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The goal of the Embedded Debian Project is to make Debian GNU/Linux a natural choice for embedded Linux.

Debian's open development process, reputation for reliability and security, powerful package manager, and wide and growing range of supported architectures provide a solid technical foundation for the realization of this goal. We believe that Debian GNU/Linux is the best place to concentrate embedded Linux development in such a way as to create an embeddable Linux distribution that

  • Scales well from very large systems (O(100) megabytes) down to very small systems (O(1) megabyte), i.e. from the desktop down to the settop
  • Is supported on a wide range of platforms
  • Integrates embedded Linux related software from a variety of sources (i.e. other distributions, projects)
  • Is dynamic and does not suffer from software rot over time

The Problem

There are a multitude of efforts currently underway to bring Linux to the embedded systems space. These are being worked on by small non-commercial development communities up to large commercial organizations. Because of the open source nature of Linux and the distributions built on Linux, there is quite a bit of cross-pollination between these groups. However, there doesn't seem to be any one open place providing a focus for these efforts.

This leads to a situation in which there are several distribution that are good, but not as good as they could be, because they suffer from one or more of the following:

  • Support only one or two platforms.
  • Are based on older technology.
  • Are difficult to keep current.
  • Do not have a large development community.
  • Are developed in a closed community.
  • Contain non-free components.

The Solution

The solution is to concentrate all that is good in the embedded Linux world.  Linux and Debian GNU/Linux have gained momentum partly because of the critical masses they have achieved. We believe that embedded Linux can gain far more momentum than it already has if a critical mass of development activity, focused in the right place, can be achieved.

We believe Debian is that place, and that a concentrated effort has the potential to advance the state of the art of embedded Linux faster and more effectively then do the fragmentized efforts that exist today.

From the Debian FAQ:

Whereas other Linux distributions are developed by individuals, small, closed groups, or commercial vendors, Debian is the only Linux distribution that is being developed cooperatively by many individuals through the Internet, in the same spirit as Linux and other free software.

Although Debian GNU/Linux itself is free software, it is a base upon which value-added Linux distributions can be built. By providing a reliable, full-featured base system, Debian provides Linux users with increased compatibility, and allows Linux distribution creators to eliminate duplication of effort and focus on the things that make their distribution special.

We believe that Embedded Debian can provide a vendor neutral reference distribution for the benefit of individual developers, organizations who want to use embedded Linux on their own, and organizations who want to create their own embedded Linux distributions on a common reference.

Embedded Debian would not merely be a different flavour of Debian, but one of the many flavours of Debian.  It would provide a common infrastructure that minimizes the "feature friction" between the vendor distributions based on it. It would be a more vibrant/dynamic base distribution than any other embedded Linux.

See the emdebian contact page for information on contacting us.

Last Modified: Tue, Feb 3 17:50:11 UTC 2004
Copyright © 2000-2004 The Embedded Debian Project;
Emdebian is an offical subproject of Debian.