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32BitsOnline: A Quick Look at Embedded Linux

Sep 02, 1999, 23:33 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Clint Wiley)

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"You get in your car and the computer powers up as you start your engine. The GPS system asks to map your destination, and the MP3 radio begins to play one of your favorite songs. This isn't science fiction. These devices are available now (although they can be cumbersome to operate). Recently, Microsoft has been touting Windows CE operating systems to control everything from your car radio to your toaster. Even as Linux struggles to be easy enough for the newbie to use on the desktop, embedded applications using Linux are right around the corner."

"The flexibility of Linux makes it ideally suited for embedded applications. There are a number of projects designed to create an embeddable kernel. As an offshoot of the Linux Router Project, and the subsequent FirePlug Edge project, ThinLinux is a general toolset that can be used to create packages that could control just about anything with a Linux system. This toolset will allow a developer to write software that can control X-10 devices, or a camera server, for example. You can find the Thin Linux project at www.thinlinux.org."

"On the commercial side, Lineo has developed Embedix, an embedded version of Caldera Systems OpenLinux. The Lineo development tools, code named Hurricane, have the following key features: multitasking, multithreading, a shared library, POSIX compatibility, and TCP/IP networking. Lineo has originally touted Embedix for embedded web browser applications, such as TV set-top devices, hand held systems, point-of-sale terminals, and single board computers. Lineo also claims to be targeting traditional embedded markets such as printing, automotive industries, and industrial automation. Motorola recently selected Embedix for their PowerPC and other embedded devices."

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