The  cost  of  ‘free’  Linux . And other open-source solutions Tensegrity  is a blend of ‘tensional’ and ‘integrity’, a sy...
About ‘Albert’ <ul><li>Embedded R&D Architect </li></ul><ul><li>Columnist, Writer, Chairman; Trainer, ... </li></ul><ul><l...
Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why look at SW-cost? </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
Why look at SW cost? <ul><li>History shows us! </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ things’ become cheaper </li></ul></ul><...
Very simple  model  [multiplication] <ul><li>BOM + SW-Licence(fee) [V*S] </li></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><ul><...
What is embedded? <ul><li>Traditional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small:  no memory, no cpu speed, no gpu </li></ul></ul><ul><ul...
Open-Source? <ul><li>Linux is  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open-source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But , not all open-source is L...
some cases What we can learn from others An example where everything goes completely and totally wrong  is much more humor...
Small is costly <ul><li>Traditionally, each ‘feature’ adds costs </li></ul><ul><li>For Linux: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ ever...
HW increate SW-costs  dramatically <ul><li>Existing telecom product wanted to switch to Linux as OS. I did a study </li></...
Lesson (HW details) <ul><li>HW-engineer:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ But it really doesn’t matter.   All you have to do ... ”...
HW versus SW  development <ul><li>55 Linux controlled radios are needed: industrial PC with compact-flash as disk. </li></...
Busy with the box <ul><li>‘ R&D’  works on embedded Linux’  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They use a familiar pattern: </li></ul><...
Hardware or application? <ul><li>Goal: Conference system on Linux </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional approach </li></ul></u...
Cost advantages of  Linux and open-source Open-source/Linux in technical/embedded systems is  not  ‘gratis’ . However, the...
Advantages of Linux <ul><li>Huge numbers of develop- and test-tools, resources, know-how and code is available </li></ul><...
Case: Linux saves cost <ul><li>RTOS licence not in BOM  (“forgotten”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facts: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul>...
Other Costs & Risks <ul><li>As this is about costs and saving them; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>there are a few lost bits which ...
GNU Public Licence <ul><li>Now, it becomes really complicated </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The GPL is hard to read (for lawye...
Other Licences <ul><li>Some of the well known licences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.opensource.org/license...
Other open-souce <ul><li>Open-source != Linux </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linux is open-source, but there is more </...
Conclusion & Questions <ul><li>Linux/Open-source is not ‘gratis’ </li></ul><ul><li>Look to the total cost! </li></ul><ul><...
Ik heb een missie: Software Beter Maken, vooral in Nederland. <ul><li>For more info: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Albert   AT   S...
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The Cost Of Free Linux

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Often, the price of an (embedded) product is calculated as the sum of all parts (the BOM) times two. For long, this basic-formula was both simple and correct. Today, however, now software is becoming a big "part" we have to change it, as the BOM-cost of software is zero. When Linux is used, the formula is very 'wrong'; using a "big" Linux is cheaper the a smaller one. The smaller the code has to be, the more development costs!
With a simple case, those hidden cost of Linux are shown, for managers and other non-Linux experts (and even for some Linux-folks, who don't understand management or costs ...

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The Cost Of Free Linux

  1. 1. The cost of ‘free’ Linux . And other open-source solutions Tensegrity is a blend of ‘tensional’ and ‘integrity’, a synergy of balanced tension and compression. The poles in a tensegrity-tower seem to float in air. Although they might look confusing, these structures are really very simple. All you need is to be very methodical when building them. It is an architectural principle for sky-high building and an example for SW engineering!
