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Al Williams

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Embedded Operating Systems

August 20, 2010

The nice thing about operating systems is there are so many to choose from. Of course, if you are plugging away at relatively big iron, there's plenty of embedded Linux choices. But most of my projects are quite a bit smaller.

A few to check out:

Atomthreads - Fairly new entrant; BSD license.

eCos - Active project, although I've always found it hard to bootstrap.

FreeRTOS - I actually ported this to a cheap LPC2119 board

RTEMS - Interesting OS used in a lot of places. I like that they provide a live VirtualBox development environment if you want to get started quick.

TinyOS - Targets wireless embedded sensor networks.

Unison - Works with PIC32 and ARM among others. Same project for a DSP-targeting RTOS called DSPnano.

Many of these are "free" but have commercial older siblings. Of course, that's not all of them -- just the ones that were on the tip of my tongue. WikiPedia has a big list although I notice some of the more obscure ones aren't there (yet).

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