[Mx-mailing-list] MX 1.1.1 is available
lavender at agni.phys.iit.edu
Wed Jan 11 15:26:08 CST 2006
Versions 1.1.1 of MX, MP, and MxTcl are now available at the MX web site
from the download page
The changes for this release are described in detail below.
********************************* MX *************************************
Version 1.1.1 (01/11/06):
A new build target 'win32-mingw' has been added for building MX
with the MinGW compiler on Win32. This target has been tested
using MinGW 4.1.1 and MSYS 1.0.10 on Microsoft Windows.
The source for the 'mxserial' program, which was previously
distributed separately, has now been folded into the main MX
source code distribution. The source may now be found in the file
'mx/util/mxserial_fork.c'. The name of the file reflects the fact
that it still only works on platforms that fully support the fork()
system call. We expect to add a version for Win32 at some later
date, although the Cygwin version _may_ work now (untested).
MX has added a new device class called PTZ for Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera
controllers. Note that these drivers only move the camera or change
its settings such as focus or zoom. They do not read out the actual
picture image. The following devices have had drivers added for
this release of MX:
Hitachi KP-D20A/B cameras:
hitachi_kp_d20 - MX PTZ driver. The hardware only allows
the zoom to be controlled.
Panasonic KX-DP702 cameras:
panasonic_kx_dp702 - Interface driver for the controller.
panasonic_kx_dp702_ptz - PTZ driver for an individual motion.
Sony VISCA cameras (tested with the EVI-D100):
sony_visca - Interface driver for the controller.
sony_visca_ptz - PTZ driver for an individual motion.
MX network PTZ controllers:
Software emulated PTZ controllers:
ptz_motor - Controls the pan, tilt, zoom, or focus of
an MX-controlled PTZ as an MX motor.
This allows you to do things like step
scan the pan, etc.
MX has added initial support for communicating with the Blu-Ice
and Distributed Control System from SSRL described at
This initial version supports running MX as what Blu-Ice calls a
"GUI client", although there is nothing on the MX side that requires
the use of a GUI. Additional support for acting as a Device Hardware
Server (DHS) will be added in a future release.
The Blu-Ice related drivers added to this release include:
bluice_dcss_server - Manages the connection to a Blu-Ice
bluice_ion_chamber - Reads out values from a Blu-Ice ion
chamber as an MX analog input device.
bluice_motor - Operates a Blu-Ice motor as an MX motor.
bluice_shutter - Operates a Blu-Ice shutter as an MX relay.
bluice_timer - Acts as an MX timer for Blu-Ice controlled
bluice_command - Sends a raw Blu-Ice command to a remote
bluice_master - Used to request that the MX client either
become a Blu-Ice master or a Blu-Ice slave.
bluice_string - Reads the value of a Blu-Ice string.
Added optional timeout functionality to MX network connections
using non-blocking socket I/O. The timeout is turned on by setting
flag 0x10000000 in the server_flags field of the MX server database
record. If the timeout is turned on, it currently is set to 5 seconds,
although this can be changed at run time with a motor command like
'set field 10id.timeout 2' to change the timeout to 2 seconds.
Non-blocking socket I/O has been disabled for Solaris 10 for now
since performance testing showed that it was _really_ _slow_ for
some unknown reason. By contrast, Solaris 8 has no such problem.
I do not have access to a Solaris 9 machine to check this on, so
I have disabled non-blocking socket I/O there as well just to be
safe. I will check into this issue further at some later date.
New socket I/O functions mx_socket_set_non_blocking_mode() and
mx_socket_ioctl() to consolidate the rather platform specific
code related to these functions in one place.
Added a new function mx_initialize_runtime() to consolidate all of
the non-database related initialization of MX into one place rather
than having copies of this initialization duplicated in all of the
MX application programs. This change was motivated by the need
to make calls in all MX program to _control87() and _matherr() for
the 'win32-borland' build target to disable floating point exceptions
enabled by the Borland C++ compiler that are not enabled by the
The directories of test files bundled with MX have been reorganized
to all live under a single directory called 'test'. The old
directories have been renamed as follows:
test ---> test/drivers
testserver ---> test/server
testupdate ---> test/update
In addition, there is a new directory called 'test/features' which
currently contains test cases for the interval timer, mutex,
semaphore, and thread support described further below.
