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A .Net CPU

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the punctuation-butchers dept.

Operating Systems 341

An anonymous reader writes "Windows for devices has an article about the .Net CPU. The chip is programmed with a subset of the CLR and runs the same software as the SPOT smart watches. Among other things, "[t]he computer module is implemented in the format of a 32-pin "DIP" (dual inline package) chip, allowing the module to conveniently plug into a standard 32-pin DIP socket. In addition, the ".netcpu CPU Module" integrates 4MB of nonvolatile Flash memory (interfaced via an SPI interface on the SoC). It also provides 24 general purpose digital I/O lines, which are multiplexed with other functions including 8 VTU ports, a USB port, two serial ports, and SPI and I2C interfaces." More information about the product can be found at the .netcpu company website."

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Hmm, sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079935)

*cough* java chips *cough* *cough*

Re:Hmm, sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079949)

You should see a doctor about that cough.

Re:Hmm, sounds familiar (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080211)

JAVA IS DOGG SLOW YOU FCKING MORRON!

--
too many caps yelling
too many caps yadda yadda

choo-choo here comes the cum-train with a load of taco snot ... ok, this should be enough.

umm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079937)

hi

yeah right.. (0)

msh104 (620136) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079938)

so first you create a managed runtime...
to run on every cpu....
and then you write a cpu for .net?
doesn't really make sense.

Re:yeah right.. (1)

borum (87229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079978)

I this case they made a small module with an ARM7 on it - running a .net runtime.
Did you even read the article :)

Anyway. There are some of this kind of modules around - some with java runtimes.

Atmel has a series of small footprint risc processors with flash, eeprom, sram and various pheripheral io. Easy to program, easy to use.
http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/param_table.asp? family_id=607&OrderBy=part_no&Direction=AS C [atmel.com]

There is also a 6 pad PIC processor http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcServic e=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=2060 [microchip.com]

None of these runs .net or java as far as i know, but this would be a nice christmas project ;)

So (0)

Lady Griffin (839568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079944)

How long before every PC has one of these .Net Chips?

Seems scary

Re:So (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079955)

Why does it seem scary? What do you imagine the chip will do?

It's just a CPU for the .net CLR, that's all, in much the same way as Pentiums and Athlons, etc, are CPUs for x86 code. It's not going to prevent you from running Linux, or reach up and take control of your PC and/or spy on you for Bill.

It is not a real CPU , from what I read. (2, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079966)

a CPU for the .net CLR, that's all, in much the same way as Pentiums and Athlons, etc, are CPUs for x86

No, it is a CPU for .NET CLR as much as a Gumstix is a CPU for Linux kernel. It's just a VM embedded on firmware, NOT a REAL CPU.

Btw, the JVM FPGA is a real example of a VM less execution (or more correctly , a native JVM + support libs).

Re:It is not a real CPU , from what I read. (2, Insightful)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079999)

No, it is a CPU for .NET CLR as much as a Gumstix is a CPU for Linux kernel. It's just a VM embedded on firmware, NOT a REAL CPU.

I can only begin to guess what your definition of a CPU is. Anyway, it still isn't going to eat your mother or pull your cats tail. It is just a chip from a vendor you don't like. Move on.

Re:So (1)

Lady Griffin (839568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079969)

It will mean that the Java Runtime is obsoleted by the .Net Runtime: Microsoft wins, again.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079977)

go wash your mouth out with happywatersoap.

Re:So (0, Flamebait)

nietzsche_freak (804786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080003)

It will mean that the Java Runtime is obsoleted by the .Net Runtime: Microsoft wins, again.

I doubt it.

.NET will never 'obsolete' anything; it's just a monopolist's shoddy attempt to wipe out Java.

I can't believe anybody is 'afraid' of these chips. I laughed out loud when I read the article.

Re:So (2, Informative)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080122)

What of things I've read saying that .net will be the default api in windows longhorn?

As a former DOS programmer, I can tell you that when Microsoft wants to get rid of an API, they're quite good at it. If they want to do it, win32 will be dead before the end of the decade, just like dos.

Re:So (4, Insightful)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080144)

It is an entirely different situation.

They can't just kill backwards compatibility now since it is the one big reason to stay with Windows. Most businesses are evaluating other OS now and if the change to a new Windows version requires rewriting all your programs (I know they will probably implement a compatibility layer but we know how well that worked in the past) then they might just as well rewrite them on Linux (or some other OS that 'lacks' MS Security Features (TM) ).

