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A system is said to have a "hard real-time requirement" if the system would fail in the event that it missed a deadline.

Open source real-time operating systems (RTOS):

- [eCos](http://ecos.sourceware.org/)
  - [supported hardware](http://ecos.sourceware.org/hardware.html)
- [FreeRTOS](http://www.freertos.org/)
  - [processor ports](http://www.freertos.org/a00090.html)
- [RTAI](http://www.rtai.org/) (Linux with real-time user-land processes)
- RTLinux (Linux plus real-time kernel-land tasks; see [[RealTimeLinux]])

See [[PicCore/links]] for PIC-specific RTOSes.

Article: "[Grab an Open RTOS](http://www.ecnasiamag.com/article.asp?id=5789)"