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Embedded Systems Study Rebutted 203

Gabba writes "LinuxDevices.com has a rebuttal to the Microsoft-funded report purporting to show Windows nearly 4X more efficient than Linux for developing embedded systems. The rebuttal shows the study to be full of flaws in both design and execution."
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Embedded Systems Study Rebutted

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  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:39PM (#6661018) Journal
    This is a tried and true method in the scientific community: if you disagree with the conclusions of a study, you can always call the methodology "flawed". That way, you never have to pay attention to results that are different from what you believe.

    • by Deusy ( 455433 )
      This is a tried and true method in the corporate community: if there is strong competition in the market place, you can always sponsor a ttuday to call it "flawed". That way, you never have to pay attention to the flaws in your own software that you refuse to believe.

      I'm sure this study, if impartial, would be by-enlarge accepted and address the flaws highlighted by said study.

      But how come the _majority_ of "studies" that debunk Microsoft's competitors are usually sponsored by the software giant?
      • by wik ( 10258 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:57PM (#6661114) Homepage Journal
        > by-enlarge

        You've been reading too many spams. The correct expression is "by and large". :-)
      • by LinuxInDallas ( 73952 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:33PM (#6661274)
        Because they have the money to fund the studies. Now, whether or not that implies the studies are biased I can't say because I don't know the authors of these studies.

        BTW, if Microsoft funded a study that concluded that Windows wasn't superior for a certain task do you think they would allow it to be published? I think not. Because of that all Microsoft funded studies (that we read) will always conclude Windows is the best.

        • whether or not that implies the studies are biased

          No, we can't say positively.

          The natural forces of the marketplace, however, suggest that such studies would become biased.

          If

          • my research company was able to produce an apparently sound technical report detailing how company X's products were superior to competitors products,
          • company X paid for the report, and,
          • as a consequence of an apparently well-researched independent technical report company X's sales were to increase relative to its competitors,
    • by pstemari ( 579210 ) <paul_j@ste-marie.org> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:27PM (#6661249) Homepage Journal
      Nice troll, but it doesn't fly. There are in fact objective criteria for evalating experimental and statistical methodology, even though both coal companies and the "alternative medicine" crowd wish it weren't so.
      • That may be, but I have yet to hear a single person say, "Their conclusions are not what I believe to be true yet the study was flawless." There is enough wiggle room in correct methodology for anyone to attack any study.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I've heard this many times before. Of course, I work at a University so perhaps there's a subtle difference.
        • That may be, but I have yet to hear a single person say, "Their conclusions are not what I believe to be true yet the study was flawless."

          That's because most people when confronted with the findings in such a manner believe them.

          If the study is flawless and reaches some conclusion, then scientifically-minded people will accept the results (or at the very least, go and duplicate the study). Not accepting the results implies that you don't follow the scientific method.

        • That may be, but I have yet to hear a single person say, "Their conclusions are not what I believe to be true yet the study was flawless." There is enough wiggle room in correct methodology for anyone to attack any study.

          I read comments like that all the time just by browsing through pulp science magazines like New Scientist. I don't think it's rare nor unexpected for truly correct methodology to change people's opinions. Perhaps your experience has only been with articles using incorrect methodologie

    • This is a tried and true method in the business community: If you can't get a fair study to show the conclusions you want, hold an unfair study. More people will pay attention to the results than the retraction.
    • by jbottero ( 585319 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:39PM (#6661292)
      What's the name of that new Linux guy at M$? This is the kind of stuff he needs to address. Microsoft can NOT now afford to be spewing out "whitpapers" that can go right to the shreader.

      Look, there is no "brain drain" at Microsoft, they DO have some smart people working for them. So why do they produce frilly lady fluff like this? If Microsoft wants to survive, they will need to work ALONG SIDE linux, have a reallistic approach to compeating with Linux, not just shitting out paper after paper that even marginal techies like me laugh at.
      • I totally agree with you. How hard would it be for Microsoft to put out there own distribution of Linux? Most geeks wouldn't buy it, but both Linux and Windows have features that average people/businesses need. Being that Linux is free/open, Microsoft could make a killing leveraging the strengths of Linux with their own technologies/support/services running on top. From what I understand, they wouldn't even need to GPL Office, or their window manager. What is holding them back? If it's pride, they nee
    • Microsoft paid for both the study and the report. A tried and true method of marketing is to set up a study that is guaranteed to show what you want it to.
    • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:48PM (#6661337) Journal
      Okay, a lot of pro-Linux studies have their own problems (frankly, I don't put much stock in "studies" any more, especially vendor-funded ones).

      However, the numbers this one used are *ridiculous*. Total Cost of Development?

      Okay, let's see. Of the parties surveyed, cancelled Linux projects cost more than CE projects. This Jerry guy (he's got a PhD, so he must just be dishonest, not stupid) then uses this as a basis to claim that Linux is more expensive than CE. He's got to be kidding me.

