[Fwd: Met you on Tuesday]

C

Thread Starter

Curt Wuollet

Hi all

This looks like a modular (if expensive) way to achieve connectivity to many various fieldbusses. I figured I'd send it along to see if someone has the time to dig in. I'm swamped at the moment with day job work. We could use some research.

Regards

cww

P.S. The three files are attached to this message and the two that follow.


-----Original Message-----
From: Perry Sink [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 9:26 AM
To: Curt Wuollet
Cc: Kim Anderson; Tim Holupchinski
Subject: Met you on Tuesday


Hey Curt,

Great meeting you, and very interesting discussion about Linux.

Sort of refreshing, actually. Yes, I agree, people make this control
system stuff way too complicated! We're making machines do
boolean logic and math functions. How complicated can that
be???

Well, anyway, as promised -- I have a free Linux driver with
source code. It supports co-processor based Synergetic
cards for the following buses: DeviceNet master
and slave; Profibus master and slave; Interbus master and slave;
ControlNet Adapter (we don't make a ControlNet Scanner); CANopen
master and slave; AS-I master; SDS master. You can see
the list at http://www.synergetic.com/main/prodsel.htm

I have attached 1) a ZIP file with Linux
documentation and source code; most everything you might need
is in there. 2) I've included a generic software toolkit
manual which is non-OS specific; 3) A data sheet on the
Linux driver.

You'll remember the COMMUNICATOR embedded credit-
card sized modules I showed you. These are identical
in every way to the PC cards, minus the ISA or PCI
bus, and are 1/2 to 1/3 the price. Might be helpful
in your custom projects.

(BTW at month's end we will introduce a COM module
that supports Ethernet 10M using Modbus/TCP, thin
client web server and java. Ethernet/IP to follow.)

I am eager to support you and other Linux developers
to iron out any wrinkles that may exist here. One
possible area of development is creating a configuration
tool for these cards that runs on Linux, instead of using
our Windows config tool on an external PC via the serial
configuration port. Not a trivial task, but could be
worthwhile.

FYI Andreas Kroop, my primary applications engineer,
is a fellow Microsoft Foe, and he will be available to
support you. Later this month he is tasked with getting
up to speed on all of our Linux issues, so all of this
is pretty timely!

Finally: You promised some www links that would
educate me on the components of Linux and the
real time capabilities of standard, off the shelf Linux.
Send them along and I will study.

Also, part of my job is contributing magazine
articles to various trade journals, ie PC104
embedded solutions, and I think
the LinuxPLC project is worthy of some good PR!

Let me know how I can help.

Sincerely,

Perry

Perry Sink | Synergetic Micro Systems
[email protected] | www.synergetic.com
+1/ 630.434.1770 | 630.434.1987 fax

____________________________________________
Embed DeviceNet, Profibus and even WWW capability
into your products: See http://www.synergetic.com/oem


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Actually, I'd already been looking at the Synergetic boards for a "spare time" project -- but I haven't scraped together enough of
that spare time to do more than hash out the project parameters and do some quick research (which lead me to Synergetic).

So I was very excited to see that Synergetic is providing Linux drivers and wants to actively support Linux use of their boards. And I hope to do something about this Real Soon Now(tm).

But at this point, all I would have done is unpack the tarball, 'make', and say "yep, it compiles." Which I assume is already known and isn't very useful to report.


Zach


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C

Curt Wuollet

Hi Ron, Hi Zach

What we need is for someone to look at the stuff in the contest of the lplc and tell us if it's worth putting on the list. We don't need code tomorrow or anything. We need to know if the driver is really free (GPL) and if the claim of multiple FB's with one driver really holds water. I'm getting dirty looks at the moment just
taking the time to reply. If someone does want to take ownership and talk to these guys that would be great, but I realize that's a big commitment and can be down the road.

Regards

cww


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A

Ahnen, Richard

Curt,

I've known Synergetics and Perry Sink for some time. I've tested their PC104 Cards on NT based machines and have explored using their products on our own WinCE based projects...they work. The hardware is from Hilscher GmbH and to the best of my recollection, all the hardware uses this same dual port memory scheme. So you theoretically can swap different field bus cards and get away using the same basic logic to talk to all of those iterations. Providing the free source code and TKE for this driver is great promotional
tool, and its a great way to get to all the popular fieldbuses in a very quick fashion...its even logical.

I think integrating this driver would be nearly a slam dunk...The only real open question is how do you configure your networks? There still has to be some supporting software to manage the "scan list" for DeviceNet or the Network Config for Interbus, etc.

I don't have the time (or probably the talent) to make a compatability judgement to the current lplc code, but I would be happy to talk to Perry &
see what might make the network config task an easier hill to climb.

Are you listening Perry?...

Thanks,

Rick Ahnen


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C

Curt Wuollet

Thanks Richard.

If someone decides to code support for the cards, I assume we would do config software as well. I assume the existing software is binary only. Even MS code would show the methods even if it can't be ported. We do need someone to look over the GPL issues before we do anything. We need a clear separation between private and public property to
prevent any problems down the road.

Regards

cww

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M

Mario de Sousa

Hi Curt,

I've been skimming through the code and the documentation.

