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This page has information about developing Embedded Linux, including links to toolchains, debuggers and other development tools. Also, it has links to pages with debugging tips.

Development Tools

Logic Analyzers


Build Systems

Embedded Linux Distributions


Debugging is one of the most common activities of an embedded developper. Here are some debuggers howto and links:

Memory Debuggers

See Memory Debuggers

Other debugging tools(not debuggers)

Integrated Development Environments

  • Eclipse - Powerfull IDE written in JAVA.
  • jEdit - Editor written in JAVA which can be expanded to a full IDE with plug-ins.
  • KDevelop - Standard IDE for KDE.
  • Emacs - Powerful IDE, extensible in LISP, ships with modes to integrates with SCM (GIT, SVN, CVS...), build systems, debugger and even fancy multi-window with ECB.
  • VIm - Powerful IDE, extensible with scripting, can use various modules for completion and more.
  • KScope - Cscope based source editing environment with KDE.
  • Anjuta - IDE with nice plugin support
  • QtCreator is an nice IDE which has code completion, remote deployment (with version 2.3) and Outline view. It also has an VIm mode. Its menus are much cleaner than these from Eclipse and its easier to get started with this ide than Eclipse for that very reason.
  • Embest IDE for ARM


Tracers and Profilers


A list of benchmark results would be useful:

Source Management Tools

There are a number of tools for managing patches, which are useful for different tasks. There's now a whole page devoted to this. See Source Management Tools

For some simple tools for managing patches, see Diff And Patch Tricks

Test Systems

Developer Resources

mailing lists, web sites, etc.

Articles on kernel subsystems

  • The TTY Demystified - excellent explanation of kernel tty system
  • Device Trees - a structure used to describe system hardware at startup - can be passed or modified by firmware, or built into kernel





See also Category:Books

Reference Material


  • [1] - The (Original) Linux Link Tech Show, weekly Linux podcast with archive going back to 2003.
  • [2] - Timesys LinuxLink Radio. (Despite the name, it's has nothing to do with the older Linux Link podcast, and it's not on the radio. No longer updates on a regular schedule, but the archives are available.)

Code Style Tips

Debugging Tips

  • See the Kernel Debugging Tips page
  • See also Debugging Makefiles
  • Printk
  • Debug user-space initialization:
    • If you get a panic - "not syncing: Attempted to kill init!" it can be for many different reasons. Try setting CONFIG_DEBUG_USER=y in your .config and pass 'user_debug=255' in the kernel command line. That will give you a more verbose output about why user space programs crash. Thanks to Daniel Mack on the linux-arm-kernel mailing list for this tip.

gdb tips - running gdb with gdbserver

In order to debug an ethernet connected target system from a host we could use gdbserver.

Initial preparations:

  • Copy gdbserver to target (if not there already)
  • Change file permissions to execute
  • Make sure libthread_db is installed in target /lib.

(libthread_db is found in <gcc_toolchain_path>/arm-none-linux-gnueabi/libc/usr/lib/

  • Run gdbserver on target
gdbserver :4000 <application>

Gdbserver could also be run in multiprocess mode where applications are started or processes connected to remotely, on the fly.

gdbserver --multi :4000

Run crosscompiled gdb on host (<gcc_toolchain_path>/bin/arm-none-linux-gnueabi-gdb <application> Issue the following commands (non multiprocess example):

target remote <target_ip>:4000
set solib-absolute-prefix  <rootfs_path>/rootfs
set solib-search-path  <targetlib_path>/lib: <targetlib_path>/usr/lib
break main

If we use multiprocess mode:

file <application>
target extended remote <target_ip>:4000
set remote exec-file <path/application>
set solib-absolute-prefix  <rootfs_path>/rootfs
set solib-search-path  <targetlib_path>/lib: <targetlib_path>/usr/lib
break main

gdb tips - get element size

Sometimes, with complex structures (arrays of structs containing nested structs or arrays), it is hard to determine the actual size of a particular element.

You can use gdb with a program image to get the size of structures, by looking at the offset of an element of the structure relative to an address of zero:

Here are some examples:

  ${CROSS_COMPILE}gdb vmlinux
GNU gdb (GDB) 7.2
Copyright (C) 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "--host=i686-pc-linux-gnu --target=arm-sony-linux-gnueabi".
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
(gdb) p &((struct poll_wqueues *)0)->polling_task
$6 = (struct task_struct **) 0xc
(gdb) p/d &((struct poll_wqueues *)0)->error
$4 = 20

the second example could be read as: "print, in decimal, the address (offset) of the element error using address 0 cast as a pointer to struct poll_wqueues"

'pt' is the first element of struct poll_wqueues. Here is an example using array offsets, showing that struct poll_wqueues is 604 bytes long.

(gdb) p/d &((struct poll_wqueues *)0)[0]->pt
$2 = 0
(gdb) p/d &((struct poll_wqueues *)0)[1]->pt
$3 = 604

GCC Tips and Tricks

  • This section of GCC Tips is a collection of tips and tricks helpful for embedded developers

Network Setup

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