EPICS Base Release 3.14.9

Changes between and 3.14.9

Cygwin Builds

The cygwin make version 3.81-1 does not handle MS-DOS path names and thus does not work for EPICS builds with RELEASE file definitions. From the discussion on the cygwin mailing list it looks like this will be fixed in make version 3.82. In the meantime make version 3.80 or a fixed make can be downloaded from this website.

New Architectures

The following target architectures have been added to this release, although the core developers lack the ability to test all of them:

vxWorks compiler optimization level

Wind River Systems do not support optimization levels beyond -O2 for vxWorks applications compiled using gcc, so optimized vxWorks builds are now set to -O2 only (we currently use -O3 everywhere else).


There was a bug in the portable channel access server library that prevented the PV Gateway from being able to handle and pass on alarm acknowledgements from the EPICS Alarm Handler ALH. This has been fixed in this release and should only require that the gatewey be recomplied against this version of Base.


The parser for the substitutions file accepted by dbLoadTemplate() has been revised, and is now stricter than it used to be — unmatched characters that were accepted and discarded without warning before will now generate errors. The quote characters at the two ends of a quoted string value must now match, although either single or double quotes can be used. Escaped characters inside a quoted string should pass safely through to the underlying dbLoadRecord() command. The characters permitted in a bareword parameter (i.e. a filename or value that is not inside quotes) have been reduced from the overly wide set allowed before; the permitted characters now comprise: a-z A-Z 0-9 _ - + : . / \ [ ] < > ;

Escaped characters in record fields

Field value strings loaded from a database file by dbLoadRecords() can now use C89-compatible escaped character codes such as \", \', \t, \n, \064 and \x7e. The parser also now checks for and reports strings that have a newline character in them as an error - if you want a newline in a field, use the \n escaped version. These escapes only apply to the value part of a field() entry in .db file though; no other strings have escape codes translated.

libCom/test and db/test

These test programs are no longer installed into the bin/arch directory. Running all these programs on any host architecture is as simple as typing make runtests in the base top level directory or in any appropriate subdirectory. The runtests target uses Perl's Test::Harness module to execute all of the test programs and summarize the result. It is also possible to run individual tests as desired, by executing them from the relevent O.<arch> directory; the program output is designed to be comprehensible to humans.

For vxWorks and RTEMS, a test harness has been created that will run all of the test programs in a suitable order. At a vxWorks target shell, type:

ld </path/to/base/bin/vxWorks-arch/vxTestHarness.munch
cd "/path/to/writable/directory"

On RTEMS, boot the bin/arch/rtemsTestHarness binary.

You may wish to capture the output from running these to a file to more easily check the results, since there is no wrapper program to collect and summarize the results of the individual test programs.

Breakpoint tables

The handling of breakpoint table data has been reworked. It is now possible to give table data in either ascending or descending order, and the breakpoint data may have a negative slope such that the engineering values increase while the raw values decrease and vice versa. The only restriction on the data is that is must be monatonically increasing or decreasing, so you can't use a breakpoint table for curves that have local minima or maxima. This restriction is checked for when the breakpoint table is loaded.

Support for vxWorks 6

The build configuration support for vxWorks 6.x has changed significantly, having been recombined with the older vxWorks 5.x support. The two target architectures vxWorks6-mv2100 and vxWorks6-mv5100 have been removed; IOCs built under vxWorks 6.x using these architectures must revert to the original vxWorks-ppc603_long and vxWorks-ppc604_long architectures instead. The configuration file CONFIG_SITE.Common.vxWorksCommon now specifies the vxWorks version number, as well as the filesystem path to the installation of vxWorks using the WIND_BASE variable.

postfix and calcPerform

The calc expression parser and exective have undergone a signficant overhaul, although the API and expression language supported are backwards compatible with one minor exception, described below. Significant improvements have been made to both the API and the expression language: Multiple values can be calculated and assignments made in a calc expression; Error reporting for humans is now supported by the expression parser, and code can discover what inputs and outputs are needed and generated by an expression.

Assignment operations are now possible, using the new := operator which must have an expression variable (A through L) to its immediate left. Multiple expressions can be included in the calculation string, separated by a semicolon ;, all but one of which must be assignments. The value of the whole string is determined by the single non-assignment expression, which may appear anywhere in the string. For example, the following string causes a single CALC record to output the successive values of a sine curve in 1 degree intervals: sin(a); a:=a+d2r

Previously any expression that performed an invalid operation which would generate a NaN or Inf result would be stopped immediately and return an error to the caller. Now it is possible to perform operations that generate NaN or infinite results, and the results are returned as normal. The result of the expression or the value assigned to a variable may thus be a NaN or an infinity. To permit this to be checked within the expression, the new operators finite(), isinf() and isnan() have been added to the expression language. The literal values Inf and NaN are also now supported in expressions.

The only incompatible change to the expression language was to change the NOT operator from performing a unary minus operation to an integer bitwise not; the former meaning is illogical and as a result was probably not used much, if at all — nobody complained when I discussed this on tech-talk...

The extended API and the expression language are now discussed in detail in chapter 19 (libCom) of the R3.14.9 version of the IOC Application Developer's Guide.

calc and calcout record, asLib

As a result of the above changes to the calc expression parser and executive, both the calc and calcout records and the Access Security library have been modified to take advantage of the new error diagnostics. The Access Security library has been made to reject any expression that contains an assignment operation, to prevent any possible security holes that might be caused by this significant change to the expression rules.

