LynxOS-178® is a COTS RTOS supporting both Intel® Pentium® and PowerPC® platforms. It is based on open standards and is designed specifically to fulfill the stringent needs of multithread and multiprocess applications in safety-critical real-time systems, providing security through Virtual Machine (VM) brick-wall partitions which make it impossible for system events in one partition of the RTOS to interfere with events in another—as if each partition were its own separate computer.
LynxOS-178® provides previously certified software and artifacts in order to fully satisfy, right out of the box, the DO-178B/C level A requirement that every line of software in the system be verified with Modified Condition/Decision Coverage. The DO-178B/C certification process is so time- and labor-intensive that vendors may experience an output of just 125 lines of code per man-month. Testing of complex code could quickly add up to millions of dollars.
LynxOS® and LynxOS-178® have been deployed in millions of safety-critical applications worldwide, including multiple military and aerospace systems certified to DO-178B/C, up to level A. LynxOS-178® is a FAA-recognized Reusable Software Component (RSC) and provides previously certified software and artifacts so that developers can speed their safety-critical systems to market. LynxOS-178® certified software provides full DO-178B/C traceability through requirements, design, code, test, and test results. Real-time systems programmers also get a boost with Lynx Software Technologies' DO-178B/C RTOS training courses.
As an FAA-recognized Reusable Software Component (RSC) that meets the objectives of RTCA/DO-178B/C, LynxOS-178® may be used on more than one project without having to regenerate certification artifacts.
LynxOS-178® RSC is more than just a set of DO-178B/C artifacts. The documentation set includes a detailed partitioning and interface analysis that focuses on time, space and resource partitioning as well as timing margin analysis so developers can allocate budgets to use operating system services. The set of RSC guidance documentation includes requirements, design data, test suites and coverage analysis to meet DO-178B/C requirements.
One of the most costly efforts of DO-178B/C level A certification is the requirements-based testing, also known as the Structural Coverage requirement. For DO-178B/C level A, the code is required to be verified with Modified Condition/Decision Coverage (MCDC), which means that every point of entry and exit in a program must have been invoked at least once in testing, every decision in the program must have taken all possible outcomes at least once, and each condition in a decision must have been shown to independently affect that decision's outcome.
LynxOS-178® satisfies the 100 percent MCDC structural coverage requirement out-of-the-box, allowing systems developers to concentrate on their applications rather than trying to get those last lines of system code exercised for system certification.
LynxOS-178® offers developers the flexibility of advanced networking features that are unmatched by the competition. The Lynx Certifiable Stack provides users with TCP/IP, UDP, ARP, ICMP, IGMP, FTP and TFTP protocols on a per partition basis certifiable up to DO-178B/C Level A. Users can configure network applications with SNMPv3 and SNTP for added flexibility. Applications can also make use of the ARINC-653 ports interface to communicate across partition boundaries. These ARINC ports can be configured on multiple hardware modules to make communication with other applications seamless.
The POSIX® standards provide for communication between an application and the underlying operating system. Because POSIX® conformance ensures code portability between systems, it is increasingly mandated for commercial applications and government contracts. LynxOS-178® offers POSIX.1 conformance and supplies all the services specified by POSIX 1.b (real-time extensions) and POSIX 1.c (threads extensions). The POSIX® real-time and thread extensions are later additions to the original POSIX.1 standard, and they have extensive applicability for real-time and embedded systems. The real-time extensions include priority scheduling, real-time signals, clocks and timers, semaphores, message passing, shared memory, asynch and synch I/O, and memory locking. The threads extensions include specifications for thread creation, control, and cleanup; thread scheduling; thread synchronization; and signal handling.
LynxOS-178® conforms to the ARINC 653-1 Application Executive Software (APEX) Interface defined by the ARINC 653-1 standard and provides the following system service groups in accordance with the ARINC 653-1 standard:
SET_PARTITION_MODEare Partition Management service requests.
GET_PROCESS_STATUSare Process Management service requests.
PERIODIC_WAITare Time Management service requests.
WRITE_SAMPLING_MESSAGEare Sampling Port Services service requests.
SEND_QUEUING_MESSAGEare Queuing Port Services service requests.
SEND_BUFFERare Buffer Services service requests.
DISPLAY_BLACKBOARDare Blackboard Services service requests.
WAIT_SEMAPHOREare Semaphore Service service requests.
SET_EVENTare Event Services service requests.
RAISE_APPLICATION_ERRORservice or by the OS or hardware detecting a fault.
LynxOS-178® achieves system security through Virtual Machine (VM) brick-wall partitions of time, memory and resources. Real-time systems programmers get a boost with Lynx Software Technologies' DO-178B/C RTOS training courses.
Each RTOS partition performs like a stand-alone real-time operating system. System events in one RTOS partition can neither share resources nor interfere with events in another RTOS partition (except for "VM0," a partition with special root privileges).The DO-255-compliant system partitioning allows secure RTOS execution of applications of various DO-178B/C criticality levels—concurrently—in different partitions on the same processor, according to the needs of the product.
For example, the OS can run a DO-178B/C level A application in one VM while a level C application is running in another. The LynxOS-178® RTOS partitioning involves exclusive access of three kinds: time, memory and resources.
Time partitioning is done through a fixed-cyclic time-slice scheduler, which allocates periods of time to each partition. During each time slice, only processes in the assigned partition are permitted to execute. LynxOS-178® implements an ARINC 653-1-based time partition scheduling algorithm that gives each partition fixed execution time so that the system can be deterministically safe.
