Red Hat’s Real Time Coming Sooner Than Later

Real Time Linux will be available to Red Hat  customers
sooner than had been originally expected, but unlike many Red Hat innovations,
the new Real Time capabilities will not show up first in Red Hat’s Fedora
community Linux distribution.

In many cases where Red Hat is integrating new technologies to Linux, it
will first debut the feature in its Fedora distribution. That’s not going to
be the case with Real Time.

“Initially there will not be a Fedora Real Time offering,” Tim
Burke Director Emerging Technologies Red Hat told “The
reason why is not because we’re trying to keep everything secret and in fact
there already is an upstream sandbox where the real time development work is
being done.”

Burke explained that Fedora represents a different user base and will
typically pull kernel updates very rapidly from the mainline of kernel

“Fedora is great for integrating projects but Real Time is just a kernel and
it doesn’t impact other things,” Burke said. “From a release point of view
it doesn’t have the same integration challenges as SELinux.”

That’s not to say that Fedora won’t have a real time version at some point.

“As we get more of the full set of Real Time patches upstream, a year from
now when everything is upstream then it makes a lot of sense to have a Real
Time Fedora initiative,” Burke said. “But because not everything is in the
kernel now it doesn’t make sense now.

“Originally our game plan was to get all the capabilities upstream and then
have everything integrated for RHEL 6 (Red Hat Enterprise Linux),” he said.
“There has been so much pull from customers so we’re not going to wait
another 18 months. Our intention now is to have an offering well in advance
of RHEL 6.”

Red Hat recently
released RHEL 5
and typically releases full enterprise revisions every
18-24 months. Burke noted in a
keynote at the Linux on Wall Street conference that Real Time Linux
enhancements will significantly improve the deterministic qualities of Linux
and reduce or eliminate application latency.

“We now have the code out and are working with a number of our partners and
customers,” Burke said. “We’re effectively doing our beta evaluation at this
point in time.”

Once customers agree that the Red Hat Real Time product is effective and
working properly, the plan is for Red Hat to quickly productize the full

Red Hat also argued that current efforts by vendors Concurrent, MontaVista
and Wind River in the Real Time Linux space are not at the same level as
what Red Hat will be putting into the marketplace.

Red Hat’s engineers are leading the way in the kernel community to add Real
Time enhancements to the mainstream
Linux kernel
. Other vendors like MontaVista , Wind River and
Concurrent also offer Real Time Linux distributions though Burke thinks that
Red Hat is different.

Though MontaVista helped to kick start
Real Time Linux efforts
a few years back, Burke argued that Montavista
no longer a leader in this space.

“We’re glad to have them as part of the community they are good testers but
their contribution rate has not been significant,” Burke said.

When it comes to Wind River Burke said that Wind River is successful in the
small footprint/constrained device market. In contrast, the customers that
Red Hat is targeting are financial service providers, federal sector and
telcos that are not constrained small footprint.

“In the accounts that we go to we never hear MontaVista, Timesys or Wind
River, they’re the small footprint market and we’re going after the broader
market,” Burke said.

Burke was somewhat less polite in talking about Real Time Linux vendor
Concurrent, which also integrates with Novell for Novell’s Real Time Linux

“Concurrent is not working in the upstream community to get their changes
in,” Burke alleged. “Concurrent is effectively a proprietary branch, they
are not players in the open source space.”

“Any product based on Concurrent is inherently a short term tactical
approach that has no longer term viability upstream,” Burke said
emphatically. “From a longer term approach they may look as good as our
initial offering today but if you look out a year form now in terms of
maintenance. if you’re a divergent branch over time you’re lost.”

“That’s why Red Hat’s view is that if your code is not upstream it doesn’t
count, it doesn’t exist.”

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