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RIM Unveils New OS Based On QNX

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the reinventing-the-reinvented-wheel dept.

Blackberry 262

New submitter HommeDeJava writes "Research In Motion unveiled a new operating system for its tablet and smartphones at the company's BlackBerry developer conference in San Francisco. Called BlackBerry BBX, the new OS combines features of the existing BlackBerry OS and its recently acquired real-time QNX OS. Could BBX attract software developers and spur interest from consumers?"

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I think... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37755912)

...not.

As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ball (4, Insightful)

LWolenczak (10527) | about 3 years ago | (#37755920)

I already know the future. Fail, of the epic kind.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (5, Insightful)

whistl (234824) | about 3 years ago | (#37756004)

I agree. Too little, too late. It'll take years for them to turn things around, and they just don't have the time.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#37756804)

Bimbo Newton Crosby, RIM is a corpse. If this would have happened five or even three years ago? they may have had a shot. but the ship has done sailed and from the looks of it the final tally will be Apple #1 with Android trading spots with iOS from time to time, so iOS and Android own 1 and 2, and MSFT buying their way into third place but not having a prayer of taking #2 much less the coveted #1 spot.

With mobile there is always a chance of something coming from out of left field, after all who would have thought 6 years ago that Android would suddenly explode, but RIM just doesn't have it. They don't have the hardware, the designs, nor the buzz, and even the CxO types are all running around playing with their iPhones and HTC Androids, its over. I just wonder who will buy them out for the IP, MSFT or Google? Maybe Samsung?

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (2)

certain death (947081) | about 3 years ago | (#37757162)

It happens every couple of years. Go do a google search and you will see. They are as bad as Apple, it don't matter how bad they fuck up, people forget and go back to thumb typing.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37757038)

I agree. Too little, too late. It'll take years for them to turn things around, and they just don't have the time.

Would you say it's a race against time? I love those.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756078)

I thought this was going to be a cut and paste of the BSD is dying usenet message from the 1990s.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (2)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#37756092)

they could simply port the encryption and infrastructure to Android... I still believe they make awesome hardware and it's a shame to see it go to waste because of the same mistake done over and over and over again :\

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756818)

Honestly I'm not a fan of android. And why would a company want to be dependent on another company (Google) for all their profits? Seems like a stupid idea if you ask me.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 3 years ago | (#37756894)

Given the legal challenges to Android right now, I would imagine they don't want to put all of their eggs in one basket. I can't blame them. It could turn into a win if the OS is well accepted. The game isn't over till it's over. If anyone in recent history has taught us that, it's Apple.

Android popped up in a smartphone market ruled by iOS and is now a huge player. RIM could pull the same move, although the OS won't be available for free, it could gain them needed traction in a market that is quickly slipping away. RIM still has a sizable corporate advantage that isn't completely burned yet.

Should be interesting to see how things develop over the next few months.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37756208)

I already know the future. Fail, of the epic kind.

I prefer fail of the EEPROM kind.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37756252)

The sort of fail that can be totally erased by 30 minutes of hard UV is sadly rare these days...

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37756432)

That's the EPROM. EEPROMs are Electrically Erasable.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 3 years ago | (#37756310)

Agreed.

I own a BB and a Playbook. The Playbook, BTW, i bought at 50% off with bonus accessories.

The BB is good as a cell phone. But OS 6 release (i upgraded my phone), has been crap. Some stuff is major improvement like faster browser but there are many bugs. Since I'm regrettably on contract, I'm considering buying an iPhone 3 and using that instead.

As for the Playbook, its got a really nice screen, responsive, good feel. And thats about it. I'm using it as an ebook reader - I read a lot of PDFs and the eink readers are too slow. The Acrobat reader its bundled with is utter shit. And there are so few 3rd party apps, I'm really hoping BB does an Android compatability. I like using it even with the crappy ebook reader (I know there's the Nook app) and I'm optimistic new releases of OS improves things.

And I feel for the BB and Playbook devs. Probably low sales volumes = high price for app. But seriously, most apps are $30+ in the BBWorld store. Ugh.!

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 3 years ago | (#37756506)

The BB is good as a cell phone. But OS 6 release (i upgraded my phone), has been crap. Some stuff is major improvement like faster browser but there are many bugs. Since I'm regrettably on contract, I'm considering buying an iPhone 3 and using that instead.

