Friday, June 18, 2010

She Can't Take Much More, Captain

This has been a tiring week. I'm have two projects which require on site work and shuttling between them is getting to me. One project is a rebuild of an embedded PC for an automated labelling system I helped to develop in 2004. This is a production system so getting them running quite is urgent.

Getting an exact replacement SBC was impossible of course, as it was discontinued a long time ago and none of the distributors has any stock left. The replacement was chosen based on availability as much as for technical compatibility. In 2004, we were forced to use Red Hat Linux 9 because of proprietary drivers for a touch screen which only worked on that distribution. RHL 9 worked about as well as could expected on the replacement SBC, i.e., the kernel crashed as soon as it started!

After discussing it with my customer, we decided to forget RHL 9 and start from scratch. In 2007, I worked on a similar system which used Debian etch, so the OS doesn't really matter and the 2004 application can be recompiled no matter what. This direction has a much better chance of success, but it will still take some time to complete.

Needless to say the end user was not happy when they were given the bad news. They are getting ready to ship the games for a new product line that they recently announced. So yeah, to say that they were not happy, is putting it mildly.

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