Author Topic: Equipment running Windoze?  (Read 22152 times)

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Online dr.diesel

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Equipment running Windoze?
« on: March 23, 2013, 02:29:36 pm »
I am considering the following two pieces:

Rigol DSA815-TG
Agilent Oscilloscope, 4-Channel, 200MHz, DSOX2024A

In a recent video Dave mentioned Agilent utilizing Windoze CE as the base OS, anyone know what the above are running?  Or what base OS is used by specific companies?

I can't in good conscience support/buy any product that supports m$.

Thanks
Andy

Update:

Response from Rigol: "None of our instruments use a Windows OS"   :-+
Response from Hameg: "None of our devices are based on Windows technology"   :-+
BK Precision Scopes:  Non Windows based.   :-+
Tektronix DPO/MSO/MDO4000, DPO/MSO3000, and DPO/MSO2000 all run embedded Linux   :-+
Agilent DSO6000s and DSO1000s series do not run any version of Windows.    :-+

Adding others as they come up:

Agilent TrueVolt 34461A 6.5digit bench multimeter: Windows CE
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 03:16:10 pm by dr.diesel »
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 02:54:18 pm »
Hm... fair comment, though you'll be talking yourself out of a lot of good kit. Maybe you could ease your conscience by using your new gear to help develop some piece of open source hardware?

You could go the other way - buy a used HP spectrum analyser, something like the 8594E, and a Rigol DS4024 scope. The HP certainly doesn't run Windows, and I don't believe the scope does either. There's certainly no MS sticker on the back.

Offline BravoV

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 02:58:21 pm »
Beware though, most new and especially "serious"measuring tools have their supporting applications run only in windoze.

Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 03:09:33 pm »
I can't in good conscience support/buy any product that supports m$.

The good thing about buying software is that you're only supporting one software company with questionable ethics, like MS. When you buy electronics, you're supporting all of China, Inc., which is a hell of a lot more unethical on average. I don't think a little bit of MS contamination makes a difference when you're buying electronic hardware.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 03:17:34 pm »
Rigol has a rather large booth at the Dayton Ham fest coming up soon in May, I plan to drill their sales guys on what equipment runs what, hopefully they have some knowledge on the base OS.

I've read through much of the supporting documentation on the Rigol, no mention of the OS.  However my bet is the Agilent does run CE, bummer...

The supporting software is a very valid concern.  In the past I've had good luck with Wine, but only on the instruments with serial output, which includes pieces with FTDI based USB, which is very well supported under Linux.

Thanks again

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 03:19:46 pm »
The good thing about buying software is that you're only supporting one software company with questionable ethics, like MS. When you buy electronics, you're supporting all of China, Inc., which is a hell of a lot more unethical on average. I don't think a little bit of MS contamination makes a difference when you're buying electronic hardware.

Dang you, I hadn't thought of it that way...  Now I can't buy anything! 

Offline BravoV

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 03:23:16 pm »
Dang you, I hadn't thought of it that way...  Now I can't buy anything!

You can't even post this thread without violating your spirit there, since the computer/laptop/tablet you're using is made in China.  :-DD

Offline lewis

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 03:26:45 pm »
The Agilent 2000 and 3000 series do indeed run Windows CE embedded, but it is nothing like the Windows we're all used to on our desktop computers, and the OS has never caused me problems and I would trust it not to do so.

I looked at getting a Tektronix MSO5000 series scope before opting for Agilent, and that runs Windows 7. As in the complete Windows 7 with a start menu and internet explorer and minesweeper and everything. The scope had a mini mATX PC inside with Intel Core i-something processor and removable 2.5" hard drive. It was pretty cool being able to surf the web on your scope, but the big thing that put me off it was the inclusion in the box of a CD with "Windows 7 Recovery Disk" loudly printed on the sleeve. Call me old fashioned, but if a £20000 scope needs it's OS recovering, ever, then I'll give it a miss.
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Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 03:28:05 pm »
I can't in good conscience support/buy any product that supports m$.

Good idea. I guess you are also not buying anything from Apple, Google (including Android phones or using Google search), or most other companies which all are equally irresponsible and in some cases much worse than MS.

However, saying that you boycott MS while at the same time considering Rigol looks very much like hypocrysis.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 03:28:54 pm »
You can't even post this thread without violating your spirit there, since the computer/laptop/tablet you're using is made in China.  :-DD

Moving to Montanan, new life as a barren hermit.  :D

In all honesty, m$ has screwed me 100000000000x over what any device made in China has. 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 03:30:53 pm »
How has MS screwed you?


As an aside, any argument you make will always, always, always have more force if you don't use names like "m$" and "Windoze".
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 03:31:10 pm »
However, saying that you boycott MS while at the same time considering Rigol looks very much like hypocrysis.

This is exactly my question and what I'm looking to avoid!

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 03:32:13 pm »
I looked at getting a Tektronix MSO5000 series scope before opting for Agilent, and that runs Windows 7. As in the complete Windows 7 with a start menu and internet explorer and minesweeper and everything. The scope had a mini mATX PC inside with Intel Core i-something processor and removable 2.5" hard drive. It was pretty cool being able to surf the web on your scope, but the big thing that put me off it was the inclusion in the box of a CD with "Windows 7 Recovery Disk" loudly printed on the sleeve. Call me old fashioned, but if a £20000 scope needs it's OS recovering, ever, then I'll give it a miss.

Maybe you should have considered that the main reason why recovery disks are included are not because Windows needs to be reinstalled every 6 months (which was a silly myth even in Win95 days), but because these scopes contain hard drives or these days SSDs which do have a very finite life time, and it's a nice thing when a commodity part breaks down (which can replaced for cheap) that you don't need to call the scope manufacturer's support to reload the software (for a notable fee of course) because your only copy of the scope software was on the dead hard drive.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 03:34:18 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 03:34:23 pm »
How has MS screwed you?


As an aside, any argument you make will always, always, always have more force if you don't use names like "m$" and "Windoze".

I'm not looking to win any arguments, I just attempt to avoid any products associated as I can.

I will spent a noticeable amount more and go way out of my way to make this happen.

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2013, 03:38:45 pm »
I'm not looking to win any arguments, I just attempt to avoid any products associated as I can.

I will spent a noticeable amount more and go way out of my way to make this happen.

Well, then, the good news is that you won't have to spend much money, as most of the cheap Chinese scopes aka Atten, Siglent and I guess even Rigol are MS free (aside that they often come with some Windows software).

It's when you want to get some quality stuff that you will have a very hard time avoiding any MS involvement.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2013, 03:47:20 pm »
However, saying that you boycott MS while at the same time considering Rigol looks very much like hypocrysis.

Well, then, the good news is that you won't have to spend much money, as most of the cheap Chinese scopes aka Atten, Siglent and I guess even Rigol are MS free (aside that they often come with some Windows software).

Am I understanding correctly?  The first quote implies Rigol=MS, the second does not?

Offline chrome

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2013, 04:00:37 pm »
Anybody that uses m$ or windoze or crapple or whatever automatically invalidates anything they say about it.

To me it's the same as saying "open sores" instead of open source.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2013, 04:06:58 pm »
Anybody that uses m$ or windoze or crapple or whatever automatically invalidates anything they say about it.

Super, but it doesn't have anything to do with what I'm asking.  There is no grey area to my question, I'm not trying or starting a debate on Microsoft, Linux, BSD or Apple.  I simply want to know which test equipment devices run MS and which ones don't.




Offline MacAttak

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2013, 04:19:58 pm »
Then you shouldn't have posted in the manner in which you did. (and then followed up by repeating the slurs)

It shows lack of maturity and seriousness, and frankly it speaks volumes about your willingness to accept any information given.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2013, 04:33:12 pm »
Then you shouldn't have posted in the manner in which you did. (and then followed up by repeating the slurs)

It shows lack of maturity and seriousness, and frankly it speaks volumes about your willingness to accept any information given.

