Linux and the DiskOnChip

Running Linux on a DiskOnChip has some pitfalls. M-Systems does distribute binary DiskOnChip patches for the 2.0.x and 2.2.x Linux kernels. I found M-Systems' documentation to be very thorough and their technical support responsive; however, this does not change the fact that these drivers are binary. If you use binary drivers remember two things:

  1. If you distribute statically-linked binary drivers in a system, you are violating the GPL.
  2. Binary drivers will eventually break as they are compiled against new kernels.
With this in mind, there is the Memory Technology Device (MTD) initiative, an open-source group working to provide an interface between memory devices and the Linux system. David Woodhouse has written, with specifications given by M-Systems, a device driver for the DoC2000. I have installed the MTD drivers, and they appear to work well; however, I have not used them long enough to report accurately on their performance. If you are designing an embedded Linux system, I would recommend you save yourself some problems down the road and use the GPL drivers.