The Seven Words You Can’t Say…

George Carlin is Dead. I can’t say that I’m a big fan. I liked him but didn’t go out of my way to listen to him. If I found him on the radio I’d listen but it would be 50/50 that I’d change the channel within 10 minutes.

Someone said that he had it all planned out. His father, grandfather…etc all lived to a certain age and he fully expected that he had 20 some years left. So much for project planning. Something you don’t expect always happens…

His 7 words reminds me of the time a few years ago when I wrote my famous (infamous?) newsletter with the title “DeviceNet is Dead”. The premise was that Ethernet would eventually kill off DeviceNet. Wow, did I get screaming reaction from that. People jumped all over me with both feet. There was a move among some to kick me out of the ODVA, at that time known as the Open “Don’t say anything bad about” DeviceNet Vendor Association.

The funniest part was a call I got from a guy named Jim at Eaton. He was really furious. Foaming at the mouth furious. He told me I had no right to say such a thing. I wondered if maybe I was in the wrong, after all he was from Eaton! Possibly, with my poor attendance in high school, I misssed the day when we were told that the constitution doesn’t apply in the Industrial Automation industry.

His major complaint was this: “Do you know how many calls we’re getting from customers asking us what our future strategy is for Ethernet?” Imagine that, he was yelling at me because I generated a whole bunch of calls and they had to talk to their customers. You can imagine how I felt, inflicting such pain on a good, solid God fearing American Corporation. Eaton customers should be seen and not heard.

Then I asked him why I should care? Like, how much business has Eaton done with me in the last 2 years? The answer was zero. So then in my best Tony Soprano voice I offered to be bought off. For say $200,000 I would confess my sins, kiss the DeviceNet Idol and genuflect right there in front of Eaton headquarters on 27th street. But alas, they choose not to bribe me and I continued to drive the Chrysler and not the Mercedes.

Do I still ascribe to that radical notion? No, not really. DeviceNet has it’s place. Profibus has it’s place and Ethernet (EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP) has it’s place. There might be more Ethernet in the future but those other buses won’t die. In fact, we’re still doing a lot with them. You can click here to see some of the DeviceNet and Profibus projects we’ve done.