Embedded Linux Design and
Development Solutions

Embedded Linux can have multiple definitions depending on the product. USA Firmware’s team of embedded system and Linux engineers understand the complexity of these definitions and protocols. For example, Linux can power a high-reliability embedded control module. In another product example, Linux can power a full-featured data-analytics engine with computational resources that rival some desktop systems.  

The Many Facets of
Embedded Linux

Many Layers in a Product Solution

Embedded Linux solutions comprise several layers within a product. Solutions begin with the hardware itself, progress to the bootloader, advance to the Linux kernel, continue to Linux services and native utilities, and eventually write a product-specific application. All these layers must integrate correctly and reliably for the product to function correctly.

Every Layer a Moving Target

Open source embedded Linux is not the product of a single vendor. Each layer or subsystem is considered its own product with its own authors, to be released and updated on their own schedules. Each component’s authors decide how to maintain compatibility, or not, with previous releases. Incompatibilities often result from changes to APIs or functional behavior and from bugs introduced by a new release. Existential problems with a new release could include changes in licensing terms, which preclude further use of an application or library.

Integrating the Layers

The evolution of interface (API) dependencies between subsystems must be carefully monitored throughout the initial development of an embedded Linux product and well into its maintenance lifetime. This requires careful review of API and behavioral dependencies as they are introduced, review of the side effects of bug fix releases, and review of the effects that any revisions to underlying hardware might need.

Large-scale Linux installations have frequently chosen various forms of virtualization to avoid such dependencies. However, this practice frequently leads to much higher storage and computational resource requirements. Such solutions are not generally feasible for resource-constrained embedded systems.

Benefits of
USA Firmware

Hardware and Controller Expertise

Our engineers have experience with processing systems at all levels of reliability, environmental tolerances, and computational capacities. We can match a product’s requirements with the right hardware platform.

Operating System Expertise

USA Firmware has been creating industrial-rated embedded Linux products for well over a decade, and we are experts in Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS). With this knowledge, we recognize how to effectively partition a client’s product between its edge interfaces and management interfaces.

Communications Expertise

Our Linux engineering staff includes lead engineers from the communications industry’s first broadly successful Wi-Fi product line. We have worked extensively with sensor-area, local-area, and wide-area networking technologies, both wired and wireless, and we have experience utilizing the numerous protocols necessary to communicate across those networks.

Service Layer Expertise

The software foundation of data collection and management is the Linux services that process, store, and inspect that data. We know how to efficiently combine and leverage these web, database, management, and analytics services to meet the client’s product requirements.

Applications Expertise

USA Firmware’s engineering staff recognizes that end users don’t care about componentry; they care about how the product behaves and the value it provides. We strive to make our clients successful with their customers through industry-leading reliability and human interfaces.

Development Practices Expertise

We focus on high-quality results for each project and efficient paths to achieve those results. We select the best tools and techniques for the job and share them with our clients.