"Unlike many realms of human endeavor, when it comes designing
embedded systems, the goal is often to use as few resources as
possible. In embedded systems, less is more, in many ways. Using
less resources means less cost, less heat generation, more battery
life, more reliability -- and best of all, a more successful
"During the past year, Linux has rocketed to prominence as one
of the two or three most popular operating systems for new embedded
system designs. Since "Embedded Linux" as a product is less
than one year old, and given the common perception of Linux as a
full-function server or desktop OS that requires hundreds of
megabytes of disk space, it's no surprise that one of the most
common questions about embedded Linux among developers is "How much
RAM memory and disk space does an embedded system require to run
"There are two reasons why it's difficult to answer that
question with a few simple numbers. First, Linux is open source. As
a result, developers possess the tools to eliminate unnecessary
functionality to match the requirements of a given configuration.
Secondly, embedded systems are incredibly diverse, so there are
almost as many required Linux configurations as there are unique
embedded systems (and that's in the tens of thousands)."
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