Five Good Reasons to Choose Linux As Your Embedded Operating System

Discover what sets Linux apart

Whether you’re adding a few devices to your IoT solution, working on a major system overhaul, or building a solution from the ground up, you have to choose an embedded operating system (OS).

We’ve discussed options like Windows Server IoT 2019 and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise—both excellent operating systems depending on your needs. Today, we’ll be discussing the benefits of Linux as your IoT operating system.

If you’re ready to take the next step with Linux, Bsquare can help you get started. Otherwise, continue reading to learn more about five common reasons people choose Linux:

  1. Linux has no license cost.
  2. Linux has a large community of developers
  3. Linux runs on a wide range of platforms
  4. Linux can be very flexible
  5. Linux is often included with reference designs

1. Linux has no license cost

As open-source software, Linux doesn’t have license costs or per-unit fees. This provides developers with lower start-up costs overall, allowing for faster time to market. This lack of licensing fees also can be a cost-effective way for you to test out customized programs and devices if you have a current IoT system.

And while Linux doesn’t have a licensing cost, you might need additional time to configure the operating system when you’re getting started. You’ll want to consider how much time and money you’re willing to spend on development.

2. Linux has a large community of developers

If you decide to put in the time, you won’t be alone: the Linux developer community is sizeable and supportive. Even if you’re working on a unique and unusual project, chances are that you can find resources in the Linux community – or at the very least, find someone who has also worked on something similar. 

3. Linux can run on a wide range of platforms

Sometimes people turn to Linux for a very practical reason: it can run on a variety of device platforms. For example, because of its compact footprint, Linux isn’t restricted to larger devices. Many devices with smaller storage and RAM can still handle the operating system. Linux is also more likely to be compatible with older devices, making it easier to revive and revise past projects.

4. Linux can be very flexible

The open-ended nature of Linux might mean it will take more time to configure, but it also means with enough hard work, you can configure just about any solution. Not only is this a good thing for building your current IoT solution, it means Linux can also be a cost-effective way for you to test out customized programs and devices in the future. If you’re going to need highly specialized devices, Linux offers you that freedom.

5. Linux is often included with reference designs

Sometimes, choosing an operating system might just come down to convenience. Because Linux is often included in reference designs, it can become the natural choice for an overall operating system. Using the OS already associated with your new devices can also give you a head start in your development and speed up time to market.

Bsquare can help you get started with embedded Linux

If you’re ready to get started with Linux, Bsquare is here to help. While we work with a number of Linux distributions, the two major Linux distributions we would recommend for IoT devices are Debian and Redhat.

Redhat is backed by IBM, so it’s well-suited if you’re looking for a commercially backed distribution.

Meanwhile, we’ve found that the slow update cycle of Debian maps well to IoT solutions. Since more consistent updates can cause instability in devices, the long-term service (LTS) offered by Debian provides a 2-year cycle between major releases, while still supporting your devices with regular security patches.

Finally, if you’re still deciding between Linux and another operating system, it can be possible to have both. For example, Azure IoT EFLOW lets you run Linux modules on your Windows IoT operating system.

Whether you need help getting started, or just want to get an expert opinion while you weigh your options, contact Bsquare now for your embedded Linux OS needs.