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Embedded Systems September 2000 Vol13_10

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American RAISONANCE CAN Tools Introducing American Raisonance. Your new supplier ofiXXAT CAN development tools. Hardware and software to simplify your CAN implementation! Analvzers We now offer an extensive line of CAN analyzers, providing you with complete monitoring of your CAN network. Interface Cards We have the CAN interface card you need, whether it 's ISA, PCMCIA, parallel port or USB. Utilizing your PC, 80320 or a Cl65 every card comes with: • CAN BUS Monitor • User manual • Download and flash programs • VCI Virtual CAN Interface Protocols CAN open Master/Slave software. Delivered in C source code and comes with example programs and technical support. DeviceNet Master/Slave software. Delivered in MASM/C source code and comes with example programs and technical support. 877-315-0792 www.omrai.com functionality in to a Linux process where it may have soft real-time targets, and putting it in a hard real-time task. In short the architecture has taken a solu- tion (an RTOS) and divided it into two problems (a soft real time system, and an integrated RTOS) . The real motivation behind these real-time Linux architectures is to allow open source vendors to play catch-up with more established RTOS vendors. QNX, Wind River Systems, and others already offer any functionality (such as file systems and networking) that the embedded community may want to borrow from Linux. These products, written from the ground up for embed- ded systems, are free from a legacy of design decisions influenced by the serv- er and desktop world . A number of smaller vendors have gathered under the banner of embedded Linux in the hope of upsetting the applecart for these larger vendors, and benefit to the tune of a few apples themselves. Unfortunately for these cidermakers, the strength of open source will always lie in its disruptive influences-it will never create new markets, j ust scare the big cats in already establi hed markets. In the desktop OS market there was an undeniable monopoly, but the RTOS market is much more diversified and there is not the same dire need to shake up a single player with 95% of the market. The very fact that the RTOS market is reasonably fai r and open means that open source software will not have the same appeal that it had when competing with Microsoft. Moral high ground The open source community claims to have the moral high ground over com- mercial developers. Bertrand Meyers disputes this and argues that much of the high-minded attitude is misplaced.8 I tend to agree. Saying that you are writ- ing software for the good of the world, and for no personal gain, become harder to swallow once you've become known throughout the engineering world as a multi-millionaire. Those who've made big money from the 86 SEPTEMBER 2000 Embedded Systems Programming efforts of the open source developers will be compromised by their new- found responsibilities as owners of major corporations. And those who did not make money out of the recent spate of public offerings will be less likely to offer large chunks of their program- ming time fo r free next time around. While some may try to convince us that open ource vendor are the wave of the futu re, I think we will look back on th is idea as a quaint notion that hap- pened to provide the embedded com- munity with a good cross compiler. I doubt this new way of doing business will profit any of us in the long run. References 1. "Licensing Models of Open Source Computing" available at www.eg3.com/openllicense.htm. 2. Shapiro, Carl and Hal R. Varian. Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Harvard Business School Press. 3. "Can Linux Billionaires Carry the Free Software Torch" by Andrew Leonard available at www.salon.com/techlfea- ture/1999/12 /23/linux_ipos/. 4. "Future of Cygnus Solutions: An Entrepreneur's Account," by Michael Tiemann, included in Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, edited by Chris DiBona, O'Reilly and Associates, 1999. 5. "Giving It Away: How Red Hat Software Stumbled Across a New Economic Model and Helped Improve an Industry" by Robert Young, included in Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. 6. Crenshaw, Jack, "And Another Thing ... " Embedded Systems Programming, March 2000, p. 15. 7. Epplin, Jerry, "Linux as an Embedded Operating System," Embedded Systems Programming, October 1997, p. 96. This article is available online at www. embedded. com/97 /fe3971 0. htm. 8. Meyers, Bertrand, "The Ethics of Free Software," Software Developer, March 2000, p. 59. This article is available online at www.sdmagazine.com/ features/2000/03/f4.shtml.

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