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Embedded software development

Found in an Ivan Krstic post about Sugar and the OLPC:

In truth, the XO ships a pretty shitty operating system, and this fact has very little to do with Sugar the GUI. It has a lot to do with the choice of incompetent hardware vendors that provided half-assedly built, unsupported and unsupportable components with broken closed-source firmware blobs that OLPC could neither examine nor fix. […]

We had an embedded controller that blocks keyboard events and stops machine suspend, and to which we — after a long battle — received the source, under strict NDA, only to find a jungle of nested if statements, twelve levels deep, and no code history. (The company that wrote the code doesn’t use version control, see. They put dates into code comments when they make changes, and the developers mail each other zip files with new versions.)

Haha. Been there, done that. Sometimes it’s great not to have to work with custom hardware anymore…