Linux? Real time? I don’t think so…

Phil Hochmuth asks the question "What do real-time additions to the Linux kernel mean for the real-time OS market?"

We are going to have to set him straight on one point real quick… Wind River is all about offering customers choice and Industry standards. …but Linux and real time? Nope!

We can stand proud and point to our history with Linux. We have been criticized for changing our story but our story changed with the circumstances. We were not about to promote the 2.4 kernels. They just were not ready for our market – regardless of the number of patches. Real improvements in the 2.6 kernel gave us the chance to stand behind it.

The "real time" patches and extensions are the same story. We will support the technologies embraced by the community but we aren’t going around telling folks that Linux is ready for real time.

Embedded, yes. A fine candidate for Device Management, yes. An enabling target for Device Software Optimization, you bet.

Real time. No way…


  1. Trevor

    I think you’re mistakenly assuming that “real time” always means “hard real time”. Don’t forget about “soft real time”. These new patches may not be viable for safety-critical hard real time systems, but for soft real time, they’ll probably be perfect. Think about applications like audio and video processing, VoIP servers running Linux, etc. These are domains where dropping a packet isn’t the end of the world, but you still want harder guarantees and stricter, more responsive scheduling than you could get with previous Linux kernels. I wouldn’t be so quick to deride the idea of Linux and real time.

  2. Dan Poirot

    Hey Trevor,
    Rats! I missed my own point!
    The point I wanted to make was that in his column, Phil Hochmuth had Wind River in the group pushing Linux as real time when that is not the case…
    For sure Linux has a place in the device space but the “real time” patches will have to come a long way before Wind River will call it real time.
    Thanks for the comment!
    - dan

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