[unrev-II] CITRIS: LynxOS & The Battle of the Unseen Computer

From: John J. Deneen (jjdeneen@netzero.net)
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 16:28:49 PDT

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    "Windows won the war for the desktop. But there's a new struggle over
    operating systems embedded in everyday objects, and this time free
    software has the inside track."

    Free at Last!
    < http://www.technologyreview.com/magazine/may01/tristram.asp >
    To Jim Ready, the answer is clear: embedded systems need open-source
    software. More precisely, they need Linux. ...

    ... In addition to sheer accessibility, open-source software offers an
    unbeatable price. Embedded systems are extremely cost sensitive, and the
    operating system often needs to cost pennies per unit. That's why, about
    one-fourth of the time, developers write their own operating systems to
    avoid licensing fees. An open-source operating system lets them avoid
    both the fees and the work of writing something completely new.

    A final advantage is flexibility: you can change open-source code, as
    long as you share what you've done. This allows open-source developers
    to add any little quirk they need to make something work exactly as they
    want it to. Significantly, this makes it easy to add features that would
    never hold enough mass appeal to make their way into a general-purpose
    operating system—such as a single-line command that could align all the
    solar panels on a space station for maximum energy collection.

    If the story stopped there, then Linux and the open-source movement
    would triumph over all would-be evil empires in the embedded-systems
    market. That would be the Hollywood outcome with strong sentimental
    appeal. But despite its advantages, Linux has limitations that even its
    legions of flag-wavers can't seem to fix. And even open source
    supporters, in some cases, think the embedded-Linux movement is a
    shameless waste of energy.

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