|Company / developer||Wind River Systems|
|OS family||Real-time operating systems|
|Latest release||6.9 / February 2011|
|Marketing target||Embedded systems|
|Supported platforms||x86, x86-64, MIPS, PowerPC, SH-4, ARM, SPARC Version 8 (V8)|
VxWorks started as a set of enhancements to a simple real-time operating system called VRTX sold by Ready Systems (later becoming a Mentor Graphics product in 1995). At the time, VRTX lacked features such as a file system or an integrated development environment. Wind River created VxWorks to turn the VRTX kernel into a full embedded operating system and development environment. The VxWorks name is believed to be a pun on VRTX ("VRTX Works") according to founder David Wilner.
Initially, Wind River had an agreement to sell VRTX with VxWorks. However, in 1987, anticipating the termination of its reseller contract, Wind River developed its own kernel (written by an intern named John Fogelin) to replace VRTX within VxWorks.
VxWorks is designed for use in embedded systems.
Some of the features of the current OS are:
- Multitasking kernel with preemptive and round-robin scheduling and fast interrupt response
- Native 64-bit operating system (only one 64-bit architecture supported: x86-64). Data model: LP64.
- User-mode applications ("Real-Time Processes", or RTP) isolated from other user-mode applications as well as the kernel via memory protection mechanisms.
- SMP and AMP support
- Error handling framework
- Binary, counting, and mutual exclusion semaphores with priority inheritance
- Local and distributed message queues
- POSIX PSE52 certified conformity in user-mode execution environment
- File systems: High Reliability File System (HRFS), FAT-based file system (DOSFS), Network File System (NFS)
- IPv6 networking stack
VxWorks has been ported to a number of platforms and now runs on practically any modern CPU that is used in the embedded market. This includes the x86 family, MIPS, PowerPC (and BAE RAD), Freescale ColdFire, Intel i960, SPARC, Fujitsu FR-V, SH-4 and the closely related family of ARM, StrongARM and xScale CPUs.
As is common in embedded system development, cross-compiling is used with VxWorks. Development is done on a "host" system where an integrated development environment (IDE), including the editor, compiler toolchain, debugger, and emulator can be used. Software is then compiled to run on the "target" system. This allows the developer to work with powerful development tools while targeting more limited hardware.
The Tornado IDE was used for VxWorks 5.x and was replaced by the Eclipse-based Workbench IDE for VxWorks 6.x. Workbench is also the IDE for the Wind River Linux and On-Chip Debugging product lines.
Notable products which use VxWorks as the onboard operating system include:
- The Airbus A400M Airlifter
- The BMW iDrive system
- The Apache Longbow attack helicopter
- Siemens VDO automotive navigation systems
- Bombardier trains.
Several spacecraft have used VxWorks as the onboard OS:
- The Deep Space Program Science Experiment (DSPSE) also known as Clementine (spacecraft)
- The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
- The Phoenix Mars Lander
- The Deep Impact space probe
- The James Webb Space Telescope (in development)
- The Mars Pathfinder Mission 
- The Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers
- The Mars Science Laboratory (also known as the Curiosity rover)
- The SpaceX Dragon
- The Yutu Lunar rover
Clementine launched in 1994 running VxWorks 5.1 on a MIPS-based CPU responsible for the Star Tracker and image processing algorithms. The use of a commercial RTOS on board a spacecraft was considered experimental at the time.
Robots and programmable controllers
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
- The Honda Robot ASIMO
- Stäubli Industrial Robots
- ABB industrial robots
- KUKA industrial robots
- YASKAWA industrial robots
- Invensys Foxboro PAC System
- National Instruments CompactRIO 901x, 902x 907x controllers
- Emerson Ovation distributed control system controllers.
- AMX Controls System Devices
- The Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS)
- Comau Robotics
- Bosch Rexroth Industrial Tightening Control Systems http://www.boschrexroth.com/tightening
Networking and communication components
- Nokia Solutions and Networks FlexiPacket series microwave engineering product
- Acme Packet Net-Net series of Session Border Controllers
- Apple Airport Extreme
- Avaya ERS 8600
- Avaya IP400 Office
- Cisco CSS platform
- Cisco ONS platform
- Ciena Common Photonic Layer
- Dell PowerConnect switches that are 'powered by' Broadcom, except latest PCT8100 which runs on Linux platform
- Ericsson SmartEdge routers (SEOS 11 run NetBSD 3.0 and VxWorks for Broadcom BCM1480 version 5.5.1 kernel version 2.6)
- Hewlett Packard HP 9000 Superdome Guardian Service Processor
- Hirschmann EAGLE20 Industrial Firewall
- HughesNet/Direcway satellite internet modems
- Linksys WRT54G wireless routers (versions 5.0 and later)
- Mitel Networks' Mitel Communications Director (MCD), 3300 ICP Media Gateways and SX-200 and SX-200 ICP.
- Motorola Solutions MCD5000 IP Deskset System
- Motorola SB5100 Cable Modem
- Nortel Passport
- Radware OnDemand Switches
- SonicWall firewalls
- Thuraya SO-2510 satellite phone and ThurayaModule
- Radvision 3G Communications equipment
- 3com NBX Phone systems
- Zhone Technologies Access systems
Printers, copiers and image processing
- Konica Minolta bizhub print controllers
- Xerox Phaser and other Adobe PostScript-based computer printers
- Toshiba eBridge based range of photocopiers
- DIGIC II and some early DIGIC III image-processors by Canon
- The ReplayTV home Digital video recorder.
- The ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver used in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
- Siemens AG MRI measurement control units
- External RAID controllers designed by LSI Corporation and used in IBM System Storage's DS3000 and DS4000 (formerly FAStT) plus some storage systems from Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems/StorageTek, Teradata, Dell,Sepaton, BlueArc and several other companies worldwide
- Fujitsu ETERNUS DX family of networked data storage arrays
- The Drobo data storage peripheral
- NAOMI / NAOMI 2 GD-ROM/NetDimm arcade systems
- Invensys Eurotherm Paperless Graphic Recorders.
- GrandMA Full-Size and Light Console by MA LIGHTING running VxWorks
- The DEC Lectrice - an early tablet (1993) that ran an X11 server - developed by Charles P. Thacker at Digital Equipment Corporation.
- Varian Medical Systems Truebeam - a radiotherapy device for treating cancer
In August 2010, security researcher HD Moore uncovered a vulnerability in systems running VxWorks that affected numerous vendors. CERT published advisories for VU#362332 and VU#840249 on August 2, 2010, both flaws in systems running the VxWorks operating system, where the debug tools were left installed, or the default password encryption was used. HD Moore has since published an exploit module for Metasploit, which enables security professionals to verify the security of their systems.
- "Embedded Systems Glossary: V". www.netrino.com. Netrino, LLC. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Ready/Microtec merger expected Business Exchange November 15, 1993
- "SEC filing". Secinfo.com. January 19, 1996. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- Lord of the Toasters, Wired (magazine) interview with Jerry Fiddler, September 1998
- "Intel Successfully Completes Wind River Acquisition". 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-22.[dead link]
- "Wind River Releases 64-Bit VxWorks RTOS". Windriver.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Wind River VxWorks 5.x Page". Windriver.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Wind River VxWorks 6.x Page". Windriver.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18..
- "Workbench Product Note" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Wind River Linux Main Page". Windriver.com. 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Wind River OCD Main Page". Windriver.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
- The Software Behind the Mars Phoenix Lander
- "Wind River Powers Mars Exploration Rovers--Continues Legacy as Technology Provider for NASA's Space Exploration". Wind River Systems. 2003-06-06. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
- Mike Deliman's Windriver Employee Blog
- "Wind River’s VxWorks Powers Mars Science Laboratory Rover, Curiosity". Virtual Strategy Magazine. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "ABB Robotics and vxworks". Abb.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- "Wind River Introduces Software Platform for Medical Devices Complete with Compliance Documentation".
- Shiny Old VxWorks Vulnerabilities
- eWeek: VxWorks Vulnerabilities Impact Numerous Vendors
- Metasploit wdbrpc_version module