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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Green Hills looks to get into PC with secure desktop - but that's just the start

It’s not often that someone wants to take on Microsoft in the desktop operating system. But possibly, just possibly, that’s what Green Hills Software is thinking. They have been demonstrating a system that boots their Integrity real time operating system on a PC, giving it a secure, controlled and stable platform. Then Linux or Windows XP can run on top in what they call a ‘padded cell’, running all your favourite applications but much more secure from attack. Why? Because this is initially aimed at generals in the military, replacing several systems (real time data display systems that are already based on Integrity, the ordinary PC, that kind of thing) with just the one.
It’s actually quite a nice idea. There may be a bit of a problem in the ordinary desktop (Microsoft gets paid whether a PC ships with it or not), but the security gives a strong added value, and this plays into the problem of digital rights management and protecting user data highlighted in the blog below – Integrity could be running the government data network, or the online banking, or whatever, much more securely and controllably than a browser.
That extends to all sorts of devices, from digital TV decoders to handhelds. After all, Integrity already powers many of these and is optimised for embedded systems. Now there’s a thought – price the licenses for volume and if Green Hills don’t get greedy and try to get rich quick, then THAT is an enabler of the Information society and not the plonkers of the AEPOC.

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