Linux/RT for Embedded Real-Time Applications

TimeSys Corporation has launched its TimeSys Linux/RT 1.0, a real-time version of the Linux Operating System.

So you thought that Linux wasn’t for real-time? Think again. Now that TimeSys Corporation has launched its TimeSys Linux/RT 1.0, a real-time version of the Linux Operating System, Linux might be in an embedded application near you sooner rather than later.

TimeSys Linux/RT is claimed to be the first complete and open-source solution that extends the Linux kernel to provide predictable real-time response entirely from the Linux OS. Dr. Raj Rajkumar, cofounder and chairman of TimeSys, stays that “TimeSys Linux/RT directly extends the Linux kernel, rather than adding a non-Linux RTOS layer between Linux and the system hardware. By enhancing the actual operating system, engineers can build hard real-time systems using TimeSys Linux/RT, while enjoying the reliability, stability and the wide availability of drivers and applications for the Linux OS.”

The TimeSys Linux/RT distribution includes subsystems that can be combined to handle a variety of application requirements from small footprint to full-featured architectures. That most critical subsystem is the Resource Kernel (RK), originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University.

The RK supports fixed-priority scheduling (with 256 priorities) and priority inheritance, characteristics that can be used for constructing systems to provide guaranteed and bounded response times. The RK supports high-resolution timers and clocks and offers unique support for a Temporal Firewall that provides guaranteed Quality of Service for application execution.

“Response time is becoming more and more critical in an ever-increasing number of embedded applications, whether or not their developers perceive them as real-time. Developers can now ensure that response times can be met predictably, without depending on only error-prone testing and tuning at the end of the system integration cycle,” said Dr. Doug Locke, TimeSys vice president of technology.

TimeSys will continue to release code modifications and to provide enhancements to the open-source community.

The TimeSys Linux/RT distribution and supporting tools, TimeWiz and TimeTrace, are available immediately from TimeSys. The distribution, available free from for downloading, is also available in three different editions for purchase, all of which come with limited installation support.

The Standard Edition consists of the TimeSys Linux/RT distribution on two CDs and is priced at $49.00(US). The Deluxe Edition, priced at $99.00(US), adds hardcopy user and programmer manuals to the distribution.

The Professional Edition is priced at $199.00(US) and adds extended installation support, TimeTrace (a measurement and visualization tool) for TimeSys Linux/RT and a T-shirt. TimeSys also provides a complete set of customization, consulting and training services.

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at