||Friday, January 14, 2005
Meet Miles Wade. From now on, when I hear about those serious
mission critical systems that are used in those heartland industries
that drive the economy, I will be thinking about Mr. Wade. Wade
designs hardened systems for the oil exploration industry --
systems that must survive the rigors of a drilling platform in the
middle of the Gulf of Mexico equally as well as they must survive the
sub-zero temperatures of foribidding climates where other oil reserves
exist, without remote intervention. For the most part,
these systems are unreachable through the Internet and the personnel in
the field who rely on the systems for their personal safety are not
savvy enough to fix the systems if something goes wrong. These
are systems that can't go down.
So far, the systems Wade designs are based on the embedded version of Windows XP, otherwise known as XPe. The
applications that the systems run keep close watch on what's going on
"in the hole" are are all based on Windows. But even though some
expense would be involved in rewriting those applications, as Wade
tells ZDNet executive editor David Berlind (download the MP3), why he's being driven to alternatives.
Strangely, neither security nor licensing costs, two areas of weakness
for Windows' when compared to Linux, rank high in Wade's decision
making. Not only does he see some advantages in embedded Linux
over XPe, he also feels as though he's on his own when it comes to
supporting XPe -- a state of of affairs that wouldn't change if he
moved to Linux.
Overall, Wade's preference is to stay with XPe. But as he tells David, Microsoft isn't making it easy and he has a message for Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
© Copyright 2005 David Berlind.