Microsoft Contributes Azure RTOS to Eclipse Foundation

By Ken Briodagh

Senior Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

November 22, 2023


Microsoft Contributes Azure RTOS to Eclipse Foundation

Microsoft has decided to make Azure RTOS open source via the Eclipse Foundation, according to a recent post on the company’s Internet of Things blog by Stefan Wick, Product Management Lead in Azure IoT at Microsoft.

For those who don’t know, Azure RTOS is an embedded development suite with the ThreadX RTOS, and it’s been deployed on more than 12 billion devices already. Now, according to the post, Microsoft is transitioning the software to an open-source model under the stewardship of the Eclipse Foundation, a recognized leader in hosting open-source IoT projects.

Under the guidance of the Eclipse Foundation, Azure RTOS will become the Eclipse ThreadX project, which Eclipse describes as a comprehensive embedded development suite that provides reliable, fast performance for resource-constrained devices. It’s designed to be easy-to-use, and it is already market proven and trusted by developers and manufacturers for over two decades. It also supports the most popular 32-bit microcontrollers and embedded development tools.

”A vendor-neutral Open Source RTOS certified for safety-critical applications and published under a permissive license is an industry game changer and we are excited to help grow the community for ThreadX,” Wick quoted Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation. 

In a post from Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, the group said ThreadX is going to be the world’s first and only open source RTOS that has the following four attributes:

  1. Mature and scalable technology. ThreadX’s long-standing development and installment base shows its reliability, and the group says it is regarded as a high-performance, highly deterministic, real time operating system.
  2. Made available under a permissive open source license. ThreadX is going to be licensed under the MIT license, which provides highly permissive license terms for users and adopters.
  3. Governed under a vendor-neutral open source foundation. ThreadX is going to be governed by the Eclipse Foundation and its development process to ensure a vendor-neutral governance model.
  4. Certified for functional safety and security. ThreadX is IEC 61508, IEC 62304, ISO 26262, and EN 50128 conformance certified by SGS-TÜV Saar. ThreadX has also achieved EAL4+ Common Criteria security certification.

Wick wrote that Microsoft publishing Eclipse ThreadX as an open-source project will place it “at the heart of a vibrant ecosystem led by the Eclipse Foundation and our industry leading partners. The deep expertise in technology, combined with the collaborative spirit of the global developer community, holds vast potential for Eclipse ThreadX to evolve, innovate, and continue shaping the IoT landscape in exciting ways.”

There are several leading companies in the embedded ecosystem that have already endorsed the ThreadX project, according to the announcements, including AMD, Cypherbridge, Microsoft, NXP, PX5, Renesas, ST Microelectronics, Silicon Labs, and Witekio, an Avnet company. These companies are engaging with Eclipse, not just for the furtherance of the open standard, but also in the creation of an interest group focused on developing an industry-supported, sustainable funding model for ThreadX, the Foundation said. 

Eclipse ThreadX will be available starting Q1 2024, under an MIT license and accessible from Eclipse ThreadX site including ThreadX, NetX Duo, FileX, GUIX, USBX, LevelX and the related tooling and documentation. Microsoft reportedly will provide the project with the most recent certifications to enable the continuity of safety and security certified releases.

Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers, he would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars. In previous lives, he’s been a short order cook, telemarketer, medical supply technician, mover of the bodies at a funeral home, pirate, poet, partial alliterist, parent, partner and pretender to various thrones. Most of his exploits are either exaggerated or blatantly false.

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