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Embedded Debian Project announces kernel/OS build tool

Aug 29, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

(announcement) — The Embedded Debian Project is pleased to announce the availability of the first of a series of DEVELOPMENT releases of CML2+OS, a system for the configuration and generation of both a Linux kernel *AND* an operating system (i.e. root filesystem). CML2+OS is being designed to assist embedded Linux developers in configuring and generating small (1 to 10MB) Linux target systems.

CML2+OS is based on CML2, (CML stands for Configuration Menu Language) currently under development to replace the existing Linux kernel configuration system. See this link for more information on CML2.

Some of the goals of CML2+OS are:

  • Open Source.
  • Run on Debian, RPM based, or any other Linux development host.
  • Cross development; i.e. build an ARM target system on an x86 development host.
  • Support a wide range of target architectures (e.g. ARM, PowerPC, MIPS, SPARC, Intel x86, Alpha and Motorola 680×0).
  • Fully integrated kernel *and* OS (i.e. root filesystem) configuration and generation. For instance, if loadable module support isn't configured in the kernel, then the user won't (by default) be presented with the option to include 'modutils' in the OS. If SCSI support isn't configured into the kernel, then SCSI /dev nodes won't be created.
  • Ability to generate a system in a number of ways, such as to a directory tree for NFS root, to a compressed initial ramdisk, etc.
  • Support for profiles, which are pre-designed configurations for various target boards and target functions (e.g. firewalls, routers, file servers, web servers, etc.).
  • The ability to generate systems from binary packages (for convenience) and/or source packages (for flexibility).
The home page for CML2+OS can be found at the Embedded Debian web site,

As mentioned, this is a DEVELOPMENT release. This means that it doesn't fully work yet, and a lot of what does work still needs work. However, it *HAS* actually built a few small systems that have booted on a PowerPC VME board. We don't recommend using it at this stage unless you're willing to get your hands dirty.

CML2+OS is expected to be ready for beta testing in one to two months.


The architecture of CML2+OS consists of a front end (the Configurator) and a back end (the Generator). The Configurator (front end) is based on extending the CML2 rulebase with configuration rules for the operating system. It produces a standard Linux '.config' file augmented with OS configuration information.

The Generator (back end) takes this config file, and generates a file system containing the OS.

There are many conceivable ways of building such a filesystem. The first implementation will be based on a simple, yet powerful technique of extracting pre-built binaries from existing Debian binary packages. This will enable the building of minimal operating systems for ARM, PowerPC, SPARC, Intel x86, Alpha and Motorola 680×0 architectures.


CML2+OS has been developed as part of the Embedded Debian Project (, and is being released under the GPL. Funding for this project is being provided by AMIRIX Systems Inc. (

To Participate

If you're interested in participating in the development of CML2+OS, you should join the 'emdebian-discuss' mailing list. Instructions on how to join the list can be found on the Embedded Debian web site,

For companies in the embedded Linux business, participation in the Embedded Debian Project is a viable way of having a voice in the design and implementation of an embedded Linux distribution which can be used as the basis of their own products.

Related stories:
Embedded Debian cross development environments available
Announcing The Embedded Debian Project
The Embedded Debian Project

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