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<== Date ==> <== Thread ==>

Subject: Re: Ideas / Suggestions for the future of VME-CPU Operating Systems
From: Ernest L Williams <ernesto@slac.stanford.edu>
To: <tech-talk@aps.anl.gov>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:01:21 -0700

On 09/20/2017 02:28 AM, Goetz Pfeiffer wrote:

Hello,

at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (https://www.helmholtz-berlin.de/) we use EPICS for our control system.

We have a growing number of soft IOCs with Linux and VME bus based IOCs mostly running RTEMS and
some vxWorks 5.4 (Tornado 2.02).

Our CPU boards are MVME162 and MVME2100. We have replaced more than half of the old MVME162 boards with
MVME2100 boards, of which we bought a large supply some years ago.

After migrating most VME CPUs to RTEMS 4.9 we have run into some problems:

  • Newer CPU boards like the MVME5500 require the "beatnik" board support, which only works with RTEMS 4.10
  • RTEMS 4.10 has some problems regarding the "cexp" shell and doesn't work on some of our IOCs.
  • cexp, the shell for RTEMS is not compatible with RTEMS 4.11 and 4.12, but we need it for dynamic loading of objects
  • gesys, the component that is used to create the RTEMS kernel seems to be a bit of a mess
  • RTEMS 4.11 and 4.12 are not supported by the EPICS base
  • Debian Packages for RTEMS are no longer maintained
  • The intersection of the people using RTEMS and the ones using EPICS seems to be small and getting smaller, so with problems we are much on our own
*****************************************************************************************************************************************
Here at SLAC we routinely support the following RTEMS targets under RTEMS 4.9.4
1.  RTEMS-beatnik  (MVME5500/6100)
2.  RTEMS-mvme3100 (MVME3100)
3.  RTEMS-uC5282 (Coldfire CPU)
4.  RTEMS-svgm (Synergy VGM Series Board)

We are also running EPICS versions R3.14.12.x  thru R3.15.x  with RTEMS

Future roadmap, is moving away from VME platform and RTEMS; to other platforms and embedded linux with real time patches where
needed.
*****************************************************************************************************************************************


A possibility would be to use vxWorks again. Our current vxWorks version is very old and has to be updated. Problems here:

  • MVME2100 boards do not seem to be supported by vxWorks 6
  • Possibly high costs for CPU licenses for vxWorks

What are your experiences with this ?

We have used the successor of the MVME2100 (i.e. MVME3100) successfully with the vxWorks 6
Have not tried the MVME2100 here at SLAC. 
I am not sure if they still use the MVME2100 (w/vxWorks) at ORNL-SNS?

Do you still use VME bus systems ?

Yes, but we are trying to reduce the numbers as we upgrade and/or build new facilities.

Is there a future for RTEMS in EPICS control systems ?

Indeed, RTEMS can be ported and has been ported to other platforms.
Most of our investment has been going into linux

Are there alternatives to RTEMS and vxWorks ?

Embedded Linux: 
-- Roll your own,
-- Use a suitable distribution from the EPICS community
-- Commerical: such as Windriver Linux

Greetings,

  Goetz Pfeiffer



References:
Ideas / Suggestions for the future of VME-CPU Operating Systems Goetz Pfeiffer

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