12-09-13 04:24 PM
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  1. BCITMike's Avatar
    So I'm certainly not saying RT schedulers or microkernels are not useful for some applications, I just don't think they are useful in smartphones.

    All schedulers prioritize running tasks. That's not a feature specific to RT. Real time schedulers just make specific guarantees that other schedulers don't. I think those guarantees are counter-productive in a smartphone since they reduce the latitude that the OS has to coalesce work. By not making specific timing guarantees, you can keep the CPU asleep for longer, etc.

    As for non-RT kernels not working, WP8, iOS, Web OS, Palm OS and Android are all examples of other schedulers that work pretty well and are able to do things like streaming media and video calls and all those sorts of things that users expect, while still having the latitude to be really aggressive in sleeping the CPU, radios, etc.

    The bigger picture for me is still whether it was worth the delays, cost and risk to buy QNX?

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    I've had a different experience with Windows and scheduling for applications that use serial or networking where the OS makes it unacceptably long because there are no guaranteed timers. I expect my mobile device to be 100% responsive at all times, more so than a PC. I cannot stand waiting for a hand held device like I can for a PC. Usage differences, I guess. *shrug*
    11-27-13 11:20 PM
  2. bennelong's Avatar
    ..neither RT or microkernels make any sense in a phone.


    Sent from my iPhone 5S using Tapatalk
    Please excuse me for trimming down your post for the point I wished to point out but it's twice now that you've made similar references implying that mobile hand-helds possibly aren't worthy of an advanced software architecture.
    It reminds me of the guy who said some years back that his electric-toaster was more likely to pick up a virus than his phone.
    I think this work on the kernel has a lot to do with security. Not just PIM but potentially the security of a range of infrastructures these devices are and may be connected with in the future.
    Imagine a thousand or so of today's (very capable) phones co-opted into a botnet and ask yourself whether a clearly defined and low code overhead is a good thing or not.
    System integrity will be an absolute necessity in the very near future.

    CB10 via Z10
    11-27-13 11:28 PM
  3. app_Developer's Avatar
    Please excuse me for trimming down your post for the point I wished to point out but it's twice now that you've made similar references implying that mobile hand-helds possibly aren't worthy of an advanced software architecture.
    But that's the thing, I don't think you can say in 2013 that this is necessarily a more "advanced" architecture. That was definitely the thinking in the late 1980's or 1990's. But now I think most people would consider it a tradeoff, with certain positives and negatives. Other designs have come a very long way in 20 years.

    If BlackBerry were selling routers, for example, then that's a different set of requirements and in that case I could see QNX being useful for that.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by app_Developer; 11-28-13 at 12:03 AM.
    11-27-13 11:42 PM
  4. app_Developer's Avatar
    I've had a different experience with Windows and scheduling for applications that use serial or networking where the OS makes it unacceptably long because there are no guaranteed timers. I expect my mobile device to be 100% responsive at all times, more so than a PC. I cannot stand waiting for a hand held device like I can for a PC. Usage differences, I guess. *shrug*
    So somewhere between the extreme of strict guarantees and being unresponsive is a happy medium where a good quality scheduler is able to make the right decisions with the optimal power usage. For example, you might intelligently delay some background process slice by 50ms if you know that would give you an opportunity to save a little power.

    20 years ago schedulers weren't sophisticated enough to do that type of thing, but now they can.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
    11-27-13 11:57 PM
  5. app_Developer's Avatar
    11-28-13 12:01 AM
  6. Omnitech's Avatar
    I also think it's worth pointing out that if QNX hadn't been a Canadian company (if they had been a French company for instance) then BB10 would have been built on Linux...

    Not sure why you think that is so cut/dried. I was under the impression that there are still several RT/embedded OS's that are not built upon Linux.



    The bigger picture for me is still whether it was worth the delays, cost and risk to buy QNX?

    The way I see it QNX diversifies the company in ways that are beneficial regardless of their smartphone platform work. It also must be a point of pride that the platform uses entirely native Canadian software technology. My Z10s were actually physically assembled there too. I happen to think that's nice, and I'm not even Canadian.



    Please excuse me for trimming down your post for the point I wished to point out but it's twice now that you've made similar references implying that mobile hand-helds possibly aren't worthy of an advanced software architecture.
    It reminds me of the guy who said some years back that his electric-toaster was more likely to pick up a virus than his phone.
    I think this work on the kernel has a lot to do with security. Not just PIM but potentially the security of a range of infrastructures these devices are and may be connected with in the future.
    Imagine a thousand or so of today's (very capable) phones co-opted into a botnet and ask yourself whether a clearly defined and low code overhead is a good thing or not.
    System integrity will be an absolute necessity in the very near future.

