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Adacore has announced the launch of a General Public License (GPL) version of the Spark programming language.

The GPL will bring a professional-grade toolset for high-assurance and safety-critical software development to the academic community and developers of Free Software.

This aims to drive the use of high-assurance programming techniques and tools by a larger percentage of the overall software development community.

The release of Spark GPL completes the strategic shift that sees the once proprietary Spark technology now part of the Freely Licensed Open Source Software (Floss) ecosystem.

Spark was created by Praxis, the international specialist in critical systems engineering and safety assurance, and Adacore, a provider of commercial software solutions for the Ada language.

Spark provides a programming language, toolset and design discipline for the engineering of high-assurance software.

It combines the Spark language and verification tools from Praxis, with the Gnat Programming Studio (GPS) and Gnatbench development environments from Adacore.

Spark GPL Edition allows students and the Free Software community to develop using the toolset under the terms of the GPL.

Academic staff using Spark in teaching and research can download the software under Adacore’s GAP programme.

A professional version – Spark Pro – is also available from Adacore.

Launched in March 2009, Spark Pro includes full support and is aimed at professional developers of high-assurance systems.

Developed by Praxis, Spark is a language specifically designed to support the development of software used in applications where correct operation is vital either for reasons of safety or security.

The Spark toolset offers static verification that is unrivalled in terms of its soundness, low false-alarm rate, depth and efficiency.

The toolset also generates evidence for correctness that can be used to build a constructive assurance case in line with the requirements of industry regulators and certification schemes.

There are versions of Spark based on Ada 83, Ada 95 and Ada 2005, so all leading Ada compilers and tools work out of the box with Spark.

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