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Real-time JVM rev’d with BeagleBoard support

Sep 29, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Aonix announced a new release of its real-time Java virtual machine (JVM) for embedded and real-time systems, adding support for Texas Instruments' ARM Cortex-A8-based BeagleBoard. The Linux-compatible “PERC Ultra 5.3” also enables the use of AWT/Swing graphics libraries and provides support for Java Agent and java.lang.instrument, says the company.

PERC Ultra 5.3 is a widely used JVM toolset for creating embedded and real-time systems requiring J2SE (Java Standard Edition) support (see farther below for background). The new version offers Ahead-of-Time (AOT) and Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation, remote debug support, and deterministic garbage collection, says Aonix.

The new support for AWT/Swing libraries on embedded platforms offers graphics developers access to hundreds of downloadable community projects, says the company. AWT (Abstract Window ToolKit) is a portable GUI library for stand-alone applications and applets that helps bridge the gap between Java applications and native GUIs, says Aonix.

Swing, which is implemented entirely in Java and based on Lightweight UI Framework, implements a set of GUI components that build upon AWT. PERC Ultra's AWT/Swing implementation is supported on Linux/x86, Linux/ppc with hardware floating point, and Linux/arm-eabi with hardware floating point, says the company.


PERC Ultra conceptual diagram

Version 5.3's new support for Java Agent and java.lang.instrument is available for Windows and Linux targets. The feature makes use of classes imported from OpenJDK, and is modified to work with the PERC Ultra JVM.

The Java Agent is said to be used by Java profiler tools such as Profiler4j, in conjunction with the java.lang.instrument package. Working with these components, developers can add byte code instrumentation to classes as they are loaded and defined, in order to improve real-time code analysis.

BeagleBoard gets some Java help

Boasting an open hardware design and an open online community, the BeagleBoard is targeted primarily at early development and testing for ARM-based projects. Aonix claims to have tested PERC Ultra 5.3 on the BeagleBoard using both Linux and X Windows distributions from Angstrom and the free CodeSourcery G++ Lite toolchain for ARM GNU/Linux.


Developed by Texas Instruments (TI) employees, the 3.0 x 3.0-inch BeagleBoard (pictured at right) shipped in July 2008 for $150, distributed by Digi-Key. A Revision C version, released in May of this year, doubled memory to 256MB, added a second high-speed USB port, and provided an LCD expansion connector. As with the original BeagleBoard, it ships with a Linux board support package (BSP).

The board is built around on TI's OMAP3530, the high-end model in TI's OMAP35xx portfolio of SoCs. The OMAP3530 is based on ARM's Cortex-A8 processor core, which offers superscalar processing and is clocked at 600MHz. The OMAP3530 also incorporates Imagination Technologies' SGX 2D/3D graphics processor and a TI TMS320C64x DSP core clocked at 430MHz.

There have been a number of hobbyist projects based on the BeagleBoard, including the BeagleBot robot, as well as more commercial projects like Always Innovating's Touch Book netbook.

PERC background

The Java 5 compliant PERC Ultra is the most widely used real-time virtual machine, claims Aonix. The JVM toolkit is commonly found in aerospace, defense, telecommunications, industrial automation, and robotics applications.

A 5.1 upgrade released in April 2008 was touted as improving performance and security, while adding support for real-time operating systems (RTOSes) including Wind River Linux. Aonix also sells an SMP-optimized version of PERC Ultra called PERC Ultra SMP, as well as PERC Pico, a low-level hard real-time JVM.

Stated Dave Doherty, VP, semiconductor product, Digi-Key Corporation, "We're very pleased that Aonix has ported and tested PERC against the BeagleBoard."

Stated Gary Cato, Director of Marketing at Aonix, "We have seen steadily increasing demand for graphics support from our embedded and real-time customers. Some of that demand comes from projects that had previously been implemented with Java Enterprise Edition (J2EE) libraries, but are now required to move to embedded targets where Java Standard Edition (J2SE) is more appropriate."

Availability

PERC Ultra 5.3, with support for the BeagleBoard development platform running Linux, is available immediately, says Aonix. PERC development tools are said to be available at no charge in combination with a maintenance contract. Target execution and deployment license pricing starts at $25K based on projected volume, says the company.

PERC Ultra 5.3 supports most commercial real-time operating systems and Linux distributions targeting ARM, PowerPC, and other processors. More information on PERC Ultra 5.3 may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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