Ten Steps to Your First QNX Program

This guide will help you install and configure the QNX Momentics tools and the QNX Neutrino operating system, so you can start developing right away!

1. Requirements

To write programs that run under the QNX Neutrino realtime operating system (RTOS), the first thing you need is the QNX Momentics development suite. You can install it on Windows Vista, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Linux, or as a self-hosted QNX Neutrino system.

If you don't have the QNX Momentics CDs, you can download an evaluation version from www.qnx.com/products/evaluation/. If you want to evaluate QNX Neutrino on x86 targets only, you can download the (much smaller) QNX Momentics development suite for x86 Targets.

Note: There's a separate CD for each host OS.

In addition to a development system, you also need a target platform that runs the QNX Neutrino RTOS itself plus all the programs you're going to develop.

To become familiar with QNX Neutrino, you have several choices:

Since QNX Neutrino is designed the same way for all platforms and is used the same way, for this Quickstart guide we'll use the PC installation.

If you don't have a QNX Momentics Neutrino Host CD, you can download an evaluation version from www.qnx.com/products/evaluation/.

2. Installing the QNX Momentics development suite

QNX Momentics contains everything you need to develop programs that run under the QNX Neutrino RTOS: an extensive Integrated Development Environment (IDE), compiler, linker, libraries and other QNX Neutrino components, precompiled for all CPU architectures that QNX Neutrino supports.

Boot your Windows Vista, 2000, or XP system and insert the QNX Momentics Windows Host CD. If the installation doesn't start automatically, simply run the program qnxSetupWin32.exe on the CD. You will be guided through the installation process. For more information, see the installation note.

Installing under Windows

Installing the QNX development environment under Windows.

The installation program will ask you for a license key. If you downloaded an evaluation version of QNX Momentics from our website, you should have received an email containing the key. Otherwise, you should have received your key when you bought a QNX Momentics development seat.

After the installation, you'll find an icon for the QNX Momentics IDE on your Windows desktop:

IDE icon

3. Installing the QNX Neutrino RTOS

Now insert the QNX Momentics Neutrino Host CD in the drive of your second machine and boot from it. At this point, you can choose to start the OS directly from CD (ideal for initial testing) or install QNX Neutrino onto your hard disk. Please choose the installation to hard disk and follow the onscreen instructions. For more details, see the installation note.

After rebooting, your hardware will automatically be detected. Once you select the graphics mode, you can log in as root without a password.

Logging in

Logging into a self-hosted QNX Neutrino system.

You now are sitting in front of a preconfigured, fully featured QNX Neutrino realtime operating system including the QNX Photon microGUI windowing system. (Of course you can run QNX Neutrino without graphics, too.)

On the right side of the screen, you'll find an icon bar. From there, open a shell by clicking on Terminal. To see a list of the processes that currently exist in your system, type:

pidin | less

Each process is optional, which means that later in your design, you can remove processes to save resources -- or you can add other processes to increase the system's functionality. This also applies for graphics, network, or audio; each QNX Neutrino component is a single process that you can load dynamically. Type q to exit the less command.

With the QNX Neutrino installation that you just created, you can easily familiarize yourself with many QNX capabilities and features. And all this without the need to create and configure a boot image yourself!

Self-hosted Neutrino

Lots of features and still capable of hard realtime: a self-hosted QNX Neutrino system.

4. Networking with QNX Neutrino

Now connect your QNX Neutrino machine (your target) to the network. Your development machine should be on the same network. With a DHCP server available, your QNX Neutrino machine will receive an IP address automatically. You can view it using the ifconfig en0 command:

Output from ifconfig en0

In the terminal window you can use the command:

ifconfig en0 IP_address

to manually assign an IP address (replacing IP_address with the IP address you would like to assign to your system).

Alternatively, you can use the network configuration tool that comes with the QNX Neutrino installation. You'll find it under the Configure item on the icon bar on the right side of the screen, or in the Launch menu. Under Devices, you can select whether you would like to use DHCP or a manually assigned IP address. Under Network, please enter the IP addresses of the Gateway and DNS:

Network configuration

Using ping IP_address, you now can check that your development machine (host) can reach your QNX Neutrino system (target) on the network:

Running ping on the host

and your target can reach your host:

Running ping on the target

Note: If your host machine uses a firewall, you might not be able to ping it from the target. On Windows XP SP2, you might have to enable Allow incoming echo request in the ICMP settings; choose Control Panel from the Start menu, then choose Security Center, and then choose the Advanced tab.

