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  1. jamezalexander's Avatar
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    I don't think this has been posted but it is an old article and it's a great article, worth reading to the end. Everything below speaks to the true powers of QNX and by extension BlackBerry 10. Just passing along the BB10 love, don't rape my sense of excitement because you disagree just move on to something else if you don't care. I've bolded parts for emphasis. Ironically this article was written in March, 2003. Who would have thought ten years later, BB10 phones would be available across almost every continent . I've added in my personal thoughts at the end. Sound off if you care to have a discussion.

    Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell-qnx_secret.png

    FORTUNE MAGAZINES 2003 Heros of Manufacturing via CNN Money

    "Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell: When software really, really has to work

    Is software hopeless? Ask anyone whose computer has just confessed to an illegal operation or whose screen has locked up. Despite decades of effort, a wisecrack from the software industry's early days still stings: "If builders constructed buildings the way programmers write software, the first woodpecker to come along would cause the collapse of civilization."

    There's one notable exception. As far as anyone can tell, software created by a Canadian company called QNX Software Systems simply doesn't crash. QNX's software has run nonstop without mishaps at some customer sites since it was installed more than a decade ago. As a delighted user has put it, "The only way to make this software malfunction is to fire a bullet into the computer running it."

    Like Windows or Linux, QNX's program is an operating system, the traffic cop that organizes and runs a computer's many functions. But this operating system is used mostly in highly specialized, real-time industrial applications. QNX software directs "extreme" manufacturing, such as guiding the flawless grinding of optical lenses--a process in which the slightest software glitch can ruin a product worth $100,000. It's also used to control facilities such as nuclear power plants and other critical installations where any software funny business could be catastrophic.

    QNX's software is the brainchild of Dan Dodge, 48, the company's CEO, and Gordon Bell, 47, its president (they swap titles every year). They're subdued, low-key fellows--until you ask about their technology. Then they grow animated and even passionate. They're friends who drive basic cars no different from those of their employees and live in modest houses. Tucked away in a nondescript industrial park in Kanata, Ontario, an Ottawa suburb 2,400 miles from the hubbub of Silicon Valley, QNX has been called a "stealth company," its founders say.

    It may not be on many radar screens, but it's hardly stealthy to smart manufacturing and process-control engineers, who have installed more than one million QNX systems around the world--and beyond. Cisco uses QNX to power some of its network equipment; Siemens uses it to run its medical systems. QNX enables the high-speed French TGV passenger trains to round curves without tilting too far; it runs U.S. Postal Service mail-sorting machines, directs GE-built locomotives, and will soon control all of New York City's traffic lights. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has purchased 250 copies of QNX for air-traffic control. And the system operates the Canadian-built robotic arm on both the space shuttle and the international space station.

    From the earliest days, Dodge and Bell chose to focus on such industrial-strength applications for their software. But QNX was designed to run on PCs, and its latest version, Neutrino, features an easy-to-use graphical interface, e-mail, web browsers, and the like. The company says tens of thousands of users, mostly computer whizzes, have downloaded a free version of Neutrino from its website. And QNX software may soon become known to more than just plant managers and aficionados. Versions of the ultra-reliable system are beginning to push out Microsoft and other competitors in new, smaller-scale applications. QNX powers some new laser eye-surgery devices, portable home-dialysis machines, and computerized casino games, for example.

    Some car owners will soon be steering to directions from QNX. IBM has chosen the software for an advanced automobile-navigation system that integrates traffic updates, weather data, and emergency service information on the fly. The system, which automatically re-computes routes to bypass accidents, traffic jams, or dangerous road conditions, will appear in luxury models in the U.S. in the next year or so, and more broadly soon after. "We'll be shipping 20 million systems to the automakers in 2004," Dodge says. QNX expects to dominate the software part of this new market, which UBS Warburg predicts will be worth $9.3 billion by 2005 (with software alone accounting for 25% of that total).