Memory partitioning is achieved by dividing RAM into discrete blocks of nonoverlapping physical address space. Each RTOS partition is assigned one and only one block of memory. Within the partition, the virtual address spaces of various processes are mapped to memory from the assigned memory block.
Resource partitioning means that each device can be assigned to only one partition of the RTOS. This means that a fault in a device or its driver will be contained within a single RTOS partition. Each partition mounts a RAM-based file system for data storage. The file systems are private to the individual partitions and are never shared with other partitions.
Within each RTOS partition, LynxOS-178® supports a multiprocess, multithreaded environment in which real-time applications can run seamlessly, make system calls, and use device drivers. The RTOS can run a shell on a serial port for a developer to interact directly with the target machine. The RTOS device drivers permit mounting an external disk drive to facilitate testing and data capture. LynxOS-178® also handles errors and exception conditions that applications do not, or cannot, trap.
LynxOS-178® implements a POSIX®-compliant file system interface that supports the creation of fully functional file systems in DRAM, Flash, and so on. These file systems can be mounted read-write or read-only for additional flexibility in safety-critical environments.
Applications and drivers are not required to be linked to the operating system and can, therefore, be isolated, limiting recertification efforts for the full operating system when only an application or driver needs modification.
In the LynxOS®-178 RTOS architecture, the RTOS components are "system software." POSIX® system services and the LynxOS-178 RTOS kernel are reusable software components. The CSP (CPU Support Package), device drivers, BSP (Board Support Package), and configuration tables (VCT) may vary on different boards or microprocessors.
The application software that executes within a partition on the target system is usually supplied by a system integrator. LynxOS-178® is designed to be independent of its underlying hardware platform. A unique BSP and CSP provide the hardware-specific services to LynxOS-178. An application's only interaction with LynxOS-178® is through its documented Application Programming Interface (API).
The boot code boots the host processor and performs the appropriate level of power on self-test (POST) to assure correct operating conditions of a limited set of hardware devices. The boot code is in the firmware module on the Kontron (formerly Thales) VMPC6x board.
The CSP contains all the processor family-specific routines, including the MMU, floating point, and processor exception handlers. The CSP routines are linked with the LynxOS-178® kernel.
The BSP contains routines for initializing and controlling hardware on the target system. The primary responsibilities of the BSP are:
The PCI Device Resource Manager (DRM) is platform-independent. The primary responsibilities of the PCI DRM are:
The BSP and the DRM are linked with the LynxOS-178® kernel.
The static device drivers are software components that isolate specific details of hardware devices from application software components. Items such as hardware-dependent interrupt handlers (for example, power warn and load shed) and kernel threads are added to the kernel with device drivers. Static device drivers are linked with the kernel.
The static device info files are used to configure the static device drivers for devices available in the target system. There are one or more info files per device driver. The static device info files are linked with the LynxOS-178® kernel.
The dynamic device drivers are hardware access routines for optional devices on the target system. These device drivers are stored in the file system and installed after the LynxOS-178® kernel is booted, but before partitioning is invoked.
The dynamic device information files are used to configure the dynamic device drivers for optional devices on the target system. There can be one or more information files per device driver. These device info files are stored in the file system and installed after the LynxOS-178® kernel is booted, but before partitioning is invoked.
The system services are linked with the application code (C or C++) and run in processor user mode. Application Programming Interfaces (API) include:
System admin services, available to VM0 (that is, VM zero) only, include:
pinit(), initialize scheduler, and others
The LynxOS-178® kernel is statically linked with the CSP, BSP, and static device drivers to create the LynxOS-178® operating system. During initialization, dynamic device drivers are dynamically linked with LynxOS-178® and effectively become part of the operating system.
cinit is the first POSIX® process to run after the LynxOS-178® kernel is initialized.
cinit executes with operating system root privileges. It reads the Virtual machine Configuration Table (VCT) and creates VM partitions within LynxOS-178®.
The primary responsibilities of
cinit are as follows.
At the point in the LynxOS-178® initialization where the OS is able to run partitions, partitions,
cinit transforms into a unique
Pinit process in each partition.
Pinit, as the first process in the partition, completes initialization of the partition's environment and transforms into the application software for the partition.
Pinit executes with operating system root privileges.
The production configuration of LynxOS-178® has a feature set that has complete DO-178B/C artifacts and traceability for level A certification of the LynxOS-178® kernel and libraries.
The development configuration (a superset of the production configuration) has additional features that assist in application development and debugging on LynxOS-178®:
skdb, and CodeTEST hooks, for example
gzip, high water mark utilities, and additional file system utilities such as
Note that these additional features do not have supporting DO-178B/C artifacts and are intended for use during development only.
The VCT contains configuration information to create VMs within LynxOS-178®. Each VCT also contains a Virtual Machine/partition configuration profile for each software application. This information is used to allocate system resources to the application software, defining a valid configuration of the target system as determined by the user. The VCT contains information based on the set of applications loaded on the target system.
A LynxOS-178® RTOS Kernel Downloadable Image (KDI) is a single downloadable image containing the LynxOS-178 RTOS and a file system. The file system is a UNIX®-style root file system with a POSIX API. It contains the minimum system software necessary for
cinit to complete its initialization tasks. It also contains file system mount points for all other file systems used by any VM (Virtual Machine). A RAM disk is created on
/mnt and mounted for each VM partition.
All file systems specified in the VCT (Virtual Machine Configuration Table) are mounted in directories created on the RAM disk. Read-write file systems are mounted only for the VM partition that owns the file system. Read-only file systems are mounted for all partitions. This way, the read-write file systems are visible to only the VM partition that owns the file system, and read-only file systems are visible to all VM partitions.