A recent interview with a KiCad developer prompted some reflection on KiCad and EDA (electronic design automation) tools in general. Below are samples of several PCB (printed circuit board) designs, created with KiCAD, and implemented as part of the SimpleIoT project in the last couple months. The experience has been excellent. Above all, the tool […]
In 1972, Edsger W. Dijkstra published a paper titled The Humble Programmer. Dijkstra was trained in math and physics and was a university professor for much of his life. This paper is an interesting reflection on the history of computers and contains thoughts for the future. A few quotes are included below:
Go does a lot of things well (good performance, easy to learn, very productive, extensive stdlib, excellent tooling, etc), but after programming with Go for three years (both embedded Linux and cloud applications), stability is the characteristic that really stands out.
Some things in life you just have to experience to truly appreciate the value. One of these is auto-formatting/linting source code. When I started programming in Go in Vim, I naturally looked for editor support, and found the excellent vim-go project. Through this, I learned about gofmt and then goimports. These tools can be configured […]
As technology advances, there are two basic processing platforms for implementing embedded systems. The first is the Microcontroller Unit (MCU). These devices have varying amounts of integrated Flash (<= 2MB) and RAM (<= 1MB), and are designed to run bare-metal code or a real-time operating system (RTOS), like FreeRTOS. The second is the Linux-capable Microprocessor […]
As Embedded Systems become more complex, the complexity of the process to build the software for these systems also increases. As humans, our ability to deal with complexity is limited, so we develop tools and processes to manage the complexity. In the end, these tools and processes are about constraints and patterns. A well-designed tool […]
During Embedded Linux development, we often need to write large operating system images to SD cards for testing. Recently, I purchased a USB 3.0 SD card reader from Plugable. Before that, I used a USB 2.0 SD card reader from IOGear.
Recently I was asked by a developer, who has done windows development for 10 years, how to get started with Embedded Linux. Embedded Linux covers a lot of ground and includes a broad range of components/skills to put together an entire system. Below are a few suggestions.
When building a product using Linux, versioning and branching of your software is an important consideration. Everyone’s needs are different depending on the size of the team, culture, and testing requirements, so there is no one size that fits all. However, after working on a number of different projects for a dozen or so different […]
As we work with larger and more complex systems (i.e. Linux), more and more of our time is spent on integration and pulling different pieces together. We often need to debug or understand code we did not write — especially in build systems. To work effectively in this scenario you must be able to quickly […]
In the previous post, it was noted that bit 30 needs to be set in the i.MX6UL pad config if you want to read the state of a GPIO output. Digging into this a bit more, we find the following text in the Documentation/devicetree/bindings/pinctrl/fsl,imx-pinctrl.txt file: SION(1 << 30): Software Input On Field. Force the selected […]
(note, the article is also applicable to the i.MX6ULL as these processors are very similar) The NXP i.MX6UL application processor has a very flexible pin multiplexer, that is somewhat difficult to understand at first glance. Most times when we’re configuring the pin mux in Linux, we modify Device Tree files, so perhaps that is the […]
Some time back, I gave a presentation that included an overview of the Git version control system. I still occasionally get asked why Git should be used instead of Subversion, as it seems harder at first. Most developers don’t really understand Git until they have used it for awhile, and then they will have an […]
Recently I needed to calculate NAND partition tables for a project where we will be supporting a number of different flash parts from 500MB to 2GB. I first tried this in a spreadsheet, but found it difficult to work easily with hex numbers and do the calculations I needed. I then looked into options for […]
Why Docker? When using OE to build software for products, we often run into the scenario where software needs to be built using the same version of OpenEmbedded over the course of several years. Production builds need to be predictable. We’ve also observed that old versions of OE often break as new Linux distros come […]