I have a BB Bold, which I agree is a good phone. Haven't gone to OS6. Has RIM figured out that people actually send html mail? As for the Playbook, I looked for one when they first cam out, but couldn't find a single working demo anywhere they were sold, so I gave up. I'd say RIM is toast.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 years ago | (#37757140)

BB is still entrenched in Corporate America. There's massive inertia there.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (3, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | about 3 years ago | (#37757404)

BB is still entrenched in Corporate America. There's massive inertia there.

Oh yeah? Is that why RIM's morning general session at its conference had a heavy emphasis on games? [infoworld.com] From what I can tell, the most recent BlackBerry hardware has been targeted squarely at the teenage/college student market. Apparently BlackBerry Instant Messaging is more popular than SMS in some parts of the UK and Europe. Meanwhile, white collar workers have increasingly been demanding to use their own devices in the workplace; The Economist even did a special report on the trend a week or so ago. You think the general public is buying up BlackBerrys? Nope. It's iPhones they want to use in the office, and once it's the C-level execs asking for it, the IT department won't have much choice but to allow it. Get rid of the BES lock-in and it's game over for RIM.

Re:As a blackberry user, I don't need a crystal ba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37757396)

I already know the future. Fail, of the epic kind.

I love my slashdot peeps! It WILL be a fail of epic kind, it is already happening rapidly! Europe will be last to see fall

If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Android (0)

sethstorm (512897) | about 3 years ago | (#37755932)

You might get some developers if it remains more open than their competitors. The less roadblocks to writing apps for it, the better.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756010)

Yes, openness is clearly the reason that Apple's app store has floundered.

Wait wat

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756042)

You have no clue. What developers care most about is how much profit is there to make.

RIM builds a failing platform, and an acquisition won't change that, nor does your 'openness' - the only thing who can change that are consumers, and they care about UX, not features.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37756086)

You have no clue. What developers care most about is how much profit is there to make.

RIM builds a failing platform, and an acquisition won't change that, nor does your 'openness' - the only thing who can change that are consumers, and they care about UX, not features.

But give it one thing that it does well, that people like and they remain with a seat in the big game. Otherwise they are as doomed as Nokia.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (2)

laird (2705) | about 3 years ago | (#37757286)

I agree that what developers (companies, not always individuals) care most about is being able to make a profit on their investment. And on that front iOS wins, because they provide the best app store, and have trained millions of users to pay for software.

This is as distinct from the Android store, which is not as good, and which sells far less software per person.

But a close second (first for many individuals) is how easy it is to write software for the platform. As an extreme example, iOS is very easy to write good software for, because the APIs are rich and consistent. So even when the platform was new and the market was tiny, developers liked writing for the iPhone because it was fun and easy. This is not true of anything RIM has produced.

Though I have some hope. QNX used to be a great little OS, and perhaps it's still cool and fun, as well as stable and efficient. Even if it's in a RIM product.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 3 years ago | (#37756836)

I care about RX damn it. They're the only scripts I run.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (0)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#37756104)

Programming for the playbook was a nightmare. Where are you coming from with this?

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (4, Interesting)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 3 years ago | (#37756112)

Seems to me that that's really the only way to get in the game at this point--make things as easy as possible for developers. Free SDK, free publishing license, and higher payouts for devs. Hopefully RIM has learned a lot from these days [jamiemurai.com] (and if you read the followups, it looks like they're making an effort).

Though I've never owned or really even used a Blackberry device, I do wish them well, just like I wish Microsoft well. I don't want the only players to be Google and Apple anymore than I wanted the only players to be RIM and Microsoft. We could use more honest competition in this space.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756384)

Seems to me that that's really the only way to get in the game at this point--make things as easy as possible for developers. Free SDK,

Ummm, RIM has always done that. They also let you download free blackberry device emulators so you can test with many different devices.

free publishing license,

RIM has never restricted how you sell your applications. Blackberry applications have been around long before Jobs even thought of making a phone.

and higher payouts for devs.

Ahh, now the problem appears - you don't like Blackberry App World, RIM's app marketplace. Apps in the blackberry ecosystem are so different from Apple/Android that you need to stop & think.

RIM has no restrictions on how YOU sell your apps. You can put the files (.cod and .alx) on any webserver in the world and let people download & install your app.

Unlike Apple, blackberry applications have never been a closed shop. RIM has never restricted what your app can do (except for a couple sensitive APIs that require you to register, get a certificate & sign your app).

