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Re: Beginning Embedded Development
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Take a look at http://www.debian.org/ports/arm /, especially
http://www.cyrius.com/debian/iop/ and http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2 /.

If you want to create something similar to the NSLU2, you could begin with
one. To add other USB ports, you could simply take a (relatively cheap) USB
hub, strip any casing and include it into the box; something like in:
http://beta.ivancover.com/wiki/index.php/Eee_PC_Internal_Upgrades . This is
for the EEE PC, though.

I don't think you will get your do-it-yourself-solution any cheaper than
this. Because - what others said - you won't get a board with the components
you'd like for anything like 100$ ; and even with a budget of 200$ you'd be
severely limited.

You can, of course, do with the NSLU2 whatever you would do with your custom
board. And, as it's ARM architecture, it's a real embedded device. Not to
forget - it is supported by a known Linux distribution, which means, that,
if you don't have the time or the will to develop any further, you can still
get a working and usable system.

Best regards,
Sebastian



Re: Beginning Embedded Development
Hi,

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As a wee bit of confusion seems to be creeping in, £100-£150 is equivalent
to $200-£300 today (Thursday).

Sorry, no suggestions on hardware as we use our own here.

HTH,
John McCallum,
Edinburgh


Re: Beginning Embedded Development
Thanks to everyone for their replies so far.

I'd like to reiterate Ryan's point...we're both awash with PCs...and
are looking for a new challenge.  This isn't an exercise in trying to
develop something on the cheap - it's simply a case of not throwing
away several hundred quid each on something that's not going to do
what we want - we're trying to do our research first to make sure we
get the right gear first time.

Thanks again for your replies

Ben



Re: Beginning Embedded Development
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Take a look at OpenEmbedded linux distro. I think it has everything
you need. It has support for a lot of small SBC:s and you can easily
build your own customized distro which fits (kernel + rootfs) into the
flash (no cf/sd-card needed). You can start with full-featured SBC and
later on scale your application down if you need to (i think oe has
support for really low end machines with 8Mb flash). Or you can do
development on a regular desktop linux if your application relies on
the standard linux stuff.

Re: Beginning Embedded Development
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Hey Ryan and Ben,

I'm currently working on a project based on an Atmel AT91SAM9260 ARM9
processor and am very happy with it so far.  There is a great deal of
active development going on with this processor family, and it's
fairly well supported in Linux.  There is also a very active community
of developers on this platform at www.at91.com and on the ARM-Linux
mailing list.  I'm using the development board supplied by Atmel,
which is quite expensive, but Olimex has recently released a board
which fits most of your requirements: http://olimex.com/dev/sam9-L9260.html
.  The board includes a working Linux binary for initial
experimentation (though you'll inevitably want to get your own custom
kernel working) and at EURO 140, is well within your price range.  It only
has a single USB host port, but you can get a cheap USB hub to expand
it if need be.

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Knowledge.  I recommend you purchase a few books on embedded Linux
development.  I can personally recommend Linux Device Drivers, which
you can read online for free at http://lwn.net/Kernel/LDD3/ (though I
prefer a hard copy) and Linux Kernel Development by Robert Love (this
is not specific to embedded Linux, so your prior Linux experience may
be enough).  I'm also currently reading Linux Appliance Design by Bob
Smith et al and have found it incredibly useful so far.  It gives an
excellent description of a typical embedded Linux system with lots of
tips that you just can't find online (believe me, I've looked).

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The Linux documentation project ( http://tldp.org ), various mailing
lists, linuxjournal.com, kerneltrap.org, kernelnewbies.org,
linuxdevices.com, Usenet (which you're obviously aware of already),
and I'm sure there are tons more.

Good luck and have fun!
Alex


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