Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Mar 2014 23:05 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
QNX

QNX 6.6 has been released. There are quite a lot of changes, but - sady - I doubt many of us work with QNX itself. It's quite popular in the embedded world, and, of course forms the foundation for BB10 - which has not exactly been a stellar success. Anywho, there's a pretty big change in 6.6:

The new Screen Graphics Subsystem replaces the Photon microGUI, including PhAB, Phindows, and QNX Neutrino Advanced Graphics. Usually referred to simply as "Screen", the Screen Graphics Subsystem allows off-screen rendering and can composite graphics from different rendering technologies, including HTML5, Elektrobit GUIDE, Crank Storyboard, Qt, and native (e.g., OpenGL ES) code.

Photon has been such a core part of QNX' identity for me that it's kind of weird to see it go.

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End of an era
by ingraham on Thu 13th Mar 2014 03:13 UTC
ingraham
Member since:
2006-05-20

My company started using QNX 4.22 in 1995; we were using Photon 1.0 Beta. I didn't join until 1997. Photon was much more stable by then. I oversaw the transition from QNX4 to QNX6... and the move away from our PC-based system to a PLC-base. Killing Photon is rough; we'd have to redo quite a bit of work to move an existing system on to a new framework. Killing self-hosted developments absolutely ends QNX's singular advantage over all other commercial RTOSes. At this point, it would actually be EASIER to port our software from QNX 6.3.2 to some variant of Linux rather than 6.6.

Still, I understand. They're going where the market takes them, which is a good thing from a business perspective. I wish them well, even as my involvement with QNX dwindles away.

Reply Score: 6

RE: End of an era
by BlueofRainbow on Thu 13th Mar 2014 12:04 in reply to "End of an era"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Given the breath and magnitude of the changes, it is strange that marketing did not ask for a ".0" number and won the internal debate - i.e. going to 7.0 rather than just 6.6.

I don't know the under-pinning of Photon. However, its design goes back to 1995 and it may not be aging well technically - gestures, touches and virtual keyboards as means of interaction with the user were not available even on research computer systems back then.

Dropping self-hosting may reflect the reality of software development at this time - via a virtual machine running as a guest on a Linux or Windows host.

Also dropped is the self-booting CD/DVD distribution - so it will be even harder to give it a try - like it was possible with the QNX Demo Floppy!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: End of an era
by tylerdurden on Thu 13th Mar 2014 17:42 in reply to "RE: End of an era"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

gestures, touches and virtual keyboards as means of interaction with the user were not available even on research computer systems back then.


Not quite. There have been commercial products using touch since the 80s, or even further. I have actually seen QNX systems running a touch interface in the 90s (industrial control application).

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: End of an era
by ingraham on Thu 13th Mar 2014 22:50 in reply to "RE: End of an era"
ingraham Member since:
2006-05-20

...it is strange that marketing did not ask for a ".0" number ... i.e. going to 7.0 rather than just 6.6.


Well, it would have to be 8, as odd numbers are reserved for internal development. Point well taken, however. I imagine the reasoning had to do with the microkernel itself; since the major core components didn't really change, they still think of it as the same "OS." You're right that from a marketing perspective jumping to 8 would have a lot of advantages, not least of which is that they've been on 6.x for well over a decade.

Photon... may not be aging well technically


I'm sure you're right. Especially with the difficulty of upkeep with the rapid pace of change in graphics.

Dropping self-hosting may reflect the reality of software development at this time - via a virtual machine running as a guest on a Linux or Windows host.


Yes, but having your dev tools on your target gave you an awesome advantage.

Also dropped is the self-booting CD/DVD distribution - so it will be even harder to give it a try - like it was possible with the QNX Demo Floppy!


Indeed.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: End of an era
by Megol on Sun 16th Mar 2014 15:49 in reply to "RE: End of an era"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

<snip>
I don't know the under-pinning of Photon. However, its design goes back to 1995 and it may not be aging well technically - gestures, touches and virtual keyboards as means of interaction with the user were not available even on research computer systems back then.


It is basically managing a view space consisting of layers of sorted rectangles where each rectangle can consume some messages. The screen and input devices and be mapped into rectangles too.
The result is a very clean concept for a windowing system as messages both for rendering (travels from the redrawing rectangle(s) towards the screen rectangle) and input (travels from the front backwards) are united into one very clean design. That is the concept, an implementation is likely to do this in a more efficient manner.
Note that this can be extended into multi-screen support and per-user console support (input & output) almost for free.

It shouldn't be too hard to support a compositing design with the same basic layout but I guess they know what they are doing...


Dropping self-hosting may reflect the reality of software development at this time - via a virtual machine running as a guest on a Linux or Windows host.


Yes but would self hosting be hard to support? QNX is, after all, a full POSIX system.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: End of an era
by zima on Wed 19th Mar 2014 23:57 in reply to "RE: End of an era"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know the under-pinning of Photon. However, its design goes back to 1995 and it may not be aging well technically - gestures, touches and virtual keyboards as means of interaction with the user were not available even on research computer systems back then.

The history of touchscreens goes much further back than 1995:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen#History
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch#History_of_multi-touch
http://cds.cern.ch/record/1248908?ln=en

Reply Parent Score: 2