Subject: RE: NetBSD usage in embedded environments
To: None <>
From: Kamal R Prasad <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 04/03/2003 15:13:24
What do you call it when you lose a ton of money in the stock market?
Answer: Adventures in Capitalism

>NetBSD is an excellent operating system... but there are some improvments
>make it fit better in the embedded space:
>1. Journaled flash file system

think a journaled filesystem is a misfit for an embedded device in the
first place.
further all the more so on a  flash device which has little space compared
to a hard disk.

>2. Ability to enable very small kernel configurations ( this exists
>today )

IIUC- the size in bytes that netbsd kernel amounts to is not the least
possible primarily because the OS code is divided into a minimal
machine-dependent (possibly with some assembly) portion and a machine
independent (C code) portion. re:- code _leftin_ vs _putin_ -yeah it makes
sense to leave it there to ease upgrades -but the more the no. of distinct
directories into which the kernel is organized (with a corresponding config
option) -the easier it will be to remove code from the final footprint. re:
- working on the swapper, Im overworked in my current job and it doesn't
involve netbsd kernel work (on an embedded device).so I cannot attempt that

>3. Multithreading (native pthreads support)
think there is an _SA branch with LWP support.

>4. BSD equivalent of Redboot
redboot is (a low-level slip/ethernet mechanism) used to load the OS -so Im
not sure why redboot cannot be enhanced to load netbsd (if it doesn't).


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Erik E. Fair []
> Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 6:34 PM
> To: Wojciech Puchar
> Cc: Kamal R Prasad;
> Subject: Re: NetBSD usage in embedded environments
> Some years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that he was using NetBSD
> for an embedded consumer device. I thought he was nuts, and asked,
> "Why a full blown OS instead of some smaller real-time thing?"
> He replied, "because a megabyte of RAM only costs $1."
> His point was that NetBSD (aside from being cheap itself) doesn't use
> all that many resources on a price per resource basis in the modern
> world, and it gives you the full flexibility of a complete UNIX
> system kernel for your device. Naturally, his device was using flash
> so that they could upgrade functionality in the field.
> It's good to want your software to be as small and efficient as
> possible. Most good software engineers want that. However, you should
> never forget that in business, there is a diminishing return to that
> effort, and there will be a point beyond which the businessman will
> simply say, "You're taking too long to shrink that/make it
> faster/more efficient/etc. Let's just throw hardware at the problem
> to make it go away."
>            a datapoint,
>            Erik <>