Funny.  I've asked as straight forward question, you can read into what you will.  I'am happy/willing/appreciative to accept the information I've asked, you might do well to reread the OP, maturity has nothing to do with and isn't remotely relevant.

I will talk with Rigol in May and perhaps Agilent will be willing to comment via Email.

Thanks to all,

Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2013, 05:12:25 pm »
It was pretty cool being able to surf the web on your scope, but the big thing that put me off it was the inclusion in the box of a CD with "Windows 7 Recovery Disk" loudly printed on the sleeve. Call me old fashioned, but if a £20000 scope needs it's OS recovering, ever, then I'll give it a miss.

The fewer materials I am provided that help me repair the device, the less I like it. Won't be under warranty forever. It's part of why I really, really prefer old equipment whenever it is sufficient for my needs. I don't care if I'll never need it, the fact that it's included makes me happy.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2013, 05:13:12 pm »
I'm not looking to win any arguments, I just attempt to avoid any products associated as I can.

If you truly have a reason to do this, surely you'd have a reason to want to tell other people about it?
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2013, 05:39:13 pm »
If you truly have a reason to do this, surely you'd have a reason to want to tell other people about it?

Fundamentally I don't disagree, but as you can see:

Then you shouldn't have posted in the manner in which you did. (and then followed up by repeating the slurs)

It shows lack of maturity and seriousness, and frankly it speaks volumes about your willingness to accept any information given.

Some are quite sensitive and start posting the above, which was completely unwarranted and unnecessary.

In brief and in a previous life, I worked in an environment with hundreds of Windows boxes that controlled a series of highly automated manufacturing machines.  In a zero downtime requirement the result wasn't pretty.

A long discussion could lead from this, probably resulting in the same outcome!  Anyhow these long years lead me from a 100% windows guy to a 100% Linux/Solar/VXworks guy.

Anyhow I'm now retired and choose my hardware after great study, life it good.


Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2013, 05:41:11 pm »
Am I understanding correctly?  The first quote implies Rigol=MS, the second does not?

No. I just said you don't have to spend much money to avoid MS.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2013, 07:43:01 pm »
Does it matter what os is used ?

the OS in test equipment is only there to provide basic things like networking , file operations and the GUI. apart from that it stays out of the way.
you can't even open a shell on them

The 2xxx 3xxx and 4xxx run Windows CE. so does the 335xx series of function generators. so does many other an agilent instrument that has a full color lcd graphical interface with 320x240 or more...

The reason is simple : it allows the designers to quickly develop the UI code with standard tools like microsoft studio. they get networking / usb operations / etc thrown in for zero effort.
There is no need to worry about viruses and hacks and other crap as these things are NOT pc's. They are ARM based to begin with , the processor is an ASIC ( Spear600 ) of which zero info is available to the unwashed masses / script kiddies/ pfy hackers , and they are set up to run 1 and only one application. you can't run anything else on them. the roms are most likely statically compiled.

you can argue 'why not linux' and the answer is very simple. Too fragmented , no tools, no ports for xyz , no support.
Before you blow a fuse reading the above let me explain :

- too fragmented : there are hundreds if not thousands of builds of linux based OS... which one to pick ? ( remember we need not only the kernel , we want networking , file exchange, usb , display drivers etc .. drop and run...)
- no tools. : name me a ready out of the box environment like visual studio for linux: graphical ui builder , debugger ( remote debugger ! ) code wizards , that can also can cross compile to non-native cpu... ( develop on x86 , run on arm .. ). an environment that simply needs one to launch 'setup' and works. out of the box , without configging , mucking with link scripts , install scripts and other 'tripe' like eclipse and the other 'spit and duct-tape' requiring tools...
- no ports : remember this thing is running on an ASIC featuring an A9 core. Microsoft happens to support that one. yeah , linux too.. but you end up with the endless which flavor question ? and you wil have to spend an immeasurable amount of time tweaking and porting it and you will have to do all the work whenever a patch is required. use a prepackaged system and you do not have to spend time on that. your engineers can focus on the instrument and don't need to muck with the OS itself. that's what you pay MS for.
- no support : you are not depending on the goodwill of a bunch of goodhearted people trying to make it work. or relegated to forums where the question will end up in flamewars between vi-emacs and kde-gnome. you pick up the phone , call the paid support line and you WILL get an answer WITHIN a fixed amount of time.

remember : you work for a big-name outfit like Agilent who HAS the power to make microsoft dance... your time-to market is driven by time to develop. it only makes sense to use a prepackaged build that is supported by its maker and let's you focus on your part of the design ( the instrument ). you don't need to know how the os works or how to configure it. drop it on and run. if you pick up that phone and call the supplier you will get first class support. you will not have to disclose anything to the outside world and you will get a solution in time to release.

that is why you find windows CE in such machinery. because in the long run it is the cheapest solution. you as an instrument maker don't need to muck with anything. you develop your application and hardware , compile it and sell it. you never touch the OS. the OS is only there to make your life easier and provide things like netwrorking , remote operation , user interface etc. stuff everyone does these days and you don't want to spend a single dime on development.
Buy it. If there is a problem : yell at the supplier and demand a fix. Good luck yelling at the linux supplier ...

- who are you going to yell at ? the thousands of unconnected people spending their free time coding ?
- 'you got it for free', They don't care about your problem. Microsoft does , as their paycheck is depending on it..
-' you got the source' . I don't want the source , i want a fix !
- 'sorry we are on vim we don;t deal with emacs suckers' . OS abd devtools come from 1 source. no endless banter and fingerpointing...
- 'you got the wrong color scheme or desktop',
- 'don't be a noob everyone knows its grep-$ blah.blip >vim -u -t -e:50 -e -$option .....'. I am developing an application. i don't want to muck with the OS !
- ' and you MUST post back the fix.. because it is 'open sauce' .... yeah right. like i'm going to let the competition in on what i'm doing ...

that does not fly in the real world...
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2013, 07:55:10 pm »
The 2xxx 3xxx and 4xxx run Windows CE. so does the 335xx series of function generators. so does many other an agilent instrument that has a full color lcd graphical interface with 320x240 or more...

This is what I needed to know, thank you. 

Agilent is out, my search continues.

Offline lewis

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2013, 07:58:33 pm »
The 2xxx 3xxx and 4xxx run Windows CE. so does the 335xx series of function generators. so does many other an agilent instrument that has a full color lcd graphical interface with 320x240 or more...

This is what I needed to know, thank you. 

Agilent is out, my search continues.

Just out of curiosity, why the beef with Microsoft?
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2013, 08:12:24 pm »
The 2xxx 3xxx and 4xxx run Windows CE. so does the 335xx series of function generators. so does many other an agilent instrument that has a full color lcd graphical interface with 320x240 or more...

This is what I needed to know, thank you. 

Agilent is out, my search continues.

i don't get that attitude. you never get in contact with the OS. you don't even see it ! at startup no microsoft logo is shown and the icons or UI doesn't look like microsoft.
if nobody would have told you you would have been none the wiser. i got many agilent machines 54831 54832 33521 54845 54825 . they all run windows. my oldest beast the 54845 runs windows 95 on a PIII-150... it boots in under 20 seconds and never ever bluescreens or freezes. the thing is 15 years old. it just works.
Keep in mind that these are 'sealed' installs of windows. this is not your home version. these machines boot from a clean state. you cannot alter that system image unless you reformat the drive and install a new image coming from agilent. Same principle as deep-freeze uses. the older agilent scopes use ghost for that.
at powerup the critical system area is overwritten from the known good install. it can be completely fubar because of user stupidity. ( like people installing games or other crap that has no function on a scope ) . powercycle : system is back to factory.

i had a rep coming to show me a 4xxx series scope. He was bleating on about how good this was because it was running linux and not windows. And how all the agilent machines were running linux and were so stable, fast and crash free. i turned the machine around and pointed to the little label that said Microsoft Windows CE... and had a good laugh. -BUSTED-

anyway, good luck with the search. all you will find are the crappy machines.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2013, 08:12:41 pm »
Just out of curiosity, why the beef with Microsoft?

