[time-nuts] Basic question regarding comparing two frequencies

jimlux jimlux at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 25 11:16:11 EDT 2010

Steve Rooke wrote:
> That seems to indicate these devices are running a version of embedded
> Windows for them to get infected by a virus and I wonder why they need
> such a sledgehammer internally.
> Steve
> PS. sorry for top-posting but that's the only way I can reply at the
> moment (basic HTML Gmail).

Yes.. most are running some flavor of Windows Embedded (formerly known 
as WinCE) or WinXP.  It's a cost driven thing.. small form factor 
motherboards are readily available, windows gives you a familiar (to 
most users) interface for doing things like setup of the network 
interface, file system, etc.  I'd say it's probably cheaper (in a 
capital investment sense) to put a small PC into the instrument than to 
design your own custom controller board, write embedded software for it, 

Especially if you want commonality across your whole line, where the 
higher end instruments have fairly sophisticated add-on software (all 
those slick applications that analyze signals, set things up), choosing 
some sort of popular OS platform makes sense.

MS makes it pretty easy to do the development.. The Visual Studio 
products are inexpensive, well integrated, etc. They've got decent 
documentation for generating stripped down installs suitable for 
instruments.  They also have update management, etc.

Some flavor of Linux is really the alternative, and the learning curve 
to get started with embedded applications is a bit steeper, especially 
if you want more than what can be done by a command line interface. 
Which GUI toolkit do you use? Where do you get it? etc.   With Windows, 
that whole list of choices has been made for you.

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