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Sigrok: An Open Source Logic Analyzer

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the scoping-out-some-hot-signals dept.

Hardware Hacking 42

Uwe Hermann today announced the availability of sigrok, one of the first Open Source logic analyzers. Tired of being tied to Windows and proprietary software with limited features, in late 2010 he began work on flosslogic, which, after discovering Bert Vermeulen was also working on similar software, became sigrok. From the article: "Thus, the goal was to write a portable, GPL'd, software that can talk to many different logic analyzers via modules/plugins, supports many input/output formats, and many different protocol decoders. ... Currently supported hardware includes: Saleae Logic, CWAV USBee SX, Openbench Logic Sniffer (OLS), ZEROPLUS Logic Cube LAP-C, ASIX Sigma/Sigma2, ChronoVu LA8, and others." Their wiki has a list of supported protocols as well. You can grab the source over at SourceForge.

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I AM THEREFORE I AM I THINK !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869627)

Or am I ??

PERFORM ANAL-YSIS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869659)

Do it on CmdrTaco!! He always loves anal analysis.

FINALLY! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869749)

I got fired as an electronic engineer because I refused to use their proprietary software and binary blob logic analyzers. Now I can resume my career!

Oh, it doesn't support Microwire. Well, shit.

How is this the first? (5, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869779)

OLS has existed with a fully open source client for nearly a year at this point.

It seems to have a whole pile of new features - but it's not the first by any means.

Re:How is this the first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39870355)

we Hermann today announced the availability of sigrock, one of the first

Re:How is this the first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873397)

The Slashdot description is wrong, sigrok is not "a logic analyzer", it's a software for talking to logic analyzers. There is no sigrok hardware. It's a pure software-project.

Poor, poor man's logic analyzer (5, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869813)

Several years ago I did a project where I interfaced a Playstation controller to a Pocket PC using a PIC microcontroller that hosted the controller and bit banged IrDA out an infrared LED to the PPC. To exactly match the PS IO timing I rigged up a 4 channel logic analyzer using the raw parallel port of my PC (in other words it was basically software I wrote and hardware consisting of a parallel cable that had one end lopped off exposing bare wires). That worked great, and so did the PS adapter I created.

As a side note, that is one of the appealing things about the Raspberry Pi, is that it provides a fully modern OS and even onboard development environment, but still provides low GPIO hardware access. Fun fun fun.

Re:Poor, poor man's logic analyzer (1)

Norwell Bob (982405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869899)

Don't have any points with which to mod, so I'll just say, that's pretty cool.

Re:Poor, poor man's logic analyzer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875907)

Way to toot your own horn there, sparky.

Not a Logic Analyzer (hardware) (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869937)

This is a software interface between a Logic Analyzer and a computer. There are standalone devices that need no computer...

Re:Not a Logic Analyzer (hardware) (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870797)

This is a software interface between a Logic Analyzer and a computer. There are standalone devices that need no computer...

furthermore there are stand alone open source devices that need little more than a terminal.

Ian lesnet's, dangerous prototypes, seeed studio manufactured, "bus pirate" under continuous development for, what, 3 years now? I have a v3 and that thing rocks.

Chip on Shoulder (0)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869985)

FTA: ...due to exactly the same reasons, crappy Windows software, etc.

Nice project with laudable goals, but this quote is just childish. I own a Logicport (shown in picture) and the Windows software that comes with it works well. Complain about it not being cross platform, but "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not insightful or informative.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39870451)

Yeah, with the Logicport it's the hardware that's crappy.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39870907)

Nice project with laudable goals, but this quote is just childish. I own a Logicport (shown in picture) and the Windows software that comes with it works well. Complain about it not being cross platform, but "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not insightful or informative.

I disagree. While "Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!" is not the kind of statement that a reasonable person without a lot of real-world experience with Windows and software written to run on it would assume would be true at face value, after sufficient time has elapsed working with Windows, reasonable people do come to realize that it is most definitely the case. The quote is indeed insightful, and is informative enough to save those who are willing to accept its wisdom a considerable amount of pain and time.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39871461)

Indeed an insightful and informative quote? What bullshit.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39872623)

Indeed an insightful and informative quote? What bullshit.

Develop software on Windows for as long as I have and you will come to understand that it is actually true. The foremost reason that it is true is because Microsoft is not driven to make changes to Windows to improve it, to make the operating system better or faster or more secure or less crashy. Their primary motivation is to make money and to change the enivironment to be less favorable to competitors. Windows 98's treatment of extremely robust and feature-rich third party TCP/IP stacks as viruses didn't help customers or improve Windows, their detection and overwriting with the native Winsock DLL was a straight monopoly move. MSVC's compiled C/C++ was not phased out in favor of .NET because it was better, or because the VM approach made sense on a single platform, it was a response to the perceived threat of Java. Making Excel stuff its data structures into a .ZIP file and calling them .XLSX files wasn't better for anything, it was simply a deliberate breaking of interoperability in an effort to slow the adoption of non-Windows desktops among enterprise customers and force them to buy new copies of Excel. The list goes on and on and on, but it's all summarized accurately by the original quote.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39871783)

"Windows sucks and all software on it sucks!"

