Mecalc 68030 Project

The I/O Handler work for Mecalc was done in the first half of 1994

Mecalc 68030 board

Mecalc is a high-technology company in the Highveld Technopark in Centurion, south of Pretoria in South Africa. We spent several months writing software for part of a large data acquisition system. The initial work was developed on our Sun workstation and Mecalc’s HP715 workstation for the host networking, with the target using Hunter & Ready’s VRTX kernel. The processor board was developed by Mecalc with Ethernet, SCSI storage, large amounts of battery-backed up dynamic RAM and a 32-bit VME backplane.

We started in January on reduced invoicing as part of the learning curve. In total, we invoiced 704 hours. The last two months were done remotely and sent for integration via modem. Most of the software was written and tested on the host and then ported to the target. The Microtec 68000 compiler tool chain was used on a DOS PC. We had bought the compiler from Mecalc some time previously as they were also the South African agents. A few years later we would be fortunate to work on Mecalc’s M860T PowerPC upgraded equipment with VxWorks.

The specifications were detailed and generated by Dr Gil Klintworth. Besides the clear instructions, the most striking part of the work at Mecalc was the system of staff lunches. We have yet to see anyone else create such a developer friendly environment—complete with fountain and fish pond for neutral noise! The setting in the Technopark was one of the best we have seen, almost as good as the Technopark near Stellenbosch (bit of an unfair comparison due to the stunning scenery all around Stellenbosch). No wonder their products are that much ahead of treadmill outfits. Thanks Gil.