Bootlin’s Michael Opdenacker has published a guide to getting started with embedded Linux on RISC-V in just 40 minutes, as part of a presentation given during the Capitole du Libre 2019 event earlier this month.

Building on a presentation first given at the Libre Software Meeting 2005, in which Opdenacker demonstrated how to get Linux 2.6 up and running on a QEMU-emulated Arm device in under 40 minutes, the new presentation was triggered by a range of changes – including the order-of-magnitude reduction in cost of entry-level development boards, increasing popularity of free and open hardware, and most particularly the launch of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).

The presentation walks the audience through setting up the QEMU emulator, thus avoiding the need to have dedicated hardware for testing, a Buildroot cross-compilation toolchain, the Berkeley Boot Loader (BBL), the Linux 5.4-rc7 kernel, and the BusyBox root filesystem and application bundle – providing a functional Linux system running on RISC-V in under 40 minutes and with no specialist hardware required.

“What to remember,” Opdenacker writes in conclusion. “Embedded Linux is easy. It makes it easier to get started with Linux. You just need a toolchain, a kernel and a few executables. RISC-V is a new, open Instruction Set Architecture, support it! In embedded Linux, things don’t change that much over time. You just get more features.”

The presentation full slide deck, which provides both the instructions to get started yourself along with explanations of what each step of the process is for, is available to download now under the Creatice Commons BY-SA 3.0 licence from the Bootlin website.