      By the same metric, all C++ software should be replaced by bash equivalents. Why? Because the average cost of a bash-based project is much, much smaller than the average cost of a C++ project. Of course, there's the little additional detail that the sort of projects one uses bash on are much, much smaller and simpler. That is, of course, the factor that makes the huge difference. However, you can conveniently ignore that tidbit.

      Somebody tried to do the same study with Windows and some Sun servers back in the day to show that Windows made a far cheaper server. Well...yes, but most of the servers being used to average out Windows cost in the study were small, departmental servers that nobody was spending much on. The Sun servers were the far more powerful and capable systems for things like eBay's back end that had technicians swarming all over 'em. Sure enough, the Windows boxes had a lower average maintenance cost.

      Average total cost is *totally useless* without some additional constraints so that you're measuring average cost of *similar projects*. If you took all PVRs with roughly equivalent feature sets and examined cost based on embedded OS, *then* you might have a useful study. The current one is totally useless other than for FUD use.
    • After 3 WinCE projects and a Linux project I can assure you the Linux option is far less painful, IMHO.

      I guess if your definition of "embedded system" was a rack server set-up and your programmers were already Microsofted then you might make better progress with WinXP embedded.

    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @06:50PM (#6661849) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps, but in this case the methodology is flawed, and one needs to read no further than the first several paragraphs to see this.

      As clearly point out in the rebuttal, this was a statistical study and as such must follow precise rules to considered valid. First, any sample must be random. The study was not random but self-selective as the names were drawn from a web site registry. Second, the poll question must be made public to insure that they were not leading. Without these two criteria met, we must assume that survey is flawed.

      The problems mount when one reads that the data analysis methodology is not given. We can in fact live without know the specific data, but without the methods we must assume that the analyst crunched the data until they discovered the answer they wanted. This is a classic method of lying with statistics.

      The nail in the coffin, even if we assume the analysts are honest in all other respects, is that we do not know how the result were normalized. All we know is that for the projects developed by the Linux people cost four times as much as the projects developed by the windows developers. Were the Linux projects 4 times as hard? Did the Linux projects return four times the revenue? Were the Linux projects more costly research based projects while the Windows projects merely applications of work already completed? Were the differences in the way the various companies costed the projects.

      All the other stuff is just in the rebuttal is just a rational of why Linux development is probably just as good as Windows development. The fact is that the study has all the classic signs of a mercenary statistician massaging data to generate a predetermined answer. People wonder why kids are so stupid now. It is because companies like MS want to keep them stupid so they will believe these bogus studies.

    • A Linux site calling a study unfavorable to Linux "flawed?" No way!
  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:40PM (#6661020)
    ...but needs PUBLICIZING. As in, to non-geeks. Specifically, pointy-haired bosses.

    Wanna bet the pro-MS article will be the one most PHBs will have come across their desk?
    • by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper.booksunderreview@com> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:44PM (#6661050) Homepage Journal
      Not sure how anyone mistook the original marketing material referred to as a "study" anyway. All you'd have to do is read it to see that it wasn't a real study in the first place.
      • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris&mac,com> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:06PM (#6661159) Homepage
        I didn't catch the original, and I don't know where it was publicized or anything, but I imagine it was in places that make it look legit. More importantly, it was in places that people who don't already use Linux might be likely to look. Rebuttals like this are nearly useless unless they are prominently placed in some widely read medium--and by "widely read" I mean someplace that at least an average techie, even if entirely M$-biased, would be likely to at least see the headline. I admit that I have no knowledge at all of the world of journalism, online or otherwise, but I think that people who write studies/rebuttals/articles/etc like this, showing up Microsoft and their precious status quo, should make significant efforts to get them in mainstream media.

        Unless someone already likes Linux, they're not likely to frequent LinuxDevices.com. Someone who already likes Linux is not the target audience for such journalism, or shouldn't be. We need to target it at the others, the people who don't like Linux, because it's articles like this that might make them like it, and it's studies like the one it's rebutting that make them not like it.

        Dan Aris
        • Remember we're talking about the embeded space not servers. This means the target audience is Electrical Engineers not "Software Engineers".

          They're generally not as Windows-centric as IT. They WILL frequent LinuxDevices.com. And they will share the rebuttal with their PHB.
    • In today's job market, I keep my resume always up to date. If my management were so dumb as to buy into an article like this, i'd get my ass on the market, and cacle evilly as they reaped the 'benefits' of their foolishness.

      (if you fear doing that, you lack skills - get some, mostly people skills!)

      However, very few executives are this stupid anymore. The last 3 years or so have taken a big bite out of the idiot IT manager population. I'm sure there are quite a few still around, but the more blatant one
  • Wow.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by nother_nix_hacker ( 596961 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:40PM (#6661021)
    Windows nearly 4X more efficient than Linux for developing embedded systems
    Windows and Linux can develop their own embedded systems?
    • You seem to have a problem with English grammar. That's all right; it's a rocky subject.

