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Public Ada Library (with VHDL support) FAQ

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Archive-name: computer-lang/Ada/pal-vhdl-faq

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Date of this FAQ: 24 January 1997
Public Ada Library (PAL) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Posting Frequency: Monthly
Last Update: 24 January 1997

The Public Ada Library (PAL) is a distributed library of Ada and VHDL
software, courseware, and information that contains about 2.0 BILLION
bytes of material (mainly in compressed form).   All items in the PAL
have been released to the public with unlimited distribution and are
freeware in most cases (the exceptions are shareware).  The PAL is
managed by Professor Richard Conn at Monmouth University in New Jersey
under contract to the Ada Joint Program Office, Defense Information
Systems Agency, U.S. Department of Defense.  The central PAL site on the
WUARCHIVE host computer can be reached through the following URLs:

The PAL is a distributed library, and mirror (duplicate) sites are
available on the Internet so that if one site is down or sluggish in
responding, users may switch to an alternate.  The mirror sites include:

This is a short version of the PAL FAQ, designed specifically for
distribution via electronic mail, which addresses the following topics:

 . Welcome to the Public Ada Library (PAL)
 . What is WUArchive?
 . What Electronic Mailing Lists Support the PAL Users?
 . What Documentation is Available to Help the PAL User?
 . What are Review Codes?
 . How Do I Handle the Various Types of Files in the PAL?

A longer, more detailed version of the PAL FAQ (which addresses more
questions and issues) can be accessed through the pal.html file
identified above via a pushbutton.  A Postscript version of this longer
FAQ is also available in the directory languages/ada/userdocs/faq in the

Subject: Welcome to the Public Ada Library (PAL)

The Public Ada Library (PAL) is a library of Ada and VHDL* software,
courseware, and documentation on the Internet-based host computer named (WUARCHIVE).  The PAL is located in the directories
languages/ada and languages/vhdl if you access WUARCHIVE by FTP, archie,
gopher, the World Wide Web, or FTPMAIL, or in the directories
/archive/languages/ada and /archive/languages/vhdl if you access

* VHDL stands for VHSIC Hardware Description Language, where
  VHSIC stands for Very High Speed Integrated Circuit

The purposes of the PAL are:

 * to help make Ada-oriented and VHDL-oriented software, courseware, and
   documentation that has been released for public distribution (as
   shareware, freeware, GNU Copyleft, etc) readily available

 * to support Ada and VHDL educators by providing a convenient mechanism
   for them to exchange material and ideas

 * to support the Ada and VHDL user community in general by providing a
   resource in support of their activities

The support for the PAL is part of a DoD contract, entitled "Defining
and Exploring an Efficient Distributed Process for the Reuse of Ada
Software Components and Tools in a Global Theater" and numbered
DAAB07-94-C-D009.  This contract was awarded to Monmouth University in
West Long Branch, New Jersey, through the Army's Communications
Electronics Command (CECOM) Software Engineering Directorate (SED) with
funding provided by the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO), Defense
Information Systems Agency (DISA), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
Professor Richard Conn of the Center for Technology Development and
Transfer of Monmouth University is the principal investigator on the

Many organizations have developed cooperative relationships with the
PAL, contributing time, effort, user support services, and artifacts to
the PAL and its users either directly or indirectly.  These
organizations include:

 * the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO)
 * the Ada Information Clearinghouse (AdaIC)
 * the Ada and Software Engineering Education Team (ASEET)
 * the Army Reuse Center (ARC)
 * the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control,
   Communications, and Intelligence (ASD/C3I)
 * the Asset Source for Software Engineering Technology (ASSET)
 * the Comprehensive Approach to Reusable Defense Software (CARDS)
 * Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers (CNAM) in Paris, France
 * the DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
 * the Electronic Library Services and Applications (ELSA, formerly AdaNET)
 * George Washington University (GWU)
 * the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL)
 * the Software Engineering Institute (SEI)
 * the Software Reuse Repository at the University of Maine
 * the Special Interest Group for Ada of the Association for Computing
   Machinery (ACM/SIGAda)
 * Team Ada
 * the University of Alabama (UA)
 * the VHDL Repository at the University of Cincinnati (UC)
 * Walnut Creek CDROM

