By Paul Parkinson
In a recent post on software certification, Alex Wilson asked why there are so many software safety certification standards? The current situation is of course due to historical reasons, and this has resulted in some interesting anomalies. However, I think there is some reason for cautious optimism, as there appears to be more increasingly widespread acceptance of standards in recent years, and there is also a degree of convergence between standards, at least in some cases.
The RTCA DO-178B standard was originally developed for the safety critical software on civil aircraft certified by the US FAA, but in recent years this has been increasingly adopted by US military aircraft programmes, and subsequently on civil programmes in other countries around the world. (In Europe, civil aircraft are actually developed according to the EUROCAE ED-12B standard, but this is identical to DO-178B).