Re: The end of embedded Linux?

From: Rob Landley (
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 11:52:21 EST

On Tuesday 08 October 2002 11:04 am, Matt Porter wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 07, 2002 at 03:50:43PM -0400, Rob Landley wrote:
> > Another very real option here is Documentation/tinykernel.txt. (Possibly
> > even going so far as a brief mention of uclibc and busybox/tinylogin, but
> > mostly just about choping down the kernel for embedding in nosehair
> > trimmers and electric toothbrushes and such.)
> I don't see these as mutually exclusive.

Neither do I, but an "incredible shrinking kernel HOWTO" is less intrusive
than marking up the source code with #ifdefs..

> Documentation falls out of
> date because it is often not maintained with the code. This would
> certainly be the case of a file detailing means to tweak a wide
> array of settings in the kernel.
> Having the settings controlled somewhere in the kernel forces the
> settings to not be broken as we move forward.

Really? Since when?

Go into make menuconfig in 2.4.19. Switch off "scsi support". Back to the
main menu, try to descend into "fusion mpt device support". The menu still
shows up (at the top level, I might add), but you can't go into it.

That's been broken for over a year now. It's in the top level of menuconfig.
 I first reported it back around 2.4.6 or so. It just doesn't get in
anybody's way, and that area of code is a mess, and not fixing it isn't
embarassing anybody specific.

Putting stuff into the mainstream kernel doesn't force it to be maintained by
pixies. It's just that stuff that stays broken long enough, which nobody
steps up to fix, gets removed.

The main difference between code in the tree and Documentation/ in the tree
is that if something is broken, you have to fix your copyof the code to get
it to work for you, so it's not much more work to send in a patch. At that
point, the work of updating your tree is already done, and if you don't send
in the patch you've got to fix it again next release..

If the documentation is broken, and you sit down and figure out how to do it,
you haven't already written up a howto. You won't get anything out of the
howto at that point, but there's significant extra work in getting the docs
updated that comes AFTER the bit you can't help but do.

So there are advantages to having code in the tree, but it's not a magic

> I believe some finer grained controls (less than 8000 hopefully)
> coupled with some basic docs pointing out where they can be configured,
> a description of some of the more interesting ones, and mentioning some
> non-kernel tools would be quite appropriate.

A hybrid approach does sound best...

> Regards,

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