The PAL can be accessed by a wide variety of mechanisms.  These
mechanisms include, but are not limited to, the following:

 * anonymous FTP to WUARCHIVE and the mirror sites
 * NFS mounts on WUARCHIVE
 * Gopher servers
 * HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP) servers for the World Wide Web
   on WUARCHIVE and the mirror sites
 * FTPMAIL email servers
 * ASSET distributions and customer support
 * ELSA distributions and customer support
 * AdaIC distributions and customer support
 * Walnut Creek CDROM electronic distributions and customer support

General Disclaimer

All software, courseware, documentation, and other items of information
in the PAL are provided "AS IS" without any expressed or implied
warranties whatsoever unless their individual documentation states
otherwise.  No warranties as to performance, merchantability, or fitness
for a particular purpose exist.

Because of the diversity of conditions under which this software may be
used, no warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is offered.  The
user is advised to test the software and courseware thoroughly before
relying on it.  The user must assume the entire risk and liability of
using this software, courseware, and documentation.

In no event shall any person or organization be held responsible for any
direct, indirect, consequential, or inconsequential damages or lost

Subject: What is WUARCHIVE?
The host computer named (WUARCHIVE) is a Digital
Equipment Corporation (DEC) Alpha AXP 3000 Model 400.  It is equipped
with 192M bytes of RAM and over 65G bytes of disk space, and it is able
to support anonymous FTP sessions, remote NFS mounts, a gopher server,
and an HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol) server for the World Wide
WUARCHIVE is owned by the Office of Academic Computing and Networking,
Washington University in Saint Louis. The Office of Academic Computing
and Networking and the National Science Foundation have jointly paid for
the hardware of the machine and for the services of the support
personnel at Washington University in Saint Louis.  Additional funding
for the hardware has also been provided by the AMINET User's Group, the
Defense Information Systems Agency, and Monmouth University.
The maintainers of the archives which originate on WUARCHIVE are mainly
volunteers, working on an unfunded basis.  The support personnel who
maintain the operational support software, including the software which
keeps the mirrors up to date, are funded by the Office of Academic
Computing and Networking and the National Science Foundation grant.
We wish to express our gratitude to Digital Equipment Corporation for
the sale of the DEC Alpha at a substantial discount and to the National
Science Foundation for its grant in support of WUARCHIVE.  We also wish
to express our thanks for funding for extension to the disk drives on
WUARCHIVE to the AMINET User's Group, the Defense Information Systems
Agency, and Monmouth University.

Subject: What Electronic Mailing Lists Support PAL Users?

MAIL.WUSTL.EDU is the electronic mail list server for users of the PAL.
A separate computer from WUARCHIVE.WUSTL.EDU (on which the PAL is
located), MAIL's purpose in life from the point of view of the PAL user
is to manage the electronic mailing lists supporting him.

The List Processor is a program on MAIL which manages Lists (Electronic
Mailing Lists).  The user can send commands to the List Processor, and
it will respond by performing actions for him (such as adding him to a
List, removing him from a List, and sending him a message naming all the
lists supported by the List Processor).  The user can send email
messages to the List, and the subscribers to the List will receive these

If you wish to subscribe to an electronic mailing list, send an
electronic mail message to the List Processor:

Leave the subject line blank and place the following line into the body
of this message:
  subscribe <electronic mailing list name> <your name>

  subscribe pal-announce John J. Smith
Begin this line in column 1.  Your return address will be used as the
address to which announcements will be sent.  A list of the electronic
mailing lists for the PAL user community is included below.
You will receive a message back from the List Processor, telling you of
the success or failure of your request.
Once subscribed, a user can send electronic mail to all subscribers of a
List by sending email to the list's name at; example:

This, of course, only works if the List is bidirectional.  The ANNOUNCE
Lists are unidirectional (read-only from the point of view of the
subscribers).  Subscribers cannot post email messages to the ANNOUNCE
lists - only the moderator of the ANNOUNCE lists can post messages.

