Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nice in Nice

Last week I replaced Susan Schwarze (ProSyst) as a panel member at Net at Home. Due to all the Enterprise related work in the OSGi Alliance, there has been very little time to follow to what are undeniably the roots of the OSGi.

When the OSGi Alliance got started, now more than 10 years ago, it had 100% focus on the residential gateway. In those days I visited lots of conferences, trying to sell OSGi to people making computers with 8Mb flash and 16Mb RAM. In those days, anybody presenting something with OSGi in it was reason for wild excitement. The situation has changed dramatically, though the primary success came from a very different industry.

So I drove the 300 kms to Nice without a lot of expectations. Due to traffic, I arrived a bit late but when I entered the room I noticed OSGi on the first slide I saw. And then the second slide, and the second presentation, and the third presentation. Almost all projects that were presented at the conference were based on OSGi! And the most interesting aspect was that nobody was making it sound as a big deal, OSGi seems entrenched in this industry. During my 4-5 years absence, the processors used in the embedded systems have grown large enough to support Java and thus OSGi. Adopting OSGi for a residential projects has become a no-brainer, there are just too many projects to mention here.

It seems that also in this market OSGi has passed a threshold. However, I did notice that very few projects had members that also participated in the OSGi. Many projects have similarities and it seems inevitable that similar bundles are invented over and over again. The reuse that is so successful in enterprise is not that prevalent in the embedded world. I guess the main reason is that the diversity of problems is less for enterprise than for embedded. It is amazing how complex the world becomes when you cannot remain in cyberspace. However, a model like OSGi can make sharing a lot simpler.

Is it therefore not time for the people that do projects in the residential area to collaborate more inside the OSGi Alliance? There seem to be lots of opportunities. Maybe it is time to organize a workshop about how OSGi could play a role in bringing these diverse projects together on the OSGi technology?

Peter Kriens