The Linux Foundation, which provides advanced consulting services through the labyrinth of open source opportunities, has announced the Zephyr Project
— a small scalable real-time operating system (RTOS)
designed specifically for small footprint Internet of Things (IoT) devices. RTOS is an operating system (OS) intended to serve real-time application process data as it comes in, typically without buffering delays.
The Foundation has opened call for developers to help advance project for the smallest footprint IoT
devices. The initial backing for Zephyr Project is being given by Intel Corporation (including its acquired business groups Altera Corporation and Wind River), NXP Semiconductors NV (including its recent merger with Freescale), Synopsys, Inc. and UbiquiOS Technology Limited. The Project is welcoming those who are interested in this technology.
For any IoT device, enterprises need a software that is accessible, protected and facilitates continuous connectivity. The makers should build an innovative and flexible platform that can effortlessly assimilate with the existing devices irrespective of what architecture is in use.
Linux has already established its mark into successful operating systems for embedded development, but some IoT devices require an RTOS that addresses the very smallest memory footprints. This complements real-time Linux, which excels at data acquisition systems, manufacturing plants and other time-sensitive instruments and machines that provide the critical infrastructure for some of the world’s most complex computing systems.
Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation, said, “Developers today have many choices when it comes to platforms. The Zephyr Project will offer a modular, connected operating system to support the smallest footprint for IoT devices. We invite developers to contribute to the Zephyr Project and to help advance a customizable embedded open source RTOS to advance IoT. By hosting this at The Linux Foundation, we look forward to the cross-project collaboration among Linux and this community.”
Key Features of Zephyr Project
Today, huge number of devices are getting connected to the IoT model, and each of then requires safety to protect them from malicious attacks. The Zephyr project serves an thorough security development life cycle through all stages of development including: security validation, fuzz and penetration testing, frequent code reviews, static code analysis, threat modeling and reviews to prevent back doors in the code. The project’s focus on security includes plans for a dedicated security working group and a delegated security maintainer.
Mark Skarpness, Vice President, Software and Services Group, Intel, stated, “Intel believes the Zephyr Project can make a significant impact in the connected and embedded device market. By providing a scalable, customizable, secure and open source OS, the Zephyr Project will address the evolving needs have connected device development. We plan to work with the Zephyr community to develop a best-of-breed OS that moves innovation forward.”
The Zephyr Project is accessible through the Apache 2.0 open source license. Introduced as a combined project with the Linux Foundation, the project will be handled with a lightweight governance and open source structure. The Linux Foundation is welcoming all the new members from all over the enterprises like industrial and commercial vendors, semi-conductor, operating system vendors, development tools, accelerators, startups, and professional makers who are interested in participating and contributing to the Zephyr Project. The Project attempts to provide an entirely adoptable solution for the IoT.
The Project offers connectivity protocols for those devices which are low powered, has small memory footprint etc. Zephyr Project supports Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, WiFi, 802.15.4 as well as other standards like 6Lowpan, CoAP, IPv4, IPv6, and NFC. The project will continuously try to polish and boost the functionality through community driven development.
In support of the Project, John Koeter, Vice President, IP & Prototyping, Synopsys, said, “The Zephyr project addresses the growing need for an industry-supported, open-source RTOS that meets the requirements of today’s resource-constrained and secure IoT devices. We are pleased to participate in this collaborative effort and contribute to advancing the project, including providing support for Synopsys ARC-based IoT IP platforms.”
The devices whose memory is small, the Zephyr Project provides feature- rich software to solve this problem. The Zephyr kernel and associated software modules can run on systems as small as 8kB of memory all the way up to 512 kB. The tool suite can be customized as per the requirement of the developer. Over time, the project will provide the ability to easily integrate 3rd party components including 3rd party libraries, external components, and application development and module configuration tools.
The Zephyr Project will include broad architecture support over time with the following platforms initially supported:
- Arduino 101 (Intel Curie Module containing x86 and Synopsys ARC EM cores)
- Arduino Due (Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU)
- Intel Galileo Gen 2
- NXP FRDM-K64F Freedom board (Kinetis K64F ARM Cortex-M4 MCU)