ARM compiler support for Forth language under Linux

November 04, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
MPE (Microprocessor Engineering) has extended ARM compiler support for Forth to a Linux environment. The availability of low-cost boards, such Raspberry Pi with the additional Compute Module; and Beaglebone; allow for new applications based on these boards.

In comparison to standard Embedded Boards such as ComExpress and Q7 they lower the entry cost level. This lead to a requirement at MPE for the same proven compilers to be available for developers using Linux.

The Forth programming language is, MPE says, ideal for applications where interactive programming, fast time to prototypes and incremental code generation are needed. High integrity system requirements are increasing in medical, rail, automotive and robot applications, where the most resilient and robust development processes are called for. Forth is well suited for such applications. And as work is interactive and incremental, compile time is negligible.

MPE believes that the Linux market needs tools focussed on embedded developers transitioning from the traditional embedded market. MPE's existing Linux tool VFX Forth for x86 Linux has supported this market and now VFX Forth for ARM Linux supports the new ARM Linux market using a the same Cross Platform GUI and already includes the following interfaces: Serial, Parallel, USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

MPE is also able to offer custom support, ranging from custom Linux Installations, via complete design consultancy for applications and electronic design to work on safety critical and intrinsically safe systems applications.

MPE makes available a series of starter-level LITE tools, running on well-known development boards and ready for download from;

To try the Forth compiler on a controller, for many users an obstacle to taking a first step is physically connecting the hardware; visitors to the electronica trade show can take away two small bare-board PCBs; a small PCB to build a controller based on the MSP430 using the free LITE compilers; and a little prototyping board to design simple interfaces (from the EuroTech stand, Hall A3 stand 481). Just add socket, chip, resistor and capacitor. The MSP430 LITE compiler, a free entry tool, provides a complete integrated set of tools. They include conventional cross-compilation as well as a complete Forth system resident on