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Wind River’s Fiddler on the advantages — and disadvantages — of Linux

Oct 28, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 27 views

Wind River's chairman and cofounder Jerry Fiddler has written a whitepaper about the strengths and weaknesses of Linux relative to use in embedded systems and devices. Not surprisingly, Fiddler concludes that although there are some attractive attributes associated with Linux, embedded system and device developers would be much better off using one of Wind River's products — either VxWorks or BSD/OS. Here are a few quotes from Fiddler's whitepaper, entitled Linux In Embedded Systems: Where Are The Benefits? . . .

“If GPL issues are somehow manageable, device makers might still figure they can reduce software costs with linux by relying on the linux community for support. Unfortunately,that appears unlikely at this point.This is not due to a lack of interest or passion on the part of the linux community, but because there is no common platform to rally around . . .”

“Due to the structural differences in the two fields, linux is not likely to simply transfer its server success into the embedded device arena. Instead we have to assess linux on its own merits relative to the advantages that device makers are looking for . . .”

“Here are some of the major cost categories relating to software development. Note that many of these are human-based, labor-intensive activities that require people with significant experience. In other words, programmers and their support teams are expensive. Even if linux enables you to start without the first two items on the list, it's hard to avoid the others . . .”

“Commercial software companies are learning from the open-source model. So if linux itself is not the best answer for device makers, their existing suppliers can still offer some of the qualities of the open-source experience . . .”

“In the end, it's clear that most of our customers want rock-solid software that combines a true real-time operating system, middleware, utilities, and applications tuned to their products or industries. They want all these things integrated into a platform that accelerates their development work, at a price they can plan around, with a predictable technology roadmap, from a supplier who will bend over backward to make them happy. It's perhaps possible that linux may evolve to offer device makers these fundamental business benefits some day, but today,and for the foreseeable future, its disadvantages clearly outweigh its attractions.”

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