Commercial version of NICTA open source L4 real time kernel released - Embedded.com

Commercial version of NICTA open source L4 real time kernel released

Open Kernel Labs, a spinoff of National ICT Austrailia (NICTA), has just gone public with OKL4, a commercial version of the open source L4 microkernel and virtualization technology, a result of NICTA's Embedded, Real Time, Operating System Program.

According to Steve Subar, CEO and Co-Founder of OK, the commercial version is targeted at consumer embeddeded designs that current require both a high level operating systems such as Linux or Windows CE plus proprietary application code as well as a real-time operating system (RTOS).

OKL4, he said, incorporates virtualization techniques that provides secure partitioning protecting the real-time part of the system from a malfunctioning or compromised high-level OS.

“Our virtualization features can also encapsulate components that are under the GPL open-source license protecting valuable company IP from the obligation to publish source code,” said Subar. “In addition, OKL4 supports high-performance communication and resource sharing between subsystems.

The OKL4 microkernel is based on the same extremely small, open source, microkernel that he said is currently being used by major manufacturers of wireless devices and chipsets. When managing hardware resources, where it is the only code that executes in privileged processor mode, the OKL4's virtualization capability allows developers to create applications that run in one or more operating systems in the user mode, on the same processor core.

The OKL4 also has a native programming environment that supports the development of subsystems without a guest OS. It also supports cross-domain communication and controlled sharing of memory, which supports high-bandwidth, low-latency communication between subsystems including the efficient sharing of devices.

It also incorporates a minimal trusted computing base (TCB) that allows crypto services to be built with less than 20,000 lines of system code, he said.

Subar said OKL4 is available today and will continue to be available through an open source (BSD) license where there is access to OKL4 source code and related technologies including a sophisticated build system; cross-compilation tools for a number of popular architectures; sample projects and configurations for a number of popular platforms for getting started, and additional tools designed specifically for getting the optimum use of OKL4.

The commercial edition of OKL4 includes a customer service and customersupport package that provides OKL4 customization; processor architectureporting, and support and training for OKL4 and related technologies.

OKL4 is currently available for ARM v4/v5 and x86 processors, with supportfor MIPS processors to be released shortly.Presently supported guestoperating systems include Wombat, OK's high-performance virtualized Linux(2.6.10) and a number of RTOSes, including eCos. Today, open sourcedevelopers can download OKL4 or OKL4 plus Wombat.

Open Kernel Labs, Sydney, Australia 1-847-347-5673,ok-labs.com

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