If you wish to unsubscribe from an electronic mailing list, send an
electronic mail message to the List Processor:

Leave the subject line blank and place the following line into the body
of this message:
  unsubscribe <electronic mailing list name>

  unsubscribe pal-announce

If you wish to find out what electronic mailing lists you subscribe to,
send an electronic mail message to:

Leave the subject line blank and place the following line into the body
of this message:

The List Processor is a very flexible tool which gives you control over
how you receive messages from the lists to which you subscribe.  For
example, you may receive messages as they are posted or in a digest form
once a day.  A 20-page user's manual for the List Processor is contained
in the PAL in the directory ada/userdocs/listproc.

To find out what commands the List Processor can respond to, send an
email message to:

which contains an empty subject line and one line in the body of the
message (starting in the first column):


Additionally, as of February 1996, all PAL email lists are archived
automatically by the List Processor.  You can obtain copies of messages
posted to the Lists on and after February 1996 by sending commands to
the List Processor (see the user's manual for details).


These lists are for the PAL user community.  For a more complete list of
the mailing lists available to your site, send a mail message to which contains the command "LISTS". 

    Pal-Announce - Announcements concerning the Public Ada Library
      (PAL).  These include additions to, changes to and other
      announcements concerning the PAL.  You can not post messages here.

    Ada-Train - This list is for the discussion of topics concerning Ada
      training and education.  This is a general discussion list.

    ASEET - The ASEET email list supports members of ASEET (The Ada and
      Software Engineering Education Team) and others interested in the
      activities of ASEET.  ASEET materials are available from the
      Public Ada Library (PAL), including an archive of previous messages
      posted to this list.

    Reuse - This list is a bidirectional mailing list for those people
      interested in software reuse technology.  This includes, but is
      not limited to, the fields of designing for reuse, object-oriented
      reuse methods, reuse tools and environments, generic code
      architectures, domain-specific kits, reuse education, technology
      transfer, formal methods, certification of reusable components,
      and management issues as they pertain to reuse.

    Wuarchive-Announce - Notification of any planned downtime or service
      changes for  The only announcements from this
      list will be from local staff or archivers.

Subject: What Documentation is Available to Help the PAL User?

PAL Catalog, FAQ, and Database Information

The subdirectory userdocs/catalog in the PAL contains a number of
documents of interest to the users of the PAL.  The key user documents
in this subdirectory are:

     CAT_DOC.ZIP and CAT_PS.ZIP - a catalog, complete with table of
       contents and index, of the contents of the PAL in the form
       of a book; CAT_DOC.ZIP contains the chapters as ASCII text,
       CAT_PS.ZIP contains the chapters as Postscript files that
       print 2 pages per physical page in landscape (1/2 the number
       of hardcopy pages required by CAT_DOC.ZIP)

     TAXONOMY.ZIP - a taxonomy of the PAL in ASCII and Postscript

     CSV_DB.ZIP - contains a Comma-Separated-Value (CSV) ASCII
       text file which can be read into database managers like
       dBase IV and spreadsheets like LOTUS 1-2-3 to allow the user
       to scan for items of interest offline; the contents of this
       ZIP file are CSV_DB.DOC and CSV_HDR.DOC, where DB contains the
       data and HDR contains structure information

The subdirectory languages/ada/userdocs/catalog/id_files contains the
Item Description files from which the above files were created.  Item
Description files exist for each item in the PAL.  File names in
id_files which have the same prefix refer to the same item.

PAL Frequently Asked Questions
The PAL Frequently Asked Questions (PAL FAQ) list answers many of the
more common questions asked by users of the PAL.  It can be found in the
PAL in HTML, HTM, Postscript, and ASCII text formats in the
languages/ada/userdocs/faq directory in the files faq.html, faq_a.htm,, and faq.txt (faq.html and faq_a.htm are identical long versions
of the FAQ, is a Postscript version of faq.html, and faq.txt is a
shorter version designed for distribution via email).  The file faq.txt
can also be found in ASCII text form on under

PAL Card Catalog in HTML

The Public Ada Library Card Catalog is presented using HyperText Markup
Language (HTML).  In this form, a user can view the Card Catalog by
using a World Wide Web client, such as Netscape.  The movement and
search capabilities provided by the client can be used to move through
the PAL Card Catalog.

