QNX ARM support

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QNX ARM support

Post by seasoned_geek »

Everybody wants their favorite OS. This isn't really a question of me liking, it is a question of chasing some support contract dollars.

Currently it looks like I will be taking over a medical device that is getting ripped from the hands of a major medical-device-in-a-box company because of their non-delivery. Existing device is too close to clinical trials and too far into the process to change from Qt on QNX. Later releases could potentially change to CopperSpice on QNX (the flavor certified for medical devices) if such a beast existed. The licensing and royalty fees of Qt alone would make the switch and a support contract a no-brainer.

Given the current state of Qt 6.x, a real OpenSource option in the QNX world would get a flood of interest.

BlackBerry makes an ocean of money from QNX.

The huge market for the next three years will be secure devices. It's physically impossible to secure Android and most other free device operating systems. The pendulum is swinging back to hardened proprietary platforms like the products from BlackBerry and Wind River Systems.

Right now the most expensive medical-device-in-a-box companies are using QNX or VxWorks.
The middling priced companies are trying to "harden" Linux via custom recipes or remove all networking from the devices.
The lower end companies that used to wing it with Android or Windows are all going out of business.
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Re: QNX ARM support

Post by barbara »

This is a very interesting idea. Here are a few of our questions for you or anyone else to answer.

1 Do you know if there is a "free" developer version of QNX?

2 Are there other developers you know who would move to CopperSpice if we supported QNX?

3 Would you or others be willing to pay a one time fee to help fund the development? We have team members who could focus on this, however some only on a contract basis.

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Re: QNX ARM support

Post by seasoned_geek »

>1 Do you know if there is a "free" developer version of QNX?

The official site has free 30-day evaluation:
You can probably get more informing them you are porting and maintaining CopperSpice for QNX.

In 2007 they had a big splash with publishing the source and moving to a Hybrid development model.
I don't have a quick link to the source.

There appears to be a fairly active "community" on Foundry27 for QNX development

Right now, beyond that I would not know.

I do know that these are currently the primary development choices.

Storyboard from Crank





and Qt

Oktonion is the only true OpenSource I found. Everything else appears to be commercial

>2 Are there other developers you know who would move to CopperSpice if we supported QNX?

Tricky question, in part because of NDAs. Here is current scenario without divulging names or violating confidentiality.

A very large medical-device-in-a-box company got purchased by a private equity firm. Said firm almost instantly laid off ~ 1/3 of the engineering staff then put everyone else on some internal proprietary project. Everybody whose project wasn't already completed has basically been left twisting in the breeze. Lots of promises of "we'll get to it" and almost nothing delivered for close to year or so. By the end of this week or next I should know if a client of mine will be having me take over one such project. How many are in the same leaky boat I don't know.

Said device-in-a-box company use to mostly use Qt and QNX because they worked on invasive medial devices and QNX has a version certified for medical devices. It's worth paying the royalty for QNX because they get that RTOS certified. Now that Qt has eliminated the perpetual license and went to an unjustifiable royalty system companies are paying two not-cheap royalties per unit manufactured and they do not have much in the way of alternatives.

Please spend a few minutes searching for GUI libraries touting their QNX support. If you watch the video for TouchGFX you will find the makers of STM32 modules make it and they tout partners for custom software development. I didn't see anything in the video on that link showing medical devices. Mostly consumer electronics.

If you are a really big company who can spend a lot of money certifying your Yocto Linux build, (or your device is a lower risk class) you go with Yocto Linux because there is no per-unit cost. When I worked on this device they weren't interested in paying per-unit royalties.


I was told they expected to ship seven million units the first year. Saving as little as ten cents per unit really adds up with volumes like that.

When you can't take the time or the risk of certifying your own Yocto Linux build, you spend the money for QNX. That per unit cost is an insurance premium. Blackberry takes the hit if the problem is in the OS.

Qt charges a per unit royalty and last I checked had a bug database > 16,000 in various "open" or "reported" states. Companies are being forced to pay royalties for a sucks-to-be-you development/support system. Companies don't mind a one-time up-front support fee or purchase price. Many will even pay an annual support contract. Per unit royalties, not so much.

So, the answer to your question is this.

If I end up doing this pending project I have to use the dog's breakfast I was given because there are only a scant few months left. Both I and my client agreed that if we had to do a shiny new release of said device some months out, we would do everything in our power to not use Qt.

There are a boatload of medical device and medical-device-in-a-box companies holding now worthless perpetual licenses for older versions of Qt ( including Qt 5.x) where they pretty much have to maintain it themselves or look elsewhere. Some companies have very gingerly cared for 4.8 OpenSource internal repos they would also like to have newer better fewer bugs to work around and probably pay for support.

For CopperSpice to swim in this market it must support ARM with Yocto Linux and QNX on STM32 modules.

Not a Raspberry Pi ARM. Toradex and/or Veriscite IMX8 (6 probably too though that is older)



Variscite has a fully assembled eval product. Toradex needs you to order the individual components because they have such a diverse product line.

>3 Would you or others be willing to pay a one time fee to help fund the development?

Me personally right now? No.

If project comes in and they want a shiny new version of the product in 6-18 months, I may have to do it myself.

I started this thread because there are a lot of companies twisting in the breeze right now. Not only because it feels like nobody is working on their stuff at the company that got bought, but they are facing having to pay two sets of royalties.

What is it worth to them to have a Qt-like OpenSource product they could "just use" without paying royalties? I don't know. You would have to ask them how much they are currently paying Qt in royalties.

Blackberry itself might be willing to kick in? Take a look at what they have here.

The 2D navigation screen doesn't look too bad, but the 3D looks pretty cheesy as does the "monitor" example.

I'm focused totally on the medical device market. They tend to tout their own horn for automotive.

They tout the medical devices

but I cannot find the sales broken out in a quick search. They do seem to be sinking a lot of money into components.


They already have their own certified OpenGL ES according to that link, so you could potentially drop everything else for the QNX build.
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