Right from the beginning of its business emlix realized a strong demand from it's customers for reproducibility of the whole software in an embedded system. emlix therefore developed the first version of the emlix build system starting in early 2001. It was strongly based on the available and well-known tools CVS and rpm which were combined by a complex set of shell functions. It did it's job well for all emlix projects but was not meant for use outside of emlix.
With emlix growing itself and upcoming new tools like svn and git we decided to re-implement the build system from scratch with much more flexibility and generality in mind: to do it right this time. This also enabled us to overcome limitations of the first version that became apparent during its use throughout the years.
After more than a year of productive use in numerous projects e2factory proved to be a powerful but still very flexible and efficient tool. We decided to release e2factory under the GPL to let the embedded community benefit from our work that depends heavily on theirs. We also hope that the approach we took with e2factory may encourage others to extend it beyond its current scope.