OT: Robotics or embedded or hardware programming... what is this called?

Ian Smith smithi at nimnet.asn.au
Mon Jun 25 06:57:40 UTC 2012

On Fri, 22 Jun 2012 06:47:48 -0600 (MDT), Warren Block wrote:
 > On Fri, 22 Jun 2012, Ian Smith wrote:
 > > I thought I saw something somewhere (maybe just wishful thinking) about
 > > FreeBSD on the Arduino, which normally runs a sort of embedded Linux,
 > > that could be very interesting; the hardware is cheap (kits at Jaycar
 > > stores in Australia anyway), very modular design, and there are heaps of
 > > fascinating projects.  I want the quadricopter to follow me around the
 > > room at parties - at my age I need something really impressive :)
 > Well, there is devel/arduino.  It's not emdedded Linux, but an IDE for
 > writing and downloading code.  The Arduino is a small embedded controller
 > based on the Atmel AVR microcontrollers.  They are quite powerful, easy to
 > program, and accessible for experimenters.  You can skip the Arduino
 > environment if you like, using the same lower-level tools like avr-gcc
 > directly.  And the Arduino board can be used as a programmer, downloading
 > code to plain AVR chips and avoiding the need for more Arduino boards.  Talk
 > about the Arduino on FreeBSD is generally on the freebsd-embedded mailing
 > list.

Thanks Warren.  I got the wrong idea that Arduino ran an embedded Linux 
from a friend, a Linux-using Electrical Engineer, but not a programmer. 
I'd also (too) briefly glanced at www.arduino.cc and noted Windows, Mac 
and Linux references, and Linux binaries, but had no idea you had ported 
the GUI.  Could you perhaps try pushing the FreeBSD port upstream to 
Arduino, so people can find out that it exists from there?

I hope to explore further once I get 9.x running; this 8.2-R system 
is chokka, not enough remaining space for a JDK, nor even a JRE :)

 > The Microchip PIC microcontrollers compete with the AVR.  There are some
 > FreeBSD ports for programming those, but there are many varying chips and the
 > hardware needed to program some of them differs.  I don't know if there is
 > anything directly comparable to the Arduino IDE.  ARM processors have become
 > so cheap that they are starting to compete in this arena also.

I looked at PICs ages ago, but just wasn't enticed by their instruction 
set; as an old S/3[67]0 bod I've always fallen for the more orthogonal 
processors like the Signetics 2650 (hands up who's heard of that!), 
680[59]/68K and more lately AVRs, Harvard architecture despite little- 
endianness.  Not sure there's room left in my head for MIPS or ARM ..

 > > On the FreeBSD side there's advanced work, I gather, on ARM and Atmel
 > > MEGA 32-bit and MIPS platforms at least.  Personally I consider these
 > > 'big iron' and far prefer writing in macro assembler for little Atmel
 > > Tiny25s and such, but that's strictly "Look Ma, no OS!" programming.
 > Another option: the freebsd-wireless list has had some very interesting
 > traffic about the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND, a $50 MIPS-based wireless router with
 > Atheros 802.11n chipset, USB, and gigabit Ethernet which can run FreeBSD
 > directly.  Not sure how usable it is at present.

Interesting.  I'm subs'd to wireless@ and embedded@ (previously small@) 
but obviously haven't been paying enough attention :)  Thanks again.

cheers, Ian

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list