RealTime IT News

Wind River Tucks in RTLinux

Wind River  extended its quest to be the embedded real time operating system vendor of choice by acquiring RTLinux technology from Finite State Machine Labs, Inc. (FSMLabs) for an undisclosed sum.

RTLinux is a proprietary hard real-time embedded Linux operating system that to a certain degree competes against Wind River's Linux offerings as well as those from Montavista, Novell and Concurrent.

FSMLabs will transfer all the intellectual property related to RTLinux, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and associated product rights for RTLinux to Wind River, along with four or five engineers from FSMLabs.

With the RTLinux acquisition, Wind River adds what Glenn Seiler, director of Linux platforms at Wind River, referred to as "hard real time" capabilities to the Wind River's product lineup.

Seiler argued that the Linux community's real-time patches are soft real time and not hard real time. The difference, Seiler said, is that soft real-time traits provide a statistical real-time response such that developers know they will get a response within a set parameter of time.

Hard real time, on the other hand, provides a guaranteed response time, he said.

Seiler said RTLinux provides hard real time by layering an executive mini operating system ahead of Linux, such that hardware interrupts come to the executive OS first for the hard real-time response. RTLinux, unlike the real-time available in the mainline Linux kernel, is proprietary and not open source.

Wind River, which has been offering real-time Linux based on the open source real-time Linux efforts that are being driven in a community process since July 2006, isn't abandoning its efforts to support the community-driven real time Linux.

Full real-time capabilities are expected to be fully baked into the 2.6.22 kernel, which will be available later this year.

"Wind River will continue to support that," Seiler said. "We're now proving an extension with the hard real-time executive that takes the real time one step further."

RTLinux also will not impact Wind River's other operating systems, namely its VxWorks embedded OS, which is still a larger part of Wind River's overall business. Wind River, only began shipping Linux solutions in 2004 as a complement to its proprietary VxWorks-embedded operating system.

"We will continue to enhance and grow VxWorks biz this is not indication we are moving away from that," Seiler said.