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Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

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Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby bobicanprogram » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:13 pm

I'd love to upgrade to the new USB DrDAQ board, but it seems that a suitable Linux driver isn't yet available.

The Linux Driver Project was setup a number of years ago to address just this issue.

http://linuxdriverproject.org/foswiki/bin/view

PicoTech gives away its software as a product compliment/enabler to sell more data acquisition hardware. As such serving the Linux market for that hardware can only expand sales. I would submit that PicoTech can only win by going to:

http://linuxdriverproject.org/foswiki/b ... anyProcess

and registering to get their Linux drivers written and maintained by the Linux Driver Project going forward.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby bobicanprogram » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:44 pm

I would also encourage PicoTech to explore the Codeweavers/WINE porting option for PicoLog and PicoScope software modules:

http://www.codeweavers.com/services/engagements/

It would seem that without abandonning the single Windows codebase they could potentially get a product which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Sounds like another win-win-win to me.

Just curious if anyone has tried PicoLog or PicoScope under the lastest versions of Crossover/WINE? Do they work at all?

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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby bobicanprogram » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:21 pm

I just got a response from a quick email to Greg KH of the Linux Driver Project.

======== begin snip ==========
"I doubt any driver needs to be written for it at all, that can all be
done with userspace using libusb."
======== end snip ===========

A quick read on libusb reveals that it is a cross platform library. What do you think PicoTech? If you could release the access specs for this DrDAQ I'm sure we could marshall the resources in the wider Linux community to build the required user space interface.

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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby Chris » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:03 pm

We hold all our IP in-house, and so will not be release information in order to make linux drivers available for those products that do not have them.

(Any linux engineers who would like to join us can submit their CV's via the careers section of the web-site.)

http://pico.jobs/applynow.html
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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby bobicanprogram » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:53 pm

I'm reminded of the quote

"Smart companies try to commoditize their products' complements."

taken from
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ ... tterV.html

I fail to see how releasing the (libusb) access specs for your DrDAQ device in any way encroaches on your IP. Having said that, the Linux Driver Project people are willing to sign an NDA which takes the IP argument off the table.

Every day you aren't supplying a Linux driver for this product is a day you aren't selling a DrDAQ unit to a Linux user. It is also another day when your more linux friendly competition can be closer to servicing this market.

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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby jkahrs » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:56 pm

If you are interested in a speculation about their IP:

I can only guess, but it might be that the driver is downloading some binary file (firmware) to the USB device at initialization. If they reveal how this mechanism works, developers could try to do strange thinks; possibly destroying the device.

You are right in reminding them that they lose potential customers each day they refuse to deliver Linux drivers. And indeed some customers might turn to the products of competition as soon as there are some.

I had a similar situation with the PS2205 (which is a wonderful device when used with the PicoScope software inside a VirtualBox 4 machine). There are Linux drivers for PS2205 (32 and 64 bit), but for some functions (fast streaming) the quality of the drivers is not as good as I hoped it would be and I can't fix anything about that because the source is not available. For the PS2205 there is also no hope of convincing them to release the source code, so it is rather likely that I will turn to a PCI Express card as soon as serious work has to be done.
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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby bobicanprogram » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:22 pm

The kind of information that would be required to create a libusb handler for the DrDAQ could be gleaned from any reasonably capable USB sniffer software, so once again I don't understand how PicoTech views this as IP needing protection. That said, reverse engineering a USB device isn't an easy undertaking and most Linux users will simply defect to the competition.

Linux SBCs with DrDAQ like capabilities are coming down in price to the point where one very capable one (400MHz ARM9, Debian Linux, 512MB, 1 ethernet, 6USB, 8 analog, 8 digital in, 8 digital out, wide range of USB sensors ($10 and up), 20+ programming language API's available including libraries for Linux, Windows and Mac) I was looking at recently was only $60 over the DrDAQ price.

The DrDAQ competitive advantage, whatever PicoTech views that to be, won't last very long at those price differentials. Shame really.

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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby RockDoctor » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:43 am

bobicanprogram wrote:Linux SBCs with DrDAQ like capabilities are coming down in price to the point where one very capable one (400MHz ARM9, Debian Linux, 512MB, 1 ethernet, 6USB, 8 analog, 8 digital in, 8 digital out, wide range of USB sensors ($10 and up), 20+ programming language API's available including libraries for Linux, Windows and Mac) I was looking at recently was only $60 over the DrDAQ price.

Can you give some detail on this device. I was looking at a number of Singaporean devices before I plumped for the DrDAQ, on the basis of it's (implied) Linux support, plus having a delivery time that would get it into my hands before I had to leave Europe to go to the site where I needed it.
That project is now finished (unless ... well operations may resume, or the site may be shifted a couple of hundred kilometres to an onshore location, to get away from the Somali pirates) ... so when I get out of the office and onto leave, I won't have a Windows machine to use it with. At which point, if the Linux drivers and software don't work, it becomes a paperweight.

bobicanprogram wrote:The DrDAQ competitive advantage, whatever PicoTech views that to be, won't last very long at those price differentials. Shame really.

What is to be ashamed about? Company doesn't look after it's customers ; company gets fired ; sun rises next day.
The data I acquired from the DrDAQ will probably lead to several people losing their jobs, or at least being re-assigned back into more hostile countries, but that's fundamentally their fault for not doing their job adequately and for getting caught not doing it. It's not going to lose me any sleep.
On which subject ...
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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby Martyn » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:15 am

We are working on releasing Linux drivers for our current range of devices, the PicoScope 3000A and 6000 series have been added in the last month. Please see our website for details http://labs.picotech.com/#linux

Unfortunately the DrDAQ is not on the list yet and I don't have a timeline for when this will be included so just keep an eye on the website.
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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby RockDoctor » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:44 am

Martyn wrote:We are working on releasing Linux drivers for our current range of devices, the PicoScope 3000A and 6000 series have been added in the last month. Please see our website for details http://labs.picotech.com/#linux

Cheers !
Martyn wrote:Unfortunately the DrDAQ is not on the list yet and I don't have a timeline for when this will be included so just keep an eye on the website.

Boos ! <G>

A potentially interesting piece of information from out of "left field" is that there is substantial progress on the "OpenVizsla" project, which is the design, construction and marketing of a Open Source (hardware and software) device to assist with decoding USB traffic between $HOST and $DEVICE, specifically designed to provide the information for programmers to write their own code to read and control USB devices for which adequate drivers don't exist on $OS-OF-CHOICE.
See http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bus ... l-analyzer for details.

(I'm a donor to the project, for political reasons. I doubt that will be a surprise.)

The precise purpose of devices like this is to allow owners of such devices (e.g. a DrDAQ) to get drivers for their $OS-OF-CHOICE regardless of the manufacturer's opinions on which OS they wish to support. I also note that one of the most important pieces of legislation (in practical terms, though logically irrelevant in this particular case) in this field, the American DMCA, has a specific permission for reverse engineering and hacking of protocols to permit interoperability.
So, providing I (or others) can find appropriately skilled and motivated programmers, there will be native Linux drivers for the DrDAQ. Pico's choice in the matter is over where they come from.

I also note the comment from Chris back in Feb that Pico are looking for "linux engineers". Any success, or can't you comment?
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Re: Linux driver for USB DrDAQ

Postby RockDoctor » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:49 am

bobicanprogram wrote:Linux SBCs with DrDAQ like capabilities are coming down in price to the point where one very capable one (...) I was looking at recently was only $60 over the DrDAQ price.

I got the details by PM, thanks, but for some reason I can't PM you to say thanks. So, thanks!
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