Embedded Systems December 2000 Vol13_13

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EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Lind~)" Vereen. l\ EDITOR IN CHIEF Mic.lmel Barr, MANAGING EDITOR Felis.'\ Yang. fyang@cmp,com EDITOR AT LARGE Alexander Wolf(', SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Susan R.'l lJlbo, srambo¢cmp,col1l EDITORIAL ASSISTANT 'Iimolh)' Sulli\'all, LSullimn@CIIlI).COIll CONSULTING TECHNICAL EDITORS Jacl G. Ganssle jrrolll(, L. Krasner, rhO CONTRIBUTING EDITORS t~flk d~~I?~(,115haw larry Millag Don Morgan Niall Mmvhy Dan &,ks PUBLISHER Ene ikrg, (4 15) 278-,;220 NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Stephen Cornck. (323) 512-4 100 EASTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Damon Gr.,rr, (781) 83~1 285 EASTERN SALES REPRESENTATIVE Jared .rimm. (78 1) 839-1286 CALIFORNIA SALES MANAGER Audres Dial., (4 15) 278-5274 CALIFORNIA SALES ASSOCIATE Moll)' Bnllu. (-I I.!) 278-5298 WESTERN ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE 5.1.11l Loui~. (415) 27 5223 PRODUCTION COORDINATOR \"mhew Powell GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR GRAPHIC DESIGN MANAGER 1 ... 1.urn Nardozl.1. MARKETING ASSOCIATE Libby Cox ONLINE PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Billy I}iondi. wbio CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Susan I larper CIRCULATION MANAGER j tnnifcr Schuler CIRCULATION ASSISTANT Michael Falalxlla. SUBSCRIPTION CUSTOMER SERVICE Toll frce: (877) 676-9745 (8H) 559-7307 Fax: (8 17) 291-48 16 Omeda Communication PO Box ~'I04 NOllhbrook. It 60065-9 168 ts/JOvmb.fa,(om Back issues lIIay be purchased 011 a prtl>aid b.'\Sis ~~II;~;I~~.~~1~~~;::.nkS16Jos.?ci: ~~)2~~1: (785) 841-1651 REPRINTS Siella Valdez. (916) 98S-6971 ~ CMP MEDIA INC. PRESIDENT AND CEO Marshall CORPORATE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER john Ru~1I CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER john Day GROUP PRESIDENT. BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY GROUP Adam K. 1-'larder GROUP PRESIDENT, CHANNel CiROUP Pam Watl;.ins GROUP PRESIDENT, ELECTRONICS GROUP ~lC\e WeilLn~1' GROUP PRESIDENT, SPECIALIZED TECHNOLOGIES GROUP Rt'gina talT Ridley SENIOR VP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT/OPERATIONS Annie F('ldmall GENERAL COUNSEL Sandra Crnyson VICE PRESIDENT/ ELECTRONICS Donna F..sposilo GROUP DIRECTOR, EMBEDDED/ DSP Mlchat'l Hplll ideal that the free flow of information between technological peers, even at competing organizations, benefi ts every- one. This is a view shared by the propo- nents of open source software. Whether it' an operating system, a memol]' test suite, or simply a useful design para- digm, why should anyone of us reinvent what has already been invented (and tested) by others in our profession? Certainly, exceptional proj ects with Competi ng Standards M agazines like Embedded Systems Programming are founded on the Michael Barr this open debate would be a good way to uncover any fl aws in one or both approaches. Il might even have helped to bring the two groups together, if they found a high degree of overlap. Plans for dle debate were put on exceptional needs exist. In such cases, invention of new techniques and tech- nologies cannot be avoided. We can 't always combine existing components into a useful whole. However, such exception- al cases are rare. To take an example from childhood, you can build a lot of neat things with a basic set of Legos, but a "spaceship windshield" is a one-of-a- kind part fOI - one-of-a-kind projects. Most of the time, though, we're all using the same basic components. Processors, operating systems, device drivers, and other building blocks are transferable from one company or project to another. Once developed, a technology or technique is, in fact, most valuable when it is shared widl others. This benefits the creators too, as others may strengthen the component by finding and fixing flaws. This is the acade- mic model of development, transferred to the commercial marketplace. UnforLunaL ely, many roadblocks make it difficult to achieve such open- ness. I recendy ran into one of these obstacles when I tried to arrange a new point/ counterpoint discu sion. As envi- sioned, the deba te would have Visit our Web si te at addressed the differences in thinking and approach between two competing groups working toward real-time J ava. A technological leader of each group was willing to participate and both thought hold, though, after non-technical people on both sides expressed concern. It seem bodl groups are j ockeying for posi- tion in the marketplace; both hope theil- approach will become the de f acto stan- dard for real-time J ava. Though both groups acknowledge the need for open debate in the discussion of technology that could risk human lives and are con- ducting dleir own meetings publicly, they remain unwill ing to debate each odler. In addition to dle fee ling of frustra- tion at the intrusion of non-technical issues and people into what should have been a purely technical discussion, I also have a feeling of dread. I suspect that progress toward a real-time Java standard will be slowed (or doomed to failure) as a result of the lack of discussion. How can either of two competing solutions to the same problem be adopted as a standard without such a debate occurring first? · What are those of us outside the two groups to think if these lWO large self-pro- claimed "expert groups" cannot achieve a common standard on their own? As dle open-source movement has caught on in recent years, more and more attempts have been made to create semi- proptictary "open" stand,u'ds groups. UI I'S Community Process, which is behind one of dle two real-time Java groups, is a prime example. But it's not at all clear that today's "open" standards groups are anything more than dle old proprietary standards, d'~ro AM m Embedded Systems Programming DECEMBER 2000 5

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