I didn't see any copyright or license messages on the code. Nothing... Nothing saying it is proprietary, and nothing saying the contrary. I
guess you had better clarify this with Synergetics.

The documentation seems to imply that a normal user would only get the object files to link to, and not the source code. Since we got the source code, it looks like you're in good relations with this company?
;-)

Only after reading some messages on the mailing list did I actually understand their architecture. It seems there must be a separate manual for each supported bus. We didn't get these manuals. Anyway, it does seem possible to integrate this with the linuxplc. Only after getting to see these other missing manuals can I really say how hard it would be. It doesn't seem too difficult at first glance...

Mind you, I've only been skimming through the code and manuals, so I may have missed a few things...


Cheers,

Mario.

--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mario J. R. de Sousa
[email protected]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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A

Ahnen, Richard

Perry Sink's response to my questions:

Rick,

See below...

>> Subject : Linux TKE
>> Date : Tue, 21 Nov 2000 07:19:00 -0600
>> Linked to : Rick Ahnen
>> From : "Ahnen, Richard" <[email protected]>
>> To : Perry Sink (E-mail) <[email protected]>

>> Perry,

>> You've made a big splash with the LinuxPLC boys by giving them source
code
>> for the dual port driver for the Hilscher hardware. I don't know if
you've
>> been following the LinuxPLC "bulletinboard" banter but they've got a
few
>> questions:

I have NOT been following this as of yet - drinking water from the proverbial firehose - but over thanksgiving I will look at the prior postings and get up to speed. I think the whole thing is rather fascinating...

>> 1) They don't see any copyright gingerbread on the code so they are
>> assuming that it's now public domain...is that true?

Yes, that's true. I will post a statement to the LinuxPLC list shortly.

>> 2) I mentioned that I knew you and had worked with the hardware, and we
>> would like to know if there is any Network Configuration Software that
>> already is ported to Linux( or that can be ported Linux) without
fretting
>> about copyright crap.

Really, this is the only sticky part (and it's an unavoidable problem) -- designing a config tool is more complex than writing a driver.

Unfortunately I can't give you Windows code to port to Linux, but I do have the documentation that you would need in order to create configurations.

>> I know I had to use some config tool when I was using your card with
the ASAP stuff,
>> does software exist for Network Config so you can setup a DeviceNet
Scan list,
>> CANopen, InterBus, or ProfiBus, etc. that will work with a Linux OS?

What you can do now is run our config utility ("SyCon") on a Windows PC and use an RS232 cable which plugs directly into the serial port of the card. SyCon downloads a configuration directly to the card's firmware.

Since most systems are only configured once, or once in awhile, this is not a bad solution, considering the effort of creating a Linux config tool from scratch.

Great to hear from you!

Perry


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> Really, this is the only sticky part (and it's an unavoidable problem) --
> designing a config tool is more complex than writing a driver.
...
> What you can do now is run our config utility ("SyCon") on a Windows PC
> and use an RS232 cable which plugs directly into the serial port of the
> card. SyCon downloads a configuration directly to the card's firmware.

Can it run under Wine? That would solve the problem pragmatically, if not exactly ideally...

(Windows and Unix use quite incompatible philosophies, but this would at least make it usable in the interim.)

> Since most systems are only configured once, or once in awhile, this is
> not a bad solution, considering the effort of creating a Linux config
> tool from scratch.

I don't know what the config protocol is, but I suspect that creating a config tool for Linux is a lot easier than creating one for Windows, due to
the above-mentioned philosophy differences. (In particular, the UI and the actual configurer should be separate programs, and therefore the configurer can be written long before the UI.)


Jiri
--
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... reading a book you notice the word "From" at the beginning of a line.

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C
Just a note guys

While we really appreciate the interest and effort to support Linux in automation, and I really hate to bring it up, public domain
and published without copyright are different legally from GPL'd. These are still copyrighted works and there can still be problems with free distribution. I'm sure the intent is right and we can proceed in good faith, just keep this out of the code archives for the time being while we're feeling our way around please.

Regards

cww


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Curt Wuollet:
> While we really appreciate the interest and effort to support Linux in
> automation, and I really hate to bring it up, public domain and published
> without copyright are different legally from GPL'd.

As I understand it:

- published without copyright means the default copyright applies.
May not be further distributed. Not compatible with GPL.

- public domain is completely unencumbered. GPL at will.

IANAL. Anyone know better?

Jiri
--
Jiri Baum <[email protected]>
You know you've been hacking too long when ...
... reading a book you notice the word "From" at the beginning of a line.

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D

Dan L. Pierson

Jiri Baum <[email protected]> writes:

> I don't know what the config protocol is, but I suspect that creating a
> config tool for Linux is a lot easier than creating one for Windows, due to
> the above-mentioned philosophy differences. (In particular, the UI and the
> actual configurer should be separate programs, and therefore the configurer
> can be written long before the UI.)

I wouldn't count on config being easy. At Control Tech we found config to be by far the hardest part of DeviceNet support. The problem is that there aren't enough hard specs on what devices are required to report for config and every vendor does things a little bit differently so the config program winds up being a maze of special heuristics...

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