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VNU Net: Unmodified Linux to run in embedded realtime systems [Oncore Systems microkernel]

Apr 29, 2000, 20:13 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Linda Leung)

By Linda Leung, VNU Net

OnCore Systems has developed a way of enabling Linux to run unmodified in an embedded realtime environment.

A developer of realtime operating systems, OnCore claims that current embedded realtime Linux systems miss out critical functions, such the flexibility to prioritise events ad hoc, even if Linux has been modified to work in realtime.

The company claims that this apparent limitation can be addressed by running its OnCore Systems Software Foundation underneath unmodified Linux. This would enable realtime products, such as network routers, to use OnCore for the realtime tasks and still be able to run Linux for functions such as hooking the systems to the outside world, or enabling third party developers to write applications for the routers.

According to Donn Rochette, OnCore's vice president of engineering, realtime operating systems need the flexibility to be able to pre-empt or stop particular programs from running without warning, but Linux cannot do this because it is a time sharing environment.

The company argues that typical embedded Linux vendors have either highly modified the internals of the operating system to address this requirement, and risk changing critical portions of the software, or ignored the realtime issues altogether.

But by using OnCore to address these realtime requirements, "Linux can be used for what it's good at," said Rochette.

He said embedded realtime Linux is gathering pace among tools to build and run internet infrastructures and voice and data integration equipment.

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