The calc and calcout records have had some subtle changes applied: To mitigate the effects of the Inf/NaN behaviour change, the result of an expression is checked for NaN, which will result in the UDF field being set and an Undefined/INVALID_ALARM being raised as a result.

An empty string is no longer a legal expression, therefor the CALC and OCAL fields have been changed so that their default value is a literal "0" string. Also any calcout record device support must now add the line #include "postfix.h" before the #include "calcoutRecord.h" line in the source code.


The recGblResetAlarms() routine (which is called by all record types towards the end of record processing) now optionally calls a single hook routine via the function pointer recGblAlarmHook after it has updated a record's alarm status and severity. See regGbl.h for the hook routine prototype definition, the routine is also given the previous values of the record's status and severity. The hook routine must not block, since this would hold up record processing.

ai, bi, mbbi and mbbiDirect records

These record types now support raw simulation mode. If the value of the SIMM field is 2 (enum string "RAW"), the SIOL link value is placed into the RVAL field and passed through the raw to engineering units conversion process just like the real device support's raw value would be.


The TIME field of a record is now displayed in a human readable format. TIME used to have an interest level of 4 since it was output in hex and not very easy to understand, but it has now been moved to interest level 2.


The convertRelease.pl parser now supports the use of -include statements in configure/RELEASE files as well as include statements.

MIPS support

Changes were needed to the configure/tools/munch.pl script to support vxWorks-MIPS targets.


A new facility is provided in libCom for use in generating automated test programs. Many (but not all) of the test programs in libCom/test have been converted to use this facility.


Off-by-one buffer overflow error fixed in dbFindField() which only seemed to affect vxWorks-(intel) targets.


Added space for user extensions. This provides the infrastructure for the spy command.

Fixed error in epicsThreadGetName for non-EPICS threads.

Added hooks for application routines to supply special network configuration parameters. The RTEMS startup code calls epicsRtemsInitPreSetBootConfigFromNVRAM just before reading values from NVRAM and epicsRtemsInitPostSetBootConfigFromNVRAM just afterwards. See epicsRtemsInitHooks.h for prototypes and global variables.


e_flex has been modified to accept DOS line endings as well as Unix ones. The scan.c file was recreated using e_flex itself and the flex.skel file on the modified scan.l.DISTRIB source. initscan.c is not required or used for the EPICS build, so it has been removed.


devLib is now built for all architectures, whereas before it was only built on RTEMS and vxWorks. However for it to be usable there must be an appropriate table of OS-specific routines provided. For those OSs that don't implement these routines a default table is defined which will result in an error on any attempt to use devLib routines, but the default table can be overridden in an external library that provides an appropriate table. This subtle change was implemented to allow use of the SIS 3100 PCI to VME bridge from Linux, and needs no change to the other implementations of devLibOSD.c.


Added epicsThreadResume command.


mallocMustSucceed and callocMustSucceed accept 0-byte requests. Note that these routines may return a NULL pointer in such cases.

Mac OS X (Darwin)

Added support for EPICS_HOST_ARCH=darwin-ppcx86 for building libraries/applications which will run on both PowerPC and Intel x86 targets.

Added support for EPICS_HOST_ARCH=darwin-x86.

Changes between and


On architectures whose native version of strtod() actually works properly (i.e. converts +/-Inf[inity] and NaN strings to their double equivalents) we managed to break the use of this in the R3.14.8.1 release. This is now fixed.

Changes between 3.14.8 and

Version Numbering

This release adds a fourth level of version number, which we haven't used since R3.13.1.1. The intention is to imply that R3.14.8.1 includes some small but important changes since R3.14.8 but no signficant new behaviours or API modifications. This fourth level has required us to modify the version number system and the macros in the epicsVersion.h file slightly though. We have taken the opportunity to introduce a new variable EPICS_SITE_VERSION to the file configure/CONFIG_SITE that adds an optional site-specific version number; sites that were achieving this by editing the configure/CONFIG_BASE_VERSION file should switch to setting EPICS_SITE_VERSION instead.


Mantis entries fixed:

232 - non-preemptive mode client relying on ca_poll does not always reconnect

Win32 symbol changes

These changes are required to allow software outside of Base to be built on win32 architectures.

Changes between 3.14.7 and 3.14.8

New host targets

Configure files are now available to support the win32-x86-mingw (MinGW C++ compiler) and win32-x86-cygwin (WIN32 API with cygwin C++ compiler) host targets.

Configure files were also added for linux-x86_64 and solaris-sparc64 but these files are for experimental purposes only and to show that we are working on these targets. Currently these two 64 bit targets are not passing our test suite, so they must not be used in production systems.

Runtime Hardware Address Changes

An Extended Device Support mechanism has been introduced which is designed as a safe way to widen the API between iocCore and the device support software it interfaces with. An extended device support can now be notified of changes to a record's hardware address, and is given the chance to approve or reject that change.

As a result of introducing this notification mechanism, any device support that was capable of handling runtime address changes in prior versions of Base will have to be updated to provide the new interface, since the absence of extended device support is now taken to mean that runtime address changes are not understood by the device support. This requirement is not expected to affect many EPICS sites.

POSIX thread priority scheduling

POSIX thread priority scheduling is now supported. There is a new user option USE_POSIX_THREAD_PRIORITY_SCHEDULING in the CONFIG_SITE configure file for using POSIX thread priority scheduling. For now the default value is NO. This has only been tested on a few versions of linux. On linux, in order, to use real time priorities the option must be set to YES and the ioc must be started with root privilages.


