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Timesys Factory(TM) — ‘No Compromise’ Custom Linux Platform Builder

Creating just the right Linux platform or BSP / SDK for your embedded Linux project is critical to build products that meet your goals as they relate to performance, file size, flexibility and continued support. Traditionally, this has been a non-trivial task because embedded Linux developers only had two extreme choices for building a custom platform: 1) build from scratch/‘roll your own’ or 2) build by stripping down from a pre-built distribution. Timesys’ custom platform builder — Factory — provides a solution that combines the best of both of these approaches.

Build from Scratch/‘Roll Your Own’ Approach

While this approach provides maximum flexibility and control, it is the most risky. Building from scratch requires extensive Linux experience and a lot of time to ensure everything works not only today, but in the future as well.

Build by ‘Stripping Down’ from a Pre-built Distribution Approach

With this approach, developers purchase or acquire a pre-built distribution from one of many sources and then customize it to suit their needs. Pre-built distributions work out-of-the-box and include more software and libraries by default.

On the downside, no Linux distribution installs every package that you want. And in all cases, they install many unneeded packages too, thus taking up excess disk space. As a result, developers have to spend a lot of time removing/adding software from these distributions to make them just right for their particular application. This ‘stripping down’ approach is time consuming and creates the well-known ‘dependency hell’ and time drain in making all the new combinations of software work. In addition, in the case of commercial distributions, vendors often restrict or limit support once the distributions have been customized.

Build “Bottom Up” with a Modular Platform Builder — the Timesys Approach

Taking the best of the two approaches above, Timesys’ Factory is based on a modular ‘bottoms up’ architecture that ensures you won’t install the software and libraries you don’t need. YOU select the software and libraries used for your application. Factory provides easy-to-use modular building blocks that results in putting you in control, providing flexibility and enabling you to quickly build just the right platform or BSP / SDK — without the complexity and time involved in both ‘the roll your own’ scenario and the stripping down of a large distribution.

Typical Timesys Factory flow: choose, build and run
Factory™ Platform Builder Benefits
  • Easily build custom BSPs / SDKs or distributions — While there are many open source options for building platforms and/or BSPs / SDKs, most are either easy, or flexible, but not both. Timesys Factory combines ease-of-use with a highly modular architecture to enable developers to successfully build custom platforms or BSPs / SDKs in hours.
  • Efficient — Start small, build up. Start small with kernel, toolchain, minimal RFS and then add just the packages you need. This approach is much simpler than ‘stripping down’ and far easier to build, test and debug.
  • Extensible — Easily customize your software stack by adding external software such as packages, device drivers, libraries and your application code to your platform.
  • Reproducible, consistent builds from source — Factory allows developers to consistently recreate old builds for the purpose of regression testing and incremental development.
  • Easy to integrate into an existing environment — Factory uses all the common Linux commands (make, shell scripts, etc), so it can be easily incorporated into a larger build system. Additionally, Factory can fetch code from any source including file servers and version control systems.
Factory™ Platform Builder Features


Build from Sources


Provides maximum flexibility and customization

Integrate Custom Applications


Add custom applications easily to RFS or your platform

Update Engine


Automatically push relevant updates info and successfully integrate updates

Industry-standard Components


Uses community standard, familiar software infrastructure (kconfig and make)

Support for All Architectures


ARM, Power, MIPS, x86, etc.

Support for Various
C Libraries


uClibc, glibc, eglibc, klibc

Interface Choice


Powerful combination of both command line and GUI wizard provide maximum ease of use and flexibility

Package Management


Choose from popular package managers (RPM, DEB as well as tar balls)

Timesys Source Code Repository


Access to old versions available even if removed from upstream

Team Development


Create an installable SDK with your custom toolchain


Integration with Timesys’ TimeStorm IDE

Timesys’ Factory build system produces runtime images (BSPs) to be deployed on hardware. It also produces a Software Development Kit (SDK) that can be used for development of value-add system and application-level software.

SDKs built by Factory are automatically recognized in Timesys’ TimeStorm IDE, enabling them to be used in the development, debugging and profiling of software.

Learn More

Have questions about any of our embedded Linux offerings?

We’ be happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information about how Timesys products make development easier and can help reduce development delays and risk. To contact us, you can fill out our online form, email or call us at 1.888.432.8463 (toll-free) or +1.412.232.3250.

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