We have a new operating system! Well, no – we have a new operating environment, since it’s technically not an operating system. Pyxis 2 is an operating environment written in C# on the .NET Micro Framework. The goal of the project is to make it easier for developers to develop robust NETMF applications, while providing users with a common environment to launch applications in. It is open source (Apache 2.0).
While it look like your every day run-of-the-mill operating system, fact of the matter is that it’s a little harder to actually run Pyxis natively. Sure, you can run it in a NETMF emulator, but to run it natively, you’ll need to have the hardware that supports it. Currently, it only works on the ChipworkX Development System and FEZ Cobra. However, porting it to anything that runs the NETMF should be easy.
“Applications developed for Pyxis 2 follow almost the same methods as any other application,” developer Thomas Holtquist details, “You can access hardware, include your own libraries, control threads, and anything else you could normally do. The difference is you have the full power of a complete GUI behind you. Choose from an array of custom controls including button, checkbox, combobox, listbox, label, picturebox, filebox and many more! All of our controls also allow you to set specific X/Y coordinates on the screen and all applications have access to menus. You can even assign your own icon to your application.”
It also has one file application installs, an application store, and an updater that can update not only Pyxis itself, but also the firmware of the device it’s running on. In other words, you’ll only have to install Pyxis onto your device once. Speaking of installation, this’ll be familiar for people working in this field, but you install Pyxis using Visual Studio. You can also use the emulator inside Visual Studio.
The user guide has more information. I wish I was rich, because playing with hardware and software like this just for fun seems fascinating.