.. SPDX-License-Identifier: CC-BY-SA-4.0
.. Copyright (C) 2016 Chris Johns <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You are someone looking for a real-time operating system. This document
- presents the basic features of RTEMS, so that you can decide if it is worth to
- gives you a :ref:`quick start <QuickStart>` to install all the tools
necessary to work with RTEMS, and
- helps you to build an example application on top of RTEMS.
The Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (:ref:term:`RTEMS`) is a
multi-threaded, single address-space, real-time operating system with no
kernel-space/user-space separation. It is capable to operate in an
:ref:term:`SMP` configuration providing a state of the art feature set.
RTEMS is licensed under a
`modified GPL 2.0 or later license with an exception for static linking <https://git.rtems.org/rtems/tree/LICENSE>`_
[#]_. It exposes no license requirements on application code. The third-party
software used and distributed by RTEMS which may be linked to the application
is licensed under permissive open source licenses. Everything necessary to
build RTEMS applications is available as open source software. This makes you
completely vendor independent.
RTEMS provides the following basic feature set:
- :ref:term:`APIs <API>`
- :ref:term:`POSIX` with
(enables a broad range of standard software to run on RTEMS)
- `Classic <https://docs.rtems.org/branches/master/c-user.pdf>`_
- :ref:term:`C11` (including
`thread <https://en.cppreference.com/w/c/thread>`_ support)
- :ref:term:`C++11` (including
`thread <https://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/thread>`_ support)
- Newlib and :ref:term:`GCC` internal
- Programming languages
- C/C++/OpenMP (RTEMS Source Builder, RSB)
- Ada (RSB, ``--with-ada``)
- Fortran (RSB, ``--with-fortran``)
- Python and MicroPython
- Parallel languages
- Google Go [#]_
- :ref:term:`OpenMP` 4.5
- Thread synchronization and communication
- Mutexes with and without locking protocols
- Counting semaphores
- Binary semaphores
- Condition variables
- Message queues
- :ref:term:`Futex` (used by :ref:term:`OpenMP` barriers)
- Epoch Based Reclamation (libbsd)
- Locking protocols
- Transitive Priority Inheritance
- :ref:term:`OMIP` (SMP feature)
- Priority Ceiling
- :ref:term:`MrsP` (SMP feature)
- Scalable timer and timeout support
- Lock-free timestamps (FreeBSD timecounters)
- Responsive interrupt management
- C11/C++11 :ref:term:`TLS` [#]_
- Link-time configurable schedulers
- Job-level fixed-priority (:ref:term:`EDF`)
- Constant Bandwidth Server (experimental)
- Clustered scheduling (SMP feature)
- Flexible link-time configuration
- Job-level fixed-priority scheduler (:ref:term:`EDF`) with support for
one-to-one and one-to-all thread to processor affinities (default SMP
- Fixed-priority scheduler
- Proof-of-concept strong :ref:term:`APA` scheduler
- Focus on link-time application-specific configuration
- Linker-set based initialization (similar to global C++ constructors)
- Operating system uses fine-grained locking (SMP feature)
- Dynamic memory allocators
- First-fit (default)
- Universal Memory Allocator
(`UMA <https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=uma&sektion=9>`_ ,
- File systems
- :ref:term:`JFFS2` (NOR flashes)
- :ref:term:`YAFFS2` (NAND flashes, GPL or commercial license required)
- Device drivers
- Termios (serial interfaces)
- I2C (Linux user-space API compatible)
- SPI (Linux user-space API compatible)
- Network stacks (legacy, libbsd, lwIP)
- USB stack (libbsd)
- SD/MMC card stack (libbsd)
- Framebuffer (Linux user-space API compatible, Qt)
- Application runs in kernel-space and can access hardware directly
- Port of FreeBSD user-space and kernel-space components to RTEMS
- Easy access to FreeBSD software for RTEMS
- Support to stay in synchronization with FreeBSD
.. index:: Ecosystem
The RTEMS Ecosystem is the collection of tools, packages, code, documentation
and online content provided by the RTEMS Project. The ecosystem provides a way
to develop, maintain, and use RTEMS. It's parts interact with the user, the
host environment, and each other to make RTEMS accessible, useable and
The ecosystem is for users, developers and maintainers and it is an ongoing
effort that needs your help and support. The RTEMS project is always improving
the way it delivers the kernel to you and your feedback is important so please
join the mailing lists and contribute back comments, success stories, bugs and
What the RTEMS project describes here to develop, maintain and use RTEMS does
not dictate what you need to use in your project. You can and should select the
work-flow that best suites the demands of your project and what you are
RTEMS is complex and the focus of the RTEMS Ecosystem is to simplify the
complexity for users by providing a stable documented way to build, configure
and run RTEMS. RTEMS is more than a kernel running real-time applications on
target hardware, it is part of a project's and therefore team's workflow and
every project and team is different.
