We cannot imagine comfortable well-being without devices. Home appliances, security mechanisms, medical equipment, car infotainment systems, and even fitness trackers rely on embedded systems to operate. However, what is the power that makes embedded systems work?
Linux lies at the core of most embedded systems. This free-to-use OS runs on many hardware platforms and supports a wide range of programming languages, making it a popular choice among software development companies and manufacturers.
In this article, you’ll learn the definition of embedded Linux, the difference between Linux and embedded Linux, how Linux is related to embedded systems, and why it is so important for embedded system design. Besides, we’ll uncover what to expect from adopting embedded Linux in the future. Stay tuned!
What Is the Difference Between Linux and Embedded Linux?
Embedded Linux development services are very popular these days since the variety of smart devices continuously grows. Linux and embedded Linux sound similar, and both work using the same kernel. However, these two systems serve different purposes.
Linux is a regular operating system that powers laptops and desktops. Embedded Linux, in contrast, is a customized version of Linux OS, designed to work on wearable devices, IoT applications, automotive parts, and networking equipment, among many other applications.
Let’s take a look at the main differences between the two systems.
- Embedded Linux works in real-time, whereas Linux OS uses batch processing.
- Embedded Linux is designed to perform a single task. Linux OS performs numerous commands at a time.
- Embedded Linux consumes less power compared to Linux OS.
- Embedded Linux has memory constraints, as it’s used in devices with limited hardware capabilities, whereas there’s no such an issue with Linux.
- Embedded Linux needs less time to process data since it performs a single task, while Linux OS must handle numerous tasks simultaneously.
What Is the Relation Between Embedded Systems and Linux?
You may wonder why Linux is used in embedded systems. The answer is simple. Both Linux and embedded Linux use the same kernel to power various application types.
Linux kernel is the core component that drives the operating system; thus, this element is used in embedded software development. The main task of the kernel is to manage hardware resources, processes, memory, and power. It serves as a bridge between software and hardware, making sure the device works accurately and smoothly.
Why is LINUX OS So Important for Embedded System Design?
Being one of the most widely used operating systems in embedded software development, Linux has it all to create an effective solution for smart devices and equipment. This OS has several features that make it so important for designing a software for an embedded device. Let’s take a closer look:
- Linux OS is open-source, meaning it’s flexible and free to use. Developers can modify the code according to their needs.
- This OS is adaptable. It can be used to power numerous devices with different functionality and tech stack. Be it a TV set at home or a smartwatch, Linux can be tailored to make any device work.
- It’s accessible. Apart from being open-source, Linux offers a rich library with ready-to-use components. As a result, there’s no need to build everything from scratch, which saves development time.
- It has top-notch security. With robust security features, developers can create embedded systems that process data according to widely accepted best practices and industry regulations.
What Is Embedded Linux?
Simply put, Embedded Linux is a modified version of the Linux operating system designed to power embedded devices. Since the use of Linux in embedded systems imposed some restrictions during development, there was a need to create a more flexible and customizable solution. Thus, Embedded Linux was created.
Embedded Linux uses the same core as Linux to power devices; however, it’s more tailored to meet an embedded system’s needs. It’s more flexible, resilient, and resource-efficient. In fact, Embedded Linux is used to
- Power the devices in healthcare.
- Ensure spotless car infotainment and navigation.
- Control home appliances.
- Run IoT devices.
- Aid in aviation applications.
- Manage industrial automation machines.
What’s the Future of Embedded Linux?
Embedded Linux Development has great potential in the world of embedded devices. This operating system is expected to increase to USD 575.56 million in revenue by 2028 according to Business Research Insights. Since Embedded Linux is widely used in numerous devices, we can expect the increasing capacity of this system. You may wonder what factors drive the growth. Here are the main drivers:
- Its flexibility and open-source nature let embedded software providers experiment with the functionality of devices, thus creating more progressive products.
- Real-time capabilities make Embedded Linux stay in demand for powering various systems (e.g., a car security system that needs an immediate reaction and patient monitors that let you track the patient’s health data instantly).
Along with the ease of use of Embedded Linux comes the risk of hacking attacks. Thus, the developers consistently work to improve the system’s security. Protecting the system from possible threats will be the primary goal in future.
Building embedded systems with Linux has a number of benefits. This operating system is flexible, free to use, and resource-efficient. Linux OS is designed to operate on computers, whereas Embedded Linux is a modified Linux version created to meet the needs of embedded software development.
Despite serving different purposes, Linux and Embedded Linux use the same kernel. It’s used to power healthcare devices, control home appliances, manage industrial equipment, and aid in aviation, among many other applications.
With its adaptability to various restrictions, Linux is expected to become a primary solution for numerous real-time and remotely-controlled applications.