The definition VX_DIR was removed from configure/RELEASE and moved to configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.vxWorksCommon. The configure/RELEASE* files should contain location definitions for EPICS modules only.


The definition RTEMS_BASE (and RTEMS_VERSION) were removed from configure/RELEASE and moved to configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.RTEMS. The configure/RELEASE* files should contain location definitions for EPICS modules only.

event generator and event receiver record support

All apsEvent specific record support has been removed from base

drvTS and apsEvent support

The following files have been removed from base: drvTS.h drvTS.c, egDefs.h egRecord.c egRecord.dbd egeventRecord.c egeventRecord.c egeventRecord.dbd erDefs.h erDefs.h erRecord.c erRecord.dbd ereventDefs.h ereventRecord.c ereventRecord.dbd

These are removed from EPICS base. The version that previously came with base was the version that worked with the APS event system. It is available from APS. The version that works with the newer event systems that evolved from the APS system is available from the Swiss Light Source.

task watchdog

It was possible for taskwd (task watchdog) to not detect when some of the standard tasks failed. This is because they were passing their threadid rather than using epicsThreadGetIdSelf. It was possible to call taskwdInsert before the threadid was actually set.

dbLock and dbBkpt

dbLockGetLockId incorrectly always returned 0. dbBkpt (database breakpoint facility) is the only code that needed this. This caused unknown errors if the dbBkpt facility is used.


The maximum size was initialized to 65636 instead of 65536.


Add additional cast to prevent 'strict aliaising' warnings.


I/O redirection from vxWorks startup scripts now works.


This new variable which can be controlled using the iocsh var command (or by simple assignment in the vxWorks shell) allows users to change the behaviour of dbLoadRecords() when it finds a duplicate record definition. The default behaviour has always been to permit multiple record() statements for the same record name when loading record instances, but by setting dbRecordsOnceOnly to any non-zero value, duplicates will instead generate an error message instead. It is expected that this will only be used in special circumstances, to detect the presence of unintentional duplicates where it is known that they should not exist.

select record

This record now sets and posts monitors on its SELN field indicating which of the inputs was selected, independent of which selection mechanism was selected via the SELM field. This makes it much more useful, especially when the High, Low or Median mechanisms are chosen.


Macro expansions in any program using the macLib facility from libCom can now include a default value which will be used if the macro named is not defined at the moment of substitution. The syntax for this is $(name=default) or ${name=default}. The default string can itself contain other macros like this: $(name=$(default)). This feature has actually been present since R3.14.6.


On a powerPC, during iocInit, a crash could occur. In particular the SYNAPPS version of save_restore experienced crashes. This is now fixed.


Mantis entries fixed.

221 - should shutdown full duplex comm on udp sockets if not used

192 - concurrency bug in channel access to local DB

181 - ca_host_name() now returns the host name of the client, not the host:port of the server

161 - issues surrounding manipulation of CA contexts

153 - CA (caput) client does not reconnect after server suspend-continue-shutdown cycle

111 - non-preemptive clients disconnect if ca_poll() isnt called regularly

portable ca server

Mantis entries fixed.

196 - portable server library intermittent hang on UNIX systems

191 - corrupt value when doing a put through portable server (little endian host)

175 - example portable server array PV 'alan' does not have time stamps

gdd (used by portable server)

Mantis entries fixed.

211 - GDD: aitConvertStringEnum16 does nothing if pEnumStringTable==NULL

RTEMS port

Added support for setting NFS server/mount information from PPCBUG argument strings.

rtems_shutdown_executive is now called on IOC exit. On many BSPs this will return control to the bootstrap PROM.

Set POSIX TZ environment variable from NVRAM, or failing that, from EPICS_TIMEZONE.

Cleaned up support for obtaining network configuration from NVRAM.

Added support for some additional boards.

Set iocsh prompt from host name.

Initialize in-memory filesystem from tar image following executable in bootstrap flash memory. This allows for fully standalone IOCs -- no TFTP/NFS server required.

Set IOC_NAME and IOC_STARTUP_SCRIPT environment variables from bootstrap parameters.

vxWorks port

Fixed mantis entry.

179 -base does not build with vxWorks 6.0

225 - On vxWorks epicsThreadCreate returned -1 instead of 0 if a thread could not be created. This is fixed.

OS X port

Builds on Tiger.

Readline now used by default.

WIN32 port

Fixed mantis entries.

195 - explicitly unloading Com.dll causes crash

230 - assert fail of caget, caput, etc under msvc 8

231 - manifest files not installed under visual C++ 8

POSIX port

Fixed mantis entries.

186 - failure after exit command if log client is running

222 - osiSpawnDetachedProcess doesnt close open files in dupicate process on POSIX

Changes between 3.14.6 and 3.14.7


The select record type has for a long time made use of a coule of magic numbers (1e+30 and -1e+30) to mean "not a real value", which prevents the record from working properly if one or other of these appears as an actual data value. These have been changed to use +Inf and -Inf or NaN instead, so +/-1e+30 may be used as a data value.

ai, ao, dfanout and subroutine Records

These record types have been modified to respond better to NaN values as follows: if the VAL field contains a NaN value, the UDF field will be set and an undefined value alarm will be triggered.


epicsStdlib.h declares epicsStrtod() which provides a version of strtod which handles NAN/INF on all architectures. All uses of strtod() in base have been converted to use epicsStrtod().

epicsStdlib.h also declares epicsScanFloat() and epicsScanDouble() which replace calls to sscanf with routines which handle NAN/INF on all architectures.

epicsThreadCreate Stacksize Posix

The posix implementation of epicsThreadCreate() now makes pthread calls to set the stack size. The sizes returned by epicsThreadGetStackSize() for the inputs epicsThreadStackSmall, epicsThreadStackMedium and epicsThreadStackBig are 128K, 256K and 512K respectively on at least the architectures Linux, Solaris, HPUX and Darwin (different values are used on vxWorks and RTEMS). This allows creation of many more threads on most systems.


dbNotifyCancel now waits if the userCallback is active when dbNotifyCancel is called. Previously it just returned. NOTE CAREFULLY. This means that the userCallback must not free the putNotify structure.

