Status of Embedded Linux – ELC 2012

Tim Bird, software engineer at Sony, discusses recent development in embedded Linux at the Embedded Linux Conference 2012.

Abstract:  Tim discusses changes to the kernel, improvements to embedded-related sub-systems, and new industry initiatives likely to affect embedded Linux developers in the future. Also, Tim discusses the direction of the Linux Foundation CE Workgroup, and their contract work and projects for this year. Last year highlights are also discussed, as well as ways to continue to improve Linux going forward.

Here are the key points of this presentation:

  • Linux Kernel Version changes: 2.6.38 to 3.3-rc3
  • Technology Areas:
    • Bootup Time  – With improvement in the kernel, bootloader and user-space
    • Graphics – 2D/3D implementation. New /dev/ion and CMA graphics stuffs
    • Accelerated Rendering – e.g. Renderscript
    • Graphics Drivers – e.g. PowerVR
    • Multimedia – Gstreamer, Android Media Layer (stagefright) and codec wars (e.g. patent issues with WebM/VP8 that interferes open source licenses).
    • File systems – Mainly UBIFS (default raw flash file system replacing JFFS2) and YAFFS2. But Google is moving to ext-4 with eMMC devices.
    • Power Management
    • System Size – Work is still going on on low footprint distros such as linux-tiny and poky-tiny.

    The hot areas right now are power management, ARM board support refactoring and GPU management.

  • CE Workgroup Projects:
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Tools:
      • Qemu for Linux and Android emulation
      • Eclipse
      • Tracing tools (Perf, ftrace, LTTng 2.0)
    • Build Systems: Yocto project and custom build systems.
    • Embedded Distributions:
      • Tizen
      • WebOS
      • Legacy Custom embedded distros (no standard)
    • Android 4.0 SDK release (last October)
    • Resources:
      • Stack Overflow is used more and more for embedded Linux
      • Wiki has got a lot of good documentation
      • to follow kernel changes.

You can also download the presentation slides on

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