Designing Embedded Systems with Linux and Python

Audience level:
Embedded Systems
March 10th 4:55 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


The continual decrease in the cost of computer hardware is allowing more embedded systems to be built with Linux and Python, instead of the traditional approach of a real-time operating system and C. This talk reviews the differences between those approaches and describes problems, solutions, and tools that can be used when building embedded systems with Python.


  • Intro - goal of talk (2 minutes)
  • Debian vs Fedora vs source distributions vs building your own (5 minutes)
  • Different from the Desktop (10 minutes)
    • user interfaces: toolkits vs. browsers
    • setting the time
    • network
    • storage and backups
    • upgrades: images vs packages vs deployment
  • Portability, or ifdefs are Harmful in Python too (5 minutes)
  • Not Python: C extensions, Swig, and import subprocess (5 minutes)
  • Summary (2 minutes)