[Novalug] Need embedded distro recommendation; also possibly free parts to be had
Bryan J. Smith
b.j.smith at ieee.org
Tue Oct 20 14:55:12 EDT 2009
I think you have a lot of misconceptions here.
When you say "optimized towards embedded use," understand that
embedded is not just a set of "pre-defined configurations." It's a wholly
different switch in configuration, one that is not automated. And there
are countless, different "embedded configurations." You can't really
make such an installer.
For example ...
First off, you don't just make a JFFS2 filesystem. You have to define
how the storage device is utilized. So if you're looking for coalesced
writes, you have to dive into those details. It's not like Ext3.
Secondly, as far as slicing between storage and tmpfs, that's rather
cake, and can be done right in the installer of many Linux distros. But
people will differ on those.
Third, there is also the "what is stateless?" question on what is persistent
and not. E.g., Red Hat has offered a "stateless" option to installation,
diskless, thin client, etc... for years. But it's not something you just flip a
switch on and it "auto-configures."
In all honesty ...
I really think you're looking for something that can read your mind, rather
than just defining the few things you need. I mean, most installers and
GUI config tools today can do many of the things you want -- like remote
syslog settings, etc...
And a lot of what you are asking for can be put into an "answer file" like
approach for the installer -- such as a Anaconda kickstart. Since you use
Fedora/Red Hat as an example, Google for a kickstart for embedded.
You'll get a crapload of them -- from diskless and thin clients to Atom/Eden
platforms to firewalls and other, appliance-specific solutions. You're really
stabbing at a broad spectrum and you want it to, again, "read your mind."
I've done everything from diskless workstations and retail thin clients to
embedded aerospace and financial trading systems with ARM, PPC, x86
and other solutions running Linux. It's far, far more broad of a spectrum
than a typical distro could even attempt to address.
P.S. I utterly disagree with your comment on being unable to install Fedora
based distros without X in order to get CLI tools. The only time I've run into
a few dependency issues are those that surround printing because many
subsystems tie into FreeDesktop capabilities (e.g,. Cairo).
----- Original Message ----
From: Joshua Newton <joshua.newton at ironhavoc.org>
I want (need, mostly) the distro to be fixed (I think that's the
adjective I want) and ready to go onto a write-limited medium. No
splashing whatnot in /var and me having to decide, almost certainly
post-install, that, i.e., /var/lib/dpkg stays on flash and /var/log goes
into tmpfs (just in case). I'd like the filesystem layout to be sane to
start, at least, and maybe even for an installer to ask, "Would you like
to a) keep logs b) sort of keep logs c) push logs to _____ server?" I'm
spending too much time on other projects to hand-hold and/or
periodically rewrite bits of a distro come [package?] upgrade time.
I'm pretty sure there are some distros out there that already handle a
lot of this. I thought RouterOS was one, but that's still payware. I'm
pretty sure there's at least one snap-together-blocks distro that I
could *eventually* find again, but of course I don't know anyone who's
used it. And there's stuff like Puppy Linux, that already seems to have
been strongly optimized toward embedded use-- and I don't know anyone
who would recommend it, either. Hence my request for recommendations
for embedded-target distros.
> I mean, there's no "universal installer" for, say, any given ARM
> platform, because there's no "BIOS" or other "standard." Embedded is
> about a few details with the boot/storage (typically via uboot, but
> there are other options) and going from there.
Good point. I probably want to stick with x86, unless I happen to
stumble across something useful and frequently updated that was/is
intended for the Freescale plug-a-boards. Ubiquiti RS/[Pro] seems
promising, but no one's collected on their (hefty) prize to make OpenWRT
> If you just want a small x86 distro for x86, like a Via C3 or C7 or AMD
> Geode NX (mobile Athlon turned embedded, not to be confused with the
> Geode GX/LX which is different) or Intel Atom, then any x86 distro will
> do. Stick with your preferred.
I'm aware of the Geode differences. Rather find something with a C7 or
Nano so I can at least *use* the crypto accel...
Not really, no. Fedora and CentOS seem impossible to strip of all the X
cruft without losing lots of useful CLI tools. There's Ubuntu Server,
but that would, again, require significant retooling to go onto flash
media without an awful lot of hand-holding (on my part).
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