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The last time I read about Contiki, all of the screenshots were running on a C64. And it looked awesome! It made me want to play with it on my C64. The current website is all boring network simulation stuff. Looks like a corporation.

But, I'm happy to hear Open Source continues to make inroads into the embedded space. There's billions of devices out there that sometimes people's lives depend on running a terrifying array of proprietary and unmaintained software that is potentially broken in subtle (or not so subtle) ways.

Edit: Here's all the stuff about ports to a variety of awesome hardware: http://hitmen.c02.at/html/tools_contiki.html




proprietary and unmaintained software that is potentially broken in subtle (or not so subtle) ways

You almost make it sound like proprietary per default is or can be broken while open source is not, that's a bridge too far :P Don't forget that big companies like TI make money of both the hardware and the software (Code Composer Studio IDE which is used for pretty much all there DSPs etc) and do put lots of effort in making everything run properly. Anyway, bugs are everywhere.. Anecdote: I have used CCS for years while not encountering any problems at all, while in the same timespan I used open source toolsets I did find some bugs. Then again, same timespan in using other closed source toolsets there wre bugs as well so there's no clear winner imo.


The leap I was assuming everyone here would be able to make is that if a device is running broken Open Source software, it can be fixed. If the software on it is proprietary and the vendor has discontinued support or no longer exists as a company, the device will be broken forever. In the embedded space, a system may run for decades...that's plenty of time for a company to go belly-up, or be acquired, or any of dozens of other outcomes that lead to the source code for the device being lost to the sands of time.


It seems hard to impossible to flash new software on your washing machine, even if it's open source and you can download a patched version from somewhere.


Right, major micro/CPU manufacturers, especially TI, occupy a unique position regarding software tools. They have a long history of very high quality tools with thorough documentation. And when bugs do occur the level of detail in the errata always surprise me. The quality of output from TI, ST or Intel is on a totally different level from anything I've seen in the open source world. I think the established HW vendors have a different mindset from SW companies, where open-source now is often the better choice.

Having said that CCS is based on Eclipse, at least when I used it a few years ago.


Having said that CCS is based on Eclipse, at least when I used it a few years ago.

To me, this speaks volumes: it clearly shows that open source is as good (and in many cases better) than closed proprietary. Granted, as you said, code quality has more to do with the people behind the code than anything else, but it still stands that at least with open source, you're not SOL when (not if) something goes wrong.


Almost forgot, yes it's Eclipse based now; we switched to another platform right before that happened so I have only used the proprietary CCS.


It's about who has got the knowledge and is in control: the manufacturer or you, the user. That's what Free Software is about. http://fsfe.org/about/basics/freesoftware.html


> You almost make it sound like proprietary per default is or can be broken while open source is not, that's a bridge too far

Personally, I figure it might as well be; no way to fix it. I'd rather drive a beater that I know I can fix myself (or take to a local auto shop if I can't) if it breaks down than a high-end sports car that has to be taken to the dealer for something as trivial as an oil change.

No software is perfect (beyond a trivial "Hello, world!" exercise); that's why being able to look for and potentially fix flaws is important :)


Even "Hello World!" can have issues if your compiler and/or libc has issues ;-P


Like you, I became enthralled with Contiki (1.0) when I saw demonstrations of it running on the Oric Atmos machine, a feat I considered fundamentally astounding, given that it was a network stack and .. albeit very little .. some room for further app development. A 30-year old machine, being revived with a modern OS stack .. contiki is indeed a delightful bit of code, too.




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