      Your statement would make sense if the line in question were "Windows nearly 4X more efficient than Linux at developing embedded systems", or "Windows nearly 4X more efficient than Linux developing embedded systems", which would be incorrect grammar, but impart the meaning which you incorrectly inferred.

      This would be a lot funnier if your "joke" made any sense. Good thing Funny doesn't provide Karma.

      • Re:Wow.. (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You seem to have a problem with humor. That's all right; it's a rocky subject...
      • Aww, you're no fun anymore.
        • The following is OFF TOPIC Please disregard.

          Want a new constitution?

          Ok, so as a rule I don't repsond to .sigs - however...

          This web site kinda scares me. I took several minutes to browse the site and several more to read the text of the pdf file. Spelling errors aside, some of the comments really make me wonder for example:

          SALOON OPERATOR replacement of defective BEER PUMP that fosters alcoholism, mate-battering, drunk driving, and other crimes: Deductible

          FAMILY replacement of defective STOVE to
      • You let your tenses shift, Bucky. Not a good move for the grammar Nazis. Plus, your punctuation was far from impeccable and that sentence-oid bordered upon run-on. Brevity is the soul of wit AND good sentence structure.

        He who laughs last must have TiVo.
  • Shock! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chicane-UK ( 455253 ) <chicane-ukNO@SPAMntlworld.com> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:42PM (#6661033) Homepage
    The rebuttal shows the study to be full of flaws in both design and execution.

    I'm not being funny here, but since when did anyone ever pay attention to Microsoft backed or funded tests such as this? They'd hardly be backing this comparative benchmarks and reviews only for their product to get slated. Every time I read a 'Windows 2003 Server is 2.3x cheaper than Linux!' type story (where they end up comparing to something like Solaris which.. duh.. isn't Linux!) it just bugs the heck out of me.

    I'd much rather cast my attention to impartial, un-biased sites such as /. [slashdot.org] for fair reviews of items provided by stores they have no relation to.. now where can I order a Zero Blaster [slashdot.org] again? :D

    And yes, I am just joking around before I get flamed to hell and back ;)
    • Re:Shock! (Score:3, Funny)

      by CoolVibe ( 11466 )
      I'd much rather cast my attention to impartial, un-biased sites such as /.

      Excuse me? Slashdot unbiased? Oh well, whatever you say,... Care to invest in a sailing trip around zwitserland?

      • I'd much rather cast my attention to impartial, un-biased sites such as /.

        Excuse me? Slashdot unbiased? Oh well, whatever you say,... Care to invest in a sailing trip around zwitserland?


        CoolVibe, you tree-hugging hippie, he was being sarcastic! ;-)
        • Re:Shock! (Score:2, Insightful)

          by CoolVibe ( 11466 )
          Right... This proves it. HTML needs a <sracasm> tag. :)
          • Actually, I think it'd be damn cool if HTML had a sarcasm tag. It has an emphasis tag already, and sarcasm has traditionally been more difficult to get across in the printed word than verbally (since one relies on intonation).

            • What would the sarcasm tag actually do? That surely must be decided before one can implement it...

              Also: Does anyone ever even use tags like <EMPHASIS> and <STRONG>? I always just think to use <B> and <I>, and /. doesn't even allow <EMPHASIS>...

              <SARCASM LEVEL="HIGH">Personally, I think we need a <STONG>, for all those lame e-mails that get sent in every Monday. Until we started working on da CD, yo.</SARCASM>

              Oh, oh, one more interesting thought: Perhaps /. c
          • Right... This proves it. HTML needs a <sracasm> tag. :)

            And a <DWIMNWIS> tag ;-)

          • Slashdot already includes those tags in most cases to wrap their entire pages.

            View source and you'll see these tags right at the beginning:

            <sarcasm>
            <puerile_humor>
            <rant>
    • Re:Shock! (Score:3, Funny)

      by portnux ( 630256 )
      The report was full of "flaws in both design and execution"? Maybe it was done by the same teams that ordinarily are involved with their products?
    • I'm not being funny here, but ...And yes, I am just joking around

      I don't know whether to laugh or sigh.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:43PM (#6661040)
    after seeing ozzy trying out the iDrive on his BMW, I would guess it may not be more usable or more reliable
    • "Have you ever heard of user error?" - Bill Gates

      Ozzy is user error, folks.
    • by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @05:48PM (#6661660)

      I'm not quite sure what the iDrive is, but I read a story about the malaysian financial minister. He was going to a meeting in a brand new BMW, with computer driven everything. Suddenly, the embedded computer crashed which caused the doors to lock without a way to open them. Same for the windows and the hole in the roof.

      As it was 200+ degrees fahrenheit, he was almost cooked before a maintenance man managed to smash the bullet proof windows with a sledge.

      • I'm not quite sure what the iDrive is, but I read a story about the malaysian financial minister. He was going to a meeting in a brand new BMW, with computer driven everything. Suddenly, the embedded computer crashed which caused the doors to lock without a way to open them. Same for the windows and the hole in the roof.

