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An embedded application is software that is placed permanently inside some kind of device to perform a very specific set of functions. Some small embedded applications like those in a microwave oven do not need an operating system (OS) to control them. Other, more complex, devices like entertainment systems that control hundreds of different channels and need to record and play videos from a variety of devices, will need an OS to manage the resources of the embedded system in real time. Real Time Embedded Systems include things like GPS Navigation systems, industrial robots, traffic monitoring systems, smart phones, and smart TVs.

Embedded versions of popular operating systems like Linux, Windows and Mac are available, along with some specialized OSes. They will usually have reduced storage needs and will work with less RAM than a desktop OS. The program instructions for embedded systems are called firmware, or embedded software, and are stored in read-only memory, or flash memory chips. Embedded software is typically very easy on hardware resources – requiring little memory and often needing no keyboard or screen. The embedded software is not controlled by human interfaces, but rather by machine interfaces.

SUSE Embedded Linux solutions provide an embedded Linux OS that can be built into a product and will optimize the performance and reliability of embedded applications in a device, appliance, or piece of hardware. SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (Just Enough Operating System) for embedded Linux lets developers strip down the OS and install only what is needed, and configure, enable, and protect the functionality they choose to install.