modern serial terminal

Kevin Handy kth at
Sun Nov 4 13:25:38 CST 2007

Dave McGuire wrote:
>   I really cannot fathom why people keep suggesting a computer when 
> the OP wanted a *terminal*.

1. Price. The hardware costs of a one-time development project
   can be more than using a readily available general purpose
   device. You can run down to any thrift store and buy everything
   you need for something like this for under $20.
2. Time. It takes less time to go out and buy the hardware than
   it takes to design, fab, debug, redesign, refab, redebug, ...
3. Ease of development. All the tools are already there: compilers,
   debuggers, profilers, etc.
4. Ease of Repair. If the hardware dies, worst case you just need
   another run to the local thrift store. With a specialized solution,
   you need to spend several hours repairing it, wait for several
   days for repair parts to be shipped to you, ...
5. Expandability. Using a PC means you can easily supply many
   different terminal emulators easily, many of them already written.
   With an FPGA, you probably need to develop them all by yourself.
6. Bugs. When your software is composed of EPROMS and FPGA's,
   fixing bugs requires more than just a recompile. You need a
   development system, a device programmer, toolkit to disassemble
   and reassemble the unit, etc.
7. Ease of duplicating. You discover you need 10 more of these for
   some customer. Instead of sending out for 10 PC boards, 10 sets
   of components (many probably obsolete), building them, burning
   assorted FPGA,s, EPROMS, etc., when you can just buy 10 cheap
   PC's and you're done.

I don't understand why someone would want to spend 10x more
tima and money on a one-purpose device, when they can get
everything they want and more off a cheap PC.

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