Difference between revisions of "Best of Embedded Linux"

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* VTec - has 8-meg. systems
* VTec - has 8-meg. systems
* LeapFrog - 8M RAM, 16M flash
* LeapFrog - 8M RAM, 16M flash
** [[Didj]] was based on the Pollux platform, and had 32M of RAM (and is over 3 years old, running a 2.20 kernel)
*** See [[LeapFrog Pollux Platform: Technical Details]] for specs
* Pixter color - 4MB RAM??
* Pixter color - 4MB RAM??
** has LH75411 (NXP) ARM7TDMI core
** has LH75411 (NXP) ARM7TDMI core

Revision as of 16:00, 20 November 2013


This page is dedicated to documenting the "Best of Embedded Linux".

For now, this means the systems with the:

  • smallest memory footprint
  • fastest boot time

This page also has the most bizarre embedded Linux systems that I've heard of.

I considered adding things like the following, but for various reasons have not done so yet. (One problem is determining how to measure them).

  • most secure
  • most real-time
  • most stable (longest documented runtime?)
  • most power-efficient

One rule is that the "best" system must be an actual, shipping product. (I relaxed this rule for the boot-time category, until I can confirm their use in an actual product).


My criteria for smallest system is the one with the least RAM, running in an actual useful product, with a recent (2.6.11 or above) kernel.

In October of 2013, I postulated that the following product was the smallest Linux product I knew of: TP-Link MR3020

  • What is it: WiFi hotspot
  • Flash/Rom: 4M flash chip
    • partitions: 128K U-Boot
    • 1M kernel
    • 2.8M root filesystem
  • RAM: 32M DRAM

See http://lwn.net/Articles/568943


These were other products or systems mentioned at the ELCE 2013 status talk (BOF section):

  • VTec - has 8-meg. systems
  • LeapFrog - 8M RAM, 16M flash
  • Pixter color - 4MB RAM??
    • has LH75411 (NXP) ARM7TDMI core
    • Came out in 2005, which makes it too old to qualify for a "best of" category (in 2013)
    • According to Pixter, it only has 32K SRAM (but maybe more DRAM)
    • It's not clear that it runs Linux natively from the manufacturer - maybe there was an add-on Linux cartridge (which would also disqualify this product from being a "best of" contender.
  • memento (sp?) click?
  • EFM32
    • ARM M3 (32-bit, no-MMU) processor, can run uClinux from Pengutronix (v3.2)
    • Teaser video for Giat Gecko Development Kit uses 4MB RAM (with 775KB used after boot-up) at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WS3pvsOmp4
    • So far, I can't find any shipped products running this.

Fastest booting

My criteria for fastest boot is one with the least time to go from cold boot (no power whatsoever) to first available product use. This includes the time for bootloader, user space, video startup (if applicable), until the product's primary use is fully available to the user (e.g. when a picture can actually be taken, for a digital camera).

Other candidates

  • Chevy volt - need details
  • Volvo - need details

Most Bizarre

Linux on 8-bit AVR

Yann Morin <yann.morin.1998@free.fr> wrote:

Not sure it really applies, but there was this crazy (russian?) guy who managed to run Linux on an 8-bit micro-controller:


TL;DR version: The guy wrote a basic VM running on a 8-bit AVR, emulating the ARM instruction set (armv5, PXA255). That runs a small hypervisor to provide basic functionality via hypercalls.

Linux running in your browser in an emulator in Javascript

See http://bellard.org/jslinux/ To see Linux booting in an emulator written in Javascript, in your browser.


Please add more information to this page. If you know of an extreme use of Linux, please add it.