“RedBoot is a complete bootstrap environment for embedded systems. Based on the eCos Hardware Abstraction Layer, RedBoot inherits the eCos qualities of reliability, compactness, configurability, and portability.

RedBoot allows download and execution of embedded applications via serial or Ethernet, including embedded Linux and eCos applications. It can be used for both product development (debug support) and in deployed products in the field (flash update and network booting).

Ethernet download and debug support is included, allowing RedBoot to retrieve its IP parameters via BOOTP or DHCP, and program images to be downloaded using TFTP. Images can also be downloaded over serial, using X- or Y-modem.

RedBoot can be used to communicate with GDB (the GNU Debugger) to debug applications via serial or Ethernet, including the ability to interrupt a running application started by GDB.

An interactive command-line interface is provided to allow management of the Flash images, image download, RedBoot configuration, etc., accessible via serial or Ethernet. For unattended or automated startup, boot scripts can be stored in Flash allowing for example loading of images from Flash or a TFTP server.”[1]


The reason for choosing RedBoot was simple, it already provided a proven framework for downloading software onto a platform as well as support for a generic x86 PC platform. What needed to be added were the low level support routines to get the AMD Élan to behave as a generic x86 PC and the security oriented application signing.

Screen Capture of RedBoot running under VMWare