"In the 1980s, auto manufacturers began using simple computers
called the 'engine control unit,' or ECU, to monitor and regulate
such things as fuel mixture and spark plug timing. Since then, a
cottage industry has developed around hardware and software to
bypass, tinker with or replace this system. A significant chunk of
the players in this space use open source software, which cuts down
on costs and improves the development process.
"Open source usage in the automotive industry is small but
growing. This cottage industry is thriving among hard-core car
buffs and open source zealots. However, the mainstream automotive
industry has shown little interest in revamping traditional
proprietary platforms or replacing them with a full line of open
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