Solaris and real-time Java for embedded systems?

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It’s always interesting to see if industry analysis stands the test of time, like Dana Gardner (formerly with the Yankee Group, now with Interarbor Solutions)  who told back in 2004 that  “Solaris may find fertile ground in the embedded space with a combination of real-time Java and the Solaris operating system”.

Hmm. Now there’s an idea.

After coming home from a trip to our Warsaw office and a babysitting stint with our grand-daughter Carmel,

I started cleaning up my Web site archives. I found this article I wrote back in November 2004.  I will let the readers be the judge of the relevance of Sun Solaris as an embedded operating system in 2008.

As usual, Sun is flip-flopping on strategy and looking in the wrong direction – this time towards the embedded market market. Despite the hoopla at this month’s announcement party to launch Solaris 10, the focus for the operating system is moving towards embedded appliances. No wonder – the embedded market in terms of unit shipments is almost 10 times the size of the PC market with over 1.1 Billion units shipping annually. But – even if you can shoehorn Solaris 10 into 64M Ram does it really make sense for Sun to go there?

ARM — including StrongARM and XScale architectures – are gaining on x86 as the most popular processor architecture for embedded development. Since the beginning of 2004, embedded developers are projecting that they’ll base more projects on ARM than x86 processors in their projects during the next two years.

Vendors that use Linux are finding it easier than ever to go straight to the Open Source community and roll their own embedded Linux platforms instead of locking themselves into Montavista for support. Vendors with strong developer expertise in Windows go to Windows CE for embedded applications and leverage their knowledge.

In other words – forget it. Solaris 10 isnt available on the hardware platforms of choice (ARM) and doesnt provide a convincing alternative for developers to switch from their familiar and proven environments whether Open or closed source.

To make things worse, looks like someone at Sun is directing analysts to say stupid things like this:

Scaling Solaris down for the embedded market is exactly what analysts have been suggesting for Sun. Dana Gardner, senior analyst with The Yankee Group, told one area that Solaris may find some fertile ground in the embedded space is with a combination of real-time Java and the Solaris operating system.

“Real time Java” – is this fertile ground or just marketing fluff for Sun?

What do you think ? Let me know!

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