Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain

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Hi ,

I am a relatively new in embedded systems and have so far only used
ARM realview tool chian , tool chains for TI DSPs and GNU tool chain.
But I have not encountered many problems with either yet ( most
probably due to lack of experience :-(  ) .
Can any one tell me thier better or sweet experiences using GNU
toolchain for embedded software development?

Thanks

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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It depends.

On your target.
What you are making.
What if any standards you have to work to.
What if any product liability there is.


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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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Anything that comes with :
a) Hardware support after sale.
b) Active mailing list.
d) Good documentation.
e) Tools that can be replaced with similar tools is a BIG advantage.
f) Finally, I'd prefer tool chain that comes with less patches;) from
kernel to libraries.


ali






Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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in your experience is GNU tools easyly replaceble by other commercial
tool ?


Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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If you design your code with this in mind in the first place, then - yes.
The FreeRTOS.org code compiles with GCC, Keil/Keil, IAR, Keil/RVDS, Rowley
(GCC with different project management and IDE), Raisonance (GCC with
different project management and IDE).


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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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..... not to mention all the non-ARM compilers.



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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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Well! it depends, if you stick to genuine GNU thing then chances are
vital to get replacement of required tools. But if someone want you to
buy proprietary software with GNU suit then its different story;)


ali



Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain

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I've been using nothing but Gnu tools for embedded work for 10
years (ARM, H8, MSP430, NIOS2).  Couldn't be happier with them.

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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Yep. Me too.
The only exceptions are when clients use micros that
aren't supported by GCC.

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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I've been lucky.  :)  

I came pretty close to chosing a Mitsubishi M16C part a few
years ago (for which you couldn't even find commercial tools
hosted on Linux), but the Hitachi H8/300 solution turned out to
be a little cheaper (and has a much nicer memory model).

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain

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In theory you can fix that.

Maybe even in practice if you can find a supported one that is not too
distant architecturally.


Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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I "could", but I *do* have a life (family, etc ;-)
I figure that if the device mfg want their micro
to thrive, or the community thinks it should,
then it will happen.

Although it's been done with some "interesting"
architectures, GCC may not be easily portable
to some micro-controller architectures. It is
*basically* targeted at higher end 32-bit stuff,
though there are many exceptions. It also likes
single address space RISC like architectures,
better than others.

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At 50 years of age, I've learned that I really don't
have time to do *everything* myself ;-)


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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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You're quick.  It took me longer. :-)

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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Damn! I have just four days to learn *something*.

Peter



Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain

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It seems to port well to CPUs with 16-bit address spaces like
the 6812 and the MSP430.  It helps that those CPUs handle
16-bit quantities well.  If you look at the code gcc generates
for something like the AVR, it's a bit more painful.

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It deals pretty well with CISC architectures like the IA32,
68K, VAX, etc.  In fact I think most of the earlier ports were
for CISC machines.  The RISC ports were more recent.

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Sad but true.

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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One of the key points is that the gcc model works well when you have
lots of similar registers.  It's not the RISC style cpu that is the
particular requirement, but multiple symmetric registers a
characteristic commonly associated with RISC.  For example, the 68k is a
CISC architecture, but it has many RISCy features, such as multiple
registers.

And the i386 target is an exceptional case for gcc - it is not a natural
fit for gcc's models, but generates good code as a result of a huge
effort in optimising the compiler for the i386.

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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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David ,
Could you expand on 'similar registers' I dont understand.
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Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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On the 68k, for example, there are eight data registers D0 .. D7, all of
which can be used in exactly the same way at any time.  Similarly,
address registers A0 .. A6 are identical.  ABI and compiler conventions
use specific registers for specific purposes, but this is not enforced
by the cpu, and the compiler has a free choice.  Compare this to a true
CISC processor like the i386, whose data registers A, B, C and D have
different purposes and different instructions.

Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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Some previous comments on this:
http://groups.google.com/group/comp.arch.embedded/browse_frm/thread/82df893990913853/8b701687eafc96a6?q=GCC+Rowley+Eclipse+Windoze+hurdles+limited+CodeSourcery+some.differences +*-*-like-other-GUI-toolkits+subscription+*.*.official.maintainers+*.price+zz-zz+qq+debugger.front.end+Code-Sourcery+Insight


Re: Pros and Cons of GNU toolchain
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this:http://groups.google.com/group/comp.arch.embedded/browse_frm/thread/8 ...

Thanks a lot ! reading the comments and the links I have a lot more
confidence in using GNU tools. FreeRTOS is a great site !


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