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Two Embedded Linux Companies Respond to Microsoft on WinXP Embedded vs. Linux

Dec 18, 2001, 09:02 (10 Talkback[s])


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LynuxWorks and Lineo have both decided to make public rebuttals of Microsoft's claims concerning Windows XP embedded vs. embedded Linux.

From LynuxWorks:

"XP offering has shortcomings as an embedded offering. There are some places it can go, but those are limited for reasons you will see below. The bulk of Microsoft's issues continue to be in size and performance. Below are some major areas of concern.

Kernel Size -- The smallest footprint configuration of XP Embedded is 5MB. And for that, to quote Microsoft, you get "extremely limited functionality." A medium-sized configuration is 15 MB. Just as a comparison, LynuxWorks' BlueCat Linux is 259KB and LynxOS real-time operating system product is 254KB. An "extremely limited functionality" version of LynxOS is at about 150 KB! In the traditional embedded world, XP is huge and at the high-end of what is acceptable.

Performance -- Windows XP is not real-time. It is pre-emptable but not re-entrant! This can result in long, unbounded worst-case task response times. This performance will keep XP out of high-performance, mission-critical applications."

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and from Lineo:

"The fact that there are "multiple implementations of major OS components so developers end up working with different programming environments and tools" is heavily slanted to the "Microsoft provides everything you need" viewpoint. Let's look at history. Microsoft has tied the Web browser and windowing environment to the underlying operating system and defines these items as major OS components. Apparently they do not believe in product differentiation or choice.

Lineo, and (presumably) the rest of the Linux development world, has always thought that choice and the ability to differentiate your product from your competitor's product was a good thing. We recognize that the definition of major OS components is, except for the Linux kernel itself, arbitrary and dependent on the requirements of the product being developed. We do not attempt to dictate to our customers what must be included in the final configuration. For example, many embedded products do not require a GUI or a Web browser, therefore it is presumptuous for us to conclude that these are "major" components which (presumably) are required in every system. Instead, Lineo's Embedix Linux offers a "core" set of features necessary to provide a fully functional operating system (by Lineo's definition), allowing the developer to pick and choose elements that distinguish a product from the competition. Flexibility allows customers to innovate.

It is worthwhile to point out that the Opera Web browser, supported by the Sharp Zaurus SL-5000D handheld device, is much more feature-rich and compliant with Internet standards than the standard Web browser included with PocketPC. So, the developer actually has more of a choice when using Linux."

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