Linux support in this forum

  • After following a lot of linux questions and because of the common structure of the available Linux BSPs, we have
    decided to establish a seperated linux category for questions about running linux on Single-Board Computers from

    Please note that this forum is administrated by F&S. We mainly deal with the development of the hardware itself
    as well as the WindowsCE software and kernel. For this reason our support-team can only offer limited support for linux.
    Moreover this forum is intended to support your software development process by giving the ability to exchange
    experiences with other linux developers. Further support may be offered by emlix, the developers of the Linux BSPs.

    Your F&S-Team

    Software developer, F&S Elektronik Systeme GmbH
    As this is an international forum, please try to post in English.
    Da dies ein internationales Forum ist, bitten wir darum, Beiträge möglichst in Englisch zu verfassen.

  • Linux at F&S

    Starting with the PicoMOD6, the Linux version for our boards and modules will not be ported by our partner company emlix anymore, but instead we are doing this directly at F&S now. This means when using this forum, you, our customers, will have a more direct link to the actual Linux developers than before. We also plan to give regular information about the development state of the Board Support Packages (BSP) and other F&S related Linux news here.

    There are two major differences with the upcoming F&S Linux releases compared to the existing emlix releases.

    • No Evaluation BSP anymore
      There will be no differentiation between Evaluation and Professional BSP anymore. If you buy a Linux Starterkit, you'll get the full Linux version, i.e. all device drivers and all development tools will reflect the newest and most complete level of development that we have got. These BSPs and also any updates will be made available for download from our website, too. This is more consistent with the Windows CE versions of our boards and the prices for the Linux Starterkits will be the same as for the Windows CE Starterkits.

    • BSPs will be based on BuildRoot
      There will be no special "F&S Linux Distribution" with a (usually rather small) number of specific software packages that are modified and maintained for our boards. Instead we'll rely on BuildRoot. BuildRoot is a community project with the goal to make as many Linux packages available for embedded systems as possible. Therefore BuildRoot can be seen as a kind of meta-package, i.e. a package that contains site information, patches, dependencies and build rules that allow to download and cross-compile the individual packages and assemble them in a root file system image to be used on the embedded target device. BuildRoot has a menu-based configuration system like the Linux kernel itself (make menuconfig) that allows to select and deselect individual packages. By looking at the dependencies, BuildRoot knows which other packages are additionally required and activates them automatically. After this configuration is done and you type make, it downloads, configures and builds the selected packages -- including any tools required as prerequisite -- and finally generates a file system image that can be used as NFS-root or stand-alone file system on the board. All in one go without any further interaction.

      The F&S Linux BSP therefore basically supports all packages that are supported by BuildRoot, which are currently about 340 different packages. For example: Busybox, DirectFB, QT, GTK+, GStreamer, Java incl. JavaVM and Concierge, MPlayer, VLC, Samba, Python, Quagga, ImageMagick, Freetype, and last but not least a full blown X-Server with an additional 370 sub-packages. The community behind BuildRoot is very active which results in a new BuildRoot release about every three months, with enhanced features and updated packages. This allows for a much higher update frequency than we at F&S could ever provide with a self-maintained distribution. Of course if some package requires additional modifications, we'll try our best to make them work with our boards. For example currently we are modifying the GStreamer package to use hardware accelerated video decoding on our PicoMOD6 boards. These modifications will be available as one or more Add-On packages for BuildRoot. If you download the add-ons together with the BuildRoot package, you'll automatically get the optimized version.

    Please note that Linux support for our previous boards (NetDCU5.2/6/8/9/10/11, PicoMOD1, PicoCOM1/2) remains with emlix and we won't provide a different, BuildRoot-based BSP for them now or in the future.

    Your F&S Support Team

    F&S Elektronik Systeme GmbH
    As this is an international forum, please try to post in English.
    Da dies ein internationales Forum ist, bitten wir darum, Beiträge möglichst in Englisch zu verfassen.