Mainstream Linux is about to gain the ability to go much more deeply embedded without the need for specialized toolchains. This new capability is due in part to the contributions of uClinux developers world-wide, including a number of engineers working at SnapGear Inc. Previously Linux generally required an MMU (Memory Management Unit) to operate. However with millions of embedded processors on the market that lack such luxuries due to price constraints developers have been forced to either use alternate operating systems or seek alternatives such as uClinux.
Greg Ungerer, Chief Software Wizard at Snap Gear, said: “It is great to see the unification of Linux and uClinux – developers will win by being able to produce highly scalable products while taking advantage of the abundance of open source applications and device drivers written to the Linux API.”
Earlier this month Linus Torvalds announced inclusions for revision 2.5.46 of the Linux kernel incorporating a number of uClinux patches. The specific patches included:
- m68knommu arch – support for 68K architecture such as Motorola ColdFireTM
- v850 arch – the NEC V850 target
- binfmt_flat loader – the uClinux flat file loader
- Motorola MCF5272 ethernet driver – integrated on-chip support
- uClinux MTD romfs map driver – integral to boot-loading and executing from Flash memory
SnapGear Inc. has been instrumental in the progression of uClinux, chiefly by way of practical application and inclusion of this technology in the popular Snap Gear VPN Firewall appliances. World-wide OEM partners and customers of SnapGear Inc. enjoy advanced, highly integrated solutions that are above all highly robust and intrinsically secure for attachment to the Internet. These products take advantage of the inherent stability and security afforded by Linux and uClinux.
uClinux, or “Micro-Controller Linux”, is the popular variant of mainstream Linux specifically for MMU-less processors and deeply embedded systems, adopted by open source companies such as Red Hat and Lineo, and as well as many Internet appliance manufacturers. Not a separate fork but rather a “shadowing” of the mainstream Linux kernel, uClinux is the world’s favorite embedded Linux choice for system architectures lacking a MMU (Memory Management Unit) such as DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and SoC (System On Chip) embedded systems.
Many commercial applications of uClinux have become possible due to the small footprint (as little as half a megabyte of RA
M for a complete multi-tasking kernel and networking stack.) It is now possible to build Linux appliances as small as an inch
by an inch with 4Mb each of Flash and RAM yielding Internet-ready products. For more information on uClinux please visit www.snapgear.com/uclinux.html. Embedded developers may find useful resources at www.ucdot.org
About SnapGear Inc.
SnapGear Inc. produces Snap Gear VPN Firewall Appliances designed to provide Internet security and privacy of communications for small to medium enterprises. SnapGear Inc. also does complete custom engineering and provides turnkey development, design, manufacturing, and fulfillment services for a variety of customers across the globe. For more information on Snap Gear products and services please visit www.snapgear.com
“Snap Gear” is a trademark of SnapGear Inc. All other products, services, companies and publications are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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