CA commandline tools

caget and camonitor now have an additional "-s" option to explicitly request server-side string conversion, which - in case of the regular CA server - leads to "precision" info (e.g. the PREC field of an EPICS record) being honoured.

POSIX signals

Signals are blocked in all but the main thread. Applications/drivers which require signal delivery to a subthread will need to be modified.


Three new functions are implemented: epicsExit, epicsExitCallAtExits, and epicsAtExit. These are similar to exit and atexit, i.e. they provide the ability to register a function to be called when the process exits. They are provided becase neither vxWorks or win32 properly implement exit and atexit. Note that they apply to an IOC stopping NOT to a thread exiting.

epicsStdio and epicsStdioRedirect

In order to support iocsh redirection of stdin, stdout, and stderr, epicsStdio.h defines the following new functions: epicsGetStdin, epicsGetStdout, epicsGetStderr, epicsSetStdin, epicsSetStdout, epicsSetStderr, and epicsStdoutPrintf. epicsStdioRedirect.h defines macros that redefine stdin, stdout, stderr, and printf.

Any code that includes epicsStdioRedirect.h will automatically have it's stdio redirected. It has been added to many files in base. If code called by dbior wants it's output redirected, it must also include this file.

IOC Test Facilities

Any command that previously had an argument for a report file name no longer has the argument. The new iocsh redirection capability is now used. For example the former command:

    dbl "0" reportName
Is now:
    dbl > reportName
Note that this does NOT work on the vxWorks shell only on iocsh. On the vxWorks shell the following command can be given:
    iocshCmd("dbl > reportName")


errlog now calls epicsAtExit and releases all resources when epicsExitCallAtExits is called.


epicsStrGlobMatch() routine added.


Input/output redirection added.

iocshCmd routine added (callable from vxWorks shell).

help command uses globbing.


The ODLY (Output Delay) was not handled properly. This is fixed.


make sure reset gets called when size of INP array changes.

dbAccess DBR_ENUM_STRS for field DTYP

Data Base Request Option DBR_ENUM_STRS for the DTYP field of soft records can cause an IOC to crash.


RTEMS implementation of epicsMessageQueuePending() now works.

Added support for MVME2100 BSP.

Added support for building RTEMS bootable images.

iocBoot/ioc* build change

The cdCommands and envPaths files are now created in ioc* directory only when the ARCH defined in the ioc*/Makefile is present in BUILD_ARCHS for the build.

Changes between 3.14.5 and 3.14.6

CA command line tools complete

The complete set of Channel Access command line tools (caget, caput, camonitor, cainfo) is available as announced during the May 2004 Collab. meeting. Documentation is part of the CA Reference Manual. Be aware of possible name conflicts with existing local tools.

IOC template file configure/RULES.iocBoot removed

The directory name wildcards that were defined here have been moved to iocBoot/Makefile, which as a result is no longer unique in having its own configure/RULES file.

APS Virtual Linac template removed

This is really a demo and a complete EPICS IOC application, not a template. It will be made available separately.

EPICS_HOST_ARCH win32-x86-cygwin renamed to cygwin-x86

The EPICS_HOST_ARCH win32-x86-cygwin was renamed cygwin-x86 to avoid confusion about what OS interfaces are used on Windows: native win32 or cygwin's emulation of POSIX. Now we have


The time server's IP address used by the vxWorks clock routines was not reading the default value from the generated envData.c file but going straight to the boot host if no environment variable by that name was set.


These files are now parsed by a program that recognizes and ignores comment lines. Previous versions of this parser would extract settings from these files even if they appear on a line starting with a '#' character, so the last line containing a setting for any variable would give the value used as the default. This was first noticed in R3.14.5 where a commented-out setting for the EPICS_TIMEZONE parameter was added after the uncommented version.

db test shell commands

Many of the commands crashed if given no arguments. They are now more crash proof.

db_access - conversion of double to float

When a CA user asked for display or control limits as a float a 0 value was returned as -1.17549435E-38. This is now fixed.

New DBD rule

A new dbd rule will create a <name>Include.dbd from files specified in a <name>_DBD macro definition. An include line will be placed in the <name>Include.dbd for each file specified in the <name>_DBD definition. If a Makefile contains

        xxx_DBD = f1.dbd f2.dbd f3.dbd 

an xxxInclude.dbd file will be created containing the lines

        include "f1.dbd"
        include "f2.dbd"
        include "f1.dbd"

and dbExpand will be invoked to create the xxx.dbd file from the xxxInclude.dbd.

Solaris Builds

Old solaris 6 specific compiler options have been removed.

New make targets cvsclean and archclean

The new top level Makefile only target, cvsclean, removes cvs .#* files in all dirs of the top directory tree.

