For many developers facing small budgets, open-source tools and software are a blessing. These no-cost resources can make the difference between a successful development effort and being unable to even get started. But there is a reason why commercial tools and code even have a market: time.
I got started on this line of thought by reading an article in EETimes on time to market concerns in embedded design, written by John Carbone of Express Logic. In that article, John pointed out the benefits of using a commercial RTOS, like his company's ThreadX, in terms of getting to product release faster. And the earlier a product is to market, conventional thinking goes, the larger its lifetime sales revenue will be. So, a development team's investment in commercial software will have a return that more than justifies its cost.
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