I read with interest that automaker Ford is planning to replace its Microsoft-based Infotainment system with software from Blackberry, or more specifically from its QNX division. In the later 1980's and early 1990's we (Greenview Data) had a partnership with QNX and the QNX operating system (OS) was supplied with our VEDIT text editor.
A Brief History of QNX
QNX goes back many years (and long before Blackberry or even Windows) and was designed as a "real time operating system" which was much faster than UNIX and infinitely faster than anything from Microsoft. In those days of 16mhz processors, it took very careful programming in C or even assembly language to handle "real time" events to control machinery. If I remember correctly, QNX claimed it was more than 10 times faster than any UNIX software and 100 times faster any DOS software when it came to controlling machines. QNX was then used in the fastest Kodak ($1,000,000+) photo printing machines, the Canadian railroad for controlling track switching, nuclear power plants, medical instruments and in other critical "life and death" applications. So, it was not only very fast, it was very reliable.
Fast and Reliable
From my years of working with and visiting the company, it was very evident that QNX was built on a culture of testing and reliability. To meet their extremely high standards we had to create an automated testing system for our VEDIT that basically ensured that every line of code was thoroughly tested before it was released. QNX prices were high, but if you wanted an operating system that didn't crash and ruin a million dollar machine or kill someone, it was the best choice.
While I have not been in touch with QNX for many years, I suspect that its culture of creating efficient and reliable software remains in full force. Indeed the most highly regarded and liked infotainment systems, by Audi, BMW and Porsche use QNX software. Hyundai, GM and Chrysler are also starting to use QNX in their cars.
To me, it is nice to see, that in the long run, a company devoted to quality software development will beat out those that have a reputation for buggy, mass-produced bloatware.
We at Greenview Data strive to be that way, too. I like to think that's one of the reasons we've been in business for over 30 years.
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