Upside: Puffin PLC fledges

In the world of embedded operating systems, programmable
logic controllers
— combined hardware and software devices
that allow users to program microprocessor functionality for
specific applications, primarily industrial automation — have
long represented the innermost sanctum of proprietary

“For years, the shifting standards, tight application niches and
even tighter relationships between vendors and customers made it
all but impossible for third-party software suppliers to gain a
foothold in the PLC market.”

“The manufacturing industry is in the condition of the computing
industry in the ’70s and ’60s,” says Ken Crater, president of
Control.com, a website that caters to automation engineers. “A
large manufacturer will put all their business with one supplier
for both hardware and software to avoid risk. The stakes are very
high. They need someone they can trust, so there’s no finger

“While such market conditions might be forbidding to commercial
application vendors, some within the automation community think
they provide the perfect opportunity for an open source project
willing to trade short-term profits for long-term standards.”

“Enter LinuxPLC, a community-based attempt to build an open
source PLC for industrial automation applications.”


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