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

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

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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