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Embedded.com: Is Embedded Linux a Bust?

Dec 06, 2001, 19:54 (20 Talkback[s])
"Embedded Systems Programming Editor in Chief Michael Barr recently forwarded me an intriguing letter from a consultant who had attempted to build a business helping companies incorporate Linux into their embedded systems. The effort was a complete failure; a year of work had turned up only two companies actually using Linux in the embedded arena, so the consultant returned to traditional real-time operating systems where there's plenty of work and lots of money.

What gives? If you believe the magazines, it appears anyone not using Linux is a dinosaur, an atavistic throwback doomed to write miserable little 8051 assembly language programs forever. At the local bookstore an entire shelf of computer magazine headlines scream "Linux Forever!" All tout this OS as the solution to everything that ails us, from hackers to global warming.

Unfortunately, Linux is an unassailable icon. Those who cast aspersions on it are immediately branded as wrong-thinking heretics. Yet it's just an operating system. That's it - a tool, something that allows us to build real systems. In the embedded world Linux is even less than an OS; it can't even manage real time events -- at least not in the native distribution. Unless Linux is bolted on top of a traditional embedded RTOS, your system might have a killer file system but be unable to handle asynchronous events in a timely manner."

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