ESC: OKL hypervisor runs Linux and RTOS on Motorola’s QA4

Linux and an RTOS are running side by side on a single ARM processor in a retail phone, claims Chicago-based Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs).

The firm produces the ‘virtualisation’ software: code which controls access to hardware resources, allowing both the RTOS and Linux to run separately as though there were the only operating system on the processor. Such software is also known as a hypervisor.

“Accomplished for the first time in a commercially available phone, OKL4’s mobile virtualisation solution enabled Linux and an RTOS to run side by side on a single ARM processor, offering decreased bill-of-materials costs and separation of general public licence and proprietary software code as required by companies’ intellectual property policies,” said OK Labs.

“This was accomplished while meeting necessary performance requirements and reducing development effort through extensive reuse of existing software.”

The phone concerned is Motorola’s QA4 touchscreen slider smart phone which can run Linux and legacy RTOS applications, and the phone’s modem software on the single ARM9.


Single Core Architecture using OK Labs embedded hypervisor instead of two physical ARM cores.

See also: The blog Open Source Engineering with Linux & GNU Observations from the coal face of Open Source Engineering, bringing Linux and GNU software toembedded environments, whether for industrial, automotive or mobile applications.

See also: Electronics Weekly Live, the blog for the “How To” exhibition and conference taking place within National Electronics Week, 16 – 19 June, Earls Court 2. Themes of the show are: Eco-Design, Embedded processor design, Using Linux, Power-efficient design, Test for embedded systems, Wireless system design.

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