Saturday, December 29, 2007

*Real* C#/Java support in OE

I finally found time to read Cliff Brake's excellent article summarizing his work on adding realy-working C#/.NET support to OE. Well written, it gives info why C# is useful choice for embedded systems, compares it to C and Python (great choices!) and details how to use it in OE. What of course would be *really* interesting to know is bug/feature (in the sense of performance, memory/disk footprint, compatibility with existing standards, etc.) comparison of current open-source C# and Java implementations, to be able to make choice for some new, independent project. Well, that's not going to be that easy so far.

One point where .NET has win over Java is "by default" portability/device coverage. It's pretty to write simple applications which run both on full-fledged .NET and CompactFramework, which means it's easy to develop small utils on desktop, and have them run without extensive debugging on PocketPC device. Back in the days I still bothered with trying to make PocketPC do what I need, that was a big win! Example of real-worldly usable app written in such way is here. Of course, back then, it was very hard to get full benefit of that opportunity, due to the way vendor provided toolset for .NET development - overloaded with GUIs and unimportant features, it possibly helped someone with a good favorite editor, but made integration work a great chore. Reading thru Cliff's article, one may once again rejoice that we have OpenEmbedded, which handles task of integrating 3rd-party dependencies into the project and complete deployable solution a breeze.

Returning back to Java, we are going to have fresh Java support too, thanks to the work of
Robert Schuster. Hope it will land soon in OE mainline, so the application developers/integrators for Angstrom, OpenMoko, etc. will have unprecedented choice of tools available at their fingertips!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Angstrom 2007RC1 is here!

Yesterday, Angstrom 2007 Release Candidate 1 was tagged in OpenEmbedded repository and corresponding images where built using autobuilder and uploaded to the autobuild area. They are waiting for machine mentors to test them and move to public download area. The latter was cleared from the older snapshots, and there even small FUD started among the users, so I've posted a small announcement to describe release-time order of things. That said, mentors are acting slow, with only your humble servant have moved h3900, h4000, and hx4700 images to there final location.

A word about versioning - as was announced, final release will be dubbed 2007.12, while RC go as 2007.11.

There're more exciting things to come, at least in PocketPC/WindowsMobile area - RFC was posted on very easy installation procedure for novice users, and that's in addition to LiveRamdisks, of course.

How to find out if USB mobile phone data cable is based on PL2303

Recently, I hunted for a PL2302-based USB-Serial cable to make a generic serial cable for NAS hacking. Of course, it's not easy to figure out on what based some cable sold in a small shop next door. During my searches, I even found that phone vendors have gone so bold that include PL2302 right into the phone, and sell passive cables ;-\. In the end, I bought a cable with transparent casing thru which I could clearly see what chip is there ;-). But based on the packaging of this one and other packages I saw, I could make following generalizations for future searches:
  • If instructions on package mention Prolific (PL2302 vendor) site for future driver upgrades, that's good sign ;-)
  • If it mentions using SER9PL.INF for Windows driver install, that's also likely it.
Disclaimer: This post is just a note for myself. If you read it and then buy, for example, a cable in package which doesn't correspond to the content, don't blame me ;-D.