Choosing an operating system for an embedded system is always going to involve some level of compromise. An example that is relevant to today’s advanced systems is the trade-off between ease of software development facilitated by a particular operating system and the processing power required to run it. This paper will attempt to share some insights gained on a real project that adopted Linux as the platform on which to run applications that control and manage a sophisticated Digital Microwave Radio product. During the course of the project, the promise of being able to use completely free, mainly open-source software and development tools was put to the test with a good measure of success.