What's Inside

by Phil Hughes

Welcome to ELJ number four. When I started working on this column I was thinking about how fast time seemed to be moving. It seems like I just wrote the column for issue three a short time ago. Things just keep moving so fast in the embedded-OS space it seems like more time must have passed. I guess Doc Searls has the same feeling. See his article, ``Living on Protoreal Time'' on page 8.

Last month I attended the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco. It was a great chance to get to meet people from other embedded companies and see how embedded Linux was doing. I found a lot of companies that were using Linux as the embedded OS in their products. If their use seemed interesting, I twisted their arms to get them to write articles for ELJ. Expect to see quite a few case studies in the next couple of issues.

Of particular interest was the Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) meeting. The idea of an embedded-Linux standard had been out there, but there was no serious work up until the show. At the meeting, the vendors started talking to each other and the ball got rolling very quickly. I asked Murry Shohat of ELC if he would put together the story of what happened and what will happen. The article on page 46 by Murry and Inder Singh is the result. This is important stuff--I encourage you to get involved.

The product on the cover is the Galleo. Linux Journal Editor in Chief, Richard Vernon, saw the unit at CeBIT in Germany and was excited about it. I contacted the manufacturer and the article by David Benenstein tells the story better than I do (see page 14). The system in the picture is a preproduction unit. By the time you see this magazine the Galleo should be available.

Many people have thought of Linux as an x86-based OS. While most Linux desktops run on x86 processors, that has more to do with the commodity nature of the common PC than with where Linux can fit. In this issue you will see what I mean. The first example is the Galleo. Next is Cyclades PPC-based terminal server (see page 30). If those two success stories get you thinking about x86 alternatives, ``Embedded Linux on PowerPC'' should give you some insight into getting your software up and running on a non-x86 platform (see page 36).

Finally, there are lots of embedded systems where some sort of mass storage is needed, but rotating storage just isn't the right answer. If you have been thinking of using a Flash filesystem, make sure you read ``Flash Filesystems for Embedded Linux Systems'' (see page 22). There is more than one choice, and this article shows you the choices and how your right solution is likely to be a combination of choices.


email: phil@ssc.com

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