Embedding Linux to Control Accelerators and Experiments

A scientific laboratory in Europe depends on Linux for controlling equipment used in their research.

We hope this article has given you a taste of how to build embedded controllers using Linux and how Linux is being used in a research institute like the ESRF. All our software is available free of charge (and guarantee), with source code. At present, we have built only a few embedded controllers based on Linux, but we plan to build many more in the future. Should any real-time problems crop up, we will explore them using RTLinux.

Linux has proven to be a great OS for collaboration. All of our software comes from the Internet, and we have often had direct contact with the authors. We hope to collaborate with more device driver programmers in the future to bring the list of Linux device drivers up to be at least as long as for Windows, if not longer.

Figure 7. Is it Richard Stallman? No—it's Paolo preaching the gospel of Linux and Open Source in the clean room.

Figure 7



Andy Götz aka Mr. Linux (goetz@esrf.fr) has worked at the ESRF for ten years. His main interests are distributed control, astronomy, travel and Linux.

Petri Mäkijärvi aka Mr. TacoBox (petri@esrf.fr) has worked at the ESRF for almost as long. He is responsible for embedded systems, real time, making great web pages and recently, Beowulf clusters.

Bernard Regad aka Mr. VmeBoot (regad@esrf.fr) has been with the ESRF for six years. His main interests are configuring and booting diskless VMEs, installing Beowulf clusters and 70's music.

Manuel Perez aka Mr. RasterMan (perez@esrf.fr) is a longtime ESRF collaborator and now colleague. His main interests are building the Serial Line TacoBox, programming, cinema and Linux.

Paolo Mangiagalli aka Mr. Medea (mangiaga@esrf.fr) is the newest ESRF member. His main interests are making the MEDEA beamline the best, building TacoBoxes real cheap, and moving hexapods.