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Real-time Linux heats up rugged XScale PC/104 CPU board

Jul 28, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 15 views

An extended temperature Arcom PC/104 board based on a 400MHz Intel XScale processor now supports a hard, real-time Linux operating system from FSMLabs. Arcom is now supplying the Viper board with an evaluation version of RTLinuxPro, and FSMLabs will also distribute the board with RTLinuxPro preinstalled.

(Click for larger view of Arcom Viper)

According to the companies, “RTLinuxPro achieves an impressive 45µs worst case system response (delay from interrupt to completion of context switch), compared with 320ms under the standard embedded Linux implementation.”

Arcom's Viper is a 3.6 x 3.8 inch single-board computer (SBC) module on the 400MHz Intel PXA255 XScale RISC processor (ARM v.5TE compliant). The board was launched in September of 2002, possibly the first PC/104 module based on an XScale processor. Arcom first shipped a Linux development kit for the Viper in July of 2003.

The Viper provides five serial ports, a 16-channel DMA controller, 8 digital inputs, 8 digital outputs, 64MB of onboard RAM, and up to 32MB of Flash. It can operate from -40°C to +85°C, Arcom says.

FSMLabs describes RTLinuxPro as a “validated, hard real-time, POSIX operating system that runs embedded Linux as an application platform.” RTLinuxPro includes the RTCore real-time kernel, said to yield “consistently low interrupt latency and scheduling jitter plus seamless access to Linux.” RTCore can be used with either Arcom's embedded Linux, or the embedded Linux supplied with FSMLabs's standard XScale RTLinuxPro development kit.

“The VIPER is a great platform for hard real-time embedded applications — it's got full JTAG support, low jitter/low latency real-time operation, and a lot of interconnect options, with Ethernet, USB, CompactFlash, audio, and even optional TFT/STN flat panel support,” noted Zwane Mwaikambo, FSMLabs engineer and Linux kernel developer.


The Arcom Viper is available now with a Linux Development Kit that includes 64MB of DRAM, 32MB of Flash, and 256Kb of SRAM, along with the Viper ICE (industrial compact enclosure), Viper uninterruptible power supply (pictured at right, click to enlarge), serial and Ethernet cable set, optional Q-VGA color display and touchscreen, and a Quickstart manual.

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