Oct 31, 2009

QNX Ignores Desktop Standards, Security

Last May, QNX released a minor update to their flagship operating system, QNX RTOS. The tweaks and optimizations in 6.4.1 kick things up the proverbial "notch" and deliver some surprises too, so long-time users and curious, potential switchers have some things to pore over.

I installed QNX 6.4.1 on a Dell Precision T7400. The system sports eight 3.2 GHz cores and 12MiB L2 cache in two Xeon X5482 quad-core processors running 16GiB RAM. This machine is some serious, high-end iron. It whipped Windows 7 prereleases around like a wrestler with a newborn babe and Ubuntu similarly slid around like race-cars hitting oil on the track: there wasn't anything this colossus couldn't compute.

Likewise, QNX rushed through all but the most demanding tasks. I work at a 3D movie effects studio, which shall go unnamed in this review, and I was curious about QNX's realtime abilities and their effect on rendering. So I began the process of porting some of our in-house custom software to the little microkernel that could. Our software is POSIX-compliant, meaning it should port to any standard Unix, but here I hit my first snag. QNX is anything but standard.