The 'xia_handel' driver has now been successfully tested with the
DXP-2X based multielement detector system at MR-CAT (APS sector 10).
It appears that the main reason we were having problems with this
before was that we were using configuration files that had the gain
for some detector channels set to 0. Apparently this happened since
we did not realize that certain error messages generated by the
Mesa2X configuration program meant that the Mesa2X-generated
configuration file would contain some channels with gains set to 0.
This has now been fixed.
For XIA Handel controlled MCAs, starting a run in a single detector
channel does not necessarily start the run in all channels. For
this reason, a new MX timer driver has been added for use only
xia_handel_timer - Uses xiaStartRun() to start the MCA
counting in all detector channels.
MX interval timer support is now available on all MX platforms. Bear
in mind that on most platforms the timer callback is implemented
in a separate thread, so the timer callback needs to be thread safe.
However, some platforms have significant limitations on the
1. The MacOS X, BSD, and DJGPP targets currently use setitimer()
based interval timers using ITIMER_REAL since they do not support
Posix realtime timers. This is bad since there can only be one
such timer per process. Even worse, on MacOS X and BSD the timer
is SIGALRM based, which is _very_ bad since many different
systems, features, and libraries on Unix-like systems all try to
use SIGALRM, so there is a significant danger that different pieces
of code will fight over the control of SIGALRM. For a future
release, I will investigate whether the underlying Mach system
provides a way around this problem for MacOS X.
2. The Solaris, Irix, and VxWorks targets use Posix realtime timers
with SIGEV_SIGNAL notification which restricts the number of
interval timers to the value (SIGRTMAX - SIGRTMIN + 1). On
Solaris this value is only 8, while on VxWorks it is only 7.
The following related MX driver has been added:
interval_timer - An MX timer driver that uses the new
interval timer functionality. It is primarily
intended for testing MX interval timers, but it
may be used as an alternative to the 'soft_timer'
driver as well.
A set of functions called mx_signal_allocate() and mx_signal_free()
for managing the allocation of signals has been added. These
functions are advisory only since in general the underlying operating
systems do not support such a feature. At present, these functions
are only used by the MX interval timer support.
MX now includes support for threads in a platform independent fashion.
This includes support for stopping threads, killing threads on some
platforms, and waiting for a thread to terminate. In addition,
support for thread-specific data is included. Support for threads
is available on all MX platforms except DJGPP.
MX mutex support is now available for all MX platforms except
DJGPP. Since DJGPP does not support threads, the mutex lock,
unlock, and trylock functions are all stubs that return
MXE_SUCCESS on that platform.
MX now includes support for counting semaphores. In principle,
both named and unnamed semaphores are supported. However, not
all features of the MX semaphore implementation are supported on
all platforms since the underlying operating systems do not
uniformly provide the necessary features. I will attempt to
clean this up better in a future release. See the file
'mx/libMx/mx_semaphore.c' for the details of the current
limitations which are too complicated to describe here.
The Struck SIS3801 MCS has now been successfully tested with
firmware version 9 using both the 'sis3801' driver and the
'epics_mcs' driver. This change increases the maximum time per
point from 1.67 seconds to 26.8 seconds. We have also found that
the SIS3801 external next pulse feature finally works with firmware
version 9, whereas it did not work for us with earlier firmware
versions. We have now successfully tested using the SIS3807 pulse
generator with version 4 firmware as an external next pulse source
for the SIS3801 using version 9 firmware. When using this
combination, the maximum time per point becomes 14.27 years (!)
which should be long enough for anyone. The largest time per
point that I have actually tested the system with is 1000 seconds.
Added a bug fix for the 'epics_mcs' driver when used with recent
versions of the EPICS MCA record. We have encountered a problem
where the initial connection to the 'Acquiring' PV times out, but
subsequently works fine after the connection is made. The typical
symptom was that the first quick scan run in a given copy of 'motor'
would fail with this error, but subsequent quick scans would work.