I'm not sure they were saying that at all, actually. I think they were simply saying the logic analyzer software for Windows was crappy. I don't think they even really said Windows was crappy.

Also FTA: I grew tired of almost all devices having a proprietary and Windows-only software, often with limited features, limited input/output file formats, limited usability, limited protocol decoder support, and so on.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39872275)

A lot of the software IS crappy and it is certainly Windows only. What's so childish about not liking that?

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

joelholdsworth (1095165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873861)

A lot of the software IS crappy and it is certainly Windows only.

Amen to that! One of the first things that got me interested in developing this software was how expensive decent electronic test tools with capable software really are. Unless you're willing to drop some serious cash, you get a device that contains no more than £15 of parts being sold for >£400, with VB6 software than is generally no more than barely usable with each manufacturer reinventing the wheel over and over.

sigrok is cool because we can use the same software to sample from any device, but they can all share the powerful decoding features of the software, no matter how expensive the logic analyser hardware. Then we can begin to do cool stuff by piping the collected data through any script or FOSS tool that we might care to try - even in continuous real time. For example recently I have been working on an IS decoder (digital sound) that can extract the digital data from an audio interconnect, then pipe it into a wav. I can now hear what my DSP chip is producing, and that with a device that costs less than £30.

Bert Vermeulen has been working on adding support for analog sampling for oscillascope devices. Maybe one day soon we will be able to leverage the power of GNU Radio, and have them work as a spectrum anaylser, a demodulator.

The possibilities are endless, and lightyears ahead of anything the proprietory world has to offer.

Re:Chip on Shoulder (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874793)

The first things that comes to my mind when I read the specs of a hardware like a logical analizer, and it says it requires Windows are that it won't interoperate with other tools, it isn't programmable, and it won't export data the way I want it to. Then, I remember that it will only work for 3 years, since nobody will care to port whatever driver it uses to make something like that work on Windows.

It is not that all Windows software is crappy, it is that the people/organizations that create Windows only code have a specific mindset, and that mindset isn't compatible with making good tools for that domain.

it is spelled 'sigrok' (2)

tobyknudsen (2438396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870045)

Thank you for bringing sigrok to my attention. Cut and paste would have prevented your mis-spelling, and it's sorta important to get that particular word right.

http://sigrok.org/wiki/Main_Page [sigrok.org]

"The sigrok project aims at creating a portable, cross-platform, Free/Libre/Open-Source logic analyzer software that supports various logic analyzer hardware products. It is licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL. Design goals and features include:"

Needs a lot of development yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39871959)

I grabbed the sources from Git just now and built all 5 sections on Linux (Gentoo). Apart from Qt giving me a spot of bother in that qmake doesn't support prefix installation paths, it built fine. With some googling, I discovered that with Qt you can do this instead: " INSTALL_ROOT=/my/path make install".

However, it's clearly very early days yet for the project --- the graphical versions are (as they plainly state in the wiki) almost totally unusable at the present time.

This project needs a lot of love from developers. What's the project like for contributors? Are all working change sets welcome and pulled in from Git repos on request, or is it a "Doesn't fit the leader's philosophy" regime like in some unfortunate projects?

"sigrok", not "sigrock". (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870125)

You know, like "grok". Have the slashdot janitors been bitten by autocorrect?

Re:"sigrok", not "sigrock". (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870687)

I knew that, but my brain autocorrected it when typing and didn't notice that it was creating a typo. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:"sigrok", not "sigrock". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39875215)

Some of us non-lamers read twice and post once.

SeeedStudio Nano OS 1 channel hardware and soft (3, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870275)

Another open source project, that is open source software and hardware, is the neat and cheep little single-channel analyzer, the Nano v2. For basic uses (measuring PPM signals on an arduino board for example), it works very well and is a deal for under $90. I bought mine to work on radio control things so I can example the PPM signal streams coming off the CPU, and the signals going out the servos. In particular I make sure that the head tracking channels are being properly mixed into the PPM stream at the radio end for flying airplanes with first-person video and a head-tracking camera (using gyros).

Re:SeeedStudio Nano OS 1 channel hardware and soft (3, Insightful)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39872231)

The Nano is a digital storage oscilloscope - which is no doubt useful. It shows continuous voltage levels over time, and is great for analog signals; it measures 0-10V at 1Msps, with 12-bits of resolution.

But a logic analyzer fits into a different niche; it really only measures "high" or "low", but across many channels (instead of 1 or 2 as in an oscilliscope).

The OpenBench Logic Sniffer, for example, measures:
  - Up to 32 channels at 100 MHz
  - Up to 16 channels at 200 MHz
  - 1.8-5V, which covers most digital chips.
  - costs $50 - almost half of the Nano's price.

