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Introduction to Muddle

Muddle is a build system for systems. It specialises in taking a set of packages and welding them together into a firmware image for an embedded system. The assembly of these packages is directed by an executable build description written in Python.

Muddle was designed specifically for use in producing an embedded system from scratch. It is aimed at people who start with a new board and need to assemble the operating system and user space software for it. It does not provide pre-packaged solutions in the manner of Yocto or open-embedded.

Among other things, muddle supports:

  • Specifying the dependencies of packages, and thus the order of build and rebuild.
  • Building the Linux kernel, and generating CPIO initrds from source. Note that this does not require sudo at any stage.
  • Building separate targets from the same packages, sharing binaries and object files as necessary.
  • Interacting with version control systems (currently, svn, bazaar and git, though adding another is no more than a couple of day's work)
  • Producing binary distributions.
  • Producing source code releases. Packages can be marked with their license-type, allowing automated generation of GPL-compliant releases. Muddle makes it easier to make such build subsets buildable, rather than just providing a source dump.
  • Managing maintenance release branches of all packages in the build tree (still under development)

Muddle is used internally at Kynesim, as well as by other people. If you have problems with it, or ideas on how it could be improved, please do raise an issue, or contact us directly.

The muddle source code lives at

Documentation lives at, thanks to ReadTheDocs, who are wonderful people. The documentation should be updated every time a change is pushed to the main source code repository.

The Kynesim blog also periodically has articles on using muddle.

Traditionally, muddle is also licenced to kill and to serve drinks after hours.


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