Using Linux at Lectra-Systèmes
Lectra Systèmes is one of two world leaders in the design and creation of the CAM solution, CAD/CAM and cutting machines, mainly for the footwear and apparel industry. The headquarters of this company are in Cestas, in the suburbs of Bordeaux, France. Five hundred people work here, 150 of whom are in the Research and Development department.
I am in charge of systems development in the R&D Department. The system group does all developments that concern base systems (e.g.,installation procedures, graphic libraries, tools).
Since the 1980s, Lectra has developed its own computers based on Motorola 680x0 processors. The main part of the installed systems (approximately 3000 customers, 80% abroad) uses a mono-task, proprietary operating system, written in 680x0 called MILOS for “Micro Lectra Operating System”.
A few years ago, Lectra started to become interested in database systems requiring the use of a more powerful system that would be multi-task and multi-user. After some teething problems with the Unix-like, the choice turned to implementing Unix System V3.2 for 680x0 architecture. The small team of which I am a member has managed to port the UniSoft sources as well as the X Window System graphic environment.
Lectra then decided to develop a new line of computers based on 68040 processors, much more powerful than the 68030. The operating system used was the Unix USL SVR4.0 version, and another port was made.
Although this task proved to be very interesting, we were persuaded that this computer (named OpenCad) would be the last one designed from scratch by the R&D teams. A few people continued to show interest, but continuing to support a series of computers that were too small to be competitive made it difficult to remain in a hardware market that is a race against power and low prices.
Despite OpenCad's commercial success with our customers, Lectra's management quite rightly decided to launch the development of a completely new range of products utilizing mainly Intel 486 and Pentium architecture, still with a Unix environment and X Window System. The database applications which use many resources would, on the other hand, be targeted to SUN SPARC architecture.
After some comparative tests between the different versions of Unix on the PC, it was decided to use Linux, which proved to be sturdy, have high performance, and the right price. Also, having the sources of the system available proved to be advantageous, as we use many special peripherals for which the adaptation would be much more difficult on a Unix machine.
Having chosen the system, we now needed to adapt Linux to an industrial solution. It is quite clear that Unix (and, therefore, Linux) is slightly more difficult for a final operator to use. This adaptation must be done in two stages:
at the installation procedure of the final product, as it is not possible to expect a technician (a customer) to know how to install Slackware
at the user interface, so that the administration of the station base (network, users, access rights) and the specific functionalities of Lectra are easily accessible by someone who is not necessarily a computer scientist
The Lectra distribution uses the same principles as other distributions—two boot floppies and a CD-ROM. The installation screens use dialog-0.3, which has proved to be extremely simple and powerful when it comes to creating a series of installation screens. The main Lectra Linux installation window can be seen in Figure 1.
The main advantage when choosing Linux in this domain is that it has the possibility of creating an extremely precise installation procedure (i.e., only what is required is installed), and it is therefore very quick. The current Lectra Desktop version takes less than 10 minutes to install on a Pentium 120. In comparison, the same desktop version on a Solaris system takes nearly an hour, as it is necessary to install the Solaris CD first, followed by Solaris patches, and then the Lectra Desktop.
The different packages are managed as ISO-9660 files (with Rock Ridge extensions) from a Linux structure using the mkisofs program. The ISO images are then written on the master CD using a PC under Microsoft Windows.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Interview with Patrick Volkerding
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide