MontaVista opinions?

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Hi all,

Does anyone have any observations/opinions they'd like to share
regarding MontaVista's embedded Linux products?



Re: MontaVista opinions?
We went with MV for my current Xilinx V4 based project. The theory was that
we'd have something working out of the box (particularly 2.6 kernel based)
so we could just focus on the signal processing part of our project. The
reality has been:

devrocket (the main MV tool) is very buggy particularly the tool for the
root file system. I frequently have to close and reopen to get changes to
take affect.
documentation is mediocre
integration is poor - basically if you don't know how to build a linux
kernel and filesystem from scratch you'll not be able to do it with the MV
tool either
support is okay - we get decent turn around on questions but frequently end
up with they don't support or don't have ready the piece we need
coverage is poor - they are stuck back at the 2.6.10 and on my platform
elementary things like an SPI driver are missing

The last item is really the kicker. I don't care what your project is,
eventually you are going to be rooting around menuconfig or patching driver
code or figuring out how to use objcopy, etc. to the point that EVENTUALLY
you'll have to know everything MV knows about your platform anyway. So do
you want to deal with all the glitches with the mainline kernel code AND all
of the bugs/glitches in the MV tools or just the former.

Personally, I think MV is biting off more than it can chew by trying to
support dozens of processors. If they focused on a pre-rolled Xilinx tree
that really worked with the Xilinx tools and was a one button click to
generate kernel, modules, RFS into a single .bin to burn to flash they'd add
a lot more value.

MV was good in that I was able to get SOMETHING up quickly to show my bosses
but the overall value to the project is considerably less than the $30K we
paid for it. But that's not MV's fault, the real problem in my case is that
Xilinx has farmed out Linux to MV rather than doing it themselves. The
result is a "worst of both worlds" solution that's left my team wasting time
on stupid little things that have nothing to do with our product.


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Re: MontaVista opinions?

Thanks very much for your candor.


Re: MontaVista opinions?

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Do you think you'd have avoided this with another OS, for the same cost ?

Let's face it, the attraction of Linux is that it's cheap.

Re: MontaVista opinions?

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That's a good point. I should be clear that I'm down on Xilinx and MV not
Linux. I'm a big advocate of Linux.

For a couple hundred bucks in parts I have a system now with 2.6 level
kernel and USB host functionality where I can plug in flash drives, blue
tooth headsets, wireless lan cards, gps receivers, etc. I can control it
with raw USB, serial port, PPP over serial, TCP/IP, bluetooth, etc. I can
run a web sever, telnet into it, nsf mount drives over to it, etc. None of
the other OSes out there come close to this level of functionality. That's
why in my opinion they always pimp "real time" issues to convince people
that stock Linux is inadequate. The truth is as long as you architect your
system correctly "real time" is a non-issue.

As for development, with linux virtually any problem you run into is a
google search away. With millions of developers on thousands of platforms
there is a massive amount of free support on the web. How many people out
there know anything about Nucleus, for example?

So yeah, I wouldn't want to own stock in any boutique OS company trying to
get by charging per unit licensing fees. In fact, MV probably has the right
business model it's just that they haven't done their technical work very


Re: MontaVista opinions?

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All true.

real-time, or at least task prioritization of any kind, can be an issue.
With some of the other OSs eg Integrity, you can partition up the
available CPU time so tasks always get a fixed number of CPU cycles to
work with. Priorities in Linux are a bit on the fiddly side.

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My experience with Montavista has been okay; on some occasions I've had
kernel developers (who are on their payroll) step in to help with
support calls. You won't get that for free, I can tell you. What I
suspect is that support is better on some architectures than others;
this is true of Linux itself. Out of all the possible embedded CPUs
(other than x86), PPC is probably the best supported in the kernel.

Re: MontaVista opinions?
Hello ,

   If you have linux expertise, why dont you pickup the kernel that you
want, configure it,
use gcc to build your own embedded linux!! You have lots of how to
documents to speed up your work, even if you are new to embedded linux!
If you are looking for size or speed optimization there are lots of
interesting documents which mention the steps to be followed for
size/speed for the embedded linux kernel.

Best Rgards,
Vivekanandan M

Dave Littell wrote:
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