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V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Erik Agerup on September 1, 2011
Dear colleagues,
I am considering the use of FreeRTOS for an upcoming project with the Kinetis K60. I understand that it will be released in V7.0.2. I therefore have a few questions about this next release.

How are the Peripheral IO drivers for the K60 project written? Are they derived from the Freescale MQX drivers, made with Processor Expert or written from scratch?
From my understanding, Freescale does not have a separate HAL/library/framework, but it is included and merged with the MQX RTOS. Is this correct?

Is there an estimated date for the release of V7.0.2?

Best Regards
Erik Agerup

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Dave on September 1, 2011
FreeRTOS is a real time kernel. Normally it is used with drivers provided by the semi company that supplies the chip. It makes no sense to write your own when the semi companies are falling over themselves to provide them to you, usually in a way that makes them easy to use with any compiler and any kernel. Some FreeRTOS demos ship with drivers from semi companies, and the semi companies encourage that.

Freescale are a law to themselves in this matter though. They are new to the ARM Cortex market, and it would not surprise me at all if they approach it as they have their propitiatory core markets. History shows they encourage investment in their products by all third parties, but simultaneously making it hard for any third party to make money as Freescale will provide the same products themselves, for free. You might be right then, that any driver they provide is locked to their own tool offering, Codewarrior and MQX, but I dont know. If so, it seems self defeating, but maybe it makes business sense if they think it is locking you into Freescale technology. That is not how the Cortex M3 market works though, so if that is the game it is probably a reason to avoid using a Kinetis part, when the market has so many hundreds of other Cortex chips to choose from that genuinely promote all compilers, all RTOSs and provide drivers to anybody that wants to use them. I would be interested to know the answer when you find out.

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Richard on September 1, 2011
That package that is currently available for the K60 is exactly what will be incorporated into the next FreeRTOS release - barring the version number in the comments at the top of the files.

I just looked and in that I have used a Freescale header file that defines the peripheral register map, but not much else. Using this it was quite easy to put together a web server, for example, where the TCP/IP code was open source. USB might be trickier, unless you can find an equally easy to use open source stack. The header file I used has a copyright notice in, but no license terms are stated at all.

Were I to use more peripherals then I too would look to see what Freescale provide themselves, but at this time, I am not sure of their terms of use, or if they are provided separate from or integrated with MQX. As above, I too would be interested to find out. Hopefully they are free and easy to use with any system.

Regards.

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Erik Agerup on September 1, 2011
Thank you for your quick response,

I will look into the drivers provided with MQX, especially the FlexCAN drivers, and hopefully modify them so they can be used with FreeRTOS.
Regarding the MQX license, I believe it's free provided that you buy and use it on a Freescale product, but I will check this.

Regards.

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Martin on September 4, 2011
Hi Eric

there is bare metal code available from Freescale which does not require MQX. You can downlaod it from Freescale's website and use the driver from there (it also contains the FreeRTOS port). Just check for Kinetis family example projects. Some of them are poor and I wrote several of my own drivers like for FlexTimers, DAC, GPIO, etc. which deliver a skeleton for own implementations. If you have problems just contact me.

Martin

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Erik Agerup on September 8, 2011
Thank you,
I looked into the bare metal code and got some info about the MQX drivers:

Freescale support told me that you are totally free to modify the code in MQX and under Freescale product, but you cannot use that code in other OS out of MQX versions, and that you could fall into legal issues doing that. The drivers are also very integrated with MQX.
But as Martin said, there are some drivers included in the bare metal code, but I too would write my own, as we need header and version number on all the drivers.

@Richard Barry:
We are very interested in OpenRTOS support on this project using Kinetis K60 and IAR. Do you know if the support will be ready after the v7.0.2 release? Can I ask if you know approximately when it will be released? I understand if you can't give an accurate answer.

Best regards
Erik Agerup

RE: V7.0.2 - Kinetis K60 - Peripheral IO drivers

Posted by Richard on September 8, 2011
“but you cannot use that code in other OS out of MQX versions”


I am not surprised by that. Freescale presumably want to sell as many chips as possible. They don't make money on the software other than indirectly through the extra chip sales their software offering encourages (software to Freescale is classed under "enablement"). That makes their licensing position 'unusual'. Most chip vendors have a restriction on how their free software offerings can be used, but the restriction is that you can do what you want with the code they provide, provided the code (modified or otherwise) is only used on their chips. In other words, it is tied to the chip, not what other software you run on the chip. There are two means to the word Free when applied to software - free from cost, and free as in freedom. FreeRTOS is free in both senses.


“We are very interested in OpenRTOS support on this project using Kinetis K60 and IAR. Do you know if the support will be ready after the v7.0.2 release? Can I ask if you know approximately when it will be released? I understand if you can't give an accurate answer.”


I don't sell OpenRTOS myself, I only provide things for free (?), but I do license FreeRTOS to be sold as OpenRTOS. Under that license I do not impose any restriction on which parts of FreeRTOS can and cannot be licensed as OpenRTOS, the licensee can use anything in the FreeRTOS/Source directory - and currently that includes the K60 (albeit that the code is hosted separately - basically to allow me to publish it prior to the start of the Kinetis Make It Challenge competition). Your best bet is to go to OpenRTOS.com and make an inquiry through there.

Regards.


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