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Linux prominent in chip show awards

Jun 20, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

[Updated 12:21] — Timesys won Best in Show at the 2008 Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) for its Online Linux Factory. San Juan Software won the other Best in Show for its ZigBee controller platform, and Nuvation won an award for an air-hockey-playing “Flexis AC Face-off” robot (pictured).

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Winning in the Development Support category, the Online Linux Factory is a LinuxLink offering that provides a web-based interface to “quickly specify, assemble and build a custom embedded Linux platform for a select processor and associated target,” says Timesys. Developers can select kernel versions and configurations, device drivers, toolchains, glibc/uClibc packages, and platform output options. The build-to-order site offers automated feedback and recommendations provided by Timesys engineers, as well as popularity ratings for each component and application selection. The Online Linux Factory is available to LinuxLink subscribers for select processors, including the Freescale i.MX27.

Winners of the FTF Awards, held this week during the FTF show in Orlando, Florida, were decided by an independent panel of publishers and analysts, says Freescale. The other Best in Show winner, San Juan Software, won in the Innovative Platforms category for its ZigBee control platform incorporating San Jan's PopNet proprietary wireless networking protocol. The platform allows control of devices on three different IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) protocols via an Apple iTouch.

Nuvation won the People's Choice Award for its Flexis AC Face-Off demonstration (pictured at top), which incorporated a robot using Freescale's 32-bit ColdFire processor and Flexis AC microcontrollers. The robot played air hockey against human opponents using machine vision assistance from overhead cameras.

Nuvation's robot hockey demo

Mohan Gurunathan, an engineer at Nuvation Labs, said the robot's software was written in C and assembly using Freescale CodeWarrior tools. The software runs on bare metal for the fastest real-time performance, he said. “Due to the need for deterministic servicing of interrupts and execution speed of the code, we did not use an OS. To give you an example — to block a puck fired from one end of the table to the other, we need about a 100 millisecond response time (from puck hit to robot start-of-motion). The robot and vision system interfaces chew up almost 80 milliseconds of this time. Therefore, the code has to receive, process, and plan trajectory in 20 milliseconds or less.”

Gurunathan added, however, “In the future, we plan on possibly making several variants. RTLinux may be an option.” The company does use Linux in several machine-vision cameras.

Stated Greg Quiggle, VP of Marketing for Timesys, “The Online Factory provides embedded developers with a very innovative build-to-order framework to quickly customize a Linux platform by leveraging a broad set of Linux components available within the open source community.”

More information on the FTF Awards may be found here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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