Share code examples or discuss embedded software, including device drivers, interrupt handlers, middleware and application code.

Moderators: Markus Girdland, Mattias Norlander

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Postby danych80 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:13 pm

Can someone point me to what this is and how to use it in Atollic.

Mattias Norlander
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Re: CMSIS Pack

Postby Mattias Norlander » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:54 am

Hi danych,

How to use CMSIS-PACK? Look in the "User Guide" that you will find in TrueSTUDIO --> Help --> Information center.

If you want to know more what this is, then read below. I think it is important to understand where this comes from and who has responsibility for the quality of components distributed by CMSIS-PACK.

"CMSIS-PACK" is a distribution method for software components and example projects. This is a standard that has been agreed upon by ARM, silicon vendors, middleware vendors and tool vendors.
"CMSIS" == "CMSIS - Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard" to start with, is a working group and a set of standardization projects lead by ARM, and contributed to by various ecosystem partners. CMSIS-PACK is just one of many standardization project efforts ran in this group. And it builds on top of some of the CMSIS projects.

Let me describe the problem picture facing a middleware vendor so that you understand where CMSIS-PACK comes from (my version, anyone with a different background may want to pitch in other sides of the story):
Imagine that you are a middleware vendor developing a TCP/IP stack. You want your stack to be easy to use on any Cortex-M device, using any development tool. How do you do that? Well you put down a loooooot of work on working with all tool vendors and all silicon vendors to make sure that your stack works easily. Additionally embedded developers today need to cut time-to-market and expect your company to deliver out-of-the-box working example projects for your TCP/IP stack. If you dont they go to your competitor. These example projects must work for various devices and they must work for all development tools. As a middleware vendor this creates quite a headache for you, and it is very difficult for you to keep up at the pace expected by your potential customers, by your partner silicon vendors etc...

This is a problem picture that is shared by middleware vendors, silicon vendors and tool vendors since end-customers expect a fully-working ecosystem - or they will go somewhere else!

CMSIS-PACK is similar to a package manager in Linux, it helps you install download software components and example projects and resolve dependencies.
To do this CMSIS-PACK consists of a number of defined XML-standards that ecosystem partners use to describe stacks and example projects including any dependency they may have on specific development tools or even compiler versions. Specific libraries and other software components.

What are the benefits of CMSIS-PACK?
- Easy availability of SDKs right inside the development tool
- Easy update of example projects / SDKs / stacks without having to coordinate between stack/tool/silicon vendors
- One project format for example projects that can be parsed and read by multiple tools. Hence silicon vendor X only have to write one project file for each example project instead of one for Atollic, one for IAR one for Keil, ....
- Dependency resolving

That said - you should know that this is a fairly new and quite complex standard. We are currently in contact with many silicon vendors who have started to move from distributing their SDKs as a zip-file towards adopting CMSIS-PACK of distributing their SDK. The standard is continuously evolving, and the adoption of the standard too. If you open TrueSTUDIO and look into the CMSIS-PACK repository you will notice that there are quite a lot of tool vendors who offers "software packs" via their own repository. Will they work for you? Well that depends... The majority of these packs has been written by Keil who naturally has taken lead on this ARM standard. Keil has only developed support in these packs (psdc XML-files) for their own tools, and as such no other tool vendor can actually use these packs. It is very common that linker script for GCC is missing and as such the components in these packs cannot build with Atollic without some manual modifications.

I think that this is a transition phase, and I hope that we will soon see more silicon vendors adopting the standard and putting in Atollic and GCC support into their packs so that they become fully enabled to you end-users. You can help us by pointing out to various silicon vendors that you would like to see Atollic TrueSTUDIO support in their packs! That would "help us help you" :-)

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Re: CMSIS Pack

Postby danych80 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:32 am

Thank you a lot for this information :)

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Re: CMSIS Pack

Postby william2017 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:43 am

I found quite a lot of packs in keil website I snipped the STM32 parts. but I can't paste it here. So, here comes my question. The packs on the website which related to STM32 is developed by ST or KEIL employees? who is respondsible for?

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Re: CMSIS Pack

Postby DD4DA » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:19 am

You can find the responsibility in the head of every source file. >>>"Copyright (c) 2009 - 2015 ARM LIMITED"<<<
In mcu implementation parts, (the most of them) the vendor of MPU is responsible. ARM is a fabless company - the just develop the IP-CORE, not the MPU itself and that's is the main advantage of every ARM MPU. The Vendor like NXP, ST or others, pay for a license of the core MPU and develop their own special hardware around this core and is responsible for this part - it includes the HAL and CMSIS-Part. The core Part of CMSIS vcomes from the IP-Vendor - in us case "ARM".

BTW: This sepperation of development and license model is very attrative for many electronic companies. They can develop their own System-on-Chip and have the full control over the entire product. This is also a cheap way to reduces the requirement of discrete electronic part on the pcb. A high scalability and performance in a complex system are possible on a small pcb place in a same time and it saves your "knowledge" or better "Property" as an add-on.
It's very expensive for third-parties to copy your design - a good copy prevention is, not to know, what kind of chip is used and how this works. Documentation or sheets are often not public available. Reverse engineering sucks.

Sorry that i had written somthing more as just answer the question. It's helpfull to know the reasons. In ARM Environment, their is no native ARM "DEVICE" available. All of them are custom chips and need especially the Vendor support.

But, you don't need a CMSIS or HAL to get your design working - some one do this. This is a hard work and will be done for a "mission critical" project by the Military, Aeronautics and Space supplier.

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Re: CMSIS Pack

Postby anniehall » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:43 pm

Thanks a lot for all this information! Very useful!
I like this forum. Thanks for it!

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