Feeds

QNX opens Neutrino RTOS source code

But not all of it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

In a bid to boost its profile in the emerging 'e-device' arena, real-time operating system supplier QNX is going open source - sort of. QNX calls its take on open source, 'accessible source'. As yet, the precise terms of the licensing agreement have yet to be finalised, but the scheme broadly mirrors Sun's Java Public Source licence. So, source code will be made available to anyone who wants it, and developers will only pay if they take products based on QNX technology to market. Again, that's sort of. Not all of QNX's Neutrino OS will be opened up in this way. Neutrino's boot code, Web browser, media players, driver toolkits and other OS utilities like the Photon microGUI will be opened for public inspection, but its microkernel and core OS modules will remain proprietary. QNX's reasoning here is that it needs to show clearly to licensees that it retains full control of the core IP - as Greg Bergsma, VP of QNX's US operations, put it, licensees building products based on QNX don't want to be forced to release their own code to the open source community, as they are under the GNU Public Licence. Neutrino also contains some third-party code that QNX couldn't open up if it wanted to, but let's be honest here, it's also as much about protecting QNX's licensing revenue stream. In that respect it's no different from, say, Apple's decision to open source the core technology of MacOS X, but retain its GUI and other services in the proprietary space. Like Apple, QNX has largely been forced to embrace - albeit cautiously - the open source community because of Linux. QNX has some clear and strong advantages over the open source OS in the embedded space, but Linux's free availability is clearly going to have an impact on QNX's business. QNX's tactic, like Apple's, is to protect its core technologies by becoming sufficiently open to attract developers who like the flexibility of the open source model but need a more structured development environment than the chaotic Linux world provides. And since QNX uses the same APIs as Linux, such as Posix and X Windows, it hopes to encourage developers who have experience with the open source OS to shift over to Neutrino. Then there's competition with other RTOS vendors. QNX reckons it's number two in the market, behind WinRiver, but with 200-odd vendors in the field, even WinRiver's marketshare is just 10-15 per cent of the market. QNX's play for dominance centres on making its technology more accessible than its rivals', and in the Linux era, that means opening portions of the code. It also means free downloads of the full Neutrino environment and development tools - or the QNX Realtime Platform, as it's now being called. The QNX Realtime Platform is due to be launched mid-May at the QNX 2000 show. Attendees will get a copy, but everyone else will have to wait until mid-summer for the public download site. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.