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More on LinuxToday A developer's review of Red Hat's Embedded Linux Developer Suite

Nov 28, 2001, 14:28 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jerry Epplin)

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"As the best-known Linux company and, following its purchase of Cygnus, a long history of producing and using GNU tools in embedded applications, it is reasonable to expect Red Hat to provide an Embedded Linux toolkit befitting its industry leadership.

Like most other Embedded Linux toolkits, ELDS provides support for the x86, ARM/StrongARM/XScale, MIPS, PowerPC, and SuperH architectures. It requires 1.2 GB of hard disk space on the development host, installing itself at /opt/redhat -- giving you no opportunity to install elsewhere. It is very specific in its host distribution requirements; you must use Red Hat Linux, either 7.1 or 7.2, running only under x86. ELDS also requires specific versions of Perl and Python, installing them for you if needed.

The primary market for an Embedded Linux toolkit is new users, since more experienced users can assemble and use the freely available tools without commercial help. So it is especially important that the documentation for such a toolkit be of the highest quality. But the documentation for ELDS is curiously rough, in contrast to Red Hat's usual high quality. I found it to be poorly organized, wordy, repetitive, and clumsily phrased. It is also sometimes unintentionally amusing, as when the author tells us, "The software provides . . . many unsupported tools", adding parenthetically, "(even though these tools may successfully work)"; as if Red Hat would include tools without some evidence they do something useful. The documentation is full of such poorly worded and often unnecessary statements, producing an overall distracting effect. After a few pages of this one wants to just fire up the software even without first having an adequate understanding of how it works."

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