, which doesn't prevent its use in software that has to be certified. This leads me to believe Ada can continue without an ISO standard just as other languages do.
I know it's been mentioned by others that Ada =/= GNAT, but given the above points I made, in reality Ada virtually is GNAT and its future depends on AdaCore. All that is needed to make it official is for AdaCore to drop out of the ARG and continue to enhance Ada as it pleases knowing that no other Ada vendor will rise up to pose a challenge. A clear benefit of this is that Ada will be able to evolve more freely and quickly.
No doubt some may strongly disagree with all that I stated. I would actually be delighted if people can convince me otherwise, even by people from AdaCore.
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