[Celinux-dev] [Q] TinyLinux project status (resend)

Greg Ungerer gerg at snapgear.com
Wed Apr 25 03:31:19 UTC 2012

On 04/25/2012 07:33 AM, Rob Landley wrote:
> On 04/24/2012 02:35 PM, Ezequiel GarcÝa wrote:
>>> Linux in under 2 megabytes of RAM, even when running from ROM, is not a
>>> realistic goal. For context: linux 0.0.1 was developed on a 4 megabyte
>>> system in 1991. Swap support was added in december of that year so it
>>> could run on a 2 megabyte system.
>> After some research I came to the same conclusion. I guess I was on
>> drugs when I tought that,
>> since even a kernel compiled with almost nothing (not even BUG
>> support) weights ~1.5 MB.
> I do note that this is inexcusable.  The kernel _DID_ once run in 2
> megabytes of ram, and 4 should still be a realistic goal for a tiny
> linux project of the busybox/toybox plus uClibc userspace kind.
> (Admittedly the last 4 meg linux system I saw was a uClinux circa 2006
> at CELF, I think it might have been Grant Likely demoing it?

I have done plenty of 4MB uClinux systems over the years, from the
early 2000's onwards. And I have a habit of showing them off at
CELF events. It may have been me...


>> It seems Linux is not aiming that low after all, however a little
>> effort to try to un-bloat the current
>> state of things can't hurt, right?
> There's plenty of low hanging fruit, yes.  But I think linux-tiny is
> actually going about it all wrong.  My rant on the subject is here:
> http://www.mentby.com/rob-landley/what-happened-to-linux-tiny.html
> If I had spare time (not at present) I could look at u-boot and this:
> http://balau82.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/hello-world-for-bare-metal-arm-using-qemu/
> And I'd assemble a catalog of hello world kernels with the standard code
> to switch into protected mode (set up page tables, turn on the cache,
> etc) and then print "hello world" via early_printk().  And then porting
> chunks of linux to this in a granular way, with appropriate cleanups,
> would be something other people could help with. :)
> I'd probably browbeat the device tree guys into helping me because this
> should be entirely device tree based from day 1. Pretty much the FIRST
> thing you add after "hello world" is a device tree parser, because that
> tells you how much memory you've got and where it is. :)
>> Thanks,
>> Ezequiel.
> Rob

Greg Ungerer  --  Principal Engineer        EMAIL:     gerg at snapgear.com
SnapGear Group, McAfee                      PHONE:       +61 7 3435 2888
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