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Linux Foundation to build real-time OS for IoT

The Linux Foundation yesterday announced the Zephyr™ Project, an open source collaborative effort to build a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Early supporters for the Zephyr Project include Intel Corporation (including its acquired business groups Altera Corporation and Wind River), NXP Semiconductors N.V. (including its recent merger with Freescale), Synopsys, Inc. and UbiquiOS Technology Limited.

internet of things illustration
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Zephyr Project is also inviting others interested in this technology to participate.

Industrial and consumer IoT devices require software that is scalable, secure and enables seamless connectivity. Developers also need the ability to innovate on top of a highly modular platform that easily integrates with embedded devices regardless of architecture. While Linux has proved to be a highly successful operating system for embedded development, some IoT devices require a real-time OS that addresses the very smallest memory footprints.

“Developers today have many choices when it comes to platforms. The Zephyr Project will offer a modular, connected operating system to support the smallest footprint for IoT devices,” said Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation’s executive director. “We invite developers to contribute to the Zephyr Project and to help advance a customizable embedded open source RTOS to advance IoT. By hosting this at The Linux Foundation, we look forward to the cross-project collaboration among Linux and this community.”

Modularity and security are key considerations when building systems for embedded IoT devices. The Zephyr Project prioritizes these features by providing the freedom to use the RTOS as is or to tailor a solution. The project’s focus on security includes plans for a dedicated security working group and a delegated security maintainer. Broad communications and networking support is also addressed and will initially include Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy and IEEE 802.15.4, with plans to expand communications and networking support over time.

The Zephyr Project aims to incorporate input from the open source and embedded developer communities and to encourage collaboration on the RTOS. The project will also include powerful developer tools to help advance the Zephyr RTOS as a best-in-breed embedded technology for IoT. The Zephyr Project will include broad architecture support over time with the following platforms initially supported:

  • Arduino 101 (Intel® Curie™ Module containing x86 and Synopsys® ARC® EM cores);
  • Arduino Due (Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU);
  • Intel® Galileo™ Gen 2; and
  • NXP FRDM-K64F Freedom board (Kinetis K64F ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU).

The Zephyr Project will also be having a booth at Embedded World 2016 in Nuremberg, Germany, to showcase the technology.