Right now I'm researching and getting some new knowledge on winXP embedded. I recall that we went through a OS discussion very recently, so let's not please start a OS war discussion again. Having that said, I found this page on microsoft site that discusses cost of implementation of a windows solution against a linux solution.
If you want to take a look:
They say windows embedded is 68% cheaper than linux embedded, but of course, it's coming from a MS website...
Microsoft has been working diligently to try to convince people that Windows is cheaper than linux, and this campaign has been pretty much debunked by now. If you have other reasons for choosing microsoft, then by all means do-so, but free is free (as in beer, speech, OS's), and each OS offers the opportunity to learn something new -- how cool is that?
At one point, DR-DOS was released by Caldera (a spin-off of Novell) as public domain, or some such open license ... so this might be an option for you. Cygwin also has a downloadable real-time OS, whose name escapes me just now (ecos? rtems?)... cygwin was purchased by Red-Hat. Another embeddable alternative is NetBSD. Much work has been done with embedded linux, however, and one might wonder at just why you would pay for an OS rather than just "get" one. You could also use a native Forth based system which hosts itself in a tiny kernel complete with run time monitor, like the old basic computers did ...
With the choices so rich, and practically endless, I would NOT personally choose a WIN(ce) or WIN(doze) based product unless Bill Gates were tearing off my fingernails with pliers ...
Still, diversity is nice, and whatever you have planned, I'm sure will find the proper solution -- for you!
Here's a web site which might help a wee bit ...
(and of course -- Google is your friend).
I'm sure that somewhere in the above links you will find your "sweet-spot".
Because this is a university sponsored project, price of the license is not an issue, as we are a member of MSDN academic alliance, which includes XP embedded. Yesterday I've dowloaded the evaluation kit. It is really simple to setup and I was trully amazed at the granularity of components that they offer.
I'll tell more about my experiences later on when I get to create my first CF bootable image.
As a sideline, just to test my CF-to-IDE adapter, I've downloaded FreeDOS and installed it on a 64MB compactflash card, and that was the first official boot of my robot "brain". There was champagne and caviar for the occasion ;-)
Ouch! stuck with Microsoft because they are giving your university a whack of funds ... and free stuff.
In some industries, they call this "seeding". One gives away proprietary technology (and $$ funding) to familiarize graduate engineers with that particular company's brand in graduate work, and it leads to them choosing the same familiar technology when they are out in the workforce -- where it matters to the tune of millions in manufactured applications.
Frankly, innovation would be better served by university types designing their own chips/hardware/software and applying them to real-world problems rather than using those of an industry leader -- IMHO.
So what's wrong with FreeDOS that embedded XP fixes?
I believe we have similar programs with all major software manufacturers. Win XP Embedded was a conscious decision. The fact we already have a subscription didn't influenced the decision.
I don't see any problem with that practice. If I developed software tools, I'd do the same.
I do not agree. You always have to keep in mind what is that you are trying to accomplish and use tools available in the market. I only have a limited time to finish my project, and reinventing the wheel is not a good option. Why the heck a software developer would have to create their own chip when millions of dollars were spent on a reliable solution? Componentization is the key to fast development.