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Embedded Operating System (OS) Selection and OS Migration to Open Source

The selection of an embedded OS can be complex. Besides technical capabilities, performance and the cost of a commercial OS, there are many additional factors you need to consider when choosing an embedded OS including:

  • Can you be assured the embedded OS you choose is reliable and stable?
  • Will the embedded OS support your processor of choice?
  • Will you have access to the right development tools?
  • How will you manage maintenance and security updates?
  • Is commercial support available and / or is there a strong developer community on which you can rely for help with issues?

Knowing the options is the first step in selecting an embedded OS for your project design.

options for migrating from commercial OS to open source OS

Timesys is a Yocto Project Participant


Forty percent of embedded designs use an open source OS*.

*UBM Tech 2015 Embedded Market Study

Why should you choose an open source OS?

Whether initially choosing an embedded OS or switching / upgrading from a commercial embedded OS, there are many benefits to using an open source OS such as Linux, Android and RTOS for your embedded application including:

  • No royalty or license fees. Simply put, with an open source OS, there are no upfront costs and no royalty costs associated with each device.
  • The availability of a larger pool of developers. With an open source OS, you have access to a large number of available developers with expertise who can provide support, help with kernel upgrades and writing device drivers … and more.
  • Strong community support. Having strong community support around your embedded OS means any issues / bugs are more likely to be fixed — and faster.
  • The availability of source code. Having access to source code can enable you to offer features that would sometimes not be possible with a closed commercial OS.
  • The open source community and many organizations / companies with a vested interest in maintaining the high quality of open source software are constantly monitoring for vulnerabilities and assessing the associated risks. As a result, vulnerabilities are often identified and fixed before they are exploited.

Linux and Android are the most widely used embedded OS, and many semiconductor companies are shipping SoCs with only Linux and Android BSPs.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.
The Android Robot logo is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Have an embedded OS project you’d like to discuss?

We’d be happy to help you select an embedded OS that is right for your project or to help you migrate your embedded application from proprietary OS to open source OS. For more information about our embedded OS migration solution, fill out our online form, contact us or call us at 1.866.392.4897 (toll-free) or +1.412.232.3250.

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