Chris Lanfear and Steve Balacco of Venture Develpment Corporation (VDC) have published their perspective on Wind River’s announcement of Linux tools support. VDC speculates that Wind’s announcement signals a strategic shift for the largest embedded software company, but wonders how the embedded Linux developer community will react, given the company’s historic anti-Linux stance.
How will Wind River’s anti-Linux Past Affect its Current Linux Plans?
2003-10-04 Linux 16 Comments
More and more companies are starting to support Linux
Microsoft Windows media player [i’ll never use it!]
I seams like Linux is becoming more and more popular and attractive.
Like in anime, all it takes is the bad guy to reach out their hand, and when the good guy takes their hand everything evil is gone and the new starts up good. (Not to say that anyone was evil, just a comparison.) We call it “change of heart”. I’m sure the developers will find it a very welcome change of heart. I really hope the developer community isn’t like the evanglists user community. :
But yeah, this is all it takes to get things on the ball.
PS: oh yeah, and things aren’t blowing up like in anime…
I think we can take a cue from M$ in this case, embrace and extend.
SCO has clearly demonstrated that a company’s past has nothing to do with its future. A company is not an individual that “slips into the old habits”. It’s overall personality is very much driven by those in charge at any time.
Heck, IBM changed, even Microsoft might at some point.
What silly person threw in a Microsoft comment ? This has nothing to do with Microsoft really. In the embedded market, they’re really not that well represented, nor much of a concern. There’s usually more talk than there is action (i.e. Microsoft doing this, this company now moving to Windows CE, etc). In the mean time, a very large number of Engineering projects are quietly going ahead with QNX, VRTX and others.
When the Linux bandwagon started rolling, I had concerns for the damage it was going to do for the likes of these embedded producers. The reason being that these are very well engineered and highly performing embedded kernels. Linux was still a largely semi-reliable semi-predictable x86 product built by amateurs without a lot of mature technology. The concern was that Linux was going to steal effort away from the links of QNX who put hard cash into making a high quality product.
In the past few years, Linux has moved along quite well. The developments in kernel 2.6 tell you that it’s becoming sophisticated enough to handle real-time, and high performance. I think that it is now becoming a serious consideration, both as a threat and as an advantage. By kernel 3.0, or 4.0, it could be a very sophisticated and high performing O/S – a serious competitor to specialist embedded (QNX, VRTX) and mid range (Solaris, HP).
I think it’s important for these vendors to come to grips with, and work with, Linux – but I’m sure that they are aware that their own products offer specialist niches. And the point is that we have standards like POSIX to allow for the kind of portability that would make it easier for a manufacturer to decide on (or move between, or support both) of Linux and another O/S.
Did you read the article, or even the summary? Or did you see Linux, and start frothing at the mouth about Microsoft?
I don’t think companies are tired of BSD’s license schemes and prices.
Speaking as somebody who has to work with vxWorks, I can tell you firsthand that I think it completely sucks. In my opinion, the code is archaic, buggy, and otherwise just plain awful. Not to mention very, very ugly. The Wind kernel may be the exception to this, but who knows, since it costs several hundred thousand dollars to get a source license.
You should see the source to the network stack. Ugly, buggy, and inefficient as hell. Most device vendor’s END drivers are horrible, and vxWorks support for most devices are written as an afterthought (if they are at all). The only solace here is that embedded Linux is forcing them to be more forecoming with their source code, and better about trying to extract as much royalties as they can from anybody trying to actually ship a vxWorks based product.
Where can I get an RPM for Windows Media Player (9 please).
Use mplayer gui or xine
The Open Source community has welcomed with open arms all their previous ennemies that suddently decided to go open source or to use linux in their systems…
We don’t really hold grudge that much I guess as long as they work by the book and the GPL.
The antiquated buggitude of VxWorks nothwithstanding, I suspect that Wind River’s historic arrogance in price negotiations and their handling of bugfixes will have more to do with how they will fare in distributing a soft realtime Linux. Until Linux offers hard realtime capabilities and a makefile builder with thorough module interdependency handling, the comparison with VxWorks is unapt.
For companies that don’t want to pay $$$$$ upfront, the good news is that pre-emptible Linux on fast hardware is often good enough for the application.
To play protected WMA content. Rll said that WMP was available for Linux. I would like to play my pre-release, protected song that I recently downloaded.
“…a company’s past has nothing to do with its future. A company is not an individual that “slips into the old habits”. It’s overall personality is very much driven by those in charge at any time.”
I rate that as one of the worst failings of Corporate rule. If my recollection serves me correctly, corporations are supposed to be chartered by the people to provide services or products.
What doe any of that have to do with the way these monsters behave today? And why do the People continue to put up with their crap?
WindRiver is going where there is a currently viable revenue source. Not all applications in the embedded market need “hard” real time preemptive software systems. VxWorks is a product for those that need such software when tasks must be performed at certain times without significant lagtime in execution. Linux can be used in the vast majority of cases where soft real time is more applicable, such as a handheld desktop type system: a PDA for example. It’s a significant recognition from the old school companies like WindRiver that a hard-real time OS is not always necesary nor desireable for their clients when upfront development costs may be an issue but leeway is possible for the project at hand. Most startups can’t pay the thousands in licensing fees necesary for even a single seat licensing fee for VxWorks or QNX development suites. However, they CAN afford a low price entrance with sane development suites for an embedded Linux distribution such as Midori. In time, those same customers may return to WindRiver for their VxWorks platform should they begin a project that does need hard real-time reliability and/or a lower development cost for the longterm balance sheet. QNX might take note of this and consider other soft real-time platforms for those customers that may not need hard real-time. They need not consider Linux; NetBSD, and RTEMS are also open systems, and have low startup costs.
Rll said that WMP for linux is being supported… according to the link, it is being *Ported*, so not quite done. Wait for intervideo to do its work… I don’t know if you’ll find rpm’s ever tho… Might be like Sun’s java (Just an executable, and EULA).
Wind River doesn’t strike me as a company with a plan. So as long as they’re not messing with my favorite distro, Slackware, I’ve got no beef with them.