pSOS (real-time operating system)

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Developer Alfred Chao / SCG / ISI / Wind River Systems
Written in 68000 assembler
OS family Real-time operating systems
Working state Discontinued
Source model Closed source
Initial release 1982
Marketing target Embedded systems
Platforms Motorola 68000
Kernel type Real-time
License Proprietary

pSOS (Portable Software On Silicon) is a real time operating system (RTOS), created in about 1982 by Alfred Chao, and developed/marketed for the first part of its life by his company Software Components Group (SCG). In the 1980s pSOS rapidly became the RTOS of choice for all embedded systems based on the Motorola 68000 family architecture, because it was written in 68000 assembler and was highly optimised from the start. It was also modularised, with early support for OS-aware debugging, plug-in device drivers, TCP/IP stacks, language libraries and disk subsystems. Later came source-level debugging, multi-processor support and further networking extensions.

In about 1991, Software Components Group was acquired by Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) who further developed pSOS - now restyled pSOS+ - for other microprocessor families, by rewriting the greater part of it in C. Attention was also paid to supporting successively more integrated development environments, culminating in pRISM+.

In July 1994, Integrated Systems acquired Digital Research's modular real-time multi-tasking operating system FlexOS from Novell.

In 1999 Integrated Systems Inc. was acquired by Wind River Systems, the originators of rival RTOS VxWorks. Despite initial reports that pSOS support would continue, development was halted. Wind River announced plans for a 'convergence' version of VxWorks which will support pSOS system calls, and that no further releases of pSOS itself will be made.

NXP Semiconductors acquired pSOS for TriMedia from Wind River and continued to support this OS for the TriMedia VLIW core.

Migration away from pSOS[edit]

In March 2000, rival company Express Logic released their Evaluation Kit for pSOS+ users, designed to provide a migration path to its ThreadX RTOS.

In August 2007, RoweBots, a former partner of SCG and ISI, open sourced their pSOS+ compatible version called Reliant. It is available to all that wish to upgrade without applications changes.

The Xenomai project supports pSOS+ APIs (and others traditional RTOS APIs) over a Linux-based real-time framework to allow existing industrial applications to migrate easily to a GNU/Linux-based environment while keeping stringent real-time guarantees.

Another open sourced alternative is RTEMS, which has support for various APIs, including the "Classic API" (compatible to pSOS) and the POSIX API. Compared to GNU/Linux, RTEMS is a closer match to pSOS applications due to its lower memory footprint and its strict realtime behavior.

See also[edit]

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