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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.

For all the latest news about RedBoot and eCos, please refer to the eCos home page.

Hardware support and RedBoot binaries

As RedBoot is based on the eCos operating system, it is easy to port RedBoot to any system to which eCos has been ported.

A full list of eCos supported hardware is available, including details of RedBoot support. Prebuilt RedBoot binaries are also available for all publically supported platforms. These can be found, along with platform specific documentation, from the More Info link for each board in the list of supported hardware.


The RedBoot User's Guide is available on-line. Installation instructions for each board are provided in the User's Guide.

Getting the source

All the source code of RedBoot is available under the eCos License. As a result, all users are able to benefit from the efforts of the developer community to enhance and maintain RedBoot.

All sources are available from the eCos anonymous CVS repository. Windows users should ensure they have a recent version of the Cygwin tools.

Mailing lists

Mailing lists for RedBoot and eCos are available if you wish to receive announcements about RedBoot or eCos, or to participate with the developer community in technical discussion.