Wednesday, September 12, 2007

QNX Publishes Neutrino Source Code and Opens Development Process

What Happened?

QNX Software Systems today announced that it is opening access to the source code of its QNX Neutrino real-time operating system (OS) under a new hybrid software licensing arrangement. Effective immediately, QNX will make source code for its award-winning, microkernel-based OS available for download.

In addition to access to Neutrino source code, developers will be able to improve, modify, or extend that code for their own purposes or for the QNX community at large. Developers can then choose to offer back those changes to QNX Software Systems and the QNX development community or keep their modifications private and proprietary.

The first source release includes the code to the QNX Neutrino microkernel, the base C library, and a variety of board support packages (BSPs) for popular embedded and computing hardware.

VDC’s View – “The Dynamics of Open Source at Play”

Over the past several years, traditional embedded software suppliers have looked to assess the impact of the open-source movement on the embedded software market. The fears and criticisms leveled by the competition in years past have now turned into opportunities to embrace Linux and open source in various ways.

In some cases this has resulted in increasing adoption of Linux by traditional embedded software suppliers as a dual product strategy to enable the development of devices using multiple types of operating systems and support customers in a more flexible way that best fit their unique requirements.

In other cases suppliers have learned from and adapted to the perceived benefits of open source in business models, availability of source code and creating a sense of community through user conferences, online chat sessions, etc.

Clearly, companies like LynuxWorks, Wind River Systems, Enea, Microsoft, and now QNX as well as others look to remain flexible in their approach to business models, product offerings, and community development.

From VDC’s perspective, as suppliers continue to adapt and embrace the underlying key benefits of the open-source model, we expect increasing innovation around hybrid business models that look to blend the best of both worlds – open and commercial – through different approaches. This is exactly what QNX Software is looking to capitalize on with their announcement as they look to open source, yet set itself apart from a total open-source model. The dynamics of such innovation is a means to drive technical cooperation through a community at large and at the same time increase name recognition and pull through for their commercially licensed product solutions - which is good for their customers and also good for QNX software!


Michael said...

The cynic in me sees this as a move out of desperation rather than a positive move forward. For the past few years QNX has been losing stature and name recognition. This seems more like a publicity stunt to reverse the trend.