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Choosing an embedded Linux build system

12 Nov 2017

Buildroot and Yocto/Open Embedded are two popular open source frameworks for building custom embedded Linux systems.

Both are primarily targeted at commercial projects. Neither is a particularly good choice if you just want to build a general purpose Linux system.

An important point is that you can build similar systems with either framework with a few exceptions noted below.

So here is the quick summary I give customers when asked.

Common Features

Buildroot Advantages

Yocto Advantages

Those last two are deliberate decisions by Buildroot and not usually issues for commercial products

  1. End-user products don’t typically require dev tools

  2. Full-system A/B upgrades are usually a better solution for embedded systems then incremental package upgrades

Summary

If you have decided on a package manager approach to upgrades or have a family of products with slightly different package requirements, I would recommend Yocto.

Otherwise I would recommend Buildroot.

It’s just easier.