Re:So (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080176)

So?

Yes, that'll suck for anyone who's currently working with any API it replaces, but that's progress - technology moves on. Besides, the jobs won't disappear overnight, there are still openings for COBOL programmers, for example (there's even a COBOL binding for .net...)

I still don't see the big deal. One of the most frequent criticisms I hear on tech sites of Windows is the cruft that's accumulated due to always maintaining backward compatibility. Surely removing that cruft by removing the backward compatibility would be a good thing?

Not that it'll happen very quickly; there's simply far too much software available using the Win32 API to simply drop support. People would either not upgrade, or (worse) move to an alternative platform.

Re:So (2, Informative)

cherberos (262597) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080169)

It's not like there isn't anything like this for Java. The first that comes to mind is the TINI-board, from Dallas. There was another one with a more arcane Java-implementation, but less resource-overhead (Can't remember the name right now..). And those are just the ones I worked with. There should be others. So nothing unique here, except maybe that this is the first of this kind of firmware for .Net

Re:So (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079963)

I for one welcome our new .netcpu overlords.

Re:So (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080064)

Probably just as long as it took for Sun to get their Java chip [javaworld.com] into every PC.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079947)

...If it would suffer the same fate as those "Java Chips" I see on the market...

Pretty Cool (Application lies herein) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079948)

Maybe with this technology they can make a clunky cheap looking watch that imports my calendar and contact book by reading a flashing screen.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079950)

I for one welcome our new embedded cpu overlords!

Features in a nutshell (0, Redundant)

amigoro (761348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079954)

From TFA:
  • 384K of SRAM, single cycle access
  • 27 MHz ARM7TDMI
  • FBGA chip form
  • ~450,000 instructions per second
  • 4MB non volatile flash
  • 1.8-volt core, 3.3-volt I/O
  • 32768 Hz real-time clock
  • 32-pin pinout, including 24 GPIO ports multiplexed with other functions (8 VTU ports, dual serial ports, SPI, and USB port)
  • SPI and I2C interfaces

Moderate this comment
Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080059)

How can this be over-rated??

Re:Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080066)

Oh come on!

Stop promoting your own posts and get rid of that stupid moderation shit.

Is this like a JavaChip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079957)

Seems for a while, those were really hot too. I never realized just how much (and how far behind) MSFT was following Sun.

Re:Is this like a JavaChip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080192)

It isn't a microsoft product. It is a .netcpu company product.

.Not a .NET CPU (4, Informative)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079959)

It is really just a CPU on which CLR runs , not a real .NET CPU in hardware. (or so the TFA seems to indicate from the diagram). Also of the more convenient peices of the ECMA 335 spec.

It's an embedded chip which has a CLR on top of it. Nice idea, sorry that Sun thought of it earlier ( The Green Project [java.net] ) - Sun seems to be consistently missing the BUS here. They came up with "Network is the computer" and now MS is selling ".NET " :)

I've seen a couple of stack based engines but by its polymorphic nature .NET bytecode is not suitable for a direct CPU (you could do something like dynamic translation [southern-storm.com.au] like the Crusoe chip had). But then it's still a JIT , right ? :)

Remember ROM Basic... (3, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080154)

Yeah, this is very much like ROM Basic [computerhope.com] .

Looks like this idea's been around for god knows how long ... So much for innovation, we seem to be going backwards here ?.

This is a plug , but I've been working on a .NET CLR which can be trimmed down to around 400k (for a full opcode set, no less !!) for the last 3 years.

Re:.Not a .NET CPU (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080179)

the Jini's fall is solely based on cost. Why spend almost $100.00 for a single jini chipset for your devicewhile a regular embedded CPU costs $7.00 has more speed and can use established programming languages like C.

the Java on a Chip Jini is a really cool device but it is horribly overpriced for what it is, when the Dev kit costs almost $300.00 and the Jini board it's self is $100.00 in single quantities nobody will touch it, and that is exactly what happened.

if Microsoft wants this visual Basic chip to even try to make a dent in the embedded PCI world their pricing had better be on par with Microchips and Atmel's offerings. at $7.00 to $20.00 per chip single quantities for something equiliviant in that processing speed and power and storage.

the 4Meg of flash is insanely large for an embedded processor, are they looking to the future or is this typical Microsoft and that is how huge your executible+libs is going to end up?

ctrl-alt-del keys? (5, Funny)

rleyton (14248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079960)

They must be very small, but I think I can see them if I look really closely and squint a bit.

