RedBoot® is an acronym for "Red Hat Embedded Debug and Bootstrap", and is the standard embedded system debug/bootstrap environment from Red Hat, replacing the previous generation of debug firmware: CygMon and GDB stubs. It 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.
RedBoot provides a wide set of tools for downloading and executing programs on embedded target systems, as well as tools for manipulating the target system's environment. It can be used for both product development (debug support) and for end product deployment (flash and network booting).
Here are some highlights of RedBoot’s capabilities:
Boot scripting support
Simple command line interface for RedBoot configuration and management, accessible via serial (terminal) or Ethernet (telnet)
Integrated GDB stubs for connection to a host-based debugger via serial or ethernet. (Ethernet connectivity is limited to local network only)
Attribute Configuration - user control of aspects such as system time and date (if applicable), default Flash image to boot from, default failsafe image, static IP address, etc.
Configurable and extensible, specifically adapted to the target environment
Network bootstrap support including setup and download, via BOOTP, DHCP and TFTP
X/YModem support for image download via serial
Power On Self Test
Although RedBoot is derived from eCos, it may be used as a generalized system debug and bootstrap control software for any embedded system and any operating system. For example, with appropriate additions, RedBoot could replace the commonly used BIOS of PC (and certain other) architectures. Red Hat is currently installing RedBoot on all embedded platforms as a standard practice, and RedBoot is now generally included as part of all Red Hat Embedded Linux and eCos ports. Users who specifically wish to use RedBoot with the eCos operating system should refer to the Getting Started with eCos document, which provides information about the portability and extendability of RedBoot in an eCos environment.