Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.

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I'm not usually one to gripe in public but the latest issue of Embedded
Systems Programming (ESP) really ticked me off.

In an otherwise acceptable article on CMPs Operating Systems Survey titled
"Embedded Systems Survey: Operating Systems Up for Grabs" they completely
ignored the well known MicroC/OS-II RTOS.  An RTOS that a year ago placed
number 2 or 3 in many categories of the same CMP survey without even being
listed as one of the survey choices. (And yes, they were told by many that
they had neglected it then.)

Extremely popular, very well written, taught in University classrooms
because of its availability and acceptance it's hard to believe it could be
ignored like this.

My letter to Jim Turley ( snipped-for-privacy@cmp.com), the Editor In Chief of ESP and
author of the article follows:

Jim,

I am truly disappointed in your article "Embedded Systems Survey: Operating
Systems Up for Grabs" for your complete lack of recognition of Micrium's
MicroC/OS-II RTOS.  It's absence from your list of RTOS's is
incomprehensible.

MicroC/OS-II (uC/OS-II) has long been recognized as a mainstay of the
embedded world.  uC/OS-II's author Jean Labrosse has been a constant
supporter of Embedded Systems Programming, a member of the advisory board
for the ESC Conferences and an extremely popular speaker at the conferences.

Not to mention the affront to Jean, you have done the entire embedded world
a tremendous disservice.  You should be ashamed.

Scott Nowell
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Scott Nowell, President
Validated Software Corporation
2590 Trailridge Drive East - Suite 102
Lafayette, CO 80026
Tel: (303) 531-5290




Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
Hello,


I read with great interest the above comments.  CMX, too, was very
disappointed with the published survey.  The CMX-RTX RTOS has been
available since 1990, has over 4,000 user companies, supports more
processor cores than any other RTOS vendor (approximately 50) and CMX
has been involved with the ESP magazine and its trade shows for many,
many years.  How CMX could be overlooked in this survey is baffling.


JR Rodrigues
CMX Systems, Inc.

Not Really Me wrote:
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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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How many full page advertisements have you bought recently? :)

I have zero trust of "surveys" or "industry averages" published in
commercial magazines.


Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.

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   I was wondering about that line "and CMX has been involved with the
ESP magazine and its trade shows for many, many years" and just how it
was supposed to affect this product's placement in this OS Survey
article.
   I've got nothing against ESP, I used to subscribe in the late '90's
and wish I'd kept it up, but isn't it about time for "open source"
magazines, user-edited much like Wikipedia? Or why not write an
"embeded OS" article on wikipedia? I looked around a little, there's
not much on embedded, there's this entry that looks like it could use
an addition, even if it's by someone connected to the company:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMX

   To repeat a six million dollar cliche, "We have the technology."

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http://mindspring.com/~benbradley

Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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I think the implication was that: "they know who we are and where we
are"  so one would expect that CMX would be in a survey of OS's. I don't
think the implication was that they were looking to "buy" a good review.

This make one wonder what the selection criteria was if two of the
common (widely known) OS's were missed out.

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No.


Edited by who? a single person has to do the editing. This takes time
and effort. If everyone is doing everything for free where does one earn
money?

The one way of getting things done for less cost is to out source to the
Far East. This helps the open source community as it gives them much
more time to work on open source projects as they have no full time
work. They will of course have an active "customer" base of the working
engineers in the far east.... However it will be one way traffic.

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...that we are putting in to open source and shipping out the
competition...

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Why? I have a similar distrust of open source stuff having seen some of
the Zelots and strange mindsets that are involved.  

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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
snipped-for-privacy@larwe.com writes
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Why? they are as accurate as any other. Also some of the ones I have
seen are very good because the magazine in question could get real
information that is not always released publicly. Also the magazines are
usually well placed to see through the marketing spin (if any) on the
information they receive. From experience these magazine editors get a
lot of access and information that ordinary mortals do not. This means
that they are usually better placed to produce these surveys.

On the other hand much of the open source stuff is driven by an almost
religious zeal that can distort things. This makes many companies very
wary of dealing with them. If they are not "on the inside" they will not
get the accurate information to produce these surveys.



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\/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills  Staffs  England     /\/\/\/\/
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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.

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Well, Chris, first I'll mention a logical flaw in your comment here --
if it is your intent to disprove Lewin's well-advised caution -- then
I'll get to my comment towards the meat of the matter.

Lewin's comment is entirely consistent with yours, above.  You go on
about "Also..." after that, but it these two comments, from you and
from Lewin, that remain entirely consistent.  Yours doesn't dispel his
in any way.

But to the meat:  I've personally seen the purchase of opinion pieces
of staff writers at well-trusted, widely circulated newspapers and
also, similarly, those staff writers of a national magazine or two --
without them disclosing anything about the financial relationship, so
that readers would take the impression that the reviews were "above
board."  There _is no_ good reason to inherently trust any review and
there _is_ good reason to always ask yourself _if_ such motivations
_may_ apply when reading them.

