Category Archives: ARM

An Introduction to Hypervisors

Andy McCormick

Andy McCormick

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
I provide expertise and training for Embedded Linux courses.

I have over 20 years of experience in the embedded sector, gained at companies such as Pace, Open TV and Sony Semiconductor Europe.

I've led work on numerous projects at all stages in the design cycle with comprehensive expertise in software engineering design, support and integration.
Andy McCormick

Hypervisors are becoming commonplace in the embedded world, especially in high-end multi-core systems. If you’d asked me about virtualisation or hypervisors 2 years ago, like most people I didn’t know much about them. A hypervisor, that’s a super-supervisor, right? Virtualisation, you mean Virtual Machines, right? Running Linux on Windows using VMware, right? Not any more!

Here at Feabhas we’ve noticed a lot of our clients and contacts are starting to look at designs using hypervisors in embedded systems for a number of […]

Posted in ARM, Design Issues, General, Industry Analysis, Linux | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The three ‘No’s of sequential consistency

Glennan Carnie

Glennan Carnie

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

Latest posts by Glennan Carnie (see all)

In the previous article we looked at the memory consistency problem that occurs when writing multi-threaded code for modern multi-processor systems.

In this article is we’ll have a look at how we can solve the sequential consistency problem and restore some sanity to our programming

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, Cortex | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Function Parameters and Arguments on 32-bit ARM

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

Function call basics

When teaching classes about embedded C  or embedded C++ programming, one of the topics we always address is “Where does the memory come from for function arguments?“

Take the following simple C function:

void test_function(int a, int b, int c, int d);

when we invoke the function, where are the function arguments stored?

int main(void)
{
  //…
  test_function(1,2,3,4);
  //…
}

Unsurprisingly, the most common answer after “I don’t know” is “the stack“; and of course if you were compiling for x86 this would […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, Cortex | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

goto fail and embedded C Compilers

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

I can’t imagine anyone reading this posting hasn’t already read about the Apple “goto fail” bug in SSL. My reaction was one of incredulity; I really couldn’t believe this code could have got into the wild on so many levels.

First we’ve got to consider the testing (or lack thereof) for this codebase. The side effect of the bug was that all SSL certificates passed, even malformed ones. This implies positive testing (i.e. we can demonstrate it works), but no negative testing […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, Industry Analysis, Testing | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

UK based One-day ARM User Conference (and it’s free!)

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

For those of you that are not on our company hit list, sorry I mean mailing list, then you may not have heard about next week’s ARM User Conference run by the good folks at Hitex UK.

The event is titled “ARM – Continually Raising the Standard” and is being held at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry on the 19th September 2013. This year there are two streams running to allow a wider choice of presentation.

The event is also preceded by a number of (paid) workshops on […]

Posted in ARM | Leave a comment

ARM TechCon 2013

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

ARM’s Technical Conference called TechCon™ is running between October 29th and 31st at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

This year I shall be making the trip over to present three classes:

Can Existing Embedded Applications Benefit from Multicore Technology?
Virtual Functions in C++ on the ARM Architecture
Developing a Generic Hard-Fault Handler for ARM Cortex-M3/Cortex-M4

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog you’ll recognise the Generic Hard-Fault Handler from a previous post.

The class “Can Existing Embedded Applications Benefit from […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, Cortex | Tagged | 3 Comments

Test Driven Development (TDD) with the mbed

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

One of the most useful fallout’s from the acceptance of Agile techniques is the use of Test-Driven-Development (TDD) and the growth of associated test frameworks, such as GoogleTest and CppUTest, etc.

I won’t get into the details of TDD here as they are well covered elsewhere (I recommend James Grenning’s book “Test Driven Development for Embedded C” for a good coverage of the subject area), but the principle is

Write a test
Develop enough code to compile and build (but will fail the test)
Write the application code […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, CMSIS, Cortex, Testing | 4 Comments

Rehosting ARMCC for the mbed with CMSIS-DAP

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

In this posting I will look at porting the C standard library output (e.g. puts / printf ) to use a UART rather than the default ARM/Keil semihosting.

In my last post, I looked at getting basic user I/O out from a native-mbed via UART0 to a terminal emulator (e.g. Tera Term). This was driven by the fact that, currently, neither printf (via semihosting) or ITM_SendChar do not function on the mbed. Unfortunately, my solution uses a propriety API, such as init_serial0 and putchar0, […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, CMSIS, Cortex | 3 Comments

User I/O from mbed with CMSIS-DAP

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

Following on from my last posting regarding using native C/C++ on the mbed I have found that I currently cannot get output via the standard CMSIS ITM_SendChar function as used in the Cortex-M hard fault handler (I am currently in dialog with the guys at ARM trying to resolve this).

In the standard mbed environment, the mbed can communicate with a host PC through a “USB Virtual Serial Port” over the same USB cable that is used for programming using printf(), e.g.

#include “mbed.h”
int […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, CMSIS, Cortex | 3 Comments

Native C/C++ Application development for the mbed using CMSIS-DAP

Niall Cooling

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

If you have been following the Feabhas blog for some time, you may remember that in April of last year I posted about my experiences of using the MQTT protocol. The demonstration code was ran the ARM Cortex-M3 based mbed platform.

For those that are not familiar with the mbed, it is an “Arduino-like” development platform for small microcontroller embedded systems. The variant I’m using is built using an NXP LPC1768 Cortex-M3 device, which offers a plethora of connection options, ranging […]

Posted in ARM, C/C++ Programming, CMSIS, Cortex | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments