The ruthless pursuit of the truth about COTS
Schneidewind, Norman F.
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We expose some of the truths about COTS, discounting some exaggerated claims about the applicability of COTS, particularly with regard to using COTS in safety critical systems. Although we agree that COTS has great potential for reduced development and maintenance time and cost, we feel that the advocates of COTS have not adequately addressed some critical issues concerning reliability, maintainability, availability, requirements risk analysis, and cost. Thus we illuminate these issues, suggesting solutions in cases where solutions are feasible and leaving some questions unanswered because it appears that the questions cannot be answered due to the inherent limitations of COTS. These limitations are present because there is inadequate visibility and documentation of COTS components.