    While I think QNX certainly offers a nice technology story and even some particular technological benefits, BlackBerry 10 is not simply plain Neutrino by any stretch of the imagination. As we saw with the "random reboot" debacle in earlier releases, no matter how reliable the microkernel or Neutrino base is, the platform won't do anything without all the other components bolted-on to that and if those components are problematic, then the whole thing is problematic. (If your UI or filesystem processes deadlock and you can no longer interact with the device or read/write to storage, it doesn't make a d*mn bit of difference if the kernel itself is still humming along in there somewhere)

    Regarding security, if ie the Flash Player component has a vulnerability that is exploitable (which has happened already on earlier BB10 releases) then it makes little difference how cool the kernel is, the platform will have a security vulnerability until you fix that component.

    I think BB10 has some very nice technology in it but because so many things have been re-written from scratch (seemingly in many cases by coders who have never written that sort of code before - e.g. whoever designed the contacts database should be.. uh... [redacted]) and because BlackBerry 10 is likely the most complex platform that QNX has ever built, combined with BlackBerry's infamous QA issues, it does have more than its fair share of teething problems.
    danprown, Lostboy5151 and SDTRMG like this.
    11-28-13 06:43 AM
  7. pbfan's Avatar
    Aren't the Linux extensions open source? You need to explain it here.

    Don't worry Bla1ze, I get called worse every day.

    Thanks for the reply. I was responding because people might not fully appreciate the importance or the technical achievement of the BlackBerry engineers' work.

    Let me explain. The wizardry I describe allows Linux binary code to run on QNX. An Android developer might write a Linux extension for various reasons, one being greater performance, and/or access to specific hardware acceleration APIs. So think of the hack as the key that unlocks the door to real hardware acceleration. That will come, as you have rightly pointed out, and has BlackBerry has promised. The big wins are in 10.2.x - compatibility has increased so much we can install .apk files directly onto BB10. And performance is fantastic.

    In 12 years at The Register this is one of the most impressive hacks I have come across; it's a really neat piece of work.

    I have written quite a bit about how Google may lose control of Android, and its attempts to regain control, by encouraging developers to write to Google-specific service APIs. If Google loses control and Android binaries becomes a portable, then "Android the OS" ceases to matter. For example, here last week.

    BTW, I've seen a few posts here talking about "emulation" - but what BlackBerry is doing is not emulation, it's way better than that. The Dalvik JVM is a native QNX app, it's interpreting byte code, and the processes are QNX processes. It's all ARM underneath.
    11-28-13 07:07 AM
  8. danprown's Avatar
    Morlock -- it is so nice to read this debate between you and app_developer.

    What bugs me, however, is that even if we assume you are right on the technical merits of QNX in mobile, the whole execution of the acquisition still does not make sense to me.

    You do not bring a billion-dollar company to a halt, telling the world you are betting the farm on 200 guys with an obscure OS that for 30 years the most can do is 50 million in annual revenue and has been deemed redundant by its parent company, with no developer support, to come up with the next thing in mobile since sliced bread.

    It should have been done the way Samsung does Tizen (in-house but with a consortium of big, big, players and no rushing) and release it only when it is reasonably ready (i.e. not yet, maybe 10.2+).


    Context swtiching in QNX is faster than any monolithic kernel. They considered it necessary for providing a true real time OS that can respond dynamically to a changing environment.

    Is a trusted computing base important in your idea of where mobile computing is going into the future?

    Does having a trusted computing base factor into your vision of autonomous cars?

    Do you think putting hardware into the same memory space as the trusted platform increases or decreases reliability and stability?

    If code is so easy to maintain across generations, why all the software compatibility issues across generations of Windows?

    And finally...

    So you wrote some secret super popular apps for other platforms that you can't mention and claim to help develop the half-a$$ed microkernel that was hybridized into OSX, meaning you can lay claim to helping to build one of the largest corporations on the planet by giving them the codebase to work from.

    *cough* bulls#it *cough*

    Do you also cure cancer in your spare time?