Brief response in Post #22.  Saying anymore would begin the MS vs Others debate, we might as well argue which religion is best at that point :D

Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2013, 08:16:37 pm »
There are only two possibilities that I can think of for your reason for avoiding MS here.

1) You have a moral objection to them. In this case, it's silly because they are not going to be missing the $5-$10 they are getting as a result of you purchasing a Windows CE device. A one-man boycott does nothing.

2) You dislike using Windows. In this case, it's silly because you never see the Windows interface on these things.

Put simply, I think you're being silly.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2013, 08:17:09 pm »
i don't get that attitude.

Because buying it would send money to MS, for the CE license, which I will only do if no other option is available.

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2013, 08:19:24 pm »

1) You have a moral objection to them. In this case, it's silly because they are not going to be missing the $5-$10 they are getting as a result of you purchasing a Windows CE device. A one-man boycott does nothing.

Put simply, I think you're being silly.

There is nothing silly about conviction.  Many people lack such these days.

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2013, 09:29:42 pm »
i don't get that attitude.

Because buying it would send money to MS, for the CE license, which I will only do if no other option is available.
you are also sending money to MS every time you fuel up. most petrol pumps, atm machines and other stuff run windows....
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2013, 09:42:32 pm »
you are also sending money to MS every time you fuel up. most petrol pumps, atm machines and other stuff run windows....

I have yet to purchase a petrol pump or ATM machine.  But rest assured when I do I'll research what OS it is based on.

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2013, 09:53:15 pm »
Using that pump required someone buying it. they bought it with the profit made from the fuel you are buying. so indirectly you send money to microsoft....

this is like that 7 degrees game. even if you buy a linux based machine you may be sending money to microsoft. some linux makers have bought licences from microsoft ...

Don;t block yourself from having the best possible scope just because 2 $ may go to microsoft. you are shortchanging yourself.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2013, 10:11:40 pm »
If there is any truth to this I should be able to find what I need:

http://www.effectivebits.net/2011/08/to-run-windows-or-not-to-run-windows.html


Offline Someone

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2013, 11:05:32 pm »
Rigol has a rather large booth at the Dayton Ham fest coming up soon in May, I plan to drill their sales guys on what equipment runs what, hopefully they have some knowledge on the base OS.

I've read through much of the supporting documentation on the Rigol, no mention of the OS.  However my bet is the Agilent does run CE, bummer...

The supporting software is a very valid concern.  In the past I've had good luck with Wine, but only on the instruments with serial output, which includes pieces with FTDI based USB, which is very well supported under Linux.

Thanks again
We pushed the Rigol engineer who demoed a prerelease 4000 series to us, they said it ran linux but we got no further details beyond that.

For some applications you do care what the OS source is, for instance how often do you think patches would be pushed out to an embedded open source OS that contains a dozen or more independent open source projects? Is the manufacturer of the device really going to spend the time testing the patches and resolving compatibility problems with them or will they just leave it as is because it works? Having a single source supplier for the OS can take a lot of ongoing support off the manufacturer, just look at the new wave of companies packaging linux into an embeddable format and then licensing it to OEMs.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 11:07:41 pm by Someone »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2013, 11:11:30 pm »
they said it ran linux but we got no further details beyond that.

which is like saying it runs on petrol....  whether texaco ,esso, bp, q8, shell , valeo , chevron is an unknown ...

But the point is : it's a car. it is supposed to take you from point  a TO B ... do you care whether esso or bp gets your money ?
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Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2013, 11:18:59 pm »
We pushed the Rigol engineer who demoed a prerelease 4000 series to us, they said it ran linux but we got no further details beyond that.

The DS4000 oscilloscopes? Pretty sure I saw a teardown of one of them and it used a Blackfin DSP just like the other Rigol scopes. Seems that "Linux" (heavily modified) can run on them, but it looks like one of those little pet hacking projects that doesn't go anywhere. I'd be surprised if Rigol is running Linux on little DSPs.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2013, 11:42:39 pm »
Agreed that Rigol isn't quite what Tek/HP/Ag is in terms of quality, they appear good enough.  The 4000 series is well within my price range, it doesn't have to run Linux, just can't run Windows.

I'm going to wait until after the Dayton Ham fest in May to make my decision.  I've got several emails out to various manufactures, if they reply I'll post it here.

Thanks

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2013, 02:07:23 am »
IMHO trying to avoid regular Windows on test equipment does make sense. Windows needs lots of updates for it to be safe to connect to a network or worse access the internet. And then there is the problem that Windows gets slower and slower and slower over time. Maybe Microsoft does that on purpose so their new Windows seems to be faster. Also the standard PC motherboards just add a lot of complexity and quality issues you could do without. Intel desktop boards are just a bit above consumer grade. OTOH being able to print to a network printer and exchange files over a network does make life a lot easier but that doesn't really need Windows. My previous logic analyser ran some 68k Unix flavor. It had no problem printing to my network printer and file transfer was easy enough through FTP.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2013, 02:12:22 am »
IMHO trying to avoid regular Windows on test equipment does make sense. Windows needs lots of updates for it to be safe to connect to a network or worse access the internet.

They update it because they care about safety, not because it's unsafe. Same with Linux. And if they use some custom network stack implemented by God knows who, then there's no reason to suspect it will be safe.

Quote
And then there is the problem that Windows gets slower and slower and slower over time.

Sure, if you install piles of crap on it. The Windows CE system on an oscilloscope will not do that.

Quote
Also the standard PC motherboards just add a lot of complexity and quality issues you could do without. Intel desktop boards are just a bit above consumer grade.

Windows CE is an embedded system, and many of the things I've seen running full desktop Windows used a custom board.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2013, 03:03:44 am »
I looked at getting a Tektronix MSO5000 series scope before opting for Agilent, and that runs Windows 7. As in the complete Windows 7 with a start menu and internet explorer and minesweeper and everything. The scope had a mini mATX PC inside with Intel Core i-something processor and removable 2.5" hard drive. It was pretty cool being able to surf the web on your scope, but the big thing that put me off it was the inclusion in the box of a CD with "Windows 7 Recovery Disk" loudly printed on the sleeve. Call me old fashioned, but if a £20000 scope needs it's OS recovering, ever, then I'll give it a miss.

Maybe you should have considered that the main reason why recovery disks are included are not because Windows needs to be reinstalled every 6 months (which was a silly myth even in Win95 days), but because these scopes contain hard drives or these days SSDs which do have a very finite life time, and it's a nice thing when a commodity part breaks down (which can replaced for cheap) that you don't need to call the scope manufacturer's support to reload the software (for a notable fee of course) because your only copy of the scope software was on the dead hard drive.

I think half the problem with Windows isn't the OS itself in its pure form,as you would install if you were a PC builder,but with the
"crippled" OEM versions which substitute silly,clunky, "HP" or "E- Machines",or whatever alternatives to many of the Windows inbuilt features.
As these don't have much relationship to the MS versions,most of the available information is useless.
I particularly hate it,when they don't give you "administrator " status.

Our desktop is an "E-Machines" (OK-El Cheapo) device,which "crashed " repeatedly.---no OS software disc provided,of course!
Eventually,in desperation,I forked out for a  MS  Windows 7 disc,& did a clean re-installation.
The beast hasn't missed a beat since!


 
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2013, 03:52:46 am »
You can't even post this thread without violating your spirit there, since the computer/laptop/tablet you're using is made in China.  :-DD

Moving to Montanan, new life as a barren hermit.  :D

In all honesty, m$ has screwed me 100000000000x over what any device made in China has.

