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Abe_the_Man 01-26-2004 02:23 AM

embedded linux questions, arcade and desktop
Okay i have some questions regarding embedded linux:

I plan on building myself a MAME arcade unit/ jukebox. I've been reading about embedded systems on different sites, and i was wondering if this would be practical. All i would need it to do basically is boot to a little front end where i could select arcade or juke box, and then run mame and xmms (or another media player i'll worry about that later), and i need it to run grip, so i can rip my cds, and would need it to go to a console. Is it practical for me to make it an embedded system (it'll probably be an old pentium system).

Also, what about an embedded desktop. I don't have any plans to do this, but i'm just kind of curious. Would it be possible to take a desktop pc and make it into an embedded system, with pretty well all the functionallity of a desktop (i mean like surfing the net, playing games like ut2003, using the gimp and open office, and installing new software) Would it be possible to do this to a desktop pc to give it that instant response of an embedded system.

So if anyone could answer my questions, or maybe clarify, my no doubt muddled idea of what an embedded system is, maybe point me to some resources, i'd really appreciate it.

THanks all

Oliv' 01-26-2004 08:38 AM

A real embedded system is a system with a specific architecture and quite limited resources(for example a system with no MMU, a Motorola 68000 and 32Mo RAM). So a desktop PC can't be considered as an embedded system.
In fact, I believe that your question is more about real-time. So yes, there are specific distros to do real time with desktop like RTLinux (but you will probably have to do drivers developpement to fit yours requirements). Nonetheless patchs exist for kernel 2.4 (preempt or low-latency) to do soft real-time (I mean that your desktop will react faster as they modify Linux scheduler). Moreover preempt pacth is included in kernel2.6
Here is a link to a site about embedded Linux: (It's in French but it contains a lot of links about embedded and Linux)

DaFrEQ 01-26-2004 09:38 AM

Good day,

Oliv' is correct. Embedded development is something I do for my company, and it isn't as cut and dry as one would think just by reading books.
I've worked on Embedded XP, CE, and Linux.
And in most cases, I've had to develope my own drivers for the hardware. Simply putting a very small distro on a PC type system will work, but that isn't really an embedded system.

Check out the O'rieley books on Embedded Linux. It's a descent source for getting started.

However what it souds like you want to do is build a small distro that will do 1 of two things.

Oliv' 01-26-2004 10:27 AM

For a dedicated multimedia distro, have a look at:

Abe_the_Man 01-26-2004 01:13 PM

Thanks Oliv and DaFrEQ. From what i read on embedded systems, i wasn't real clear on what the distinction between them and a real tim system. Anyway thanks alot, oh and those are some great links Oliv (thank god for grade 9 french!)

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