You can sell your app on your website, someone else's website, or a third-party app store.

If and only if you want to sell your app through App World, then RIM takes a cut.

But if you don't like App World, feel free to sell your app any other way you choose. Blackberry users can install your app without jailbreaking their device into an unsupported configuration.

Now, the one best thing Apple did was to get your billing information FIRST so that Apple can bill your mobile account for apps. RIM gets your billing info after.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37757048)

RIM has no restrictions on how YOU sell your apps. You can put the files (.cod and .alx) on any webserver in the world and let people download & install your app.
Unlike Apple, blackberry applications have never been a closed shop.

A one stop shop results in more app sales.

Now, the one best thing Apple did was to get your billing information FIRST so that Apple can bill your mobile account for apps.

They don't bill it to a mobile account. Apple get a credit card number and charge apps, songs, movies, whatever to that.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 3 years ago | (#37757384)

Or an iTunes gift card.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37756488)

Apple pays 70%.
Suppose RIM were ultra generous and paid 100%.

So long as I sell 43% more on the Apple platform, I'm still making more money.

Put it another way, I'd have to sell 70% of my iPhone sales on the RIM before I made as much.

Ain't going to happen.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756786)

Apple pays 70%. Suppose RIM were ultra generous and paid 100%.

So long as I sell 43% more on the Apple platform, I'm still making more money.

Put it another way, I'd have to sell 70% of my iPhone sales on the RIM before I made as much.

Ain't going to happen.

oh right, well i guess you're just one of those 'can't win, don't try' people. What you fail to understand is that the blackberry is not trying to directly compete with the iphone, the focus of it - primarily BIS/BES services which is completely different to how other smartphones work - is not targeted at the average smartphone customer, like the iphone is, it's for corporate customers that have different needs, which generally isn't so much in ifart and angry birds. I'm sure you've got some rubbish anecdotal evidence, but do you actually have any statistics on corporate use of the iphone vs BB? Because you'll see your comparison of the platforms is stupid.

ACs don't bother. You're filtered. I don't even know you're there.

too bad you don't get to see your idiocy pointed out to you then, everyone else can though :P

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 years ago | (#37756952)

That's assuming you develop apps that are exclusive to one or the other. What if RIM had compilation software that could read 90% of your iOS files untouched?

100% Pure Java (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37757324)

What if RIM had compilation software that could read 90% of your iOS files untouched?

That'd be a change. The last time I looked into BlackBerry, everything had to be in 100% Pure Java or in another language that compiles to JVM bytecode. And I don't think Objective-C is one of those languages.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

laird (2705) | about 3 years ago | (#37757342)

Good point.

To elaborate, people tend to own only one phone, so in terms of app sales each phone's market is a separate market, which you would independently decide whether to sell into. That is, you're not choosing either to sell into Apple or RIMs market, you're choosing each one independently. If you can sell enough to be profitable as an iOS app, you will do that, and (assuming you have the resources) if you can sell enough to be profitable as a RIM app, you will do that. And so on for each mobile OS. The equation of whether you can sell enough to be profitable is complex, involving the total installed base, the buying behavior, the market share that you think you can get, and the distribution costs. So, for example, Apple's 30% margin means that you'd have to sell more. Or (to make up a hypothetical) if RIM is harder to develop for that'll raise development costs, meaning that you have to sell more to be profitable. And WebOS' market is tiny, so nothing could justify investing effort (except as a hobby). The extreme case is BREW, which was at one point the mobile platform with the largest installed base, but the development tools and licensing terms were so amazingly bad that there were almost no BREW apps.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 3 years ago | (#37757240)

I'm assuming RIM isn't completely clueless and doesn't require developers to only give exclusive apps.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

Nimloth (704789) | about 3 years ago | (#37757244)

Who says you can't dev for both?
You can write Flex apps that are compatible with iOS, Android and Playbook all at once. Even if you don't like Air or Flex, you can use HTML5 for your iOS app and port to WebWorks for Playbook and BlackBerry.

How much overhead per year? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37757310)

So long as I sell 43% more on the Apple platform, I'm still making more money.

In the lower (that is, hobby and portfolio-building) sales bracket, that also depends on how much it costs to keep your developer certificate renewed. On iOS, that's an overhead of $250 per year: $100 per year for the iOS Developer Program and an estimated $600 for a new Mac every few years to run the new version of Xcode that is required to target new devices but isn't compatible with your older Mac. How much does RIM charge per year for access to the SDK, access to run homemade apps on a device, and publishing on App World?

