Embedded Linux Interview Success: 15 Must-Know Questions and Answers

Embedded Linux Interview Success: 15 Must-Know Questions and Answers

If you’re a software engineer wanting to break into the embedded Linux development field, then you’ll without exception be asked technical-related questions during the interview process. It’s essential to understand the basics of Linux development and coding and be able to answer interview questions related to your knowledge.

15 Embedded Linux Interview Questions and Answers

Here is a list of the top 15 embedded Linux interview questions you should expect to be faced with and tips for how to answer them:

1. What does ‘embedded’ mean in relation to Linux?

An embedded system is defined as a computer system that is designed to perform a specific set of tasks and has no user interface. The Linux operating system is embedded into these devices that do not require interaction from a user.

2. What is the difference between an embedded system and a microcontroller?

An embedded system is a combination of a processor and a microcontroller, while a microcontroller is only the processor. The microcontroller requires specialized software and hardware so it can perform specific tasks, while an embedded system requires more coding and programming.

3. What is ‘cross-compilation’ and how does it work?

Cross-compilation is the process of compiling code from one system onto another. This is usually done from a Linux system to an embedded system using a compiler such as GCC.

4. What is ‘boot-up?’

Boot-up is the process where an embedded system loads and executes its software and drivers. Boot-up sequences can vary based on the type of system and what is required to be operational.

5. What is a boot-loader and what is its purpose?

A boot-loader is a piece of software that is responsible for initializing and loading the operating system on an embedded system. Typically, the boot-loader is stored in read-only memory and performs a variety of tasks, such as setting up the system clock, initializing peripherals, and making sure the OS is loaded properly.

6. What is the purpose of a real-time operating system?

A real-time operating system is a type of operating system that has specific timing requirements and must always complete a given task within a specific period of time. This type of operating system is used in embedded systems that require extremely fast responses and consistent performance.

7. What is the difference between an embedded system and desktop system?

An embedded system is typically smaller, more specialized, and designed for a specific purpose, while a desktop system is designed for general use. Embedded systems are usually low-cost and don’t require a large amount of resources or power, while desktop systems can be complex and require more resources and power.

8. What types of embedded Linux systems are there?

There are three main types of embedded Linux systems: embedded Linux platforms, embedded Linux applications, and embedded Linux kernel programming. Embedded Linux platforms are optimized versions of the Linux kernel and offer an easy-to-use interface for developing applications. Embedded Linux applications are designed to make specific tasks easier to complete on an embedded system, and embedded Linux kernel programming is the process of writing custom code for the Linux kernel to customize the system’s behavior.

9. What are some of the important tools in embedded Linux development?

Some important tools used in embedded Linux development include cross-compilers, debuggers, simulation tools, and configuration management tools. Cross-compilers are used to compile code from one system onto an embedded system, debuggers can be used to help find and resolve errors in code, simulation tools allow developers to test their code in a simulated environment, and configuration management tools can help developers manage the changes and builds of their projects.

10. What is test-driven development and why is it important?

Test-driven development is a process of software development in which tests are created and written before any actual code is written. This process ensures that the code is robust and that any bugs in the system are identified and corrected before the software is released.

11. What is a binary image and why is it necessary for embedded Linux development?

A binary image is a file containing the executable code for an embedded system. It contains the compiled code and the associated data that the system needs to function properly. Binary images are necessary for embedded Linux development because they provide a compact and easy way for the embedded system to run the code and are easily deployed onto the device.

12. What are the advantages of using C/C++ to develop embedded systems?

C and C++ are two of the most popular programming languages used in embedded systems development due to their ability to produce efficient and compact code. They are also relatively easy to learn and are highly portable, meaning they can be used on different platforms with minimal effort.

13. What is a real-time data flow network?

A real-time data flow network is a type of distributed computing model used to create embedded systems where data is passed in real-time between components and is routed to the correct destination. It is designed for performance, scalability, and reliability, and is widely used for industrial automation.

14. What is the difference between an embedded Linux system, an IoT system, and a Wearable system?

Embedded Linux systems are designed for a specific purpose and typically run continuously without requiring interaction from a user, while IoT systems connect devices over a network and enable them to communicate with each other, and Wearable systems are designed to be worn on the body and usually include sensors that interact with the environment.

15. How do you ensure that your embedded Linux system is secure?

System security can be ensured by following best practices, such as updating the system regularly and enabling features such as firewalls and encryption. It’s also important to make sure that only authorized users have access to the system. Additionally, developing secure applications is important, as any vulnerabilities in the application can be exploited by attackers.


By understanding these 15 embedded Linux interview questions and answers you should now feel more confident when heading into an interview and be able to exhibit the technical knowledge required of a potential embedded Linux developer.

Good luck with your interview!