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AllLinuxDevices: David Beal and David Schleef Talk About RTnet: the Real-Time Networking Stack

“Lineo recently announced their LTnet real-time networking stack
for Linux, a GPL’d modification of the Linux networking subsystem.
In this interview, David Schleef, primary author of RTnet,
discusses the importance of bringing real-time networking to Linux;
and David Beal of Lineo talks about working with the Open Source
community, and why the GPL works.

ALD: First things first. What’s the one
paragraph executive summary of RTnet? What sorts of applications
and implementations would we expect to see real-time networking
turn up in?”

“…Ethernet has a very inexpensive hardware layer and there is
a large existing base of expertise in networking using ethernet,
everything from hardware installation to sockets programming.
Because of this, it can be advantageous to use ethernet in remote
acquisition and control applications. The major difficulty is that
typical network stacks that run on ethernet are not real-time. A
subset of the protocols that run over ethernet can be made
real-time in controlled environments (i.e., private networks), and
that is what we have done for Linux.”

…Beal: In the past, we have looked at many
licenses including Mozilla, BSD, and QPL. The business world of
Linux is interesting in that it is simultaneously competitive and
cooperative. The GPL helps to ensure that our own work won’t be
used against us (in a competitive product sense) without the
community also seeing some benefit from that product. The embedded
space is a huge market — when any one of us wins, we all win.”


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