Book Image

Instant Optimizing Embedded Systems Using BusyBox

By : Wu Zhangjin, Cao Ziqiang
Book Image

Instant Optimizing Embedded Systems Using BusyBox

By: Wu Zhangjin, Cao Ziqiang

Overview of this book

As hundreds of millions of people have started using Android smartphones, embedded Linux systems are becoming more and more popular. To get more market share, not only for hardware and function piling up, smartphone manufacturers gradually realized the importance of user experience. To improve user experience, the back-end Linux system must be optimized in many ways. Instant Optimizing Embedded System Using BusyBox is a practical, hands-on guide that provides you with a number of clear, step-by-step exercises to help you take advantage of the real power behind Busybox, and give you a good grounding for using it to optimize your embedded (Android Linux) systems. Moving on from the basics, this book will teach you how to configure and compile it from source code, including cross-compiling it with static linking and dynamic linking. You will also learn how to install and use Busybox on the Android emulator. You will learn to replace the simple Android mksh console with Busybox ash console and start a telnet and HTTP service provided by Busybox. You will also build embedded Linux file system from scratch and start it on Android emulator. We will take a look at how to add functionality to Busybox based system, including adding external applets to Busybox, as well as building development environments (like Bash and C) for it manually or with the automatic Buildroot system. If want to learn how to take advantage of using Busybox applets to optimize your embedded system, then this is the book for you for it will also show you how to use the powerful applets to optimize multiple aspects of an embedded (Android Linux) system.This book will teach you how to build an embedded (Android Linux) system with Busybox, enhance its functionality to meet diverse system requirements, and optimize it to provide a better user experience for embedded products.
Table of Contents (8 chapters)

Enhancing the system stability of an embedded (Android) system (Advanced)

For most embedded systems, particularly for consumer electronics like smartphones, due to their complexity, we must apply some policies to strengthen the stability of the system.

Getting ready

System stability is not only for personal computers and server workstations, but is also critically important for embedded systems. Every smartphone user has faced application non-responsiveness, system hangs, and abnormal restart issues; these fall in the scope of system stability. Some common optimization methods include the following:

How to do it...

Strengthening system stability means fixing the issues mentioned earlier as early as possible and much before the product release stage. System stability is a system feature throughout the development procedure and must be paid more attention.

We'll not discuss all of the methods mentioned previously in detail, but only discuss the part about function testing. To get a stable Linux kernel, we must do a lot of work to test the function of the kernel, device driver, and applications with enough pressure and coverage.

Use the kernel and device drivers as examples; we can test them by writing a set of programs in the shell, and even in the C language. The programs can verify the low-level kernel drivers through the exported sysfs and procfs or debugfs interfaces.

For example, to test the backlight interface of an LCD driver, we write the following piece of shell code:

# This is a backlight test script
for i in $(seq 255 -1 1)
   sleep 1
   echo $i > $bl_path

Save it to, and push it to /system/bin/ in the Android emulator and run it.

$ adb remount
$ adb push /system/bin
$ adb shell chmod 777 /system/bin/
$ adb shell /system/bin/

Then, we can change the brightness value from 255 to 1 automatically with a 1 second interval. Such scripts can be used to perform basic function verification and pressure testing.

How it works...

System stability in its entirety is a vast topic; it is related to every part of a system, from hardware to software, from the Linux kernel to the Android system and applications.

To improve system stability, the entire project lifecycle must be strictly controlled with standard software QA systems.

Faults should be diagnosed and filtered out during the early requirement analysis, design, and development stages. Delaying them up to the release stage or maintenance stage may cost more resources and even result in financial loss. Errors should be tolerant at runtime.

Test automation is a good method to emulate the using scenes in the release stage. If the test cases are well designed with enough coverage and pressure, most potential issues can be discovered during the testing stage.

There's more...

Here we would like to introduce a project; that is, the Device driver testing framework for TI OMAP. These test cases for OMAP-specific device drivers are written and maintained in an open Git tree. Refer to To use this framework for Android, you only need BusyBox and Bash. Both of them have already been introduced before.

We can port this framework to other platforms and develop our own test cases based on this framework; it is good as practice, and left for readers who want to delve into the topic in depth.

For Android applications, CTS and monkeyrunner are available for compatibility and stability testing.