What are Embedded Systems.245
8.2.2Embedded Systems and Power Consumption
Power consumption is also an important issue in embedded systems. This is also related to
the moving parts issue in a sense. Components that consume more power need cooling, so some
type of fan must be attached to the system. For this reason people always prefer CPUs and other
components that use less power and generate less heat. It is also beneficial for systems that run
on batteries to use less power. High power-consuming components drain batteries quickly.
8.2.3Embedded Operating Systems
Since embedded systems are usually not general-purpose systems, they need not be as
sophisticated as commercial general-purpose systems. These operating systems are smaller in
size. Most of these operating systems also offer real-time capabilities, which are missing in gen-
eral-purpose systems. Although there are hundreds of operating systems available for the
embedded market, some of the most commonly used ones are:
•VxWorks
•pSOS
•Embedded Linux
•QNX
•Windows CE
When you use Linux as an embedded operating system, you can take out many parts of the
kernel that are required in the general-purpose Linux systems. Which parts should be excluded
from the kernel depends upon the requirements of a particular system. For example, you can
take out the entire networking code if the embedded system is not going to be networked. Simi-
larly, you can take out most of the secondary storage related drivers and file systems support.
Kernel parts that are the most likely candidates for removal from the embedded Linux are:
•Disk drivers
•CD-ROM drivers
•Most of the networking code. Even if an embedded system is intended to be networked,
you may not need all of the routing code and drivers for all types of network adapters.
•Sound and multimedia related drivers and components. However you may need these
components if the embedded system is used as a computer game.
•Most of the file system support
•Any other thing that is not required. You can go through the kernel configuration
process to determine what is not necessary.
The trimmed version of the Linux kernel will be much smaller compared to the kernels
you find in most Linux distributions.
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