Large-scale Implementation and Distribution of Sensitive Code in a Commercial Setting
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Protecting intellectual property rights is an ongoing challenge for hardware manufacturers. After acquiring the rights to powerful capacitive sensing technology, the Atmel Corporation wanted to distribute this technology to all its customers. However, they wanted to distribute it without giving away the trade secrets contained in the code.They wanted the new technology to work on any of their AVR devices, and because of strategic decisions, they wanted the distribution model to be completed as soon as possible.The most purposeful way of distributing the touch functionality, was concluded to be through pre-compiled static library files. And hence, the touch code got to be known as the Touch Libraries. Other options were explored, but the library solution proved best at protecting the intellectual property in the code. Because of the share scale of this project, it was important to implement solid project management procedures from the beginning, otherwise it would be easy to lose overview. Reusing code between devices wherever possible, and have a proper project code-structure became essential in reducing superfluous code.This paper explores the various possible solutions to these problems, and then goes in detail on how to implement an efficient adaptation.The project was developed from a planning stage, to its maturity over the course of the spring, 2009.On June 8th 2009, version 2.0 of the libraries were launched. This launch is a manifesto to the joint efforts of the Atmel QTouch team, and the work detailed in this report. Please see Atmel's QTouch website for more information, and installer binaries. A copy of these files can also be found in the file archive.