Linux Foundation Doubles Down on Real-Time Linux

Monday Oct 5th 2015 by Sean Michael Kerner
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After a decade of efforts trying to evolved Real-Time Linux, a new Linux Foundation Collaborative Project enters the fray.

The Linux Foundation today is announcing a new Real-Time Linux Collaborative Project, though it's important to first understand and realize that efforts to develop Real-Time Linux have been ongoing for over a decade.

Back in October of 2004, MontaVista Linux (now owned by Cavium) launched its Real-Time Linux effort, which saw multiple kernel developments land Real-Time Linux Kernelin 2005. In 2006, Wind River (now owned by Intel) joined the Real-Time Linux market, pushing it forward.

Until 2006, Real-Time Linux had been a separate area of development from the mainline Linux kernel, but that changed with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel, which was the first to include Real-Time. Various improvements have been incorporated and integrated in multiple kernels since as Real-Time has evolved.

But apparently the mainline development isn't enough,  which is why the Real-Time Linux (RTL) Collaborative project is launching. The effort is backed by Google, National Instruments, OSADL, Texas Instruments, Altera, ARM, Intel and IBM.

Red Hat's Role in Real-Time Linux

Surprisingly, Red Hat is not on the list of official supporters, but the company has led Real-Time Linux developments of its own (largely through the work of developer Ingo Molnar) for the last nine years. Red Hat's MRG product has had a Real-Time Linux kernel for years. Additionally, the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 release includes a real-time kernel option for users as well.

Leading the Real-Time work at the Linux Foundation is Thomas Gleixner, who has been named as a Linux Foundation Fellow.

"The work we’ve been doing on real-time Linux has been critical in advancing complex real-time computing systems," Gleixner said in a statement. "But technology is moving fast, and the RTL project with support from across the industry will allow us to sustain this work and successfully integrate with the mainline kernel for long-term support of these technologies."

With the launch of the RTL Collaborative Project, there will now be a quarterly code plan review as well as meetings at the Embedded Linux Conference twice a year to further the effort.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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