Posts Tagged 'Operating Systems'

Frustrating Development Tools

I have a complaint (well, to be honest, I have a lot, but I don’t trot them out all at the same time): Why do hardware and development tools vendors insist on using things like Windows .net? It annoys me to no end to have to resort to reading through KB articles from Microsoft just to get something as straightforward as a compiler up and running. It annoys me even more when I can’t get the software running even after jumping through hoops and hopping up and down on one foot while patting the top of my head. Does it really have to be this way?

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Creating Time-Consistent Loops for Embedded Systems

In an embedded system there are typically four main ways to architect the code: Simple loop, foreground-background, cyclic executive, and RTOS. In this article I will look at how to create a simple main loop with a time-consistent execution period, similar to what a cyclic executive does.

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Chinese CNC Tools

Maybe I’m spoiled, or just out of sync with things, but when I worked with professional CNC equipment (I worked on the control systems and servo amplifiers for big things like vertical mills, jig bores and huge lathes) the software was usually custom made for a particular machine type. If not, then it was some type of high-reliability real-time operating system or maybe a real-time OS for a minicomputer, like a PDP-11 or the IBM Series I machines.

But at the price some of the Chinese CNC tools are going for these days it would be nuts to expect them to come with custom control software. Instead, a lot of them come with Windows-based software, and some of that is of dubious heritage. As someone who likes to open the hood on things the poke around inside, Windows is a problem for me. I prefer to use Linux instead, but when the shiny new CNC tool that just arrived only comes with Windows software, then it’s time to start looking for alternative software. Continue reading ‘Chinese CNC Tools’

Microsoft’s Dirty C++ Trick

If you’ve worked with Visual Studio lately you’ve no doubt seen the warning about a standard POSIX system call (strcmp(), etc.) being “deprecated”.

Based on what I’ve been able to discover in various QA forums and discussions around the ‘net, it appears the MS is basically trying to discourage people from writing cross-platform code, and doing it in a most disingenuous way.

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OS/2 – A Good Idea That Could Have Been Great

I loved OS/2, I really did. OS/2 version 1.3 was, in my opinion, the best small multi-threaded OS ever created. Period. Gorden Letwin and his team did an amazing job with it. Those who are interested might want to scrounge up a copy of “Inside OS/2” by Letwin and give it a read.

IBM’s versions, from 2.0 onwards, extended the OS with better GUI support, real multi-platform interoperability and backwards compatibility. I was an OS/2 developer from 1.0 through 2.1, and a participant in IBM’s OS/2 developer’s program (I even purchased several big PS/2 machines, very nice for their day, and gave presentations about it). I was also heartbroken when IBM pulled the plug on OS/2 and effectively doomed it to obscurity. But, I’ve since moved on to Linux and FreeBSD, and I haven’t looked back. At least not very often.

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