The origin of the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish” comes from the 1621 work The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton. The idea behind this phrase is that we sometimes concentrate so hard on small costs that we can overlook larger opportunities to reduce costs or increase gains. This mindset has beset embedded development for quite some time and continues to do so.
It’s relatively easy to design an embedded system using an excessively powerful microprocessor with a plentiful amount of memory. However, this is generally not the reality in the resource constrained world of deeply embedded devices.
These days we are all a bit insecure when it comes to embedded security. It’s a fast-moving area with new threats emerging all the time. Worst of all, we in embedded typically live in a resource-constrained hardware world, which is at odds with most security defense mechanisms.
There is a seemingly endless number of RTOSes used with embedded MCUs, most of which have their own proprietary functionally as well as a unique API. Some of the APIs are good, and some not quite as good. In reality, the delta between a good and less-good RTOS API is quite small — most RTOS APIs will do the trick. As I look back on my last 30+ years, I’ve come to realize propriety RTOS APIs have had and continue to have a profound negative impact on embedded development and on our industry as a whole.