They are clearly different tools, though. If I were measuring PPM coming out of a microcontroller (as in an arduino), I'd choose a Logic Analyzer over an oscilliscope.

Re:SeeedStudio Nano OS 1 channel hardware and soft (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873367)

The DSO Quad has digital channels as well, which is what I believe the grandparent to be alluding to.

Plenty of OS logic analyzers (3, Informative)

hectorh (113198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870361)

There are plenty of other logic analyzers that are open source. To name a few: SUMP, Open Workbench, Logic Shrimp.

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (2, Funny)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870875)

I have no idea wtf a logic analyzer is, but I am really really glad that there's a genuine, useful thing out there called "Logic Shrimp."

  -- 77IM

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39871441)

I have no idea wtf a logic analyzer is

Smarter than an oscilloscope, dumber than a protocol analyzer.

Scope + more channels - speed = logic analyzer

Protocol analyzer + more channels (usually) + lots more speed - fancy protocol software = logic analyzer

Of course these are real world practical technical definitions. Your local marketing department might be trying to poison the well to make them mean something else. ... And the logic shrimp is from the same guy as the bus pirate, which is a really nice entry level protocol analyzer. I would assume the Shrimp also rocks.

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39872607)

I'd argue that an oscilloscope doesn't even fit the same niche as a logic analyzer.

Oscilloscopes are more for analog signals (and in the end, everything is an analog signal), while logic analyzers are for digital signals.

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873771)

Not Really, Tektronix New Scopes will decode I2C and SPI bytes right on the screen.

I think the point is an analyzer that just shows the zeros and ones leaves a lot of work for the user.

You win the Slashdot prize! (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873557)

Smarter than an oscilloscope, dumber than a protocol analyzer.

Your answer is correct and informative. And yet will still be totally useless. Because your target audience is a guy who doesn't even know what a logic analyzer is.

I really did laugh a bit when I read your post. Mostly because it reminded me of an old joke. [engineeringedu.com]

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874445)

Seeing as how anything interesting and "lots more speed" is serial these days, you don't much care about more channels. Sample rate and bandwidth. You want a DCA.

Re:Plenty of OS logic analyzers (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39876243)

Replying to undo accidental -1 moderation.

Spock (1)

phik (2368654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870543)

They should call this Spock

I2C (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39870581)

Until I2C is 100% released, this is not complete- that's my minimum benchmark. I've got a Saleae 8 channel and it looks like it supports it- but the last thing you want to be doing when you're working on a project like this is debugging your test hardware.

I like the portability and flexibility of the Saleae device, but if I'm getting deep into the protocol... the Beagle from Total Phase works much better. Total phase also has a decently affordable USB analyzer. What I've found is that a simple analyzer works fine for basic debugging, but once you start getting into complex debugging or real-time, the software layer that resides on the PC is what really differentiates what is a "real tool."

Collecting data is one thing, but sorting through it is where the skill is involved, and decent software becomes vital.

Re:I2C (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39872681)

I'd be interested in seeing how the Saleae 16 stacks up against the OpenBench Logic sniffer; they both seem to fit into the same niche, and both use the same Xilinx FPGA to measure the signals, so the capabilities have got to be similar I have an OLS, and so far, I'm pretty happy with it.

And along the same note, I wonder how the Beagle compares to the "Bus Pirate." The Bus Pirate supports 1-Wire, I2C, SPI, & JTAG, so at least on the surface it looks pretty good.

I know the OpenBench Logic Sniffer and Bus Pirate are fully "open-source" hardware & software; and are much less expensive - at $50 for the OLS, and $30 or so for the Bus Pirate.

But I have to agree with you - collecting the data is one thing, but sorting through it is what separates a toy from a tool.

Re:I2C (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875213)

What really makes the Beagle useful is the software- allowing to collect data, filter on certain packets, statistics, and timing. Just looking at high/low traces is useful, but, particularly when dealing with serial protocols, can get old, really quickly.

What I would really like would be some way to use the Wireshark interface with these tools looking for these protocols. Maybe there is a way, but I haven't figured out the proper hardware/software combination.

Comment 21 (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39871431)

So, where are all the folks who complain there are not enough "tech" articles on /. anymore?? There are only 20 comments in this thread, and it's several hours old.

Re:Comment 21 (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39875615)

So, where are all the folks who complain there are not enough "tech" articles on /. anymore?? There are only 20 comments in this thread, and it's several hours old.

Posting comments on non tech articles about there not being enough tech articles. Pretty obvious really.

Realistically.. This is beyond the ability of many /. posters to understand. Let alone flame. and they haven't even got a brand to cheer for. So many will take a quick look at the summary, not understand a word of it, and go away again.

This is real tech.. Not consumer tech, like the latest iPhone rumours or who invented tablets.

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