[VxW] vxworks vs lynxos 4

Chris Hann chann94501 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 2 15:53:24 PDT 2003

I worked for Wind from 1998 to 2002, I worked with vxWorks from 1989. I 
have worked with LynxOS since 3/2003.

My main observation would be that the cycle time for our LynxOS project 
is much greater than it was for any vxWorks project. In vxWorks if I 
modified a driver then I'd make in the top level directory and boot my 
target, a minute later my new software is working (well, at lest on the 
machine and trying, we all make mistakes). When I rebuild this system my 
main build environment is Win2k but I need to rebuild the LynxOS to 
include the new drivers. We often modify structures that map to both and 
have to rebuild everything. With ftping software and rebuilding in 
several directories then ftping in the applications it takes an hour or 
so to wind the handle on this system. If it had been done differently 
then perhaps it could be quicker, but I miss the comparatively fast 
reboots on vxWorks.

I miss the debugger and WindView too.

We have had issues with LynxOS that were solved with a huge patch too, 
that was not as forthcoming as I would have expected from Wind. Wind 
tends to air its dirty washing in public, you can browse patches and see 
if any of them address your areas of concern.

LynxOS employs a number of former Wind people, they would know all about 
things Wind has done wrong. I don't believe Wind has the same benefit. 
Having said that I am not personally aware of projects that have failed 
because of the choice of vxWorks, which doesn't mean there aren't any. 
WinCE was certainly known for crashing a few companies who couldn't make 
it work on their hardware.

The big downer for vxWorks used to be availability of the source, but if 
what I heard recently is correct then the source is now very affordable. 
Rebuilding the entire source on a Solaris box was just a case of going 
to the top of the tree and typing (for example)


If you modify a bit of the o/s you only need to make in that directory.

We are having issues getting a coherent build and target between several 
developers and their target systems.

I can't see any great advantage of LynxOS over Linux, the disadvantage 
is that they have less that 1% of the developers and they don't make the 
source readily available.

To be fair to LynxOS to rebuild the kernel on a target you do this:

cd /sys/lynx.os
make install

You may also have to make all in sys/devices.

Given my current issues; if we were in the market for an OS I'd be 
looking forward to giving the WR sales folks a hell of a hard time on 
price, and failing that I'd be looking at Linux or BSD (which has much 
better licensing from a commercial perspective). If you aren't a good 
negotiator you can end up getting a less than sweetheart deal on target 
licenses from any commercial vendor.

Wind need to pull their finger out on the device driver front, but their 
device drivers are relatively easy to write and there is a reasonable 

vxWorks isn't ideal, I have little use for Tornado in day to day use, 
but they still suck less. Their support isn't what it once was, but then 
I know my way round the source tree from a year in major account support 
and four in services, so there aren't a lot of questions you can't 
answer with the source.

Wind's editor sucks, I don't know why they even bother. Visual Slick 
Edit is a lot better. VSE is also more capable than MS VDS which Lynx 
interfaces to. My main complaint is that the cross referencing in VDS 
depends on being able to compile the code, VSE will browse stuff that 
won't compile. With vxWorks I'd edit in VSE if I had it or Emacs if I 
didn't. Tornado can call out to other editors, but the link isn't great. 
I didn't work with Wind's latest and greatest Tornado, so I don't know 
if the latest IDE ever saw the light of day.

Summary... LynxOS wouldn't be top of my list.

I don't think I've said anything actionable, so I better stop now.

Speaking for myself alone, certainly not for my employer who may have 
very good reasons for not agreeing with me at all :-)

Zaa wrote:

> Hi,
> At my company we are deciding between vxworks and lynx os 4.0.
> Our App is going to do sockets and a couple of threads with a semaphore.
> lynx os's web site says there are lots of projects that failed on vxworks.
> Are there any skelitons in lynx os's closet  to make a more informed choice?
> Thanks
> _______________________________________________
> VxWorks Users Group mailing list
> VxWexplo at lbl.gov
> http://www-csg.lbl.gov/vxworks/

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