Real-Time Systems Inc.

Specializing in Embedded Controller Design

NetBSD for Motorola MPC8xx


Real-Time Systems has always used fairly sophisticated software techniques, such as multitasking and TCP/IP, even on low-end hardware such as the Motorola 68HC11. Recently, however, the definition of "low-end" has moved upscale far enough to consider embedding even complex OS's like Unix.

Our experience with the relatively high quality of Linux (which we use on most of our desktop systems) has led us to consider open-source Unix-like OS's for embedded control. In examining the various free Unix's, NetBSD stands out to us as a good choice for embedded work:

It is for these reasons that we've decided to make NetBSD one of our standard technologies. As a warm-up project, we are porting NetBSD to the Motorola MPC8xx series of embedded PowerPC devices. These devices combine a PowerPC CPU core with a truly mind-boggling package of on-chip I/O devices, including on-chip Ethernet.

Our initial platform is the Motorola MBX821 evaluation board, which comes with a 40 MHz MPC821, 16 Mbyte of RAM, 8 Mbyte of Flash ROM, a full set of PC-clone-style external peripherals, a PCMCIA socket, PCI and ISA busses, PC-104-plus capability, and a 10-base-T Ethernet port.

Porting tasks

So far, we have identified the following major porting tasks:


So far, we've accomplished the following:


We offer this project in the hopes that someone will find it useful. We welcome any comments, questions, requests, or bug reports you may have regarding this project. We would also be pleased to collaborate with anyone else who would find this port useful. Please feel free to contact us via email.

Copyright 2014 Real-Time Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved.