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GUI toolkit adds OpenGL support

Jun 22, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 48 views

Wind River has rev'd its GUI development suite for embedded devices, adding support for OpenGL 3D graphics. Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite 5.8 also broadens its embedded target operating system support from Linux and VxWorks to Windows CE and Windows XP, and adds support for more hardware platforms, including the Intel Atom, says the company.

Aimed primarily at the defense, aerospace, industrial, and medical market segments, Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite is suitable for developing a wide variety of GUI (graphical user interface) devices, says Intel subsidiary Wind River. Targets are said to include patient monitors, clinical surgery system interfaces, railway operator control panels, and retail terminal interfaces. 

The software primarily targets embedded displays, such as the sample shown at right. However, it can also be used for developing desktop PC GUIs, says the company. 

Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite provides a codeless development environment, enabling developers to create, maintain, and rebrand user interfaces, says Wind River. The software was last rev'd in September with a version 5.7 that added integration hooks to Wind River Linux and Wind River Workbench.

The key enhancement to version 5.8 is the added support for OpenGL 3D graphics, says the company. Tilcon previously offered access to OpenGL core graphics libraries, as well as to WindML, Win32, and Photon libraries, via its Tilcon Embedded Vector Engine (EVE). The software now offers more direct control over OpenGL, enabling the rendering of OpenGL 3D objects within frames, as is demonstrated in the YouTube video below.

Tilcon Graphics Suite 5.8 OpenGL rendering demo on YouTube
(Click to play)

Previously the software targeted devices running Linux and Wind River's VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS). With version 5.8, however, the software adds a runtime that allows it to support Windows CE and Windows XP, as well as additional Linux distros.

The full list of runtime targets is said to include:

  • Wind River VxWorks (Intel Architecture, Power Architecture, ARM)
  • Microsoft Windows CE (Intel Architecture, ARM)
  • Microsoft Windows XP, Wind River Linux, Red Hat Linux, Fedora Linux, Ubuntu Linux (Intel Architecture)

Windows Vista had been supported previously as a host development platform for Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite, in addition to Linux. With version 5.8, host support expands to include Windows XP and Windows 7, says Wind River. (Yesterday, the company announced that the Linux-ready Wind River Hypervisor had been ported to Windows XP.)

In addition, Tilcon Graphics Suite has broadened its hardware support to include Freescale i.MX31 (ARM11), Intel Atom (x86), and Texas Instruments OMAP (ARM Cortex-A8) platforms, says the company.

The heart of the software is the Wind River Tilcon Interface Development Tool (IDT), which offers a drag-and-drop interface development tools, including the Interface Builder shown below.

Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite Interface Builder

(Click to enlarge)

It also integrates the Wind River Tilcon GUI Engine, which handles low-level graphics code, fonts, text, images and colors. An expanded version of the aforementioned EVE vector engine, this runtime platform manages display and user interaction events as a service to distributed API clients. 

Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite offers interface creation tools including anti-aliasing, alpha blending, and Photoshop import and export, says the company. Codeless animation effects tools are said to be available, along with widget libraries and property sheets for customization. Developer tutorials and technical support are also said to be available.

Tilcon Graphics Suite background

Wind River acquired the 18-employee, Ottawa, Canada-based Tilcon in February 2009 for $3.5 million. Wind River was then itself acquired by Intel Corp in July for $884 million. The subsidiary's Wind River Linux platform was projected by VDC Research last year to have overtaken MontaVista Linux as the leading commercial supplier of solutions for the embedded Linux market, ranked as a percentage of total market revenue.

Several months prior to the Tilcon acquisition, the graphics software firm announced a version of its GUI toolkit designed to work with Wind River Linux and Wind River's VxWorks. The software was previously called Tilcon Interface Development Suite (IDS).

At the time of the Tilcon pick-up, Wind River said it was especially interested in using the GUI software in "environments in which programmable graphics are replacing or augmenting analog gauges and dials." Wind River has made a considerable push over the last few years in automotive telematics, and has partnered with Freescale on telematics development for Freescale's MPC512x PowerQUICC processors — a platform on which the semiconductor firm had previously partnered with Tilcon too. (Wind River has a more recent partnership with Intel on automotive infotainment.)


Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite 5.8 demonstrated on YouTube
(Click to play)


Wind River Tilcon Graphics Suite 5.8 is available now, says Wind River, which did not reveal pricing. More information may be found here.

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