ThreadX and PC/104

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We are getting ready to start a new product and we are leaning to ThreadX
for the RTOS (our second choice in montavista) .  We want to base our
architecture off of PC/104.  I wanted advice on a SBC that is PC/104 (or has
a PC/104 bus on it) that is very easy to get ThreadX, NetX and  FileX up and
running on.  The board needs to have Ethernet (that NetX will work with) and
USB.  Order of preference for processors are ARM, PowerPC and 486.

I asked EL this question and they said "There are so many PC104 boards out
there we cannot recommend a specific one".  Many RTOS including Integrity,
QNX, MontaVista give list of boards that they support right "out of the box"
but not EL.

Thanks for your help.

Trey Weaver



Re: ThreadX and PC/104
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You're getting a different answer because you're asking a question that has
two different answers depending upon the OS vendor.

ThreadX doesn't come with any drivers - it's a microkernel only, and
therefore is not specific to anything but the CPU. MV Linux (and Integrity)
not only is a kernel, but it's also a set of ported utilities and device
drivers, which are specific to boards themselves (hence the list).

Plus, vendors are usually evasive on recommending a specific debugger or
supported hardware. Our current project is using MV Linux and it was like
pulling teeth to recommend or even get a list of debuggers for PowerPC. As
he told me, "I'll get in trouble if I recommend one...". ;-(

-->Neil



Re: ThreadX and PC/104
Yeah, ThreadX is a MicroKernal but NetX is not.  Are you saying that NETx
has the TCP/IP stacks but provides no drivers to the Pysical Layer.  Can't
be true, how could they test it.

Trey

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Re: ThreadX and PC/104
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I don't see anything on their web site that mentions a physical layer, so it
sounds like you're on your own in terms of writing one (or lifting it from
somewhere). Why not email EL and ask them what ethernet chipsets they
support?

They design their operating system and components for specific processor
architectures, network cards, and mass storage. Ask them the questions:

1) What ethernet controllers does NetX support?
2) What mass storage devices (flash / hard drives) does FileX support?
3) What processor targets does ThreadX support?

EL Does not traditionally build their components for specific BOARDS. They
target specific chips.

And of course they have a MAC layer in house for at least one chip to make
sure the stack works. But that doesn't mean they are required to distribute
it.

-->Neil



Re: ThreadX and PC/104
I have sent them email about ethernet controllers, it has been 4 days
without a respose.  I thought I would get one here faster.

I have the processors.

Thanks,
Trey

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Re: ThreadX and PC/104
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Try giving them a call. Their sales team is really responsive.

FWIW, I used ThreadX on our last embedded product and never had a single
issue (ARM Thumb based). They'd be on the top of my list for any embedded
project.

-->Neil



Re: ThreadX and PC/104
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I have used ThreadX/NetX successfully on a couple of platforms, porting
hardware has
never been an issue. All Threadx needs is a single timer/regular interrupt
and most chips
have one of these on chip anyway. The timer is only needed for pre-empting
tasks so for
the initial development I have sometimes ignored it. The only time I had any
significant
work porting was when I was changing both the Chip (SH3 to SH2) and the
compiler
(Greenhills to GNU) and I couldn't wait for EL to make the change - that
took less than
a week and the EL support was great.

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EL usually supply a "RAM Driver" with their system that simulates 2 separate
systems as
tasks within a single CPU and simply passes messages via REM buffers. It
gives a basic
driver core and is easy to expand for any hardware. I have done 3 different
drivers so far and
it usually takes a couple of days (after I've read the MAC and PHY
documentation) to get the
basic functions working. Even the first one, when I was still learning about
Ethernet and TCP
only took 4 or 5 days to get sending and receiving packets. Adding all the
bells and whistles
(link control - selecting 10/100, duplex, multicast, etc. was done in stages
but I don't think
any of them took more than 3 weeks or so, while we were debugging hardware
too usually.

Stan Katz
Control Technology Corp.



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