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Old 11-19-2008, 10:13 AM
"Gareth McClean"
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

I figure this group is best placed to answer my questions, if not please
feel free to point me in the right direction:

a) Do any open source projects target the initial setup of an embedded
system i.e. basics like manually configuring an Ethernet port, configuration
of wireless networking or possibly other essentials like hostname, timezone,
etc?

b) If not, do you perform your 'out-of-the-box setup' i.e. did you create
your own set of tools using packages like awk, sed, perl etc?

c) How are you communicating with the user during the installation process?

c) Are there any intentions to migrate the Linux 'system configuration' into
a machine readable format like XML. Ignore that that might sound like a call
to implement the equivalent of the windows registry and focus on the fact I
am concerned about the potential issues of processing unstructured, human
readable text files and want an easy/reliable way to programmatically change
the system configuration and manage future system updates.


Thanks in advance, Gareth
 
Old 11-20-2008, 06:31 AM
"Daniel Stonier"
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

2008/11/20 Ryan Tandy <tarpman@gmail.com>:
> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:13:46AM -0000, Gareth McClean wrote:
>> a) Do any open source projects target the initial setup of an embedded
>> system i.e. basics like manually configuring an Ethernet port, configuration
>> of wireless networking or possibly other essentials like hostname, timezone,
>> etc?
>
> ...
>> b) If not, do you perform your 'out-of-the-box setup' i.e. did you create
>> your own set of tools using packages like awk, sed, perl etc?
>
> Again, depending on the scale of the project, I use either a stripped
> down Gentoo system or a simple Busybox-based system.
>
I just set up a control board and was also wondering about the best way to
create a runtime root. Since a control board only requires a few packages,
busybox ended up being really simple. I put the kernel and rootfs in ram
and let the user manually extend it by mounting a drive
on /usr/local where they can dump any extra binaries and libs they want.
But I wouldn't recommend it for a system where you wanted to pile on
packages up to the point of needing an x server.

I also tried gentoo's crossdev to create a root fs, thinking that would be
really easy just to xmerge in the right packages. But you end up with alot
of cruft that way, and the other problem is most ebuilds aren't set up to
work with cross-compiling out of the box (lots of bugs), so xmerge falls
over alot.

The other option I tried is openembedded. Which for me, was using a sledge
hammer on a tiny nail. Probably really good as your embedded project scales
up though - it gives you a way of defining your filesystem/package
configuration.

>> c) How are you communicating with the user during the installation process?
>
> Most of the systems I'm used to aren't designed to be installed by a
> user - at least the software side of things.
>
>> c) Are there any intentions to migrate the Linux 'system configuration' into
>> a machine readable format like XML.
>
> No. Do you have any idea how long it takes to read and write XML?
>
>> Ignore that that might sound like a call to implement the equivalent
>> of the windows registry
>
> It doesn't, although it does sound like unnecessary overhead.
>
>> and focus on the fact I am concerned about the potential issues of
>> processing unstructured, human readable text files
>
> Which issues? All of the base system configuration files seem fairly
> structured to me. At any rate I'd much rather be parsing simple text
> files than XML. Which files are you having trouble with?
>
>> and want an easy/reliable way to programmatically change the system
>> configuration and manage future system updates.
>
> Most people that I know of solve these problems with shell or
> perl/python/language-of-the-moment scripts.
>
> Bear in mind that these are just my opinions; other people on the list
> will doubtless disagree with them.
>
> Thanks,
> Ryan
>
>
 
Old 11-20-2008, 07:39 AM
Natanael Copa
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

On Thu, 2008-11-20 at 02:50 -0800, Ryan Tandy wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:13:46AM -0000, Gareth McClean wrote:
> > a) Do any open source projects target the initial setup of an embedded
> > system i.e. basics like manually configuring an Ethernet port, configuration
> > of wireless networking or possibly other essentials like hostname, timezone,
> > etc?
>
> I either use Gentoo's baselayout or openrc, or write my own simple init
> script, depending on what I'm doing. I don't know of any init system
> projects that are targeted specifically at embedded.

I have an alpine-baselayout that is a simplified gentoo basealyout
(without openrc) targetted gentoo-embedded.

