Any volunteer projects for embedded software?

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Hi all

Anyone out there have any thoughts on good volunteer or open-source
projects specifically for embedded programming?

I graduated with a university degree in computer and electrical
engineering two years ago, just as most companies were busy laying off
as many embedded software programmers as they could.  So now I'm stuck
in that classic catch-22 of "No experience, no job.  No job, no
experience".  I'm confident in my own abilities to do the work, and
even have some previous work experience through a university co-op
program (sadly the company I worked for did not survive the telecom
bubble bursting), but being able to prove that in the 30 seconds (at
most) of a resume reading has proven to be rather difficult.

So now I'd like to try to get into some sort of embedded volunteer
project.  My current job has rather terrible hours, so it leaves me a
fair amount of time to work on other projects while I look for a
better job.  I've seen literally thousands of open-source projects
going on for the desktop application side of things, but hardly
anything that is more related to programming microcontrollers,
firmware or anything like that.

Two projects I have come across that I'm looking into are uCLinux and
LinuxBIOS.  However I'm wondering if anyone else has any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
Tony

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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There are microcontroller design contests run by Circuit Cellar magazine
(www.circuitcellar.com). With a good design, you could win cash and recognition
(and maybe a job).

Another place you might try is a local hospital where you might be able to
design somethingto  allow people with disabilities to do things easier.


Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Great idea. They even supply the development system for free!

--
Joe Legris


Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?

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recognition
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   Only on a first-come-first-serve basis, they have limited
quantities and I suspect they run out fast.
   But the Circuit Cellar contests do look like a Good Thing.

-----
http://mindspring.com/~benbradley

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Take a look at XMK (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xmk).  XMK is an
RTOS specifically designed for microcontrollers.  We need help in
porting XMK to new platforms as well as work on general OS interfaces
and primitives.

-john

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Expanding on this, do some digging at both http://sourceforge.net and
http://freshmeat.net
Yes the bulk of the projects are desktop PC oriented, but (as XMK
illustrates), there are some really interesting projects targeted at a lower
level. Also check out http://sourceforge.net/projects/etherboot/. Etherboot
is an open source network boot ROM (you can load from many other sources for
testing, or if ROMing just won't work. It's not specific to
microcontrollers, but then again, neither is LinuxBIOS.




Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Thanks to all that replied!

I've been doing a bit of searching around for RTOS stuff and have
turned up a few things.  I've only got limited previous knowledge of
RTOS type things (mostly just one course in Uni.), but it seems like
pretty interesting stuff.  Maybe this is an area that I'll dig into
and see what I can learn.

Thanks again for the advice!

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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The Circuit Cellar idea is an excellant one.

I'm currently working on the HCS_C controller which we are about to
port ECOS over to. I'm not sure how you can go about getting the
hardware (Robert has made the designs available) but this baby is not
cheap.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry         snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/ (Text only)
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Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Embedded and microcontroller is kind of two different areas of
interest.

Embedded uses at least a medium-performance processor (nowadays 32
bits CPU with at least 40MHz clock), with 1MB flash or more (without
Linux) or 32MB or more (with embedded Linux), good potential for
protocol support, intricate logic functions, and generally application
software flexibility and sophistication.

Microcontroller is targetted at minimal hardware implementation,
low-cost, relatively simple software with no or very primitive kernel
facilities.

In embedded, you might refine your skills in kernels, drivers, and O/S
(e.g. ABCD Proto-Kernel, eCos, RTEMS, or embedded Linux). The keyword
is mastering the tools and interfaces.

Alternatively, you may also look for embedded application development
skills, where the keyword is utting the tools and interfaces to a
useful purpose.

If you want to develop your embedded skills in the application
development area, you might consider the ABCD Proto-Kernel(tm) and the
PPCMB/850 hardware. You start with a complete development kit and you
leverage your skills on an open source project ABCD Proto-Kernel(tm).

http://www.connotech.com/ppcmb850_toolkit_index.htm

Good luck with your skill expansion effort.

--

- Thierry Moreau

CONNOTECH Experts-conseils inc.
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Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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So any device with a 8051, PIC or AVR controller is not an embedded system?

Quoting from your own website:
--------------------------------------
Embedded system:
Hardware and software which forms a component of some larger system and
which is expected to function without human intervention.
A typical embedded system consists of a single-board microcomputer with
software in ROM, which starts running some special purpose application
program as soon as it is turned on and will not stop until it is turned off
(if ever).
An embedded system may include some kind of operating system but often it
will be simple enough to be written as a single program. It will not usually
have any of the normal peripherals such as a keyboard, monitor, serial
connections, mass storage, etc. or any kind of user interface software
unless these are required by the overall system of which it is a part. Often
it must provide real-time response.
- the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing
---------------------------------------
So, where is this 32 bit/40Mhz/1MB flash constraint?

Meindert



Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
Meindert Sprang said...
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My new goal is to write some "sophisticated" software.
 
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And if not, what the heck would he call it?
 

Casey

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
Thierry Moreau said...

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Says you.
 
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I guess I've been wrong all those years when I thought I was doing
embedded work, since (until recently) we only put lowly 8 and 16-bit
micros in the telecom equipment we build and sell.
 
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Yeah, and most of those are embedded applications.
 
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An OS does not an embedded application make.

 
Casey

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?
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Total bollox.

The vast majority of embedded is 8 bit systems. then 4 bit then 16 bit
and finaly 32 bit

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Again this is wrong. Whilst the majority of embedded systems do not have
an OS many do.

Where are you getting your figures from?

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Only if you want to be in the minority market..

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So you are trying to sell tools not offer impartial advice?




/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
\/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills  Staffs  England    /\/\/\/\/\
/\/\/ snipped-for-privacy@phaedsys.org       www.phaedsys.org \/\/
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Re: Any volunteer projects for embedded software?

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Bullshit!

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Only to an elitist working in this area.

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Like  a real time image recognition and classification system, with
added non-intrusive biomass analysis, and positional servo motor control
or an autonomous UAV, both done on Ti MSP430?

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More elitist crap.

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Or a good old PIC. More of those used in embedded apps than any 16 or 32
bit part.

Al


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