I very much doubt that. You'll probably end up in Montana as a uni-bomber style destitute hobo who may get some part time work at McDonalds to support your Chinese made Oreo habit. The reality is that you'll end up there because every time you buy a rigol you are contributing to the exodus of any type of mildly interesting job to China. At least Microsoft keeps a very large workforce next door in Washington. Nobody jumped off a building in Shenzen to bring you Windows 8.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2013, 04:44:12 am »
Gidday dr,
Can't offer much help, but I support you 100% on your choice. I've had 40 yrs of the same ol' lame arguments over a
number of issues. The way I see it is - butt-plugs will also remain so :-). And as you say, no point in explaining your
opinion, nor do you need to justify it.
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2013, 09:03:33 am »
Embedded OS is almost always never going to be upgraded or patched, so it will not matter what company did it, MS or Unix, linux or BSD. It will be treated like a light bulb, put in, turned on and then ignored until it dies. I have seen many ATM machines where the application has crashed and has left a desktop, showing vanilla XP no service packs and no updates since installation. Seen the same with some running OS/2 Warp, but those generally were BSOD with a kernel panic from a hard memory error. The BSD ones just would reboot, and carry on without a murmer until they died stuck in an endless reboot loop.

Generally it makes no difference in the software, junk written software is still junk, no matter how you get it, and almost always it will be buggy.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2013, 01:08:32 pm »
IMHO trying to avoid regular Windows on test equipment does make sense. Windows needs lots of updates for it to be safe to connect to a network or worse access the internet.

They update it because they care about safety, not because it's unsafe. Same with Linux. And if they use some custom network stack implemented by God knows who, then there's no reason to suspect it will be safe.
The problem is that a Windows update sometimes breaks stuff. A sudden power down may also cause problems due to problems in the registry which can produce any number of unfixable weird quirks.
Quote

Quote
And then there is the problem that Windows gets slower and slower and slower over time.

Sure, if you install piles of crap on it.
It does that by itself. Windows tries to optimise the system by preloading as much software in the memory and push everything into the swap drive. So even if you put lots of memory in a Windows system it will be slow and gradually get slower.
Quote

Quote
Also the standard PC motherboards just add a lot of complexity and quality issues you could do without. Intel desktop boards are just a bit above consumer grade.

Windows CE is an embedded system, and many of the things I've seen running full desktop Windows used a custom board.
Windows CE isn't Windows. The only resemblance is the name. And try designing a stable board which uses a modern day Intel processor. That is a hard task!
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Offline M. András

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2013, 02:33:21 pm »
a desktop windows just loves to make copies of stuffs store them in the temp folder and god knows what else it stores on those tmp files which grows every restart or shutdown event, mostly deleting those shits solves some speed isues, BUT if the scope boots up from an image which cannot be rewritten by the software, it will always be the same state when you first powered it up no matter what. i guess its running from ram too which when the power goes out its content will be gone. so i dont get that anti "windows" on a test equipment, if its just takes care of the user i/o stuffs not the actual measurements.
 

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2013, 02:46:39 pm »
This is what makes desktop Windows a bad idea for test equipment:
We strongly advise that all oscilloscopes be fully-equipped with antivirus software and updated definitions before any and every network connection is made. Agilent lists the ability to install virus scanners as an advantage of the Infinium 90k scope.

I have better things to do than worry about virus scanners and security updates every time I transfer a captured signal to my computer. The problem is not so much the Windows kernel, but the fact that they ship all of the complexity of a desktop computer and software. The vulnerabilities that require security updates are not so much in the core OS components, but in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and other components that I don't need on a scope. A stripped down Linux, Windows CE or whatever other embedded OS will be much less vulnerable. Not because they are inherently more secure, but because they don't come shipped with a web browser and other crap.

Apparently Lecroy is now even making money by shipping crapware (trial versions of virus scanners) preinstalled on Windows scopes, just like HP and Dell do on desktop and laptop computers.
 

Offline lewis

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2013, 03:30:02 pm »
This is what makes desktop Windows a bad idea for test equipment:
We strongly advise that all oscilloscopes be fully-equipped with antivirus software and updated definitions before any and every network connection is made. Agilent lists the ability to install virus scanners as an advantage of the Infinium 90k scope.

I have better things to do than worry about virus scanners and security updates every time I transfer a captured signal to my computer. The problem is not so much the Windows kernel, but the fact that they ship all of the complexity of a desktop computer and software. The vulnerabilities that require security updates are not so much in the core OS components, but in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer and other components that I don't need on a scope. A stripped down Linux, Windows CE or whatever other embedded OS will be much less vulnerable. Not because they are inherently more secure, but because they don't come shipped with a web browser and other crap.

Apparently Lecroy is now even making money by shipping crapware (trial versions of virus scanners) preinstalled on Windows scopes, just like HP and Dell do on desktop and laptop computers.

This is the point I was trying to make in post #7 on page 1. But after shouting to myself "why the effing hell would anyone want bloody Windows 7 in their bloody oscilloscope?", I came across this link from another thread. http://www.effectivebits.net/2011/08/to-run-windows-or-not-to-run-windows.html which justifies it quite well if you're doing all sorts of waveform analysis stuff.

Edit - shit, it was this thread. Sorry for double post.  :palm:
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2013, 05:41:17 pm »
IMHO trying to avoid regular Windows on test equipment does make sense.
the windows versions installed in these machines are not run of the mill windows.
they are either :

windows CE
windows embedded
windows with an imaging system like deepfreeze or steadystate.

you can sit there and pull the plug out of that thing. you can plunk viruses on it all you want. at powerup  the known good state is reloaded and you are back to factory settings. especially a thing like deepfreeze is impressive. fully infect and corrupt a machine. powercycle it and not a trace of any crap anywhere.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2013, 06:31:01 pm »
First of all Windows CE isn't Windows at all so that one doesn't count. Putting a Ford logo on a bicycle doesn't make it a car.

Windows embedded is just a stripped down version of Windows. Because it is hard to determine what must be included and what can be left out it usually is just plain Windows with a custom startup image. Storage is cheap...

Running Windows from a fresh image does make some sense but would severly confuse the user if he/she tries to install something on it. After a power cycle its gone. Another problem are updates. Without updates Windows is very vulnerable. Now imagine running a scope 24/7 in a rack. It never gets updates and is free to run whatever virus got onto it forever. So running Windows from an image is not a viable solution either.

All in all running Windows on an oscilloscope makes it an IT maintenance nightmare. Just read the Lecroy web page on security. I bet oscilloscope software is required to be run with administrator privileges which makes things even worse.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2013, 06:41:48 pm »
With the firmware image that gets reinstalled each time you get an update from the manufacturer to do updates. Normally only done on expensive devices, where they will give you an image that can be reimaged on the hardware.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2013, 07:18:06 pm »
exactly. there is no need to apply updates. Agilent gives you a new system image when they deem it necessary. This is free. They ship you a cd , or you can download the image from their ftp site. simply burn to cd and boot from the cd. the installer uses ghost. they nuke the entire bootvolume and drop on the required files. the userspace is stored on drive D so that one is unaffected.

if software needs to be installed you get it through agilent. those installers know how to work with deepfreeze. essentialy they reboot the machine clean, enter in admin mode , do the install and request deepfreeze to update its system snapshot. done.

it's not hard at all. the scope software does not need to run in admin mode.

i run deepfreeze at home on several machines. really cool piece of software.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2013, 07:35:33 pm »
Still the makers of Deepfreeze recommend using anti-virus software:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/New-Chinese-Worm-Bypasses-System-Rollback-Software-113677.shtml
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2013, 07:44:33 pm »
free electron, your deep freeze option is actually a built in feature on embedded windows 7, not actually sure if they are using full blown 7 for there test gear though....
 

Offline Narmaraktuk

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #56 on: March 25, 2013, 12:45:11 pm »
Offtopic warning: I want to react to this recurring "open sauce" argument:

- 'you got it for free', They don't care about your problem. Microsoft does , as their paycheck is depending on it..
-' you got the source' . I don't want the source , i want a fix !