Re:How much overhead per year? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 3 years ago | (#37757406)

I haven't upgraded to Xcode 4.2 yet, but I fully expect to be running it on my 6 year old Macbook. You're free to upgrade hardware if you like, but only an anti-Apple bigot would claim it mandatory.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37757376)

HaHa!

13% of Blackberry developers on AppWorld make more than $100,000/year.

In contrast, only 1% of Apple developers make over $1,000

For the informed developer, the choice is pretty obvious.

The Apple shills don't get it. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 3 years ago | (#37756284)

The less roadblocks you have to development, the faster that cash comes in.

Actually its all about customers ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37756364)

The less roadblocks you have to development, the faster that cash comes in.

Actually its the more customers you have. The hardware/platform that developers target is chosen by the customers, not the developer's convenience and preferences.

That said, what roadblocks to develop for iOS? A Mac, a device and $99 a year to publish on the app store? To be honest that is an extremely low barrier to entry.

1250 USD is a lot of money (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37757382)

That said, what roadblocks to develop for iOS? A Mac, a device and $99 a year to publish on the app store? To be honest that is an extremely low barrier to entry.

For students who have trouble paying for college, 1250 USD (Mac + iPT + certificate) is a lot of money. For people living in countries with undervalued currencies compared to the USD [wikipedia.org] , 1250 USD is a lot of money. And I haven't been able to find one way or another whether high school students under age 18 are eligible.

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#37756370)

The less roadblocks you have to development, the faster that cash comes in.

Apple are resting on their laurels. They've done good and have come out of nowhere to dominate the market ... but Android is still outselling them. Wow. 4 million iPhone 4S sold .. who's willing to bet that will be a significant number of the total sales?

If Apple had complete faith in their product they wouldn't be trying to hamstring Samsung and Android. iPhones and iPads are cool and sexy today, that's no guarantee of future success. Ask Sony/Ericsson and Nokia, both headed for the bin heap of commodity mobile phone makers.

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756600)

Wow. 4 million iPhone 4S sold .. who's willing to bet that will be a significant number of the total sales?

Considering the following:

- Apple just reported that it sold 17.1M iPhones last year
- The iPhone 4S is only currently available in 7 countries
- The iPhone 4S is currently backordered for 2 weeks
- The iPhones 4S will be available in 70 countries by the end of the year
- Apple just reported that it has sold 250M iOS devices to date (since June 2007) on Oct 18, 2011 == 52 months == 4.8M iOS devices / month
- Google claimed to have activated 100M devices to date (since Sept 2008) on May 10, 2011 == 42 months == 2.4M Android devices / month

I will bet you that it will NOT be a significant number of total sales.

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756980)

There is a slight correction.

Apple just reported that it sold 17.1M iPhones last quarter.

And that figure does not include the 4s.

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (2)

LordRobin (983231) | about 3 years ago | (#37756624)

Wow. 4 million iPhone 4S sold .. who's willing to bet that will be a significant number of the total sales?

Considering that Apple sold over 13 million of the old iPhones in just the last three months, I'll take that bet

If Apple had complete faith in their product they wouldn't be trying to hamstring Samsung and Android.

Absolutely. Because when you have complete faith in your product, you don't care if someone tries to rip it off. It's times like this I wish Slashdot had a :rolleyes: emoticon.

------RM

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 3 years ago | (#37756640)

Apple are resting on their laurels. They've done good and have come out of nowhere to dominate the market ... but Android is still outselling them. Wow. 4 million iPhone 4S sold .. who's willing to bet that will be a significant number of the total sales?

Yes, because a profit seeking entity making 66% of all mobile phone profit worldwide is "failing".

http://www.asymco.com/2011/07/29/apple-captured-two-thirds-of-available-mobile-phone-profits-in-q2/ [asymco.com]

And before you reply with the usual slashdot retort about developers caring about market share.....

http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/21/861-5-percent-growth-android-puny/ [techcrunch.com]

Just so I can avoid the other usual retort about "why would fanbois be proud of the fact that they are spending more on iPhones than Android phones". In the U.S., I pay $200 for a $699 iPhone. An Android user pays $200 for a $500 phone. I don't care that the carrier pays a larger subsidy to Apple. My bill is the same every month,

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37756766)

Wow. What reality are you in? It sure isn't this one!

