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Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development Series

Arnold Series Editor Robbins

'Real world code from real world applications'

Open Source technology has revolutionized the computing world. Many large-scale projects are in production use worldwide, such as Apache, MySQL, and Postgres, with programmers writing applications in a variety of languages including Perl, Python, and PHP. These technologies are in use on many different systems, ranging from proprietary systems, to Linux systems, to traditional UNIX systems, to mainframes.

The Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development Series is designed to bring you the best of these Open Source technologies. Not only will you learn how to use them for your projects, but you will learn from them. By seeing real code from real applications, you will learn the best practices of Open Source developers the world over.

Titles currently in the series include:

Linux ® Debugging and Performance Tuning: Tips and Techniques

Steve Best

0131492470, Paper, ©2006

Understanding AJAX: Using JavaScript to Create Rich Internet Applications

Joshua Eichorn

0132216353, Paper, ©2007

Embedded Linux Primer

Christopher Hallinan

0131679848, Paper, ©2007

SELinux by Example

Frank Mayer, David Caplan, Karl MacMillan

0131963694, Paper, ©2007

UNIX to Linux ® Porting

Alfredo Mendoza, Chakarat Skawratananond, Artis Walker

0131871099, Paper, ©2006

Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals

Arnold Robbins

0131429647, Paper, ©2004

The Linux ® Kernel Primer: A Top-Down Approach for x86 and PowerPC Architectures

Claudia Salzberg, Gordon Fischer, Steven Smolski

0131181637, Paper, ©2006

Foreword

Computers are everywhere.

This fact, of course, is not a surprise to anyone who hasn't been living in a cave during the past 25 years or so. And you probably know that computers aren't just on our desktops, in our kitchens, and, increasingly, in our living rooms holding our music collections. They're also in our microwave ovens, our regular ovens, our cellphones, and our portable digital music players.

And if you're holding this book, you probably know a lot, or are interested in learning more about, these embedded computer systems.

Until not too long ago, embedded systems were not very powerful, and they ran special-purpose, proprietary operating systems that were very different from industry-standard ones. (Plus, they were much harder to develop for.) Today, embedded computers are as powerful as, if not more than, a modern home computer. (Consider the high-end gaming consoles, for example.)

Along with this power comes the capability to run a full-fledged operating system such as Linux. Using a system such as Linux for an embedded product makes a lot of sense. A large community of developers are making it possible. The development environment and the deployment environment can be surprisingly similar, which makes your life as a developer much easier. And you have both the security of a protected address space that a virtual memory-based system gives you, and the power and flexibility of a multiuser, multiprocess system. That's a good deal all around.

For this reason, companies all over the world are using Linux on many devices such as PDAs, home entertainment systems, and even, believe it or not, cellphones!

I'm excited about this book. It provides an excellent 'guide up the learning curve' for the developer who wants to use Linux for his or her embedded system. It's clear, well-written, and well-organized; Chris's knowledge and understanding show through at every turn. It's not only informative and helpfulit's also enjoyable to read.

I hope you both learn something and have fun at the same time. I know I did.

Arnold Robbins

Series Editor

Preface

Although many good books cover Linux, none brings together so many dimensions of information and advice specifically targeted to the embedded Linux developer. Indeed, there are some very good books written about the Linux kernel, Linux system administration, and so on. You will find references right here in this book to many of the ones that I consider to be at the top of their categories.

Much of the material presented in this book is motivated by questions I've received over the years from development engineers, in my capacity as an embedded Linux consultant and my present role as a Field Application Engineer for Monta Vista Software, the leading vendor of embedded Linux distributions.

Embedded Linux presents the experienced software engineer with several unique challenges. First, those with many years of experience with legacy real-time operating systems (RTOSes) find it difficult to transition their thinking from those environments to Linux. Second, experienced application developers often have difficulty understanding the relative complexities of a cross-development environment.

Although this is a primer, intended for developers new to embedded Linux, I am confident that even developers who are experienced in embedded Linux will find some useful tips and techniques that I have learned over the years.

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