Linux, a Unix operating system kernel and a series of Unix-like operating systems released under the GNU General Public License. In many ways, Linux is similar to other operating systems like Windows, macOS (formerly OS X), or iOS. Like them, Linux can have a graphical interface and similar desktop software such as word processors, photo editors, and video editors that you’re accustomed to using.

However, Linux also differs in many significant ways. Perhaps its most notable feature is being open-source software. The code used to create Linux is free for everyone to view, edit, and knowledgeable users can contribute to it.

Another distinction is that while Linux kernel components are generally common, many Linux distributions contain different software options. This means Linux is highly customizable. You can install a lightweight system and add necessary features as you go or when needed. Users can select main components like systems displaying graphics and other components of the user interface.

In fact, without even realizing it, you might already be using Linux on many devices you use daily. The majority of the web pages we visit are likely created by Linux servers. Similarly, many companies and individuals prefer Linux for their servers due to its security, flexibility, and excellent support from a vast user community.

Where is Embedded Linux Used?

Linux can operate on microprocessor-based hardware. Embedded Linux is commonly used in hardware. Although Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) or other operating systems can be used in hardware, embedded Linux is an operating system optimized to run on hardware.

Embedded Linux differs significantly from the standard operating system despite using the same kernel. It’s much smaller in size as it’s tailored for embedded systems. It requires less processing power and has minimal features. The Linux kernel is modified and optimized as an embedded Linux version. Such a Linux instance can only run applications specifically created for the device.

Embedded Linux is flexible, cost-effective, open-source, and adapted for specific-purpose microprocessors. It allows multiple software, development, and support vendors compared to other embedded operating systems; it has a stable kernel and offers the ability to read, modify, and redistribute source code, providing a highly modular structure for creating a customized system.

Advantages of Using Embedded Linux:

  • Open-source code.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Multiple software, development, and support providers.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Greater flexibility.

Disadvantages of Embedded Linux:

  • Increased complexity due to the extensive code base.
  • Changes in hardware can directly impact software.
  • Greater memory space requirement.
  • Development of new applications may require more money and time.

Embedded Linux is chosen by embedded software developers for its features and services that cater to the needs of embedded systems.