You have no clue at all.

Android devices are doing remarkably well, and I welcome that, but my goodness you're wide of the mark on Apple's prospects and endeavour.

Re:The Apple shills don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756782)

The less roadblocks

Fewer, not less, you moron.

Re:If it's not as closed as iOS/(locked down)Andro (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 years ago | (#37756758)

The source code for QNX used to be available under a view-only type license. It was interesting to look at, not just another unix clone. Around the time of the blackberry acquisition, the source got pulled (I don't recall if it was BB or QNX that pulled it), but that should tell you everything you want to know about them being open. [side note -- anybody have a backup copy of the code?]

good enough for nuclear reactors (4, Insightful)

Jadware (1081293) | about 3 years ago | (#37755954)

sounds like an industrial strength, secure platform that might actually be adopted by governments, enterprise companies, medical, etc. not sure how it will be marketed to education and gaming though, except by showing nice 3d framerates

Re:good enough for nuclear reactors (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 3 years ago | (#37756046)

You shouldn't have been rated down, but yeah I don't see this being a negative. With all the professional users of blackberry phones, their tablet's almost assured a user base.

MOD ABUSE above (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37756308)

good enough for nuclear reactors ... sounds like an industrial strength, secure platform that might actually be adopted by governments, enterprise companies, medical, etc. not sure how it will be marketed to education and gaming though, except by showing nice 3d framerates

Seriously, how is this modded -1? QNX is all about special purpose dedicated applications. If the military needed a specialized tablet QNX may very well be the OS of choice, perhaps RIM the supplier. Likely, no. Plausible, yes. Similar story for specialized tablets for medical use, say something rated to be used in an operating room (note that this is more about the hardware than software, an iPad probably can't be sterilized without inadvertently destroying the electronics) to control equipment, display data, etc. Again, likely, no - GE or Siemens would probably license QNX and do the hardware themselves. Plausible, yes.

oh QNX (2)

ThorGod (456163) | about 3 years ago | (#37755980)

I last booted QNX something like 10 years ago...back then it was realtime, unix based (I think?), and relatively promising. I remember it was even more responsive than Linux (which was was more responsive than Windows).

The software, called BlackBerry BBX, bridges RIM’s current BlackBerry operating system and its newer QNX platform, co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis said today. That should remove developer “roadblocks” and make it easier for them to build applications for RIM. Lazaridis didn’t say when the new BBX program will be available

Anyone have experience programming for QNX? If it's "just another unix" shouldn't porting to it be straightforward?

If you like ASM sure (1, Informative)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 3 years ago | (#37756064)

The entire OS is written in assembly along with the applications. So if thats your thing then go for it.

Re:If you like ASM sure (3, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | about 3 years ago | (#37756244)

Sounds incredibly unlikely, considering it's ported to ARM, MIPS, PPC, i386, etc.

Re:If you like ASM sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37757152)

The entire OS is written in assembly along with the applications. So if thats your thing then go for it.

QNX is written in C. I've seen the source code.

gcc is now the official compiler, so you can write C or C++.

There was a JRE. The one I've used was rather hopelessly out of date. Not sure if they've updated that or not.

QNX supports cross-platform development. You can use Windows or Linux as your host OS and develop code for QNX. I use VMware Workstation to run my QNX code, using a QNX-modified version of Eclipse running on Windows to host the debugger. The Windows-hosted debugger controls the QNX app running on Workstation.

I've not kept up with the latest developments since the RIM acquisition. They may have even better development tools available by now.

Vaguely Unixy, Tiny Microkernel, Fast (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#37757408)

Yeah, it's been a decade or two since I've seen QNX too. It was a real-time OS with a message-passing microkernel that was only 4KB, which meant that it could be running on-chip in cache (assuming the cache didn't have better things to do, which it probably did, but 4-8KB was a typical cache size for a processor back then.)

Re:oh QNX (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37756072)

The big question is not the core POSIX APIs, but how you do UI, high-level networking and so on.

For UI, QNX has Photon, but I very much doubt that it's what they'll use in this thing; and even if they do, they'll likely wrap it in something higher-level (it's vanilla C).