        As it was 200+ degrees fahrenheit, he was almost cooked before a maintenance man managed to smash the bullet proof windows with a sledge.


        Hmmm... I don't recall there being many computer s
      • Actually, that was the Thai financial minister. You can find one of the many articles referring to it here:

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20030512/1530243 . shtml [techdirt.com]

        200+ degrees fahrenheit would kill a man quickly. 212 degrees being the boiling point of water, the minister would have been dead long before it reached 200 degrees. I believe there were several cases in the US where moms locked their kids in the car in summer and returned to find them dead. Temperatures reached only around 130-140 F then.
  • Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Silvertre ( 472395 )
    My Dad works with voice mail systems, if its loaded with winnt it can take up to 30 minutes to boot. With linux it takes maybee 5. One of the problems with windows is the inability to strip out stuff you don't need.
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Voivod ( 27332 ) <{cryptic} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:05PM (#6661150)
      Not to support Microsoft or anything, but your Dad isn't using "embedded" Windows. This is like complaining that RedHat 9 takes too long to boot on your i486 embedded CPU.

      Both Windows CE and XP Embedded are designed to let you remove whatever components you want. You can strip out the GUI, networking, swap files, etc. Windows CE can definitially be customized to boot in just a few seconds.

      On the other hand, as an embedded developer I must say that Windows CE is the WORST OS by far I have ever had to work with. It's so bad my company discarded 3 months of work on drivers and a BSP (Board Support Package) for our hardware because neither we nor any of our customers could figure out how to use it reliably. It's an absolute nightmare.

      Linux is very nice for embedded systems and I'd guess 40% of our customers are using it with our hardware, losing out to DOS believe it or not. The only OS I think is better for embedding is QNX. If you can afford it, QNX absolutely rocks.
      • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Informative)

        by antiMStroll ( 664213 )
        Off topic, but for those who care, the QNX OS and desktop are available as a free download at www.qnx.com. Install and configuration is trivial for anyone who can install RedHat or 2K. Interesting OS and enough free software out there to make it worth toying with on a junk computer when there's nothing on the tube.
    • The study in question was XP, which loads massively faster than NT or Win2k. I doubted it too, but I installed it on a system and saw for myself.
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by allanj ( 151784 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:07PM (#6661168)

      One of the problems with windows is the inability to strip out stuff you don't need.


      I don't know what Windows version you're talking about here, but it most certainly is NOT recent Windows XP Embedded (as in Embedded XP SP1 - I assume you're sufficiently on-topic to be talking about embedded Windows stuff). You can mix and match your own XP configuration, and have it contain just the pieces you need.

      Don't need no steeenkin' GUI? Unselect it.

      Don't need no steeenkin' webserver? Unselect it.

      Don't need no steeenkin' Ethernet support? Unselect it.

      The list could go on for miles - it really works quite well. There's a target designer tool where just about anything is optional, and the database for that tool is HUGE. Module inter-dependencies are handled automatically, and the size of the target image easily available. You could argue that MS would need that tool, since no-one can figure out how their dependencies work anyway (and I'd agree with you :-), but that's besides the point. The point is that it's SOOOO easy to select/unselect options.


      And no, I'm not affiliated with MS in any way - I've just actually USED Embedded XP, and that brings a somewhat different view on things.

      • My stepdad actually was on the design team for XP Embedded (oh, shut up.) - I got to see some of the stuff it can do at a pretty low level. It was a LOT OF WORK to separate it out into those modules! His team spent almost as much time doing that as anything else. The end result is a really cool OS that I wouldn't mind slapping on some small PC and turning into a media server.

        And to the poster below talking about "IE is TOO removable!!" Sure, it is, but then, so is Konqueror, and they both fulfill literally
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      and the OS/2 voicemail systems (of which there are MANY MANY more of) take 2.5 minutes to boot.

      Sorry but yet again the real king of full blown PC's in a critical environment is OS/2

      It's on most of the ATM's, Voice Mail subsystems. and other critical banking / business service systems (Yet is missing form the server room.)

      Dont care what the "experts" say... numbers and what I see in the field take louder and more accurately than any self proclaimed expert.
  • by segment ( 695309 ) <sil.politrix@org> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @03:51PM (#6661084) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's "Windows Embedded" operating system platforms (specifically, Windows CE .NET and Windows XP Embedded) are completed 43% faster and at 68% lower cost, on average, compared with similar projects using Embedded Linux.

    Windows XP = money Linux = free to download

    I don't see where the money argument comes into play here? Before someone says something about TCO let me point out a humorous but true text on how Microsoft actually kills [216.239.51.104] (link is a google cache).

    The report includes data from a survey of 100 manufacturers using 32-bit processors in a range of embedded projects and applications -- 50 using various implementations of embedded Linux, and 50 using Microsoft's Windows Embedded platforms(Windows CE .NET and Windows XP Embedded).

