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MontaVista Software recently released the latest version of its real-time Linux operating system (RTOS), MontaVista Linux Professional Edition 5.0. New to the product are a faster response time, an updated Linux kernel, advanced protocol support, and a host of tools for developers of RTOS systems and applications.
RTOS technology is all about speed; MontaVista Linux systems are installed in Wall Street trading computers, military aircraft and telecom gear. The new MontaVista Linux software is also based on the latest kernel — 2.6.18 — which has real-time capabilities built in, allowing the system to operate with system response times in the 15-20 microsecond range.
In the fall, when 2.6.18 was introduced, I wondered what real-time Linux vendors such as MontaVista would do now that real-time operation was a standard feature in the kernel. Apparently, they made it even faster; MontaVista says its latest software now has an average response time in the five-microsecond range.
Additionally, the latest MontaVista Linux has included support for IPv6 — an in important feature for real-time, networked devices. As the volume of devices that require IP addresses grows, the expanded address space of IPv6 will be key. (ABI Research, for example, expects just the number of Linux-based cell phones to reach 203 million in five years). Obviously, embedded Linux OS images running on devices such as cell phones will have to be very small, so MontaVista has taken care of that too: the new OS has a 75% smaller footprint than the previous version. MontaVista has also released a host of developer tools with the 5.0 product: DevRocket 5.0 (an integrated developer environment), the latest 4.2 GNU C/C++ compiler, and improved memory debugging tools are part of the package.
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