Thanks to Snapgear, a router/firewall company, developers can now get their hands on a free distribution of Clinux -- a version of Linux designed for use in processors without a memory management unit -- that runs on Motorola's M5429C, the newest ColdFire processor.
Greg Ungerer, the engineer who authored Snapgear's Clinux distribution, said its purpose is "to simplify the acquire-config-build steps that a developer must normally go through when building embedded systems based on Linux."
The distribution features a configure system for customizing embedded systems. According to Ungerer, it allows the developer "to pick and choose kernel options, libraries, and individual applications using the familiar Linux kernel config system. Instead of having to build multiple packages, this distribution will build all packages (kernel libraries and applications) in a single pass, and then package the result in a form appropriate to be loaded into embedded systems.
The M5429C processor is designed for consumer audio devices, especially those that play MP3s, in that the processor is fast enough to decode MP3 data in real time. It also features audio support, an interface for integrated development environments (IDEs), a flash media interface, an SDRAM controller, chip select logic, timers, and UARTs.
And if developers want to use the distribution on a freely available processor design, the OPENcores project has ported Clinux to its OPENrisc 1000 processor.
Snapgear's version of Clinux is available at www.uclinux.org/ports/coldfire.