Raspberry Pi

This weekend I finally got a raspberry pi, and I have to admit, I’m a bit excited. Since the beginning of my career as a software engineer, most of my time has been spent developing embedded software (some of it real time, some of it safety critical). My current employer, iTRACS, doesn’t do any embedded work, so this little “dev board” (that’s what we call boards purposed specifically for development – playing around, really) will give me the opportunity to keep my embedded skills from getting all rusty.

 

The raspberry pi is a computer, albeit a very small and cheap one (and it, for all practical purposes, is an embedded computer). The whole thing is only a bit larger than a credit card, has a 700MHz ARM processor, an ethernet port, two USB ports, and GPIO (general purpose I/O) pins (and a few other things). It does not have a disk drive, but rather boots of off an SD card (yup, the same ones that cameras use). My raspberry pi is currently running an optimized Debian Linux called “Rasbian”. It was one of the pre-built images available from raspberry pi. It will do for now (but who knows what I’ll do later).

Once I got the board off of its back (that is, got it to boot), I went about getting a cross tool chain working on my desktop Linux box. This will allow me to build (compile) programs on my big, beefy desktop and transfer the resulting executable to my “razz” directly. It is much better build on my desktop than to attempt it on the little pi.

Also, since I am a C++ developer, I make frequent use of the boost libraries. These I also had to cross compile (using my shiny new cross tool chain). It took a bit of doin’, but I eventually figured it out. I went ahead and built some C++ code I had previously developed, and, after downloading the new boost libraries to my “razz”, the code executed without a hitch!

I love it when a plan comes together!

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