The new archclean target is like the clean target except that O.Common directories are not removed.


Add epicsSnStrPrintEscaped.


epicsExportAddress(typ,obj) now generates an extern named pvar_typ_obj and epicsExportRegistrar(func) an extern named pvar_func_obj. Previously both just named the variable pobj.

epicsRegisterFunction(name) in conjunction with the dbd 'function' keyword can be used to register functions referred to by record subroutine name fields.

Access Security

The access security configuration rules now accept quoted strings where just names were allowed previously.

All dump routines now have FP version.

A new shell command "ascar(int level)" is now available. It produces a report of the INP channel access connections. Level (0,1,2) produces (a summary report, summary plus unconnected channels, summary plus report of all channels)

Channel Access Client Library

Channel Access Portable Server (used by the CA gateway and others)

Changes between 3.14.4 and 3.14.5


Don't seg-fault if no argument is passed to dbtr.

New build targets.

New files have been created in configure/os to allow CROSS_COMPILER_TARGET_ARCHS to include solaris-sparc-gnu and solaris-sparc-debug when EPICS_HOST_ARCH is solaris-sparc. Also CROSS_COMPILER_TARGET_ARCHS can now include linux-x86-debug when EPICS_HOST_ARCH is linux-x86.

New epicsString.h function

A new function epicsStrnCaseCmp has been added. It is like strncmp except that it ignores case.

R3.13 compatability files

R3.13 compatability files are no longer generated automatically during the build. configure/CONFIG_SITE contains two new macros for building compatibility files. They are set to NO but can be set to YES. The macros are:

APS Virtual LINAC Templates

A new set of templates has been included in R3.14.5 to implement a Virtual LINAC in an ioc using databases and sequence programs. The Virtual LINAC simulates the generation and transmission of an electron beam down a LINAC. Several steering coils, BPMs, and other typical accelerator components are simulated to provide a realistic interaction between the operator and the "LINAC". Since it is an entirely soft application, it will work on any platform. An medm display is provided as the primary GUI. It can also be used to experiment with other CA client tools.

To install the templates, use the following commands:

  <base>/bin/<arch>/makeBaseApp.pl -t vlinac vlinac
  <base>/bin/<arch>/makeBaseApp.pl -i -t vlinac vlinac

For further information, see:


Stringin record time-stamp soft device support

Add simple device support for converting time to nicely-formatted string using INP field as epicsTimeToStrftime format string:
record(stringin, "$(user)now")
    field(DESC, "Current time and date")
    field(DTYP, "Soft Timestamp")
    field(INP, "@%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%03f")

Channel Access Portable Server (used by the CA gateway and others)

Channel Access Original Server (used in IOC)

Channel Access Client Library


Better error messages are now generated.

dbCaPutLinkCallback is a new function. It provides the ability to implement record/driver support that does not complete until a channel access put callback has completed. See the Application Developer's Guide for details.

dbCaAddLinkCallback is a new function. The caller can provide a connect and monitor callback. See the Application Developer's Guide for details.


Soft device that uses dbCaPutLinkCallback has been written for ao, bo, calcout, longout, mbbo, mbboDirect, and stringout records. The dbd definitions have been added to devSoft.dbd. In other to use the new support the DTYP field is defined:

    field(DTYP,"Async Soft Channel")


The CALC and OCAL fields now have a size of 40 so that they are the same as the calcRecord.

calcoutRecord now has associated device support. The default support will act just like the old calcout. Support bis also available that uses dbCaPutLinkCallback.


The fields ZRST,...,FFST are now special(SPC_MOD).


The fields ZRST,...,FFST are now special(SPC_MOD). init_record now checks to see if state strings or values are defined during pass 0. Previously if another record had a DBR_STRING link to an mbboRecord it thought the field was a USHORT instead of an ENUM.


A new function has been added epicsStrPrintEscaped, which converts the standard C escape characters to \xxx characters.

IOC shell system command

The 'system' command has been added to the IOC shell. To enable this command, add registrar(iocshSystemCommand) to an application database description file.

Changes between 3.14.3 and 3.14.4


This has been removed from base.

Format string checking

'printf-style' functions like errlogPrintf have their arguments verified against their format string when compiled with gcc.

IOC shell command-line editing on vxWorks

The IOC shell now uses the vxWorks ledLib routines so command-line editing is now the same in the IOC shell as it is in the vxWorks shell.

CA client library crashes when the same PV name is on multiple servers

If the CA client library was searching for a PV name that was hosted on more than one server a segmentation violation occurred when printing a diagnostic message resulting in a failure of the CA client library. The bug was introduced in R3.14.3. The code was tested on WIN32 prior to release, but the problem has so far been reproduced only on Linux.

Thanks to Ernest Williams at the SNS for discovering and helping to diagnose the problem.

Disconnection callback function called when CA channel known to be disconnected

If a CA circuit timed out during the connect sequence then the CA client library called the applications's disconnect callback function indicating a disconnect state transition when the channel was already known to be disconnected. This has caused the sequencer to improperly maintain its connected channel count. Other CA client side tools may also be impacted.

Recent versions of vxWorks appear to experience a connect failure if the vxWorks IP kernel reassigns the same ephemeral TCP port number as was assigned during a previous lifetime. The IP kernel on the vxWorks system hosting the CA server might have a stale entry for this ephemeral port that has not yet timed out which prevents the client from connecting with the ephemeral port assigned by the IP kernel. Eventually, after EPICS_CA_CONN_TMO seconds, the TCP connect sequence is aborted and the client library closes the socket, opens a new socket, receives a new ephemeral port assignment, and successfully connects.

