Python in Process Control?

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at
Wed Oct 6 14:13:04 CEST 2004

Just a few clarifications:

On Wed, 06 Oct 2004 10:32:37 +0200, Neil Benn <benn at> wrote:
>     To the money men thing - if that is your experience then the company
> was run incorrectly - most people I speak to - a purchase decision is
> made between the user, on -site engineer, finance and managers.  Any
> company in which the finance department purchases equipment without
> consulting the people involved in the process is bad, bad - bad!

For "money men", I meant non-techies looking at the bottom line, not
only the finance department. Upper management in general -- they're
not comfortable looking at the tech details, but they know how much
does it cost, and how much they can save with a new control/automation
system. It's a reasonable decision-making procedure, in economic
terms. But it still leaves out a lot of technical-related aspects --
that's where a good in-house engineer could make a difference.
> >When the market finally awakes from the stone age, you'll surely start
> >to get more calls like this. Not only from people relinking, but
> >patches, and *real* bug tickets found by your very customers. Get used
> >to it. You can't complain this way once the market is open.
> >
> >
>     Yes you can, if you open something up you will _still_ get people
> screwing things up.  Suppose a customer smashes a new machine up because
> he or she 'had a play' with the machine using the low level code (if  I
> wasn't meant to use this code then why did you give it to me?).  The as
> the vendor what happens next; the customer will either lie - leading the
> vendor to determine whether or not to pull the customer up and charge
> them; they could tell the truth and beg/insist on not paying for the
> repair or they could pay up - which will sour the vendor/user
> relationship.  Personally, I _never_ take a machine apart unless I've
> been trained to do it.  I also set out the terms of what happens if I
> screw up with the vendor before I accept and they give me the control
> codes.  If you open-source this stuff then you lose this control and
> people will smash your machines up - the only thing you can count on is
> people making mistakes!!

I meant to say that 'you can't complain that way', in the sense that,
once open, you can't just refuse to support a customer that just broke
up your machine. In fact, it's *never* a good idea -- but in a closed
market, one can get away with it, while in an open market, people will
have more freedom to look for the better *service* they can find.
Customer service will be *more* important then than it is now.
>     I agree that the industry is behind but open-sourcing an industry
> will not immediately remove all the problems and issues - that's too
> simplistic a view point.

Fully agreed. It's also interesting to remark that the LGPL, or the
BSD licenses allow for a mixed environment with open source &
commercial licenses, so it's not like everything will be open. There
will be closed apps -- only that the closed apps will make use of open
source libraries. Hopefully, even the closed apps will have open
interfaces. That's a nice mix.

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
mail: carribeiro at
mail: carribeiro at

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