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
Jul 6, 2020
If you were in the possession of one of these bodacious beauties, what sorts of games and effects would you create using the little scamp?...
Jul 3, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at CNNs for vision as well as other neural networks for other applications.] We'€™re going to take a quick detour into math today. For those of you that have done advanced math, this may be a review, or it might even seem to be talking down...
Jul 2, 2020
In June, we continued to upgrade several key pieces of content across the website, including more interactive product explorers on several pages and a homepage refresh. We also made a significant update to our product pages which allows logged-in users to see customer-specifi...

Featured Video

Product Update: New DesignWare® IOs

Sponsored by Synopsys

Join Faisal Goriawalla for an update on Synopsys’ DesignWare GPIO and Specialty IO IP, including LVDS, I2C and I3C. The IO portfolio is silicon-proven across a range of foundries and process nodes, and is ready for your next SoC design.

Click here for more information about DesignWare Embedded Memories, Logic Libraries and Test Videos

Featured Paper

Cryptography: Fundamentals on the Modern Approach

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

Learn about the fundamental concepts behind modern cryptography, including how symmetric and asymmetric keys work to achieve confidentiality, identification and authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation.

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

Mom, I Have a Digital Twin? Now You Tell Me?

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

Today, one engineer’s “system” is another engineer’s “component.” The complexity of system-level design has skyrocketed with the new wave of intelligent systems. In this world, optimizing electronic system designs requires digital twins, shifting left, virtual platforms, and emulation to sort everything out. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Frank Schirrmeister of Cadence Design Systems about system-level optimization.

Click here for more information