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Wednesday, 6 November – 10:30-12:00 – Exhibit Hall 4B

Session B

Panel: Resolved: Objects Have Failed (Part 1 of 2)

Moderator: Martine Devos
Avaya Labs, mmdevos@research.avayalabs.com
Arguing for: Richard P. Gabriel
Sun Microsystems, rpg@dreamsongs.com
Arguing for: Brian Foote
The Refactory, Inc., foote@refactory.com
Arguing against: Guy L. Steele Jr.
Sun Microsystems, Guy.Steele@sun.com
Arguing against: James Noble
Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, kjx@mcs.vux.ac.nz

The Grand Debate will address the resolution, "Objects Have Failed." The evidence is substantial. The .com meltdown was caused in no small part by the impossibility of designing and coding flexible businesses, even when substantial investments were made. Object technology has proven particularly brittle because it foregrounds structure over form, a problem inherent in many extant programming languages. Though one could argue that modern computing technology is the root cause, objects contributed more than their fair share to the debacle. Yet, a persuasive case can be made that the ascendancy of objects is, by now, a fact; a matter beyond dispute. Objects have infused every area of software technology, from graphical user interface construction to programming language design. It can be argued that object-oriented programming has become a redundant term: "Programming" will now suffice.

This debate will be presented in two parts, so as to allow the opposing teams to properly and thoroughly address the issues raised by their opponents.

Attendee background

Participants should have a general familiarity with object technology, and an interest in its past, present, and future.


This will be a true, formal debate, with two opposing teams, moderation, and formal rules.