Thursday, December 15, 2005

Enea CEO wants to get the heads of the five DSO families together

(And anyone else with an interst in DSO)

In an article over on Enea CEO Johan Wall is sounding the call for a DSO Summit to get the heads of the five DSO families together (as well as other vendors who are interested) to discuss how to take the idea to the next level. Currently, the DSO converts are Wind River, Green Hills, Enea, Intel, and IBM at least by my count. But I bet a number of other companies would be willing to jump on board if a stable and credible organization could be formed. After all it ends up being very cost effective marketing. Wall likens the organization that might be formed to a software SEMI offering standards, shows, advocacy, education, etc.

The embedded or DSO industry is highly fragmented. Hundreds of companies offering thousands of products. Some have full product lines, some offer point solutions. There are dozens of applicable standards that companies are supporting. Some are major standards like POSIX, or DO-178B, OSEK, CGL, etc. while others are niche standards like the emerging LiPS and OSDL standards for Linux on mobile phones.

There have been attempts to create an embedded software industry group. All have failed. In many ways the eclipse foundation has emerged as an industry organization even though embedded or device software is only part of its mission. Eclipse is broadly supported by vendors in the embedded systems market and many of the key vendors have embraced the IDE including Wind River, MontaVista, QNX, etc. But eclipse, is in reality, too narrowly focused on tools. The scope needs to be larger and more inclusive.

Establishing a DSO industry organization is a good goal to have. Hopefully, it will bring some focus to the fragmentation that plagues this sector. Vendors in this market have as much in common as they have in competition. It will help raise the visibility of software to its proper level of importance in the OEM community. Despite the skyrocketing cost of code and its position as the key driver of new features, software remains largely invisible in the product development process. However, getting all of the players to sit down at a single table will be tough. The most recent sign is the blow up between Wind River and Green Hills over DSO. But perhaps the pull of common interest will be stronger than the pull of competition.