QNX is not another unix implementation (5, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37756140)

I last booted QNX something like 10 years ago...back then it was realtime, unix based (I think?), and relatively promising. I remember it was even more responsive than Linux (which was was more responsive than Windows) ... Anyone have experience programming for QNX? If it's "just another unix" shouldn't porting to it be straightforward?

QNX is a real-time operating system. For programmer convenience some things are unix-like. However unlike Linux and other unix implementations QNX is a *hard* real-time OS, you are guaranteed that things will happen within certain timeframes. QNX is targeting embedded environments, in particular environments that require incredible reliability - for example military and aerospace. QNX is exactly the sort of thing you use when you are building a mars rover.

Re:QNX is not another unix implementation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756518)

or, you know, a phone that's gonna have to exist in a vacuum.

Re:QNX is not another unix implementation (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756564)

Except, of course, the Mars Rovers used VxWorks. :-) (Another hard real-time embedded OS which is used quite a bit more than QNX.)

Re:QNX is not another unix implementation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37757076)

VxWorks is used more but it's not based on reliability but rather that VxWorks is a smaller and more compact. QNX simply needs more ram.

I disagree (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#37756580)

QNX is distributed, network aware implementation of POSIX APIs on top of a rather unique realtime kernel.

But it is a unix-based system, with most of the GPL tools cross-compiled. Your command line doesn't change much, if at all. The QNX GUI (if it survived the merger with Blackberry tech) is tight, slick, low-profile interface. Very responive.

Personally I'm interested in developing for any one platform, so I focus on Java 6 JEE based services that will eventually provide for HTML5 web interfaces to those distributed server clusters. There are far too many platforms in the smart phone and tablet markets to pick and choose, but they can all deal with HTML.

Re:I disagree (2)

the linux geek (799780) | about 3 years ago | (#37757248)

It's not UNIX-based. It has a degree of UNIX compatibility and a UNIX-like shell, but that's not the same thing.

Re:QNX is not another unix implementation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756950)

they actually used linux on the mars rovers instead.

Re:oh QNX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756212)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/03/06/15/1730232/qnx-when-an-os-really-really-has-to-work

Re:oh QNX (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756306)

It's not Unix. QNX was an RTOS (an industrial one at that) before RIM got their grubby hands on it. POSIX, yes- but certainly not Unix.

The one thing QNX was really good at- being stable, secure, and real time- RIM has totally decimated. Have you ever seen a Playbook boot? I'll give you a hint- QNX used to boot in 1/20th of the time on a Pentium 3/500mhz back in the day.

RIM's ARM port of QNX is about the most fucked up thing I've ever encountered. It's a shame, too- because QNX and the development IDE (Neutrino) used to be really cool (which is shocking, considering how messed up the Playbook SDK is). Photon was a great window manager/graphical user environment, but RIM even threw that away and bolted on their own piece of crap.

I'm not an Android fan at all. But I would take Android over QNX anyday. They messed it up *that* badly.

-AC

Re:oh QNX (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 3 years ago | (#37756802)

I last booted QNX something like 10 years ago...back then it was realtime, unix based (I think?), and relatively promising. I remember it was even more responsive than Linux (which was was more responsive than Windows).

The software, called BlackBerry BBX, bridges RIM’s current BlackBerry operating system and its newer QNX platform, co-Chief Executive Officer Mike Lazaridis said today. That should remove developer “roadblocks” and make it easier for them to build applications for RIM. Lazaridis didn’t say when the new BBX program will be available

Anyone have experience programming for QNX? If it's "just another unix" shouldn't porting to it be straightforward?

Yes and no, it's a no obfuscated obtuse set of APIs to program against. We can't even get stuff that worked in QNX 5 to compile under QNX 6. Two years ago one of teams decided to upgrade an existing system that ran QNX 5 and some proprietary hardware. They just planned an OS upgrade to QNX6 and swapping a few of the specialty cards out. It still doesn't work two years later. We could have ported the code over to Linux and been done a year ago. It really didn't help that mid-stream they got bought out and they started demanding money for support and licenses.

If RIM wants something stable, fast, and compiles fairly small then perhaps QNX is the way to go. They certainly won't get any outside developers to write software for them.

Re:oh QNX (1)

spaanoft (153535) | about 3 years ago | (#37757184)

I'm assuming you weren't very close to the project, seeing as there is no QNX 5.

Assuming the code was actually from QNX 4, I don't know why you expected it to be a simple recompile. QNX 6 was a completely new operating system rewritten from the ground up. Just imagine getting your old Mac OS9 programs to compile for OSX.

