3 Current Real-Time Operating System Trends

August 16th, 2017 by

Real-time operating systems have been in use since the ‘80s but recently have gained popularity. As such, they have become increasingly connected, event-driven and complex by using progressive peripherals and middleware stacks that require parallel management. The alternative to RTOS usage is implementing an execution control that relies on logic and custom states. Maintaining this can be intricate and error-prone for complex applications.


Several trends are emerging in real-time operating system usage:

1. Efficiency

The real-time operating system is designed to implement duties more efficiently compared to traditional super-loop designs. This is because tasks executed through an RTOS do not waste processor time when waiting for activation and their response time tends to be faster because of preemptive scheduling and interrupt service routines. Additionally, microcontrollers feature 32-bit cores with substantial RAM and flash memory. This makes RTOS footprints less problematic.

2. Freely available and Open Source RTOSs

Freely available and open source real-time operating systems are increasingly popular. This has led to the emergence of larger and more informed user communities who understand the different RTOS-based designs available on the market. The community is viewed as a critical mass that helps developers improve RTOS quality and functionality.

The real-time operating system is most commonly used among embedded applications. In fact, MCU vendors include a RTOS in their software development packages. This move emphasizes how essential RTOS has become.

3. The Outsourced RTOS

Due to the complexity of real-time operating systems,  many people (including tech savvy individuals) do not easily comprehend how an RTOS works. They must study the operating system, understand its features and how they correlate for smooth functionality. For this reason, the use of in-house operating system solutions is decreasing in favor of leading RTOS providers. The argument is that companies specializing in RTOSs understand the systems, know how to protect them from attacks, and are managed by professionals.


Overall, the industrial automation industry is seeing increasing interest in and use of real-time operating system technology. This trend is bound to continue, trigger the development of new features, and change how businesses operate.


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