There’s an interview with Jeff Dionne up at Linux devices. Jeff did much of the original work on uClinux, a port of Linux that first supported architectures without memory management units. He’s been around for quite a while, and I try to listen to what he has to say. I remember reading posts from him back when I was initially getting involved with professional use of Linux in embedded systems, and his insights have been valuable ever since. I particularly liked his response to question 10:
Embedded Linux will be everywhere as a part of the C runtime. The market is another matter. For us, we frequently do the ports ourselves, but when sensible, we’ve contracted ports. It’ interesting to note the number of ports that now come by way of the silicon vendors, submitted to us or other maintainers to put into the CVS. These vendors recognize the value in offering something that helps to develop a product – tools, application software, training, services – for free, both as in beer and speech, and that’s what makes it so successful. So to clarify, I think this means there really is no embedded Linux market per se, but rather a market to serve people who are developing products with embedded Linux.
An excellent point, and one that I agree with completely.