Micro Code

Michael's blog about teaching, hardware, software and the things inbetween

The first embedded Linux system

November 09, 2017 — Michael Engel

...more or less. While digging through some stacks of old hardware components, I came across an unlabeled brown envelope. It contained a uCsimm, one of the first commercially available embedded Linux systems, built in 1999.

The uCsimm combines a Motorola Dragonball (68EZ328) CPU, the same as in early Palm PDAs, 8 MB RAM, 2 MB Flash and a 10 MBit Ethernet controller (CS8900) in the form factor of a 30-pin SIMM module. The accompanying baseboard has a voltage regulator (take care, the GND connection on the power plug is on the inner pin!) and a number of connectors.

This uCsimm runs uClinux, a variant of the Linux kernel for MMU-less CPUs. In this case, the original version, based on Linux 2.0.38, was still installed and booted without a problem. After configuring the Ethernet controller's IP address and network parameter (with the unusual ifattach commend), I could also log in to the uCsimm via telnet (no sshd...). So, in some way, this can be considered one of the very first Internet-of-Things devices :-).

Btw., the root password for the uCsimm standard Linux install is "uClinux". This wasn't mentioned in the docs...

uCsimm uCsimm bootloader uCsimm login

Tags: uClinux, uCsimm, motorola, 68000