If the network doesn't work properly, you may be using an unsupported network card. For a full list of supported hardware, visit www.qnx.com/developers/hardware_support. If you have further questions regarding hardware support, please call your local sales representative.

Note: The full QNX Neutrino installation uses automatic hardware detection to start the corresponding device drivers. With the command enum-devices -n you can see which hardware was detected by the enumerators and which drivers have been started accordingly during booting.

5. Creating a program project

Start the QNX Momentics IDE on your development host. The first time you start the IDE, it asks you to choose a workspace, a folder where it can store your projects and other files. The IDE then displays its Welcome page. When you're ready to start, click the Workbench icon:

Workbench icon

Now create a QNX C Project: from the File menu, select New-->QNX C Project:

New QNX C Project

In the resulting dialog, give your project a name:

Naming a project

and then click Next. You now need to select a CPU architecture for the binary you're creating. To do this, go to the Build Variants tab. For a PC as target, choose x86. For projects on other processors, select the corresponding CPU type: PPC, SH, ARM, or MIPS. You can also select compilation with or without debug information; we'll be using both later, so make sure the debug and release variants are both checked.

Build variants

Selecting build variants.

Click Finish. A ready-to-use project structure with a Makefile is created for you, including a small program ("Welcome to the QNX Momentics IDE"), which you'll find in an automatically generated source code file.

The IDE now switches to the C/C++ perspective, which features the navigator, the editor, and other useful views, areas that display information that's relevant to the task at hand:

C perspective

6. Communicating with QNX Neutrino

Your target system must be able to respond to requests from the development environment. To make this possible, start the qconn program.

On a PC running QNX Neutrino, you can start qconn from a terminal window:

Starting qconn

To access your target system from the IDE, you have to create a target project. Open the System Information perspective: in the Window menu, select Open Perspective, and then click Other.... Now choose QNX System Information, and then OK.

In the empty Target Navigator view, press the right mouse button and select New QNX Target... from the context menu:

Add New Target

Now provide a name for your target system and enter its IP address in the corresponding field:

Target configuration

Click Finish, and then select your new target in the Target Navigator. You will now see a list of all the processes in your QNX Neutrino system. The views (the tabs at the top) provide other information to you. You can find even more useful views in the Window menu under Show View.

System information

Here you see what's going on inside your QNX Neutrino system.

7. Compiling and linking

Now switch back to the C/C++ perspective by doing one of the following:

Before you compile, you may want to select compilation with or without debug information. To do so, right-click the project name in the C/C++ Projects view, and then choose Properties. Click QNX C/C++ Project, click Build Variants, and then click on the small + symbol next to x86. Make sure that both the debug and release variants are checked. Click OK; the IDE offers to rebuild the project.

During the creation of the QNX C Project, a QNX-made directory structure with Makefiles was generated. Now to create a binary, please right-click the project name, and then select Build Project. The compiler and linker will now do their work.

You will find the compiler output in the C-Build output in the Console view, including any errors (you shouldn't see any errors, but we've added one in the examples below):

Compile errors in the Console view

However, if errors occur during compiling, you will find the Problems view more useful, because it displays the output of the compiler in an interpreted and more readable fashion than the Console view:

Compile errors in the Problems view

The Editor view also gives you information about an error if you leave the pointer over it:

Compile errors in the Editor view

After the build operation, your binaries will be displayed in the Binaries folder. Physically, they're located in the CPU directory under o (for object) and o-g (-g for the debug option passed to the compiler). The IDE automatically created the corresponding Makefiles.


The QNX library libc.so, which contains many basic functions, is linked dynamically to your binary by default. If you want to add other libraries later, you can do this under the Project-->Properties section, too. From there, click on Linker and choose Extra Libraries in the Category field:

Extra libraries

Click Add, and type the name of the library, without the lib prefix or the extension. For example, to add the math library, libm.so, you just have to type m in the Name field:

Linking the math library

Click OK. The linker will now link the library when you build the project.

8. Preparing to launch the program

To run and debug the newly built program on your target system, you need to create a launch configuration. It consists of various settings that affect how the program starts (e.g. command-line parameters, environment variables). You enter these once, and then you can use this collection of settings again and again.

Now create your own launch configuration: from the dropdown menu beside the "bug" icon on the toolbar, select Debug...:

Debug menu

A dialog window opens, where you can start existing launch configurations, change them, or create new ones. On the left, select C/C++ QNX QConn (IP). This type of launch configuration is meant for network-based (cross) development with QNX Neutrino running on the target system, using the qconn program. Now click on the New launch configuration icon:

New launch configuration

You will now be presented with many configuration possibilities that all deal with starting your executable program. Right now, only the Main tab needs your input. Later, however, you should also take a look at what the other tabs have to offer.