Re:ctrl-alt-del keys? (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079990)

As it doesn't run Windows, and .NET is widely accepted to be very stable, your joke really isn't very funny.

Re:ctrl-alt-del keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080004)

I think I can see your humour if I look really closely and squint... just a bit...

wait no sorry I can't.

Re:ctrl-alt-del keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080067)

Hmmm. Seeing ctrl-alt-del keys everywhere? Get that man some linux, stat!

Scary (saracasm) (-1, Flamebait)

wcitechnologies (836709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079964)

This is about as scary as the current .NETs threat to take over the internet. Oh, wait, there is no threat, because nobody bought into .NET.

Sorry, Microsoft-- just because you want something to be true doesn't mean that it is.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079973)

Plenty of people develop for .NET. We've got ten plus here doing it today, and the rest of the company works in .NET from time to time. Our enterprise web app runs on .NET. We've got plenty of customers.

Sorry, wcitechnologies-- just because you want something to be true doesn't mean that it is.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079988)

Sorry AC just because you want something to be true doesn't mean that it is.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080023)

I know. I wish I had mod points today so I could smack wcitechnologies (you?) down. His frankly-quite-immature tone really grates, doesn't it?

Re:Scary (saracasm) (4, Interesting)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080014)


I'd say that I see more .NET projects starting than any other single platform in my industry, although the lead over Java is slim and obviously there is far more Java already running. I wouldn't say that .NET has reached the 'will be with us forever' point that Java and C have, but it's certainly been very popular with devs and had a number of successful early projects. In the end it will probably stand or fall on the success of Longhorn (which everyone is quite skeptical about). But buy-in has been good.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080107)

Which industry is that?

Both media and banking (my last 2 contracts) have been dominated by Java/J2EE, although this may well be due to the fact that I am primarily a server developer, with my only client programming being the web presentation layer. .NET looks good for serious windows GUI apps due to the shortfalls of Swing/SWT but anything distributed has gone to Java, especially at the enterprise level.

I know it's horses for courses but I'd like to know personal feedback for different industries.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080111)

You have a strange view of the Industry if you think Java has reached "will be with us forever" stage just 10 years after the initial release (and that didn't resemble Java as we know it today in any form). Java has too many problems and not enough advantages to stay as long as C has. Don't get me wrong, the idea of the virtual machine will probably stay for a long time but not Java as a language or as a Runtime Environment.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (5, Insightful)

the angry liberal (825035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080037)

Sorry, Microsoft-- just because you want something to be true doesn't mean that it is.

Perhaps if you put your troll's club down long enough to take a look at sourceforge, you would notice most of the newer open source applications for Windows are being developed in .NET.

It won't take over the Internet, but it has been well accepted and is easy to use.

I wonder though, with all this FUD, if anyone can produce real numbers showing which is in more demand in the workplace: Linux developers vs .NET developers. I'm not talking about which is more 31337, I am talking about which one will find more steady income and have less trouble when they need to change jobs.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (3, Insightful)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080079)

As you mentioned, newer Windows applications are being written in .NET, and you go on to ponder what the demand is. I don't know of any numbers, but I'd imagine .NET developers would be in all sorts of demand with respect to developing on any Windows platform, after all, .NET is the new API which replaces Win32.

I agree that there is all sorts of FUD flying around about .NET, and it's pretty sad that it is. I'm not a Microsoft fanboy, but anyone who cannot recognise the Official API of future Windows development is in serious trouble (if they intend on developing future Windows applications, that is). As you said, .NET isn't going to take over the Internet (who said it would in the first place?), but it will take over ALL Windows development.

All that said, I seem to remember reading about how Microsoft was dropping .NET, however I highly suspect I dreamt it.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080199)

.NET is the new API which replaces Win32

Say it when you have winword.exe - the dotnet executable. (Or quake4.exe for that matter).

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080205)

All that said, I seem to remember reading about how Microsoft was dropping .NET

You're probably thinking of when Microsoft dropped the .NET branding from all of their server software. Originally, there was going to be a Windows Server.NET, and a SQL Server.NET, etc. Combined with the .NET branding on the languages, no one really knew what it meant to be ".NET".

