VNU Net: TimeSys to develop real-time Linux

By James Middleton, VNU

Systems developer TimeSys last week announced plans to develop a
real-time version of Linux, dubbed Linux/RT.

The Linux/RT architecture ensures that if a single real-time
process crashes, the remaining concurrent processes, as well as the
kernel, will continue to run. This could prove most attractive to
e-businesses where server downtime means ‘shop closed’ time.

The kernel extension will also allow the incorporation of a
proprietary layer, called RTAI (Real-Time Applications Interface),
which offers high runtime performance together with a small system
footprint .

According to Robin Bloor, analyst at Bloor Research, the
real-time developers community has been expecting this development.
He said: “This moves the whole development of a real-time Linux
forward. The area of application of real-time environments is wider
than many would suspect, and growing quite dramatically.”

Bloor explained that real-time processing was previously
associated only with mission critical systems such as telecoms,
medical electronics, military systems and industrial automation.
“However, it is now being applied to web servers and multimedia
servers, and we predict that it will eventually embrace trading
platforms on the internet,” he said.

The product will be available in April from TimeSys as a free
download and on CDRom for a nominal fee. A portfolio of
interoperable software products is set to follow, including
customisation and consulting services, a set of support tools and a
real-time Java Virtual Machine.

Bloor added: “Assuming that the first version is robust enough
to satisfy the stringent requirements of the real-time processing
world, the question we should now be asking is whether there is
any market that Linux will not enter.”