Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Is it safe?

As the semester ends log book entries are picking up. Mike Bonastia in his entry asks the question of whether Windows 2000 is appropriate for safety critical applications. I suspect Mike may get some interesting comments! (The title of this entry comes from a line in the movie, Marathon Man.) Later.

Mike Bonastia's entry:

One issue that comes up in industry deals with what type of operating system should a safety critical applications run on. There are operating systems that are commercial off the shelf that guarantee that safety (safety certificates), but they can be rather expensive. The other cheaper options are to go with a UNIX flavor or a Windows flavor. UNIX systems offer a variety of customizable features that can help make a safe environment. Window systems are less customizable but are a cheap fast solution. Microsoft will not guarantee that it is a safe environment or at least they won't support or claim responsibility if something goes wrong. Is it possible to make windows a safe environment for a safety critical application? Some simple practices could be:

- Not allow the user to have access to the OS.

- Have only the one application running.

- Disable services that are not going to be needed.

- Use a wrapper or a piece of middleware that will isolate the application from the OS.

With this in mind, I am interested to see how people feel about this issue(i.e. WIN2000 being used as an OS for a safety critical application).

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