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Is there a way to safely shut down the Intel Galileo via hardware, i.e. a button or switch?
Now I have to connect via UART or SSH to type "halt" (I'm using eglibc).
I don't think so. I use to directly unplug the power... I've not had trouble so far.
I think it's rather usual in IoT/microcontrollers "world".
FGT I thought that unplugging a Linux system (like Linux on Raspberry Pi) without "halt" is a bad idea. I think it's better safe than sorry.
I don't know about any hardware way of shutting down the Galileo card. I don't know about other cards, as the Raspberry Pi you mention.
I've never seen any suggestion/recommendation/warning made by Intel about shutting down the Galileo card. I don't know about other cards, as the Raspberry Pi you mention.
Taking into account the usage of Intel Galileo as an Arduino UNO, to execute Arduino UNO sketches, there is no specific way of shutting down beyond unplugging the power.
I was just sharing my experience, I did not suggest you do anything, neither safe nor sorry...