    [Edit: Also, I don't supposed that the fact that QNX was first to the table with its, now patented, SMP implementation has anything to do with their decision to avoid using a microkernel in a mobile environment.]
    11-28-13 07:29 AM
  9. danprown's Avatar
    You do not have to be an engineer to know and see that none of the lauded promises of QNX -- stable, efficient, battery-efficient, able to multi-task -- came out in BB10. (BB10 is secure but so was BBOS). I am painfully reminded of this everything I play around with my Playbook.
    11-28-13 07:34 AM
  10. Shanerredflag's Avatar
    You do not have to be an engineer to know and see that none of the lauded promises of QNX -- stable, efficient, battery-efficient, able to multi-task -- came out in BB10. (BB10 is secure but so was BBOS). I am painfully reminded of this everything I play around with my Playbook.
    PlayBook is likely an unfair example...take a new Z for a spin and see the real efficiencies.

    Posted via CB10
    Superfly_FR likes this.
    11-28-13 07:42 AM
  11. morlock_man's Avatar
    Morlock -- it is so nice to read this debate between you and app_developer.

    What bugs me, however, is that even if we assume you are right on the technical merits of QNX in mobile, the whole execution of the acquisition still does not make sense to me.

    You do not bring a billion-dollar company to a halt, telling the world you are betting the farm on 200 guys with an obscure OS that for 30 years the most can do is 50 million in annual revenue and has been deemed redundant by its parent company, with no developer support, to come up with the next thing in mobile since sliced bread.

    It should have been done the way Samsung does Tizen (in-house but with a consortium of big, big, players and no rushing) and release it only when it is reasonably ready (i.e. not yet, maybe 10.2+).
    It bugs you because you've never seen a company do it before.

    Even though it took Apple 5 years to release OSX, they were still dropping simulators on the old MacOS systems to entice developers into the new platform. They also dropped the iMac, which didn't originally run OSX.

    Microsoft transitions every few years, but they always try to maintain some compatibility with their previous code base.

    How many tech companies have successfully gone through an OS transition where they had to amputate the old platform in favor of a new one?

    As for Tizen, the only device that runs it is a camera. They've put off device releases for a year so far, saying that the weren't really talking about device releases, just demonstrations. Then they said they might have the devices out by September or August of this year, but then changed that to 'later in 2013'. Now they're saying early 2014. That really inspires confidence in their ability to bring the OS to market.

    They've also had to resort to offering hundreds of thousand of dollars ($4 million total) to app developers to try to interest them in developing for the platform because, as BBRY demonstrated, people are reluctant to by into a platform that doesn't have rabid developer support.
    11-28-13 08:47 AM
  12. danprown's Avatar
    I get your point but my argument about Tizen is that Samsung meanwhile is not exactly hurting about marketshare, is it. So Tizen is like a back-up and an insurance policy and they have absolute control on the timing.

    Samsung did not say: "we will develop an in-house OS and we will bet the farm on it and meanwhile we will just stick with PocketPCs." That is what RIM essentially did.

    After the Storm completely failed and RIM let down Verizon big time, there was no business reason to say -- well, we failed going it alone with our talent on our OS, so now we will buy a 200 person team that is cast off from a car and home audio manufacturer, and we will yet again go it alone on an entirely different structure we know nothing of.

    And it bugs me not because of any technical pros and cons, whether it has been done or not by other companies in history, it bugs me because RIM/BBRY lost my money when they could have made me money

    It bugs you because you've never seen a company do it before.

    Even though it took Apple 5 years to release OSX, they were still dropping simulators on the old MacOS systems to entice developers into the new platform. They also dropped the iMac, which didn't originally run OSX.

    Microsoft transitions every few years, but they always try to maintain some compatibility with their previous code base.

    How many tech companies have successfully gone through an OS transition where they had to amputate the old platform in favor of a new one?

    As for Tizen, the only device that runs it is a camera. They've put off device releases for a year so far, saying that the weren't really talking about device releases, just demonstrations. Then they said they might have the devices out by September or August of this year, but then changed that to 'later in 2013'. Now they're saying early 2014. That really inspires confidence in their ability to bring the OS to market.

    They've also had to resort to offering hundreds of thousand of dollars ($4 million total) to app developers to try to interest them in developing for the platform because, as BBRY demonstrated, people are reluctant to by into a platform that doesn't have rabid developer support.
    m1a1mg likes this.
    11-28-13 10:43 AM
  13. danprown's Avatar
    My point is that if there was any realized benefit of BB10, the proof would be in the pudding: they could have put it on the PB.

