September 22, 2011 -- For quite some time now, embedded software developers compared to their hardware brethren, have had the option of "rolling their own" or building their own toolchain. As strange, and as risky, as that may sound to hardware designers, self-building a toolchain is not so unusual in the world of embedded design. This is due primarily to the availability of open-source tools and components.
The concept of open source is founded on the idea of creating and openly sharing your invention and its source materials with the community. The GNU project is perhaps one of the strongest examples of this concept and increasingly, embedded software developers are choosing the GNU toolchain for open source development.
So why is the GNU toolchain so popular? The GNU toolchain contains an optimizing compiler that specifically targets embedded processors. It supports programming in C, C++, assembly language, and compiler and linker extensions, all of which are specifically designed to assist embedded programmers. And because the GNU toolchain can support multiple target platforms, it makes porting code between processors less of a hassle since developers can use the same tools on multiple platforms. Of course, the greatest advantage is the fact that software developers can download all of the components free of charge and assemble them nicely into a tight little assembly line.
By Brad Dixon and Anil Khanna. (Dixon is a Senior Marketing Manager at Mentor Graphics Corp. responsible for Android, Linux, and Nucleus; Khanna is Senior Product Marketing Manager of Mentor Embedded Sourcery tools.)
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
View the entire article on the Electronic Engineering Journal website.
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