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Article: Introducing ‘Embedded Software Development with eCos’

Oct 25, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

My new book, Embedded Software Development with eCos (ISBN 0-13-035473-2; Prentice Hall PTR), is the quickest way to get started using eCos, the open-source and royalty-free Embedded Configurable Operating System (eCos). Basically, the book guides you through all of the steps necessary to setup a complete embedded software development environment — all the tools necessary to tackle any project. The examples give you the baseline understanding to begin using eCos in your own projects.

Most embedded products today make use of a real-time operating system (RTOS). When deciding which RTOS to use, numerous questions arise, including . . . “How much does it cost to get started?” . . . “Are there royalties associated with using the RTOS?” . . . “What is the quality of the tools? Is source code available?” . . . “What features are available for the RTOS?” . . . and so on. In most situations, the lowest-cost solution in both up-front costs and royalties is the best solution, as long as it works. Eliminating royalties is very important for high-volume products, where every nickel counts.

Decisions about whether to develop your own RTOS or use an off-the-shelf solution also spring up, especially when specific functionality is needed for specialized hardware platforms. In some cases, rolling your own RTOS might be the only solution. However, you can put your development way ahead by leveraging software that is already implemented, tested on numerous platforms and in various situations, and, most importantly, proven because it is successfully running on other shipping products.

Embedded Software Development with eCos focuses on using eCos as a solution to these concerns. The open-source and royalty-free nature of eCos allows it to be downloaded, setup, and used — and here's the key: at no cost.

Embedded Linux is a great solution for many applications. However, in some cases where every byte and millisecond count, embedded Linux may not cut the mustard. For these situations, eCos is a very viable alternative solution and offers quite an extensive feature set to meet the needs of any embedded device.

Since eCos is open source, you, the developer, are in complete control over your embedded software destiny. Even the tools described in the eCos development system are open source, thereby allowing you to become complete self sufficient — plus, the eCos development community is out there and available to lend help when needed.

Organization of the book

The layout of the book is intended to build on information covered in earlier chapters. We start with understanding the key components within eCos, move to additional functionality offered in the system, and, finally, get down to using eCos and the development environment.

For developers new to either the eCos world or embedded software altogether, it is helpful to understand the components that make up the eCos system by starting at the beginning. This gives the baseline understanding of the different features provided by eCos. You can then implement these software components in an actual system.

More experienced developers looking for an evaluation of eCos can skip to the later chapters and begin experimenting right away. The format of the development platform installation and examples allows a quick setup of the tools and immediate results. This let's you rapidly answer the question, “Will eCos work for me?”

Embedded Software Development with eCos provides the quickest way to get started using eCos, exploring the different features available. This book enables you to quickly evaluate eCos to determine if it is right for your next project.

Note: Embedded Software Development with eCos will be available towards the end of November, 2002. More info on the book is available here.

About the Author: Anthony J. Massa earned a dual B.S./B.A. degree in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego. He spent most of his career developing embedded software, device drivers, and applications on a wide range of 8-, 16-, and 32-bit processors and numerous embedded RTOS platforms. Anthony also has experience with hardware design, as well as, writing drivers and application software on the different Microsoft Windows operating system platforms. Massa has developed his skills by working on a diverse array of successful products including satellite PC receiver cards, set-top boxes, Internet-enabled wireless modems, networking broadcast equipment, and cable modems. He has written extensively on eCos in leading publications including Doctor Dobb's Journal, Embedded Systems Programming Magazine, Software Development Magazine, and EDN Magazine.

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