RTEMS's ecosystem does not mandate a way to work. It is a series of parts,
components, and items that are used to create a suitable development
environment to work with. The processes explained in this manual are the same
things an RTEMS maintainer does to maintain the kernel or an experienced user
does to build their production system. It is important to keep this in mind
when working through this manual. We encourage users to explore what can be
done and to discover ways to make it fit their needs. The ecosystem provided by
the RTEMS Project will not install in a single click of a mouse because we want
users to learn the parts they will come to depend on as their project's
The RTEMS Ecosystem provides a standard interface that is the same on all
supported host systems. Standardizing how a user interacts with RTEMS is
important and making that experience portable is also important. As a result
the ecosystem is documented at the command line level and we leave GUI and IDE
integration for users and integrators.
Standardizing the parts and how to use them lets users create processes and
procedures that are stable over releases. The RTEMS Ecosystem generates data
that can be used to audit the build process so their configuration can be
The ecosystem is based around the source code used in the various parts,
components and items of the RTEMS development environment. A user can create
an archive of the complete build process including all the source code for long
term storage. This is important for projects with a long life cycle.
RTEMS is an open source operating system and an open source project and this
extends to the ecosystem. We encourage users to integrate the processes to
build tools, the kernel and any 3rd party libraries into their project's
configuration management processes.
All the parts that make up the ecosystem are open source. The ecosystem uses a
package's source code to create an executable on a host so when an example
RTEMS executable is created and run for the first time the user will have built
every tool as well as the executable from source. The RTEMS Project believes
the freedom this gives a user is as important as the freedom of having access
to the source code for a package.
The RTEMS Project provides the ecosystem as source code that users can download
to create personalised development environments. The RTEMS Project does not
provide packaging and deployment for a specific host environment, target
architecture or BSP. The RTEMS Project encourages users and organizations to
fill this role for the community. The :ref:`RTEMS Source Builder <RSB>`
provides some aid to :ref:`build and deploy tool binaries <RSBDeployment>`.
.. index:: Support
RTEMS offers a variety of support options.
This section covers all options available to both users and developers. If you
believe this is a bug report please submit it to the bug tracker otherwise the
developers mailing list is the default location to send the report.
RTEMS Project Support
.. index:: RTEMS Project Support
The following support channels are provided by the RTEMS Project and provide
direct access to the RTEMS community.
.. index:: Bugs
.. index:: Reporting bugs
The bug tracker can be found at the :r:url:`bugs`.
See the `Submission Guidelines <http://devel.rtems.org/wiki/NewTicket/>`_ for
details on submitting a ticket.
Be sure to do a cursory search for any tickets that may be relevant to your
If you are unsure about your issue status submit a ticket and we will help you
sort it out.
The latest user documentation can always be found at the :r:url:`docs`.
.. index:: Community
.. index:: Mailing lists
We have several mailing lists for RTEMS users and developers.
* Announcements for major and other project-related issues.
* Bugs email from :r:url:`bugs`.
* Developers list, this is for developers of RTEMS itself.
* Results from the testing and building of RTEMS.
* Users of RTEMS.
* Commits to the RTEMS master repository.
.. index:: Community
.. index:: IRC
RTEMS IRC is available on the Freenode network. See the `Freenode
<http://www.freenode.net/>`_ web site for details on connecting, selecting a
nickname, and general usage tips. If you are new to IRC it is recommended
These are the current IRC channels.
This is a general channel for all things RTEMS. You can just hang out with
other RTEMS users and developers to talk about RTEMS, using RTEMS or to make
contact with other RTEMS users.
The ``#rtems`` channel is logged. You can find the logs at
http://www.rtems.org/irclogs/. You can search the logs using Google by adding:
to your search terms.
.. index:: Community
.. index:: Developers
Developers can find help and support on the mailing lists, see
Technical documents including design, :r:url:`gsoc`, :r:url:`socis` can be
found on the :r:url:`devel`.
