Linux and Perl for "mission critical" work

Robert Komanec komanec na
Pátek Září 27 16:14:36 CEST 1996

Crosspost for local Linux lovers  :-))

   Date:            21 Sep 1996 17:09:34 -0700
   From:            mike na (Mike Kenney)
   Organization:    UW Applied Physics Lab
   Newsgroups:      comp.os.linux.misc, comp.lang.perl.misc

Every so often I see a post in these newsgroups that asks whether Linux
Perl (or any other "free" software) is suitable for "mission critical"
I would like to relate how I used Linux and Perl for a somewhat mission
critical application.

I work as a software engineer for an Ocean Acoustics research group.  We
developed an acoustic transducer system known as AcoustiLinks.  In our
each transmitter and receiver is a separate node on an RS485 network. 
central computer which controls this network is a VMEbus based
single-board PC
running Linux.  This board along with an in-house designed RS485 I/O
board, an
850Mbyte hard drive, and 2 DAT drives are housed in a pressure case
which sits
on the ocean floor.  A serial line runs to a buoy at the surface which
contains a 38.4kbps radio modem.  Running PPP over this radio link
access to the underwater system from any computer on the shipboard LAN. 
used an http server (Apache ... more free software) to provide the
status information from the data collection process and to allow data
The data collection process was written in Perl with a C module to
handle the
communications protocol to the transmitters/receivers.  I was originally
to use Perl for prototyping only but it proved to be such an ideal tool
that I
used it for the final application.

I spent a big chunk of August on the Woods Hole research vessel Oceanus
running our system as part of a large oceanographic experiment and I am
happy to say that the Linux system worked like a champ.  My hat goes off
to all of the Linux and Perl developers who have put in the time to
create two extremely useful and robust pieces of software.  Well done.


Robert Komanec      mailto:komanec na using MIME
UMEL FEI VUT        check out if is alive

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