Re:oh QNX (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 3 years ago | (#37757258)

I'm assuming you weren't very close to the project, seeing as there is no QNX 5.

Assuming the code was actually from QNX 4, I don't know why you expected it to be a simple recompile. QNX 6 was a completely new operating system rewritten from the ground up. Just imagine getting your old Mac OS9 programs to compile for OSX.

You're right, I think it was QNX4. I try to distance myself from that project given how over budget and way past schedule they are, but I keep getting asked to help with basic problems like networking. They really got in over their heads with the assumption that they could just upgrade QNX. I think they were envisioning more of a Windows 2000 to XP kind of upgrade. It didn't help that vendors kept claiming they had drivers for the hardware - the team wasted lots of time re-writing and debugging drivers instead porting the actual software.

Why Not Android Already? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37755990)

If RIM is going to switch OSes, why wouldn't they go with Android? Cheaper to obtain and support, far larger app and developer base, easier to market it than "QNX? What's that?", bigger security community.

RIM is just trying to protect its "different" status, despite the actual cost/benefit.

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

mikerubin (449692) | about 3 years ago | (#37756060)

how much would they have to pay Microsoft for each device?
or have I gotten my recent history wrong?

Re:Why Not Android Already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756120)

The same amount you would have to pay for a QNX device...

Or were you implying that QNX would avoid patent trolls/wars somehow if successful?

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 3 years ago | (#37756200)

I'm quite sure that the patents Microsoft owns are already needed by RIM (they most likely have a licensing agreement where they share patents). Switching OS's would make little difference on how much they have to pay Microsoft.

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 3 years ago | (#37756348)

considering how long RIM has been in this game they probably have enough patents to make MS apple and samsung brown their trousers

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

loftwyr (36717) | about 3 years ago | (#37756076)

I have a feeling that they're following Palm down the long winding road of obsolescence. A Unix OS that isn't compatible with either of the two main players.

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#37756178)

Because they're really really REALLY fucking stupid. That's why.

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

getNewNickName (980625) | about 3 years ago | (#37756776)

Probably because they didn't want to be viewed as just another Android handset; they wanted to have some differentiating factor. Unfortunately they don't have the talent pool to pull-off such an ambitious undertaking.

Re:Why Not Android Already? (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 years ago | (#37756978)

This argument shows up here all the time, and it's lame as hell.

When Ford was doing alright, why didn't GM and Chrysler just sell CKD fords? They'd have done better, in the short term at least.

When Apple came into the game, symbian was number one by a long long stretch. Why didn't they just paste an apple logo onto a Nokia phone?

If you go to android, you're just another commodity manufacturer. You can make money that way, sure, but when you hit it right, with your own design, the thing prints money.

That said, I still use an ancient nokia because I can't stand touch as primary input, and I like not having to charge my phone daily.

Comeback Kid (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 3 years ago | (#37756036)

It sure seems like RIM is thrashing around looking for a path forward. Apple seemed to suffer from the same thing, limping along with an OS that lacked basic features like memory protection and preemptive multitasking until 2001, but look at them now.

Are RIM users loyal enough to wait out the problem years?

Re:Comeback Kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756204)

Yes, apple did and are using a unix operating system under the hood ie Darwin

Re:Comeback Kid (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37756234)

Apple had a game plan back in 1997 when they got NeXT and with it, Steve Jobs. At first Steve Jobs was only supposed to be there consulting on how to integrate NeXT into Apple. What he saw was that Apple lacked more than an upgraded OS; they lacked focus and execution. Jobs convinced the board that to oust the current CEO. Now mind you, it took 4 years for Apple to incorporate NeXT technology into OS X but the overall plan was started under the former CEO Gil Amelio. I don't believe that Amelio, however, could have done it. He was better at cost cutting than long term vision.

Re:Comeback Kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756956)

Apple seemed to suffer from the same thing, limping along with an OS that lacked basic features like memory protection and preemptive multitasking until 2001, but look at them now.

It still barely has basic multitasking...

RIM's circling the drain (-1, Flamebait)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 3 years ago | (#37756048)

Jumping OS ships like this...it's a sign of desperation. They can barely drum up support and developer interest for what they have now...a shot in the dark like this won't stand to instill much confidence. Nothing like an obscure OS on a dying platform to get things going again.

