An Introduction to Using Linux in Embedded Systems
Linux is one of the most widely used operating systems for embedded systems development. It is used in TVs, cellphones, smart home devices, and many more IoT devices. The benefits of using Linux are:
1. Linux is Royalty-Free
As Linux is royalty-free, it appeals to a lot of people. There might be other costs that are linked with using it. It requires attention in detail as it’s not a drop-in, hand-off, operating system. The other operating systems are alike but the main difference is that you have to pay the vendor to make it work. For example, let’s consider the cost of owning a tractor. So, we look at the actual price and think that’s the cost of the actual Tractor. But actually, the true cost includes insurance, gas, repairs, and other maintenance. For an operating system, the cost includes the license fees according to the seat, the cost to have the creation of drivers, the cost to get bugs fixed, and the cost to have developers create your device-specific applications accordingly. By using a vendor, the possibility of incurring all those costs are more.
2. Linux is Open Source
Being open-source, Linux provides you control over your path regarding product development. If any vital bugs need to be fixed with operating systems, you tend to work with the vendor to fix them. Actually, the vendor’s priorities are not always aligned with your priorities. But with Linux, all it is required to do is hire some kernel developers to fix the problems.
3. Linux has Almost Everything
Linux supports all programming libraries, languages, tools and services that are required for embedded systems. If you want to use c, c++, .Net, perl, Go, Java, php, Python, Linux has it. If you need a web server also, Linux has it. If you require communication to devices over USB or create a USB device, Linux also has it. If you need a graphical toolkit, Linux also has it.
4. Linux also Supports Hardware
There are many chances that Linux already supports your hardware platform. Linux has the largest base of supporting and compatible hardware platforms. If you’re developing for an embedded platform or SoM, SoC, Linux has a high likelihood of supporting it. Linux also supports MIPS, PowerPC ARM X86, and a lot more.
5. Developers Know Linux
Developers are highly familiar with the Linux ecosystem, as it is already used across multiple systems / applications, it is open source and has been in use for many years now. This makes it easy to identify and hire the right talent based on your needs, due to higher availability of talent.
6. Linux has Greater Focus
Linux is used widely across systems and devices, hence a lot of the expertise available across various key areas in linux. This also makes us available a very large pool of support forums and communities where expert users across the global community of Linux users help us resolve the issue or problem any other user is facing.
7. Linux uses Standards
Linux conforms not only to some but also many of the standards such as FHS, SVr4, BSD, POSIX, and more. This means that you are not confined or locked into Linux, based on some reasons you will find it will be much easier to migrate your applications as they use some standard interfaces.
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