    Rubbish rubbish and more rubbish. They shouldn't have been so biased with the study. Which manufacturers were used? Give it a rest now MS. It's obvious for one if MS funded the study, it's bound to be swayed, however if they didn't fund the study, depending on the vendors, it's still bound to be swayed. Remember MS violated antitrust forcing companies to go MS or go to bankruptcy court. How is one supposed to believe any studies they'd do?

    I'm sure someone else is going to post a very good thorough post but we all know this is nothing more than utter bs.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Remember MS violated antitrust forcing companies to go MS or go to bankruptcy court. How is one supposed to believe any studies they'd do?

      Generalized statements like this are stupid and don't mean much. Remember IBM sold equipment to the Nazis so they could round up and gas-chamberize Jews more efficiently. Don't trust anything IBM says. Err...

      How can you trust any study not to be biased when it is being funded by the company who will profit the must from the study?
    • If you plan to move a lot of units, licensing costs can add up. If you're in a competitive market, a few bucks per unit could be the difference between your customers buying your product versus going to your competition. The Evil TV company I worked for was trying to get OpenBIOS working for them rather than license a BIOS. So what if it takes a developer six months to get it working? It'll more than pay for itself if they manage to move a lot of units.
    • Windows XP = money Linux = free to download..I don't see where the money argument comes into play here?

      Uh, because there are more costs involved in software development than buying an OS? You're thinking about this like it's you needing an operating system to run a web browser and read email -- where Linux is free and your time is valued at nothing.

      Not that I necessary believe their numbers, which probably don't include per-unit licensing costs anyway. But what you're saying makes zero sense.

      Before someo

    • I don't see where the money argument comes into play here?

      the money argument came in based on time to develop and the cost of programmer salaries for the development, i think. (it's been a while since i read the original microsoft article and the register article about it, but i think that was the crux of it.)

      As was pointed out in the Register article, their sample was skewed to create this result due to the fact that they chose two developers using linux who had uncharacteristically complex projects (r
    • Shoot, by that metric, who knows how many thousands of lives Slashdot has claimed? And don't get me started on Quake or EverQuest.
  • Define Embedded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spoonist ( 32012 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:01PM (#6661126) Journal

    First, let me be honest. I just skimmed the LinuxDevices article and didn't read the Microsoft article.

    One thing I've noticed among PHBs is an ever-broadening definition of "embedded systems". I've seen more than one project go down the road of using a cPCI [picmg.org] system running Windows NT 3.51 (yes these are current systems running this old version) on a harddrive. These systems are calling themselves "embedded".

    This has been especially in systems that had serious size, weight, and power needs. Had I designed the system, I guess I would've used something like QNX [qnx.com] or Linux [linux.org] on a much smaller processor, compact flash card, etc.

    I guess my point is that these days it seems like general-purpose computers are being called "embedded" when I see embedded as much, much smaller (e.g. no moving parts, a microcontroller, etc...).

    I dunno, I'm rambling...

    • need not be multitasking. That rules out a lot of the above.

      Otherwise, embedded to marketing types just means "end-user doesn't administer, except for maybe a complete re-flash". ...which is probably a more useful definition when considering the end purpose.

      But I understand a purely embedded OS is the kind that is purely reactionary, and just ties hardware together with minimal logic (hence the non-multitasking aspect, robust interrupt handling aside)
    • Re:Define Embedded (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j3110 ( 193209 )
      An embedded system is generally taken to be a specific-use system. It's not small, just specific, like your car's computer is not for running office. Embedded means not general purpose (desktop/laptop/PDA/etc.). You can put a two gigahertz processor in a mars rover, but it'll still be an embedded system.

      The theory is, if you make a system that can barely do the task you need it to, then you will have the cheapest system possible. This is true in some instances, but not all. If you live alone, you prob
  • Obvious implications (Score:4, Interesting)

    by serial frame ( 236591 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:01PM (#6661128)
    On a consumer level, there are no real benefits to using Windows on embedded controllers, or even developing for evaluation boards.

    Although I deviate from Linux in this example, it is still relevant to all open source embedded solutions. A few questions: is there an implementation of Remote Terminal Services for embedded versions of Windows, for easy manipulation of the embedded device in question? If so, what sort of licensing costs are implied?

    As demonstrated numerous times before, open standards such as VNC are superior in the aspects of platform-ubiquity, openness, freeness, and simplicity. A shining example of what would be a costly, if implemented, solution, under Windows would be the Ethernet board running Contiki.

    Oh yeah, and how many simultaneous threads, per-process-threads, and processes, do embedded Windows products support?

    One must also compare the existing products that can be compiled between embedded Linux and Windows. I'm willing to bet software written with POSIX in mind beats Windows.

    Excuse me if these speculations seem a bit armchair.
    • Tsk, commie. So yeah you can compile an awfull lot of the tools you find on youre terrorist build linux pc on say something like the red china zaurus. Or maybe one of youre pinko friends is right now porting it to run on its tainted hardware while under the influence of drugs, depriving many many americans from earning a decent living.

