30 years of QNX: A tale of two users

Back in June, I posted a story about a QNX-based system that ran 15 years nonstop until... oh, hold on, I don't want to spoil the ending for you. If you'd like to read the whole story, click here.

In response to the story, two readers, Armin and Mitchell, shared their own stories of QNX reliability:

Armin: "We have QNX 4.25 installations running ~20 years at a ground station of the ESA (European Space Agency). It is an industrial embedded system based on PC/104 hardware and PROFIBUS."

Mitchell: "... But I still personally run an even older QNX 2 system on a daily basis. If you ever call my home or office and end up leaving a voice message, it's being saved on a 40Mhz 386 system that's been running trouble free for over 20 years..."

These quotes remind me of two other users, Joe and Dave, who were the subject of a QNX ad campaign in 1998 or 1999. Here's the ad, which ran as a two-page spread:

Joe, as you no doubt have guessed, didn't use QNX. Dave, in his wisdom, did.

The text in these images is a bit fuzzy, so let me type it out for you:

"Four years ago, Dave Cawlfield at Olin Chemicals replaced expensive PLCs with OMNX Open Control Software and the QNX Realtime OS. "Since then," says Dave, "we've upgraded the control system regularly with new hardware and software — including parts of the OS itself. But not once have we had to reboot."

Below Dave's quote is the following ad copy:

Most operating systems work fine — until they hit a minor software glitch. Or until you perform a simple maintenance task, like changing an input device. Then, like it or not, the OS goes down — and your application with it.

With QNX, on the other hand, your system can recover from software faults, even in drivers and other critical programs. What's more, you can hotswap peripherals. Start and stop file systems and network services. Change I/O drivers. Add or remove network nodes. Even access the OS after a hard disk failure. All without a reboot.

And here's the kicker: QNX scales seamlessly from handheld consumer appliances to continent-spanning telephony networks. So you can use one OS to keep all your solutions running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — nonstop.

In case you're wondering why the ad focuses on PCs, it's because QNX was an x86-only operating system back in those days. That all changed in the late 1990s, when QNX released the QNX Neutrino RTOS, which is designed to support multiple processor architectures, including ARM, MIPS, Power, SH-4, and, of course, x86. From that point on, QNX technology was able to run on all the major hardware architectures used by mobile and embedded systems.

1 comment:

Joe said...

We have a QNX-based application which has been running since 1990. I need help with this application, because we no-longer have some of the original system documentation. This system is a QNX 2.15 based system. Can anyone let me know who might have a QNX 2 Operating system disk and / or documentation?
Or who how we can get in touch with someone who might show us what to do?