[Oberon] Re (2): Re (2): Re (2): UEFI

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 18:05:00 CEST 2021

On Tue, 15 Jun 2021 at 19:50, <peter at easthope.ca> wrote:
> IME is enough to exclude a network connected modern PC from a safety
> critical application. An unpredictable glitch or failure of a machine
> which could cause death or serious injury is intolerable.

That is, in a theoretical ideal world, a wonderful, noble position to take.

But we don't live in one. We live in a world where the x86 PC utterly
dominates the general-purpose computing market, and as such, it is the
default COTS technology. If you need to slap a screen and a GUI onto a
device, then embedding a PC in is is just the cheapest, easiest,
quickest way.

And sadly, the other determinant in getting a product to market
quickly and cheaply is hiring the programmers and engineers to write
the software, do the integration, build it and test it.

PC engineers are cheaper and more widely-available than, say, RISC
workstation ones. Programmers who know Windows are cheaper and more
easily hired than *nix ones, and the tools are better and the company
probably owns them already.

So, they use Windows.

Oberon and A2 are in the position of being an ultra-niche OS and
language that currently natively runs mainly on ultra-niche hardware.

Both already run on x86. x86 is a moving target. If we want people to
be able to try it, we have no choice but to continue to work on
commodity COTS kit, whatever its vagaries or weaknesses.

If we want to get kids and students and hobbyists and research
institutions interested, then the next best thing is the cheapest
available mass-market kit that they can get, and that is the Raspberry

A single-core one is £5, $7. A quad-core one is more like $50.

Commercial realities must sometimes be considered over ideological purity.

> Similarly for an application with significant resources at risk.  In
> banking for example. Similarly where scientific or industrial
> espionage is possible.

I really do not see any point to a King Cnut attitude. It's over. The
battle was lost 30 years ago. x86 _is_ the mainstream and ARM is
growing fast. RISCV is mostly still just a toy.

I don't know who you bank with or even in what currency, but I
cast-iron _promise_ you that your bank runs mostly on x86 PCs with
maybe a bit of IBM z Series in the back-end. So does your hospital,
and the local schools, and the government.

> The only way to prevent illicit access is make sure there is no back
> door. Hence a FPGA based embedded system or workstation.  A
> workstation such as being developed by Wojciech.

It's over. The only way is to go with the flow, ride the successful
horse. If you try to enter a cheetah in a horse race, they won't let
you in.

The _only_ choice is, stay in a tiny niche, and slowly die in it, or
get in the big pool and have a _chance_ of growing.

Liam Proven – Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk – gMail/gTalk/gHangouts: lproven at gmail.com
Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Flickr: lproven – Skype: liamproven
UK: +44 7939-087884 – ČR (+ WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal): +420 702 829 053

More information about the Oberon mailing list