Not knowing the first thing on how to build a minimal linux system on an embedded device, I'd like to get some pointers in the right direction.

Generally speaking, I'd like to know what are the basic requirements, pieces and steps to get a an ultra minimalistic *nix shell to run on an embedded processor, not already containing any accessible OS.

More specifically, I have a Qualcomm MDM9200 based router, that contain an embedded WebUI (probably mini_httpd), but is not running anything else, that can be accessed or used to change the WebUI. Also, this device is not based on a linux at all. So, I'd like to understand how I could run a simple linux like-shell (BusyBox?) on such a device?

1 Answer 1


You need to cross-compile a whole system for the target architecture. So, first you need to know if Linux is supported by the MDM9200 arch.

If answer is yes, the you need a cross-compilator for the target. Then you need to build a bootloader, a kernel and a minimalistic shell (busybox).

In order to achieve this, you can use tools like buildroot (or do it all by hand, but I recommend buildroot if it supports your target).

If you're interrested by embedded linux world, I suggest you to begin with well supported and documented cards, like Rapsberry Pi or many others ARM based SoC. It's not expensive and you can learn the basics, cross-compilation, uboot, busybox, etc..

  • Ok, so I have been looking around. It seem that this embedded processor is running on a Hexagon core. So I suppose I'd have to use those tools. So far I guess: Linux Supported? Gobi/Linux-MSM? [ ], Cross-compiler: Hexagon [x], Build Bootloader: Buildroot? [ ], Build Kernel: <not sure> [ ], Build BusyBox: [x], where x = I probably know how to do it... (I will hold off marking this as the preferred answer, until I can get some more pointers, by others.)
    – not2qubit
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 19:46

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