[Oberon] Linux versus Oberon System

Bill Buzzell captbill279 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 7 00:10:19 CET 2014

>>In short, Linux is sweet and easy if one is happy with great tools running
>>in user space. Which seems to be its original goal. As soon as you are
>>trying to service some real time with Linux, it can easily become an
>>endless source of interesting problems to solve.

You make a very good point and I want to add that we should not ask "which
one: Linux vs Oberon" but "how to integrate Linux and Oberon". This is
where I see the most promise in how to utilize both to advantage.

A perfect, real world example of how a measly Arduino completely solves the
real-time "predicament" with typical OS's, is the TingG2 project. It is a
microcontroller based CNC controller that does all the pulsing to drive up
to 6 axes simultaneously. And it does it very well. Show this to someone
who has wrestled with doing anything close to real-time programming for
CNC, or even just your average Joe setting up his machine in the shop and
they will say "No way! How is that possible?" This is a very solid "proof
of concept" project to look closely at.


Not only is it doing solid real-time, but it is doing it on the Android
OS...over wifi! So it is the best of both worlds. You have your real-time
handled by the microcontroller which is controlled over a standard serial
port (wifi in this case) . Brilliantly simple solution and a nicely
executed example of how we can approach "modularity" while engineering for

This is truly a revolution in CNC waiting to happen. Previously there were
only two choices, Mach3 (Windows) or LinuxCNC (Emc2), outside of very
expensive industrial solutions. Both of these options require a dedicated
PC and requires lots of work to merely install/configure. Forget using this
computer for anything else lest you risk throwing off your configuration.
In other words, it is a very fragile system.

What really is appealing is that you are free to use whatever OS/language
for the GUI. Anything that can communicate to a serial port. The real-time
is comfortably "black boxed", away from the GUI. The microcontroller looks
to you, the programmer, like a command-line app you are driving via your
code. You have "hardware" that looks and feels like an application. Almost
like a "hardware-component".

This has totally changed my coarse for real-time. I spent lot's of time
with TinyCore Linux as my base system. Even have a cool multi-boot kernel
with a Linux 32 bit, 64 bit, and a RT-32 bit kernel that fits in less than
24mb. On this my plans were to use MSEgui/IDE or Fpgui (freepascal based).
With these it is possible to drive Linux "window-manager-less" and do all
drawing directly to the Xorg system. All this is now obsolete  after seeing
the microcontroller doing real-time. None of that is even necessary now.

I am still very bewildered by all the potentials, honestly, but the
prospects look very bright.
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