RedBoot™ is a comprehensive debug and bootstrap firmware solution for the development, deployment, and management of embedded devices. It supports a wide variety of embedded applications ranging from native stand-alone, proprietary and eCos RTOS based applications, through to embedded Linux based systems. RedBoot is fully open source, and free of royalty and license fees.
The feature set of RedBoot provides assistance in all phases of a product's life-cycle. In the initial development phases it supplies a standardized bootstrap and debug environment on commercial development boards, and on an OEM's own prototype hardware. During manufacturing it can provide application installation, power-on self tests (POST), and built-in diagnostic tests. Finally, when products are deployed, RedBoot provides the system bootstrap mechanism, site specific configuration ability, as well as a straightforward migration path for firmware, OS, and file system content upgrades.
RedBoot has been adopted by many semiconductor and development board manufacturers as their standard bootstrap firmware. All major architectures are supported including ARM, ColdFire, MIPS, PowerPC, SuperH, XScale and x86. RedBoot is the standard firmware shipped in all of Intel's XScale development boards. It has also been used in various boards from Freescale in their i.MX and PowerPC ranges, SH based boards from STMicroelectronics and SuperH, and Cirrus Logic's ARM boards. A wide variety of third-party development boards that feature RedBoot are available from ADI Engineering, Arcom, Analogue & Micro, Embedded Planet, RadiSys, SSV, Telelogic, and many others. Most development boards supported by eCosCentric's eCosPro® Developer's Kit also include a port of RedBoot. RedBoot has been deployed in embedded products from Axis, Buffalo, HP, Intel, Linksys, NETGEAR, Yamaha, Zyxel, and many others. Technical Overview
RedBoot is, in essence, a minimal eCos RTOS application, using the hardware abstraction layer (HAL) and device drivers from eCos to provide its portability and device access infrastructure. It therefore inherits the key eCos qualities of reliability, portability and configurability, and leverages the wide range of peripherals, processor ports, development and evaluation platforms already supported by the eCos HAL.
Typical flash memory footprints are less than 64kB for basic configurations, rising to 96kB or more for fully-featured systems that include TCP/IP & Ethernet connectivity, image decompression, filesystem, and Linux bootstrap support. The compact and configurable nature of RedBoot and eCos allows functionality to be enabled, customised, or removed to suit the target system's functional requirements and Flash budget. For example, network communications and filesystem access capabilities can be used to speed software development, and then removed for the product to minimise RedBoots overall flash footprint. Bootstrap
RedBoot has been architected for flexibility and rapid customisation. Interruptible boot scripts enable adaptable custom boot sequences that can automatically load application and data images from flash memory, removable memory cards, or even by downloading via an Ethernet connection.
Power-on self testing is readily implemented and new RedBoot commands may be created to provide vendor specific customizations such as POST and hardware diagnostics. These new commands can then be either inserted into the boot script or run interactively. In addition to the bootstrap of native and eCos RTOS based applications, RedBoot can also boot other operating systems, and in particular embedded Linux. Linux-specific features include architecture specific initialization of processor and board state, kernel boot parameters, kernel image decompression support, and kernel image loading from native ext2, JFFS2 and other file systems.
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eCosCentric specialises in delivering solutions, products and services for the embedded systems market based on open source technology, with a specific focus on the eCos® real-time operating system and qualified middleware.
eCosPro, eCosCentric's robust and commercial grade release of eCos, provides deterministic, real-time performance on micro-controllers from Cortex-M class onwards with a full and easy to use development environment. Typical context switch and interrupt performance times are measured from 260 nanoseconds to a few microseconds on standard products.
Solutions and qualified middleware include:
* eCosPro Developer's Kit - Commercial grade RTOS, tools, support and advice
* eCosPro-mDNS - Bonjour compliant Zero Configuration networking solution
* eCosPro-HostUSB - USB Host stack with hub, mass storage and hot-swap
* eCosPro-DeviceUSB - USB Device stack with network & serial classes
* eCosPro-CAN - Controller Area Network device API and drivers
* eCosPro-SecureSHell - SSH-2 compatible Secure SHell daemon
* eCosPro-SecureSockets - openSSL for eCos
* eCosPro-MMFS - high performance/reliability, streaming file system
* eCosPro-FlashSafe - high integrity flash drivers for low-footprint devices
* eCosPro-PEG - GUI for colour, touch and monochrome displays
* eCosPro-YAFFS - NAND flash file system
* CANopen - CiA standards based CAN protocol stack for industrial automation
* CEE-J - embedded Java virtual machine
* eXtremeDB - embedded in-memory database
* OS Changer - porting aid to migrate existing applications to eCosPro
* Peedi - JTAG debug probes integrated with eCosPro's eClipse-based IDE
* Engineering - architecture and driver porting and optimisation
* Training - onsite courses focusing on the RTOS and development environment
eCosCentric is based in Cambridge-UK and supports customers in Europe and worldwide.
eCosCentric was founded in April 2002 by the eCos group within Red Hat, Inc. with the goal of furthering the technical and commercial development of eCos and RedBoot technologies. This remains the main focus today with eCosCentric now firmly positioned as the world's leading eCos RTOS specialist.
The company provides software development solutions for the embedded systems market. Taken together the products and services provide clients with a total solution for embedded systems software development with eCos.
The company is a stable and reliable partner with a global customer base consisting of OEMs, ODMs, board manufacturers and semiconductor companies. Our customers produce a wide range of eCos-based products for a diverse set of markets including industrial automation, consumer appliances, telematics, communications and networking, and digital imaging.
eCosCentric believes in supporting and working together with the eCos open source community to continue the development, evolution, and growth of eCos. We achieve this through a combination of contributions of eCosCentric designed and developed technology, provision of supporting infrastructure and services to the community, and by direct support of the majority of eCos maintainers through their employment with eCosCentric.