By: Carles Cufi, Nordic Semiconductor
The Zephyr Project is happy to announce the release of Zephyr RTOS 1.8. This release was preceded by an important milestone in the Open Source project's development that we hope will foster even further contributions and collaboration from the community: the relocation of the main source tree to GitHub. By implementing this change it is now easier than ever for developers and contributors in general to submit Pull Requests with changes and additions, simplifying and streamlining the review and acceptance process. With the transition complete and more than 300 Pull Requests already merged on Zephyr's source code new home, we look forward to welcoming more code or documentation contributions to our repository.
In addition to being hosted on GitHub, the Zephyr source can now be built on Microsoft Windows with ease: the transition from MinGW to MSYS2 allows users to compile on this platform with ease and without the stability concerns that were a part of the previous Windows build environment. Furthermore, target platforms that require Device Tree support are now fully supported on Windows, making it possible to use, develop and contribute to the Zephyr project using Microsoft's operating system.
But the core RTOS has also seen a slew of changes introduced since our last release. The introduction of a new tickless kernel option implements a "race to idle" approach to power management, allowing the kernel to sleep uninterrupted until an event that requires the attention of the system wakes it up without the need for periodic tick-based interruptions. Additionally, Memory Protection Units (MPU) are now supported and enabled in some of the platforms, which further reinforces Zephyr Project's commitment to security as a fundamental tenet of the project's philosophy. Memory protection between different execution contexts prevents interference and even malicious tampering, and this is only the beginning of an ongoing effort to harden the kernel and subsystems in the releases to come.
The networking subsystem now comes with an HTTP client and server library that allows applications to use the Internet's most popular protocol from embedded systems directly and without the need for third-party software, and coupled with recent optimizations in its threading model (enabled by the new kernel polling APIs) and packet-based interfaces further enhances Zephyr's built-in native IP stack to enable more than ever robust IoT applications and use cases.
Finally, the Bluetooth subsystem has gained support for new and exciting features straight out of the recently unveiled Bluetooth 5.0 specification. Nordic Semiconductor ICs running the Zephyr OS are now able to transfer data over Bluetooth Low Energy using the 2Mbit/s PHY, achieving real-world application throughputs above 1.3 Mbit/s as demonstrated in this video, as well as achieve long-range communication using the Coded PHY functionality available in our latest nRF52840 member of the nRF52 family of microcontrollers. And these are just the first steps towards full Bluetooth 5.0 support, which will continue next release with another of the hallmark features introduced: advertising extensions.
A sincere thank you to all those in the community who contributed. This release would not have been possible without your contributions!
We invite you to download Zephyr OS v1.8.0 and we welcome feedback and contributions from community.
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