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Major RTAI test release aims to end patent issues

Dec 2, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The Real-Time Application Interface (RTAI) for Linux has achieved the first test release in its 3.0 series, with radical changes it hopes will free it from patent issues relating to FSMLabs's RTLinux product. The new series features a new modular infrastructure, configuration interface, and build system, among other features.

The RTAI Project ran afoul of FSMLabs 5,995,745 US Patent in late 2001. After making some efforts to appease the situation through license changes, the Project has since been converting its technology from RTHAL, a hardware abstraction layer that provides a method for intercepting system interrupts, to the ADEOS nanokernel, which can service a real-time kernel with the highest priority and a general purpose kernel (Linux) with the lowest priority. With the 3.0 release, the conversion to ADEOS will be complete, according to Project Leader Paolo Mantegazza.

“Further 3.x releases will mark a neat departure from the previous work as they will mean the end of RTHAL based development for ix86 and all the related work and testing will be based on ADEOS,” says Mantegazza. “On ix86, the port to Linux 2.6 will be ADEOS based only.”

Mantegazza also believes ADEOS to be technically superior. “My choice of ADEOS was not patent related, a non-issue for me, but [based on] its technical suporiority.”

New features

According to Mantegazza, the new rtai-3.0-test1 release contains:

  • New modular RTAI infrastructure
  • New configuration interface based on the Kconfig system
  • New build system, particularly improving the cross-compilation support
  • Extensive refactoring of the core software, with full modularization of the RTAI features
  • Normalization of the various RTAI interfaces
  • Enhanced real-time support in user-space (LXRT)
  • Major revision of RTAI-Lab, the middleware which allows to integrate Matlab/SCICOS-generated controllers in the RTAI execution environment
  • New traditional RTOS emulators of VRTX32/VRTXsa, pSOS+, VxWorks, and uITRON APIs, helping the migration of existing industrial applications to the RTAI environment
  • New simulation tool for developing RTAI applications with no hardware constraints
  • Fully Doxygen-ized documentation at hand

Mantegazza adds that the release also includes “A lot of other improvements aimed at extending the RTAI experience.”

Mantegazza acknowledges contributions from Philippe Gerum over the last six months for making the release happen. “His effort has made RTAI a fairly new thing, as it includes his XENOMAI also. The fact it is not reflected into a new name is due to Philippe's generosity only. [We all owe] him a big: 'THANKS'.”

Mantegazza notes that the previous 24.1.xx series will be closed soon with a final 24.1.13 release.

The new rtai-3.0-test1 release can be downloaded from the RTAI homepage.

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