The Internet of Linux Things

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit organization that sponsors the work of Linus Torvalds. Supporting companies include HP, IBM, Intel, and a host of other large corporations. The foundation hosts several Linux-related projects. This month they announced Zephyr, an RTOS aimed at the Internet of Things.

The project stresses modularity, security, and the smallest possible footprint. Initial support includes:

  • Arduino 101
  • Arduino Due
  • Intel Galileo Gen 2
  • NXP FRDM-K64F Freedom

The project (hosted on its own Website)┬áhas downloads for the kernel and documentation. Unlike a “normal” Linux kernel, Zephyr builds the kernel with your code to create a monolithic image that runs in a single shared address space. The build system allows you to select what features you want and exclude those you don’t. You can also customize resource utilization of what you do include, and you define resources at compile time.

By default, there is minimal run-time error checking to keep the executable lean. However, there is an optional error-checking infrastructure you can include for debugging.

The API contains the things you expect from an RTOS like fibers (lightweight non-preemptive threads), tasks (preemptively scheduled), semaphores, mutexes, and plenty of messaging primitives. Also, there are common I/O calls for PWM, UARTs, general I/O, and more. The API is consistent across all platforms.

You can find out more about Zephyr in the video below. We’ve seen RTOS systems before, of course. There’s even some for robots. However, having a Linux-heritage RTOS that can target small boards like an Arduino Due and a Freedom board could be a real game changer for sophisticated projects that need an RTOS.

Continue reading “The Internet of Linux Things”

Ritewing Zephyr build and flight footage

That’s a camera perched atop this aircraft’s wing. [Trappy] built the video system into his Ritewing Zephyr and his test flights in the Austrian Alps make for some breathtaking video. The foam wing is pretty easy to work with and the tool of choice here is a hot knife to cut out cavities for the electronics. The total build time came in between ten and twelve hours, but this isn’t the first time [Trappy] has worked with this model. We’re not sure what setup he’s using for control, we’d guess something head-mounted, but do take a look from the cockpit after the break. You’ll like what you see.

[Trappy] informed Hackaday that he’s planning some altitude and distance testing next weekend. The goal is to reach 15,000 feet and a range of 12 miles.

Continue reading “Ritewing Zephyr build and flight footage”