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Amazon entices IoT developers with FreeRTOS

Richard Barry Amazon Web Services
Richard Barry: »I remain actively and vocally involved in the FreeRTOS team.«
© Amazon Web Services

The FreeRTOS realtime operating system is finding a lot of appeal – so much in fact that developer Richard Barry is unable to handle any further development and support by himself. Now he has been able to win Amazon to back him up. How it is set to continue.

FreeRTOS is now called Amazon FreeRTOS. Does that mean the independence of the FreeRTOS inventor and developer Richard Barry is a thing of the past, here and gone? Reason enough to ask him a few questions. Unfor­tunately he cannot come to embedded world himself, so he wrote us answers to these questions. But Amazon Web Services is exhibiting at the show for the first time, and wants to attract IoT developers for use of its cloud services – by, among other things, FreeRTOS.

How or why did the collaboration between FreeRTOS and
Amazon come about?

Richard Barry: The FreeRTOS kernel has been helping embedded developers manage the complexity of their designs for about 15 years – during which time FreeRTOS gained a reputation for reliability, ease of use, and responsive support. At the same time, embedded designs have generally become more complex, meaning a greater proportion of designs benefit from the use of a multi-threading kernel. Together this resulted in a rapid year on year growth in the FreeRTOS user base to a point where we were overwhelmed and in need of additional resources. Currently there is one FreeRTOS download approximately every three minutes. Amazon gave Free­RTOS the additional resource with no strings attached for the Free­RTOS community as Amazon intends Free­RTOS to remain an actively developed, free and cross-platform product. You do not need to be an AWS customer to use Amazon FreeRTOS.

In 2016 AWS launched an IoT service that meant cloud developers no longer had to spend time re-inventing the wheel in creating their own service. Hours previously spent on those undifferentiating tasks were more fruitfully spent innovating products. Free­RTOS gave AWS the opportunity to do the same for MCU developers. Amazon FreeRTOS extends the FreeRTOS kernel with the security and connectivity libraries required to connect to a cloud service. When using Amazon Free­RTOS, MCU developers no longer have to spend time engineering their own connectivity solution.

From now on, who makes the strategic decisions about FreeRTOS?

Barry: The FreeRTOS roadmap was and continues to be driven by the need of users and partners. 90 to 95 % of AWS features are driven directly by customers, and I remain actively and vocally involved in the FreeRTOS team.

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