Framework releases

Back in October 2019 I pointed out that I didn’t normally do roadmaps of where the framework was going but did one anyway. Looking at how long it has taken to get from there to here I think I’m generally correct not to do roadmaps… I’ve been very busy with client work and the pandemic has caused us some disruption, but thankfully not too much. However, I think the main reason that it has taken so long to get the 7.

I don't do roadmaps, but...

I’m in the process of putting together a series of releases for The Server Framework. It’s a little more complex than usual so I thought I’d explain why that is.For the past year we’ve been working on a Linux/Mac version of The Server Framework with several clients. This has involved adjusting a lot of the code and moving some stuff around; for example there was code in our “Win32Tools” library that isn’t Win32 or even Windows specific and so that now lives in a new tools library, “CoreTools”, that contains code that can build on all platforms.

How to reset the BIOS on a Vortex86-6071LV

The embedded Linux project came back to life this week when the manufacturer sent us some new video driver source for the SiS 550 on the Vortex86-6071LV. At present the new driver seems to work as well as the old one; i.e. not very well at all… Anyway, whilst adjusting the BIOS settings for the LCD panel I managed to set them to something which meant that neither the LCD panel nor the external VGA would display anything.

Another day learning the Linux way...

My client has decided that we should ignore the video driver problem and press on with the proof of concept using the external VGA screen as a display. So this week was spent learning about building software for a machine running a minimal Linux installation using libc 2.3.2 on a machine running a proper distro using libc something else… The first job was to evaluate a couple of small web browsers, dillo and viewml; their choice, not mine (not that I have any issues with the choice, I just didn’t do any research around it).

So, where's the Unix version of CodeProject?

Software development is hard. Lots of details that are hard to get your head around and harder to simplify. CodeProject is a wonderful resource for Windows programmers where programmers try and make the complicated more simple for others; I view it as giving something back. If I’ve spent several weeks fighting to understand a problem and now I do it’s nice to write up and article and post it, either here, or on CodeProject, so that others don’t have to fight so hard.


Today was “get the Vortex86’s SiS 550 graphics card working in graphics mode” day. In summary, I didn’t and it’s because the LCD is a DSTN one and the current Linux SiS drivers don’t support it yet… The first job of the day was to build a new 2.4.31 kernel with support for the network card in the VMWare machine. I needed this so that I could easilly test my new kernel and get to the point where I was confortable configuring LILO with multiple boot options before moving on to doing it for real on the Vortex86.

Travelling at the speed of a floppy drive

This afternoon has been “one of those” afternoons. It started innocently enough when I checked my mail and my cables had arrived. I plugged a floppy drive into the Vortex86 and checked that I could boot off of it into DOS. All was well, if you ignore the fact that the only way I could get a) a floppy drive and b) a power supply to power it was to take the cover off of a 1U server box that I had laying around and use the PSU and floppy drive from that.

2.4.31 Kernel build is go...

As I mentioned yesterday I’m currently playing around with Linux on an embedded PC. Stage 0: was to get a build environmet set up. That’s complete now and I have a build of the 2.4.31 kernel running whilst I type this. Getting a build machine set up was pretty painless. I downloaded the evaluation of VMWare Workstation 5 and had hoped to grab a pre-built image from Red Hat but the only images that they have available are enterprise server builds that were around 900->1000mb downloads with no details about what had been installed on them.

And now for something completely different

One of my clients has asked me to do some investigative work for them in relation to Linux running on a Vortex86-6071LV (a PC/104 format PC which is 386 PC on a board that’s around 6" x 4" x 1/2"). Should be fun. The machine in question is actually a VOX-064-TS thin frame PC with a touch screen which is pretty cool. The ‘disk’ is a 32mb solid state device and it’s kinda weird to see this tiny PC boot up via the usual AMI BIOS screens and then into Linux in around 10 seconds from this super fast disk (I want solid state disks for my dev box!