ZofzPCB Gerber Viewer takes the Gerber file data from your CAD/CAM files along with a little additional information and transforms it into a 3D image with colours used to differentiate nets, customisable stackup dimensions and an Autopilot function that lets you sit back and enjoy the ride through your design.
Eric Evenchick at Hackaday.com is developing templates to make firmware development easier for the open source community. It’s definately something worth looking into. You can find the original story at Hackaday here. The project files are on Github here.
Most microcontroller manufacturers give you some kind of free development toolchain or IDE with their silicon products. Often it’s crippled, closed source, and a large download. This is pretty inconvenient when you want to have firmware that’s easy to build and distribute. I’ve found many of these toolchains to be annoying to use, and requiring closed source software to build open source firmware seems less than desirable.
It’s possible to build code for most microcontrollers using command line tools. You’ll need a compiler, the device manufacturer’s libraries and header files, and some method of flashing the device. A lot of these tools are open source, which lets you have an open source toolchain that builds your project.
Setting up these tools can be a bit tricky, so I’m building a set of templates to make it easier. Each template has instructions on setting up the toolchain, a Makefile to build the firmware, and sample code to get up and running quickly. It’s all public domain, so you can use it for whatever you’d like.
Currently there’s support for AVR, MSP430, Stellaris ARM, and STM32L1. More devices are in the works, and suggestions are welcome. Hopefully this helps people get started building firmware that’s easy to build and distribute with projects.