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Embedded Linux is the use of Linux in embedded computer systems such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA), media players, set-top boxes, and other consumer electronics devices, networking equipment, machine control, industrial automation, navigation equipment and medical instruments.
Linux has been ported to a variety of CPUs which are not only primarily used as the processor of a desktop or server computer, but also ARM, AVR32, ETRAX CRIS, FR-V, H8300, IP7000, m68k, MIPS, mn10300, SuperH, and Xtensa processors, It is also used as an alternative to using a proprietary operating system and toolchain.
Devices coverage 
Due to its low cost and ease of customization, Linux has been shipped in many consumer devices. Devices covering PDAs (like the Sharp Zaurus family), TomTom GPS navigation devices, residential gateways like the Linksys WRT54G series or smartphones: the Motorola exz series, the Openmoko handsets, the Nokia N900 and Nokia N9 cell phones were all using the Linux kernel. Nowadays the operating system that dominates the cell phone market is the Android operating system which is based on a modified Linux kernel along with a custom user space. The first device shipping with the Android operating system was the HTC Dream, which was released on 22 October 2008.
On machine control systems, industrial automation, and medical instruments Linux has also been used extensively. The website LinuxForDevices has many examples of such devices shipping with an embedded Linux as the operating system.
With the availability of consumer embedded devices, communities of users and developers were formed around theses devices: Replacement or enhancements of the Linux distribution shipped on the device has often been made possible thanks to availability of the source code and to the communities surrounding the devices. Due to the high number of devices, standardized build systems have appeared like OpenEmbedded, Buildroot, OpenWrt, and LTIB.
Advantages and Disadvantages 
The advantages of embedded Linux over proprietary embedded operating systems include multiple suppliers for software, development and support; no royalties or licensing fees; a stable kernel; and the ability to read, modify and redistribute the source code. The disadvantages include a comparatively large memory footprint (kernel and root filesystem); complexities of user mode and kernel mode memory access; and a complex device drivers framework.
See also 
- Google's Android (operating system) well-known type of embedded Linux
- Maemo - embedded Linux for smartphones
- Debian - used on Raspberry Pi
- Familiar Linux
- "T-Mobile Unveils the T-Mobile G1 - the First Phone Powered by Android". HTC. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
Further reading 
- Weinberg, Bill (July 2008). Uniting Mobile Linux Application Platforms. LinuxPundit.com. p. 18.
- Embedded Linux at the Open Directory Project
- News and technical articles concerning embedded Linux
- Embedded Linux mailist list archive
- Complete Embedded Linux system in RJ-45
- Embedded Debian Project