April 11th, 2017 by
A good real-time operating system (RTOS) makes complex applications reliable and predictable. It adds dependability that may not be achieved with general purpose operating systems due to its precise timing control. But choosing a suitable real-time operating system is not easy. It’s crucial to consider the underlying factors and architecture of the system.
Here are 6 things to consider when choosing a real-time operating system:
- Flexibility in Scheduling Algorithms
How flexible is the system? Does it support different choices when it comes to scheduling algorithms, sporadic, and round robin, among others? Does it allow you to assign per-thread basis to the algorithms or does it force you to assign a single algorithm to all system threads?
- Graphical user Interfaces
Does the real-time operating system provide improved graphic capabilities like multi-headed displays, a true windowing system, accelerated 3D rendering and multi-layer interfaces, or does it use primitive graphics libraries? Is the graphic user interface customizable? Consider such factors to choose a system that feels comfortable to use.
- CPU Availability
Does the RTOS support a partitioning scheduler to ensure that tasks are guaranteed a portion of the CPU time all the time? This guarantee simplifies integration of subsystems from different development vendors or teams. It also ensures that important tasks are available and performed within the set deadlines.
- Remote Diagnosis
In most embedded systems, downtime cannot be tolerated. Therefore, an ideal system should provide remote diagnostics tools. This makes analyzing the behavior of a system without interrupting services easier. An ideal system should include tools for application profiling, code coverage, memory analysis and system profiling.
- Source Code Kits
Does the system come with properly documented customization and source kits? These kits are important because they enable you to tailor the system to suit your requirements.
- Standard APIs
Does the system provide full-support for standard APIs or does it lock you into a specific proprietary API? Standard APIs make porting code between operating systems easier. Additionally, make sure that the RTOS that you choose provides comprehensive API support instead of a subset of defined interfaces.
The choice of an RTOS is very strategic for any project or development team because it has significant impact on the operations and performance of the project or application. Consider the 6 factors above and ask as many questions as possible before you choose a real-time operating system for your project.