editor's blog
Subscribe Now

A Vote for Java

I don’t know this for sure, but I can imagine that some marketing folks at STMicroelectronics were less than thrilled by the high-profile Java issues ricocheting through the airwaves a couple weeks ago. My colleague Jim Turley engendered some back-and-forth with his analysis of the appropriateness of Java in embedded systems in particular.

It was not but a few days after this had barely disappeared from the headlines that ST announced their STM32Java development kit for developing Java applications on embedded systems. Such an announcement might have been routine on any other week. (Of course, had it been routine, you might not be reading about it here…)

I just had to check in with ST’s Michael Markowitz; the question was just sitting there like a lonely technical support hotline agent with no calls in the queue: “Ask me!” The issue, of course, is security. Will using Java in white goods ultimately allow the dryer to infect the washing machine? Could a WiFi-enabled cordless drill be instructed by a trench-coat-wearing lurker behind the boxwood to stop drilling the furniture and turn on its master instead? Could a smart showerhead be maliciously configured by an unauthorized plumber to broadcast pictures to the Internet?

OK, I didn’t ask those questions specifically. It’s early, OK? I’m still not far into my cuppa Joe, blundering about a bit in that happy gray zone between waking and sleeping. But I did ask for comment regarding the blaring warnings that were still echoing off the hillsides. Having checked with the team, Michael responded  that, as far as they could tell, the issue wasn’t intrinsic to Java specifically, but rather was related to “a badly programmed library, that… allows a program to access another program on the host machine,… crossing the ‘sand box.’” Having no such concept in its architecture, STM32Java would therefore not be affected.

So the simple answer would then be, “Not an issue.” Of course, this deals specifically with the one vulnerability identified in the latest brouhaha. There are those that take issue with Java generically: this doesn’t address that. But, given the amount of opinion and philosophy that accompanies this debate, I can only conclude that there are no fundamental facts to settle the issue one way or another. It would seem that abandoning Java on computers would be reasonably disruptive; if it migrates onto embedded systems in a universal way, we’ll be just that much more strongly wedded to it.

ST, at the very least, is moving forward undeterred. You can read more about it in their release.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Dec 1, 2020
If you'€™d asked me at the beginning of 2020 as to the chances of my replicating an 1820 Welsh dresser, I would have said '€œzero,'€ which just goes to show how little I know....
Dec 1, 2020
More package designers these days, with the increasing component counts and more complicated electrical constraints, are shifting to using a front-end schematic capture tool. As with IC and PCB... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ]...
Dec 1, 2020
UCLA’s Maxx Tepper gives us a brief overview of the Ocean High-Throughput processor to be used in the upgrade of the real-time event selection system of the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC (Large Hadron Collider). The board incorporates Samtec FireFly'„¢ optical cable ...
Nov 25, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at what it takes to generate data that can be used to train machine-learning .] We take a break from learning how IoT technology works for one of our occasional posts on how IoT technology is used. In this case, we look at trucking fleet mana...

featured video

AI SoC Chats: Protecting Data with Security IP

Sponsored by Synopsys

Understand the threat profiles and security trends for AI SoC applications, including how laws and regulations are changing to protect the private information and data of users. Secure boot, secure debug, and secure communication for neural network engines is critical. Learn how DesignWare Security IP and Hardware Root of Trust can help designers create a secure enclave on the SoC and update software remotely.

Click here for more information about Security IP

featured paper

Reducing Radiated EMI

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

This application note explains how to reduce the radiated EMI emission in the MAX38643 nanopower buck converter. It also explains the sources of EMI noise, and provides a few simple methods to reduce the radiated EMI and make the MAX38643 buck converter compliant to the CISPR32 standard Class B limit.

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

Accelerate HD Ultra-Dense Multi-Row Mezzanine Strips

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Samtec

Embedded applications are putting huge new demands on small connectors. Size, weight, and power constraints are combining with new signal integrity challenges due to high-speed interfaces and high-density connections, putting a crunch on connectors for embedded design. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Matthew Burns of Samtec about the new generation of high-performance connectors for embedded design.

More information about Samtec AcceleRate® HD Ultra-Dense Mezzanine Strips: