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Quick and easy evaluation of 'USB2', 'SSI2' and 'XPRS' products under Linux - from A to Z

1. Where do I start?

We have a number of computer hardware where we want to evaluate under Linux - windows desktops, windows notebooks, apple mac mini , bare-bone motherboard+disk systems .
We want to test on all of them.

Linux distributions offer full versions based on one or more DVDs, and 'live' / single CD based bootable versions.
A 'live' distribution boots the operating system and load programs directly from the CD, without the need of installing to a hard disk.

In order to preserve the pre-installed operating system and programs on the variety of computer hardware where we want to evaluate under Linux, we select getting and using a 'live' bootable CD Linux.

In addition, downloading time for a single CD is about 1 hour on a basic DSL line, versus several hours to download one or more DVDs on the same DSL line.

The only requirement of using 'live' bootable CD is that the hardware we test on allows booting from CD.
This feature is available on all modern systems, however not present on 5+ years old systems.

If a particular system does not boot from CD after power on, please enter BIOS and check settings - adjust, if needed.

2. Which distribution, 32bit or 64bit, where to get 'live' CD from?

Linux, under the common name contains a wide variety of distributions. To select a particular one we put the requirements -
  • be mainstream - popular, have frequent releases, use latest kernels
  • free - anyone can download and test without conditions and limits
  • be fast on boot - optimized/minimized time for CD boot
    We did download and evaluate a number of distributions including - Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, LinuxMint.

    Starting from around kernel 2-6-20 and later , distributions offered 32bit versions - i386/i686... , and 64bit versions - x86_64/AMD64... In general, it is good to evaluate with both 32 and 64bit versions.

    Distributions can be downloaded directly from the web site, or from a number of mirrors -
    - ubuntu - http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/
    - fedora - http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options#formats/
    - opensuse - http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/

    3. Boot, initial steps, install, run

    Our install software is packed in a single file - install2rel.zip . First time setup requires installing the system libraries packed in - install2libs.zip . Both files after unpacking have separate folders for Windows, Linux, and MacOS .

    The Linux software is installed from single executable files - arstech-libs.run , and arstech-utils-xyz.run .

    After booting with a 'live' cd/dvd, we recommend copying of the 2 Linux install files in the - '/home/localuser' folder.

    The 2 files need to be made executable -
    - through the file utility -> 'properties'
    - or, by running from 'terminal', for ex. -> chmod +x arstech-libs.run

    Installation is normally in 2 steps - after starting './arstech-libs.run', the installation completes in the local-user mode and prompts you to enter 'root' / 'super-user' mode. After entering 'super-user' mode run as prompted './install.bat'. To quit 'super-user' mode type - 'exit'.

    Generally 'root' mode is entered by 'su' command, however under Ubuntu releases you may need to type 'sudo su' command.

    In the same way, after starting './arstech-utils-xyz.run', the installation completes in the local-user mode and prompts you to enter 'root' / 'super-user' mode. After entering 'super-user' mode run as prompted './init.bat'. To quit 'super-user' mode type - 'exit'.

    4. Building, running, initial testing

    In the end of the installation the './init.bat' script loads our driver, and runs our ARSTech Enumerator.

    In the Enumerator you can -
    - check for USB2 or SSI2 hosts detected on the system
    - insert / remove USB2-ISA/PCMCIA and SSI2-ISA/PCI/PCMCIA cards
    - check what resources were detected - i/o ports, memory areas, irq and/or dma channels

    There is the 'ARSGui' allows manual access - read/write to i/o ports and memory areas of a peripheral card.
    We have the 'dosbox' environment allowing running binaries of DOS programs for peripheral cards mounted on USB2-ISA/PCMCIA and SSI2-ISA/PCI/PCMCIA cards.
    If the peripheral card has DOS software, you can test with it right away.

    More on our DOS support is available on - www.arstech.com/dosbox-rel.zip .

    5. Next steps

    Our user's guide is available in -
    - start - program files - arstech utilities -> user's guide
    - or, www.arstech.com/users-guide.pdf

    In this article we did describe testing / evaluating under one computer system.
    You can repeat the steps under as many computer systems as you like - desktops, notebooks, windows, mac os ... etc. systems.

    The software setup process creates a folder '4developers' which includes a basic API set and samples.

    You can use our basic API set included in our install software to build an application for the ISA/PCI/PCMCIA peripheral card, or port an existing application, as well.
    The description of the basic API set is in the 'ars-api.txt' and there is the implementation guide - 'impl-guide.txt' .

    We offer an extended API set in our 'sdkbus' product. More on it is available in - www.arstech.com/sdkbus.htm .

    Based on the knowledge and experience gained under the quick and easy evaluation on a 'live' cd/dvd, you can make a software build and then test on this specific Linux distribution.

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