The Transterpreter Project

Concurrency, everywhere.

USBP and WinXP under VMWare Fusion

I thought it might be worth mentioning (in light of my rants) that it is possible to use the Softbaugh USBP in a Windows XP VM running under VMWare Fusion---that is, on a MacBook.


I was running into problems with VMWare Fusion 1.0beta4. However, I missed the recent upgrade to v1.0 "Gold Master", or (if you prefer), the final release of version one. In upgrading, Windows XP (running in the VM) correctly found the USBP, and as a result, I can now get on with programming MSP430-based devices on my MacBook. (I think; I have't actually tried loading code to a device yet, but Windows sees the programming dongle, and I think that's the important step. I expect things to work at this point.)

The picture above is the Softbaugh PrgUSBP application running in VMWare Fusion's "Unity" mode. In this mode, the Windows app plays along with OSX as if it were a full-fledged Mac application. This way, I can Apple-TAB back-and-forth between my editor and the programmer, and not have to keep flipping back to the full VM.

As it stands, I think it is sad that embedded programming with chips like the MSP430, ARM9, and other interesting devices is so damn expensive. The programmer was $150, my dev board was $115, VMWare Fusion is $80, and XP... I can't remember. Granted, many of these things were (in my case) paid by grants, but for a hobbyist, $300+ is rather pricey.

I'd love it if we had a way of programming these chips cheaply ($50 or less), and it worked on every platform. Perhaps, someday, I'll make that a mission. It would have to be a mission of love, because my guess is that there isn't enough money in these tools to make it up in volume.


  • Posted: August 8, 2007
  • Author: Matthew Jadud
  • Comments: None
  • Tags: None