Never assume that business isn't business.  You may imagine that an
author "would never sully his or her name in such a way because they
have a reputation in the industry," or that a magazine or newspaper
wouldn't ever put themselves in such a risky position, but that may or
may not be true and unless you can otherwise justify your assumption
of honesty, you should remain circumspect.  Respected-name reviews in
the software review industry have been (and probably still are) bought
and sold.  Not always, not mostly, but sometimes and often enough for
caution.

As Lewin puts it, I trust no review to be entirely above board unless
I write it and personally know I didn't receive any "payola."  And
even then, I'll still worry a lot.

Jon

Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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I take your point. However this is true of virtually any survey.

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I think this is a reasonable stance.  

A lot of it is down to copy deadlines. I have seen surveys that miss out
some major players because there was no information supplied to the
magazine in time. The authors write reviews but often need the company
whos item is under review to supply information/ equipment. Otherwise
there is just not time to go and get it all.

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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.

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As Jonathan pointed out, I believe that was actually my point. I'm not
saying they are all flawed. I'm saying that I don't know, but that I
_am_ aware of commercial bias (look at Microsoft-sponsored magazines).

Maybe the reason XYZ product isn't in the survey is because nobody at
the magazine knew about it. Maybe it's because they only found out
about it by feedback during the survey - at which time it was too late
to re-print, re-distribute and re-collate the results. Or maybe it's
because a big advertiser said "Don't mention XYZ or we'll pull our
business".

A survey like this doesn't tell you what was left out or why; it's
noise, not information.


Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.


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If they don't mention ucOS-II, this is probably not because they
haven't heard of its efficiency, its broad support of a quantity
of devices and its safety level(DO-178B level B).

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Probably because it is a threat to expensive rtos that want to
dominate the market. Fair competition sometimes means biased
competition for some.

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I wonder if it would be possible to make some kind of survey
in this NG, by pointing out the features of rtos effectively
used and their applications. I know advices have been given
previously on some OS but it would be interesting to have
the opinion of users independently of vendors or magazines.


Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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Was that a comment or an advert :-)
I am sure they have hear of it the question is why was it (and CMX) not
in the survey?

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This is what I mean about bias. We are discussing CMX AND ucOS2 one is a
commercial OS and the other is a commercial OS. Neither is expensive
compared to some.

You did not include CMX in your comment. Why not?  Biased? Paid to
comment on one and not the other? Working for one of them? Getting free
samples? Walking out with he son/daughter/goat of the owner? :-)

BTW I have nothing for or against either. Though I believe both to be
sound OS.

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This is no more independent than any other survey. most (99%) of
commercial companies in the business monitor this NG and most of the
post using non company email addresses. However probably only 1% of the
embedded community use this NG. So any survey here is also going to be
biased.


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\/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills  Staffs  England     /\/\/\/\/
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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.


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A simple comment from the study of the excellent book that
goes with it and the comparisons with other in house
or commercial rtos. I have no commercial link with the
author although I had excellent contacts at least for
one tender. Besides, I also have good contacts with
the local distributor. The fact that the source code
is freely available and that it can be used free for
educational purposes tells also a lot.

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I don' know CMX and I am not biased against it of course.

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I don't know his daughter but if you have insights, do tell me:)

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I didn't have a lot of succes so far, so let's assume you
are right, have you any better idea?


Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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Unfortunately no.
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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
snipped-for-privacy@larwe.com writes
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I take your point. There are some "sponsored" magazines (commercial or
otherwise) who do have a particular slant.

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This is the usual reason.

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This is (I hope) less common.

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Some do tell you why some things were left out but it is impossible to
list (do a survey? :-) of everything not included.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

My point was that it is any survey not just the commercial ones.

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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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Not all that long ago magazine policy was to publish a notice: "We
are doing a survey on foo; please submit bar on your foos by blah
for inclusion".  Then the final article might have a notice "Data
on X and Y was received too late for inclusion, and we have
mentioned fum because its foo is well known".

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Re: Embedded Systems Programming drops the ball.
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The first part of results of that survey, concerning processor choices,
also had a number of serious flaws (IMHO), which I think mostly come
down to failing to define their terms.  For example, there was a section
showing the mixture of single-processor systems and multi-processor
systems, with no indication as to how they defined this.  It's easy to
define this on a PC or a server, but is a data acquisition system with a
single central board and hundreds of networked intelligent sensors a
single-processor system or a massively multi-processing system?  Without
knowing that, the data was meaningless.  (Jim Turley replied to my
emailed questions with some explanation, but still failed to clarify
that issue.)  There was also a category for the spread of processor
size, without the size being defined, so as usual people will have used
conflicting and frequently absurd definitions of size (there is even a
category for 10/12/14-bit processors !).

I guess you only ever expect to get a rough idea from these sorts of
surveys, and not concrete answers.  They are heavily biased by the
surveyor's pre-supposed ideas, which seldom correspond with the reader's
pre-supposed ideas.

David

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