The storage devices used in embedded systems are often quite different from those used in workstations and servers. Embedded systems tend to use solid-state storage devices, such as flash chips and flash disks. As with any other component of the Linux system, these devices must be properly set up and configured to be used by the kernel. Because these storage devices differ greatly from typical workstation and server disks, the tools to manipulate them (for partitioning, copying files, and erasing, for instance) are also different. These tools are the subject of this chapter.
In this chapter, we will discuss the manipulation of embedded storage devices for use with Linux. We will start with our primary topic: the manipulation of devices supported by the memory technology device (MTD) subsystem. We’ll also briefly cover the manipulation of disk devices. If you intend to use a conventional disk device as part of your system, however, we recommend that you look at one of the books that discusses Linux system maintenance, such as O’Reilly’s Running Linux by Matthias Dalheimer and Matt Welsh for more extensive coverage. The last section of this chapter will cover the use of swap in embedded systems.