    Dodge and Bell both grew up engrossed by electronics. The son of a Nortel engineer and a housewife, Dodge built circuitboards and even a laser in high school, and in 12th grade he was programming the mainframe at the community college in Belleville, Ontario. To understand electronics, he majored in physics in college but continued to spend most of his time in the computer lab.

    Bell was the oldest of four children of a Toronto electronics technician and a secretary at an R&D firm. His father worked for a chipmaker, so Bell "got tons of electronic parts to play with," he says. In high school he was already building computer peripherals such as tape readers and audio systems, and he had built his first computer by the time he went to college--winning one of three provincial scholarships for high-school superachievers. Dodge and Bell met at the University of Waterloo near Toronto, when a friend who knew that both built computers in their dorm rooms introduced them. They've been friends ever since.

    Dodge and Bell were long entranced by the idea of creating an operating system that would work without failures. Most programmers have organized their operating systems in the so-called monolithic fashion, in which both the "kernel," or the code that directs the OS, and the various internal computer functions such as file systems and graphic displays, are all assigned a common memory space. The problem with this approach, still followed in widely used operating systems such as Windows and Linux, is that a trivial error in any one of the many functions that share the same memory space can shut down the whole system. The monolithic system, as Dodge and Bell describe it, is like an orchestra in which the conductor, or kernel, and all the players, or functions, are confined to a single room where any problem quickly becomes contagious. "If a horn player dies," says Dodge, "the orchestra stops playing."

    Aiming for absolute reliability, Dodge and Bell decided to take a different route. Their OS would contain a "microkernel," a tightly written piece of software only a tiny fraction of the size of the big kernel. Instead of taking up megabytes of memory, the microkernel could be squeezed onto a single 40K chip. All the components of their OS were isolated from the microkernel and from one another in their own protected memory spaces. That makes QNX a "distributed system"--one in which the orchestra is not confined to a single space. And thanks to the program's "self-healing" feature, a dead player is automatically replaced or resurrected in millionths of a second without affecting the rest of the band. QNX has been the only company so far to commercialize a microkernel OS.

    The microkernel enables QNX to run at blinding speeds. QNX also ranks functions, giving priority to the most critical, deadline-driven ones. Those features give it an unmatched ability to operate in "hard real time," responding to vast amounts of incoming signals in a few hundred nanoseconds (billionths of a second) and performing the right tasks at exactly the right moment. The capacity to "juggle ten billion balls a second without dropping one," as Bell puts it, is what makes QNX ideal for extreme manufacturing and other critical control operations. A QNX OS that runs materials-handling and assembly lines at the Siemens Dematic plant in Grand Rapids, for example, has been operating without failure for 13 years.

    To pursue their dream, Dodge and Bell founded QNX in 1980 in a small office next to a shoe store in a shopping center in Kanata. They never looked for venture capital, and QNX is still privately held. Today the company has annual revenues of around $30 million, but at first the founders barely made it; Dodge was supported by his working wife, and Bell, then single, lived with his parents to save money.

    Because of their industrial focus, Dodge and Bell managed to escape Microsoft's notice for most of their company's history. In recent years, though, Gates & Co. have made inroads into manufacturing markets; Microsoft has recruited outside software firms to adapt its NT operating system for use in less demanding manufacturing applications, such as running standard milling machines and lathes. And Microsoft's Windows CE is a sort of mini-operating system that can easily be adapted to run things such as machine tools. After that program was introduced in 1996, Dodge and Bell say, Microsoft executives told them they would run QNX out of business in two years.

    Nothing of the sort has happened, obviously. Instead, new markets are opening up for the sort of dependability and versatility that QNX offers. And the company has found a powerful ally in IBM (not to mention other new partners, such as Intel, Motorola, and Toyota). Big Blue's Skip McGaughey, who has worked on making QNX the software behind IBM's new automotive computer systems, says the company chose QNX because it represents the "very best" of real-time operating system technology. "The typical automotive end user would have no patience with a unit that freezes up or experiences systems errors," he says. Wonder which archrival company's software he's thinking of." Via CNN Money (Fortune)


    With all that said I'd like to add some more food for thought, not even RIM knew about QNX. Candian innovation seeks Canadian innovation. The marriage of RIM+QNX was one made in Heaven for US the consumers.

