Fish Finders, Embedded Linux and Graphics

By Paul Anderson 

P.anderson Here I am up at rustic cabin in Northern Wisconsin enjoying some time off the grid. I feel like Ralph Waldo Emerson getting in touch with nature, and exploring Transcendentalism, except for one minor detail: I have a wireless connection. Emerson was quoted as saying “Nature hates calculators,” and I’m not sure what he would think about the billions of connected devices scattered across the landscape. Not to worry, I’ll be back unplugged soon enough and enjoying some quality time in the “digital free zone.”

I tried my hand at some fishing this week on the little lake we are on. Even though I’m a gadget person in general, I am a very low tech fisherman. With the help of my brother in law, my kids and I just fished the old fashioned way, with a pole, hook, bobber, and worm. It didn’t take long to find the fish, or for the fish to find us. However, there are plenty of high tech anglers out there that use everything from advanced weather forecast maps, fish finders, and even underwater cameras. I find all that technology interferes with the peace of mind that I am looking for when doing things like fishing, but perhaps that is because I am fully immersed in technology as a career.

Modern high end fish finders, GPS units, and other electronics equipment used in the outdoors have become much more sophisticated. The users of deeply embedded devices have come to expect a graphical user interface, low power consumption, and reliability. A similar trend can be found across a spectrum of deeply embedded devices, including industrial control panels, medical equipment, military applications, and of course, consumer equipment.

Although mobile operating systems have been used in some of these devices, many devices use embedded Linux in designs to reduce the complexity, power consumption, and footprint requirements for devices while increasing reliability of the device. For those who have used advanced graphics using Linux in the past, you know that getting the right drivers integrated and the system operating correctly often involves a bit of black magic, and a whole lot of elbow grease (not to mention a rubber chicken, garlic clove, and a ten pound sledge hammer). It is unfortunate, since there are many systems on a chip (SOCs) that have great integrated graphics that are hard for the average embedded developer to actually use in designs.

In talking with our customers about what they wanted from Wind River Linux, integrated graphics capability frequently topped the list. That means having all the right graphics subsystems, packages, and drivers pre-integrated and pre-tested to the greatest extent possible to make inclusion of rich graphics in deeply embedded design as easy as possible on popular hardware, such as ARM and Intel. The great news is that we have delivered these things in our newest version of Wind River Linux 4 Update 2, along with many other exciting features. Learn more about embedded graphics in Linux, and other exciting features in our products here.

And by the way…Wind River was also named the embedded Linux market leader for the third consecutive year by VDC Research Group.

For me, it’s back off the digital grid to enjoy the nature around me.


“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now“

Ralph Waldo Emerson


1 Comment

  1. qwerty

    Here is some irony: I found about your site by looking for win driver and google showed your page: nothing to do with wind or river but with both.
    Reliable integrated graphics is welcomed on linux and does make it easier to actually develop a linux based solution. The graphics part of linux did let down in many distribution and made the whole system freeze.
    Good job.

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