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The Third Annual Southern California Linux Expo

Alexander Perry

Alexander Perry holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Cambridge University in England and currently works as a principal engineer for "GE Infrastructure, Security" in San Diego. Dr Perry is active in the Consultants Network in San Diego, he is a senior member of the IEEE and an instructor for the University of California in San Diego Extension for courses on Embedded Linux and Open Source Engineering.

Linux in Embedded Systems for Engineers

This talk contrasts the advantages of software development using a full Debian Linux distribution on the desktop with the more restrictive and different challenges of an embedded target where many of the goodies go away.

On embedded targets the software footprint is generally minimized. Standardized service protocols, and integrated networking support of the configurable Linux kernel, enable use of complicated open source applications that are otherwise too large to be used in conjunction with small computers and microcontrollers.

Where there is a complicated need that exceeds the resources of your widget, these protocols also mean you can run some or all of the application on a server somewhere else - over the network. The inherent security models (including role based) enable information sharing between widgets, to distribute the storage and computational effort across an array, to build a big picture without risking the security of individual sensors (for example).

After discussing the software utilities commonly used for building a product around Open Source technologies, the talk will summarize the importance of licensing and discuss the General Public License (GPL) and how it assists in the development of new products.