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Linux Embedded devices

Understanding Real Time Linux Architecture ( RTOS )

Linux can be used a real time operating system ( RTOS ) for thermostats, household appliance controllers, mobile telephones, industrial robots, spacecraft, industrial control and scientific research equipment.

Linux is not only a perfect platform for experimentation and characterization of real-time algorithms, you can also find real time in Linux today in the standard off-the-shelf 2.6 kernel. You can get soft real-time performance from the standard kernel or, with a little more work (kernel patch), you can build hard real-time applications.

This article explores some of the Linux architectures that support real-time characteristics and discusses what it really means to be a real-time architecture. Several solutions endow Linux with real-time capabilities, and in this article author examine the thin-kernel (or micro-kernel) approach, the nano-kernel approach, and the resource-kernel approach. Finally, author describe the real-time capabilities in the standard 2.6 kernel and show you how to enable and use them.

Linux / UNIX minicom Serial Communication Program

Linux comes with many serial text and gui based serial communication programs. My favorite is minicom - friendly menu driven serial communication program.

If you are addicted to DOS / Windows TELIX (a telecommunications program originally written for DOS and was released in 1986), minicom is for you under Linux / UNIX.

minicom Common features / usage

=> Setting up a remote serial console
=> Access a computer / server if the LAN is down
=> Connect to embedded Linux / BSD device via null modem cable
=> Connect to Cisco routers for configuration
=> Connect to dump device i.e. device w/o keyboard and mouse
=> Dialing directory with auto-redial
=> Support for UUCP-style lock files on serial devices
=> Separate script language interpreter
=> Capture to file
=> Multiple users with individual configurations

Let us see how to configure minicom for my Soekris net4801 Single Board Computer / embedded Linux device.
[click to continue…]

Tutorial: Ubuntu Linux on a Handheld / Mobile Device

Ubuntu Linux is a great server and desktop distribution for x86 computers, but did you know that it's also ideal for handheld and mobile embedded devices?

Ubuntu's latest release, Gutsy Gibbon, now includes support for the embedded and mobile spaces with the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded (UME) project. Get to know the UME project, and find out how to get started. The primary objective of this tutorial is to get you quickly acquainted with the Ubuntu embedded framework and tools. Along the way, you learn about several tools and new approaches to Linux kernel configuration and environment construction. You also learn about some other projects with goals similar to the UME project.


  • Introduction to the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded (UME) project, its architecture, and its use
  • How to install and test the Hildon desktop
  • How to build a development environment for a mobile device
  • Other mobile platforms

=> Explore Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded [ free registration required ]

Asus E-DT / E-Monitor / E-TV – Linux Based Low Cost Devices

Asus is extending the idea of Low-cost Linux based computer and gadgets to desktop PCs, TVs, and Monitors.

Asus has named the upcoming additions to its Eee PC family of low-cost computers, soon to be augmented with a small form-factor desktop machine, an all-in-one system and a TV. The details are as follows:

a) E-DT - Desktop PC, No Monitor - Cost between $200-300.

b) E-Monitor - 19-21" screen all in one desktop computer like iMac - Cost around $499.

c) E-TV - 42" Plasma with computer technology on board running Linux.

More information available here. What do you thing? Would you go for such cheap TV / Pc?

Nokia to Acquire Trolltech For USD 150 Million

Nokia to Acquire Trolltech Open Source Product Company

Recently, Sun acquired MySQL for USD 1 billion. Today Trolltech announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia to acquire Trolltech for USD 150 million. Congratulations, Eirik, Haavard and the crew.

Trolltech created Qt, a multi-platform C++ Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) framework which also includes packages such as data structures and a networking library. The popular free Unix desktop environment KDE uses. From the press release:
Trolltech Open Source Product Company

Nokia and Trolltech ASA today announced that they have entered into an agreement that Nokia will make a public voluntary tender offer to acquire Trolltech (www.trolltech.com), a company headquartered in Oslo, Norway and publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Trolltech is a recognized software provider with world-class software development platforms and frameworks. In addition to the key software assets, its talented team will play an important role in accelerating the implementation of Nokia's software strategy.

Nokia will offer NOK 16 per share in cash. The board of directors of Trolltech has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept Nokia's Offer. Holders of 35,024,830 shares, representing approximately 66,43 % of Trolltech's issued shares and votes have as of January 27, 2008 irrevocably undertaken to accept the Offer. Haavard Nord, Vuonislahti Invest AS (controlled by Eirik Chambe-Eng), Teknoinvest and certain funds managed by Index Ventures are among the shareholders who have agreed to tender their shares to Nokia.

Digital Electronic Stethoscope Powered by uClinux ( Embedded Linux ) Distribution

uClinux - Embedded Linux/Microcontroller Project Logo

A team of electrical and computer engineering students at Calvin College is designing a digital electronic stethoscope running uClinux (pronounced "you-see-linux") as its operating system. The team has chosen the Coldfire MCF5275 Microprocessor from Freescale. This is a 32-bit microprocessor with built-in USB Device, Ethernet, harware encryption, and eMAC. The eMAC (Enhanced Multiply Accumulate Unit) allows the processor to perform the intensive calculations required to do digital filtering and audio compression.The team has decided to use µClinux as the project operating system. µClinux is a very small (1 MB) open-source Linux operating system that will run from flash memory. The team has successfully compiled the µClinux kernel and is running it on the development board.

Digital electronic stethoscope powered by uClinux ( Embedded Linux ) distribution
(Fig 01: Simple, accurate, and easy to use electronic stethoscope! [Image credit - project home page])

The device is in its early stages of development and the project proposal and feasibility study is completed.

=> An electronic stethoscope powered by uClinux (via ./)

How to use a Bluetooth phone with Linux

This short guide explains how to use Bluetooth to pair a mobile phone with a Linux desktop computer and use Bitpim to access phone data:

My desktop computer doesn't have built-in Bluetooth support, so I used a cheap USB Bluetooth adapter. I started by installing GNOME's Bluetooth tools. On Ubuntu, that is the gnome-bluetooth package. I also installed the gnome-vfs-obexftp package, which makes it possible to use GNOME's file manager to transfer files between your computer and a Bluetooth-enabled phone that supports the Object Exchange (OBEX) protocol.