Chapter 5. Documentation Roadmap

The eCos documentation is divided into a three main parts:

User Guide

This document. It includes the following sections:

Installing eCos

This section describes how to install the eCos software, how to set up your hardware and how to test that it is all working.

Programming Under eCos

This section describes how to write programs that run under eCos by running through some examples.

The eCos Configuration Tool

This section describes the eCos graphical configuration tool and how to use it to change how eCos behaves.

eCos Programming Concepts and Techniques

An explanation of the eCos programming cycle, and a description of some debugging facilities that eCos offers.

Configuration and the Package Repository

Information on how to configure eCos manually, including a reference on the ecosconfig command, memory layouts, and information on how to manage a package repository using the eCos Package Administration Tool.

Reference Guide

The Reference Guide provides detailed documentation on various aspects of eCos. This document is being constantly updated, so the following list just mentions the more important sections, take a look at the guide itself for the full story.

The eCos Kernel

In-depth description of eCos"s native C kernel API Important considerations are given for programming the eCos kernel. The semantics for each kernel function are described, including how they are affected by configuration.


A description of the POSIX and µITRON APIs and how they are supported under eCos.

The eCos Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)

A description of the structure and functionality of the eCos HAL. This section also includes a porting guide to help moving eCos to different platforms.

Device Drivers

A description of the philosophy behind eCos device drivers, as well as a presentation of the C language APIs for using the current device drivers.

Device driver support includes serial, ethernet and FLASH devices, and support for PCI, PCMCIA and USB interconnects.

RedBoot User's Guide

This describes RedBoot, which provides a complete bootstrap environment for a range of embedded operating systems, such as embedded Linux and eCos, and includes facilities such as network downloading and debugging. It also provides a simple flash file system for boot images.

TCP/IP Stack Support

This describes the Common Networking for eCos package, which provides support for a complete TCP/IP networking stack. The design allows for the actual stack to be modular and at the current time two different implementations, one based on OpenBSD from 2000 and a new version based on FreeBSD, are available.

Other components related to networking, including support for SNMP, DNS, HTTP and FTP, are also described.

Component Writer's Guide

The Component Writer's Guide is intended for developers who need to add or modify parts of eCos itself. It describes the following things:


An explanation of the configuration technology used in eCos, why it is done this way, how it works and the terminology used.

Package Organization

A description of the eCos package repository, how it is organized and how packages themselves are organized.

The CDL Language

A description of the CDL language and how it is used to control the configuration of eCos components. The document also contains a complete specification of the language.

The Build Process

A description of what happens once a configuration has been created and must be built into a set of executables.