I prefer open source software in the same way you prefer schematics to the tools on your bench. It allows you to fix it when/if it breaks. You can understand what a tool is good for, simply because the schematic / source shows that it was intended for a particular purpose.

If you do not want to do it yourself you can buy support. And because it is an open market place there are companies out there that will work hard to help you, even if you are in a small company yourself.

- too fragmented : there are hundreds if not thousands of builds of linux based OS... which one to pick ? ( remember we need not only the kernel , we want networking , file exchange, usb , display drivers etc .. drop and run...)

You pick a kernel version that you like and a userland that fits. Open Embedded, for instance, has a buildchain that makes it possible to quickly setup a taylored distro. Networking and usb require little userland support, file exchange a bit more. Display drivers depend on how standard the hardware is.

You are right that going this route means more software selection, manual configuration and maybe even custom programming. If that is not your cup of tea, so be it. Don't dismiss it for all of us though...  ^-^. You can get a tight ship with little or no superfluous code and no license money that needs to change hands at the end.
 

Offline hammil

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #57 on: March 25, 2013, 01:22:18 pm »
I'm gonna agree there. A linux based system doesn't take long to build at all - which is why so many network equipment manufacturers use it. Besides, Microsoft aren't going to build and configure your WinCE system for you - they'll only give you a license to use it. They'll send patches for their core systems, sure, but anything that's third party will be up to the manufacturer to deal with.

I reckon there's a couple of reasons why Agilent and co. use WinCE: They have the clout to 'make MS dance' as one commenter pointed out, so /some/ of the support workload is taken off them, but there's a much bigger reason in my opinion: it's not GPL. Network equipment manufacturers don't give a toss if they release their practically off-the-shelf driver code, but Agilent won't want to release their proprietary waveform analysis algorithms and user interface that they spent millions developing and that the chinese would almost certainly copy, if given the chance. And yes, they would have to release it, since it's included in the same product as the linux code they might use.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2013, 01:39:33 pm »
Response from Rigol:

"None of our instruments use a Windows OS"

Dayton this year will cost me, 815TG and likely a DS4000 series.

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #59 on: March 25, 2013, 02:05:07 pm »
I'm gonna agree there. A linux based system doesn't take long to build at all - which is why so many network equipment manufacturers use it. Besides, Microsoft aren't going to build and configure your WinCE system for you - they'll only give you a license to use it. They'll send patches for their core systems, sure, but anything that's third party will be up to the ng and that the chinese would almost certainly copy, if given the chance. And yes, they would have to release it, since it's included in the same product as the linux code they might use.
That is a very common misconception. You don't have to publish the source of proprietary software unless you link to a GPL library. None of the system libraries fall under GPL. Most are BSD or LGPL.

Using Microsoft software just gives managers a warm fuzzy feeling they could get support. In reality MS doesn't really care. I've seen people struggle with Windows CE and back then it was far from complete. You have to buy a lot of add-on software from third parties to get something which is actually useful. The big advantage of Linux is that you'll always have a full blown OS at your disposal. You can use a light-weight X-windows system or the full blown Xorg. The choice is yours and in both cases the development effort is the same. I regulary make software which runs on embedded Linux systems and Windows. By using a cross platform framework I can use the exact same source.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #60 on: March 25, 2013, 02:16:16 pm »
IMHO trying to avoid regular Windows on test equipment does make sense.
the windows versions installed in these machines are not run of the mill windows.
they are either :

windows CE
windows embedded
windows with an imaging system like deepfreeze or steadystate.

you can sit there and pull the plug out of that thing. you can plunk viruses on it all you want. at powerup  the known good state is reloaded and you are back to factory settings. especially a thing like deepfreeze is impressive. fully infect and corrupt a machine. powercycle it and not a trace of any crap anywhere.

Some embedded devices run the full version of Windows modified to hide the Windows interface away. Some don't even hide it away.  |O
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2013, 02:19:00 pm »
That is a very common misconception. You don't have to publish the source of proprietary software unless you link to a GPL library. None of the system libraries fall under GPL. Most are BSD or LGPL.

Very true. That argument gets made a lot. Linux software does not have to be open source. Kernel-mode drivers do (though there are ways to dance around that - e.g. the closed GPU drivers), but there is no reason you need to do any of your special, proprietary stuff in a driver. If you need a driver, you just make it expose the hardware via the standard interface and then your closed-source software works from there.
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Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #62 on: March 25, 2013, 04:09:08 pm »
And a response from Hameg:

"None of our devices are based on Windows technology"


Offline hammil

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #63 on: March 25, 2013, 11:53:12 pm »
That is a very common misconception. You don't have to publish the source of proprietary software unless you link to a GPL library. None of the system libraries fall under GPL. Most are BSD or LGPL.

Very true. That argument gets made a lot. Linux software does not have to be open source. Kernel-mode drivers do (though there are ways to dance around that - e.g. the closed GPU drivers), but there is no reason you need to do any of your special, proprietary stuff in a driver. If you need a driver, you just make it expose the hardware via the standard interface and then your closed-source software works from there.

Interesting... Well. I guess I learn something new every day :) But... the original question is still open. While upper management can indeed be silly, I doubt that a slight hint of support from MS would affect such a huge design decision.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #64 on: March 26, 2013, 12:22:21 am »
Well a lot of people call themselves software engineer when they can dabble a bit with .Net so on paper it looks like there are lots of software engineers out there.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline warp_foo

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #65 on: March 26, 2013, 04:09:50 am »
Quote
The reason is simple : it allows the designers to quickly develop the UI code with standard tools like microsoft studio. they get networking / usb operations / etc thrown in for zero effort.

Using linux doesn't mean that they would suddenly need to write network and usb drivers.

Quote
There is no need to worry about viruses and hacks and other crap as these things are NOT pc's. They are ARM based to begin with , the processor is an ASIC ( Spear600 ) of which zero info is available to the unwashed masses / script kiddies/ pfy hackers , and they are set up to run 1 and only one application. you can't run anything else on them. the roms are most likely statically compiled.

Nope. I'm going to disagree on this one too. If it's on the network, and it's running an OS, it can be hacked. I'd argue that using linux or a *BSD is superior here because you can remove functionality at the source code layer and potentially harden the box a bit more effectively. Hint: hackers are going after the software, not the hardware. It doesn't matter if it's running on a PC or another CPU architecture.

Quote
you can argue 'why not linux' and the answer is very simple. Too fragmented , no tools, no ports for xyz , no support.
Before you blow a fuse reading the above let me explain :

- too fragmented : there are hundreds if not thousands of builds of linux based OS... which one to pick ? ( remember we need not only the kernel , we want networking , file exchange, usb , display drivers etc .. drop and run...)
- no tools. : name me a ready out of the box environment like visual studio for linux: graphical ui builder , debugger ( remote debugger ! ) code wizards , that can also can cross compile to non-native cpu... ( develop on x86 , run on arm .. ). an environment that simply needs one to launch 'setup' and works. out of the box , without configging , mucking with link scripts , install scripts and other 'tripe' like eclipse and the other 'spit and duct-tape' requiring tools...
- no ports : remember this thing is running on an ASIC featuring an A9 core. Microsoft happens to support that one. yeah , linux too.. but you end up with the endless which flavor question ? and you wil have to spend an immeasurable amount of time tweaking and porting it and you will have to do all the work whenever a patch is required. use a prepackaged system and you do not have to spend time on that. your engineers can focus on the instrument and don't need to muck with the OS itself. that's what you pay MS for.
- no support : you are not depending on the goodwill of a bunch of goodhearted people trying to make it work. or relegated to forums where the question will end up in flamewars between vi-emacs and kde-gnome. you pick up the phone , call the paid support line and you WILL get an answer WITHIN a fixed amount of time.

Pretty much everything here is FUD. It's only fragmented if you need to support all of the various distributions on your hardware. Possibly a problem for Dell. Not a problem for a company selling linux as an embedded OS. Pick a distribution, customize it for your needs, and call it a day.

