Home > Linux > Embedded Systems Programming: Is Linux Worth the Effort? Embedded Systems Programming: Is Linux Worth the Effort? Eugenia Loli 2003-06-19 Linux 10 Comments If your embedded system doesn’t need networking and storage, porting Linux to your hardware may not be worth the effort, Embedded.com says. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 10 Comments 2003-06-19 1:49 am Nice to see that this author isn’t pro or anti-Linux, just simply states that Linux isn’t always the right solution in every occasion. If people like JC can’t get over then, well, they’re a very sad individual. Yes, Linux has advantages, however, as the article states, if you aren’t going to use those advantages, is it really work porting Linux to it? its all about rationalising your choices. IMHO both Linux and Windows are completely out of place in the embedded world. It is comparable to shoe-horing an elecphant into a mini. IMHO, if you are going to make an embedded device, use an operating system written from the ground up specifically for that purpose then atleast you’re not going to be compromising later down the track when you come accross weakenesses that would never have appeared in a purpose written RTOS. 2003-06-19 2:42 am Besides Linux, there are plenty of good commercial & free embedded OSes that can be found from a no of RT OS companies that are well tried & tested. Visit the Embedded Conference in Boston or SJ? or the Xilinx FPGA road shows and many others every yr. They aren’t that exciting though to see unless someone brings along the Lego robots. When I see companies using Linux or WinCE in embedded apps, its usually fad driven & short lived. 2003-06-19 3:47 am like TiVo and Cisco/Linksys routers/WAPs? rrriiiiiiiight 🙂 2003-06-19 4:28 am And some decisions are driven by dogma. You know the ones, the scream, “freedom”, “customisable”, “non-cancerous”, “cheap”, and worse still the show no evidence to back up their claims. 2003-06-19 7:28 am tv-casualty raises a good point above – a stack of wireless vendors already appear to be using GPL/Linux in their firmware – although without crediting it. It’s a pity they probably won’t be taken to court over it – though I would certainly donate to a legal fund for this. I’ve got a Linksys wireless router (54g) that includes such firmware and I find it to be an outrage that Linksys uses GPL code for their firmware but doesn’t recognise it *AND* they ALSO don’t bother releasing Linux drivers for their product! If I’d known this I would not have used their products. I wonder how many other embedded devices also use GPL/Linux without being forthright about it? Plenty I’m sure. There’s obviously something very appealing to vendors about using Linux! Yaro 2003-06-19 12:51 pm Give me the line in the GPL where a company that makes no modifications to the actual Linux source has to credit Linux or the GPL just for using it? My understanding is that most of these firmwares do their interesting stuff in usermode on top of Linux and are thus not subject to the GPL anyway. $#@*($ing snarling GNU conspiracy theorist bastards…plus, what the hell do you mean by this line… ALSO don’t bother releasing Linux drivers for their product! I have never seen a Linksys product that didn’t work under Linux…every Linksys product I’ve ever used that required drivers included a Linux driver, and a FreeBSD driver, and a SCO driver, and a DOS driver, and a Netware driver… check your damn disk that came with your LinkSys product again…and you could always go to http://www.linksys.com they’ve got a few drivers up there too 2003-06-19 3:35 pm Well I’ve seen Linux embedded get replced by WinCE not by engineers but by external pressure or marketing. The other OSes I had in mind have such droll names I can’t remember any of them (except QNX ofcourse), as they don’t have desktop connections. Any Linux embedded app that goes big time is likely to be a target of you know who to switch. The other OSes don’t get that kind of pressure & are more invisible, which is what they should be. 2003-06-19 4:23 pm what sorta mini, a classic one or the new “BMW Mini” Mother got a classic Mini Copper S, great fun for driving around in 😉 2003-06-20 12:58 am bytes256: My comment said nothing of GNU conspiracy theory. I’ll leave you to froth at the mouth in your own time on that matter. I simply suggested that where a company obviously benefits from using Linux embedded in their products that it would be the “right thing” to give something back to the Linux community that provides so freely to them – ie/ release drivers for Linux. It would be a win-win for such companies. Instead, Linksys freely make use of Linux, seemingly in denial (from accounts I’ve read) *AND* they don’t give back to the source that has obviously saved them money on developing their own solution from scratch. You obviously haven’t used many of the latest wireless products from Linksys: At home I have three of the latest 54g wireless devices from Linksys – they are good products but they don’t yet have Linux support for any device that has a direct bus interface to a computer (pcmcia, pci etc). * If you can find me a Linksys Linux driver that works for any of Linksys’ latest 54G PCMCIA or PCI wireless ethernet adapters, I will send you $50 without further adue. Also, a horde of other Linux 54g users have been discussing this absence on various wireless forums – there’s nothing on the near horizon from Linksys for Linux/54g but their Linux-powered products are obviously selling *nicely-thankyou-very-much* for Windows users. Yaro 2003-06-20 3:00 am Classic mini. Nothing is worse than a company b*astardising a great design for the yuppy generation who have more dollars than sense or style.