Embedded.com: Is Linux Worth the Effort?
Jun 23, 2003, 11:00 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Niall Murphy)
"I was originally skeptical about how much Linux had to offer
the embedded community. I warmed to it after a positive experience
on one project, but further consideration has left me somewhat
skeptical once again. In this column, I share what I learned during
that project. My hope is that when you're done reading, you'll have
learned something about how Linux can be put to best use in
"Because so many RTOSes are written with portability in
mind—due to the wide variety of hardware platforms used in
embedded systems—performing a port to a new board sometimes
takes only a few hours. And porting an RTOS is often just a matter
of porting to one particular microcontroller. A microcontroller
with a number of memory models may require a port for each memory
model, and the port may be tied to a particular compiler, but
that's the extent of the variation.
"Porting Linux is a more complicated process. Linux expects mass
storage and an array of device drivers for peripherals, such as
network cards, to be considered a full implementation. Such a Linux
implementation would be more powerful than an easier-to-port RTOS,
but the extra power is mostly in the area of storage and
networking. If your system doesn't require those capabilities, you
gain little from the effort you put into the port..."