    For what it's worth otherwise, I absolutely love my PB -- despite the USB port which in my opinion is a design failure of epic proportions -- and prefer its swiping navigation and structure to that of BB10. I had the the Z for a while, but could not justify it cost-wise since I have very little to no use for a unified HUB.

    PlayBook is likely an unfair example...take a new Z for a spin and see the real efficiencies.

    Posted via CB10
    Shanerredflag likes this.
    11-28-13 10:54 AM
  14. Omnitech's Avatar
    I get your point but my argument about Tizen is that Samsung meanwhile is not exactly hurting about marketshare, is it. So Tizen is like a back-up and an insurance policy and they have absolute control on the timing.

    There are many, many things you have the luxury of being able to do when you are making the kind of money Samsung is making right now and have the kind of marketshare they currently have.

    Not only is Samsung a nearly vertically-integrated producer, they are more profitable than the next 8-10 competitors combined in the smartphone market. Let that sink into your brain for a minute.

    Obviously BlackBerry is in nowhere near that position, therefore it's an unrealistic comparison to say the least.

    Interestingly, there was a time when they were in a position approaching that, which were the glory days when, for example, they were able to convince mobile carriers all around the world to embed proprietary RIM/BlackBerry technology (BIS) deep within their networks in order to provide unique BlackBerry services.

    Who knows whether they will ever achieve that kind of market power again, but clearly they don't have it right now.
    11-28-13 11:15 PM
  15. m1a1mg's Avatar
    The markets are littered with companies that didn't adapt. BBRY needs to adapt now. Good bye phones, hello services.
    11-29-13 08:54 AM
  16. morlock_man's Avatar
    The markets are littered with companies that didn't adapt. BBRY needs to adapt now. Good bye phones, hello services.
    But you think they should have adapted by adopting android and throwing out the whole idea of a secure platform.

    BBRY's services don't mean anything if their services are full of security holes.
    11-29-13 11:17 AM
  17. Q100's Avatar
    11-29-13 11:29 AM
  18. m1a1mg's Avatar
    But you think they should have adapted by adopting android and throwing out the whole idea of a secure platform.

    BBRY's services don't mean anything if their services are full of security holes.
    Your argument holds no water. You assume that Android requires security holes. It does not. Just more work.

    Further, BB failed to adapt 6 years ago, quite vociferously. BB10 was at least 2 years late.
    11-29-13 12:59 PM
  19. morlock_man's Avatar
    Your argument holds no water. You assume that Android requires security holes. It does not. Just more work.

    Further, BB failed to adapt 6 years ago, quite vociferously. BB10 was at least 2 years late.
    No, the entire push behind this argument is that a microkernel represents a stronger and more secure trusted computing base than a monolithic kernel.

    Android can *never* be as secure as QNX for that reason.

    And 6 years is exaggerating. Apple only sold 6 million iPhones in the first year. It wasn't until the 3G was released in 2008 that they started the million+ sales in a weekend trend, and that was only due to the introduction of the app store, which launched with less than a thousand apps.

    For comparison, BB10 launched with almost 90 times as many apps, and sold 3.7 million phones in the first 4 months. They didn't break down the numbers on the last quarter so I don't what their 7 month sales is like, but it seems likely they'll surpass Apple's first year sales numbers by a wide margin, despite being resoundingly received as a failure.
    BCITMike and SDTRMG like this.
    11-29-13 02:36 PM
  20. kbz1960's Avatar
    No, the entire push behind this argument is that a microkernel represents a stronger and more secure trusted computing base than a monolithic kernel.

    Android can *never* be as secure as QNX for that reason.

    And 6 years is exaggerating. Apple only sold 6 million iPhones in the first year. It wasn't until the 3G was released in 2008 that they started the million+ sales in a weekend trend, and that was only due to the introduction of the app store, which launched with less than a thousand apps.

    For comparison, BB10 launched with almost 90 times as many apps, and sold 3.7 million phones in the first 4 months. They didn't break down the numbers on the last quarter so I don't what their 7 month sales is like, but it seems likely they'll surpass Apple's first year sales numbers by a wide margin, despite being resoundingly received as a failure.
    What else do we want to compare from years ago to now?
    11-29-13 02:43 PM
  21. morlock_man's Avatar
    What else do we want to compare from years ago to now?
    You know whats not a very long period of time?

    6 years.

    Unless you're 12, then it's half your life.
    11-29-13 02:46 PM
  22. danprown's Avatar
    That is my whole point! You develop the back-up or insurance WHEN you are the market leader or are on top, NOT when you are on the way down or have failed on your third down (the Storm).