Re:RIM's circling the drain (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37756250)

No, the current Blackberry OS is very outdated. The problem for RIMM was that they should changed the OS years ago because all their competitors have a few years head start on them.

QNX was dead 5 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756058)

... it most certainly is more death than ever... it wasn't even suited any more as an embedded platform,... let alone a multitasking, internet-safe, gamechanger - haha :)

Short answer (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 3 years ago | (#37756106)

No. No one wants to program applications that will only be seen by enterprise maybe kinda & the smallest niche of hipsters that close themselves off from the world by using BBM.

Well... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37756122)

Is there a pool of developers out there, saying to themselves, "I'd totally develop for blackberry; but their kernel is t37 suxxor!"?

If, by some strange chance, the answer is yes, then yes, they should come flocking.

Otherwise, their fortunes will likely continue to depend on how pleasant their systems are to develop for, and how many devices capable of running applications are in the hands of users interested in buying them...

By all accounts, QNX is an accomplished OS; but it doesn't(in itself) solve the direst of problems with RIM's 3rd party dev efforts, which are not so much kernel limitations as user environment, dev tool, and API ones. If RIM can outperform its historical self in those areas, good for them. Otherwise, this "BBX" is going to offer the delightful choice of the same old blackberry crap, or Adobe Flash running like a wounded fainting goat [wikipedia.org] on some flavor of ARM SoC; but with a rock-solid foundation...

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756436)

Actually, our "pool" of BlackBerry developers pretty much universally agree that their development tools are crap, their application signing model is crap, their "app store" is crap, the end-user application experience is crap, and their network infrastructure is crap. So I'd say that developers are likely to continue fleeing BlackBerry, mostly because any moderately competent developer cannot stand to work with the platform.

Re:Well... (1)

the linux geek (799780) | about 3 years ago | (#37757264)

RIM has said that it will primarily use native code and existing open-source libraries. Doesn't sound so bad.

QNX Neutrino (4, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 3 years ago | (#37756170)

QNX is probably the best operating system ever. If properly utilized, I could see Blackberry overpowering all other mobile phone manufacturers. I ran it on my main computer a long time ago, and it was one of the best computing experiences I have ever had. If it were F/OSS, I would use it for much more.

Re:QNX Neutrino (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756278)

By being an RTOS it takes care of a lot of problems with the clash between cell phone protocols that need to work in real time and the apps which don't. If this greatly reduces the complexity (and cost) of whatever chipset they use (don't know, don't care) then this can reduce their cost by moving almost everything onto one die. What would be fucking awesome is if this turns their cellphone into an SDR and now your (fucking) verizon blackberry can wake up with a GSM'ish sim in it and wokr in europe, or vice versa.

Re:QNX Neutrino (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | about 3 years ago | (#37757160)

If properly utilized, I could see Blackberry overpowering all other mobile phone manufacturers.

I have a feeling, based on this blog entry from an attempted Playbook developer [jamiemurai.com] that unfortunately it's not going to be "properly utilized".

Re:QNX Neutrino (2)

zixxt (1547061) | about 3 years ago | (#37757172)

QNX was a fast and fun OS when I ran it back around 2002/2003 but damn it was buggy and unstable mess, I could crash by playing a mp3 or make the file system do a little bit of work. It sucked on my desktop.

Fond memories... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756396)

I used QNX back in the late 80's. The company I worked for used it as a real time OS for laser show controllers. We replaced it with DOS, which was much easier to deal with for hardware access.

too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756604)

Too late. We switched as many BB users as possible to iPhones this week. The rest will be switched as their contracts come due.

Too late for them (1)

gcfreaky17 (1197615) | about 3 years ago | (#37756828)

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Gee I wonder what Basis International will think ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37756884)

Considering they are the owner of the trademark BBX!!

Basis have produced their version of Business Basic called BBX since the late 80's. The RIM suits really should run things by their techie's before they run with it.

QNX - schmoo n x (1)

cslewis2007 (1120851) | about 3 years ago | (#37756966)

Who needs another operating system? RIM had a great run. Even if QNX is the best OS ever (until the next best OS ever), it doesn't change the fact that RIM's infrastructure is proven-ably unscalable and has not evolved. It's too bad, but that's the reality. Who knows what the the next quarter will bring, but I bet that the playbook will be resigned to the dust bin of technology. There is no way, no way, that RIM can supplant the iPad or the Android tablets.
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