Saturday, April 27, 2013

Embedded development setups

Linked Setup (most common)

The host and the target are permanently connected using a cable (serial or ethernet). With this configuration, the host builds the cross-compiled binaries and downloads them directly on the device's storage media. The cable is also used for debugging although there are usually 2 cables : serial for debugging and ethernet for downloading the software.

Requirements for this setup :
  • host : cross-platform development environment installed
  • target : appropriate bootloader, functional kernel, minimal root filesystem
Note : the root filesystem could also be NFS-mounted instead of being on the storage media in the target. This is perfect for development as it avoids having to copy the program modifications all the time.

Removable Storage Setup

The host and the target are not physically connected. Instead, the host builds the binaries and copy them to a removable storage media such as an MMC Card. The card is then inserted into the device's socket and loaded by the target's minimal bootloader upon startup.

Requirements for this setup :
  • host : cross-platform development environment installed
  • target : minimal bootloader 
  • card : kernel, root filesystem, optionnally a second bootloader

Standalone setup


The development is made exclusively on the target. The development tools run in their native environments and the required storage is local to the target. We are not in a Host/Target setup anymore but more a Host/Host setup.

Requirements for this setup :
  • target : bootloader, kernel, full root filesystem, native development environment

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