Thanks to Mark Rivers for initially reporting the bug and energetically assisting with identifying the cause.

Changes between 3.14.2 and 3.14.3

TPRO output

The record processing trace output generated when the .TPRO field of a record is non-zero now includes the name of the thread that is actually doing the processing.

calcRecord and calcoutRecord

Previously if a dbGetLink failed on one of the input links, dbGetLink was not called for the remaining links. Now it is.

put notify

put notify did not act properly if a record had disp=TRUE, i.e. if puts are disabled. It now returns putNotifyPutDisabled.


This is no longer supported


devLib is now supported on vxWorks and RTEMS. It has been moved from src/vxWorks/src to src/libCom/osi. devLibVirtualOS has been extended to support allocating A24 addresss and an init method.

vxWorks dependent modules moved

The following have been moved from src/vxWorks/src to src/libCom/osi/os/vxWorks: camacLib.h, drvTS.c, drvTS.h, epicsDynLink.c, epicsDynLink.h, module_types.h, task_params.h, veclist.c. Brief documentation has been added to the Application Developer's Guide.

Close-On-Exec flag set for all sockets created in EPICS base

On POSIX systems if a Channel Access application spawns off 3rd party software with an exec() call then all open file desriptors are inherited unless the close-on-exec flag is set for each file descriptor. A new wrapper function was created so that all sockets created in EPICS base will have the close-on-exec flag set on POSIX systems. The function which spawns the CA repeater with exec() used to close all open files except stdin/stdout/stderr. This step was no longer required and therefore was removed from the code.

Temporary Files on Windows

The tmpfile() function on windows requires that all temporary files be stored in the root folder. The antelope (yacc) tool in base was calling tmpfile() and this was causing problems at sites where win32 systems use remotely mounted secure file systems. A wrapper function called "FILE * epicsTempFile()" that creates a temporary file on WIN32 with a name epicsNNN using one of the following paths was installed into libCom. It searches starting with (1) below and stops when it finds a specified path that exists. On POSIX systems, and systems that default to POSIX behavior, epicsTempFile() simply calls tmpfile().

  1. where the TMP environment variable specifies
  2. in c:\tmp
  3. in the current working directory

envPaths file

For operating systems other than vxWorks, there is now a target file created in each iocBoot/ioc directory called envPaths, which performs the same functions as the cdCommands file in vxWorks but using environment variables. The entries in envPaths are derived from the contents of the application's configure/RELEASE file.

Macros in database filenames

Database (.db and .dbd) filenames passed to dbLoadDatabase, dbLoadRecords and inside dbLoadTemplate substitutions files will now have environment variable macros expanded before opening. These are expressed using the standard ${MACRO} syntax. Inside a template substitutions file the filename must be enclosed in double quotation marks if macros are used.

registerRecordDeviceDriver output subroutine renamed

The registration routine generated by the registerRecordDeviceDriver.pl perl script now includes the name of the application, thus requiring a one-line change to any IOC startup files produced with earlier R3.14 releases of base. The actual name is taken from a second command line argument supplied to the script by the modified make rules, and is derived from the name of the fully expanded dbd file from which the necessary information is extracted. The change needed to every startup script involves using this new name in place of the old registerRecordDeviceDriver. Assuming that your application's fully expanded dbd file is called example.dbd you would modify the lines


to become


dbExpand -o outfile option

A commandline option -o has been added to the dbExpand program to allow the name of its output file to be specified. If there are any errors in the input file(s) the output file will not be generated or modified at all. The rules to expand DBD files have been changed to make use of this.

New keyword variable() supported in dbd files

Database definition (.dbd) files can now contain declarations of simple static variables, a facility intended for driver debugging purposes. These variable(name) or variable(name,type) declarations are preserved by dbExpand (type is int if omitted), and will be converted by registerRecordDeviceDriver.pl into code that registers them with iocsh. The variables themselves must be defined in some existing C or C++ code and marked using the macro epicsExportAddress(type,name). Only plain int and double types are supported.


A facility for performing macro expansion using environment variables as macro definitions has been added to libCom/macLib. The ioc shell now performs macro expansion using this on all input lines (other than comments) before printing and executing the line.

iocsh var command

For simple applications such as controlling the value of debugging flags. Devlopers with more complex expression handling requirements should consider use of the cexp package. The available variables are defined by the new variable dbd file keyword.


Tell iocsh to make a copy of the argument string before passing it to the handler function.


Operating-system independent replacement for strdup().


The epicsMessageQueue API has been changed. All functions and methods to receive a message now have an additional argument which specifies the size of the receiver buffer. The receive functions/methods return -1 and the received message is discarded if the received message will not fit in the buffer. See the Application Developer's Guide (libCom OSI) for details.

This is an incompatible change. All R3.14.2 applications which use epicsMessageQueue must be modified before they can be compiled and used with R3.14.3

Error Message Logging

A bug occurring only in Microsoft Windows port of the error message logging client was fixed. The symptoms were problems getting a Microsoft Windows based IOC to make entries in the log file.

A bug occurring in the error message logging server where a partial message arrives w/o a <CR> and then a <CR> from a previous message was found in the input buffer was fixed. The problem must have existed for a long time but probably was not occurring frequently. The symptom was garbled output in the log file.

