Real-Time Operating System

Amazon entices IoT developers with FreeRTOS

11. April 2018, 9:55 Uhr | Joachim Kroll

Fortsetzung des Artikels von Teil 1

The Evolution of FreeRTOS

How will FreeRTOS evolve? Which additional features can we expect?

Barry: Amazon FreeRTOS is a collection of libraries, of which one is the FreeRTOS kernel. The first Amazon release of the Free­RTOS kernel included two major new light weight communication features, including a core to core data transport mechanism. It also changed the license to the very business and developer friendly MIT license.

The first Amazon FreeRTOS release included, among other things, multi-threaded TCP/IP and MQTT implementations, a secure sockets layer that abstracts away details of the TLS protocol, and interfaces to AWS’s Greengrass Core product and shadow service. We have since also launched an OTA service in beta. AWS Greengrass is for Linux class devices. Greengrass lets you run local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. Both the Free­RTOS kernel’s and Amazon FreeRTOS’s road map continue to be driven by feedback we receive and evolving technology.

There are other variants of FreeRTOS, like SafeRTOS and OpenRTOS. Will these forks continue to be based on the same code base as FreeRTOS or will they diverge?

Barry: I can’t speak directly for OpenRTOS and SafeRTOS as they are provided by a strategic partner, not by us directly. Both products are great examples of how our ecosystem adds value to Amazon Free­RTOS users. Safe­RTOS in particular opens up opportunities in safety or otherwise commercially critical markets such as medical devices and automotive.

Does every user have to adapt FreeRTOS to his microcontroller or are there already adapted versions for certain architectures?

Barry: The FreeRTOS kernel already supports a large number of microcontroller cores and tool chains. I always strived to make onboarding as easy as possible by providing a large set of pre-configured and documented example projects.

Amazon FreeRTOS launched with four MCU partners. User experience is improved with an online console that generates Free­RTOS projects that contain only the source files you require. In addition there is a new qualification program designed to ensure Amazon FreeRTOS runs in a consistent way across all qualified development boards.

What about low power applications? Are there any power management features in Free­RTOS?

Barry: FreeRTOS introduced a tickless mode specifically for power management back in 2012. The RTOS tick is a periodic interrupt used to maintain system time. The tickless mode turns the RTOS tick off, allowing the MCU to remain in a power saving mode for an extended period, while still maintaining the correct system time. The feature is extensible to allow it to hook into MCU speci­fic low power features.

What development tools do you recommend for working with FreeRTOS?

Barry: FreeRTOS supports a wide range of development tools, so my experience of different tools is greater than most engineers. I like to use any tool that makes my work as an embedded developer easier and more efficient. I always look for seamless and fast download and debug interfaces, and feature rich debugging interfaces.


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  1. Amazon entices IoT developers with FreeRTOS
  2. The Evolution of FreeRTOS

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