Because of this, Microsoft cancelled all of their plans for .NET servers. This left Visual Studio.NET, which is used for developing the .NET languages. Programs written in .NET languages run on top of the .NET framework. (The Common Language Runtime.)

Antoher factor in the dropping of the .NET branding for the servers, I'm sure, is that it would have meant more stringent requirements for release dates, and it would have been more difficult to move to the next version (forced upgrades) without some branding confusion. (Think "Windows Server.NET Two!" Wait, is there a new version of .NET? Will my applications run on it? etc.)

Re:Scary (saracasm) (4, Insightful)

benjymous (69893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080106)

Personally as someone who's long developed Windows Win32/MFC code (in C++) and is now moving to C# .NET stuff, I'm finding .NET an absolute doddle.

let's face it - MFC and Win32 are old and have been cobbled together, seemingly at random over the lifespan of the whole Windows family, meaning nothing feels like it's ever really been designed

One function returns a colour, another function needs a colour. Oh dear, one uses some kind of int, the other a struct (oh and another some kind of class) - lets bog down our code with lots of conversion functions - Most of the time the sensible obvious approach to a task is the wrong one.

So far in .NET, whenever I've wanted to do something, I've looked at the classes, thought "How would it be sensible to do this", and 9 times out of 10 it works perfectly

Re:Scary (saracasm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080141)

Any pointers to interesting projects?

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080164)

Yes,
InterestingProject *mInterestingProjects = stackalloc InterestingProject[10];

Re:Scary (saracasm) (3, Informative)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080153)

Although I agree with you that it isn't the case to troll everything that has "microsoft" into it, I think that an high income isn't the first requirement for someone that foreseek freedom of choice and information (why develop Free Software, else?).

The fact that 85% of the computer world use MS systems doesn't mean that it's the best thing to do. Still, things are (really) slowly changing. Maybe I'll live the day when the market share between MS and *nixes 'll be 50%-50%... and that would mean real competition, not just "smithe the infidel with teh big hammer" as almost everyone on both sides tries to do (often don't understanding really what's right to "fight" for).

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080207)

The fact that 85% of the computer world use MS systems doesn't mean that it's the best thing to do.

It depends what computer world you are looking at. In my line of work, dedicated embedded devices, the numbers are reversed and microsoft has a small marketshare.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080155)

Not really a fair comparison; Linux is an OS, .net is an API.

To be honest though, I'm not looking forward to the future. It looks like Microsoft is going to be using brute force to get developers to use their .net platform for just about everything,

I have a feeling that this may be the last generation of computers for a while that feels truly speedy. :/

Re:Scary (saracasm) (5, Interesting)

Mant (578427) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080152)

I can't imagine .NET is going to take over the Internet, but ASP.NET is a very nice platform for writing web apps. OK they will probably run on IIS, unless you use Mono, but it is a big step up from the scripting languages approach of basically just printing out the web page.

It gives some nice abstraction to writing web pages, you don't have to worry about hand crafting every bit of HTML that is going out to the browser (although you can if you want or need to), and can deal with the concepts, objects and events.

.NET does little that is new, Java was doing much of it first, but for writing web apps it is pretty simple and powerful and has good development software. We are moving to it at work because it makes us more productive.

Re:Scary (saracasm) (4, Interesting)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080209)

Say what you want about .NET (I disagree with u completely BTW), but the IDE KICKS Hardcore BUTT! I have yet to see something better the VS .NET 2003 for development. Quite a few people have bought into .NET and if I have a choice between C++ and C#, I pick C# thanks....but then I was born and raised on C and Java anyway....

In Korea..... (-1, Troll)

ucdoughboy (757337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079967)

In Korea only old people use .Net natively on their cpu's.

Erlang CPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11079971)

There have been an Erlang CPU around for a long time:

http://www.erlang.se/euc/00/

Look for ecomp on the page.

--
Mickaël Rémond
http://www.erlang-projects.org/

Parrot (3, Informative)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079972)

I'm waiting for a Parrot [parrotcode.org] chip.
Now that would be exciting.

Never will be a direct chip for Parrot (4, Informative)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079993)

Parrot is not a very good design to put on a chip, for one single reason.

Too Many opcodes (1500 at my current count and growing).

