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ECos logo.png
Developer eCos community, Free Software Foundation
Written in C, C++, assembly
OS family Real-time operating systems
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release September 1998; 20 years ago (1998-09)
Latest release 3.0 / March 2009; 9 years ago (2009-03)
Marketing target Embedded systems
Platforms ARM (Cortex-A5, Cortex-A7, Cortex-A9, Cortex-A53, Cortex-M3, Cortex-M4, Cortex-M7), CalmRISC, FR-V, Hitachi H8, IA-32, Motorola 68000, Matsushita AM3x, MIPS, NEC V8xx, Nios II, PowerPC, SPARC, and SuperH
License eCos License: GNU General Public License (with linking exception)[1]
Official website

The Embedded Configurable Operating System (eCos) is a free and open-source real-time operating system intended for embedded systems and applications which need only one process with multiple threads. It is designed to be customizable to precise application requirements of run-time performance and hardware needs. It is implemented in C/C++ and has compatibility layers and application programming interfaces for POSIX and µITRON.


eCos was designed for devices with memory sizes in the range of a few tens or several hundred kilobytes,[2] or for applications with real-time requirements.

eCos runs on a wide variety of hardware platforms, including ARM, CalmRISC, FR-V, Hitachi H8, IA-32, Motorola 68000, Matsushita AM3x, MIPS, NEC V8xx, Nios II, PowerPC, SPARC, and SuperH.

The eCos distribution includes RedBoot, an open source application that uses the eCos hardware abstraction layer to provide bootstrap firmware for embedded systems.


eCos was initially developed in 1997[3] by Cygnus Solutions which was later bought by Red Hat. In early 2002, Red Hat ceased development of eCos and laid off the staff of the project.[4] Many of the laid-off staff continued to work on eCos and some formed their own companies providing services for the software. In January 2004, at the request of the eCos developers, Red Hat agreed to transfer the eCos copyrights to the Free Software Foundation[5] in October 2005, a process finally completed in May 2008.

Non-free versions[edit]

The eCosPro real-time operating system is a commercial fork of eCos created by eCosCentric which incorporates proprietary software components. It is claimed as a "stable, fully tested, certified and supported version",[6] with additional features that are not released as free software. On Pi Day 2017, eCosCentric announced[7] they had ported eCosPro to all of the Raspberry Pi models, with demonstrations at the Embedded World trade fair in Nuremberg (Germany) and releases free for non-commercial uses to follow.


The FreeBSD TCP/IP network stack included with eCos is out of date (circa 2001) and exposes systems to numerous security and stability vulnerabilities (FreeBSD RELENG 4 4 0 RELEASE for IPv4 and FreeBSD's origin KAME for IPv6). Official eCos maintainers do not appear to monitor FreeBSD or KAME for security or stability updates, but rather rely on minimal and insufficient bug reports from users of eCos.[citation needed]

The SNMP package is rudimentary at best, once again, apparently due to its age.[original research?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ eCos official website. "eCos License Overview". Retrieved 2009-06-22. eCos is released under a modified version of the well known GNU General Public License (GPL).
  2. ^ Larmour, Jonathan (May 2005). "How eCos can be shrunk to fit" (PDF). Embedded Systems Europe. p. 34.
  3. ^ eCosCentric website. "eCos Timeline". Retrieved 2015-07-01. eCos was conceived and initially developed by Cygnus Solutions Inc., who initiated the project in February 1997.
  4. ^ "Red Hat backs away from eCos?". 2002-06-19. Archived from the original on 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  5. ^ "Red Hat to contribute copyrights held in the eCos code base to the Free Software Foundation" (Press release). Red Hat. 2004-01-13.
  6. ^ "eCosCentric announces eCosPro Developer's Kit" (Press release). OSNews. 2003-09-02. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
  7. ^ "eCosPro Industrial Strength RTOS for the Raspberry Pi announced". Retrieved 2017-03-15.

External links[edit]