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The most significant "embedded" individual

May 01, 2008

rich.nass-May 01, 2008

We recently took a poll on Embedded.com, the sister website for Embedded Systems Design (ESD) magazine, and the results ran from thoughtful, to interesting, to comical. We asked two related questions:

1. Who is the most significant individual in the embedded space over the last 20 years?

2. Why is this person the most significant individual in the embedded space?

The reason for the 20-year time span had to do with this being the 20th year of the publication. We'll be celebrating that special anniversary in November.

The person mentioned most often is our own "embedded" celebrity, Jack Ganssle. Jack writes a monthly column in ESD and a weekly column for Embedded.com. He's also an instructor at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in all locations, including San Jose, Boston, and India.

Here are two of the reasons given as to why Jack is the most significant individual in the embedded space:

"Jack has had his finger on the pulse of embedded systems for as long as I can remember (25+ years). He knows the industry, products, tools, and people, and has great insight into all things embedded."

"He has expertise in the various subjects in the embedded domain, the ability to find solutions to various problems faced by the embedded professionals, as well as reasoning and presenting ability."

Others mentioned include Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux; Jerry Fiddler, the founder of Wind River; Steve Jobs, for continually pushing the technology envelope; Reinhard Keil, for his development and promotion of Keil tools; and Intel's Gordon Moore, because, as our reader points out, "he constantly pushed for greater density in microprocessors."

A key mention goes to Richard Stallman, Founder of GNU Project and Free Software Foundation. As a reader points out, "The GNU C compiler has enabled free software development for a wide variety of embedded platforms, and it wouldn't have been possible without Stallman's vision of a free software development toolset." It's hard to argue with that logic.

And of course, there was the obligatory mention of Elvis Presley, "because he wears blue suede shoes." You gotta love embedded systems developers.

The survey is closed, but feel free to add to the list.

Richard Nass is editor in chief of Embedded Systems Design magazine. He can be reached at rnass@techinsights.com.

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