Product of the Day: Concurrent's RedHawk Linux Version 1.2

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Product: Concurrent's RedHawk Linux Version 1.2Manufacturer: Concurrent Computer Corporation Real-Time DivisionAddress: 2881 Gateway Drive               Pompano Beach, Florida 33069Telephone: 954-974-1700URL:

Concurrent's RedHawk Linux Real-Time Operating System Concurrent

Computer Corporation (Nasdaq: CCUR), Real-Time Division, is currently shipping version 1.2 of RedHawk Linux with Concurrent's iHawk high-performance, Intel-based multiprocessor computer systems. Based on the popular Red Hat Linux version 8.0 and 2.4.18 kernel, RedHawk is an industry-standard real-time version of the open source Linux kernel. RedHawk is sold in conjunction with the iHawk, an X86-based integrated system. RedHawk 1.2 running on iHawk systems is ideally suited for the most complex real-time applications, offering a streamlined solution for simulation, data acquisition, industrial system control, and many other environments. RedHawk has been enhanced to support real-time applications with new features and functionality as well as performance improvements that allow the interrupt response and execution time guarantees required for support of real-time applications. These enhancements include both open source patches (some of which have not been accepted into standard Linux while others have been back-ported from the Linux 2.5 baseline) as well as unique Concurrent developed patches. In addition there are changes to the Linux kernel to support Concurrent's set of real-time application development tools, which offer low-intrusion debugging and monitoring functions.

"Linux is widely used for software development, and it is renowned for its speed, reliability, portability, and open source following," said Paul C. Meyer, president of Concurrent's Real-Time Division. "RedHawk is a unique real-time Linux OS and is proof of the continued commitment to our growing list of customers who require real-time solutions. We are very excited about bringing Concurrent's 36+ years of experience delivering quality real-time solutions into the Linux community."

RedHawk Deployments

Released in September 2002, RedHawk powered iHawk systems have been purchased for use on mission critical applications such as the Theater High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) Common Missile Program, F-18 simulation systems, and EA-6B training simulation systems. RedHawk is also flying internationally for university research programs, the A380 Super Jumbo commercial airliner simulation program, and automobile simulation systems. The choice and deployment of RedHawk Linux by major corporations substantiate that it is a viable real-time operating system for mission critical applications. RedHawk 1.2 has been sold in countries including Australia, Germany, Japan, Sweden, China, and the U.S. for such demanding applications as flight simulation, missile simulation, automobile simulation, and scientific research.

Red Hat Compatible

RedHawk Linux user-level commands, utilities, and system administration are standard Red Hat. RedHawk achieves real-time performance by replacing the Red Hat kernel with a real-time enhanced kernel. Some unique RedHawk libraries provide the interface to system services that provide additional real-time functionality. Optional NightStar real-time application development tools provide for ease of creation and debugging of real-time applications via a graphical user interface and are discussed below.

True Real-Time Linux

RedHawk is a real-time variant of the standard Linux operating system. RedHawk supports CPU shielding - a technique for guaranteeing interrupt response time and deterministic execution times for the high priority real-time processes in the system. RedHawk is optimized for symmetric multiprocessor systems, being a multithreaded, fully preemptable kernel with low-latency enhancements. RedHawk's true symmetric multiprocessing support includes load balancing and CPU shielding to maximize determinism and real-time performance in mission-critical solutions.

RedHawk provides a single kernel programming environment that directly controls all system operation and allows real-time performance in a standard Linux environment. Complex real-time applications often require that file I/O, networking, and graphics be handled while the system continues to provide deterministic performance to real-time tasks. Only RedHawk's single-kernel design ensures this determinism. CPU shielding is the key that allows both high performance I/O and real-time performance in a single Linux kernel. In tightly coupled symmetric multiprocessing systems such as Concurrent's iHawk real-time systems, RedHawk Linux allows individual CPUs to be shielded from interrupt processing, daemons, bottom halves, and background Linux tasks. Processor shielding provides a highly deterministic execution environment where interrupt response is guaranteed.

Because RedHawk is coupled with specific Xeon-based platforms, the kernel is optimized for these modern chip architectures.

Frequency-Based Scheduler

RedHawk's Frequency-Based Scheduler (FBS) is a high-resolution task scheduler that enables the user to run processes in cyclical execution patterns. FBS can control the periodic execution of multiple, coordinated processes utilizing major and minor cycles with overrun detection. A performance monitor is also provided to view CPU utilization during each scheduled execution frame.

Complete Development Environment

RedHawk Linux offers a complete set of optional tools for efficient development of real-time applications. In addition to the GNU C, C++, and Fortran compilers and the GNU debugger, RedHawk supports Concurrent's powerful real-time tool set - the NightView source-level debugger, the NightTrace run-time analyzer, the NightSim periodic scheduler, and the NightProbe data monitor. These unique tools provide a robust graphic interface for non-intrusive control, monitoring, analysis, and debugging of real-time multiprocessing applications.

iHawk Systems

Concurrent iHawk Linux powered systems are real-time Intel-based multiprocessors employing from one to eight Pentium® Xeon CPUs with up to 32 GB of memory and high-performance PCI I/O. iHawk systems offer the latest in integrated circuit and packaging technology. All CPUs in a system are linked by a high-speed processor bus and have direct, cache-coherent access to all of main memory. iHawk systems are available in a variety of rack-mount and tower enclosures. iHawk workstation I/O options include high-performance AGP8X 3D graphics with OpenGL.

Additional product details and downloadable pdf files about Concurrent's real-time RedHawk Linux operating system and development tools are available at

The following is an excerpt from a compelling new white paper by Steve Brosky, Concurrent's Chief Scientist titled "Shielded Processors: Guaranteeing Sub-millisecond Response in Standard Linux"

"Shielded CPUs can provide more deterministic performance because the overhead of the operating system is essentially offloaded onto a subset of CPUs in the system. A shielded CPU is therefore able to provide a more deterministic execution environment. In applying the shielded processor model to Linux, several nuances were found which affected the expected behavior of processes running on shielded CPUs."

The complete white paper can be found at


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