Missing RTOSes - Embedded.com

Missing RTOSes

I read your June 2005 article “Operating Systems Up For Grabs” with great interest and anticipation.

Early in the article, you mention that people influence the selection of an RTOS, and I suspect that a lot of those decision makers are readers of your magazine and might be greatly influenced by the results of this survey.

I'd like to bring to your readers' attention that the survey results shown in Figure 9 and 10 are based on a finite list of choices, and there were no 'other' categories to pick from. In other words, if a particular RTOS was not listed in the survey, it would not have appeared in these figures.

I specifically noted one major oversight and that is the absence of the μC/OS-II operating system that is described in my book (MicroC/OS-II, The Real-Time Kernel, ISBN 1-57820-103-9), which has its origins back in 1992. μC/OS-II is more than a book and is in fact one of many licensable commercial products (Intellectual Property) by a company I founded called Micriμm (www.Micrium.com). μC/OS-II has been licensed for use in hundreds of products from small and large companies all around the world. μC/OS-II has been ported to over 45 different processor architectures and is comfortable on 8-, 16-, and 32-bit CPUs. Partly because of its clear documentation and its clean source code, μC/OS-II is also one of a handful of RTOSes that is certifiable for use in avionics (DO178B Level A) and medical equipment (510k). I believe that it's universally recognized that μC/OS-II has influenced the RTOS landscape and educated thousands of embedded systems engineers with this technology. Finally, the μC/OS-II book is currently being used in hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide.

Not listing μC/OS-II in your magazine could, unfortunately, lead embedded systems designers to incorrectly conclude that μC/OS-II is not a commercial RTOS. In fact, had μC/OS-II been listed in the survey, you probably would have found that it would rank in the top ten RTOS choices.

Jean J. Labrosse
Founder and president, Micriμm, Inc.

Editor in chief Jim Turley responds:
Jean makes a good point, and I'm sorry that we accidentally left μC/OS out of the list of choices. In fact, there are quite a few embedded operating systems that weren't included, simply because there are so many of them. It wasn't possible to include them all, but μC/OS should have been among those listed.

Although Figure 9 of the article doesn't show it, the biggest vote-getter was actually “none of the above,” which got a 41% response. That shows just how fragmented the RTOS market is. Several people wrote in to say their favorite operating system wasn't included, so the grumbling wasn't limited to just μC/OS users. Next year I think we'll list even more operating systems in the survey, and next year I'm sure we'll still hear from readers whose favorite OS wasn't included.

Hello, Jim. I've enjoyed your publication and your writings for many years. I was saddened by your omission of μC/OS-II from your survey. While I've completed multiple professional projects in VxWorks, pSOS, Vertex, Linux, etc., I would certainly consider μC/OS-II as a strong candidate for any future work I might do.

Mark Jungwirth

How come there is no mention of NET-BSD or Free-BSD in this article? I have been in embedded system design for the past 15 years and NET-BSD is a viable choice for any embedded system design as long as the BSP for the hardware is available.

Hamid Marshall
Engineer, Cyberwatch Communication

Where's MicroC/OS? In a survey I came across a while back, I believe MicroC/OS had something like 3% of the market.

Doug Abbott

Editor in chief Jim Turley responds:
And so on, and so on, and so on…

Add CPUs, not software
While I in general enjoy Jack Ganssle's columns in Embedded Systems Programming, this article (“Subtract Software Costs by Adding CPUs,” May 2005, p.16) was outstanding. It could easily have been titled “OOP/OOAD for Embedded Systems” and targeted an entirely different audience.

John Pehoski
Senior Software Engineer, Megomat USA

Editor in chief Jim Turley responds:
We were originally going to make May our “ESP OOP/OOAD issue” but couldn't get it past the spell checker. More seriously, I think this article and a few others highlight the way in which new embedded technology overtakes our ability to absorb and adopt it. We're always fighting the last war, so to speak, because our habits and methods don't always keep pace with reality. Economics and technology shift faster than we do.

—Jim Turley, jturley@cmp.com

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