SAN JOSE, Calif. With the release of its new Linux Professional Edition 5.0 (Pro 5), MontaVista Software claims to have put to rest any concerns that Linux is not suited for real-time, embedded applications. With improvements to both response times and memory footprints, the company believes it can now address most embedded requirements.
“This opens up the whole RTOS [real-time operating system] market for us,” said Bill Seawick, MontaVista chief marketing officer. “If we can exceed 80 percent of the real-time requirements for embedded, and have the footprint we now have, why would anyone want an RTOS?”
Most RTOS vendors insist that “hard” real-time embedded applications require an RTOS, not Linux, which is generally viewed as “soft” real time. But MontaVista claims that its Pro 5 release has performance that matches traditional RTOSes. According to the company, it offers average response times in the 5 microsecond range, with worst-case response under 25 microseconds.
To achieve this performance, MontaVista leveraged the updated Linux 2.6.18 kernel and used such features as user-space support, priority queueing, priority inheritance, robust futexes, and high-resolution timers (HRTs). With HRT, the company says, programmers can implement time bases and event-driven algorithms with high accuracy, eliminating the need for polling and busy loops.
Further, the new release offers a smaller memory footprint than previous MontaVista offerings. Building with the uClibc library, the company claims, a totally deployed system can have a footprint of under 3 Mbytes.
Other areas of improvement in Pro 5 include IPv6 support, USB “on the go,” the Gnu C/C++ compiler version 4.2, statistical profiling, trace, memory debug, and DevRocket 5.0, an integrated development environment (IDE) now available as a set of Eclipse plug-ins.
MontaVista is also rolling out its Application Development Kit (ADK) 5.0, which updates the company's application development solution. It includes DevRocket along with analysis tools and a virtual target. Features include memory leak detection, memory usage analysis, and performance profiling. ADK 5.0 is available this week.