Novell has released SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10, its open source operating system tuned for high-performance applications.
Novell is targeting the platform at vertical industries looking to support applications that need the highest reliability and performance, including those in the financial services industry. Novell has said that Real Time 10's performance and reliability can "mean the difference between life and death, making money and losing money."
The difference between regular Linux and Real Time is the latency. Normal Linux systems can respond to events as quickly as 600 microseconds. With Real Time Linux, the reaction time of interrupt handlers - modules in the operating system that cause the computer hardware or software to react to input or other events - is in the sub-15-microsecond range.
The software is designed to operate computer equipment such as manufacturing control equipment, medical devices or electronic automobile systems. Wall Street firms are also reportedly interested as a way to gather and compute market data faster than competitors using non-real-time computers.
With Real Time 10, users can dedicate portions of computer processors to isolate specific workloads. Real Time 10 includes performance features such as CPU shielding, priority inheritance, sleeping spinlocks, interrupt threads, high-resolution timers and OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution 1.2.5, the latest OFED for commodity high-speed interconnects.
Novell also announced partner support for Real Time 10 that includes Sun; TIBCO; Concurrent, which develops debugging and analysis tools; and streaming and persistent messaging systems from 29West Inc.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10, which supports both 32-bit and 64-bit processors, is available via a $2,500 (£1,250) annual subscription.
MontaVista Software and WindRiver are among the leaders in real-time Linux operating systems. MontaVista makes Linux systems that run in a wide array of industries - from package scanning machines, to slot machines.
WindRiver, which has a widely installed proprietary real-time operating system in addition to a Linux-based version, has a strong presence in the military and aerospace; its software powered the Mars Exploration Rover.