I've never worked with the ColdFire, but because of my interest in Alpha
Micros I've always been curious (near the end of the 68K Alpha Micro phase
there were ColdFire-based servers produced -- I presume with some sort of
emulation layer for those instructions not supported on ColdFire that were
on, say, the '040). How was it to work with compared to a "stock" 68020 or
They're very nice to work with. I wish I'd had the chance to do more than
three or four projects with them. As Dave mentioned, the ARM has just
overtaken them in price/performance in most areas and since (at least the
models I used) didn't have a memory manager they could not run a full
Linux. The single process uCLinux was fine, however.
But they were just fantastic with MQX, eCos, and ThreadX. For eCos it was
the cygwin-based GNU toolchain, an old familiar friend and I appreciated
that. For ThreadX it was WindRiver's Diab under Workbench. Decent enough
but the Eclipse framework it's based on was a bit piggish at the time.
Today's computers should have no problem with it though.
The MQX project was done under CodeWarrior which was nice. That was just a
board bring-up and Ethernet demo deliverable. Didn't do too much beyond the
startup code, RAM Test, and a couple of threads to blink an LED and respond
to an echo server. The customer just wanted a ready to go platform to
develop their app.
Incidentally, there is a relatively cheap way to get into CodeFire
The nice thing about this kit is the entire CPU module is on a small board
with dual-inline pin arrangement that can be mounted on a hobbyist prototype
board. They don't have the price listed there but I think it was $130 ~ 160
or so. It came with a working eCos build and tool set so it was quite a
If you're going to design a custom board you'll also need a BDM JTAG probe
which costs $250. It's the only way to program the chip's flash with a boot
loader the first time.