It uses busybox's ifup -a (debian style /etc/network/interface)

http://dev.alpinelinux.org/cgit/cgit.cgi/alpine-baselayout/

-nc
 
Old 11-20-2008, 07:49 AM
Ryan Tandy
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

On Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 04:31:38PM +0900, Daniel Stonier wrote:
> But you end up with alot of cruft that way

Look into INSTALL_MASK. It is true, though, that one of the things
Gentoo people tend to spend quite a bit of time at is stripping down
their images.

> and the other problem is most ebuilds aren't set up to work with
> cross-compiling out of the box (lots of bugs), so xmerge falls over
> alot.

I wouldn't say 'most'. Unfortunately a non-trivial chunk of the ones
that don't cross compile cleanly are ones that lots of people like to
have (notable examples include perl and python). On the other hand,
once you have a sane base system up, most packages should cross compile
with minimal trickery.

If you're struggling to get a package to compile, you can always check
http://tinderbox.dev.gentoo.org/ and see if anyone has left a package
for your target there.

> The other option I tried is openembedded.

I haven't looked into openembedded much myself, but I understand it's
pretty good at what it does.

Thanks,
Ryan
 
Old 11-20-2008, 09:50 AM
Ryan Tandy
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:13:46AM -0000, Gareth McClean wrote:
> a) Do any open source projects target the initial setup of an embedded
> system i.e. basics like manually configuring an Ethernet port, configuration
> of wireless networking or possibly other essentials like hostname, timezone,
> etc?

I either use Gentoo's baselayout or openrc, or write my own simple init
script, depending on what I'm doing. I don't know of any init system
projects that are targeted specifically at embedded.

> b) If not, do you perform your 'out-of-the-box setup' i.e. did you create
> your own set of tools using packages like awk, sed, perl etc?

Again, depending on the scale of the project, I use either a stripped
down Gentoo system or a simple Busybox-based system.

> c) How are you communicating with the user during the installation process?

Most of the systems I'm used to aren't designed to be installed by a
user - at least the software side of things.

> c) Are there any intentions to migrate the Linux 'system configuration' into
> a machine readable format like XML.

No. Do you have any idea how long it takes to read and write XML?

> Ignore that that might sound like a call to implement the equivalent
> of the windows registry

It doesn't, although it does sound like unnecessary overhead.

> and focus on the fact I am concerned about the potential issues of
> processing unstructured, human readable text files

Which issues? All of the base system configuration files seem fairly
structured to me. At any rate I'd much rather be parsing simple text
files than XML. Which files are you having trouble with?

> and want an easy/reliable way to programmatically change the system
> configuration and manage future system updates.

Most people that I know of solve these problems with shell or
perl/python/language-of-the-moment scripts.

Bear in mind that these are just my opinions; other people on the list
will doubtless disagree with them.

Thanks,
Ryan
 
Old 11-20-2008, 09:59 PM
"Daniel Stonier"
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

2008/11/20 Ryan Tandy <tarpman@gmail.com>:
> On Thu, Nov 20, 2008 at 04:31:38PM +0900, Daniel Stonier wrote:
>> But you end up with alot of cruft that way
>
> Look into INSTALL_MASK. It is true, though, that one of the things
> Gentoo people tend to spend quite a bit of time at is stripping down
> their images.

>> and the other problem is most ebuilds aren't set up to work with
>> cross-compiling out of the box (lots of bugs), so xmerge falls over
>> alot.
>
> I wouldn't say 'most'. Unfortunately a non-trivial chunk of the ones
> that don't cross compile cleanly are ones that lots of people like to
> have (notable examples include perl and python). On the other hand,
> once you have a sane base system up, most packages should cross compile
> with minimal trickery.
>
> If you're struggling to get a package to compile, you can always check
> http://tinderbox.dev.gentoo.org/ and see if anyone has left a package
> for your target there.

Oh, cheers!...Thanks for the information.

Regards,
Daniel Stonier.
 
Old 11-20-2008, 10:01 PM
Peter Stuge
 
Default Configuration of an embedded system

Daniel Stonier wrote:
> The other option I tried is openembedded. Which for me, was using a
> sledge hammer on a tiny nail.

Also worth looking into may be T2; http://www.t2-project.org/


//Peter
 

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