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CompactFlash as a COTS “standard”

Jul 8, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

This article by C Data Solutions Founder Paul Zawalnyski (pictured) describes the development of an interesting uClinux-based embedded product development platform. Envisioned as a way to exploit CompactFlash cards as COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) peripherals, the CompactComputer (CoCo) targets rapid prototyping of… handhelds, industrial, and networking gear.

C Data Solutions's first product, the Compact Flash Computer, shipped in 2004. Based on a 68K ColdFire microcontroller running uClinux, it used a programmable logic device to drive a CFIO bus that developers could populate with up to eight CompactFlash cards of their choice, to quickly cobble together miniscule Linux systems. CompactFlash I/O cards provide a wide range of interfaces, can be found at commodity prices, and are some 30 times smaller than stackable PC/104 cards, he says.

Rapid prototyping with wired and wireless cards
(Click either photo to enlarge)

Zawalnyski and company next decided to add a much faster Blackfin DSP/FPGA processor, while adding a CFIO client interface. That design, which can be used to build custom coprocessing solutions for existing CFIO-capable designs, was dubbed the CompactComputer (CoCo).

In his paper, Zawalnyski describes the creative process that led to the creation of both products. He also explains why he chose Linux over Windows CE, and outlines his company's future product development and licensing plans. Click below to read the full story.

An electronic 'LEGO' for embedded systems

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