So I just downloaded the first in a series of Agilent white papers on using Linux in test systems. The paper has a brief history of Linux, comments on licensing structures, lists available tools, and discusses controlling tools within Linux.
In a clever marketing move, Agilent is releasing these papers episodically. The other papers in the series are:
- "Using Linux to Control LXI Instruments through VXI-11"
- "Using Linux to Control LXI Instruments through TCP Communication"
- "Using Linux to Control USB Instruments"
- "Using Linux in Soft Real-Time Applications"
Normally I would skip these papers. They tend to be self-serving and talk about things that are pretty obvious. But I would like to hold Agilent to a higher standard (that may be naive of me). Plus, in my test group we've seriously considered using Linux on test systems - so I'm interested in what they have to say.
The paper also lists 4 reasons why you'd use Linux in the test system:
- Threat of software obsolescence. What happens if the version of windows you run on your system is obsoleted?
- Flexibility/performance. The Linux OS can be customized.
- Stability. It's very unlikely to go belly-up on you.
- Leveraging know-how and software. There is a lot of UNIX experience out there that can be extended to Linux.
- Technicians and operators are less likely to screw around with the computer (browse the net, download games) if it doesn't run Windows.
- As a corollary, engineers won't try to run other programs, analyze data with Excel, or remote login to their own computers on a Linux test station.