Next to the C/C++ Application field, press the Search Project button and choose your binary. If you compiled it with debug information, its name includes a suffix of _g. If you compiled it without debug information, its name doesn't include this suffix. Since we would like to start the Debugger in the next step, please choose the binary with the debug information. Click OK.

Make sure your target system is listed under Target Options, and then click Apply -- the launch configuration is now ready:

Debug launch configuration

9. Starting and debugging

You should still be in the Launch Configuration dialog. You just created a configuration for launching your program, which you now can start in the debugger. To do this, please click Debug.

The IDE now switches to the Debug perspective and transfers your program from your development machine across the network to your target QNX Neutrino system, then starts it in the debugger. You will see that the debugger stops in the first line of your program. In the Debug view, you'll see an overview of your process, including the call stack. Using the buttons in the main bar of the Debug view, you can control the debugger.

Debug perspective

The Debug perspective.

When you run or debug your application from the IDE, any input is read from the IDE's console, and any output goes to it. Once execution has passed the line that calls printf(), you should see the "Welcome to the QNX Momentics IDE" message in the Console window.

Using the Step Over button, you can jump to the next line of code:

Step over

During debugging, you can watch the Variables view on the right, which displays how your variables change. You can use the Step Into button to let the debugger go into the code of a function (which, of course, is useful only if you have the source code for this function).

To set a breakpoint, place the mouse pointer over the left border of the source display, press the right mouse button and choose Toggle Breakpoint from the context menu. The breakpoint is shown as a little circle with a check mark, which you can also set or remove while you write your code.


Setting breakpoints.

When the running program hits a breakpoint, it stops in the debugger, and you can, for example, examine your variables. If you click the Resume button, your program continues until it hits the next breakpoint:


To abort program execution, use the Terminate button:


Note: The debugger keeps the project's files open while the program is running. Be sure to terminate the debug session before you try to rebuild your project, or else the build will fail.

After the program has finished running, use the button Remove All Terminated Launches to end the debugger and have your binary (which was previously transferred) deleted from your target system.

Remove All Terminated Launches

To run your program as a standalone binary (without the debugger), open the dropdown menu beside the Run icon and choose Run...:


Then you can use the launch configuration (described in the previous step) to start your program. Or create a new launch configuration and select the binary without debug information. You can also transfer your binary manually using the System Information Perspective's Target File System Navigator (Window-->Show View) and start it from the terminal. Mounting a shared network drive is also possible (see the entry for fs-cifs in the QNX Neutrino Utilities Reference).

10. Making the program your own

To turn the whole thing into your own first QNX program, you can modify and extend the source code we just created. Try some of our sample programs and copy code from them into your project. And now that you've started, you'll probably want a lot more information, such as how to create your own threads, how the QNX Neutrino message-passing works, which process-synchronization methods are available, how to get access to I/O areas, or how to build a QNX Neutrino resource manager. But don't worry: all this is (almost) as simple as the quick start you just experienced!

The IDE includes a number of tutorials to help you get started. Choose Help-->Welcome from the IDE's toolbar, and then click the Tutorials icon:


The IDE's Help system includes the QNX documentation, along with information about the Eclipse platform. In the Help menu, click Help Contents:

Help Contents

The Welcome to QNX Momentics guide helps you find out where to look in the documentation for the information you need. We recommend browsing the QNX Neutrino System Architecture guide, the IDE User's Guide, and the QNX Neutrino Programmer's Guide.

In the Help window, please choose:

Help in the IDE

To view the documentation on self-hosted Neutrino systems, just click the Help button on the icon bar on the right of the screen:


Printed documentation is also available.

Source code examples covering thread creation, usage of mutexes, message-passing and other methods of interprocess communication as well as a QNX resource-manager template can be found on our FTP server ftp.qnx.de; just use an FTP client to log in as user qnx with the password qnx!neutrino and download the source package. It contains a readme.txt file that explains how to import the source examples into the QNX Momentics IDE. The source features extensive comments, explaining what is done there. For every function you are interested in, you also should consult the QNX Neutrino Library Reference.

While you explore the QNX Momentics tools and the QNX Neutrino RTOS, you will probably have further questions. Please contact your QNX Account Manager, Field Application Engineer, or our support department. We want to be with you from the start, because we are successful only if you are!

QNX Software Systems International Corporation
175 Terence Matthews Crescent
Kanata, Ontario
K2M 1W8
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Web: http://www.qnx.com/

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