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Java Developer's Journal: Do It Yourself Embedded Linux

Dec 02, 2000, 17:08 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marcel Gagné)

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"Should you feel the need to get involved in this Linux microrevolution, rest assured that you don't need the backing of a major corporation and millions in venture capital funding. The tools are out there, free for the taking. Saying that creating embedded systems necessitates some miniaturization of the code may sound like a case of the bleeding obvious, but there's an art to building what you need and nothing more. It requires a desire to get your "hands" dirty with kernel builds, and more than a little restraint."

"For developers building tiny Linux applications BusyBox is a great place to start. Busybox, originally created by Bruce Perens (now maintained by Erik Andersen and sponsored by Lineo), bills itself as "the Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux." As soon as you start exploring it you'll understand why. It's a single small executable that packs over a hundred common Linux commands into a single package. This approach helps fix one of the great problems with creating a tiny embedded Linux, namely the relatively large executables that are created when linking against the GNU C libraries."

"To be fair, I should point out that large is a matter of perspective. A 100K program is no big deal when you have a 4 Gig drive; however, in the world of an 8MB chip it won't take long to use up that precious memory if every program is that "small."

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