DSP Software Development

Follow the development of speech algorithms for digital radios through the complete project life cycle.
Alternatives

Finally, let's consider the alternatives to Linux. The Analog Devices tools supplied with the EZ-KIT all run under DOS and are command-line programs. Of course, they could be run from a Windows DOS prompt, but this provides no advantage over Linux. Furthermore, an xterm is more flexible than a Windows DOS prompt, especially when you want to refer back to a page of error messages that flashed past. Also, the ADSP21xx simulator will not run under Windows, which would have to be rebooted cleanly into DOS, just as a Linux machine that needed to run the simulator would.

UNIX versions of the tools are supplied by Analog Devices at extra cost and are functionally identical to the DOS versions. However, they run only under SunOS; they do not run under newer versions of Solaris.

MATLAB is available for Linux, other UNIX systems and Windows, as is Rlab, but I would argue that only the flexibility of a UNIX operating system can allow the full use of these applications to interact with other command-line-based code development and debugging tools. Of course, debugging tools are available for all platforms. They may sometimes be more user friendly, but are probably less capable than gdb and are seldom freely available.

Revision control systems are also available for many platforms, but not all can cope with code development and integrate with a hyperlinked HTML-based documentation system being served via Apache. The revision control system you choose must also have the capability to interface with your favourite editor and be utilized within the make hierarchy.

Summary

Obviously, Linux makes a good DSP development system. All you need to buy is a DSP starter kit—everything else is on your installation CD or freely downloadable. This system has been used in the real world—it takes a little setting up, but it works. It is reliable and a lot more fun than Windows.

In the future, it will only get better: more DSP development tools will be available under Linux. I encourage you all to advocate the use of Linux-based development systems for both university and corporate research and development.

Resources

Ian V, McLoughlin (asian@ntu.edu.sg) has been programming since he got his first home computer, a BBC Micro in 1983. As well as continuing with Acorns, he enjoys using Linux. He is now passing his experiences on to the younger generation in Singapore (human programming). During those brief moments when not in front of a computer, he and his wife enjoy traveling, eating and anything Chinese.

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