For now, we are dealing with this by intentionally reading the
value of the 'Acquiring' PV during MX startup to get the timeout
out of the way before running the first user commands. We also
now send a stop command before starting acquisition, since starting
an already started MCS did not always work correctly. In addition,
the driver now sets the preset real time to 0 when the number of
MCS measurements is selected. This is to stop MX MCS scans from
Previously, the MX 'monochromator' driver was invoking the function
mx_motor_save_speed() during its open routine. You should _never_
do this. If you do, then if you happen to start 'motor' when a
quick scan is in progress in another copy of 'motor', you will
overwrite the saved motor speed with whatever speed the motor
happens to have at that moment. This has now been fixed. Hopefully
this will get rid of the cases where the monochromator has the
wrong motor speed after a quick scan completes.
In a related change, MX scans now only save the motor speeds for
quick scans at one single place in mx_perform_scan(). In addition,
mx_scan_restore_speeds() is now also invoked for quick scans near
the end of mx_perform_scan() to guard against the possibility that
a lower level routine did not already restore the speeds.
The 'aps_gap' driver for Advanced Photon Source insertion devices
has been modified to add the ability to change the undulator taper
in units of mm or keV.
The 'pm304' motor driver has been modified to add an extra
'minimum_event_interval' field for testing the maximum rate at
which commands can be sent to the controller.
Applied Jim Fait's patch that modifies the 'pmac_cs_axis' motor
driver for PMAC coordinate system axes so that it better handles
aborts. We also added a 'set position' function to that driver.
Fixed a bug for the 'compumotor' driver in the 'set_position'
function. Previously, a 'set_position' command for one motor
would screw up the positions for all the other motors controlled
by a given Compumotor controller if those other motors used MX
scale factors that were not 1.0. The driver has now been fixed
so that it uses the correct raw units rather than user units
when redefining the position.
Modified the 'mca_timer' driver so that it more correctly performs
Datafiles created by MX scans are now written in line buffered mode.
MX scan databases whose names contain embedded spaces are now
correctly updated by 'motor'.
'motor' scripts now may use the '#' character as a comment character.
A new function mx_info_entry_dialog() has been added along with
matching set and default functions. This function is designed
to display a prompt to the user and then read in a line of response.
It has provision for suppressing echoing of characters typed in
response. This feature was added to support prompting the user
for a username and password when connecting to Blu-Ice servers,
but will obviously be useful in other circumstances as well.
The driver arrays for MX classes and superclasses have been split
off into a new file 'mx/libMx/mx_driver_class.c', while the driver
arrays for MX types have been left in 'mx/libMx/mx_driver.c'. The
motivation for this change is to make it easier to link in only a
subset of the MX drivers on a platform with constrained memory such
as a VME crate. If you are on a workstation platform and want to
link in all the available drivers, you need not pay any attention
to this change.
There are several steps required to link in just a subset of the
1. The definition MX_LIB_SRCS in 'mx/libMx/Makefile' has been
split into three parts, namely MX_CORE_SRCS, MX_DRIVER_SRCS,
and mx_driver.c. The makefile also provides a default
definition of MX_LIB_SRCS that merely recombines the three
MX_LIB_SRCS = mx_driver.c $(MX_CORE_SRCS) $(MX_DRIVER_SRCS)
2. Using VxWorks as an example, go into 'mx/libMx/Makehead.vxworks'
and create a new definition MX_DRIVER_VXWORKS_SRCS that lists
only the source code for the drivers you really want. Then
create a new version of MX_LIB_SRCS like this:
MX_LIB_SRCS = mx_driver_vxworks.c $(MX_CORE_SRCS) $(MX_DRIVER_VXWORKS_SRCS)
Bear in mind that some driver files depend on other driver files.
For example, you can't have the motor driver 'd_compumotor.c'
without including the controller driver 'i_compumotor.c'.
If you leave out 'i_compumotor.c' in this example, the library
will successfully compile, but it will be impossible to create
a working database that uses Compumotor-controlled motors.
3. The last step is to create a new 'mx/libMx/mx_driver_vxworks.c'
that only contains references to the drivers you want. The
easiest way is to make a copy of 'mx/libMx/mx_driver.c' and
just delete the driver table entries you do not want. You
will want to delete the corresponding include files as well,
since they take up space too.
If you do this correctly, you will end up with a version of libMx
that uses up much less memory. Nevertheless, on workstation
platforms with hundreds of megabytes of memory or more, it is
simpler just to leave things as they are and link in all the drivers.
