What is Zephyr™ Project?

The Zephyr™ Project, is a Linux Foundation hosted Collaboration Project, an open source collaborative effort uniting leaders from across the industry to build a best-in-breed small, scalable, real-time operating system (RTOS) optimized for resource constrained devices, across multiple architectures. The Zephyr Project’s goal is to establish a neutral project where silicon vendors, OEMs, ODMs, ISVs, and OSVs can contribute technology to reduce the cost and accelerate time to market for developing the billions of devices that will make up the majority of the Internet of Things

The Zephyr Project is perfect for building simple connected sensors, LED wearables, up to modems and small IoT wireless gateways. Because the Zephyr OS is modular and supports multiple architectures, developers are able to easily tailor an optimal solution to meet their needs. As a true open source project, the community can evolve the project to support new hardware, developer tools, sensor and device drivers. Enhancements in security, device management capabilities, connectivity stacks and file systems can be easily implemented.

The Zephyr kernel is derived from Wind River's commercial VxWorks Microkernel Profile for VxWorks. Microkernel Profile has evolved over 20 years from DSP RTOS technology known as Virtuoso. The RTOS has been used in several commercial applications including satellites, military command and control communications, radar, telecommunications and image processing. The most recent example of the technology’s success is the successful Philae Landing on Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko and the accompanying Rosetta Orbiter.

Our Vision

The Zephyr Project’s goal is to become the best-of-breed, open source RTOS for connected, resource constrained devices, and built with security in mind. The Zephyr Project is working with leaders across the industry to create a solution that integrates and creates a robust, easy to use, customizable RTOS for a variety of industries and comprehends varying degrees of development needs. Zephyr Project and Linux Foundation will take strides in continuously expanding membership, building awareness to the project, and reinforce the open source development model through encouragment of community contributions.

Why create another RTOS?

In the past few years the world has seen numerous “small-footprint” RTOSes. There are new RTOSes released by companies at an increasing rate, open source and otherwise, why create another? It may be more appropriate to ask, “Why does the industry need RTOS consolidation?” With this proliferation in RTOSes and small OSes we’ve come to notice a few things:

  • Market fragmentation
    • Several RTOS options for small devices, each with their own restrictions.
    • Paid-for, Commercial license or restrictive non-IP-friendly open source licenses
    • "Open source" projects tailored to a single party's goals.
  • Other RTOSes are run by major stakeholders with promises of open source & collaboration
    • No clear way to upstream code that better suits your product development model
    • No community support ecosystem from professionals and experts.
    • No clear leader

Connected devices are the future, and development is happening quickly. The technology requirements are so vast that no one person or company has all the answers. Collaboration is key to share expertise and drive down the cost of connected devices which are projected to be deployed by the billions by 2020. A platform to promote collaboration has to be commercially-neutral, inclusive of all contributors, and governed in such a way that all interests are fairly represented. Today, only one such project exists, and that is Zephyr Project.

What Makes Zephyr Project Different?

  • Security

    The Zephyr Project was developed with security in mind.The project employs an in-depth security development life cycle through all stages of development including: security validation, fuzz and penetration testing, frequent code reviews, static code analysis, threat modeling and reviews to prevent back doors in the code.

    The project's governance includes the formation of a security working group and a delegated security maintainer. The governance and its members have the responsibility to ensure that all aspects of the code are developed securely.

  • Open Source

    The Zephyr Project is available through the Apache 2.0 open source license. It’s free to use in commercial and noncommercial solutions. Hosted as a collaborative project with the Linux Foundation, the project is neutrally governed employing a lightweight governance and development model to drive Zephyr Project strategy, promote Zephyr Project principles, and put said strategies into development all along welcoming community contributions to advance the technology.

    From professional makers to large industrial and commercial vendors, the Zephyr Project strives to deliver a universally adoptable solution for the Internet of Things.

  • Modular

    The Zephyr project provides developers with feature-rich software optimized for memory constrained devices. The Zephyr kernel and software subsystems can run on systems as small as 8 kB of memory all the way up to 512 kB. It is designed to allow complete freedom to use the RTOS as-is or to tailor a solution by enabling or disabling almost every feature via Kconfig to define the best configuration for your device. The Zephyr Project lets developers use the tool suite of their choice by supporting custom toolchains and compiler optimizations.Over time, the project will provide the ability to easily integrate 3rd party components including 3rd party libraries, external components, and application development and module configuration tools.

  • Connected

    The Zephyr Project provides connectivity protocols optimized for low powered, small memory footprint devices. The project will support Bluetooth®, Bluetooth® Low Energy, Wi-Fi*, 802.15.4 as well as other standards like 6Lowpan, CoAP, IPv4, IPv6, and NFC. The project will continue to refine and enhance functionality through community driven development. Zephyr Project communications and networking development will continue to expand and enhance support over time as new connectivity and interconnectivity standards become more established, the project will integrate support for these as well.

For those who are interested in membership information please contact us. Please also explore our community tools page to engage with our technical experts and for support.