An IP kernel deadlock vulnerability occurring when vxWorks's tNetTask calls logMsg because of a transient mbuf starvation situation has been fixed. The fix was to not call logFdAdd for the log client's socket and instead create a specialized vxWorks device driver which calls errlogPrintf for each incoming message and then call logFdAdd for a file descriptor opened with that device driver. The desirable functional change being errlogPrintf's capability to discard messages when it gets behind (because of a transient mbuf starvation situation). The fix also means that any code that calls errlogAddListener on vxWorks, e.g. CMLOG, will now receive the logMsg messages.

Channel Access Client Library Client Context Cleanup Race Condition

The symptom is a CA client program that fails with a segmentation violation on Linux shortly after calling ca_task_exit()or ca_context_destroy(). A fix will show up in R3.14.3. Regression tests were updated to detect this type of problem.

Red Hat 7.3 Linux Process Rundown Bug

There appears to be a bug in the Red Hat 7.3 process rundown where posix thread support is defective when file scope destructors are being run. The symptom was a hang during process exit. A workaround was installed.

Multiple CA Servers on MAC OSX

A patch was made to allow multiple CA servers on MAC OSX. OSX is a recent branch off of BSD and therefore requires socket option SO_REUSEPORT.

Changes between 3.14.1 and 3.14.2

Build System

Major changes have been made to the build system. The good news is that the rules for support and ioc applications are now greatly simplified. The bad news is that it does mean changes for existing 3.14.1 applications. Please see:


for details. If you are using the function DBD keyword it no longer exists. Please read this conversion document for details.

Application Developer's Guide

The old chapter "New Feature's for 3.14" has been replaced by a new chapter "Getting Started". Please read it. It provides a simplified set of rules that can be used to build most support and ioc applications. Many minor changes have also been made.


A bug in dbGetLink resulted in nRequest not being given the value 0 if the link is a constant link. This in turn caused the waveform record to always set NORD=NELEM. Thus if an application trys to write a waveform via the steps:

    write nNew elements into array >>

This sets NORD = nNew. But because of the dbGetLink bug, the soft device support attached to the waveform record sets NORD to NELM.

This problem is fixed. The actual bug was in macros in dbAccessDefs.h

Access Security

The host names are now converted to lower case. This fixes incompatibilities between various platforms.

string records

Both the stringin and stringout records have two new DBF_MENU fields: APST and MPST. These control whether CA monitors are fired if the new VAL field string is identical to the old one. The default (zero) menu value is "On Change" with behaviour identical to before, set to "Always" if you want a record to fire monitors every time the record is processed (analagous to setting ADEL/MDEL=-1 for numeric record types).


A new facility that provides the capabilities of vxWorks msgQLib. See the Application Developer's Guide (libCom OSI) for details.

epicsStdio and errlogPrintf

A new facility has been added to libCom described by epicsStdio.h. It contains the functions epicsSnprintf and epicsVsnprintf. These are like the C99 functions snprintf and vsnprintf, which are like sprintf and vsprintf except that they accept a argument limiting the number of characters written.

The errlogPrintf facility has been modified to use this facility. Thus it is not longer subject to a possible buffer overflow.


This is a new function provided by the Database Scanning facility. Given an index for the choices defined by menuScan.h, it returns the scan period in seconds. The argument can just be the scan field of a database record. If the index is not associated with a periodic scan rate, the value 0.0 is returned.

New epicsString.h function

A new function epicsStrCaseCmp has been added. It is like strcmp except that it ignores case.


macParseDefns did not check for handle==NULL. The documentation for macParseDefns was not correct.

Changes between 3.14.0beta2 and 3.14.1

function - New Database Definition Keyword

dbStaticLib and related programs now accept a new keyword in DBD files:


Where name is the name of a function with "C" linkage that is included in the IOC binary. This function will be automatically registered with the registry at the same time as the record/device/driver tables, and is intended to make using subroutine records much easier on non-vxWorks systems.. Prior R3.14 releases required there to be a static registration routine for such subroutines.

dbStaticLib has two additional routines to support this, dbDumpFunction() and dbWriteFunctionFP(). dbDumpFunction has been added to the iocsh command table.


When executing commands from a script file, iocsh now echoes each command to the terminal before execution. This makes it much easier to see where errors are being reported.

Solaris build requirement

uname must be defined for builds on solaris hosts because it is used to determine the solaris version.

Linux build note

Under linux-x86 only, when SHARED_LIBRARIES=YES it is now possible to have one or more directory paths burned into products as run-time locations for the shared libraries. In configure/os/CONFIG_SITE.Common.linux-x86 add any such absolute paths to the new make variable SHRLIB_SEARCH_DIRS (lib/<arch> will be automatically appended to each directory given).


A *[nn].db file will be created from an *.template and a *[nn].substitutions file ,where nn has a value between 0 and 99.

Support for 64 bit long

Many changes were made to support architectures on which a long is a 64 bit integer. The basic change was to change:

The changes include the following:

Hardware Link Definitions

The various parts of hardware link definitions now accept HEX values, e.g.

field(INP,"L0 A1 C0 S0xa @")



A macro has been defined so that client code can be written that is compatible between 3.13 and 3.14.

epicsMutex for posix

Mac OS X

Now supported as development platform and as IOC.


Additional RTEMS-pc386 network drivers are available


Configurable iocsh command-line editing support (none, readline, libtecla)

CA Reference Manual

Many additions.

