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What are the differences between real time operating systems and operating systems?

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2012-05-30 20:36:35
2012-05-30 20:36:35

The prime (and possibly only significant) difference is in the kernel scheduler, which determines which processes get run, with what priority, and for how long.

In a typical "ordinary" OS, the scheduler is some sort of "fair-use" implementation, which insures that no one process monopolizes all the resources if other processes are waiting for CPU time. That is, this kind of scheduler is optimized for interactive use, and the ability to make sure all applications run in a reasonable amount of time.

In a RT OS, all applications are given strict priorities, and the scheduler is designed to give certain characteristics to each priority rating. For instance, it is entirely possible for a RT scheduler to allocate all resources to a single process, and not give anything to any other process, until that process is complete (or does something like block on I/O wait). The based concept behind a RT OS is that certain process priorities are more important than others, and this importance is paramount over any concept of "fair" resource use. In essence, a RT OS prioritizes work in such a manner that certain processes can preempt others and hog resources in ways that a typical OS would consider extremely "unfair". RT OSes are typically optimized for embedded controllers, which are designed to require certain actions be completed immediately, regardless of other demands on the system.

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