Colin Walls, Mentor Embedded
embedded.com (August 09, 2014)
If you ask any embedded software developer whether they would like access to the source code for the real time operating system that they have selected, the answer would almost certainly be yes. Likewise for any other software IP. This article investigates whether this is a sensible answer in all cases and looks at when and why source code is needed and why sometimes it may be less useful than anticipated.
Why source code?
There are a number of key criteria that engineers apply when selecting a real time operating system (RTOS). Many of them – cost, functionality, licensing, support – make a lot of sense. However, another one – availability of source code – may be less logical, but is always rated as a strong factor.
Source code being available does not mean that it is supplied automatically and free of charge. This may be the case with some commercial products, and, of course, open source products intrinsically include source code. However, other vendors may choose to charge for source code or not make it available at all.
The reasons for wanting source code need to be examined in some detail so its suitability as a selection criterion may be assessed.
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