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Technical Report TR647:
A Virtual Filesystem Framework to Support Embedded Software Development

Bhanu Nagendra Pisupati
(Jun 2007), 182
[PhD Dissertation and supporting designs]
Abstract:
We present an approach to simplify the software development process for embedded systems by supporting key development tasks such as debugging, tracing and configuration. The approach is based on the use of distributed filesystem abstractions; principal building blocks within an embedded system in the form of ``systems on chip'' (SoC) export filesystem abstractions that are composed together up the system hierarchy, and provide familiar file based interfaces with which to interact with the entire system. The central question addressed in this thesis is as to how the workstation centric idea of a distributed filesystem can be implemented and effectively applied to facilitate various software development tasks in the embedded domain. To this end, a primary contribution of our work is the realization of distributed filesystem implementations that are compatible with resource constrained embedded architectures. We demonstrate use of the filesystems in enabling debugging and tracing in heterogeneous, multiprocessor environments, while addressing issues central to SoC based systems. The virtual filesystem model is also applied to facilitate usage, configuration and deployment in a contrasting embedded application domain in the form of distributed sensor networks, thereby demonstrating the its adaptability.

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