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Open-source RTOS boosts processor support

Mar 30, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

The eCos project released a final version 3.0 of its real-time operating system (RTOS) for embedded systems. The open-source eCos 3.0 is said to support ARM Cortex-M, Fujitsu's FR30, and Freescale's 68K/Coldfire, while improving framebuffer, flash memory, and FAT filesystem capabilities, and extending host compatibility to GTK 2.x on Linux.

eCos offers a smaller footprint than Linux, making it arguably more suitable for a wide range of lower-powered embedded systems. Some recent examples include the Vitesse Semiconductor SparX-II-24 GbE “switch-on-a-chip,” and a mobile sentry robot from Wowwee (pictured below). Developed and maintained for years by Red Hat via its Cygnus acquisition, eCos has been primarily maintained by eCosCentric since all its patents were unified under the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in 2004.

Wowwee's eCos-driven
Rovio sentry robot

(Click for details)

Many of the new features in release 3.0 were contributions to the eCos project that have been previously available via the project's development repository, says the project. New run-time features are said to include:

  • Support for ARM Cortex-M, Fujitsu FR30, and 68K/ColdFire platforms, extending compatibility to 13 processor architectures
  • CAN, I2C, SPI, framebuffer, disk, and ADC infrastructure
  • Flash memory infrastructure revisions for improved flexibility
  • FAT filesystem implementation
  • Port of the lwIP lightweight TCP/IP stack
  • Additional services for the eCos FreeBSD TCP/IP stack
  • HAL and driver packages for many new processor variants, target platforms and peripheral devices
  • Enhancements to the RedBoot bootstrap and debug firmware (based on the eCos HAL)
  • GCC 4 compatibility for improved code generation
  • Stable configuration tools extending host platform coverage to GTK 2.x on Linux and to Windows Vista


The eCOS 3.0 final release is available for free download, here.

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