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Old-Technology Master Slave Software

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Old-Technology Master Slave Software

  • A control program (master; Jetlink, Clarinet,..) residing on a PC controls one to many devices(slaves; Inkjets, lasers etc.).
  • Therefore, the control program must be connected to the devices (via RS-232,RS-485,Ethernet or other means)
  • In addition the control program must contain a communication driver for each device to be connected (Even with Ethernet, it is still a ‘serial’ connection speaking the device’s native protocol)
  • The control program must control all the timing of network communication. As it has no knowledge of the device status it must poll all devices as often as possible to be able to react within the required period to device events. This may produce lots of network traffic.


  • Complexity: If the control program knows many different devices, it becomes very complex, very difficult (and last but not least: expensive) to maintain.
  • Structure: Centralized Communication may cause a ‘bottle neck’. As a central control program solely controls all communication, adding additional devices may critically slow down the information transfer.
  • Interfacing: A ‘one fits all functionality’ is very unlikely to find. So there must be adaptation to customer needs. Even if the control software offers a kind of API (application program interface), it will be very complicated to handle, because of the complexity of the control program itself.
  • Possible patent infringements: Many companies seem to have thought on this concept before. At least one patent existsts that claims for a centralized control software as mentioned above(Markem). Software patents more a plague than a benefit(This would be a seperate discussion). Fact is that problems with existing patents can be expected.

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(c) 2005 Kranich IMT, Christian Kranich - Wiki vsn 1.0.14 Last edited December 30, 2003 10:22 (diff)