      On a more serious note, I have worked for O2 the netherlands. In that role I had to develop a site [o2.nl] for the XDA a pda/phone developed by MS. Slight problem, I didn't have one

      • We have come to expect our pc's to crash. It seems to be just a thing they do. But how often has youre tv crashed after years of working non-stop? Youre cd-player? Youre washing machine? I am currently testing 2003 of windows, it has crashed repeatdly on a intel rig. MS just can't write crash proof software. It is the price we pay for the wide choice of hardware and uses we get on a pc. On my phone, thank you but no thanks.

        Your TV has the equivalent complexity of Notepad, or Bash. Most of the hard work is
        • I know software crashes occasionally, no matter who wrote it, but man, you ought to get your power checked or something, I mean holy shit man, My TV crash? NEVER! All three of my cell phones? NEVER! I don't have a DVD player, but my cable box? NEVER! My router? NEVER! I do turn it off when i leave for overnight or longer trips. WAP? I don't have one, but my cordless phone (landline?) NEVER! I don't have a Satellite Receiver either, but my microwave? NEVER! My automatic sprinkler system contro
          • I know software crashes occasionally, no matter who wrote it, but man, you ought to get your power checked or something, I mean holy shit man, My TV crash? NEVER! All three of my cell phones? NEVER! I don't have a DVD player, but my cable box? NEVER! My router? NEVER! I do turn it off when i leave for overnight or longer trips. WAP? I don't have one, but my cordless phone (landline?) NEVER! I don't have a Satellite Receiver either, but my microwave? NEVER! My automatic sprinkler system controller? NEVER! My
  • crap for crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirk ( 87083 ) <dirk@one.net> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:01PM (#6661130) Homepage
    I hadn't seen the original report, but as soon as I saw it was funded by MS, I assumed it was marketting fluff and moved on. Now I see that the "rebuttal" is on LinuxDevices.com, and was meant to specifically prove the MS report wrong and that Linux is better. That means it's more marketting fluff so we can move on.

    When will people relaize that MS is not the only people putting out biased reports. I put the same faith in a "Linux is great" report by a Linux group as I do in a "Windows is great" report by MS.
    • Re:crap for crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by barawn ( 25691 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:19PM (#6661219) Homepage
      When will people relaize that MS is not the only people putting out biased reports. I put the same faith in a "Linux is great" report by a Linux group as I do in a "Windows is great" report by MS.


      They'll realize this when other people actually read the article in question.

      Go ahead. Read it. Carefully. Note that nowhere in the report does it say "Linux is great" or "Linux is better".

      In fact, to quote the article,

      Consider that in most embedded software development efforts, only a small portion of time is spent on platform issues. In virtually every project I've been associated with over many years, one engineer has selected the development environment, brought it up on the target hardware, and introduced the other engineers to its use. From that point on, everyone involved is focused on the application rather than the environment. Platform issues constitute only a small proportion of the effort expended on all but the simplest cookie-cutter devices.


      Note what's said there - it doesn't really matter what platform you develop on. That's what's said there. Develop on whatever platform suits your needs.

      Still think it says Linux is better?

      It could be, as John Lettice has pointed out, that developers of larger, more innovative, products tend to choose Linux because of the control and flexibility it offers, while developers of cookie-cutter devices tend to choose Windows because of the help it provides.


      What's that? There, they're saying "Windows is better for some things!" Blasphemy? No - they are actually trying to be unbiased.

      Granted. They can't be completely unbiased. But they're trying, which is the difference.
      • Actually, they aren't trying to be unbiased. If they were, they would say "Windows is better for some things", rather than "Windows could be better for some things". In fact, they haven't done a study at all, and are therefore not qualified to claim that Linux or Windows is good for anything, let alone that one or the other is better for a particular thing. What they are saying is that the embedded market is sufficiently broad that no single study can cover it, that accurate results either way couldn't show
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:03PM (#6661143) Homepage Journal
    Linux-biased study finds that Microsoft-biased study was full of shit. Anti-Microsoft-Biased readers of Slashdot agree. Film at eleven.
  • It's very much a no brainer trying to decide whether to use windows or linux in development. When your'e done do you want it to be your product or microsofts. How much of a partner do you want to be with microsoft ?

    The rest is neither here nor there. It winds up being religous warfare over which tool, what paradigm or was the salesgirl cute.

    With linux you can own your work, with Microsoft your work can own you.
  • by brooks_talley ( 86840 ) <`brooks' `at' `frnk.com'> on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:12PM (#6661187) Journal
    Microsoft says Windows better than Linux! Linux advocates disagree!

    In other news, a communist revolution has shaken Russia, and Napoleon suffered a shocking defeat at Waterloo.

    Cheers
    -b

  • Something like this is too obvious to take any space on slashdot. We all know Microsoft wants to defame Linux with any 'report' they try to pull.

