[Beowulf] Wired article about Go machine

Tim Cutts tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Thu Mar 26 13:04:01 EDT 2009


On 26 Mar 2009, at 3:54 pm, Joshua Baker-LePain wrote:

> Note that Leif mentioned medical equipment with embedded Windows  
> systems. And he's right -- you're not allowed to touch the software  
> build on those without getting the new build approved by the FDA (at  
> least, not if you want to use said equipment on real live  
> patients).  And those machines are generally networked so that the  
> data (images, e.g.) can be uploaded.  It is very, very scary.  Why  
> anyone ever made the decision to run medical equipment on Windows  
> (over the screams of the engineering team) is utterly beyond me.

I suspect the reason is usually that the raw devices the equipment  
uses (typically a CCD camera or something similar) are only shipped  
with drivers for Windows, and the upstream component vendor won't  
support the instrument vendor controlling their hardware with their  
own software drivers on some other operating system.  It all comes  
down to support matrixes.  Old ABI 377 gel sequencers used to use  
Macintoshes, but that was back in the days of System 7 with a software  
stack that was so terrible a single error in the network stack would  
cause your entire sequencing run to be lost (which is expensive, and  
sometimes unrepeatable) and the ABI 3700 move to Windows was actually  
an improvement, at the time...

Tim


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