Using Docker to cross-compile embedded software

Are you tired of managing the installation of different cross-development toolchains on the same machine, fixing issues when your compiler does not work after a host OS upgrade or having to deal with the same toolchain being installed in heterogeneous environments? Docker fixes some of these issues by providing a light-weight virtualization layer that isolates … Read more

Embedded Linux and ARM

Linux usage is growing enormously in embedded systems, thanks to its stability, being open source, the availability of drivers for a huge amount of hardware peripherals and its support for many networking protocols and filesystems. However, Linux exhibits some drawbacks in safety systems, where the code needs to be certified, or hard real-time systems where … Read more

Embedded Linux support from board vendors

I have recently completed a project where I used a PC104 SBC (single-board computer) from a hardware vendor that sold our client a Linux development kit in addition to the hardware; the development kit included a busybox-based distribution with quite an old kernel (2.6.21) and a driver supporting some board-specific features. So far, so good. … Read more

C++ for embedded?

Recently I was asked by a client about the advantages of C++ over C for a specific embedded project, and these are the ideas I came with: C exhibits a narrower relationship between source and machine code, which sometimes makes debugging and code optimization easier. Some architectures also have better compiler support for C, although … Read more

Agile methods on embedded software

Lately I keep hearing a lot about software companies moving into agile development processes. Irrespectively of the hype surrounding these news, I think some agile practices are really worth implementing in an embedded software environment: I have had great success e.g. with fast development cycles and continuous integration. However, we need to be cautious with … Read more

Open source tools in the Spanish embedded systems industry

Although I agree that proprietary software should have their own space within the embedded systems industry, there are some open source tools I consider essential when developing embedded software. Cenatic is the Spanish national reference center on open source technologies. They have published an interesting report on the usage of open source software on the … Read more