As for ports - actually, linux doesn't need them. It's actually compiled for the architecture it runs on. Currently supported architectures include:

x86
x86_64
Itanium
Sparc
MIPS
ARM
Alpha
PA-RISC
Blackfin
PowerPC/POWER
S390

As for support, its readily available from the various vendors (Red Hat, IBM, SuSE). Whether or not that support costs more or less than MS is a different question.

Quote
remember : you work for a big-name outfit like Agilent who HAS the power to make microsoft dance... your time-to market is driven by time to develop. it only makes sense to use a prepackaged build that is supported by its maker and let's you focus on your part of the design ( the instrument ). you don't need to know how the os works or how to configure it. drop it on and run. if you pick up that phone and call the supplier you will get first class support. you will not have to disclose anything to the outside world and you will get a solution in time to release.

I work for a company *much* larger than Agilent. (Not an electronics company)  We certainly can't make MS dance. I'm not at all certain what you mean by 'disclosing anything to the outside world', unless you think merely using linux binds you to the GPL. If you modify GPL code, you do have to release that code. If all you do is link to libraries, use the LGPL. Or *BSD.

Quote
that is why you find windows CE in such machinery. because in the long run it is the cheapest solution. you as an instrument maker don't need to muck with anything. you develop your application and hardware , compile it and sell it. you never touch the OS. the OS is only there to make your life easier and provide things like netwrorking , remote operation , user interface etc. stuff everyone does these days and you don't want to spend a single dime on development.
Buy it. If there is a problem : yell at the supplier and demand a fix. Good luck yelling at the linux supplier ...

- who are you going to yell at ? the thousands of unconnected people spending their free time coding ?
- 'you got it for free', They don't care about your problem. Microsoft does , as their paycheck is depending on it..
-' you got the source' . I don't want the source , i want a fix !
- 'sorry we are on vim we don;t deal with emacs suckers' . OS abd devtools come from 1 source. no endless banter and fingerpointing...
- 'you got the wrong color scheme or desktop',
- 'don't be a noob everyone knows its grep-$ blah.blip >vim -u -t -e:50 -e -$option .....'. I am developing an application. i don't want to muck with the OS !
- ' and you MUST post back the fix.. because it is 'open sauce' .... yeah right. like i'm going to let the competition in on what i'm doing ...

that does not fly in the real world...
More FUD.
Where are we going, and why are we in a handbasket?
 

Offline Bryce

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #66 on: March 26, 2013, 05:04:21 am »
I just wanted to say that the fragmentation of the linux world is a problem for people making commodity linux software, not for people who are using GNU/Linux or other open platforms for embedded hardware - too many flavors is not a problem; that's like saying you can't design circuits because there are too many kinds of op-amp available. Picking something that meets your specs and going with it is a skill that no-one designing test equipment could lack!

Really, picking a variety of linux is a part of a larger problem, "pick an OS for this embedded system" of which Windows CE, various Linux flavors, and so on are all choices. You're still picking an operating system even if you arbitrarily discard many good options because they are "too fragmented." That's illusionary. Linux may be fragmented, but once you pick one, you're just dealing with that one, just as if you'd picked Windows CE.

Commercial support is available for open source systems from various providers. Many of the main developers of open source libraries are available for hire - the response to a feature request may well be "how much will you pay me?" rather than "you have the source."

Finally, while I agree that calling it "windoze" and so forth is unprofessional and immature, you have here someone who is at least attempting to consider the ethical implications on some level. One-man boycotts are irrelevant? Ethical consumerism is a folly because there are greater ills than the alleged doings of Microsoft? Perhaps, but maybe if more people thought about ethical consumerism, we wouldn't have little Chinese girls picking through piles of old computer monitors in the first place.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 11:04:37 am by Bryce »
 

Offline hammil

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #67 on: March 26, 2013, 07:42:38 am »
Absolutely. It's not really 'fragmented' at all - just modular. Which means you can pick and choose exactly what libraries and components you need, which is perfect for embedded applications. Any quick features you need added, or hardware-specific bugs you find can be fixed in the code to begin with. It's not too tricky, either.. I could cross-compile an entire linux system from source within.. a day, in a pinch? and I'm an 18-year-old self-taught nerd.
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #68 on: March 29, 2013, 09:42:30 am »
I went ahead and emailed a couple others:

BK Precision - Non Windows based.   :-+
Agilent - No response yet. (I'm pretty sure all of their new Scopes are Windows based)

Still no response from Tek < disappointing as I used to be a big fan of their equipment.

Edit:

Anyone know, are the BK Scopes rebranded?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 09:57:09 am by dr.diesel »
 

Offline effectivebits

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2013, 08:21:07 pm »
Hi Dr. Diesel,

(current Tektronix employee speaking here)

The Tektronix DPO/MSO/MDO4000, DPO/MSO3000, and DPO/MSO2000 all run embedded Linux (I think version 2.6 on the latest).  It's not user accessible - the scope boots right into the application.  The scope does support USB memory sticks, USB keyboards, and can be placed on a network for printing to network printers and mounting network drives.  You can also print to supported printers, or just use PictBridge.  I never want people to think such products are unhackable - I suppose anything could technically be hacked.  But since it doesn't run a commercial OS, it's not like there are legions of people writing viruses.  I don't know what Agilent runs on their low-end scopes - it appears to be some sort of embedded OS.  On their higher end scopes, they also run Windows.

As for Windows on oscilloscopes, the Tektronix DPO/MSO5000 and up does run Windows.  These products used to ship with a recovery CD, but now the drives ship with a recovery partition and Acronis to make the scope "like new".  Why?  Because there is extensive interaction between Windows and the acquisition hardware.  Many people install third party apps with no issue, but sometimes one of them messes up the scope application.  Starting fresh is easier than trying to figure it out.  I had one customer install some sort of low level part programmer on his scope for programming a DSP he was evaluating.  I have no clue what happened, but suddenly he couldn't save screenshots.  Acronis recovery was the easiest way to fix it.  I've also seen oscilloscopes come back from third party calibration labs acting kind of funky - once again, recovery fixes it.

As long as the scope works, I suppose it doesn't matter what OS it runs.  Our scopes running Windows 98 still function as they did when they were introduced.  But since I believe there is a limit to security updates, many people avoid putting such products on networks.

Hope that answers your question.
Joel
 

Offline madshaman

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2013, 10:08:49 pm »
Just my two cents, some people rag on windows, but if you look at how the NT and future kernels work, it's actually a very good OS, very well designed.  Not commenting on user libraries or the desktop and file browsing programs just the OS itself.
To be responsible, but never to let fear stop the imagination.
 

Offline Wuerstchenhund

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #71 on: April 01, 2013, 01:52:12 pm »
Just my two cents, some people rag on windows, but if you look at how the NT and future kernels work, it's actually a very good OS, very well designed. 

Indeed. NT came with a lot of modern concepts like a highly granular privileges system which only came later in other operating systems. Which is not surprising as WindowsNT took various design concepts from VMS which was DEC's high end operating system, one of the most secure OSes on the market, and the first OS that supported WAN clustering long before anyone else.

This was in stark contrast to the world of UNIX which at that time had been a very ugly mess of lots of incompatible derivates which merely served their vendors to lock-in customers into expensive support contracts. And quite frankly, it's still mostly a mess, albeit the situation got much better. Nowadays there's Linux which and Apple OS X which both are perfectly useable for day to day work, but it's easy to forget that UNIX started as a shitty hack for awfully underperforming hardware, and unfortunately was able to carry lots of its nasty drawbacks and idiocies through the decades. UNIX was a dirty hack, and should have died decades ago, instead wer're still stuck with this mess while most of the different OS concepts which were far more advanced and which came up over the years had died or are in a zombie-like state (Plan 9 anyone?).

