VxWorks can be better choice sometimes (architecture unsupported by QNX
or MMU-less CPU with very limited resource). But for architectures well
supported by QNX (x86 and PPC especially) it does not make sense, except
when you have VERY large volume of very cheap devices (you pay per
project but no runtime royalties).
This is not quite true, Igor. The business case on VxWorks almost never
works if someone actually sits down and does the comparison. These guys are
gouging on an unprecendented scale.
VxWorks costs in multiple ways. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that
you wanted to build a single new project, that you had 3 engineers, that
your targeted OS was VxWorks AE (it, at least attempts to provide some
memory protection – never mind all the other excellent points that Rennie
makes below), and that you wanted to use the Tornado Power Professional
Toolset. According to Wind River’s May price list, your costs would be…
3*$8,995 for the developer seats
3*$1,529 for the annual maintenance cost on those developer seats
$22,500 for the project license for VxWorks AE
That’s a little over $54,000 to get started. Then, if you need basics like a
TCP/IP stack, or GUI interface, or USB support (YES!) there are fees of
$10’s of thousands of dollars for each of these on a per project basis.
Even if you were to choose Tornado basic, you would still be looking at a
minimum startup cost of $36,000 for a three person project, before you
started in on such optional extras like TCP/IP.
Finally, depending on the volumes of runtimes you are selling, your fees
range from as high as $1500 per unit down to the $1 to $2 unit in the
millions of units.
Comparitively, the QNX dev seat costs you $3,995, the basic support (which
includes annual maintenance) is $1,000, there are no project licenses, the
runtimes are similarly priced in high volumes, and much much lower priced in
low and medium volumes. The QNX startup costs for the same projects would
be less than half – under $15,000 – and you wouldn’t be paying extra for
stuff like GUI’s, IP stacks, USB support etc etc etc.
Alec Saunders (email@example.com)
VP Marketing, QNX Software Systems Limited