Flutterby™! : Embedded update

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Embedded update

2003-02-06 22:47:19+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Warning: Dan geeks out here! I remember when Mike and I appropriated a 25MHz 386 with 8 Meg of RAM and something like 30 meg of disk space to be "arrakis.chattanooga.net", the Chattanooga On-line name server.[1] We were so proud when we managed to squeeze X on that machine, although it swapped like a mofo when we did. Well, my "limited machine" these days is that recently oft-mentioned Via Eden, over 20 times faster, with 16 times the RAM, but the disk is CompactFlash, so not much bigger and quite a bit slower. And since this is going to be deployed as embedded hardware I want nothing writing to the disk and as little as possible running.

So I'm learning a lot about what goes on in between the kernel and the prompt, and getting a chance to build an installation from source code. The LILO mini-HOWTO helped me build a disk that'd boot in an entirely different environment from where I created it. Although I initially was just going to boot straight into my app, I discovered that it's handy to have a minimal environment on the machine. Busybox, "The Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux", provides an environment which lets a basic shell run and gives limited (and small) versions of most of the standard utilities (just remember to run ldd and copy the dependent libraries over too).

I'm not sure yet if I'll use a small web server like thttpd or a USB serial converter to talk to this from other machines.

[1] This was the machine whose[2] "welcome" message referenced a medicated bipolar gun-toting sysadmin with lots of frequent flyer miles. Even in those days of telnet I don't think we had too many cracking attempts.

[2] Don't anthropomorphize computers. They hate that.

[ related topics: Free Software Open Source Robotics Chattanooga Embedded Devices Guns red neck culture Embedded Devices - Via Eden Embedded Devices - Linux ]

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#Comment made: 2003-02-07 19:54:17+00 by: meuon

I'm still a medicated bi-polar gun toting sysadmin.. with a couple of large fast trucks though..