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Thread: microcontrollers running Un*x, Linux, *BSD, etc.

  1. #11
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    "Modern" and "BSD" is a matter of perspective. I administered a VAX 11/750 running 4.1BSD (IIRC) in the early 1980s.

    One could make the argument that porting any "modern" operating system should be simple; in theory, it should mostly be coding the hardware drivers to fit the new architecture--even back in the late 70s, that was an attraction of Unix. Initially, I think that's what Windows NT was about--running on x86, PPC, Alpha or MIPS was the goal. Not so much for OS/2--has it been ported to any other architecture than x86?

    Unix wasn't always so portable--I can recall an article in one of the ACM or IEEE pubs about the effort to port it to an IBM System/3. Lots of "endian" issues (otherwise known as the "nuxi" problem)...
    Last edited by Chuck(G); June 13th, 2017 at 08:25 AM.

  2. #12
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    I'd consider the latest versions of FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD to be modern operating systems. They aren't Unix but they've kept up with the times. Personally I like NetBSD since it is designed for easy porting and runs on practically every CPU architecture or at least did at one point. If Linux distributions are modern, then so are *BSD. Similar heritage and lineage but not identical.

    Windows is getting pretty long in the tooth now too. I recall running Windows 1.0 on a PC in 1985 so it's at least 32 years old.

    Anyway, I'd love to see NetBSD (or LiteBSD) running on a PIC32MZ DA. Basically a really super inexpensive mini-PC. I think it could give *Pi a run for the money in terms of value and low price. Fully open source too.

  3. #13
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    NetBSD is pretty slow compared to other Unices. I've run it on old hardware (I believe that you can still get a version for VAX), but you pay for the generality with performance. None of the BSDs that I've tried have been as feature-laden as the Debian-based Linux family. On my OPi, I run Armbian and it performs quite well (I even run x86 code (not quickly) under qemu on it). Support for many of the more esoteric packages simply isn't there under BSD--although, for a tightly-controlled distro, OpenBSD is hard to beat.

  4. #14
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    I have a 32GB Transcend SD card w/wifi. It runs Linux. But I don't know (recall) how much RAM it has, or what other hardware is included (it's been a long time since I fiddled with it - you can get a login shell on this thing).

  5. #15
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    Ah, I'd sort of forgotten about those! Hacking them was a big thing for a while, I believe there were several base boards made that added SPI RAM and GPIO.

  6. #16
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    On YT, there's a video of a STM32 Cortex M4 booting Linux in 600 msec. I'm pretty sure it's using external RAM, however. Does Linux run on any Cortex M3 or M0 CPUs?

  7. #17
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    A M4 is just a M3 with an extended instruction set and a few more license options (FPU, etc). No real architectural differences. So it should work the same. However, without a MCU, a fixed partitioned Linux experience would suck...
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

  8. #18
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    Do you mean MMU?

  9. #19
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    Yes. Been a long day.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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