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Embedded Linux Primer: A Practical Real-World Approach (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137017836
ISBN-10: 9780137017836
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Up-to-the-Minute, Complete Guidance for Developing Embedded Solutions with Linux


Linux has outstripped all competitors as today's #1 operating system for embedded products. Christopher Hallinan'sEmbedded Linux Primerhas proven itself as the definitive real-world guide to building efficient, high-value, embedded systems with Linux. Now, Hallinan has thoroughly updated this highly praised book for the newest Linux kernels, capabilities, tools, and hardware support, including advanced multicore processors.


Drawing on years of experience as a consultant and field application engineer, Hallinan helps you rapidly climb the learning curve, whether you're moving from legacy environments or you're new to embedded programming. Hallinan addresses today's most important development challenges, and demonstrates how to solve the problems you're most likely to encounter.


You'll learn how to build a modern, efficient embedded Linux development environment, and then utilize it as productively as possible. Hallinan offers up-to-date guidance on everything from kernel configuration and initialization to bootloaders, device drivers to file systems, and BusyBox utilities to real-time configuration and system analysis. This edition adds entirely new chapters on UDEV, USB, and open source build systems. Throughout, Hallinan presents extensive downloadable code examples-all assembled from operational hardware running the latest versions of embedded Linux.


·    Tour the typical embedded system and development environment, and understand its concepts and components.

·    Compare the standalone and integrated processors that Linux now supports.

·    Understand the Linux kernel and userspace initialization processes.

·    Walk through bootloading, with specific emphasis on Das U-Boot, the most popular Linux bootloader for embedded systems.

·    Understand Linux device driver concepts, architecture, and licensing, and the role device drivers play in virtual memory operating systems.

·    Choose the right Linux file system for your application.

·    Use the Memory Technology Devices (MTD) subsystem to interface with flash (and other) memory devices.

·    Make the most of BusyBox, the Linux embedded development environment, and the latest open source development tools.

·    Expanded and updated coverage of kernel debugging.

·    Build and analyze real-time systems with Linux.

·    Learn to configure device files and driver loading with UDEV.

·    Detailed coverage of the USB subsystem

·    Introduction to the latest open source embedded Linux build systems in use today

·   Reference appendices include U-Boot and BusyBox commands, SDRAM interface considerations, sample BDI-2000 configuration file, and more.


About the Author

Christopher Hallinan is a technical marketing engineer for the Embedded Systems Division of Mentor Graphics, living and working in Florida. He has spent more than 25 years in the networking and communications industry, mostly in various product development, management, and marketing roles, where he developed a strong background in the space where hardware meets software. Prior to joining Mentor Graphics, he spent nearly seven years as a field applications engineer for Monta Vista Software. Before that, Hallinan spent four years as an independent Linux consultant, providing custom Linux board ports, device drivers, and bootloaders. His introduction to the open source community was through contributions to the popular U-Boot bootloader. When not messing about with Linux, he is often found singing and playing a Taylor or Martin.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (November 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780137017836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137017836
  • ASIN: 0137017839
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In my work, I not infrequently have to familiarize myself with different technologies. I generally don't have a lot of time to do this.

Books like "Embedded Linux Primer" are my salvation. The author states in his preface "This book describes my view of what an embedded engineer needs to know to get up to speed fast in an embedded Linux environment". I am not an engineer, but I am a technologist and this book got me off to a flying start in terms of letting me quickly expand my knowledge of embedded Linux.

This book will not teach you how to use Linux or how to program in C and you'd best have some experience in both to even read the book.

It is not a hardware book either or a book on the Linux kernel.

It is what its title states, a primer on embedded Linux systems and how to get them up and running.

In 19 chapters, author Hallinan walks the reader through initial discussions of why to choose embedded Linux and quickly moves into the anatomy of an embedded Linux system. Hallinan's writing style is wonderfully clear and he rarely deviates from the subject at hand. There are lots of tips in the text covering the idiosyncrasies of working with an embedded system, which I found particularly helpful.

Each of the chapters is a lesson. At the end of each, there are suggestions for additional reading.

In my case, I just needed a coherent overview of embedded Linux. I got that quickly and easily thanks to Hallinan's style. Now that my initial purpose has been accomplished, I can do as Hallinan suggests: take out an old x86 system and follow along as he explains how to get an embedded Linux system up and running. Hallinan makes it a fun task.

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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dan Hobson on January 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like Ghost said. Not a serious how to book. It explains a little theory. Enough to see the buzz words. But not enough to really learn how to implement.

The explanation of the boot process was good. The short walk through on the kernel source code was a good primer. Could not find how to burn new files into Flash though.

Most of the books strong points were showing the reader where to go on line to find the answers. But some of the links to the web no longer exist. I guess this is a problem writing a book on a fast moving technology. It would have been better to go ahead and include the info in the book.

I would also recommend rearranging the chapters to where the Tool-Chain is covered first in an attempt to get the reader up and running so the rest of the book can be applied as the material is read. Thanks for the effort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The second updated edition of Embedded Linux Primer: A Practical Real-World Approach provides the latest keys to developing embedded solutions using Linux. Newcomers to embedded programming concepts as well as those seeking reinforcement of systems and Linux operations will find this teaches all the basics, includes expanded, updated coverage on kernel debugging, and introduces the latest open source embedded Linux systems. Reference appendixes and configuration tips contribute to a real winner!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Justin Courville on November 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
About Me
To begin with I have had minimal experience with embedded linux systems, but I have had experience in legacy C and C++, as well as Linux system administration.

The author is a very efficient writer and explains concepts in a very easy to understand, concise way. If you have had experience with C programming and basic Linux system administration you will understand the examples he presents and walks through. The author provides excellent examples in the form of diagrams and Linux command line screenshots that help to reinforce what is being explained. Furthermore, the author provides EXCELLENT resources at the end of each chapter to steer the reader towards more "in-depth" texts. These resources are incredibly useful as they serve to help keep the book up-to-date.

In Response to Other Reviews
- The author does provide links to community based embedded Linux systems in Chapter 2. and recommends the system he is running, for the examples seen throughout the book.

- I agree that it would be nice to see more links and references to more community projects but it should in no way affect the potential buyer (the author provides plenty of examples, but take into account that the book is a static entry, he can't continuously update it to keep current with technology).

For the Potential Buyer
- This is a primer, do not expect a "cookbook" format, as that is not the intent of the author. The primer approach is meant to educate you on the big picture and prepare you to go into more depth. If you purchase this book with this in mind you will absolutely not be disappointed.

- The author speaks clearly and simply to educate on the issues that are pertinent to embedded systems.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dim on June 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book reading it from cover to cover. I think this book the best match for any advanced Linux user interested in embedded systems. I really filled all the gaps I had around small Linux based system internals: starting from boot process and finishing debugging techniques.

This book does not have ready-to-use recipes or detailed description of any particular hardware implementations or driver development. Instead it covers the waste lands of different components and aspects that I never had a chance to learn using Linux as a desktop OS for years. Author gives the information in friendly and easy-to-read manner so the book is read as a book and not as a dried overblown text so common among technical literature.
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