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Linux and Open Source Solutions for Embedded Systems

Linux and Open Source Solutions for Embedded Systems

Mind Newsletter - Q2 2010


Content:

1. Next Embedded Linux trainings
2. Contributions to Open Source Software projects
3. Case Study: Implementation of waterflow measuring application
4. Technology Focus: Improving embedded software development processes using Open Source software (Part 1/4)



1. Next Embedded Linux trainings


Due to the growing success of our Embedded Linux trainings, we have planned three new sessions this year. Next session will take place between June 7th and June 11 th 2010 in Brussels (Belgium). The following ones will take place in September and November.

This 5 days training is intended for developers who want to build an Embedded Linux system from scratch or from commercial Embedded Linux solutions. The course covers the various components of an embedded Linux target (file system, networking, device drivers, processes and scheduler, interrupts, memory management, bootloaders, etc...), as well as the various development choices and debugging possibilities. During this course all participants get the opportunity to build and experiment with a small-footprint embedded target that can be kept after the training.

On-site Embedded Linux training can also be organized upon request, to meet your specific needs and project context.

For more details, please visit our Training page.
Embedded Linux Training Datasheet


2. Contributions to Open Source software projects


During the last months, Mind has contributed several new features and bug-fixes to well-known Open Source projects such as RTEMS, GStreamer and Video4Linux. For instance, we have added support for authentication and fixed a bug in the RTEMS FTP daemon. We have also contributed patches to avoid memory copies and to do letterboxing in TI's resizer GStreamer element.

These contributions are mainly direct results of customer projects. Mind strongly believes in the value of contributing its work back to the Open Source community as this is a way to contribute to the success of Open Source in general and since it allows its customers to have their specific improvements included in the main line and future versions of Open Source projects.

For an overview of some of our contributions, please visit our Software Contributions page.
Software Contributions


3. Case Study: Implementation of waterflow measuring application


In this project we implemented a waterflow measuring and logging application on a small 32-bit RISC processor. The application had to be feature- compatible with existing products where the code was written in assembly. It ranges from the very low-level sampling of the current flow, up to high- level algorithms for detecting leaks in the pipes.

Since the system has to survive ten years on a single battery, power optimizations were essential. This includes putting the processor on a very slow clock most of the time, and limiting the memory footprint. To make sure the software can be efficiently tested, we also developed a simulation environment that allows to run the application on a PC, without any special hardware.

Because the available memory and processing power is very limited, we chose a tiny open source operating system: FreeRTOS. It just offers a round-robin priority scheduler and a single synchronization mechanism, but this was sufficient for the waterflow measuring application.

For more case studies, please visit our Case Studies page.
FreeRTOS


4. Technology Focus: Improving embedded software development processes using Open Source software (Part 1/4)


Basing an embedded device on Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) brings many advantages, not the least of which is complete control over the software stack and free reuse of existing high quality solutions. However, it also means having to deal with large amounts of code, mainly coming from external parties. Coping with this can be a challenge for small embedded teams, used to smaller stacks developed in-house.

In this series of articles, we take a step by step tour of good software development processes and how to use them to improve your organisation. We emphasise embedded development and point out particular pitfalls to avoid.

In this first part, we focus on the evolution of embedded systems, how this fuels use of FOSS, and what effect this has on your organisation. Future parts will discuss tools supporting the software development process, testing and debugging of embedded systems using FOSS, and FOSS components that you can use in embedded projects.

To read this article or to see other of our publications (articles, white papers, presentations, etc...), please visit our Publications page.
Mind Seal of Approval




ESSENSIUM nv - Mind Embedded Software Division
Gaston Geenslaan 9 - B-3001 Leuven - Belgium
Tel.: +32-16-28.65.00, Fax.: +32-16-28.65.01
Web: www.mind.be, Email: contact@mind.be


We hope that you will find the information in this newsletter interesting and useful.
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