Have you ever wanted to run Linux on a microcontroller like the ESP32-S3? GitHub user jcmvbkbc has a Linux for ESP32-S3 script that lets you do just that! However, compiling it can be tricky depending on your operating system with all of the toolchain dependencies. Don't worry though because there is a way around all of that: a Docker container! A container is a lightweight and fast virtual computer. The best part is it's easy for people to run no matter what operating system they are on. It's also much simpler and smaller than VirtualBox because it has only the bare essentials.

In this guide, you'll setup and install Docker, run a test Dockerfile to create a test container, run the ESP32-S3 Linux Dockerfile, upload the compiled files to the ESP32-S3 and then perform the ultimate skateboard trick: boot Linux on an ESP32-S3!

This version of Linux is barebones, the file system is utilizing cramfs, so don't expect it to be like booting up a Raspberry Pi with Raspberry Pi OS. You'll access it over serial and you'll only be able to do super basic things but you'll learn a ton along the way.


Angled shot of black, credit-card-sized dev board.
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This guide was first published on Aug 22, 2023. It was last updated on Jul 16, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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