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Comment Re:Not going to help. (Score 1) 279

w.r.t. the availability of OSS compilers for Embedded PPC:

I worked on several very large and complicated embedded PPC projects using UBoot and GCC from DENX (

As long as you have a stage-0 bootloader and a serial port, the rest is very workable with OSS tools.

In another life, I also wrote all the multistage bootloaders for an ARM926EJS based part from stage-0 to up to Montavista Linux entirely with GCC and Binutils.
Using LD to generate embedded software images can be tricky b/c the linker script language is complicated, but it is very doable once you get a feel for it.

Having a spectrum digital JTAG pod to debug the stage-0 bootloader was necessary, but once you get the serial port working, the rest is usually gravy. Those pods were about $1500 with software. These days, tin can tools do a decent job for some parts.

I also disagree with notion that a RaspPI wouldn't survive very long as a limiting factor. While the whole board isn't rated for industrial temp range, the BCM2836 is supposedly -40C to 85C. It's not a huge stretch to believe that a similarly priced board (even 2x or 3x the cost) could be completely wide-temp rated.

What would be of concern is possible peripherals that are sometimes used in automotive ECUs, such as advanced timing modules, that are used to provide very precise hardware based timing of things such as injector control and (in spark ignition applications) spark plug firing not being available in generally available consumer parts.

Now, if you have regulatory compliance requiring signed images, crypto, etc. Then it goes more complicated, but not unworkable. There are a number of vendors that offer hardware crypto chips commercially for such applications to assist. These are not prohibitively expensive either.(

Comment Work for Hire (Score 2, Insightful) 447

I deal with this frequently with sub-contractors (and firms) doing development.

It's actually very simple.
The understanding starts out as: This is a work-for-hire. All work product is property of the company.

Which eventually leads to a contract containing:
All source-code, build scripts, documentation, keys, any other materials required to use or reproduce the deliverable item are exclusive property and proprietary information of the company.
The contractor shall not release, reuse or redistribute any component of this work in any other business. This includes any custom libraries, headers or other application work-product.
This does not apply to off-the-shelf open-source tools and libraries, however such items shall be documented and approved in advance to avoid GPL contamination.

I don't see a problem here.
I expect to pay through the nose if i want exclusive rights and ownership to someone's special library, for exactly the reasons the article dictates.
Otherwise a non-exclusive source-code license that I may do with as I please is cheaper. A binary-only license might be cheaper still.

They devs have to make a living and if it wasn't cheaper/faster to use them in the first place I'd just write it myself.

Just try explaining these legal subtleties to someone who doesn't understand software.

XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment Re:Not specifically MacBook/Windows/BootCamp probl (Score 5, Informative) 396

I write driver level embedded code for a living. Everything from bootstrapping embedded linux to SoC level power management.

Power management is usually the last thing to get done (if at all)... why? Because management usually sees it as icing on the cake. Attitudes are typically just make it work and we'll ship a bigger battery to make it last. Or we'll ship an upgrade in 6 months, if the product starts to take off and we decide to fund further development.

Time to market is everything.

Power management is also really hard to get right 100% of the time. It's really hard to debug code/hardware where stuff is shutting itself off, or worse, a controller uP is shutting you off unexpectedly.

It has NOTHING to do with 'bad code' or 'shitty programmers'. It's just management grinding down on the engineers to do it: better, faster, cheaper, pick two. Usually faster and cheaper win.

Comment Hashes in general (Score 3, Informative) 125

I hate to state the obvious, but a hash by nature is breakable. You are (typically) distilling a large number of unique bits down to a smaller number of bits.

Of course there will be more than one set of inputs that generate the same output.

Its more an issue of:
1. How hard it is to find colliding inputs.
2. What the hash is used for.

Passwords typically generate more bits, so different rules apply.

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