Editors learn quickly that it is prudent to strip the verbal exuberance of marketing and PR people from press releases when evaluating whether a release is newsworthy or not. Words such as “first,” “fastest,” “best,” and other superlatives not backed up by facts should be treated with suspicion. Better for the marketing person to cite facts—rather than fastest, cite the speed for example.

Here is an example where you can get into trouble through definitions, obfuscation and exaggeration. I did not run the original QNX press release, but here is a response from Green Hills Software to that release. I am running parts of this release simply as a reminder for PR people—but also for readers who sometimes receive these verbatim press releases and wonder about them. Ponder before accepting any outlandish claims.

I don’t know enough about these embedded systems anymore to make any substantive comment, but you can follow the link train if you’re interested and see for yourself.

From the Green Hills Software release

QNX recently made an announcement that includes false and misleading statements. Green Hills believes it important to correct the false statements for the editor and analyst community. This letter provides the facts that counter the false statements. We are trying hard to avoid opinion or hyperbole; you can derive your own conclusions from the facts presented.

The primary false claim, as stated in the headline of the press release, is as follows:

QNX Announces Availability of First RTOS to Achieve Both Safety and Security Certification

This statement is false. The referenced QNX RTOS is not the first RTOS to achieve both safety and security certification. Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY-178B RTOS is well known in the industry to have achieved both safety and security certification. In 2002, INTEGRITY-178B achieved its first RTCA/DO-178B Level A safety certification. In 2008, INTEGRITY-178B achieved its first Common Criteria EAL 6+ security certification. While this information can be independently verified quite easily, for brevity, we include the following links to Green Hills press releases, documenting the long history of safety and security certifications for the INTEGRITY-178B RTOS:

http://www.ghs.com/news/20110316_10th_INT-178B_anniv.html
http://www.ghs.com/news/20110307_Second_EAL6_SKPP.html
http://www.ghs.com/news/20090210_MES_editors_choice.html

End Release

There is much more to this release. Please visit the respective Websites if you are involved in safety/security critical embedded system development.

More important, watch for statements that you read that you apply judgement and memory. I try hard to be even handed and facts-oriented. If I slip up, I expect you all to remind me.

Share This