Is embedded Linux the right solution?

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I am hoping to build a device using the Cypress EZ-HOST chip that
basically acts as a USB host, extracts data from a USB mass storage
device and sends it on demand to a codec chip.  It will also have some
form of diagnostic display, probably an LCD.

At the heart of the EZ-HOST is Cypress' CY16 RISC processor with 4K x 16
internal ROM, which contains a built-in BIOS, and 8K x 16 internal RAM
for code and data buffering.  It also has support for external memory.

This device will be a prototype and I need to balance the cost of
additional hardware carefully with development time.

As a result, I should be grateful if someone could assist with the

i)   Would implementing embedded Linux, such as uClinux, be feasible
with this chip?

ii)  Does embedded Linux function just like "regular Linux" in respect
of  USB mass storage devices?  IE automatically register them as, for
example, /dev/sda ?

iii) How much memory should I expect embedded Linux to need?

iv)  Can I expect implementing embedded Linux to speed up development
significantly over implementing my own firmware using the built-in BIOS?

v)   Has anyone got any experience with the Cypress EZ-HOST / CY16?

Sorry for all the questions! :-)

Many thanks,


Re: Is embedded Linux the right solution?

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Probably not.  IIRC this thing uses a 16 bit sparc; Linux is mostly
successful on things with 32 bit cores and ideally an MMU.

Furthermore, your application doesn't seem to fit Linux (or BSD)
strengths.  You don't need any networking, a Unix-like process model
or APIs, etc.  Almost any embedded OS will provide the basic DOS
filesystem support that you do need; Cypress or a partner will
undoubtedly be able to provide the necessary USB stack and toolchain.
Beyond that, your project will mainly involve LCD, codec, and button

I suggest asking Cypress what software they ship in their development
kit, and what other software they can provide or suggest.  That path
is vastly less likely to produce a software disaster than attempting
to use Linux in a space-constrained embedded project for no apparent

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I've never used uclinux as such, but for many applications it appears
to be measured in hundreds of kilobytes and up.  See the mailinglists

Standard Linux takes a few megabytes or up.  *Way* up.

Grant Taylor - gtaylor<at> - /
   Linux Printing Website and HOWTO: /

Re: Is embedded Linux the right solution?
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Many thanks for confirming my suspicions!  I spent some time researching
it and concluded that my main reason for considering embedded Linux
wasn't for any technical reason, but enjoy fiddling with Linux and
thought it would be good fun if it worked!

I now realise that would be an incredibly big *IF* on that hardware...

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Having spent the weekend trawling websites, I now agree! :-)

Thanks for your time!

Take care,


Re: Is embedded Linux the right solution?

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The AT43USB370 comes complete with USB Mass Storage Drivers.
If you want to play with Embedded Linux and USB Host, then the AT91RM9200
ARM9 controller might be what you are looking for.
Connects very nicely to my USB Flash Drive

Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Is embedded Linux the right solution?
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Ah-ha! :-)  Excellent stuff... could dramatically cut down my
development time!  Many many thanks! :-)


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