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Building Embedded Linux Systems by Karim Yaghmour

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Main System Applications

Beyond the kernel's functionality and the root filesystem's structure, Linux inherits Unix's very rich command set. The problem is that a standard workstation or server distribution comes equipped with thousands of command binaries, each providing its own set of capabilities. Obviously, developers cannot be expected to cross-compile such a large amount of binaries one by one, nor do most embedded systems require such a large body of binaries.

There are, therefore, two possibilities: either we choose a few select standard commands, or we try to group as many commands as possible into a very few trimmed-down applications that implement the essential overall functionality. In the following, we will start by discussing the first approach. I do not favor this approach, however, because it is tedious at best. Instead, I will mostly focus on the second approach and the various projects that implement it. In particular, we will discuss BusyBox, TinyLogin, and Embutils, which are the main packages used for this purpose.

Complete Standard Applications

If you would like to selectively include some of the standard applications found in mainstream distributions, your best bet is to start with the Linux From Scratch project located at http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/. This project aims at providing explanations and links to packages to help you build your own custom distributions. The Linux From Scratch book available through the project's web site is its main documentation. ...

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