Chapter 3. Hardware Support

Having covered the basics of embedded Linux systems, including generic system architecture, we will now discuss the embedded hardware supported by Linux. I will first cover the processor architectures supported by Linux that are commonly used in embedded systems. Next, I will cover the various hardware components involved, such as buses, I/O, storage, general-purpose networking, industrial-grade networking, and system monitoring. Although I include many different components, I have omitted components not typically used in embedded configurations.

Note that the following discussion does not attempt to analyze the pros and cons of one hardware component or another. Use it, rather, as a starting point for your research in either identifying the components to include in your system or judging the amount of effort needed to get Linux to run on the hardware you have already chosen.

Also, the following does not cover the software made available by the various hardware vendors to support their hardware. It covers only hardware supported by the open source and free software communities. Some vendors may provide closed-source drivers for their hardware. If you intend to use such hardware, keep in mind that you will have no support from the open source and free software development community. You will have to refer to the vendor for any problems related or caused by the closed-source drivers. Open source and free software developers have repeatedly refused to help anyone that has problems when using closed-source drivers.



     
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