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Linux Foundation to Open More Open Source Doors with the Zephyr Project

By Arti Loftus March 03, 2020

With so much emphasis on open source software and platforms, at times we lose sight of how hardware is continuing to advance, with its own community development and standardization efforts. The Linux Foundation recently announced their Zephyr Project, which is building a secure and flexible real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things (IoT) in space-constrained devices, welcomes Adafruit, an interesting company that enables makers to build DIY electronic products.

Adafruit joins member companies including Antmicro, Eclipse Foundation, Foundries.io, Intel, Linaro, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, Oticon, SiFive, Synopsys, Texas Instruments and more to create an open hardware and software ecosystem using the Zephyr OS.

“We see amazing increases in computing power on edge microcontrollers, and the new wireless technologies coming out allow connectivity for short and long range networks,” said Ladyada Fried, Founder & Engineer at Adafruit. “Managing the complexities and security requirements of IoT requires a powerful RTOS that makes development and deployment easy. Zephyr is the leading RTOS we see for cross-platform development and well-thought-out security needs.”

In fact, Adafruit has already jumped in to the Zephyr Project. Earlier this week, they release a new guide in the Adafruit Learning System: Blinging an LED with the Zephyr RTOS. Check it out here

With the vendor-neutral open source environment, more than 500 contributors helped launch the 1.14 LTS release, which offers vendors a customizable operating system that the Linux Foundation says supports product longevity, security and interoperability.

The project is currently planning a 2.2 release later this month with new features including CAN support to include the CANopen protocol through integration of the third-party open source CANopenNode stack, LoRa support was added through integration of the Semtech LoRaWAN endpoint stack and addition of a new SX1276 LoRa modem driver, and the AArch64 architecture support to support Arm Cortex-A53 platforms, extending beyond Cortex-M and Cortex-R cores to now include the first Cortex-A core.

“Adafruit has been making open source hardware for more than a decade and has been a key driver and influencer in the open source community,” said Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Projects for The Linux Foundation. “Their expertise will be essential to the expansion of the Zephyr ecosystem and deployment of the functional safety and security for the RTOS. We are excited to welcome them into our community and look forward to collaborating with them.”

Stewart, who has been with the Zephyr Project since launch in 2016, has helped the project hit several milestones. Currently, the Zephyr community now has more than 600 active contributors and supports more than 200 boards. In fact, last month Zephyr had 1390 commits - which equates to almost 2 commits an hour – and continues to increase each day.

Stewart, an industry leader for more than 30 years, is a finalist for the Internet of Things World 2020 Leader of the Year awards, which recognize individuals whose outstanding leadership has resulted in the implementation and success of IoT in their businesses and beyond. As a leader for the embedded and IoT programs at the Linux Foundation such as Zephyr, Real-Time Linux, and ELISA, part of her focus has been ensuring open source is ready to be used securely in safety critical applications. Learn more about the awards or to vote for Stewart, visit the award website.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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