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uClinux: World’s most popular embedded Linux distro?

Sep 24, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

This guest column by John Drabik reviews the purpose, history, current status, accomplishments, and future plans of uClinux, a Linux variant that has been optimized for embedded systems and devices having tightly constrained processor and memory resources. The article puts forward the notion that uClinux may well represent the world's first, most mature, and most commercially successful Embedded Linux… distribution, and includes a photo gallery of some cool gadgets with uClinux inside, as well as a list of key resources for further uClinux info. Drabik writes . . .

“While other embedded distributions rely on upscale processors to get reasonable performance, uClinux uses solid code, a firm guiding hand, and actual product experience with deeply embedded systems. The results are smaller code, better performance, and lower cost — all of which is applicable to both MMU-less and MMU-enabled systems.”

“uClinux (pronounced 'you see linux') grew out of the work of Jeff Dionne, Kenneth Albanowski, and later, Michael Durrant, at a company known as Rt-Control, in Toronto, Canada. The first release of uClinux was for then-popular Motorola 68000 processors; but an early focus on cross-platform development along with an easily-understood model quickly led to ports for other chips. Most were highly integrated microcontrollers, such as ColdFire, ETRAX, ARM7, ARM9, and i960. The basic techniques were sound, the results excellent, and the code was useful on MMU-enabled processors too — even x86, sometimes with the MMU turned off for better performance . . .”

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