Busybox 1.18.0, a few new applets

BusyBox logoBusybox, the embedded Linux swiss-army knife, has seen a new release recently: 1.18.0. As usual, it brings dozens of bug fixes, but it also includes a few new applets that are worth noting:

  • pmap, which shows the memory mappings for a particular process. It is just a formatted version of what you can find in /proc/PID/maps, but still nice to have. Knowing the mappings in a particular process is often useful for debugging purposes.
  • add-shell and remove-shell, that respectively add and remove a shell from /etc/shells. This file lists the shells that are acceptable for the chsh command, for example.
  • nandwrite and nanddump, that respectively write to NAND with bad block management, and dumps NAND flash contents. Those two commands expand the set of MTD-related commands in Busybox and are replacements for the version available in mtd-utils. There were already other MTD related utilities in Busybox: flashcp (write to a NOR flash), flash_eraseall (erase a NOR or NAND flash), flash_lock and flash_unlock to protect/unprotect sectors on flash storage. The main advantage is that these utilities relieve you from having to cross-compile mtd-utils, which is never as simple as cross-compiling BusyBox.
  • base64, a base64 encoder and decoder.
  • mpstat, iostat and powertop, three new statistics programs. mpstat (as in multiprocessor stat) reports interrupts and CPU usage on multiprocessor systems, on a per-CPU basis. iostat reports CPU and block device statistics. powertop is a lightweight variant of the popular tool used to diagnose sources of wake-ups, but is only limited to Intel-based machines at the moment.
  • nbd-client, a client for the Network Block Device protocol, so that an embedded system can mount volumes shared by NBD
  • blockdev, allows to perform some ioctl() on block devices such as get sector size, get/set block size, flush buffers, etc.

Have fun with Busybox!

Author: Thomas Petazzoni

Thomas Petazzoni is CTO and embedded Linux and kernel engineer at Bootlin. He is a lead developer of Buildroot and also a contributor to the Linux kernel. More details...