Thoughts on ELinOS?

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Hi,  I'm looking at the ELinOS Embedded Linux dev kit.  Has anyone here used
it?  If so I'd like to hear some thoughts/opinions about it.  How well does
the development kit work?  Buggy or stable?  Is it a high quality product?
Would you buy it again?

I'm looking at a few different options for a PC/104 based system.  I'm not a
Linux configuration expert so something like ELinOS definitely appeals to
me.  I could try and put everything together myself using,
busyboxy, GRUB etc, but our project doesn't have a lot of time for tinkering


Re: Thoughts on ELinOS?
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Hmm. I would not call it a development kit (like an IDE). I think it's
more a "distribution generator"

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I did not use the latest version. I found it working very well. But
since there are _many_ ways to set up your embedded distribution, it out
of the box (of course) did not cover everything I wanted to do (e.g.
remote booting via Ethernet). So I needed do do a lot of extensions to
ELinOS. While this is very well possible, the documentation on how to do
this is lacking. The people supporting it were very knowledgeable and
helpful, but of course regarding the very low price of the product, they
needed to limit the amount of support given. So be prepared to buy
additional support from them once you need to do special unexpected

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Definitely. Once I can restart the Linux project I was doing some time
ago using ELinOS, I'll upgrade to the latest version.


Re: Thoughts on ELinOS?
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Hi:  We have used ELINOS to bring an AMD520 PC104 board into operation
with ELINOS 2.1 (previous version).  We started with some Unix but limited
Linux experience, and were able to produce the kernel variant which we needed
in a very short time.  We found the ELK tool also to be useful as a learning
aid for understanding the kernel options and file system.  It was  relatively
straightforward to use standard Linux config and make scripts in the ELINOS
cross-development environment to add functionality such as ssl/ssh.

I agree fully with M. Schnell's assessment for kernel level extensions.  Another
possible problem is that while the (2.1) distribution is very close to standard
2.4.18, the differences are not documented (for the low-price version, at least)
which gives something of a black-box or cat in the bag effect for people who
are not Linux kernel experts.  For PC104 this is potentially a problem when using
non-GPLed drivers for commercial add-on cards.  Our experience has been fairly
positive, ie drivers compiled for 2.4.18 (or nearby versions) have worked.

                                S. Herb

Re: Thoughts on ELinOS?
Thanks for the information.  Steve your hardware is similar to ours, we're
using a PC/104 board from Parvus with the same AMD SC520 CPU.  I wasn't
aware that ELinOS has modified the standard Linux kernel?  Can you elaborate
on this?

Thanks again,


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Re: Thoughts on ELinOS?
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[Disclaimer: It's been a while since I was actively involved in the ELinOS
product development, so I may not be 100% up to date here...]

ELinOS comes with a kernel that has been derived from a standard version. All modifications can be easily seen by
"diff"ing it against the corresponding version from
The modifications are generally to add certain features that are
desirable in an embedded context, for example:

    - RTAI patch (real-time Linux, see
    - Support for remote kernel debugging
    - Tar extract support (for initializing a RAMdisk from a .tgz image)
    - some fixes specific to the AMD Elan (at least, these used to be
      in the Elinos kernel at some point. I believe meanwhile they are
      in the standard kernel)
    - ...

All those patches are available somewhere on the 'net, but applying them
"by hand" can be a daunting task, especially for newbies. Furthermore,
ElinOS allows to replace the modified kernel with a standard one, it's
just that those nice features aren't available then.

Hope this helps


Robert Kaiser                     email: rkaiser AT sysgo DOT com
SYSGO AG                
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Re: Thoughts on ELinOS?
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Can you provide a link for a how-to ... how to replace the modified kernel
with a standard one?


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