This version of MX has started the replacement of buffer overflow
prone functions with alternatives that are not prone to this problem.
At present, this means the replacement of strcpy, strcat, strncpy,
strncat, sprintf, and vsprintf with strlcpy, strlcat, snprintf,
and vsnprintf. The new functions are not universally available
on all MX platform, so we have bundled slightly modified versions
of strlcpy and strlcat from the OpenBSD people and fallbacks to
sprintf and vsprintf for those platforms that do not yet have
snprintf and vsnprintf. There are a lot of uses of the old functions
in MX code, so this change will not occur all at once. MX already
had some workalike functions called mx_strncpy and mx_strappend.
These have been replaced with the corresponding strlcpy and
The old keyboard interface files key*.c have been folded together
into a new file 'mx/libMx/mx_key.c'. In addition, the new functions
mx_key_echo_off(), mx_key_echo_on(), and mx_key_getline() have been
added to provide a way of entering passwords without echoing them
to the screen in a platform independent way. Bear in mind that while
the key echo on/off functions will affect all output on _some_ MX
platforms, only mx_key_getline() is guaranteed to pay attention to
the echo on/off state on _all_ MX platforms.
A new file 'mx/libMx/mx_os_version.c' has been added to provide a
platform independent way of getting the operating system version
at run time. This was done to allow programs to use one binary on
multiple versions of an operating system in cases where different
things have to be done on different versions. It also provides a
way of displaying the operating system version to the user for
On Win32, the implementation of mx_heap_check() has now been changed.
When compiled to link with the debug libraries, it uses the function
_CrtCheckMemory() as before. However, when compiled to link with
the release libraries, it loops over all the heaps returned by
GetProcessHeaps() and invokes HeapValidate() on each heap.
We have had a variety of problems with memory allocation functions
when using the Borland C++ compiler on Win32 including both memory
leaks and also things like programs hanging in malloc(). For this
reason, we have written our own Borland-specific replacements for
malloc(), free(), calloc() and realloc() which call directly to
the underlying Win32 Heap() functions. The source for this may
be found in 'mx/libMx/mx_util_borland.c'. Some new preprocessor
tests in 'mx/libMx/mx_util.h' are used so that calls to malloc, etc.
are redirected to the functions bc_malloc(), etc. instead when
compiled with Borland C++. We have not yet had a chance to see
if this makes the memory leak problem go away, but it definitely
makes the hanging in malloc() problem go away.
The 'mx/libMx/os_rtems*.h' header files have been revised to work
better with RTEMS 4.6.5. There are still some outstanding issues,
so we have more work to do on this.
The 'sunos4' and 'linux-kylix' build targets have now been declared
obsolete since the original vendors no longer support them and the
software no longer works on recent systems. The files used by these
targets have been moved to the 'mx/misc' directory and will be
removed in a future release.
Added a new function mx_string_split() that allows us to split
a string into tokens. It is similar to strsep() except for the
fact that it treats a string of several delimiters in a row as
being only one delimiter. By contrast, strsep() would say that
there were empty tokens between each of the delimiter characters.
A couple of functions in the file 'mx/libMx/mx_util.c' have been
split off into a new file 'mx/libMx/mx_util_cfaqs.c' to reflect
the fact that they are covered by a different license since they
were derived from the book 'C Programming FAQs'.
********************************* MP *************************************
Version 1.1.1 (01/11/06):
Added support for the new MX PTZ device class for Pan/Tilt/Zoom
camera base controllers.
Added support for the new info_entry_dialog routines that prompt
users for text input from core MX software routines. Currently
only used by the MX routine that prompts for a Blu-Ice username
MP now uses the new mx_initialize_runtime() function to setup
the correct runtime environment for MX.
Replaced calls to strcpy(), strncpy(), sprintf(), and vsprintf()
with calls to strlcpy(), snprintf() and vsnprintf().
Makefile updates for newer operating system versions and for minor
changes to the build system.
********************************* MxTcl *************************************
Version 1.1.1 (01/11/06):
MxTcl now uses the new mx_initialize_runtime() function to setup
the correct runtime environment for MX.
Replaced calls to strcpy(), strncpy(), and sprintf() with calls to
strlcpy() and snprintf().
Makefile updates for newer operating system versions and for minor
changes to the build system.
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