Morover parrot has opcodes which do very complicated things like "print_nc" which prints a FLOATVAL constant. Compared to that IL opcodes are simpler and JVM is still more simpler (CVM [southern-storm.com.au] is even simpler - which is what I'm working on now).

Parrot is too complex, period.

Too many opcodes? (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080058)

Like the x86?

Re:Never will be a direct chip for Parrot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080062)

Either you have a complex (ie capable) chip or lots of memory chips to hold the bloated programs.

Re:Parrot (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080146)

Just make sure it's not NAILED to its perch. Or PINING.

Big deal (1)

oakad (686232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079975)

I bet, every low cost Samsung printer (they like ARM7 microcontrollers) has this ".netcpu" embedded inside - though without dependence on stupid microsoft dev tools.
Anyway, it'll take few hours at most to get ucLinux running on this module.

Also included (0, Offtopic)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079985)

While supplies last, you'll also get a free acronym dictionary, so that laymen can understand what the hell this thing does.

Re:Also included (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080101)

CLR = Common Language Runtime (The CLR is to .NET what the Java Virtual Machine is to Java)

SPOT = Smart Personal Object Technology (MS marketspeak for gadgets with embedded computers)

DIP = Dual Inline Package (The old amateur friendly chip package with the through-hole pins on two sides of a rather big carrier)

CPU Module = Central Processing Unit Module (A carrier module with the processor and some other things on it, like memory, interface chips and glue logic)

I2C = Inter IC Bus (I squared C - IIC - I2C...)

SPI = Serial Peripheral Interface (like I2C, a data connection between chips)

SoC = System on a chip (combination of most components of a complete computer system on one chip)

I/O = Input/Output

USB = Universal Serial Bus (repeater based serial point to point communications interface forming a logical bus)

VTU ... no idea

Re:Also included (1)

frozen_kangaroo (755476) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080133)

Yes, its saying you can now display a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) on a small LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

Wow! (2, Funny)

DecayCell (778710) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079992)

Imagine a beowu... oh, wait.
Nothing to see here, move along!

Stupid ramblings (-1, Offtopic)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080016)

But does it run Linux?

Oh who cares.... it's Microsoft hardware.
Hmm... bit of a condrum that one. If it's Microsoft hardware, shouldn't it be Microhard software? Or since soft+hard = firm, shouldn't it be Microfirm jigglyware...

(Note to self: STFU)

LINUX: Linux Is Not UniX

Re:Stupid ramblings (1)

Pants75 (708191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080040)

Microfirm jigglyware Dude, stop. You're pushing all the right buttons!

Re:Stupid ramblings (3, Insightful)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080186)

> But does it run Linux?

The real question is "does it run Mono?"

Mono is a heavyweight VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080198)

Dude, they can't even port it properly to PPC (exception handling is b0rked).

But that doesn't stop Novell from pushing out Cocoa# screenshots with the intepreter and benchmarks from the broken JIT together as if it's all done. (after all show me a benchmark which triggers an exception).

They're out to sell stuff - they'll "bend" the truth the way it suits them. Can't blame them either, 90% of all companies do it :)

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080019)

are having trouble worthwhile. It's surprise to the is mired in an OF AMERICA) is the a losing battle; the BSD 7icense, will not work. And bought the farm... empire in decline, so that their so on, FreeBSD went would mar BSD's deeper into the who sell another shout the loudest the official GAY is EFNet, and you Romeo and Juliet NetBSD posts on short of a miracle DURING PLAY, THIS to you by Penisbird come Here but now For it. I don't 'Yes' to any been sitting here Are you a NIGGER WASTE OF BITS AND There are somew so there are people

Maybe its just me but.... (4, Informative)

ezelkow1 (693205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080020)

this thing seems like an overpriced piece of junk just trying to hawk its .NET and VS support. Most of the microcontrollers out there i have seen can in some way or another be programmed in C and its various forms. 200 dollars just for the cpu seems to be asking a lot when the only advantage i see is that is 4mb of flash, and other MC's can always be expanded to that anyway. Besides the fact that other MC's out there that are cheaper also contain a whole lot more peripherals and features than this one. But maybe thats just me

Re:Maybe its just me but.... (2, Informative)

mvdw (613057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080175)

Don't think of it as a product part, think of it more as a BASIC Stamp for people who want something more than a BASIC Stamp can manage.

