Above all, the SUSPENSE: Wind River’s DSO with Robert Mitchum and hippies! (updated)

I’ve been meaning to write about DSO – WindRiver’s attempt to define synthetic “standards” (see the linuxdevices article for technical detail and a more serious approach). “Is DSO hype or substance?” asked Wind River CEO Ken Klein during the sponsored address, and sought to persuade the engineers in the audience that it is indeed substance and not just “marketing spin or renaming embedded systems with a three-letter acronym.” [cite: electronic news]

Robert Mitchum

Klein is seeing what many of us see – the tools and design approaches that worked for little embedded systems don’t work anymore. But because you are now able to run Linux or BSD or Windows on an embedded system, you don’t need an invented “standard” set of components – you can use the actual standardized components that have been developed for enterprise and desktop computing. There is obviously room for new components, but Java and Apache and Libc and the usual databases and Linux/BSD network stacks and so on are all useful in embedded systems. Our approach from day one in RTLinux has been to avoid reinventing those components and just add real-time capabilities to working solutions.

i am dso

The WindRiver booth at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose featured glowering faces waving fists that had “DSO” tatooed on them. Reminded me of “Night of the Hunter: “The film’s slogan on a major poster proclaimed: “The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife. BUT ABOVE ALL…THE SUSPENSE!” The image showed actor Mitchum hugging a distressed Shelley Winters, with the L-O-V-E tattooed hand embracing her back, and the H-A-T-E tattooed hand grasping a knife. “(cite) So this must some of that brand management that I keep hearing about, but it’s a little too sophisticated for an engineering type to follow. If you look at the DSO web-site things get even more involved as they introduce the hippie angle: “This is the Woodstock of DSO. And just as it was with that event, 10 years from now, everybody will claim to have been here.” (here). Goodness gracious. Where is Wavy Gravy when you need him? I dunno. I was at ESC and didn’t pick up much of a sense that things were really happening in the DSO pavilion (they had some comfortable chairs, I’ll grant that).

See also ValleyWag’s rude take (on the conference and DSO, not the movie).