    "The Ottawa-based company would have continued on its merry way having nothing to do with the world of smartphones were it not for an odd turn of events three years ago.

    QNX had been acquired in 2004 by Harman International Industries, a large U.S. media company that does audio and infotainment systems for cars, homes and theatres. Harman gave QNX plenty of freedom, even allowing it to sell software to Harman’s competitors.

    By 2009, however, some of QNX’s customers were grumbling that their key supplier was owned by a competitor. The situation got to the point where Dodge suggested that Harman sell QNX to another company.

    One of the firms on QNX’s short list was RIM. Dodge asked David Johnston, who at the time was UW’s president, to arrange a meeting with RIM founder Mike Lazaridis.

    “He really liked what he saw,” Dodge said of Lazaridis. The deal went through in record time, closing in the spring of 2010.

    Lazaridis’s original plan for QNX was to have it build the operating system for the PlayBook, RIM’s tablet. It was still undecided whether QNX would work on the next generation of BlackBerry smartphones.

    “We had to prove ourselves on the tablet first,” Dodge said. “But once we proved ourselves there, then we went full-steam ahead on the phone.”" - GeulphMercury


    We need to stop seeing BlackBerry 10 as RIMs endgame. This is actually a much bigger turn of events. To bring QNX out from behind the scenes and put this ultra powerful highlyspecialized OS into consumer hands where its reliability can be experienced and potential explode. Dan Dodge is now RIM's lead software architect and is responsible for driving both the QNX business and the BlackBerry 10 platform vision. RIM is going to succeed because RIM has stepped aside and given itself to QNX to make the bigger picture a reality. BlackBerry 10 is gonna be awesome
    BlackBerry 10 is not late. It's early. @JMZNVS @BBRYFLOW
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  2. ichat's Avatar
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    I believe these acquisitions saved RIM and he's back in black, with the pistol in his hand and his aim all good. He's totally gonna OWN! Its kinda like black ops 2 zombies. You survive waves of bastards and competition and then, You're the victor, alone and all the fame. Ahh, wonderful how QNX is gonna change bb forever!

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    Every game on zombies ends in death... But I see what you mean Unless you play the new Greif mode! And Grief is what BlackBerry will be giving the competition!
    BlackBerry 10 is not late. It's early. @JMZNVS @BBRYFLOW
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  4. undone's Avatar
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    Imbedded hooks to connect to manufacturing hardware as well as all the other industrial equipment can equal some nice selling points for Playbook (like) devices as well as the traditional handset phones. Own the business space is what I say!
    'The frontier between hell and heaven is only the difference between two ways of looking at things.' - George Bernard Shaw
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    RIM has the positive cash balance, the security infrastructure across 650+ carriers in 165 countries, and the "BlackBerry" brand to bring QNX into the limelight. QNX has been vying for Microsoft for the longest, BlackBerry 10 is simply the stage for which they can scream their name. QNX is already everywhere, BlackBerry will bring it to *secure consumer electronics in the telecom space. This is why BlackBerry 10 is coming about to "stealthily" because that's just how QNX rolls, it's how they've always done things, behind the scenes.
    BlackBerry 10 is not late. It's early. @JMZNVS @BBRYFLOW
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    Quote Originally Posted by jamezalexander View Post
    RIM has the positive cash balance, the security infrastructure across 650+ carriers in 165 countries, and the "BlackBerry" brand to bring QNX into the limelight. QNX has been vying for Microsoft for the longest, BlackBerry 10 is simply the stage for which they can scream their name. QNX is already everywhere, BlackBerry will bring it to *secure consumer electronics in the telecom space. This is why BlackBerry 10 is coming about to "stealthily" because that's just how QNX rolls, it's how they've always done things, behind the scenes.
    They have it and they are ready to go! Stealth is the way. Bam! You flank em and you find em and you teabag em and then you shoot them in the head... BAM HEADSHOT!

