"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

What makes a good language for embedded systems?

Reasons to scratch your head over embedded Java or C#...

Solving the problems: Increased reliability, low cost, resource constraints. Dynamic software updates in the field. Real-time capabilities. Rapid development cycles. He poses a question: Is embedded Java the solution?

Answer: real-time in java is no solution. They can't get rapid development time with Java. Doesn't support incremental execution. Quote: "I should know, I've been working with it longer than most and made HotSpot". Virtual machine specification is very complicated. Bytecodes are not designed for speed and compactness. Configuratios for embedded systems too big (CLDC, CDC, more..).

The java embedded system is 1 meg rom, 0.5 meg ram. Resilient (Smalltalk) is 128k for both rom and ram usage.

So we can do it better: Use of safe dynamic programming language. Increase productivity is connected to the running embedded device program, provide incremental execution. Provide debugging support in the product with on-the-fly software updates.

In their example they're making speakers that use fire-wire. Here's the catch. Something goes wrong, customer plugs the speaker in to the internet and the company debugs it over the internet, fixing the problem and pushing the answer back in to the speaker straight away.

For mobile phones, you can push out new service applications on to the phones dynamically because the phone is already on a persistent network.

If you don't know Lisp or Smalltalk, learn them now.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.