BASIC Stamps are good for when you only want to do one, and don't want to lay out a board with crystal, peripherals, etc. Although I have a tendency to do my own boards, I can see that BASIC Stamps are good for some projects.

Balmer claimed earlier : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080021)

".net has nothingto do with Java"

This guy is realy brilliant ... or dumb ;-)

In your oppinion, which one is the worst nightmare for Gates, Linux or Java ?

IMHO, it is Java on Linux :)

Vive GNU's Classpath project !

It sounds SO good! (0, Offtopic)

OwlWhacker (758974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080025)

The chip... runs the same software as the SPOT smart watches.

I wonder if it's going to be as popular as the SPOT smart watches?

Security ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080052)

What happens if someone discover a flaw in the CLR ?
Do we have to buy another processor ? or flash another CLR ?

Placing anything on a processor is a *pretty* stupid idea.

Re:Security ? (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080166)

It's basically just firmware, not hardware in any way. How do you upgrade the firmware for your DVD rom ?

Re:Security ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080202)

My DVD firmware does not run any code. The CLR...

A copy of...? (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080055)

Gee I though Gumsticks were already mainstream... oh.. but of course http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4552 [oreillynet.com]

these thingys aren't from Redmond...

dang it.. too late...

Blue device of death (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080084)

Clippy turns you off.
A drm hardware dream.

Actually, it's an ARM7 (4, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080091)

According to the products page on their website:
  • 384K of SRAM, single cycle access
  • 27 MHz ARM7TDMI
  • FBGA chip form
  • ~450,000 instructions per second
  • 4MB non volatile flash
  • 1.8-volt core, 3.3-volt I/O
  • 32768 Hz real-time clock
  • 32-pin pinout, including 24 GPIO ports multiplexed with other functions (8 VTU ports, dual serial ports, SPI, and USB port)
  • SPI and I2C interfaces

I assume FBGA is a typo for FPGA. This thing sounds suspiciously similar to one of those standard FPGAs with a built-in ARM7 core.

It actually sounds like quite a nice little embedded system, a kind of grown-up Basic STAMP [parallax.com] . I expect that the .net VM is in ROM; on start-up the FPGA is probably bootstrapped from it. I wonder if it would be possible to replace it with a real operating system?

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 (1)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080115)

...or just a MicroChip PIC device.

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 (4, Informative)

Pemdas (33265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080129)

I assume FBGA is a typo for FPGA.

When referring to packaging, FBGA is usually Fine Ball Grid Array. I really doubt it's a typo. From the programmers point of view, the package virtually never significant.

Overall, this sounds remarkably similar to picoJava [sun.com] , which, last I checked, was going nowhere, and for good reason.

Designing bytecode formats for VMs is not really the same as designing opcodes for microprocessors -- shoehorning hardware that way is painful and generally results in less elegant, more expensive designs.

OTOH, the bytecodes in question aren't really significantly worse than, say, x86, and look where that is today...

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080137)

it is FBGA packaging

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 in FBGA (1)

jcdr (178250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080138)

No. This is not a typo.

FBGA = fine BALL grid array
FPGA = fine PIN grid array

FBGA is very common for small processors and chipset. FPGA is not so much used but for old CPU as now Intel uses LGA and AMD uses uOPGA

Use Google to get more informations about FBGA.

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 in FBGA (1)

mvdw (613057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080181)

The OP probably meant FPGA as Field Programmable Gate Array.

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080185)

27 MHz ARM7TDMI, 450,000 instructions per second

Wait a minute, does it spend _60_ clocks per instruction on average???

(Yes, I understand that supposedly they are a bit higher level than even x86, but still....)

Re:Actually, it's an ARM7 (1)

mlock (648386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080215)

On the website is also written

The .netcpu CPU Module does not include a development board, a power regulator, or a serial interface. For a full development kit, check out the .netcpu development kits.

Preorders for the .netcpu CPU Module will begin shipping on 12/31/2004.

$199.99

two hundred DOLLARS! two HUNDRED dollars! TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!
I know cheaper CPU's ...
(eg http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/product_card.asp ?part_id=2983 - 200MHz, USB, Ethernet, ...)

(Yes, "Music with Rocks in" :-)

Virtual Java Virtual Machine (1)

L3WKW4RM (228924) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080096)

Where is the hardware-implemented JVM we've been promised for years and years? Not like this gloified BASIC stamp, running an implementation on the .NET runtime in software, but a real hardware implementation that runs bytecode natively.

