Saturday, May 14, 2011

MPLAB X with Ubuntu

Well, first of all I'm back....I think. I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy on some side projects for pay which, understandably, take precedence over this fun stuff. Gotta put that food on the table. Anyway, I've been dying to get back on this project and have had tons of ideas swimming around in my head. I'm hoping to spend a lot more time working on this now that most of my side projects have just about wrapped up.

On the Ubuntu Kick

So about 6 months ago I gave linux another twirl. I've tried it several times over the last decade and have had fun but never felt is was practical to switch from Windows. Well, Ubuntu 10 changed my mind. I created an Ubuntu image in a virtual machine to work on a Rails website and was instantly hooked. If you haven't tried Linux in a few years it's worth taking another look. I've since switched my family PC over to Ubuntu and, believe it or not, it was fairly smooth with the wife and kids. I've been thinking about making the complete switch on my development machines but haven't been able to take the plunge yet.

New Dev Machine

Why am I telling you all of this? Currently I do all of my hardware development and chip programming from a 2002 Toshiba Satellite Laptop running XP. Seeing how my new "thing" is linux and I'm just getting back into the sensor project I wanted to see if I could set up a complete hardware dev machine with Ubuntu. Enter MPLAB X which has downloads for Linux distros so you don't even need to use Wine. After a few hours of googling and fiddling with Ubuntu 11.04 I've successfully pulled down the EmbeddedFun project from github, compiled it, and programmed a chip with the Pickit3 all from a 7 year old P4 630MB RAM frankenstein PC running Ubuntu. Perhaps mostly for my own documentation purposes I'm going to do a post with the steps in the next few days. Windows is great but seriously, we're not doing anything Windows-specific here so why pay for an extra copy of Windows when you can set up a pretty sweet hardware dev machine with Linux.

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