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Will AWS manage to keep the spirit of FreeRTOS alive?

You could say that FreeRTOS is one of the biggest success stories you don’t hear much about. From its launch in 2003, the embedded RTOS has grown to be one of the most popular operating systems, with someone downloading the kernel on average every two minutes.

In 2006, an agreement with Wittenstein high integrity systems saw the OS made available under a commercial license and a further development was the launch of SafeRTOS for safety critical applications.

FreeRTOS continues to be upgraded on a regular basis; the most recent update – v10 – appeared last week. And that coincided with the news that Richard Barry – the founder of FreeRTOS – has joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) as principal engineer. That move was accompanied by the news that AWS has taken on ‘stewardship’ of the OS. It’s also launched Amazon FreeRTOS, aimed at those developing IoT edge devices.

Barry admitted that it was getting harder and harder to keep up with demand for support and new features. “While we had been in conversations with a number of suitors that offered to help FreeRTOS scale, Amazon was the first that fully aligned with our values. Importantly, AWS’ vision for the project allowed us to continue to … keep FreeRTOS both cross-platform and free for commercial use.”

One of the possibilities when multinationals acquire a small operation is that the ‘soul’ of the business is lost. Hopefully, the FreeRTOS spirit will be maintained.

Graham Pitcher

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