Silicon Prairie: In embedded engineering, less is more
Nov 18, 2000, 23:47 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric Ridvan Uner)
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"...I'm proud that unlike many software developers, I know how
to work smarter, not just harder. Embedded design is a much more
demanding task than traditional software development. It requires a
different mindset and sometimes intimate knowledge of a system's
hardware and software components. As each new version of Microsoft
Word gets bigger and bigger, users upgrade their PCs to compensate.
Meanwhile, embedded engineers are constantly thinking of ways to
accomplish their goals using fewer resources and smaller code."
"These days you can't open up a single trade magazine without
seeing an ad for a new Internet appliance. Companies are releasing
"embedded Internet appliances" at an increasing rate - but a closer
look often reveals that they're just personal computers in a
different package. Some even run Linux and Windows NT. These
so-called Internet appliances aren't embedded systems any more than
hot dogs are haute cuisine."
"Linux and Microsoft Windows developers alike know that
Linux and Windows are simply not good candidates for an embedded
operating system simply because of the platforms' complexity and
size, but that hasn't stopped them from trying their best to break
into the coveted real-time operating system market (RTOS). Several
vendors make embeddable versions of Linux. Not to be left out,
Microsoft has Windows CE, an embeddable version of Windo out,
Microsoft has Windows CE, an embeddable version of Windows. But
would you trust Microsoft to be the operating system for your
pacemaker? What if Linux were running the flight control system of
your airplane at 30,000 feet? Both operating systems suffer from
unneeded complexities required to facilitate the general-purpose
programming environments for which they were originally designed.
Embedding them is like buying a car and parking it in your living
room so that you can use its CD player as a home stereo."