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Real-time operating system

October 3rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an operating system (OS) intended for real-time applications. Such operating systems serve application requests nearly real-time. A real-time operating system offers programmers more control over process priorities. An application’s process priority level may exceed that of a system process. Real-time operating systems minimize critical sections of system code, so that the application’s interruption is nearly critical.

A key characteristic of a real-time OS is the level of its consistency concerning the amount of time it takes to accept and complete an application’s task; the variability is jitter. A hard real-time operating system has less jitter than a soft real-time operating system. The chief design goal is not high throughput, but rather a guarantee of a soft or hard performance category. A real-time OS that can usually or generally meet a deadline is a soft real-time OS, but if it can meet a deadline deterministically it is a hard real-time OS.


Currently the best known, most widely deployed, real-time operating systems are:

See the list of real-time operating systems for a comprehensive list.

Additional RTOS:

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