Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Linux on test systems, pt 4

In July of 2007 I started reviewing app notes that Agilent published about using Linux on test systems. They've put out 5 papers on the subject (full list is here). This blog reviews #4.

Using Linux to Control USB Instruments
As I have written before, I sometimes take a dim view of these white papers. It seems that their actual value is proportional to how much input comes from marketing - I just haven't determined if that proportion is direct, quadratic, or exponential. Maybe it depends on the company itself.

Having said that, when I started reading this latest paper I learned about the "USB Test and Measurement Class (USBTMC) specification," which I didn't know about prior to this. Any white paper that actually teaches me something must have something going for it. Plus the author provides sample code for create a generic USB driver that works with current Linux distributions - even better.

I should point out I haven't had a chance to test out this code. I have an older computer at home I am converting over to a Linux box, so I plan to do it at that time. But aside from that caveat, I think this paper was pretty well written.


The remaining paper in the series is "Tips for Optimizing Test System Performance in Linux Soft Real-Time Applications." I'll review this one next week.

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