[Novalug] Need embedded distro recommendation; also possibly free parts to be had
Bryan J. Smith
b.j.smith at ieee.org
Tue Oct 20 15:10:23 EDT 2009
Both MontaVista and TimeSys have a "builder GUI" that makes creating
an image simple for so many targets. TimeSys' big focus is a completely
web-based framework for such, and they do offer 30-day trials -- trial
might be x86-only (I haven't worked for them for over 2 years).
I mean, that's what we're really talking about here. A whole slew of check
boxes, radio buttons and "I want this, I don't want this" and then a big, Staple's
like "Easy Button" to create the image that can uploaded into a device, put
to a removable media (e.g., CF, SD, etc...) and then booted.
This is not what you're going to get with a general distro. There are some
tools in Debian, Fedora for ARM, etc..., but not a general, x86-like installer
such as Anaconda, etc... Although some of the LiveCD Tools of various
distros do leverage their installer, including the LiveCD Tools for Anaconda
(again, referring back to the Fedora/Red Hat reference as an example).
Asking for a general "embedded distro" is like asking for a "motorized
vehicle." It's not being specific enough to even just something like
"passenger vehicle" and a Segway could qualify. So how does one build
a generic distro that can install to anything from a 18-wheeler down to a
----- Original Message ----
From: James Ewing Cottrell 3rd <JECottrell3 at comcast.net>
why not go to the bookstore and look at all the books with "Embedded"
and "Linux" in their title? Or google those two words? I hear that DSL
has also been used for that.
of course, then you have the "radio" issues you spoke of, which i know
or call up companies that are doing EL and pretend you are interested in
buying their products ... they should tell you what they are using, if
not much else.
besides ... depends on what you mean by "embedded". Is a box with a
flash drive "embedded"? I think so ... in which case you aren't really
all that constrained.
Joshua Newton wrote:
> Um... all good distros, I'm sure, but I don't want to *develop* an
> embedded distro. I want to *use* one. That means not pulling Fedora or
> whichever out of the box and fiddling about with tmpfs and symlinks and
> figuring out what bits of /var need to be nonvolatile and that. I
> *could* do all that, but I'm only going to if it's going to look really
> juicy on a resume later. Or, if I'm completely missing the inclusion of
> something nifty and Swiss-army-like ("mkembed(8)"?), let me know...
> And my experience with Gentoo-- just x86, much less ~x86/~amd64 (the
> entire point of *using* it) --is that the project is dying. Or in fact
> undead. I say this as someone with a Gentoo ~x86 server (with overlays,
> even) and a newly Ubuntuificated workstation.
> On Mon, 19 Oct 2009 16:08 -0700, "Bryan J. Smith" <b.j.smith at ieee.org>
>> I love Gentoo (or any ports-centric software release model) for this,
>> my client has a Montavista and/or TimeSys subscription (which I
>> take full advantage of).
>> Debian is also a good basis if you absolutely want a packages-based
>> as Debian offers a number of cross-compilers and targets out-of-the-box.
>> Debian also has an extended update period more than other distros
>> (especially versus ports-centric where ABI breakage, and even API
>> changes and possible regressions, can result in 6+ months), without
>> paying for such.
>> Fedora is an additional consideration if you're only doing ARM, PPC
>> or x86, with a few caveats in the case of ARM and a few more on PPC.
>> -- Bryan
>>  Montavista Hard Hat Linux is a 3-year update cycle with a 1:1 SRPMS
>> base on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. I.e., their releases are based on Red
>> Enterprise Linux for various embedded architectures, although only with a
>> 3 year subscription model (possibly up to 5 years of updates), compared
>> Red Hat's standard of 7 years (and options for 10+).
>> I like Debian when I don't have money because you can easily get 2+ years
>> out of their typical releases, if not 3.
>>  TimeSys doesn't ship a distro, but a reference distro based on
>> I.e., if you prefer Fedora, but want more targets, TimeSys is likely of
>> interest. They also have an on-line build system and other, hosted
>> development features.
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Joshua Newton <joshua.newton at ironhavoc.org>
>> To: NoVALUG <novalug at calypso2.tux.org>
>> Sent: Mon, October 19, 2009 6:50:53 PM
>> Subject: [Novalug] Need embedded distro recommendation; also possibly
>> free parts to be had
>> I need a recommendation for a solid distribution for use in embedded
>> systems from, say, PC Engines through Mini-ITX systems. Something with
>> a pretty good package selection and decided attention to security, but
>> updated more recently and less heavily commercial than OpenWRT or
>> DD-WRT, for example. Mostly, I need something that will run happily on
>> bitty ARM or x86 processors (I'm looking at PC Engines ALIX, Freescale,
>> Ubiquiti RouterStation, and maybe VIA boards in Mini-ITX or smaller) and
>> is already configured to boot off flash media of various forms and
>> execute without undue flash wear. I'm thinking CompactFlash in >= CF3,
>> running in UDMA, if I can find the necessary parts.
>> Ideally, I'd use something like pfSense, but it's less than flexible and
>> the radio support is kind of... amusing. I'm not just building a WAP,
>> but that's one of the goals.
>> If there's an Ubuntu respin for embedded that I've missed, that sort of
>> thing would probably be ideal. I can always try to add a pretty web
>> management interface later, or do without.
>> Also: about to start throwing away a lot of gear from what I'll call The
>> PCI Era, including a couple of Intel 865 boards and associated Celerons,
>> (at least some) RAM, sound cards, some AGP video, at least some of my
>> Intel 82559 stash, and so on. Just email me directly if you have some
>> great hunger for outdated junk. :D
>> I'm keeping my Matrox (Yes, Matrox-- I'm not confused.) QFE board and my
>> DB25-DIN RS-232C adapters, because you just never know. (If anyone has
>> a DB9-DIN adapter, or knows where I can get some without paying
>> Cables-To-Go prices... ?)
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