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GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 9, 2012 7:56 UTC (Thu) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Parent article: GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Consequently, the manufacturers' stance is that the only software that they can permit on the head unit is software that they've tested.

Replace "software" in this statement with "parts", and "head unit" with "car" to see how ridiculous this statement is. Indeed, preventing 3rd party modification or repairs would be *illegal* in many major jurisdictions and/or laws exist to require car manufacturers to make necessary tools (including software diagnostics) available to 3rd parties and/or openly specified.


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GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 9, 2012 11:04 UTC (Thu) by Klavs (guest, #10563) [Link]

My thoughts exactly. The exact same "problem" about bad press, would arise if someone put in some shuddy engine part - making the car perform badly - or if they simply damaged the parts by doing something stupid.

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 9, 2012 12:31 UTC (Thu) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

> Replace "software" in this statement with "parts", and "head unit" with "car" to see how ridiculous this statement is.

Software is not a mechanical component, i.e. "part", and a head-unit is not a car. For one, the complexity of "parts" is several orders of magnitude smaller than that of "software" (do you disagree?).

(You could also talk about replacing software with giraffe and head unit with tomato...)

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 9, 2012 12:51 UTC (Thu) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Replacing software with giraffe would turn the argument into an analogy, which usually are imperfect (ridiculously so for giraffe/tomato). Replacing software with part and head-unit with car however is valid, because the software *is* a part of the car - it is not an analogy.

If you accept that the parts of a car must be serviceable by arbitrary 3rd parties, then the software must be. Otherwise, you must argue only /some/ parts should, and/or some not. In which case, the argument you use for why software should not be must not apply to those other parts (otherwise, your argument is non-sensical).

That software is not mechanical is such an argument. But why does that matter? If by mechanical, you mean the solid stuff, well the oil isn't that either. That's seems a strangely arbitrary argument.

As for complexity, the car in its entirety may well be just as complex as the software (excluding the software). The car in its entirety certainly must be least as complex as the software, so the extension of your argument to the car would mean that /no/ component of it should be serviceable or modifiable.

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 9, 2012 15:12 UTC (Thu) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

> If you accept that the parts of a car must be serviceable by arbitrary 3rd parties, then the software must be.

I accept that car parts must be serviceable, but I do not expect software of embedded parts to be arbitrarily serviceable.

> Otherwise, you must argue only /some/ parts should, and/or some not.

Which was exactly what I was saying.

> In which case, the argument you use for why software should not be must not apply to those other parts (otherwise, your argument is non-sensical).

My position is that software of an embedded "head unit" (weird term) is fundamentally different from "car parts". So I really don't see why the serviceability requirement of car parts would be, by default, valid for it.

From my perspective, it is up to you to make a case for the need to service such parts...

> As for complexity, the car in its entirety may well be just as complex as the software (excluding the software). The car in its entirety certainly must be least as complex as the software, so the extension of your argument to the car would mean that /no/ component of it should be serviceable or modifiable.

I really do not buy any this. How many millions of lines of code are we talking about in the Linux kernel? How often that code changes?

How often do you hear about serious engineering SNAFUs relating to new released cars or car's mechanical parts? How often you get that with new software releases? Surely, if the complexity and rate of changes is comparable it would somehow in the same ball park? (not saying that cars don't get recalled for bad parts, just saying that SNAFU frequency is a /lot/ lower).

Car parts are serviceable because they have an extraordinary level of well designed specifications, specifications which are designed for future compatibility and maintenance, and all things considered, those parts do not change that much from one year to another. Compare that to software change rates.

The same countries that made car part serviceability a legal requirement, also made an engineer's license or degree a requirement to design such parts. Do we have anything like that in software 'engineering'?

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 10, 2012 0:41 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> The same countries that made car part serviceability a legal requirement, also made an engineer's license or degree a requirement to design such parts.

No they didn't. Anyone can create a car part and put it on their car.

There are a small handful of exceptions where the components are supposed to be government approved (headlights and tires are two examples), but in practice this requirement is generally even more ignored than the speed limits.

If you have a suitably equipped garage, you can build the entire vehicle from piles of metal.

There is not degree or engineers license required to do this.

Now, when you start selling parts to other people, there are more requirements.

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 10, 2012 2:23 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

That actually depends on a country. In Russia it's technically unlawful even to replace the built-in stereo because the combination technically loses its certified status.

GENIVI: moving an industry to open source

Posted Aug 10, 2012 2:30 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> Replace "software" in this statement with "parts", and "head unit" with "car" to see how ridiculous this statement is.

The car manufacturers tried to make exactly this same claim several years ago regarding parts, and they lost that battle so badly that the practice was made illegal.

I wonder is the same laws could be applied to the digital "parts" of the car?


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