Comprehensive Real-World Guidance for Every Embedded Developer and Engineer This book brings together indispensable knowledge for building efficient, high-value, Linux-based embedded products: information that has never been assembled in one place before. Drawing on years of experience as an embedded Linux consultant and field application engineer, Christopher Hallinan offers solutions for the specific technical issues you’re most likely to face, demonstrates how to build an effective embedded Linux environment, and shows how to use it as productively as possible. Hallinan begins by touring a typical Linux-based embedded system, introducing key concepts and components, and calling attention to differences between Linux and traditional embedded environments. Writing from the embedded developer’s viewpoint, he thoroughly addresses issues ranging from kernel building and initialization to bootloaders, device drivers to file systems. Hallinan thoroughly covers the increasingly popular BusyBox utilities; presents a step-by-step walkthrough of porting Linux to custom boards; and introduces real-time configuration via CONFIG_RT--one of today’s most exciting developments in embedded Linux. You’ll find especially detailed coverage of using development tools to analyze and debug embedded systems--including the art of kernel debugging. Compare leading embedded Linux processors Understand the details of the Linux kernel initialization process Learn about the special role of bootloaders in embedded Linux systems, with specific emphasis on U-Boot Use embedded Linux file systems, including JFFS2--with detailed guidelines for building Flash-resident file system images Understand the Memory Technology Devices subsystem for flash (and other) memory devices Master gdb, KGDB, and hardware JTAG debugging Learn many tips and techniques for debugging within the Linux kernel Maximize your productivity in cross-development environments Prepare your entire development environment, including TFTP, DHCP, and NFS target servers Configure, build, and initialize BusyBox to support your unique requirements About the Author Christopher Hallinan, field applications engineer at MontaVista software, has worked for more than 20 years in assignments ranging from engineering and engineering management to marketing and business development. He spent four years as an independent development consultant in the embedded Linux marketplace. His work has appeared in magazines, including Telecommunications Magazine, Fiber Optics Magazine, and Aviation Digest.
As a kind of opposite to this question: "Is low-level embedded systems programming hard for software developers" I would like to ask for advice on moving from the low level embedded systems to programming for more advanced systems with OS, especially embedded Linux.
I have mostly worked with small microcontroller hardware and software, but now doing software only. My education also consists of hardware and embedded things mainly. I haven't had many programming courses and don't know much about software design or OO coding.
Now I have a big project in my hands that is going to be done in embedded Linux. I have major problems with designing things and keeping things manageable because I haven't really needed to do that before. Also making use of multitasking and blocking calls instead of running "parallel" task from main function is like another world.
What kind of experiences do you have on moving from low-level programming to bigger systems with OS (Linux)? What was hard and how did you solve it? What kind of mindset is needed?
Would it be worthwhile to learn C++ from zero or continue using plain C?
I was in a very similar predicament not too long ago. I bought and read Embedded Linux Primer and it was a very helpful way to make the mental-transition to a high level OS (from a microcontroller perspective).
If you have the "time to 'take your time'," you could obviously make the transition. But if you need to get up to speed quickly, you may want to strongly consider getting a technical mentor to help guide you.
I want to play around with some embedded linux. I want it to be able to run on an x86 processor (for start, it will be running on my regular PC). I have looked online, but the ones I have found seem hard to setup or lack proper documentation. So what are some good embedded x86 compatible linux distros that are easy to setup or have good documentation on how to get things setup?
You might want to look at the Beagle Board.
It's not x86, but decent community of developers, and it will give a good idea how to build and run embedded Linux.(i.e. flash file system, somewhat limited RAM...) and its real cheap!
I can also recommend these two books: