30 years of QNX: Celebrating a decade of Eclipse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but until Eclipse came along, the software industry didn't have a standard platform for developing applications in C and C++. This was certainly true in the embedded market, where almost every OS vendor offered their own proprietary development environment.

As a wise man once said, what a dumb approach. Vendors wasted time reinventing the wheel, when they could have focused on innovative tools that offered real value. Meanwhile, developers had to learn a new toolset every time they worked with a different OS. Doh!

Folks at QNX knew this situation had to change. Which explains why Dan Dodge, the company's CEO, became a founding steward of Eclipse.org, the consortium responsible for creating the Eclipse open-source tooling platform. It also explains why Sebastien Marineau, the company's VP of engineering, became the first project lead of CDT, the C and C++ development environment for Eclipse.

QNX's contribution didn't stop there. The company also donated a large amount of source code and developer time to the CDT project. As a result of these and other community efforts, Eclipse CDT subsequently became the C/C++ platform of choice for IBM, Ericsson, Texas Instruments, and other multi-billion dollar organizations.

Eclipse CDT also formed the basis of a major new QNX product, the QNX Momentics Tool Suite. More importantly, the platform gave QNX more freedom to innovate, particularly when it came to tools for debugging and optimizing multi-core systems. In fact, these multi-core tools garnered several awards, including:
  • Eclipse community awards, best developer tool, 2007
  • EDN China innovation award, 2007
  • Embedded World embedded AWARD, 2006
Here, for example, is a screen capture of the system profiler for the QNX Momentics Suite. The profiler is displaying CPU activity for the 4 cores of a quad-core processor:

Eclipse is ten years old this month. If you're interested in its history, or in crashing an Eclipse birthday party, check out out the Eclipse website.


Walter Arseneault said...

Hello, I found statements on Wikipedia (french) about QNX, saying that QNX is no longer the world's fastest RTOS.If that comment is wrong you can correct on that link....

"It is also considered to be both lightweight, rugged (microkernel), fast and complete. With POSIX compatibility, many open source applications have been ported to QNX.
Its main competitors in this market are VxWorks, GNU / Linux, and Windows (CE and Windows XP Embedded) 1. QNX was according to some sources (to be determined) leader in the speed of task switching, it is no longer present. The main marketplaces in the world Tokyo, New York, require existing fastest real-time systems currently and therefore use now (February 2011) operating systems-based Linux which are much more efficient core. The introduction of lightweight processes (threads) or lightweight processes in other systems intended to provide opportunities for their switching speed comparable."

Best Regard

Paul N. Leroux said...

Thanks Walter, I'll look into it. I see at least a couple of problems here, one being that the person who wrote this *seems* to be confused between realtime determinism and processing data quickly in real time. Also, I'm mighty surprised to hear that Windows XP Embedded is a competitor -- excuse me if I'm wrong, but I think Microsoft stopped shipping it in 2008 and replaced with it things like Windows Embedded 7.