Electronic Design

Software Directory: Reconfigurable RTOSs

Reconfigurable RTOSs
  QuickMIPS StrongARM
Company Quick Logic Accelent Systems Inc.
Processor 32-bit MIPS 4Kc 32-bit Intel SA-1110, XScale
Peripherals Dual Ethernet, PCI, GPIO dual serial GPIO, IDE, USB, floppy disk, serial, parallel, IrDA, PS/2, I2C
RTOS Lynuxworks' Blue Cat Linux, Wind River's VxWorks Linux, Microsoft's Windows CE.Net
Tools GNU, Wind River's Tornado GNU, Microsoft Platform Builder and Visual Studio
Services Network protocols DeviceWare Library
Miscellaneous Net+DB development board, VHDL Simulator, QuickWorks ESP IDE, 802.11, Bluetooth, HomeRF, HomePNA, IR and FPGA design tool

Packing a MIPS processor into an off-the-shelf, system-on-a-chip (SoC) was only half the battle with Quick Logic's QuickMIPS family. Delivering a complete set of operating system (OS) and tools was the other half. The SoC comes in a number of configurations, with some targeted at embedded network devices. The dual serial- and Ethernet-port version is ideal for home-network gateway applications.

Quick Logic's OS complement includes Wind River's VxWorks and the open-source Blue Cat Linux from Lynuxworks. VxWorks works with Wind River's famed Tornado development environment, while Blue Cat Linux comes with the GNU suite of compilers, linkers, and debuggers.

Quick Logic's custom software is primarily targeted at supporting on-chip devices. Additional services and networking support is left to the standard support that comes with the two OSs.

Board support packages are included with the development platforms available from Quick Logic. The development boards in these packages provide the external support logic like Ethernet physical layers. www.quicklogic.com

Intel's StrongARM and new XScale processor architectures are supported by a number of third-party companies like Accelent Systems. While Intel provides basic development support with its GNUPro, Accelent Systems' Integrated Development Platform (IDP) provides a complete development system, including software support for Windows CE and Linux.

The Accelent IDP is targeted at handheld mobile devices and includes the typical liquid-crystal display and peripheral connections, such as Compact Flash and USB. Developers have all the hardware available to them. It's simply a matter of ignoring hardware on the IDP that won't be on the target system when developing software for the target.

Accelent's OS support targets two of the most common portable device environments: Windows CE and Linux. Palm's Palm OS is still the leader, but it's not available from Accelent. This isn't surprising because Palm's original hardware design wasn't based on a StrongARM processor. Cross development for Windows CE is done using a Windows OS. Cross development for Linux is done using Linux.

Accelent's DeviceWare Library is part device driver and part application services. It provides support for the built-in hardware SA-1110 and external hardware on the IDP, plus communication and network services. CoreLinx combines selections from the DeviceWare Library, the hardware design specifications, and custom software features into a platform-specific configuration.

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