A discussion of ``who is responsible'' started months ago in the ELJ Newsletter. We continue to receive input. It looks like I have a lawyer lined up to write a series of articles on this issue as well as intellectual property issues. In the meantime, here is one of the letters discussing one of the issues.
Embedded Linux Journal Newsletter wrote:
The GPL Issue from Another Direction
If you buy a ``commercial'' OS for your embedded project, then the vendor is liable (or has agreed to be liable) if someone finds ``stolen code'' in the OS. He feels (and I can't disagree here) that with Linux, there is no ``Linux Company'', so you will be liable if the same sort of stolen code issue comes up. If people could only sue you if they are right, I don't see a problem, but with the ``sue first, find out the facts later'' mentality that makes a lot of money for lawyers in the US, he clearly has a point that needs to be addressed. Your input is welcome here as well.
The issue is a bit wider than that. You may get hit for patent infringement or product liability.
Consider forming an association that purchases liability insurance for its members. For any single vendor, insurance will probably be prohibitive, but for a sufficiently large group it may be bearable.
I am a subscriber to Embedded Linux Journal and I thought that you might be interested in some Linux activity going on in the nuclear power industry. Each power plant has a full-scale control room simulator that is run in real time by computers. We use these simulators for operator training and evaluation. Recently one plant near Boston started using Linux as the platform for their simulation software.
P.S. You have an excellent publication and I enjoy every issue!
Carl E. GolightlyEnergy NorthwestSimulator Engineeringcegolightly@energy-northwest.com
We are interested. Thanks.
I got your e-mail newsletter and was very interested in your thoughts on the Generic Board for embedded applications.
My company primarily provides design engineering consulting services for other companies, but recently we started developing our own products. We are currently working on a generic platform for data acquisition applications. We are a hardware-oriented company and so are intrigued by the possibility of using Linux and letting the world develop software for the devices that we manufacture.
Our plan would be to develop a platform with certain basic hardware blocks that would be common across a range of products. We would port embedded Linux to this platform but then rely on third parties to write the end-user application software that defines the device. As such, we would provide documentation on the hardware in sufficient detail to allow the software effort to be as easy as possible.
Your idea of a generic platform to support router applications fits very well with our strategy, so I would be interested in pursuing this effort. If you could let me know the hardware feature set you are thinking of, I could take a crack at estimating the costs for such a platform to see if we can hit the market sweet spot for the product. Maybe we could get something going here.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Bob Piatekfishcamp engineering
I recently received issue #3 of ELJ and instantly read it from cover to cover. It's a wonderful magazine with an excellent balance of hardware and software articles. (I still carry it with me daily to work.) After reading the magazine and searching your web site I found that there was a lot of material in your first two issues that would have greatly benefited me. Some of the articles are available on your web site, but I would really rather have the first two back issues of ELJ if that is possible.
Thanks again for a great magazine. I'm looking forward to submitting a design for your NIC contest.
Very best regards.
Thanks for the kind words. Much like the early days of Linux Journal, we want to bring useful information to the community to help it grow. As for back issues, we reserve a small quantity for our on-line store and then ship all the rest to subscribers and trade shows. If there are copies of a back issue available, it is through the on-line store at http://store.linuxjournal.com/.
I think the Compaq Linux competition sucks big time, and is just oh so typical of the average short-sighted USA resident, or at least the perception that companies like Compaq portray. Just look at the ``Official Rules'':
4. PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES: Only legal residents of the United States of America and Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to participate (subject to the other limitations outlined in these rules).
Linux, as we all know, was not even conceived in the USA, and the most popular desktop KDE wasn't either. Sure, there is a lot of software that was, and so too was UNIX, but a browse through the kernel credits file should be enough to make any sane person realize that Section 4 would offend one hell of a lot of people. I know I will now never buy a Compaq piece of equipment and feel good about it.
I see that the BusyBox project has been taken over by Erik Andersen, are we going to get anymore articles on this? It's a great project.
Andrew Taylor email@example.com
It was actually in the hands of Erik Andersen when Bruce Perens was writing the series. We are open to articles from either Bruce or Erik--let us know what your specific interests are.
Well, after reading the article in ELJ (July/August 2001, p. 10), I went and took a look at the Rio Car on SONICblue's web site. Interesting to note that while it runs Linux natively, Linux is not among the supported operating systems on the System Requirements page. Eh, watup wit dat?
A little digging, though, will take you to the empeg customer support page, where you'll find the Linux utilities.
I had the same thing happen at their booth at the embedded show in San Francisco. It's guys like you and me, asking where the ``Linux Inside'' stickers are that are going to make vendors realize that it's okay to admit they use Linux.
I read the article entitled ``Embed with Lineo Educational Services'' in the July/August 2001 issue of ELJand thought it was great.
Could you tell me the name (web site) where I can get additional information/pricing?
The Lineo classes traveled around the country, and I expect they will again. All you other training vendors: e-mail me what you are planning, and we will get into the newsletter or the magazine.