There is a lot of interest in the Cortex M series platforms these days. One reason that these are interesting for very small devices like .NET Micro Framework is that they use a new instruction set – Thumb2 – that is more compact than the one used in ARM processors like the ARM 7 and ARM 9s that NETMF frequently runs on. We have seen about a 20% reduction in the size of our firmware built with the RVDS tools targeting the Thumb2 instructions. While there have been ports done to the Cortex family, they have been either done for the developers own use or only available under license. This is all changing. The first sign of this is the Golden-IC port that was announced last month (yes, I am behind on my blogs). Here is their press release.
Golden IC has done a port to the TI Stellaris (M3) processor. These processors have integrated 10/100 Ethernet MAC/Phy, USB On-The-Go, CAN, and motion control capabilities. The port has been available and used by some of Golden-IC’s customers. The new news is that Golden-IC is making this port available to everyone freely.
Above is a video of using NETMF on the TI Stellaris ARM Cortex M# development board. The specs on the board can be found at http://www.golden-ic.com/en/products_show.php?p_sn=59.
Currently the port is available for download at their site (http://www.golden-ic.com/en/solution.php) and they are looking at making it available at the TI site and/or CodePlex.com. The actual license is still being determined in discussions with OSI.
If you are thinking about the Cortex processors for your next project, check out the port that Golden-IC has done.