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O'Reilly Releases "Building Embedded Linux Systems": This Book, and an Internet Connection, Are All You Need

May 2, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--Nowhere has Linux established itself so successfully as the operating system of choice as in the area of embedded systems. And embedded systems are everywhere--from toasters and cell phones to a car's ABS system and water-filtration plants. The widespread interest and enthusiasm generated by Linux's successful use in embedded systems has created a certain amount of "buzz" around the subject, yet professional developers are still seeking answers to fundamental questions regarding the basic methods and techniques used to build embedded systems based on the Linux kernel. Most information available to them either relies on the use of pre-packaged development tools or covers only one very precise aspect of running Linux on an embedded target.

Building Embedded Linux Systems by Karim Yaghmour (O'Reilly, US $44.95) takes another approach. This book shows readers how to design and build their own embedded systems using Linux as the kernel and freely available open source tools as the framework. Written by an active member of the open source community, the book is structured to gradually introduce readers to the intricacies of embedded Linux, with detailed information and examples in each chapter that culminate in describing how Linux is actually put on an embedded device.

"Although embedded systems are central to our day-to-day lives, most embedded systems are developed following little or no methodology at all," explains Yaghmour. "Recently, a few universities have begun to put together embedded system curriculum so that students are taught about embedded system development early. I think this trend will continue and that the development of embedded systems will increasingly rely on more formal methods. My book helps in this regard by providing the reader with a method for developing and specifying embedded systems based on the Linux OS."

"Building Embedded Linux Systems" covers such topics as system components, an overview of the kernel architecture, debugging, and system initialization. Details are provided for various chips and other hardware, along with useful tools for monitoring and debugging. All explanations rely on the use of open source and free software packages. By presenting how to build the operating system components from pristine sources and how to find more documentation or help, this book simplifies the task of keeping complete control over one's embedded operating system, whether for technical or sound financial reasons. All that is required--in addition to this book--is an internet connection to download the source code of the various components that will be used. The book features procedures for:

  • Building your own GNU development toolchain
  • Selecting, configuring, building, and installing a target-specific kernel
  • Creating a complete target root filesystem
  • Setting up, manipulating, and using solid-state storage devices
  • Installing and configuring a bootloader for the target
  • Debugging your embedded system using a wide range of tools and techniques

This book should be essential reading for embedded system designers at all levels of experience who intend to use Linux in current or future projects, or would like to become familiar with the tools and techniques involved. Certain to become the authoritative guide on the subject, "Building Embedded Linux Systems" is the only book that provides everything developers need for understanding how and why embedded Linux systems are built the way they are.

"If you are working with or developing embedded Linux systems, or plan to in the future, you should add this book to your library. It is well written, well informed, and does not shy away from the difficult topics like how to build a working toolchain, or how to remotely debug your applications. I really think this book is set to become the 'Linux Device Drivers' of the embedded Linux world...highly recommended." --Eric Andersen, maintainer and main developer for uClibc, BusyBox, and TinyLogin

Additional Resources:

Building Embedded Linux Systems
Karim Yaghmour
ISBN 0-596-00222-x, 391 pages, $44.95 (US), $69.95 (CAN), 31.95 (UK)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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