The directory languages/ada contains pal.html and pal_a.htm, the main
World Wide Web home pages for the PAL and convenient entry points for
the PAL Card Catalog.  The file pal.html contains the full, "glossy"
home page, while pal_a.htm contains the same information for users
limited to 8-dot-3 file names.  The "Contents" button in these files
opens up the PAL Card Catalog at the top level of its table of contents,
showing the main categories of material in the PAL.  By selecting any
one of these categories, the user is shown a second level of the table
of contents which details the items available under the selected
category.  The "Index" button in these files opens up the PAL Card
Catalog at the top level of its segmented index.  There are two indexes
in the PAL Card Catalog - the segmented index is a series of HTML files
for fast loading, where each file contains the index entries which share
a common first character (that is, all the "A" entries are in one file,
all the "B" entries in another, and so on), while the unsegmented index
is a single HTML file for extensive searching, where all the index
entries are in one large file (and can take a long time to load through
the Web but is easily loaded if accessed through a CDROM).

The PAL Card Catalog is also available on the Walnut Creek Ada CDROM
distributions of the PAL, so users may browse the CDROM using either the
HTML or HTM version of the PAL Card Catalog.  The Walnut Creek Ada CDROM
is formatted using the ISO-9660 standard CDROM format for a maximum of
portability between different platforms, and the Rock Ridge extensions
to this standard have been included.  This means that the CDROM uses
8-dot-3 file and directory names, but, if your system supports both long
file names and the Rock Ridge extensions to ISO-9660, the CDROM appears
with long file and directory names. For users of the CDROM without the
Rock Ridge extensions (such as MSDOS, Microsoft Windows 3.x, and
Microsoft Windows 95 users), the PAL Card Catalog should be accessed
using the HTM (as opposed to HTML) files.  For the convenience of the
users of the Walnut Creek Ada CDROM, the files 00_cd.html and
00_cd_a.htm at the top-level of the CDROM, where 00_cd.html may be used
by those with long file names and support for the Rock Ridge extensions
and 00_cd_a.htm may be used for those without such support.

Subject: What are Review Codes?

The database maintained on the PAL includes Review Codes which are used
to indicate to some extent the level of trust which may be placed in a
particular item.  These Review Codes are defined as follows:

Code    Meaning
----    -------

AR      AdaNET Report is available (usually in the ZIP file); AdaNET
        Reports contain information on experiences in compiling this

C1      The Certifier_1 tool has analyzed the Ada source code in this
        item; the full format of this entry is "C1 n.n g" where n.n is
        the version number of Certifier_1 and g is the letter grade
        given by Certifier_1 (A, B, and C are satisfactory; D and F are
        not satisfactory)

CMM     Comment Files (*.CMM, *.CM2, etc) are available which describe
        one or more problems with the item

CS      Compiled Successfully (followed by an indication of the
        Ada compiler used in parentheses) by the reviewer

ES      Executed Successfully (followed by an indication of the
        target computer used in parentheses if different from the
        systems mentioned in the CS list) by the reviewer

MF-CODE Missing File - Code; one or more files of source code are
        missing; the item cannot be compiled without these files

MF-DATA Missing File - Data; one or more files used as input data when
        the compiled code runs are missing; the item cannot be
        executed without these files

NR      Not Reviewed

OK      This is a text file which is believed to be an accurate copy
        of the original

RI      Review Incomplete (only some results of a partial review
        are posted)

SDA     Report generated by the Ada System Dependency Analyzer is
        available; if followed by a number from 1 to 5 (e.g., SDA5),
        the number indicates the relative quality of the item, where
        5 is of the highest quality

not     negation prefix (e.g., not ES or not OK)

Subject: How Do I Handle the Various Types of Files in PAL?
A number of file formats have come into play among the files in the PAL:
  MSDOS and UNIX ASCII text files
  PAGER2 Files 
  ZIP Files
  GNU ZIP Files
  TAR Files
  Compressed (*.Z) Files
  Compressed or GNU ZIPped TAR Files

If you have questions about these file formats, see the file README.TOO
in the top level of the the toolkit directory.  The subdirectories under
the toolkit directory contain programs for various platforms that allow
you to work with these files in various ways.

Richard Conn, PAL Manager  |
Opinions expressed herein are my own and not necessarily those of anyone else.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

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Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer: (Prof R Conn)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM