Welcome to openOSEK.org

Selecting an Operating System

The growing use of a rich OS in embedded applications has been driven by the need to support increasing system and software complexity, while managing aggressive development timescales. Using an OS provides essential management of the hardware and software resources, and a stable, consistent interface for application development. A large number of OS are available to satisfy the needs of different markets, applications and hardware systems.

Important embedded OS decision criteria include:
  • The functional needs of the application
  • Availability of development tools and technical support
  • Third party application and developer support
  • Real-time capabilities
  • Processor architectures and peripheral support
  • Memory footprint
  • Business model — from royalty-based to open source
  • Conformance to standards
  • Familiarity of programming interface

Market Requirements

As product requirements evolve, an embedded OS must support the changing needs of the application. Key technology trends drive current OS selection in the most common embedded application areas.


In the automotive market, advanced electronic devices are driving innovation in areas such as in-car entertainment systems, in-car safety devices, navigation systems and diagnostic equipment. For safety-critical applications reliability is paramount and qualification cycles are long. The ability to provide testing logic within the core or demonstrate a high level of fault coverage is essential. Real-time operation and high reliability are the two most important criteria for power-train applications. For higher performance requirements, increased communication (supporting networks, diagnostics and reprogramming) is essential, and the use of an open interface such as OSEK is recommended. This also enables the use of modular automotive applications that are available from a variety of sources.

The most common questions answered...

Q: What is openOSEK?
A: openOSEK is an open source and cross-platform operating system framework, which aims for full conformance with the OSEK/VDX™ derived specification (ISO 17356).

Q: Why OSEK?
A: Clearly there are some excellent open source RTOS alternatives (FreeRTOS, eCos, Jaluna, etc). The problem with these operating systems, from an automotive perspective, is:
  • Most of these alternatives are quite bulky and their real-time performance is not quite "real" enough.
  • The API of most alternatives (typically POSIX) is not ideally suited to the combination of engine synchronous (synchronous) and time synchronous (asynchronous) task scheduling.
  • The OSEK API was designed by automotive suppliers.

Q: What is the motivation for creating an open-source RTOS with roots in automotive technology?
A: The open source movement promotes having lots of choice and variety. We hope to add one more choice. openOSEK is committed to Open Source ideals. All openOSEK core components are released under GNU licenses, applications using the GPL and shared libraries using the LGPL. These allow for the most free usability of the openOSEK system.

If you get this far, then the best thing to do is to, have a look through our Documentation and FAQs:

Last edited by rabiddog , based on work by admin .
Page last modified on Thursday 15 of April, 2010 [09:56:47 UTC].

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