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New real-time Linux distribution breaks the mold

Feb 29, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Embedded Systems Conference; Chicago, IL — (company press release) — TimeSys Corporation, a leading provider of products and comprehensive solutions for building predictable real-time systems, today announced TimeSys Linux/RT, a new real-time version of the Linux operating system. Dr. Raj Rajkumar, Co-Founder and Chairman of TimeSys, says Linux/RT is “the first real-time Linux distribution that provides predictable real-time response entirely from within the Linux operating system itself.”

According to Rajkumar, “TimeSys Linux/RT is better than the alternative Linux based solutions because TimeSys Linux/RT actually extends the Linux kernel, rather than adding a proprietary non-Linux RTOS as an abstraction layer between Linux and the system hardware.” “As a result,” continues Rajkumar, “engineers can build hard real-time systems with TimeSys Linux/RT, while enjoying the reliability and stability that have become the hallmark characteristics of the Linux OS.”

The TimeSys Linux/RT architecture offers predictability, by allocating each process a predetermined portion of the system's resource bandwidth. This is accomplished via methods similar to the quality of service (QOS) approach commonly employed in digital communications architectures. Additionally, the resource allocation technique ensures that if a single real-time process crashes, the kernel and all other system processes will still run. This solves a major problem associated with the alternative, in which the entire Linux operating system could fail if a single process crashes.

Nonetheless, TimeSys' Linux/RT also offers engineers the option to incorporate a layer called RTAI (Real-Time Applications Interface), which furnishes high performance and small system footprint characteristics. This option results in the more common dual-kernel (Linux + an RT kernel) and offers extremely fast event response times (less than a millisecond).

“TimeSys Linux/RT offers the best of both worlds. With TimeSys Linux/RT, engineers can build real-time systems based upon the RTAI layer, emphasizing speed and small footprint for fully tested applications. And of course, they can also use TimeSys Linux/RT as a true-blue real-time Linux OS, with all of Linux? robustness and reliability,” says Rajkumar.

Linux/RT operating system will be available in April and will be distributed by TimeSys at no cost via the Internet, and on CD-ROM for a nominal fee. TimeSys will support Linux/RT by offering a complete spectrum of fully interoperable software products, training, customization, consulting, and application engineering services that support all phases of software development for real-time systems.

TimeSys offers a suite of real-time system development tools to assist engineers in modeling, analysis, and debugging a wide range of real-time single processor and distributed real-time systems, including custom network protocols. These include: TimeWiz, a tool for timing analysis, simulation, and modeling; and TimeTrace, for measuring and displaying the execution sequences and timing. TimeSys will also offer a real-time Java Virtual Machine for Linux/RT that will comply with Sun Microsystems' Real-Time Java Specification.

“TimeSys Linux/RT is aimed at a host of embedded and real-time applications in telecommunications, process control, industrial automation, Internet appliances, Web servers, multimedia servers, set-top boxes, high-definition TVs, medical electronics, avionics and defense systems. We?re pleased to enhance the core open-source Linux kernel for the benefit of the Linux development community,” said Dr. Doug Locke, TimeSys? Vice President of Technology.

TimeSys Linux/RT will be initially targeted at x86 and PowerPC architectures. TimeSys Linux/RT distribution will support and extend several innovations from the real-time Linux research community:

  • Linux/RK (resource kernel) from Carnegie Mellon University
  • RTAI (Real-Time Applications Interface) from DIAPM in Italy
  • RED Linux from the University of California at Irvine
“Many of our customers are looking for effective tools and expert support to leverage the benefits of the open-source Linux operating system in the context of building real-time systems. We?re confident that TimeSys Linux/RT will suit their needs,” said Srini Vasan, Co-Founder and CEO of TimeSys.

TimeSys will continue to release code modifications and enhancements to the open-source community.

About TimeSys Corporation

Founded in 1996, TimeSys Corporation, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a privately held systems software company. TimeSys provides a rapidly growing set of comprehensive end-to-end solutions for building predictable real-time systems including analysis and simulation tools, profiling and visualization tools, consulting, customization and training services. The TimeSys customer base includes leading industry names in telecommunications, automotive systems, avionics, defense, and consumer electronics. TimeSys is recognized as having some of the world's most respected experts in real-time systems.

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