Chapter 2. Basic Concepts

As we saw in the previous chapter, there is a rich variety of embedded Linux systems. There are nevertheless a few key characteristics that apply uniformly to most embedded Linux systems. The purpose of this chapter is to present to you the basic concepts and issues that you are likely to encounter when developing any sort of embedded Linux system.

Many of the subjects introduced here are discussed in far greater detail in other chapters. They are introduced here to give you a better sense of how the entire system comes together.

The chapter starts by discussing the types of hosts most commonly used for developing embedded Linux systems, the types of host/target development setups, and the types of host/target debug setups. These sections are meant to help you select the best environment for developing embedded Linux systems or, if the environment is already specified and can't be changed, understand how your particular setup will influence the rest of your development effort. The chapter then presents details of the structure commonly found in most embedded Linux systems. I present the generic architecture of an embedded Linux system, I explain the system startup, the types of boot configurations, and the typical system memory layout.