  2. 2. About ‘Albert’ <ul><li>Embedded R&D Architect </li></ul><ul><li>Columnist, Writer, Chairman; Trainer, ... </li></ul><ul><li>Open-source, Unix, SW-Development practices & processes </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant at PTS: SW engineer to architect; Knowledge worker; Creator of EQSL concept: an embedded Linux generator. </li></ul><ul><li>R&D Architect JVH Gaming: Bridge between R&D and MT; “Tilting&quot; R&D department; Increase efficiency (twice or triple!) ‘Let go’ , due recession </li></ul><ul><li>NOW, I’m available for you </li></ul><ul><li>Nice things </li></ul><ul><li>Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Nice topics </li></ul><ul><li>Open-Source </li></ul><ul><li>Version Control </li></ul><ul><li>Code-quality </li></ul><ul><li>Designing </li></ul><ul><li>... </li></ul><ul><li>To help YOU </li></ul>80% 20%
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why look at SW-cost? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embedded, Linux, Open-source </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymised and anecdotal experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They typical go wrong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesson to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Cost) advantages of Linux </li></ul><ul><li>Risks and other cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GPL, Licences </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Why look at SW cost? <ul><li>History shows us! </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ things’ become cheaper </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SW is major part of most ‘things’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Where are the costs? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive: license, man-hours, tools </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>How to save costs? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use generic parts, not ‘custom made’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Candidate: the traditional RTOS </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Go with the (big) flow: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desktop/Server computers: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cheap HW </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of (development) tools </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of know-how/manpower/... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux is free. End of discussion? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No, development is not free </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No, look to total cost: HW+SW+DEV+... </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Very simple model [multiplication] <ul><li>BOM + SW-Licence(fee) [V*S] </li></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware, etc [V] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shared libraries, etc. [1] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Project specific [P] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Testing [V+L+P] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Operations (“Reproduction”) [V*S] </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Here HW and SW differ! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Sales, etc - </li></ul><ul><li>Total cost for a product with V variations, each will sell S copies. The software is developed in P projects (P≥V), however a part is shared in L libraries. Test everything. </li></ul>This is not 'very simple' And it needs more details ....
  6. 6. What is embedded? <ul><li>Traditional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small: no memory, no cpu speed, no gpu </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embedded AND Real-Time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Now, Lately, Future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small: mainly physical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Powerful; often: “pc-alike” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kind of Real-Time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: Cell-phones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apple's iPhone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wifi/Bluetooth, GBytes storage, ssh/ssl networking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nokia 770 Internet Tablet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linux, WLan, GUI, ... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are they Embedded? Real-Time? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Open-Source? <ul><li>Linux is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open-source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But , not all open-source is Linux </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ X”, Apache, Eclipse, Firefox, ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainly a kernel; technical hart of OS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributed with many other OS SW </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mandrake, RedHat/Fedora, Ubuntu, ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux is suited for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Desktop/Server PC’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainframe computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embedded systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EQSL, MontaVista, WindRiverLinux, ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. some cases What we can learn from others An example where everything goes completely and totally wrong is much more humoristic than any other Intro Cases Cost Adv Risks
  9. 9. Small is costly <ul><li>Traditionally, each ‘feature’ adds costs </li></ul><ul><li>For Linux: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ everything’ is free. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stripping Linux is a lot of work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manager: “We only need a small Linux ...” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He thinks it saves cost </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Developer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dives into Linux: enthusiastic for months </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Typical result: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Working system or frustration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RAM/Disk/CPU ‘unused’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A bigger, cheaper Linux would also fit </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. HW increate SW-costs dramatically <ul><li>Existing telecom product wanted to switch to Linux as OS. I did a study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Once, the HW could be designed in 2 options; for there current RTOS it didn't matter ... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They selected the ‘wrong’ one . </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux doesn't like batch interrupts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Processing 600Kbyte/sec is easy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Processing 80 bytes at 2kHz, for 4 channels: (too) hard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple no-cost HW solutions exist (buffering, rewire) NOT an option </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This was a showstopper, they didn’t expect </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(see next sheet) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Lesson (HW details) <ul><li>HW-engineer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ But it really doesn’t matter. All you have to do ... ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I: “ ... is pay to change it in Linux ” </li></ul><ul><li>Technical, everything is possible </li></ul><ul><li>Select the HW that is supported </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free Advice </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Reality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can add it, if you really need it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>flash file system, RT-scheduler, ... </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. HW versus SW development <ul><li>55 Linux controlled radios are needed: industrial PC with compact-flash as disk. