NetBSD Embedded Systems

The NetBSD Operating System is the most portable OS in the world, and many of the supported hardware platforms are suited for embedded applications. This section contains links to ports and platforms that fit within the term embedded as well as additional links.

What is an Embedded System?

The following definition which can be found in the Embedded Systems Glossary states:

A combination of computer hardware and software, and perhaps additional mechanical or other parts, designed to perform a dedicated function. In some cases, embedded systems are part of a larger system or product (...) [1]

This of course is a very subjective definition. These types of systems are mainly singular function systems, a limited set of specific function systems or a part of an overall system. Additionally, many systems are designed to be embedded. A good example of this case is a motor controller for an assembly line. Note also that the example used in the above extract talks about an antilock braking system which, while embedded, is also real time and does not apply to NetBSD.

The NetBSD multi-platform operating system supports a wide number of different platforms, many of which can and are already being used in embedded applications. Among the more popular processor families for embedded systems are MIPS, PowerPC, ARM, Xscale and Super-H. Visit the main Platforms(ports) page for more information about different architectures supported by NetBSD.

To see a list of hardware products that are designed around NetBSD—many of them in embedded applications—check out the products page, which shows NetBSD being the #1 choice for multimedia servers, copiers/printers, wireless routers and more!

Embedded development with NetBSD

While embedded development with NetBSD doesn't differ a lot from regular Unix development, some special cases are in the build processes. The following links are intended to provide introduction and guidance.

A lot more can be said about this topic, please let us know if you have any input.


  1. Barr, Michael. Embedded Systems Glossary. Online at June 2003.

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