Re:Virtual Java Virtual Machine (4, Informative)

mukund (163654) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080130)

This has been available for a long time with open access to the design from Sun as the picoJava [sun.com] CPU core. It was not an economically viable CPU and I think this's one of the reasons why Sun released it.

Another "Innovation" from Microsoft? (3, Informative)

nathanh (1214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080099)

Isn't this exactly like the Java CPU that Sun was selling a few years back? And it was simply a close relative of the Lisp processors from the 80s.

C#, Java. .Net, J2EE. CLR, JVM. .NET CPU, Java CPU. So should we expect Microsoft to simply repeat everything that Sun did with Java? If so, wake me up when they declare they're going to release CLR under an open source license.

Re:Another "Innovation" from Microsoft? (3, Funny)

sosume (680416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080125)

If so, wake me up when they declare they're going to release CLR under an open source license.

*riiiiiiing* wake up call ... its called Rotor, released by Microsoft a few years ago and it runs on FreeBSD.....
Well, maybe not your definition of open source (no GPL or BSD license but Shared Source) but remember open != free as in beer

Boring compared to... the Brainf*ck CPU! (4, Funny)

quigonn (80360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080105)

http://www.clifford.at/bfcpu/bfcpu.html This piece of hardware is tres cool, as it implements the _complete_ set of Brainf*ck instructions as native instruction set.

C&D (1)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080128)

Is it OK for them to use the '.NET' in the CPU name instead of ILCPU or ECMAwhatCPU?

In addition, their 4-color windows symbol resembles the Windows symbol just too much.

Ahnetkpuh? (3, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080135)

Ahnetkpu? Is this an Elder God?

Hey, is there any one going to make me a PERL CPU? (1)

afa (801481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080159)

If so, I'm gonna buy one. Why the big people are always thinking their damnned 'JVM' or 'C#' etc. Who can pay a little attention to our common persons who just want to boost their CGIs.

That's funny (5, Interesting)

le_defaut_tragique (653169) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080173)

Check out the company website, and Google them. I just did and it turns up that this company was founded on Oct10.2k4ce by Mark Phillips. A Google turned up... the company website, the original submission, and a couple other press releases. this is their only product, and they made it in two months.

Microsoft's only connection with them is that Mark Phillips guy, who, when googled investigatively, appears to have founded A Dot Corporation in Apr.2k3ce and they were involved in... SPOT Watch technology and claim microsoft to be a business partner (spotcorporation.com).

So is Mark Phillips using his work with microsoft's SPOT developer team to create something to market under a different name? Both companies list only Mark Phillips as founder and, in fact, confirmed employee, although one site listed A Dot as having 24 employees.

Yeah, so that's funny...

Hardware independence? (3, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 9 years ago | (#11080183)

It boggles my mind, every time someone comes out with a bytecoded language in order to attempt to achieve hardware independence, someone comes along and creates hardware to execute it! Thus defeating the original purpose.

Of course people see the need for hardware acceleration because interpreted or even JIT compiled bytecode languages are always going to be slower than precompiled native binaries.

Virus/trojan/spyware/malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080184)

Thank you MICROSOF~1
Now I will really be able to write my viree once in .NET assembly and spread them anywhere.

Glorious news indeed. Right now I've installed 'silent virouses' on about 17k windows boxens around the net. These viree silently wait wihtout doing anything besides spread themselves in binaries. Every now and then, they check a specific URL on a free WWW site, which may contain commands for them to exe. Until now the only cmd I've told them to run is report infected machines. Apart from that, I'm waiting for the right time to command them to do something big.

btw, if you're interested in paying me to put these viree do something for you, search goodle for "red bearded pirate".

developers x3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080197)

Not to nitpick, but shouldn't all .Net articles be on
http://developers.developers.developers.slashdot.o rg/???
...and from the zone file:
developers.developers.developers
CNAME bigsteves.anti.perspirant.net.

Expensive and slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11080201)

This is a bizarre piece of technology

- It's too expensive for volume marketing
- It's too slow for anything useful.

When you thing of what you can do in C on an AVR micro with GCC-AVR for a fraction of the cost (ie 10%) this thing is insane.

It looks like someone is trying to use .NET to gain a profile in the market - or they are using some kind of grant from Microsoft and this is one of the key milestones they had to meet.

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