Bare metal vs Linux program

Hello community,

Simple question… was bare metal operating system used instead of writing a Linux program to run farmbot for stability or was there a different reason?

@Sjamesparsons Before FarmBot OS, we actually did run FarmBot software as a Linux program on Rasbperry Pi OS (“Raspbian” at the time).

It had a number of problems and we ultimately fixed the issue in October 2016 by switching to a single distribution image:

  • SD Cards would go corrupt. It was rare for a FarmBot to stay online for more than 30 days.
  • Software updates would sometimes lead to system outages or strange runtime issues that were difficult to control. We could not be certain that the software would continue to run consistently after running a software update and sometimes it would not.
  • Installing FarmBot as a program (rather than a monolithic SD Card image) was extremely difficult for non-technical users. Even for an advanced user, setup was still very time-consuming because you needed to configure the base OS and then the FarmBot.

The current version of the OS uses Buildroot, which is a pretty common industry practice for IoT. Nearly every commercial hardware project runs Buildroot (or Yocto, a similar alternative) while I am not aware of any commercial projects based on a desktop Linux distro. They might be out there, but they are definitely not the industry norm.


Very smart not to be tied to Raspbian, had many same issues with it for one of my commercial projects. Buildroot with Arm is the winner, Yocto with all the layering was too cumbersome to manage vs a single config file… lets just say I got “bitbaked.” (Yocto joke) Glad you put on the hard hat and went with Buildroot, oh and you guys continue to rock!


They are pretty rare, but it seems it may become more common as IoT gets more powerful CPUs. The Comma AI uses Ubuntu, fwiw. Comma AI is an open source self-driving car device. Luxonis is also doing a Pi version of their cameras. As a side note, FarmBot should check out the awesome AI, IP67 (waterproof), stereo vision, open source hardware cameras from Luxonis.


I backed the Kickstarters for both the Oak-D and Oak-D Lite. Have them both on my desk right now :slight_smile:


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