Embedded Linux Distribution

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Thread Starter

Curt Wuollet

Hi All

I thought I'd ask the readers who are using embedded
Linux which distribution they're using. I looked fairly
hard at these a year or so ago but that's all obsolete
info. I would, of course prefer an all GPL version but
can consider other licenses which allow non-commercial
use.

Regards

cww
 
A

Alex Pavloff

It's very easy to roll your own distribution if you're using x86 and base it on the desktop distribution of your choice. That's what I did. If you need to set up an entire toolchain for a different architecture, then I would definitely suggest going for a packaged distribution (which is mainly 'packaged' in that it allows you to mix and match to custom fit to your size).

There's been a big shake out recently, because Embedded Linux isn't quite the money maker that the VCs thought it would be. Most of that is because, of course, people will get their hands dirty and do it themselves. Check http://www.linuxdevices.com, they have an "embedded distributions" link. However, I suspect that you want to avoid paying any money, so they're out of consideration.

Also check comp.os.linux.embedded.

iAlex Pavloff -- [email protected]
Eason Technology --- www.eason.com
--- Linux-based industrial HMI ---
-------- www.eason.com/5k --------
 
C

Curt Wuollet

Hi Alex

I could do that and it appeals to my DIY side. I don't know exactly what I have to do to get it to fit in a 4mb DOC with an application. I was hoping to set an example by patronizing other OSS projects. And.yes,I don't have a budget for this and need a free solution, at least at this stage. But the result will be publicly owned as well, so there's no moral dilemna. I expect the eventual targets for MAT and others will have more resources, but this is what I have to work with without spending the money I need for components and board fab. It should be more than adequate for hardware development. I can port my tiny demo PLC as proof of concept. If I can fit ncurses in :^)
 
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Michael Griffin

On July 2, 2003, Curt Wuollet wrote:
<clip>
> I could do that and it appeals to my DIY side. I don't know exactly
> what I have to do to get it to fit in a 4mb DOC with an application.
<clip>
> And.yes,I don't have a budget for this and need a free solution, at
> least at this stage.
<clip>

I haven't used either of the following products myself, but here are some embedded Linux distributions used on PC/104 hardware that I am aware of. You can download them from their respective web sites and take a look at them.

Tri-M Engineering (http://www.Tri-M.com) sells PC/104 hardware, and they also offer a Linux O/S with Apache web server package which is configured for the hardware they manufacture (LinuxMZ).

There is also White Dwarf Linux (http://www.whitedwarflinux.org), which is from EMJ (another PC/104 vendor).

They both cite 12 to 14 Mb of disk space (less than 8 Mb if compressed for Tri-M's version). I don't know how much space you can save by tossing out stuff you can do without (e.g. the Apache web server). If you plan to squeeze everything into 4 meg, you are going to have some work to do.

You might also check to see if the vendor of the PC/104 board you are using has a Linux distribution already configured for their hardware.

--

************************
Michael Griffin
London, Ont. Canada
************************
 
A

Alex Pavloff

4MB Disk-on-Chip? 4MB is very, very small to put a standard x86 Linux on it. That's going to be very, very, very, tight for doing anything like your project on. I would suggest CompactFlash -- available cheaply because of its wide use and it looks like a standard IDE drive, meaning you don't have to install the Linux-MTD subsystem.

I also don't think that there's any chance you can create a cost effective board. Speaking as a company that designed and fabbed our own x86 board, its just too expensive and time consuming to get right, and that was our core product. As someone else suggested, buy off the shelf. It'll be cheaper.

Alex Pavloff -- ap[email protected]
Eason Technology --- www.eason.com
--- Linux-based industrial HMI ---
-------- www.eason.com/5k --------
 
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Curt Wuollet

Hi Alex

This is for my hardware prototyping system, all I need is something to exercise the decoder and hardware. Once the board is done, you can plug in any PC104 processor module you want with as much memory and compute resource as you ractneed. It's just that I have no PC104 proc module to work with and no budget to buy one, so Dan Fuchs contributed a slot card with a PC104 expansion bus to get me started. And we'll have to differ on the cost effectiveness, but I have _no_overhead or engineering costs, so the cost of the hardware is literally, the cost of the hardware. I can fab and populate a backplane for $100.00 or less, and I've demonstrated reliable IO for $3.50 a point. Even allowing $250 for a fast (in PLC terms) processor, I think I can compete with any commercial platform, especially with OSS on board. To contract this done would be hugely expensive, but I'm enjoying it and figure I might spend as much as $1000 out of pocket. That wouldn't buy me what I need to learn anyone else's stuff. And I would never even come close to knowing it as well. And the best part is I can use the OS I want and the software I want. And anyone else can do it for much less than it cost me. I think that's cost effective. Even if no one else uses it. I won't get rich, but I'll get poor slower than buying into the commercial stuff.

Regards

cww
 
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