Tuesday, April 20, 2010

businessweek: toyota's problems due to embedded and opaque software. relevant to EVMs

apr 20th, 2010

this is exactly why open source is the right answer for EVM software -- there are no secrets, and crowdsourcing will fix most bugs soon. we have seen how toyota (yes, toyota, the king of quality!) has suffered because of crappy software. so you can imagine the quality of software written for the EVMs in a totally opaque manner by some unknown companies.

naturally, the indian election commission has no intention of open-sourcing the s/w because then EVMs and election results would not be so prone to being manipulated to favor certain parties and individuals. booth-capturing in its new incarnation. who said indians are not innovative?


sansk said...


I am engaged in embedded software, and agree with some of your comments. However, most of the software the runs our computers also ultimately depends on the embedded software. So it is not necessary that all embedded software has to be crappy.

The problem comes from poor understanding of hardware (which many software people suffer from) and the inclination to see anything related to hardware as low-level.

The toyota problem however, according to some sources, were discovered by its employees long back.

I wouldn't even go into the mess managers make of the testing schedule.

sansk said...

to continue from previous comment...

Finally, embedded software is here to stay. It is too critical for our lifestyle. Most Western emission standards can't be met without software controlled fuel management.
No aeroplane flies without embedded software controlling the drop of oxygen mask in case of low pressure.

There are and will be problems, sometimes they are caused by physical changes in environment, sometimes by bugs in software, and rarely by a combination thereof.