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Re: re. Rick's musings

Brian O'Neill wrote:
> Are there any surveys of occam users to identify its main usage?

A good question. But market research of its potential usage is
also important, especially because of the 'divorce' between 
Inmos transputers and occam.

> It is nice to have an upgrade to the language which adds to its flexibility
>  of use.  At the same time it is important that these changes do not have
> any side effects on current usage.  The best way to minimise this is by
> Beta testing of the compiler with a signification number of end users.

I can't imagine any side effects *except* by the removal of features or the 
alteration of semantics. So we should know what to expect from any 
proposed changes. But Beta testing is clearly desirable, for a variety
of reasons.

> Will the rest of the world embrace a new version of occam or will it carry
> on ignoring it?
> Yes lets have some modest changes to occam but I would still like to view
> it as a application specific language for embedded processors.

That depends on whether OFA cultivates the Unix market sufficiently. I
think the possibilities are moderately good, especially if we can offer
novel approaches for (i) SMP programming (a credible alternative to Posix
lightweight threads), (ii) GUI programming, (iii) animation.

> At the same time the group must push for the development of a better model
> of concurrency in a main stream language  i.e. lets have our own version
> of JAVA.

There is the distinct possibility that our own version of Java would have
even less impact than occam.

> I would like to propose
> (1) That the group is committed to small but modest changes to occam.  The
> understanding is that this is a good thing to do but will not have a
> dramatic impact on the wider use of occam.
> (2) That the group is committed to supporting a variation of JAVA that
> embraces a good model of concurrency.

(1) I disagree with the understanding. (2) may be a flier, but my reservation
is that doing our own thing with Java is that of heading off in our own
direction again, rather than having a significant impact on the rest of the
world. Now if we could influence Sun to change the de facto Java standard,
that would be exciting!

All the best,
              Richard Beton BSc MInstP CPhys
      Roke Manor Research, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 0ZN
-------  Standard disclaimer about my own views etc  -------
           See http://www1.roke.co.uk/WHR/WHR.html