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EE Times: Open source code smooths RTOS design

Jul 26, 1999, 15:47 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James F. Ready)

"Embedded real-time-operating-system (RTOS) technology has traditionally been delivered in two forms: as source code licensed to an individual customer or as binary distributions, also licensed to an individual customer. Over time, the weaknesses and limitations inherent in those licensing schemes have become more apparent to developers."

"One candidate for a new approach to licensing is the open-source model, in which the source code to the software is freely available. When the open-source model is coupled with the power and functionality that the Linux operating system delivers, a very compelling solution unfolds."

"Traditional source-licensed RTOS software restricts the source to the licensee and forbids any disclosure to third parties. The source license may also include a royalty payment. A binary RTOS distribution provides no source to the RTOS, but also requires some form of royalty if the RTOS is shipped in production. In both cases there are many restrictions surrounding the use and disclosure of the licensed software."

"If a project starts with a source-code license and the source is modified to fit some local needs, those sources start to stray from the original code base. The supplier of the RTOS may have no interest in the changes, and may not even have the process in place to accept them. In any case, the RTOS is driven forward only through the efforts of the RTOS supplier, which limits the enhancements applied."

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