REVIEW - Linux for Embedded and Real-time Applications


Linux for Embedded and Real-time Applications


Doug Abbott



Newnes (2003)




Chris Hills


December 2004



This is a short book... The page count is 250 but in fact, a lot of this is the RTAI and POSIX API information. The text itself is less than 195 pages of large type. Much of the information is very basic and in the Linux man pages or part of the installation guides.

The book starts with a simple description of the memory models for x86 (real and protected) before going into Linux at a fairly superficial level including the installation of Blue Cat Linux. (This is by a company originally called Lynx who also do a hard real-time POSIX RTOS. I did a couple of device driver courses at their offices in Sunnyvale one January).

However, the author seems to have not taken to Linux in that he relates everything, some times erroneously, to MS Windows and does not seem to know some of the reasons, history or background behind some things. For example, the author says that device independent IO is nothing new but Linux takes it further by treating every device as an entry in the file system. This is nothing new it is how UNIX has worked for a decade or so before DOS let alone Windows.

I found the book superficial and rather lightweight with a large type on small pages. I thought that I was being too harsh as I have a Unix background so I gave it to a colleague of mine who is just getting to grips with Linux and building some systems for embedded use. His comments were the same as mine. There is little that is not in the man pages or freely available in many on line documents. There is I am afraid no added value that would warrant buying the book. I cannot see why Newnes have done this book as they already have Lewin Edwards: "Embedded System Design on a Shoestring" which is also an embedded Linux book (targeting an ARM7 board).

Ironically, the CD with the book contains an electronic copy of the book. It is ironic because the last Appendix of the book is Richard Stallman's text "Why Software should not have owners" which, as far as I can see, would suggest that should be free to copy the electronic version of the book for free... Perhaps the author should make this version available on a web site and use the feedback, and more research, to create a better second edition. Not Recommended.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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