Software ports galore!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the port of dtrace that Colin and I have got up and running under Neutrino. For the most part, porting software to Neutrino is a pretty straightforward matter. Since Neutrino runs self-hosted (ie you work and build in the same environment that you deploy) it means that all of the ‘configure/make’ style projects work without too much hassle. In fact most of the time if the source is coming from Linux, *BSD, Solaris or some other unix flavour you can get it up and running in a couple of hours. The main challenge is almost always figuring out the build system and making sure that our compiler front end (qcc) is used to pick up all of the required environment bits and that hacks for other systems are really required for Neutrino (which is pretty well behaved).
Having ported software on a self-hosted system is pretty much essential for a software developer to work effectively. There are so many essential software bits and pieces that QNX would never include with the Neutrino SDK because while they are useful, the SDK is targeted specifically at what is needed to build Neutrino applications and needs to be portable (and consistent) for use under Windows, Linux, Solaris as well as Neutrino self-hosted x86. That doesn’t mean that the extra software bits aren’t useful, and historically a 3rd party CD was provided for Neutrino self-hosted developers that came with loads of useful extras, from scripting languages (perl, python, tk) to web servers (apache) and editors (vim).
A couple of developers here at QNX, Sean B. and Xiaodan T., with the help of some QNX community members have been working on a wicked awesome project that pretty much replaces the 3rd party CD with something even better! They have been working to port the BSD pkgsrc tool/project to support the QNX Neutrino self-hosted environment. Just the other day I got a message in my mailbox indicating that the project had hit a critical milestone and that QNX Neutrino was now considered a full fledged supported platform:
“we are proud to welcome QNX, thanks to Sean Boudreaux.” http://mail-index.netbsd.org/pkgsrc-users/2007/10/15/0005.html
It is even listed on the projects main documentation page … now that is super cool news! There are 7000+ different software packages part of this collection, and to have all of them available pre-ported and on-demand is a pretty awesome feat.
So if you are running Neutrino self-hosted, (and why wouldn’t you be!) and you want more than just the stock installed software, then you should definitely take a look at the pkgsrc community project.
Congratulations and thanks to Sean, Xiaodan and all the others who’ve been working on getting this up and running!