Monday, February 11, 2013

Migrating to Linux: Day 7

That does it. I give up.

I'm writing this within Windows Vista.

When you spend two hours trying to get any kind of stupid serial terminal emulator working, and wind up not getting any of them working, something is not right.

Background: I'd installed Mint-14 to compile an AVR gcc toolchain. That went fine. Installing ARM gcc with m4 hard float support was frustrating due to numerous package dependencies and stlink issues. Eagle install, cake. LTSpice under Wine, no prob. Printing? Took awhile to find the right driver. The hours just seemed to fly away.

Working with the new Serial/I2C/SPI LCD for Data Bus brought about the last straw. I wanted to take a few minutes to test the LCD. Fire up a serial terminal, connect Bus Pirate, check some things, then move on to porting the library to mbed. About that serial terminal...

Many forums recommend minicom as the go to serial terminal program. Really? I remember using that awkward relic in the early 90's. CTRL-A Z is not a convenient key sequence. And heck, it didn't even work with my Bus Pirate anyway. Then I tried and ran into all sorts of issues with running a terminal emulator under Wine and even VirtualBox.

This should have been a five minute deal. Find, install, run, get on with testing my Digole serial LCD adapter. And it was a five minute deal, right after I booted into Vista.

I said it before and I'll say it again. Linux is really fast. In the time it takes to get something working in Windows you can try hundreds of times to get the same thing working in Linux. And still fail.

Now, where'd I put my Win 7 x64 Ultimate disc...?


  1. Awww.. that's a shame. But this is to be expected when you venture into a new operating system. Sometimes it's a bit like a new language. Not wrong, just different.

    What serial monitor did you use on Windows? Did you know Putty is available for Linux?

    I generally just use Screen on the terminal. It generally auto-detects the settings so just "$ screen /dev/ttyUSB0" in the case of the bus-pirate.

  2. Picocom is like minicom but simpler to use in my opinion.

    picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0

    picocom -h (to see how to do parity, flow, data-size)

    Sorry things didn't work out! There's nothing worse than fighting your tools when you want to get something done.

  3. @daphreak - thanks for the tip, picocom looks ok and works. Cool.

    Ironically, I ended up finding that my *own* very basic serterm java terminal emulator works well enough in Linux! Go figure. :D

    Heck, with a few improvements I should make it available for download...

  4. if you are not even able to use minicom properly with your bus pirate, you should probably stick to windows. heck, even drop electronics of any kind or for that reason anything that would require you to read a manpage/datasheet/whatever

  5. Epilogue -- after my little tantrum here, I went back to Mint 14 within a month, and have successfully used it for over a year now. I'm quite happy with it, I've figured out various hurdles and made my peace with minicom. :D It's blazing fast, and I can do about 98% of all my tasks without Wine or VirtualBox. Yeah, there's the occasional bump in the road, but it's all good. Since Mint 14, based on Ubuntu Quantal Quetzal is EOL, it's time to upgrade to Mint 17...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.