    The reason why its not worthy of mention is because theres a whole slew of embedded manufacturers using Linux or trying to use Linux and not Windows CE. We know how many arches CE runs on and how reliably. We've seen the evaluation packs of ARM7TDMI and ARM720T based chips that allow the running of Linux and companies like QT bringing packages for development on
  • First, I'd like to point out that I've not read the articles, so I could be completely wrong... but:

    I highly suspect that the Microsoft report ends up biasing towards Windows development in a variety of ways. This is just standard marketing practice. When you have someone with an interest in one particlar result directing a study, the study will, of course, be biased.

    By the same token, I suspect that the study on linuxdevices.com is similarly biased.

    The sad reality is that managers and suchlike are most
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:29PM (#6661256)
    At our company we use GNU/hurd on our embedded operating system. Everybody laughs about how gnu/hurd sucks but its perfect for embedded stuff. We produce Small kde-based web terminals for cyber cafe. On a Yontrix [yontrix.com.br] 386 compatible processor with 2 Mb of ram, it boots off a 1.44M flash rom. The KDE is a stripped down version of kde 1.4 with just Konqueror, kedit, and kicker installed. No Xfree86, a EGA frame buffer is used. If you thought KDE was bloated, just see our web termials . Since hurd is completly free and easy to code for, it took us only two hours of programming time to make this system compared to 3 weeks for a linux soloution..
  • Writing a rebuttal is nice, but like retractions in newspapers, they are not all that effective in undoing the impression created by the original report. Aren't there any studies out there showing Linux is cheaper? Relying on "Linux is free" is no longer sufficient.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Facts Schmacks, you can use facts to prove anything!"

  • ...funded by myself, which conclusively proves that the Microsoft corporation is run by a bunch of abusive goons whose only goal is to make money hand over fist with no respect for legality or morals while destroying competition and shafting their captive consumers.

    The study goes on to prove that the concept of "friendly competition", which surprisingly many other companies follow, benefits end users the most.

  • I read the original report. I read the rebuttal.

    While I don't doubt that the original is biased towards Windows artificially, the rebuttal did nothing to dissuade me. The arguments forward were nearly always of the "I have experience that differs from the report, therefore the report must be invalid " type.

    Please, if you want to refute a claim, do so based on facts that can be proven (especially if the original is based on what might well be quasi-facts or spin). Simply saying the original conclusions
    • by barawn ( 25691 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @05:24PM (#6661549) Homepage
      The "I have experience that differs" is the point of the article. He's an embedded systems consulting company. It's his job to have experience. If it was in context (rather than simply point, click, read through Slashdot) it might make more sense.

      Check here [linuxdevices.com] for a more thorough "factual" rebuttal, including my favorite quote from the original report...
      For the purposes of runtime royalty comparison, only Windows CE .NET and embedded Linux will be considered.

      No reasoning, no nothing, as to why Windows XP Embedded (which a lot of the reasoning of the rest of the report was based on). Why, might one ask, would someone do this? Might it have something to do with the fact that the royalty cost for Linux is $0, the royalty cost for Windows CE (in volume) is $2.60, and the royalty cost for Windows XP Embedded is approximately $100 per system?

      Yah. OK. That's a bit like me saying I'm going to compare the reliability of Toyotas and Fords, but for the purpose of the study, only Toyota cars that don't actually run will be used.

      I mean, really - the original report is so bad it's laughable. It really didn't even NEED a rebuttal.
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Sunday August 10, 2003 @04:50PM (#6661347) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure most people understand that Windows is the most widely used host operating system for developing embedded code. I haven't read the article, but I imagine the study also discussed the issue of which workstation OS was best for writing your code on.

    One reason nowadays that most embedded developers host their development on Windows is that most embedded tools publishers only make their tools available to run on Windows. Often these tools, like compilers for arcane chips, are quite specialized, so the developer is left with no choice.

    That said, I think whoever wrote the report is on crack if they think Windows is a better development environment than Linux. I have been doing embedded for a year now, and one of the main things I still dislike about it is that I have to do most of my development on Windows.

    It is quite common for each compiler vendor to write their own integrated development environment, with an editor and integrated build system. But the market for these products are not as great as the market for IDEs for the development of desktop or server software, which means they can't invest in developing a more refined GUI for their IDEs, so their basic usability and quality is quite poor.

    If you think Visual Studio is a lousy environment for development, you should try the ARM IDE or TI's Code Composer Studio. Using them is like pounding nails with your fists.

    However, the situation is slowly starting to look up. GCC targets many embedded CPUs and is starting to become widely used for embedded development. The other GNU tools also form a more or less complete set of what you would need to develop embedded products, with GDB acting as both a debugger and simulator, LD able to function as an embedded linker, being able to do two-machine debugging with GDB and so on. Also there's GNU make, CVS and so on.

    The result is that while I had to use the proprietary (and expensive) ARM compiler to develop for the Oxford Semiconductor [oxsemi.com] ARM7TDMI-based 911 FireWire/IDE bridge chip (which allows you to hook up inexpensive IDE disk drives as firewire storage), they switched over to building their firmware with GCC for the 922 USB/FireWire/IDE 922 bridge chip.

