Thursday, November 29, 2007

Linux on test systems, pt 3

The third paper in a new series of Agilent white papers on using Linux in test systems has just been released: "Using Linux to Control LXI Instruments Through TCP." As has become custom, here is my review.

The previous paper in this series discussed using Linux to control LXI via VXI-11. While that paper gave me the impression that this was the best way to control instruments, the new paper says that TCP (via direct socket connection) is better for short time measurements.

The author gives a very brief overview of the seven layers of TCP/IP and then dives right in to gritty details (including a quick discussion of Nagle's Algorithm). The paper provides several extensive code examples. The examples are in C, but that could be ported easily to LabWindows, or you could wrap it up as a separate object to use in LabVIEW.

I liked this paper better than the last one. To use a Thanksgiving metaphor, there was less marketing feathering and more engineering meat on the bones of the paper. I would really recommend this as a useful paper to read if you were looking at using Linux and LXI, and now I'm feeling more optimistic about the remaining papers.


The remaining papers in the series are "Using Linux to Control USB Instruments" and "Using Linux in Soft Real-Time Applications". I'll be reviewing those as they are released. Since these papers have been released just about once per month, I expect to see the next one sometime around the end of the year.

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