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Bird Man, a painting by artist Lynn Rothan


The Birds Project provides free software intended to make it easier to develop airborne software and hardware.  Although only software tools are offered at first, eventually it may be possible to provide actual deployable free airborne software.

Developing airborne software is much more expensive and time-consuming than developing software for our desktop computers.  This expense has been a particular problem for smaller companies developing low-to-medium criticality devices, as opposed to large companies developing high-criticality devices.

The issue that makes airborne software so expensive is not any direct characteristic of the software as such.  Rather, the expense derives from the requirement that airborne software must be qualified via what is known as RTCA DO-178B.  It is the certification effort and the associated activities that are so expensive.  By reducing the cost of the certification effort, the overall development cost may be reduced somewhat.

Some of the same comments apply to development of airborne hardware, particularly those employing complex devices such as FPGAs or ASICs.  The configuration of such devices is very similar to simple software, and so these devices must be qualified via RTCA DO-254.

Birds Project Materials

All Birds Project materials are provided free of charge, for use under an appropriate open-software license.  (Wherever possible, the GNU GPL or its variants.)
This page was last modified by Ron Burkey on 2006-07-02. Contact the Birds Project.