Free embedded development on STM32 MCUs

10th February 2016
Posted By : Jordan Mulcare
Free embedded development on STM32 MCUs

STMicroelectronics has extended opportunities to design free of charge with its popular STM32 microcontrollers for Linux system users including professional engineers, academics and hobbyists. Most Linux distributions are free, and open-source application software makes the Linux world attractive to technology enthusiasts. Until now, however, most development tools for embedded computing have been available only for Windows PCs.

The STM32CubeMX configurator and initialisation tool and the System Workbench for STM32, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) created by Ac6 Tools, supported by the openSTM32.org community, and available at www.st.com/sw4stm32, are now both available to run on Linux OS.

ST’s latest move means Linux users can now start their own embedded projects on STM32 devices, free of charge, without leaving their favorite desktop environment. By welcoming these innovators to choose STM32, ST expects to further extend its lead in the market for advanced microcontrollers based on 32-bit ARM Cortex-M cores.

“The Linux community is known to attract creative free-thinkers who are adept at sharing ideas and solving challenges efficiently,” said Laurent Desseignes, Microcontroller Ecosystem Marketing Manager, Microcontroller Division, STMicroelectronics. “We are now making it ultra-easy for them to apply their skills to create imaginative new products, leveraging the features and performance of our STM32 family.”

ST’s commitment means users can now benefit from free software for configuring microcontrollers and developing and debugging code, together with manufacturer-supported low-cost evaluation boards, allowing greater focus on product development. Tools installation is very easy and fast, which contrasts with established practice in the Linux world, where users often have to create or adapt their own tools with minimal support.

“Since the launch of the System Workbench for STM32 in early 2015, its popularity has grown both on Windows and Linux platforms,” said Bernard Dautrevaux, Ac6 Tools Chief Technical Officer. “ST’s new tools for Linux both validate and complement our work and the openSTM32 initiative, and we plan to further support ST with major upgrades to System Workbench for STM32 in the future, including the support of OS/X as a development host.”

System Workbench for STM32 supports the ST-LINK/V2 debugging tool under Linux through an adapted version of the OpenOCD community project. Each of these tools can be used in conjunction with ST’s low-cost development hardware including STM32 Nucleo boards, Discovery kits, and Evaluation boards, as well as microcontroller firmware within the STM32Cube embedded-software packages or Standard Peripheral Library.

The STM32 microcontroller family contains devices for almost any embedded application, from extremely energy-conscious or cost-sensitive projects to sophisticated designs that demand high performance and high feature integration. The range supports all ARM Cortex-M cores from the entry-level M0 to today’s highest-performing M7 core, as well as devices based on the M0+, M3 and DSP-extended M4 cores, creating the industry’s largest portfolio in the Cortex-M class.

In all, over 500 STM32 variants are currently available, with choices including high memory density up to 2MB Flash, versatile package styles and sizes, integrated features such as USB, Ethernet, or CAN controllers, audio interfaces and accelerators, precision analogue peripherals, general-purpose or precision timers, PWM generators and cryptographic modules. In addition, the ultra-low-power STM32L0, L1, or L4 series feature extensive power-management options, dynamic voltage scaling and special adaptive accelerators for applications where minimum energy consumption is the prime concern.


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