CA Client Library

Bugs related to connection speed when creating new channels and other channels are not found fixed. Bugs related to proper schedualing in file descriptor manager based clients fixed. Many other bugs were fixed. Performance was significantly improved.

Original CA Server Library (still employed in R3.14 by iocCore)

A bug was fixed where the server was in rare situations using excessive CPU.

Portable CA Server LIbrary

Several bugs were fixed when performing integration testing with the channel access gateway.


Many bugs and missing features fixed.

Changes since beta1


Field UDF now has a promptgroup. This allows users to set UDF false via DCTs.


errlog no longer contains an atexit that calls errlogFlush. This did not work on all operating systems. cantProceed, iocsh, and ca_task_exit all call errlogFlush. Other applications may also have to call if before terminating.


mbboRecord now implements method cvt_dbaddr for the VAL field. If no state vales or state strings are defined then it sets field_type and dbr_field_type to DBF_USHORT.

timeStamp changes

Changes have been made to:

epicsTime.h now has the definitions:

#define epicsTimeEventBestTime -1
#define epicsTimeEventDeviceTime -2

These are values for the TSE field of dbCommon.

If the TSEL field refers to the TIME field of a record then recGblGetTimeStamp sets TIME equal to the time it gets from the record the TSEL references. This works for both database and channel access links. In this case field TSE is not used.


aiRecord and aoRecord: Setting eoff=egul

Instead of init_record executing code like

    if ((pai->linr == menuConvertLINEAR) && pdset->special_linconv) {
        pai->eoff = pai->egul;

It now executes:

    if ((pai->eslo==1.0) && (pai->eoff==0.0)) {
        pai->eoff = pai->egul;

aoRecord has a similar change

This was done so that old device support which does not implement special_linconv still works.

CA puts to disabled record

If a CA client issues a put to a disabled record then, when the record is ena bled, database puts to the record will not make the record process until a CA pu t is again issued. This is fixed.

TPRO - trace processing

If dbProcess is called recursively by different tasks, it did not properly handle TPRO. Consider the following database:

record(ao,"mrkao") {
    field(OUT,"mrkai CA")
record(ai,"mrkai") {

If a channel access put is sent to mrkao, no message is issued when mrkai is processed.

This is now fixed.


If in your st.cmd file you issue the command.


And set the TSE field of any record to a non zero value, then a crash will occur when recGblGetTimeStamp is called.

This is now fixed.


nsev not sevr must be checked to decide if dbPutLink should be called.


Whenever a connection is made, a request to retrieve the control, display, and alarm linits and the precision and units is automatically issued. Previously this was only done if dbCaGetAttributes was called. This it is no longer necessary to call dbCaGetAttributes.


This now returns a non zero value if the result is nan (not a number).

Record Name Length

The size of the name field has been expanded from 29 to 61, i.e. record names can now have 60 characters.


initialProcess is now called before interruptAccept. This means that initial processing will be done before periodically scanned and I/O Inter scanned records start processing.


Casts have been removed that suppressed valuable error messages


All existing manipulations of UDF in process() are removed and udf is set FALSE when the raw value is successfully read.


In do_sel udf is not set false at the beginning. If selm has an invalid value recGblSetSevr(psel,SOFT_ALARM,MAJOR_ALARM) is called.

cdCommands file

Fixed a bug and revised the use of the IOCS_APPL_TOP setting in an application's <top>/configure/CONFIG file (which specifies the path to <top> as seen by the IOC) to apply the same modifications to all paths output in the cdCommands file.


All routines with Recdes of Fielddes in their name are obsolete and removed. A new routine dbDumpField replaces dbDumpFldDes.

Changes since alpha2

All changes for release 3.13.5 that also apply to 3.14 have been made.

devAiSoftRaw and devAoSoftRaw

A new state is defined for the LINR field. The name is "SLOPE", which allows any device type to be used with manual settings of the EOFF and ESLO fields. With this setting, the device support's special_linconv() routine is only called when LINR=LINEAR.

The RTEMS TFTP remote filesystem driver now supports a limited form of the chdir() system call. One restriction is that all pathnames passed to chdir() must end in a / character, so IOC shell commands to change directories must be given as

cd ../db/

EPICS Release base 3.14.0alpha2

Since the alpha1 release some major changes were made to the build system, to some of the libCom facilities, and to the iocsh facilities.

The unbundled version of the sequencer has been build and tested with this release. You must obtain a version of the sequencer that has been built against alpha2.

A verion of the HPlanGpib support has been built and tested with this release. Again you must obtain a version that builds with alpha2.

A new update to the Application Developer's Guide is available for this release.

Build changes

Converting alpha1 applications to alpha2

Build modifications in alpha2 require the following changes to existing R3.14 applications.


GNU compiler builds are now determined by the value of EPICS_HOST_ARCH and are no longer specified in CONFIG_SITE. All references to the ANSI (ACC/GCC) and CPLUSPLUS (CCC/G++) macros have been removed.


Most of the library routines and files starting with the prefix osi have been changed to start with epics. Several also had major changes to their user interface. See the latest version of the Application Developer's Guide for details.

EPICS Release base 3.14.0alpha1 Notes

This is the first release of 3.14. This is the first release that supports iocCore on platforms besides vxWorks.

iocCore is now supported on the following platforms:

A new version of the Application Developers Guide is available. The following gives links to the new Application Developer's Guide and to RTEMS information.


Most of the Application Developer's Guide has only minor changes. The following are new.

It must be emphasized that this is an alpha release.

Building Applications