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Already done: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Calculations showed: only 64Mbyte flash needed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ordered and build the HW (with CF-disk) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They liked Linux-distro ‘XYZ’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fact & Estimates: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ XYZ’ -base needs about 80M; a few weeks to strip it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also: all &quot;nice options&quot; are gone </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extra cost pro 128M CF-card: €15 (back then) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Saved less then 1K€ (55*15) on hardware, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At the cost of: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>weeks of development and a late delivery </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a consultant (me:-) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Guess the cheaper alternative </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Busy with the box <ul><li>‘ R&D’ works on embedded Linux’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They use a familiar pattern: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look for all possible solutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Try to find the best one </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Select ‘ Busybox ’ as component </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This collection of small tools is used frequently </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lesson: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use standard solutions initially ! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modify only when: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Really needed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have know-how & experience </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Hardware or application? <ul><li>Goal: Conference system on Linux </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HW (first), drivers/OS, application (last) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Porting Linux to “own” hardware; write drivers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wrong way around! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Start with difficult parts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those parts, the end-user does not pay for </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux has ‘ hardware abstraction ’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So, application does not see hardware! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lesson: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Porting application to (desktop) Linux first! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it doesn’t work at all, saves a lot of time </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Cost advantages of Linux and open-source Open-source/Linux in technical/embedded systems is not ‘gratis’ . However, there are cost advantages, even beyond the trivial. Intro Cases Cost Adv Risks
  16. 16. Advantages of Linux <ul><li>Huge numbers of develop- and test-tools, resources, know-how and code is available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This can speed up development; saving costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Only an advantage when one needs and uses them! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t use the argument and do else-way! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>One can start development really early </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start developing on “an old Linux PC” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use an embedded-aware Linux when possible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Saves a lot of handling cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How often do engineers walk to the HW/lab now? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Some ‘features’ speedup the work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. a web-server to set parameters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Configure instead of recompile! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Mount’ debugers/src-code in the dev-lab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Very convenient for developers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Case: Linux saves cost <ul><li>RTOS licence not in BOM (“forgotten”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facts: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adding it, doubles the price </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Margin becomes negative </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Product family near end of live (for years) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiations with supplier </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Start study/port to Linux </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linux seems ‘too big’ ... , but ... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t tell the supplier </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other open-source solutions are possible </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Licence fee drops dramatically </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Problem is solved’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Other Costs & Risks <ul><li>As this is about costs and saving them; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>there are a few lost bits which needs mentioning </li></ul></ul>Intro Cases Cost Adv Risks
  19. 19. GNU Public Licence <ul><li>Now, it becomes really complicated </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The GPL is hard to read (for lawyers) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Using Linux: you have to comply </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use Linux, change Linux, add to Linux </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Distribute Linux </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You must : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Distribute your changes to your customers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Remember: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not all open-source is Linux </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There are many “open-source licences” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Other Licences <ul><li>Some of the well known licences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.opensource.org/licenses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GPL, GLPL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gnu software, Linux, ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Keep source available for everybody” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BSD (4- and 3-lines version), MIT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FreeBSD, *BSD, academic code ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Use it as long as you don’t blame us” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Lessons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Never’ mix non-disclosures with GPL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You can’t win on two sides </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never listen to ‘techies’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You have to convince a court. Ask a lawyer. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t explain bits & bytes </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Other open-souce <ul><li>Open-source != Linux </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linux is open-source, but there is more </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Open-source has advantages, ... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But there are alternatives to Linux </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ecos, *BSD [other operating systems] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http:sourceforge.net [1532 ‘embedded projects’] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PC style hardware && Linux to risky? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider Open/Net/FreeBSD </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open Unix/Linux without GPL! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Most open-source tools/applications run on many operation system, incl Linux </li></ul>
  22. 22. Conclusion & Questions <ul><li>Linux/Open-source is not ‘gratis’ </li></ul><ul><li>Look to the total cost! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HW, BOM, incl. Licence! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Project, shared parts, etc </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Man-hours </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages (negative cost) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free extra features, time-2-market, ... </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Beware of all open-source licences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to add-up the legal cost? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask ‘the right questions’... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>... to the right people </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Any questions ? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Ik heb een missie: Software Beter Maken, vooral in Nederland. <ul><li>For more info: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Albert AT SoftwareBeterMaken DOT nl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GSM: +31(0)6 16 531 258 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://SoftwareBeterMaken.nl </li></ul></ul>

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