linux Erlang/OTP status

Marthin Laubscher <>
Sat Nov 5 09:39:04 CET 2005


Thanks Matthias,

Matthias Lang writes:
> 
> Marthin Laubscher writes:
> 
>  > I've found Brian Zhou's announcement of a successful port to an
>  > even smaller XSCALE processor (on a linksys device).  That's
>  > another positive step dating back to May of this year. I still need
>  > to have a deeper look before I can say how much that would help.
> 
> Brian's work was excellent. I have a bad conscience for still not
> having repeated it and written it up for the FAQ. It should replace my
> clumsy hack for doing the same thing by randomly hacking makefiles.
> 
>  > Check out the gumstix platform if you have a mo and tell me if you
> think
>  > it's worth registering a "Gumstix Erlang" project, or if it should be
> so
>  > simple that one person can do it over a good weekend.
> 
> Getting Erlang running on the gumstix should be relatively
> straightforward if you've done that sort of thing before, i.e. you
> know your way around cross compilers and makefiles. I'd expect it to
> take me a day if I already had the cross-compiler and C libraries set
> up.

I'm new to linux though (believe it or not at this late stage of the game)
and would still need to find my way through the jungle of tools. Going back
to the 80's I've done a lot of porting of a large complex system (GIS) to a
variety of environments including HP (HP/UX), Sun (SunOS and Solaris), Data
General (AOS/VS), x86 UNIX and Xenix, OS/2, NT and Windows. Those days the
variances between the processors and the C compiler implementations were
extreme, and I spent a lot of time devising ways and means to virtualise the
differences to keep the other developers largely independent from the
intricacies involved. I even replicated the entire OSF/Motif environment for
the non-unix environments so that my GUI developers could write for a single
environment. It worked brilliantly and was the right thing to do at the
time, but things have changed dramatically since then...

I suspect that the toughest part will be exactly that - setting up the cross
compiling environment properly. The gumstix guys does help with a
cross-compiler solution though, so I'll be working my way through that
first.

Brian's announcement did mention the exclusion of HiPE. I've not seen HiPE
code, but I suspect that the trouble is that very tight optimisation is
often opportunistically using specific platform and processor capabilities.
The nostalgia of that can quite easily draw me into "simply having to port
HiPE as well", but if the performance pay-off is not going to be worth it, I
really should resist the temptation.

> 
> The gumstix is more than powerful enough, though 4MB of flash is
> probably too tight. I'd suggest starting off with the 16MB XM version,
> or using external storage (NFS or CF or...).

Mine is the 400MHz, 16MB flash, 64MB SDRAM version and I have Compact Flash
MMC, Bluetooth, USBNet and Ethernet options to connect. I'll probably stick
to the same spec level for production units.

> 
> See also the Erlang FAQ, http://www.erlang.org/faq/, question "8.9. Is
> Erlang small enough for embedded systems?"

Quite helpful, thanks. I also noticed Q 8.8's answer including:
"The whole build system wasn't written with cross compilation in mind. There
have been murmurs from volunteers to fix this, but no result (yet)."

Is your "bad conscience" comment perhaps a reference to the same thing? ;-)

> 
> Matthias

I suspect it's time for at least a new thread, maybe even project - under
the current heading most members are likely to miss that we're not
discussing general linux but rather Erlang on PXA255/XSCALE/ARM.

Marthin






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