The thing with UNIX is that people think it's rock-solid. The reason UNIX was rock-solid is that it used to ran on large servers and expensive workstations, thus high quality and highly reliable but also awfully expensive hardware. And still, there were many occasions were an expensive UNIX server would just crash for no obvious reason or behave strangely otherwise. Many Windows installations on the other side run on self-build PCs (which are made from standard components made to a low price point with minimal testing and short product cycles) which more often than not are crap, or on ready-made consumer PCs which again more often than not are crap, too. Then add that people run excrements like software firewalls, crappy antivirus products (which nowadays consist more of a threat to the computer's stability than actually increasing security) and software/drivers written by imbeciles, and happily fiddle in registry settings they have no clue about what they actually do, and it's not surprising that many Windows PC run unreliable.

Most users have no clue about IT in general or even just about how computers work (albeit many think that being able to assemble a PC from standard components and installing Windows makes them an expert), so they look for an easy target to bash.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 01:55:57 pm by Wuerstchenhund »
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #72 on: April 01, 2013, 02:19:32 pm »
Hi Dr. Diesel,

(current Tektronix employee speaking here)

The Tektronix DPO/MSO/MDO4000, DPO/MSO3000, and DPO/MSO2000 all run embedded Linux.
Joel


Joel, thank you for taking the time to post this.  A TDS210 still sits on my desk and is used quite frequently when appropriate!

Offline quarros

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #73 on: April 01, 2013, 07:13:20 pm »

The thing with UNIX is that people think it's rock-solid. The reason UNIX was rock-solid is that it used to ran on large servers and expensive workstations, thus high quality and highly reliable but also awfully expensive hardware. And still, there were many occasions were an expensive UNIX server would just crash for no obvious reason or behave strangely otherwise. Many Windows installations on the other side run on self-build PCs (which are made from standard components made to a low price point with minimal testing and short product cycles) which more often than not are crap, or on ready-made consumer PCs which again more often than not are crap, too. Then add that people run excrements like software firewalls, crappy antivirus products (which nowadays consist more of a threat to the computer's stability than actually increasing security) and software/drivers written by imbeciles, and happily fiddle in registry settings they have no clue about what they actually do, and it's not surprising that many Windows PC run unreliable.

Most users have no clue about IT in general or even just about how computers work (albeit many think that being able to assemble a PC from standard components and installing Windows makes them an expert), so they look for an easy target to bash.

Well I believe there are some truth to the stability aspects of Linux although please don't bash my skull for it.
It is my personal experience that Linux handles faulty memory (blocks or modules) far better than others.
In the past on many x86 based computer I was able to run/use Linux relative reliably with partially faulty modules,
and feats like that are the reason I think why the common man thinks it is more reliable.
But on the other hand one could argue if that's a good thing... because it can hide faults for a longer time
and can cause mysterious errors.

PS: I'm not one for Linux or Windows or BSD or OSX or ... I believe all OS has their respective uses,
and blaming a certain type for problems are childish and stupid. Nowadays most operating system reached
the maturity needed for widespread use on different architectures. So now it only boils down to personal preferences
which i think should be accepted and respected
 

Offline Hydrawerk

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #74 on: April 01, 2013, 07:43:04 pm »
Anyone know, are the BK Scopes rebranded?
BK Precision oscillocopes are produced probably by Siglent and Tonghui. http://www.tonghui.com.cn/en/goods/index/122.html
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 07:46:04 pm by Hydrawerk »
Amazing machines. https://www.youtube.com/user/denha (It is not me...)
 

Offline deisenberg

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #75 on: April 01, 2013, 07:54:34 pm »
I am on the OP's side when it comes to MS, I do my best not to spend a dime on them for my company and myself. That said it has it's place and it will always be around.

Personally I've run into the Windows issue with a tektronics tla622 logic analyzer. It runs windows 2000 pro on a proprietary motherboard. Great machine, but if windows crashes/hdd dies I am SOL as I've tried to reinstall Windows 2000 pro on another drive for a clean system, no go only half the system works. The motherboard is a nightmare, if it dies the system is pretty much done.. The truth is that it's not a windows issue in the end it's a design flaw, the system was not designed to last 5 years. The same would be true for Linux depending on if the company open source'd their drivers or had a wrapper for them.

So what's my point? Consider what you're buying and how long you expect it to last, regardless of the OS. This is a real investment that in the end you can't change the OS, drivers or anything if the company goes out of business or decides not to support the unit any more. This is one case I would strongly encourage you not to put conviction in front of. I am pro Rigol, I have a few of their units, scope, wave generator, and a dm3068 coming. I went with Rigol, because this is a hobby and the Agilent units are top quality, the price is just not justifiable. Go with what works.

 

Offline Hydrawerk

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #76 on: April 01, 2013, 07:57:46 pm »
And here some scopes all produced by Siglent. Please see the completely identical front panel layout. The plastic case is only a bit different.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 07:59:56 pm by Hydrawerk »
Amazing machines. https://www.youtube.com/user/denha (It is not me...)
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #77 on: April 01, 2013, 08:01:44 pm »
I prefer open source software in the same way you prefer schematics to the tools on your bench. It allows you to fix it when/if it breaks. You can understand what a tool is good for, simply because the schematic / source shows that it was intended for a particular purpose.

Yes, and i understand that. But , Agilent is making a machine... the hardware is the brunt of the engineering and where the cost is. The software algorithms are money makers ...

The underpinning operating system is a 'necessary evil' as in: not having to spend time writing one... prepackaged windows is easy. buy licence , launch setup.exe ... done.
linux? not so ...  what are you going to install ? red hat ? gentoo ? ubuntu ?

These machines are going to do LXI for remote control , or lan connectivity with shared folders to transfer data and waveforms.. this means it has to be plugged on a corporate network.... good luck going to IT and getting your linux box on the network.. especially if one machine runs ubuntu , another red hat ... you will get a swift NO as an answer. corporate IT are generally big blobs of jello... push em and they wiggle a bit but in the end nothing happens.

all this interoperability requirements would require testing and maintenance.... they simply don;t want to deal with it.

Quote
You pick a kernel version that you like and a userland that fits. Open Embedded, for instance, has a buildchain that makes it possible to quickly setup a taylored distro. Networking and usb require little userland support, file exchange a bit more. Display drivers depend on how standard the hardware is.

again , this may be fine for you. for an instrument maker it isn't. Can you imagine a test setup with a signal generator having ubuntu , a scope running red hat and a logic analyser with kde. That is another problem with linux distro's they all look different as the windowing system uses different icons graphics. on windows : not so.

Quote
You are right that going this route means more software selection, manual configuration and maybe even custom programming. If that is not your cup of tea, so be it. Don't dismiss it for all of us though...  ^-^. You can get a tight ship with little or no superfluous code and no license money that needs to change hands at the end.

i'm not dismissing it for anyone. i'm simply saying that , as an equipment manufacturer all that stuff is extra work that does not help my time to market and costs me money. all that stuff or, paying 5$ to microsoft ? ... the decision is easy ... 5$ it is.
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #78 on: April 01, 2013, 08:09:30 pm »
Reply from Agilent.

The DSO6000s and DSO1000s do not run any version of Windows.    :-+

Now that all the major players have chimed in, it's decision time...

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #79 on: April 01, 2013, 08:51:06 pm »
I prefer open source software in the same way you prefer schematics to the tools on your bench. It allows you to fix it when/if it breaks. You can understand what a tool is good for, simply because the schematic / source shows that it was intended for a particular purpose.

Yes, and i understand that. But , Agilent is making a machine... the hardware is the brunt of the engineering and where the cost is. The software algorithms are money makers ...

