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January 30, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:00pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Ray Noorda’s Willows Software Inc, Saratoga, California, has a new toolset in beta test that it hopes will deny Microsoft Corp a piece of the exploding NT-based embedded controls market, by letting developers move Windows applications over to various real time operating systems. Willows says its scheme lets Windows applications, or at least pieces of them, run on real time operating systems that are trimmer than a scaled-down NT, where only the fragments of it needed by an application are used. More germane from Willows’ point-of-view may be the fact that since the applications aren’t running on a Microsoft OS, no money go to Redmond. Willows RT, which the Santa Clara, California company hopes to finish by the end of this week, will of course compete head-on with NT-based real-time and embedded control solutions from the likes of RadiSys Corp, Nematron Corp, VenturCom Inc and Wonderware Corp. Willows RT comes with the same embeddable library as its software for running Windows applications on Unix and MacOS, plus a platform abstraction layer that contains all system-dependent code. What RT does, in effect, is let real-time operating systems work with standard Win32 application programming interfaces, freeing developers from having to write applications to the non-standard interfaces used by the plethora of real-time systems on the market. Willows claims that, even in a worst-case scenario, its library takes up only 1.5Mb of system RAM on top of the RAM needed by the real-time operating system itself. The average price of Willows RT will be $5,000 per developer, depending on real-time operating system support, plus run-time fees based on the amount of Willows code used. Willows is the company whose ersatz Win32s operating environment the European Computer Manufacturers Association, tried to make into an international standard, a move that got shot down when it moved to the International Standards Organization.

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