Embedded Debian Project
Welcome to Emdebian.org. The Embedded Debian Project is making Debian GNU/Linux a mainstream choice for embedded projects.
- About Emdebian
Debian's multiarchitecture support, vendor independence, social contract and huge software base make it an attractive choice for all sorts of systems, but the main distribution is very much aimed at systems with at least desktop resources (big hard discs, plenty of memory). Embedded Debian tries to strip Debian down to be a much smaller system whilst keeping all the good things.
Getting started with Emdebian
Why use Emdebian rather than Debian?
The most obvious reason is installation sizes. Debian simply cannot fit onto some devices that could run GNU/Linux. Other machines can accommodate a typical Debian installation but would have little available space for user data etc. and adding more storage is impossible or impractical. See more on the available flavours of Emdebian. Generally, if the machine can be easily extended with an extra internal hard drive or by replacing the existing hard drive with a larger one, there is no particular reason to look at Emdebian for that machine. Embedded devices typically have no such way of adding more storage, at least not internally.
What about low resource machines?
Emdebian is based on Debian and therefore uses Debian packages. Some Emdebian installations can make lower demands on the machine hardware but this would be because the Emdebian installation is based on packages already in Debian that are intended for such purposes. Using the same packages with a Debian installation is likely to be little different to the same packages with an Emdebian installation. Therefore, an old PC with a reasonably large hard drive (or a capacity to use a modern multi-gigabyte hard drive) is not likely to benefit from Emdebian. However, a low resource embedded device without the capacity for adding more internal storage would benefit greatly from an Emdebian installation. If there are other packages that would suit low resource machines, Emdebian developers are often willing to assist in getting the packages into Debian and thereby, Emdebian.
See the documentation for more information.
What does Emdebian provide?
Prebuilt toolchains to build for arm, armel, ia64, m68k, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390 and sparc using a variety of gcc-3.3, gcc-3.4, gcc-4.0, gcc-4.1, gcc-4.2, gcc-4.3 and gcc-4.4 compilers. See the search page for more information.
Emdebian Grip - binary-compatible with Debian
Complete repositories of packages for various architectures, based on coreutils and perl. Support for standard Debian tools like debian-installer. No functional changes compared to Debian. Support is available for i386, amd64, powerpc, armel, armhf, mips and mipsel. Unofficial Debian ports for powerpcspe and sh4 are available for unstable.
Emdebian Grip 1.0 (based on Debian 5.0 "Lenny") is already in widespread usage as well as Emdebian Grip 2.0 (based on Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"). Binary compatibility means that each suite of Emdebian Grip is as close to the stability of the equivalent Debian suite as possible.
Emdebian Grip is being integrated into Debian as unstable-grip and testing-grip.
Emdebian Grip can support building packages and can be installed as a simple migration from Debian in the normal ways. A recommended way to install Emdebian Grip 1.0 is to use the Debian Lenny or Squeeze installer to install a Debian base system and use pre-seeding to migrate to Grip during the installation process. Subsequent versions also work with the Debian Installer or with multistrap.
Emdebian Crush - cross-built, customised Emdebian installations without perl
Only available for ARM, based on Debian 5.0 Lenny.
Busybox based root filesystem and packages to support the G Palmtop Environment based on GTK+2 or any workable package selection in-between. Kernels and kernel modules are not provided directly but support exists to add custom kernels to the installation tarballs.
Certain packages were heavily modified and cross-built - functional changes therefore exist between Emdebian Crush and standard Debian.
Emdebian Crush does not support building packages on Crush itself, all work to develop packages for Crush must be done on a normal Debian machine. There is no migration path from Debian to Emdebian Crush.
Installations of Emdebian Crush require significant user involvement, images will not generally be available for direct download. Instead, each installation is customised from the available package set using the multistrap package.
All development on Crush has stalled, there will be no release of Crush alongside Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"
Debian packages continually updated for cross-building using the Emdebian toolchains.
Preconfigured root filesystems for devices which do not need to be upgraded.
Embedded Debian is currently very much a work-in-progress: plenty of people are already using Debian in their devices and systems, but there is huge potential to make doing this easier. We already have tools, toolchains and a root filesystem, but more work is needed to have full distributions ready to build or download. Anyone with an interest in this area is very welcome to help.
[15 Jun 2013] Emdebian Wheezy-Grip updated to 3.1
[04 May 2013] Emdebian Grip 3.0 (based on Debian 7.0 "wheezy") released
[24 Feb 2013] Emdebian Grip Squeeze updated to 6.0.7