9 Open Source Operating Systems for the Internet of Things
A roundup of open source operating systems powering the emerging Internet of Things sector.
Contiki, an open source IoT operating system, boasts highly efficient memory allocation, full IP networking, power awareness, standards support, dynamic module loading, support for a wide variety of hardware and more. There are a wide variety of papers, books and other support materials to help users and developers get started using it.
A number of IoT devices run the Linux kernel (or a portion of it). This site provides extensive information about using Linux in embedded systems.
With millions of deployments, FreeRTOS claims to be "the market leading real time operating system (or RTOS), and the de-facto standard solution for microcontrollers and small microprocessors." Optional commercial licensing and support are available.
Developed by ARM and its partners, mbed is an operating system designed for IoT devices that run on ARM processors. It includes a C++ application framework, and the company also offers other development tools and a related device server.
Raspbian is a variation of Debian Linux optimized to run on the Raspberry Pi. It includes more than 35,000 applications that can run on the device.
RIOT calls itself "the friendly operating system for the Internet of Things," and it aims to be developer-friendly, resource-friendly, and IoT-friendly. Key features include support for C and C++, partial POSIX compliance, multi-threading, energy efficiency and more.
Snappy Ubuntu Core
Ubuntu is one of the most popular distributions of Linux, and this variation brings Ubuntu to the Internet of Things. It can run on cloud computing services like Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine and Amazon Elastic Compute, as well as on IoT devices like the BeagleBone Black and the Raspberry Pi.
Downloaded more than 35,000 times per year, TinyOS is a popular operating system designed for low-power wireless devices, such as those in IoT deployments. It boasts excellent support for networking and low-power operation.
Governed by the Linux Foundation, Tizen is a Linux-based operating system for mobile and connected devices, and it comes in versions for vehicles, smartphones and tablets, TV and wearables. Samsung sells several products based on the operating system and has been one of its largest supporters.
Open source is the perfect complement for the Internet of Things. The cooperative, far-flung community of open source developers is a natural choice to build an operating system for the widely distributed world of Internet of Things. On the following pages you’ll see some of the pioneering open source OSes that are powering the nascent Internet of Things sector. Some of the names will be familiar – Snappy Ubuntu Core, for instance. Some, perhaps, will be less well known. But each has a chance to grab open source OS market share in the phenomenally rapidly growing Internet of Things market.
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