There are many choices for Operating System (OS), and this tutorial provides guidance to select the optimal one for your application.
MinnowBoard development boards are powerful enough to support self-hosted development, so one of the full-fledged OSs with a suite of software development tools would be one way to go, for example, Linux with gcc and eclipse, or Windows 10 and visual studio. These would best be running from a solid state SATA drive, or a USB-3 external SSD or HDD drive.
You can also keep the board as your target embedded device, and use your preferred host system to do your cross-platform development targeting the MinnowBoard development board. There are a myriad of examples and websites exploring and demonstrating how to do this.
In this tutorial, we pick our way through some of the design decisions that you need to make, and discuss what compromises or benefits each pathway might entail.
1 Embedded target or self-hosted development system?
Each flavor of the various OSs has particular best use cases, and some are very good at doing a wide variety of many things, but are just not ‘best’ at everything. The beauty of the MinnowBoard open hardware and open software approach is that many choices are available, and it is easy to try one approach and then another, until you land on the one that actually performs best for your unique case.
So even when picking an OS now, you are not stuck with that choice. This doesn’t mean that everything is cross-platform compatible—meaning anything you develop on a given OS may not seamlessly function on another.
Types of OSs that run on MinnowBoard development boards
Fundamentally, there are closed source and open source choices:
- Microsoft and Windows 10 and Windows IoT are closed source, and licenses need to be procured and paid for once your product ships, even if initial development is possible without paying for these up front.
- Then there are offerings based on open source projects, but you pay for a supported version and possibly closed source ‘secret sauce’ components or modules. Red Hat, SuSE, and Wind River are companies that play in this arena.
- Fully open source projects are abundant as well. A few of these are covered in tutorials on this site, and many have instructions and How-To guides on their websites about installing onto a MinnowBoard development board.
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