For many years FSL has been actively pursuing and developing meteorological workstation capabilities for a low cost computer platform. The UNIX PC workstation (using UH Corporation's UNIX), developed over ten years ago is still being used with some moderate enhancements by the Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan to support their daily forecast operations. Several factors such as the development of FX-Advanced (using X-windows), the popularity of LINUX, the availability of a good GNU C++ compiler, and the high performance of personal computers have motivated FSL to pursue a LINUX workstation development. The long term goal is to develop an FX-LINUX workstation system that performs all acquisition and processing functions of the current FX-Advanced and incorporates architectural improvements to accommodate changes in technology and user requirements.
The first phase of this ambitious multi-year effort is to port the existing FX-Advanced software to a PC/LINUX platform. This entails modifying and standardizing the code so that it can be compiled with the GNU compilers, changing UNIX scripts, and modifying software to be able to accept the little-endian byte order of the PC. Some minor changes to the software and tables are also anticipated to properly display information on a true-color graphics display for a PC. Scripts have also been written for this phase that make it possible to identify changes made to the AWIPS software tree for possible inclusion into the FX-LINUX.
A pilot effort, last summer, succeeded in compiling and building the display component of the FX-Advanced. Due to time constraints it was not possible to modify the code to accommodate the differences in byte order between the HP platform and a PC. This prevented any data from being displayed. The purpose of the pilot effort was to assess the magnitude and risk associated with porting the FX-Advanced software to a PC/LINUX platform.
Other FX-Advanced components that are also being developed for, or ported to a LINUX environment. are LDAD (Local Data Acquisition and Dissemination) and D3D (Display in three dimensions). Most of LDAD currently runs under the LINUX operating system and the remaining code is being modified for compatibility. The D3D software requires changes to the data access routines to allow it to execute in a LINUX environment. The remaining D3D code, which includes tcl/tk scripts and Vis5D code, runs successfully under LINUX.
Concurrent, with the efforts to port much of the existing software, is an activity to look at redesigning major portions of the FX-Advanced software to optimize it for LINUX , and to incorporate new requirements and technology.
Herb Grote, FSL