    I've been using GCC under Cygwin for my 922 development, but a CD with a new SDK on it is expected to arrive in the mail any day now. When it does, I will have a choice of Cygwin, Linux or Mac OS X development environments, all running the same version of GCC. And I'm very happy about that.

    Most likely, though, I will use Mac OS X for my 922 development. I'd prefer using Linux to Windows, but if I can use Mac OS X, I'd prefer that to Linux, if for no other reason than the fact that the clipboard works correctly [slashdot.org], as well as that I could use CodeWarrior [metrowerks.com] to edit my source.

    Maybe if I get real ambitious, I might write a CodeWarrior plugin so I can use the CodeWarrior IDE to compile my code with arm-elf-gcc.

    (And don't give me crap about not using Emacs. I was an expert at Emacs when most of you were still in diapers. I still have my .emacs file which I first created in 1987. But I vastly prefer CodeWarrior's GUI text editor unless I have some reason to run a bunch of Emacs lisp code on my source file.)

    • Most likely, though, I will use Mac OS X for my 922 development. I'd prefer using Linux to Windows, but if I can use Mac OS X, I'd prefer that to Linux, if for no other reason than the fact that the clipboard works correctly, as well as that I could use CodeWarrior to edit my source.

      You'd like the clipboard to work correctly? The issues with one-program-can't-copy-to-another are gone -- I haven't run into one for years. The old days, where Qt 2.x and below broke the X clipboard rules (and caused all kin
    • Interesting post, thanks. I'm afraid I'm going to do my Mac fanboy bit....

      I moved my development work over from Linux to OS X. Project Builder (the bundled IDE) takes some getting used to, but after that is actually kinda powerful. There are definately some rough edges on it, but with any luck those are being ironed out in Xcode [apple.com]. There's also a downloadable profiler called shark, part of the chud tools [apple.com] that is by a long way the best profiler I've ever used. PowerPC centric, sure, but it still pointed out s
    • GCC targets many embedded CPUs and is starting to become widely used for embedded development.

      Eh? "Starting to"? My first embedded systems job was in 1995, and GCC was very well established in the embedded market then, long before MS even dreamed of getting into it. I remember chuckling at a lot of magazine ads for various embedded compilers, because they all compared themselves to GCC, trying to find some way to convince people to pay money for them.

  • At my previous job, we were involved in several case studies that were paid for by Microsoft. They were called REJ reports (Rapid Economic Justification). Anyone who takes such reports at face value is a moron. Would anyone really expect Microsoft to fund a study that says their technology is inferior? I don't believe such reports really fool anyone. In my experience, they are primarily used by people who have already made up their minds, but need some technical "justification" for the executives.

    But
  • When both groups clearly have a strong agenda, I choose to believe neither. Wake me when a non-partisan third party chimes in.

    I don't care what study you refer to, or what product it covers, somebody who disagrees will find lots of problems in the design and execution of that study.
  • Considerable space is expended on qualitative discussions of Linux vs. Windows and open source vs. proprietary software. Nothing new is presented here, and this article will say no more about this material, except when it contradicts other more substantive material.

    I hate to say this, but that is probably the real point of the study. They are fishing for any sucker who still thinks Microsoft is a great free market force, and not the result of government granted monopolies. Who doesn't understand that t

    • how did the government grant MS its monopoly ? Last i heard, the government was trying awfully hard (at the impetus of all the sorry competitors that MS beat over time) to break microsoft up ?

      Say what you want about how MS came to be in the position its in, but it sure as hell isn't because the government was helping them out!
  • Although I skimmed the article it should be noted that they try to view cost of development as an issue as well as speed. If one hires the right staff, one can still design the right code on Linux in about the same time frame...

    I used to work for a startup and our main concern with using Linux was its "freedom" and its cost in the final product. MS always forgets that when people are designing sub $100 hardware for set-top terminals and such they want full capabilities in the hardware but they can't be p
  • Even if Microsoft's study was the greatest contribution to scientific knowledge since Einstein, I would still choose Linux over "embedded" Windows. If considering several embeddable systems, Windows would be at the end of the pack.

    The reason is simple: Microsoft has a proven track record for security and reliability--a bad one. Also, they are a greedy, closed, and sinister company. Even further, if I want to ensure an embedded system is useful over the long-term, why would I choose a proprietary system
  • Having to give away your hard work for free (which you don't have to do with either the Microsoft stuff or BSD UNIX) is the biggest product killer and company killer one could possibly imagine. Just try to differentiate your product from your competitor's when he can see and copy lots (maybe all) of what you've done... for free!

    The study should have included, among other options, embedded NetBSD [wasabisystems.com]. (And, no, I have no business association with Wasabi Systems; I just admire what they do.)

You mean you didn't *know* she was off making lots of little phone companies?

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