    .
    Interestingly, there was a time when they were in a position approaching that, which were the glory days when, for example, they were able to convince mobile carriers all around the world to embed proprietary RIM/BlackBerry technology (BIS) deep within their networks in order to provide unique BlackBerry services.

    Who knows whether they will ever achieve that kind of market power again, but clearly they don't have it right now.
    11-29-13 02:53 PM
  23. Omnitech's Avatar
    That is my whole point! You develop the back-up or insurance WHEN you are the market leader or are on top, NOT when you are on the way down or have failed on your third down (the Storm).

    Fine, then that point would have been useful 3 years ago, it really doesn't have much use right now unless you just like to beat dead horses an awful lot.

    Contrary to what you may think, many of us BlackBerry fans and users are very well aware of the companies failings, past and present. We don't need anyone to keep reminding us of those things. We don't need the "education", it provides no new insight, and in my experience the people here who incessantly push that angle have a tendency to ignore positive developments because they seem to revel in failure. (or at least enjoy being the proclaimers of it) It's depressing and pointless, regardless how much they wave their hands around and call themselves "realists".

    Today's theme: pessimism, cynicism and skepticism.

    Pessimism never won any battle.
    --Dwight D. Eisenhower

    When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old.
    --Samuel Ullman

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.
    --Joe Klein

    Quite often, cynicism is confused with wisdom, and my scorn is confused with a knowing, which I don't have.
    --Laura Marling

    Cynicism is the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
    --Russell Lynes

    Cynicism is intellectual treason.
    --Norman Cousins

    Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.
    --William James

    Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.
    --Emile M. Cioran

    Cynicism is full of naive disappointments.
    --Mason Cooley

    My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of other pessimists.
    --Jean Rostand
    SDTRMG, BCITMike and ShalokShalom like this.
    11-29-13 06:12 PM
  24. bennelong's Avatar
    While I think QNX certainly offers a nice technology story and even some particular technological benefits, BlackBerry 10 is not simply plain Neutrino by any stretch of the imagination. As we saw with the "random reboot" debacle in earlier releases, no matter how reliable the microkernel or Neutrino base is, the platform won't do anything without all the other components bolted-on to that and if those components are problematic, then the whole thing is problematic. (If your UI or filesystem processes deadlock and you can no longer interact with the device or read/write to storage, it doesn't make a d*mn bit of difference if the kernel itself is still humming along in there somewhere)

    Regarding security, if ie the Flash Player component has a vulnerability that is exploitable (which has happened already on earlier BB10 releases) then it makes little difference how cool the kernel is, the platform will have a security vulnerability until you fix that component.

    I think BB10 has some very nice technology in it but because so many things have been re-written from scratch (seemingly in many cases by coders who have never written that sort of code before - e.g. whoever designed the contacts database should be.. uh... [redacted]) and because BlackBerry 10 is likely the most complex platform that QNX has ever built, combined with BlackBerry's infamous QA issues, it does have more than its fair share of teething problems.
    I agree with you entirely on most points (the use of Flash in particular), yet redacting programmers raises serious ethical and legal issues.



    CB10 via Z10
    11-29-13 08:05 PM
  25. Shanerredflag's Avatar
    Fine, then that point would have been useful 3 years ago, it really doesn't have much use right now unless you just like to beat dead horses an awful lot.

    Contrary to what you may think, many of us BlackBerry fans and users are very well aware of the companies failings, past and present. We don't need anyone to keep reminding us of those things. We don't need the "education", it provides no new insight, and in my experience the people here who incessantly push that angle have a tendency to ignore positive developments because they seem to revel in failure. (or at least enjoy being the proclaimers of it) It's depressing and pointless, regardless how much they wave their hands around and call themselves "realists".

    Today's theme: pessimism, cynicism and skepticism.

    Pessimism never won any battle.
    --Dwight D. Eisenhower

    When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old.
    --Samuel Ullman

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.
    --Joe Klein

    Quite often, cynicism is confused with wisdom, and my scorn is confused with a knowing, which I don't have.
    --Laura Marling

    Cynicism is the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
    --Russell Lynes

    Cynicism is intellectual treason.
    --Norman Cousins

    Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.
    --William James

    Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.
    --Emile M. Cioran

    Cynicism is full of naive disappointments.
    --Mason Cooley

    My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of other pessimists.
    --Jean Rostand
    Love the platitudes...
    Some here...not so much lol.

    Posted via CB10
    11-29-13 08:40 PM
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