Embedded Linux vendor MontaVista Software last week launched the Open Source Real-Time Linux project, an initiative aimed at bolstering the ability of Linux to run as a real-time operating system in such devices as communications equipment, industrial components and automotive systems.
MontaVista has set up a Web portal where developers working on real-time Linux code can share their work and discuss ways to improve Linux as an RTOS platform. MontaVista says it contributed the first real-time schedule for Linux in Version 2.6 of the kernel, but the company says there is much room for improvement for the technology.
The goal of the Open Source Real-Time Linux Project is to get the latency for real-time Linux code to execute instructions down from the 10-millisecond range to the 10-microsecond range. This goal is based on research from Venture Development that showed that 66% of embedded systems vendors require interrupt response times in the sub-5-millisecond range for the systems they build.
The project will also focus on ways to better protect real-time Linux kernels from attacks and downtime, as well as to improve how real-time Linux handles and prioritizes tasks.
Embedded Linux has more than cracked into the RTOS market, making its way into cell phones and PDAs, slot machines and industrial control equipment. But proprietary RTOSes still have a strong hold in areas such as automotive electronics and military applications.