Frequently Asked Questions
Timesys embedded Linux FAQs are segmented into the following categories:
FAQ — LinuxLink
Click on any question below to view the response.
Who should use LinuxLink?
LinuxLink provides a solution for all developers / development teams.
Developers who do not require commercial support but are looking to quickly build a custom BSP / SDK and boot Linux on their reference kit, can use the LinuxLink Web UI, free. It enables users to:
- Try out a system first
- Compare ease of use of LinuxLink with semi-provided option
- Quickly and easily boot Linux on reference boards
LinuxLink also features desktop tools that enable more advance customization and full control of embedded Linux platform and application development. Developers who engage with Timesys for support get full use of LinuxLink desktop tools which are recommended for development teams that:
- Need tools for platform and application development
- Require command line interface
- Need advanced customization and API integration
- Are building custom hardware and want to speed development
- Require commercial support for any and all phases of their development
How do I know if LinuxLink supports my processor?
LinuxLink is available for dozens of processors from leading semiconductor manufacturers, and the list is rapidly growing. Visit the Supported Processors page to see if a LinuxLink is available for your processor. Support is expanding every day, so let us know if you don’t see your processor. We will share with you our plans for adding it.
What tools do I get with a LinuxLink account?
LinuxLink comes complete with a full suite of Linux development tools that have been integrated and tested for a given processor. It provides both a cloud-based and desktop make / GNU-based build environment that produces a consistent Linux platform across a wide variety of development host configurations and is easily scriptable for continuous integration (centralized build) systems.
Developers with a free LinuxLink account have access to LinuxLink’s cloud-based build system and can generate a 30-day TimeStorm license key to unlock all the TimeStorm features / plugins for that time period.
In addition to enjoying all the benefits of a LinuxLink free account, developers who engage with Timesys for project-based support have full use of LinuxLink desktop tools, enabling them to fully customize all aspects of their embedded Linux platform and application and build locally on their host.
What Linux code is included in the LinuxLink repository?
The LinuxLink repository includes open source Linux components that have been built and tested for a given processor/target, including a recent kernel, GNU toolchain and hundreds of packages. All LinuxLink platforms are built and tested with our award-winning Factory.
LinuxLink users can also access pre-assembled platforms to start their embedded development within minutes or to build a custom Linux platform within a few hours.
How often do you update the LinuxLink repository?
Timesys performs updates to toolchains regularly to stay within one or two versions of the Community. We also perform regular updates to stay current with semiconductor-provided kernels.
How does Timesys’ Factory fit in with LinuxLink and Yocto?
LinuxLink is a software workflow package that, as part of it, contains a build system.
One build system option is Factory — an open source Timesys developed build system based on make and autconf with rules that Timesys has defined to automate the building of our repository of packages based on customer selection.
Another build system option is Yocto Project — an OpenEmbedded-based build system.
LinuxLink encompasses both Factory and Yocto build systems, enabling customers to choose which path they want to take.
How does LinuxLink differ from the Linux solutions that are available from other vendors?
LinuxLink gives you control over your custom design, at a fraction of the price of commercial Linux distributions. LinuxLink eliminates dependencies imposed by Linux vendors by giving you the freedom to choose and incorporate the latest feature sets and semiconductor-developed optimizations into your target platform. Additionally, LinuxLink hosts the broadest set of packages in the industry. Hundreds of cross-compiled user space packages increase your design options and functionality. The support model gives you direct access to our embedded Linux experts and eliminates the waiting and bottlenecks of traditional support models.
Can you help me get my embedded Linux build to consume less RAM / flash?
Absolutely. Here’s how:
- Every LinuxLink includes a small footprint starting point
- Timesys Factory is designed to ‘build up’ from scratch so your distribution only has what you need
- We offer many smaller “embedded” packages in the repository (e.g., dropbear SSH server, thttp web server)
- We provide toolchain support for smaller uClibc library
- LinuxLink includes code, help, tips, advice, and guidance for customers who wish to configure a smaller footprint
How can you help me manage my open source obligations?
- Timesys Factory tracks and documents packages, versions, and relevant licenses. Use Factory BOM (summary.txt) to confirm applicable licenses and your obligations.
- Full source code is available in Timesys repository for all supported open source packages.
- Include source code notice with shipping product
- Host sources on customer website
How do we make sure our application does not become GPL / open source?
- Use standard kernel API’s and application-friendly library licenses
(e.g., LGPL, BSD, Apache)
- Beware of derived works, e.g., adding open source code into your application (polluted code)
Where does Timesys obtain the Linux code that is available with LinuxLink?
Timesys obtains Linux components and content from a variety of sources within the Linux community, including kernel.org, mailing lists, embedded partners and hundreds of open source projects. Timesys selects its sources based on 10+ years of experience in developing robust embedded Linux platforms.
Are full sources provided for Linux code obtained from LinuxLink?
Yes. LinuxLink subscribers are provided with access to full sources for any binary Linux code obtained through LinuxLink — including the kernel, toolchain and packages.
Am I allowed to redistribute Linux code obtained from LinuxLink?
LinuxLink subscribers have full rights to modify and distribute any Linux components as defined in licenses for the components obtained from LinuxLink. We ask that subscribers identify Timesys as the source for distributed platforms that have been built with Linux components and tools obtained through LinuxLink.