Open source Zephyr™ Project aims to deliver an RTOS; opens call for developers to help advance project for the smallest footprint IoT devices

SAN FRANCISCO – February 17, 2016 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the Zephyr™ Project. This open source collaborative effort will unite leaders from across the industry to build a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Early support for the Zephyr Project includes Intel® Corporation (including its acquired business groups Altera Corporation and Wind River), NXP Semiconductors N.V. (including its recent merger with Freescale), Synopsys, Inc. and UbiquiOS Technology Limited. Zephyr Project is inviting others interested in this technology to participate.

Industrial and consumer IoT devices require software that is scalable, secure and enables seamless connectivity. Developers also need the ability to innovate on top of a highly modular platform that easily integrates with embedded devices regardless of architecture. While Linux has proven to be a wildly successful operating system for embedded development, some IoT devices require an RTOS that addresses the very smallest memory footprints. This complements real-time Linux, which excels at data acquisition systems, manufacturing plants and other time-sensitive instruments and machines that provide the critical infrastructure for some of the world’s most complex computing systems.

“Developers today have many choices when it comes to platforms. The Zephyr Project will offer a modular, connected operating system to support the smallest footprint for IoT devices,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, The Linux Foundation. “We invite developers to contribute to the Zephyr Project and to help advance a customizable embedded open source RTOS to advance IoT. By hosting this at The Linux Foundation, we look forward to the cross-project collaboration among Linux and this community.”

Modularity and security are key considerations when building systems for embedded IoT devices. The Zephyr Project prioritizes these features by providing the freedom to use the RTOS as is or to tailor a solution. The project’s focus on security includes plans for a dedicated security working group and a delegated security maintainer. Broad communications and networking support is also addressed and will initially include Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy and IEEE 802.15.4, with plans to expand communications and networking support over time.

The Zephyr Project aims to incorporate input from the open source and embedded developer communities and to encourage collaboration on the RTOS. The project will also include powerful developer tools to help advance the Zephyr RTOS as a best-in-breed embedded technology for IoT. The Zephyr Project will include broad architecture support over time with the following platforms initially supported:

  • Arduino 101 (Intel® Curie™ Module containing x86 and Synopsys® ARC® EM cores);
  • Arduino Due (Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU);
  • Intel® Galileo™ Gen 2; and
  • NXP FRDM-K64F Freedom board (Kinetis K64F ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU).

The Zephyr Project will also host a booth at Embedded World 2016, in Nuremberg, Germany, to showcase the technology through demos and in-booth sessions. A presentation titled, “An open source RTOS to change the face of IoT” will also be held in Session 19 on Wednesday, February 24 at 10:30 a.m. (CET). To learn more about how to connect with the project in person, please visit Booth 4-349. For those interested in the Zephyr Project, please visit:

Comments from early supporters of the Zephyr Project

“Intel believes the Zephyr Project can make a significant impact in the connected and embedded device market. By providing a scalable, customizable, secure and open source OS, the Zephyr Project will address the evolving needs of connected device development. We plan to work with the Zephyr community to develop a best-of-breed OS that moves innovation forward.”
Mark Skarpness, vice president, software and services group director, open source technology center embedded operating system engineering at Intel

“We fully expect Zephyr will become one of the leading, easy-to-use IoT platforms, designed specifically with security in mind for the connected world. We are committed to providing developers with best-in-class tools and support needed to develop innovative solutions.”
Geoff Lees, senior vice president and general manager of microcontrollers at NXP

“The Zephyr project addresses the growing need for an industry-supported, open-source RTOS that meets the requirements of today’s resource-constrained and secure IoT devices. We are pleased to participate in this collaborative effort and contribute to advancing the project, including providing support for Synopsys ARC-based IoT IP platforms.”
John Koeter, vice president for IP and prototyping at Synopsys

About The Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at




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