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The Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset

Creating A Linux Option for

  • Palmtop Computers
  • Very old PC's
  • Single board microcomputers
  • Embedded controller systems
  • Other older computers

The current ELKS development image needs about 120K of RAM, and a full running system should require 256K-512K for a full system.



ELKS is a project to build a small kernel subset Linux that can run on small machines with limited processor and memory resources. The initial proposed targets are the intel 8086 and maybe the zilog Z80. [Yes Z80 should be possible - probably needing paged memory. Dave Braun's UZI is proof it can be done].

The first question people ask (other than is this for real) is why? Several reasons actually:

The processors chosen reflect those the authors have access to. Doing a 680x0 embeddable kernel capable of running without an MMU would also be an interesting project, although this would probably rule out swapping and make the implementation of fork() hard. Minix does this by copying which is messy but works. 683xx and MIPS R4xxx embedded processors are an obvious further target.

The project state so far:

We need volunteers to

The mailing list is linux-8086@vger.rutgers.edu and is majordomo managed. The FTP archive site is linux.mit.edu.


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