The underpinning operating system is a 'necessary evil' as in: not having to spend time writing one... prepackaged windows is easy. buy licence , launch setup.exe ... done.
linux? not so ...  what are you going to install ? red hat ? gentoo ? ubuntu ?
You really have no clue about Linux do you... If you put Linux on a piece of equipment you roll your own using Openembedded or Buildroot. The look of the GUI is a simple matter of putting a GTK theme together (thats just a text based config file). Been there, done that. To the IT department its just another black box connected to the network. They don't even need to know it runs Linux.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:52:41 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #80 on: April 01, 2013, 09:32:19 pm »
These machines are going to do LXI for remote control , or lan connectivity with shared folders to transfer data and waveforms.. this means it has to be plugged on a corporate network.... good luck going to IT and getting your linux box on the network.. especially if one machine runs ubuntu , another red hat ... you will get a swift NO as an answer. corporate IT are generally big blobs of jello... push em and they wiggle a bit but in the end nothing happens.
I disagree. Any embedded Linux/WinCE/VxWorks/etc box is likely to be treated as a black box by IT. They might restrict it to a measurement subnet, but in general they will just register its MAC/port and assign it an IP and be done with it. If you tell them the box runs a desktop Windows version, they will insist you install the corporate security and management software, and apply the standard security policy. It's especially fun if you tell them it runs a no longer supported version of Windows, or does not receive the security updates mandated by the security policy. Connecting a similar vintage box that runs some unnamed embedded OS is much easier.
 

Offline madshaman

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #81 on: April 01, 2013, 09:44:27 pm »
The thing with UNIX is that people think it's rock-solid.

I'll only comment quickly, most solid OSs, qnx, windows, macosx, NetBSD and friend, Linux etc. *are* rock solid.  Most system instability comes from driver failures or user programs (the desktop UI/chrome I include in this) choking up resources.  Occasionally it's open source software linking against a standard library, high or low level, where the implementation on the host OS is buggy or doesn't truly conform to its contract.

PS: I'm not one for Linux or Windows or BSD or OSX or ... I believe all OS has their respective uses,
and blaming a certain type for problems are childish and stupid. Nowadays most operating system reached
the maturity needed for widespread use on different architectures. So now it only boils down to personal preferences
which i think should be accepted and respected[/i]

I share this view, the right tool for the right job.  My lab machine (my only currently active windows machine) runs windows 8 because so much electronics-related software is windows-only.  To supplement this I run NetBSD in a VM on the same machine to take advantage of all the unix and x-based open source software.

All my other machines are Macs, I enjoy the UI experience and having a BSD unix at the terminal is a big win, so is being able to run remote x applications without hassle.  My windows gaming machine is only out of use because my main iMac runs all the games I play just fine (mostly sc2 ^^), but a windows machine is the way to go for gaming, no doubt.

I also have a number of VPSs which all run Linux distributions.  This is because I'm more comfortable configuring and installing reliable server software (web/mail/svn/random things like a mumble server) in a unix environment.  I'd choose NetBSD instead (but few providers support this) because I like it better as a unix, it's more vanilla in its configuration and I can jump into /etc and edit a file knowing exactly what the result will be.  That's only personal preference, if one finds administrating Linux easier, that would be the right choice.
To be responsible, but never to let fear stop the imagination.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #82 on: April 01, 2013, 11:07:58 pm »
Personally I've run into the Windows issue with a tektronics tla622 logic analyzer. It runs windows 2000 pro on a proprietary motherboard. Great machine, but if windows crashes/hdd dies I am SOL as I've tried to reinstall Windows 2000 pro on another drive for a clean system, no go only half the system works. The motherboard is a nightmare, if it dies the system is pretty much done.. The truth is that it's not a windows issue in the end it's a design flaw, the system was not designed to last
A side note: moving a harddrive from one PC to another with WIndows is not going to work unless the motherboard is approximately the same. Your problem is not the hardware itself but the approach. If you manage to connect a CD-ROM drive to the logic analyser you can install from there. I had the same issue with a TLA704 logic analyser and I managed to install Win2k on it. The drivers for the VXI bridge come with the logic analyser software you can download from Tektronix.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Bryce

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #83 on: April 02, 2013, 12:05:24 am »
The underpinning operating system is a 'necessary evil' as in: not having to spend time writing one... prepackaged windows is easy. buy licence , launch setup.exe ... done.
linux? not so ...  what are you going to install ? red hat ? gentoo ? ubuntu ?

Any of the above - you'll be no worse off than Windows. Or, if you know something about Linux, you pick one specialized for embedded stuff, and are better off in many cases.

especially if one machine runs ubuntu , another red hat ... you will get a swift NO as an answer.

Maybe if you're the one guy with an oscilloscope in a corporation of five hundred bean counters... test and measurement is, as has been alluded to, a hodgepodge of embedded OSes, Unixes, and Windows versions last supported in the previous century. Any organization with a substantial number of sophisticated instruments will surely be able to deal with this situation, maybe even intelligently.

all this interoperability requirements would require testing and maintenance.... they simply don;t want to deal with it.

In my experience, UNIX-based stuff tends to be standards-based and pretty easily interoperable. Modern Windows isn't bad either, of course; this is an era of standards, but  robust support for standard networking protocols is a traditional UNIX strength. It's really all about standards, regardless of OS: My somewhat elderly DOS-based HP 16500C from the early nineties can talk to my 2011 Mac and my 2009 Ubuntu-based laptop. (The latter via X11 even! Haven't got that to work on the Mac yet, but it can do telnet and FTP just fine.)

Quote
again , this may be fine for you. for an instrument maker it isn't. Can you imagine a test setup with a signal generator having ubuntu , a scope running red hat and a logic analyser with kde. That is another problem with linux distro's they all look different as the windowing system uses different icons graphics. on windows : not so.

I'm sorry, but this is just nonsensical on several levels. KDE is a desktop environment, generally contrasted with GNOME; Ubuntu and Red Hat are Linux distributions.

You're going to end up staring at one application interface most of the time, designed by the instrument maker. It's that interface that is going to affect my judgement of the machine, not what the dialog box looks like when I go to save data to a USB stick or whatever. Let's face it, for the kind of simple stuff you do on a computerized instrument, GUIs of Windows and Linux all work pretty much the same way. It strains credulity to imagine that someone able to operate an oscilloscope or logic analyzer will be baffled if the 'Save' button is a different color from what they are used to on their PC!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 12:08:21 am by Bryce »
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #84 on: May 19, 2013, 12:30:05 am »
Just got back from the Dayton Hamvention, as usual a great show!

Anyhow, DSA-815-TG is now in-hand.  I passed on the DS4024 considering newer models are in the pipe with an ETA of ~2-months.

Note, about all the Rigol reps knew of/who Dave Jones!  All positive remarks (spent 30 minutes talking), after our conversation, Dave look for one of their new power supplies in the near future.

Online EEVblog

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #85 on: June 22, 2013, 01:51:13 pm »
As for Windows on oscilloscopes, the Tektronix DPO/MSO5000 and up does run Windows.  These products used to ship with a recovery CD, but now the drives ship with a recovery partition and Acronis to make the scope "like new".  Why?  Because there is extensive interaction between Windows and the acquisition hardware.  Many people install third party apps with no issue, but sometimes one of them messes up the scope application.

High end scopes like the Tek's and Agilent use full blown windows for the reasons mentioned.
But it's more than that. These high end expensive scopes are more than just a scope, they are measurement and analysis systems that have orders of magnitude more complex analysis software than a regular general purpose scope.
It is common for both the company and the user to write custom software for individual applications and run that on the scope, tied into the hardware and acquisition system.
Need a scope that can measure and analyse your 20GBbps custom serial interface in a production testing environment?
No scope on the market will do it with the built in tools, you have to write your own and run it, in real time on the scope.
These are not mainstream everyday use tools, they are high end non-mainstream tools designed to be extensively customised. So it makes perfect sense to run full blown windows on them for that reason alone.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Equipment running Windoze?
« Reply #86 on: June 22, 2013, 01:52:41 pm »
Reply from Agilent.
The DSO6000s and DSO1000s do not run any version of Windows.    :-+

The Agilent DSO1000 is not an Agilent product, it's a rebadged Rigol.
 


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