Last November (2017) Amazon announced it’s taking ‘stewardship’ of the FreeRTOS project. Amazon turned it to AWS FreeRTOS. This is big news for the embedded software community. FreeRTOS has been the go-to RTOS for many in the past few years. According to the embedded market study it’s second only to embedded Linux in the overall embedded OS market. What does the takeover mean?

Richard Barry, founder of the FreeRTOS project joined the AWS team and soon to follow, the AWS FreeRTOS project got added to the AWS open source project. The announcements around the transition state that the FreeRTOS kernel will continue to be developed alongside AWS FreeRTOS. This new version of AWS FreeRTOS includes open source tools for communication and security. Naturally, Amazon is making its cloud infrastructure the first choice when you adopt this new version. But it did not make any attempt to block you from using these communication and security tools with any other cloud provider (Google, Microsoft’s Azure and others).

What does the future entail? Too soon to tell but judging by Amazon’s history of contributing to open source projects, it looks like it’s going to be fine. Compared to Google and Microsoft, Amazon has made fewer contributions to the open source community. Microsoft has more than 1700 projects on Github, Google maintains more than 1200 while Amazon has less than 150 spread on separate accounts). But drilling down to these projects shows that they’ve been conducting in a fair manner in these projects. One noted example is the Apache MXNet deep learning project where 2 Amazon engineers are the main contributors to the project. FreeRTOS kernel version 10 was already released after Amazon’s takeover, maintaining the kernel release cadence more or less as it is.

Using open source software there’s always the risk of the founder leaving or a corporate taking over the project. Given the data above, I would argue the risk of using FreeRTOS has not increased. Another risk factor that changes for the better is the move from LGPL to MIT license. MIT is more permissive, allowing you to make modification and better own them – making you more independent.

Announcing support for FreeRTOS in the Jumper Virtual Lab

Looking for a fast and easy way to experiment with FreeRTOS? No easier way than experimenting using an emulator/simulator. Jumper Virtual Lab is a virtualization platform that was built around behavioral simulation. It allows you to run your firmware executable on a virtual device on any PC/Mac while controlling and monitoring your virtual device through an SDK. Check out the following examples on our documentation page. The samples work in Jumper’s Virtual Lab – which means you don’t have to port FreeRTOS to a board you already own or alternatively order a board that you found samples for.

Using the samples you’ll be able to learn about the FreeRTOS scheduling capabilities and experiment with its capabilities. We’re working on samples that include the TCP stack too.

We’re working to provide support for the AWS FreeRTOS variants well. We’ll be announcing that once support for the STM32L4 MCU family is done.