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    Hmmmm a stealth company...Anybody think that would be a great name for the first L series. BlackBerry Stealth!
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    Quote Originally Posted by dentynefire View Post
    Hmmmm a stealth company...Anybody think that would be a great name for the first L series. BlackBerry Stealth!
    That.
    Would.
    Be.
    EPICCCCCCC!

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    Thanks for sure OP - that was a great read! Definitely relevant to today!
    It was recently pointed out to me that SugarSync was still in my signature, and no longer available for free. It was a nice (free) ride, SugarSync, but I'm seeing Box and Dropbox now, via BB10 integration.
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    QNX / Dan Dodge deserve great kudos for sure, but let's not forget a couple of much maligned guys who were skewered for failing to keep RIM/BlackBerry relevant.

    One of the firms on QNX’s short list was RIM. Dodge asked David Johnston, who at the time was UW’s president, to arrange a meeting with RIM founder Mike Lazaridis.

    “He really liked what he saw,” Dodge said of Lazaridis. The deal went through in record time, closing in the spring of 2010.

    Lazaridis’s original plan for QNX was to have it build the operating system for the PlayBook, RIM’s tablet. It was still undecided whether QNX would work on the next generation of BlackBerry smartphones.

    “We had to prove ourselves on the tablet first,” Dodge said. “But once we proved ourselves there, then we went full-steam ahead on the phone.”" - GeulphMercury

    Thank you Mike and Jim, for having the courage to be incredibly forward thinkers, to have made the decision to purchase QNX and test them out via the PlayBook (oh, yeah - what a failure - it was just the proof of concept after all, for BB10 - not an iPad killer). To have been willing to basically re-invent the way smartphones operate going forward by killing off the "smartphone" concept all-together in favor of a "mobile computing platform" and taking loads (BS loads) of criticism, even allowing the tech and business community to run you out of your places (no complaints about Thor - he knows they were not given their due credit for what was going on behind the scenes).

    Mike and Jim weren't so far behind and out of touch and lacking innovation after all. From nothing to a completely new paradigm in a few short couple of years? Brilliance, great leadership, great innovation, and deserving of a tremendous amount of respect!

    **end rant**
    Last edited by DocDRM; 11-19-2012 at 12:17 PM. Reason: deal closed 2010? not even a FEW YEARS! only a COUPLE!
    It was recently pointed out to me that SugarSync was still in my signature, and no longer available for free. It was a nice (free) ride, SugarSync, but I'm seeing Box and Dropbox now, via BB10 integration.
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    ^^ Sure give credit where credit is due. Apple started working on IOS ~2004 and then there is Android. I was never a fan of RIMs management style and it eventually caught up with them and led to their replacement. RIM is now is better and stronger but in a somewhat reduced capacity to compete. It is the job of the CEO to see the future, they didn't and they have to live with being replaced or sidelined. Also QNX approached RIM not the other way around so saying anything else would just be making excuses. RIM offered something not easily replaceable so its not a simple equation of BB-Java+whateverOS=success. They should have had better insight into their platform capabilities. Or they did and had zero options and didn't do anything about it. Also, during the transition Jim B. made wild and misleading statements, "We've leapfrogged the competition" with nothing to show for it and the PIM apps coming in 60 days comment just made the whole company look bad in the publics eye.

