Electronic Design

Excuse Me For Interrupting

Hard real-time operating systems help designers meet hard goals. Keeping interrupt latency low is only one of the ways that hard RTOSs make a difference. Reservation-based RTOSs make it easier to guarantee that jobs get done on time and that resources are used fairly.

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Time is just one of those resources. Memory and even file handles aren't available in an unlimited supply in most embedded applications. The job of managing a system becomes more complex as the number of tasks increases.

Complexity is only one issue that programmers will have to contend with.

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Interrupt: LynuxWorks (www.lynuxworks.com) incorporated the latest 2.6 Linux kernel into BlueCat Linux 5.0. It was qualified using ISO 9001:2000 procedures and test.

the latest board products in the Bus and Board section (right).

Another is software patents. Most developers have yet to run into the patent briar, but it will become a more common occurrence as the number of software patents continues to rise. Unfortunately, a great number of

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these innovations would not make it into the patent portfolio, except for the difficulty of finding prior art. Even more critical is that patents must avoid being non-obvious to "a skilled practitioner of the art." As most developers know, all programmers are not alike. Just take RTOS reservation systems

Interrupt: It's not a reservation-based RTOS, but Zilog's tiny 18-kbyte RZK is a real-time, pre-emptive, multitasking kernel. It targets Zilog's eZ80Acclaim! and it is royalty-free.

as an example. Anyone unfamiliar with this technique would have a tough time evaluating a software patent in this area. Almost time for another...

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