The emergence of many low-cost, off-the shelf boards supporting embedded Linux (or BSD) opens a wealth of possibilities for the hacker willing to expand her horizons to the possibilities of hardware tinkering.
Using the lowest amount of custom hardware and pouring Perl and Shell Script over everything as the glue binding it all, we create two minimalistic devices delivering a perfectly tuned network time source (synchronizing with a GPS satellite), and a naturally random entropy source (leveraging a Geiger tube’s measurement of natural background radiation).
The sample designs provide an entertaining introduction to the skills needed to design basic embedded systems, and their unavoidable BIOS and operating system underpinnings.
Aimed to medium-to-advanced Administrators, and Developers not shying away from the gory details of how Linux works behind the scenes. Come play, it is fun on the hardware side!
Federico Lucifredi is the maintainer of the man suite, the primary documentation-delivery tool under Linux, a recently graduate student at Harvard University, and a software engineer-turned-manager at Novell corporation. Previously, Federico has been a CTO and a network software architect at ’.com’ and embedded Linux startups, and he has spent two years teaching in Boston University’s graduate and undergraduate programs, while simultaneously consulting for MIT. He is a frequent speaker at user group and conference events, notably the LinuxWorld and the IMPlanet conferences, where he was a panelist representing the jabber community. Federico is a recognized expert in computing performance issues, and consults pro-bono with Standard and Poor’s clients interested in Free/Open Source Software technical and strategic issues. He participated in the GPL v3 drafting process in the large-corporation panel.
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