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ControlEngineeringOnline: Manufacturing Does Windows ... Linux Knocks at the Door

Feb 09, 2001, 13:22 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gary A. Mintchell)

"Most manufacturing applications and much PC-based control build from a Microsoft Windows foundation. Linux use is growing in both server and embedded areas. Meanwhile, real-time operating systems gain notoriety as embedded control grows."

"The principal driver in defining the future of manufacturing control is now communication, and communication is now tied inextricably to the Internet. Openness in the strategic sense is now defined less by architecture than by protocol, and the availability of the full suite of Internet protocols is an important consideration in the selection of a platform. This fact points more toward Linux than toward CE as the platform of choice for the factory given the extreme breadth of protocol support it offers," says Ken Crater, president of Control.com (Hopkinton, Mass.), while presenting the challenge to engineers."

"Who hasn't seen the Penguin, symbol of Linux? It was plastered on everything from coffee mugs to T-shirts at the last Comdex. Linux is an "open source" operating system meaning that the source code is available to developers. Programmers can add or delete components to tweak their system to its optimum performance. New components or bug fixes are sent to originator and code czar, Linus Torvalds, who compiles the changes and issues occasional new releases of the "official" code. Thus, Linux is an OS written by a community of developers communicating almost exclusively via the Internet."

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