"Sometimes you can't justify the time and expense of developing
a dedicated hardware platform for your embedded application.
Perhaps the quantities are too small or the market is unproven.
However, even under these circumstances you still don't want to
ship a big klunky box with a hard drive. Hard drives wear out over
time, they draw lots of power and get very hot. Besides, customers
know a PC when they see one. Fortunately, manufacturers are
starting to produce PC compatible computer systems with form
factors that please embedded system designers. Some look like set
top boxes (think VCR), some are rack mountable (1 or 2U high). In
the future, we'll even see some that look like a desktop hub or
modem. However, the hard drive remains a problem."
"...This article guides you through the process of building
a custom Linux image and installing it on the DiskOnChip in such a
way that you will not violate the GPL. The image will be bootable
and you will be able to distribute the hardware without any sort of
spinning media; hard drive, floppy drive or CD-ROM. We'll
build the minicom application from the article -- this time it'll
boot from the DiskOnChip instead of the floppy diskette drive."