Commercial Support Services
The wider RTEMS community has developers and organizations who can provide
commercial support services. These services range from training, implementing
new features in RTEMS, deployment of RTEMS< helping establish a new project
environment for a team, to application and system design.
The RTEMS Project does not endorse or promote any provider of these services
and we recommend you use a search engine to locate a suitable provider. If you
are unsure please contact a provider and see what is available.
If you develop a new feature or you have someone do this for you we recommend
you have the work submitted to the project and merged. Once accepted into the
project the work will be maintained as part of the development process within
the project and this is a benefit for.
Real-time Application Systems
Real-time application systems are a special class of computer applications.
They have a complex set of characteristics that distinguish them from other
software problems. Generally, they must adhere to more rigorous requirements.
The correctness of the system depends not only on the results of computations,
but also on the time at which the results are produced. The most important and
complex characteristic of real-time application systems is that they must
receive and respond to a set of external stimuli within rigid and critical time
constraints referred to as deadlines. Systems can be buried by an avalanche of
interdependent, asynchronous or cyclical event streams.
Deadlines can be further characterized as either hard or soft based upon the
value of the results when produced after the deadline has passed. A deadline
is hard if the results have no value after the deadline has passed, or a
catastrophic event results from their intended use if not completed on time. In
contrast, results produced after a soft deadline may still have some value.
Another distinguishing requirement of real-time application systems is the
ability to coordinate or manage a large number of concurrent activities. Since
software is a synchronous entity, this presents special problems. One
instruction follows another in a repeating synchronous cycle. Even though
mechanisms have been developed to allow for the processing of external
asynchronous events, the software design efforts required to process and manage
these events and tasks are growing more complicated.
The design process is complicated further by spreading this activity over a set
of processors instead of a single processor. The challenges associated with
designing and building real-time application systems become very complex when
multiple processors are involved. New requirements such as interprocessor
communication channels and global resources that must be shared between
competing processors are introduced. The ramifications of multiple processors
complicate each and every characteristic of a real-time system.
Fortunately, real-time operating systems, or real-time executives, serve as a
cornerstone on which to build the application system. A real-time multitasking
executive allows an application to be cast into a set of logical, autonomous
processes or tasks which become quite manageable. Each task is internally
synchronous, but different tasks execute independently, resulting in an
asynchronous processing stream. Tasks can be dynamically paused for many
reasons resulting in a different task being allowed to execute for a period of
time. The executive also provides an interface to other system components such
as interrupt handlers and device drivers. System components may request the
executive to allocate and coordinate resources, and to wait for and trigger
synchronizing conditions. The executive system calls effectively extend the
CPU instruction set to support efficient multitasking. By causing tasks to
travel through well-defined state transitions, system calls permit an
application to demand-switch between tasks in response to real-time events.
By properly grouping stimuli responses into separate tasks a system can now
asynchronously switch between independent streams of execution. This allows the
system to directly respond to external stimuli as they occur, as well as meet
critical performance specifications that are typically measured by guaranteed
response time and transaction throughput. The multiprocessor extensions of
RTEMS provide the features necessary to manage the extra requirements
introduced by a system distributed across several processors. It removes the
physical barriers of processor boundaries from the world of the system
designer, enabling more critical aspects of the system to receive the required
attention. Such a system, based on an efficient real-time, multiprocessor
executive, is a more realistic model of the outside world or environment for
which it is designed. As a result, the system will always be more logical,
efficient, and reliable.
By using the directives provided by RTEMS, the real-time applications developer
is freed from the problem of controlling and synchronizing multiple tasks and
processors. In addition, one need not develop, test, debug, and document
routines to manage memory, pass messages, or provide mutual exclusion. The
developer is then able to concentrate solely on the application. By using
standard software components, the time and cost required to develop
sophisticated real-time applications are significantly reduced.
.. [#] The goal is to use the
`BSD 2-Clause license
<https://git.rtems.org/rtems/tree/LICENSE.BSD-2-Clause>`_ for new code
or code those copyright holder agreed to a license change, see `#3053
<https://devel.rtems.org/ticket/3053>`_ for the details.
.. [#] See `#2832 <https://devel.rtems.org/ticket/2832>`_.
.. [#] Thread-local storage requires some support by the tool chain and the
RTEMS architecture support, e.g. context-switch code. It is supported
at least on ARM, PowerPC, RISC-V, SPARC and m68k. Check the
`RTEMS CPU Architecture Supplement <https://docs.rtems.org/branches/master/cpu-supplement.pdf>`_
if it is supported.