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Java, anyone?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

"What is the deal with COTS components in mil-aero embedded software?" Sorry to wax nostalgic there, with my spot-on impression of Jerry Seinfeld ... My likely feeble attempt at humor aside, I do have a valid question or two about the use of open-source code and software components in military and aerospace applications.

I talk to a great deal of industry pundits, and conflicting viewpoints abound with regard to commercial components (including open-source code and Java, C, and C++ programming languages, as examples) in mil-aero software solutions.

Some say the use of Java and open source in mil-aero applications is widespread. Others say both are not accepted in mil-aero projects. Some say no open source code, especially of questionable origin, should be used in mil-aero. Open source proponents profess the time and cost savings, the expanded feature sets, and the community of thousands upon thousands of developers and programmers constantly working on and improving software components. Some believe Ada is the only way to go, others rely on Java and look forward to the upcoming release of a secure version.

What say you?

I invite you to share your input, insights, comments, questions, and experiences -- here, in our forum. If you'll be at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum in San Diego next week, perhaps we can discuss it over some java (pun intended).

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.