    I think that BB should have bought QNX back when this article was written. That would have been forward thinking, Mike didn't even think people wanted cameras for gosh sakes. Forward thinkers, oh you mean these guys: They said what? Great quotes from Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis


    viva the new BlackBerry!
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    The CO CEOs hired Hiens, he's just their trigger man. He got in sweet with the board when they realized they would be kicked out. He's bringing both their dream to reality and they will be paid very well as he succeeds. Steve was working on iOS much longer than 2004, he laid the foundation in NeXT years before the new millennium.
    BlackBerry 10 is not late. It's early. @JMZNVS @BBRYFLOW
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    You don't think instantly spotting an opportunity, pulling the trigger, test-bedding it with the PlayBook ( okay - not all perfect at launch, but view it as a lighting to market test of BB10 phones/QNX in the mobile space in VERY short order), then building it out to launch (okay, late) (okay, with some over the top statements and missed deadlines) and said launch of the real leap-frog is about 3 years from start of effort?

    My point is that they DID see the future (as you defined their roles as leadership) and although new/additional leadership was required to get to the launch, their roles and foresight to grab and hold onto the opportunity with QNX can't be denied. Problems/need for change acknowledged, but again, THANK YOU MIKE AND JIM for BB10!
    It was recently pointed out to me that SugarSync was still in my signature, and no longer available for free. It was a nice (free) ride, SugarSync, but I'm seeing Box and Dropbox now, via BB10 integration.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dentynefire View Post
    Hmmmm a stealth company...Anybody think that would be a great name for the first L series. BlackBerry Stealth!
    BB L series = BB STEALTH. DONE!
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    Stealth. I love it. The more you learn about QNX, the more elegant you realize it is.
    Mike and Jim made mistakes. Nobody says they didn't. But. Without them, smartphones might not exist. And let's not forget who handpicked Thor. Everyday I appreciate that man more.
    QNX is the future. The future is : RIM up, Apple down. They've jumped the shark. RIM is out in the wilderness, eating what they kill, loading their own bullets. They are leaner, hungrier, and they've learned to hit what they aim for or go hungry.
    QNX truly is the stealth missile. When you've been down and out, proved you can take a beating, and still the women, the children, the dogs, come by to in your face and jump up and down on your fractured bones...well, you take names. You creep up on your enemies. And, before they even know what has happened - they're done.
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    whoa!!! BB L = BB STEALTH. any better name?

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk
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    Default Re: Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    Qnx is boring and over hyped and somewhat of a dream os. Name one thing it does better than a competing os. Its just another option for disgruntled users of others os's.
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    Quote Originally Posted by inthemix9 View Post
    Qnx is boring and over hyped and somewhat of a dream os. Name one thing it does better than a competing os. Its just another option for disgruntled users of others os's.
    And your intending that iphone looks sooooooooooo much better eh?

    Sooooo noootttttt boriinggggggt

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    Quote Originally Posted by inthemix9 View Post
    Qnx is boring and over hyped and somewhat of a dream os. Name one thing it does better than a competing os. Its just another option for disgruntled users of others os's.
    And this is your opinion. So what OS is exciting? You mean other perfect OSes have disgruntled users?
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    Default Articles&Opinion: Fortune, 2003 Heros of Manufactering Dan Dodge and Gordon Bell

    Dude, he wants 5 rows of icons
    Let him be.

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    Looks like news to me. Moved to News & Rumors.
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    True. Thanks for the relocation
    BlackBerry 10 is not late. It's early. @JMZNVS @BBRYFLOW
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    There are a LOT of disgruntled users from "other OS's". Why do you suppose that is? To say QNX is boring is to admit complete ignorance : so,I appreciate your honesty.
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    I never knew of Gordon Bell. Is he still with QNX? I can't seem to find any recent info on him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inthemix9 View Post
    Qnx is boring and over hyped and somewhat of a dream os. Name one thing it does better than a competing os. Its just another option for disgruntled users of others os's.
    LOL... Boring? LOL the space station is boring.....The space shuttle , auto's , power plants , speed trains etc. is boring? Soon you will have QNX POWER in smartphones...does that sound boring? I don't know about you but NASA wouldn't use anything boring . You people are sounding more stupid everyday.
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