02/05/01 The International Space Station is also orbiting Planet Very Mysterious, with continued headscratching over the troublesome computers. However, a bit of research reveals that Bill Gates is innocent, at least as far as the control systems are concerned, and even Solaris has nothing to do with the current problems -- according to a palatable source on Usenet these computers run a 'bare-bones Ada environment' with other code by Honeywell. Ada. Now, there's a rave from the grave. You're forgiven if you don't know Ada -- it's a US Department of Defence language that was designed by committee to be reliable in large projects. They named it after Ada Lovelace, posh totty pal of Charles Babbage and widely known as the first programmer, and this remains the only elegant aspect of the whole misbegotten adventure. Outside aerospace and defence, interest in Ada started off as cool and has since solidified somewhere around absolute zero. The US government office responsible for Ada closed the day C++ was first published, and that, karmically, was that. Not to say that there's anything wrong with the idea of making large software projects more robust, but Ada doesn't pull the radishes. Meanwhile, its ghost continues to float around on space stations and -- dread thought -- who knows how many missiles and other nasties. Best not worry, eh?