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A Better Type of Open Source
[About FreeRTOS]

Open source software is the source of frequent debate - where often the same pro and con arguments are repeatedly raised. Every effort is made to ensure FreeRTOS is as open and easy to use as possible, so this page is provided to demonstrate how the FreeRTOS licensing model removes the objections people might otherwise have to including open source components in their products.

Counter-argument when using FreeRTOS
"Open source software is badly supported" Real Time Engineers Ltd. directly support FreeRTOS through an active and free support forum. It is also possible to obtain commercial support from a large engineering company - providing choice and complete peace of mind.
"Incorporating open source means you risk having to open source your entire application" FreeRTOS is licensed such that only the RTOS kernel is open source. Application code that uses the RTOS kernel can remain closed source and proprietary - provided the functionality it provides is distinct from that provided by the RTOS kernel itself.
"Open source software ends up costing much more (the total cost of ownership argument)" FreeRTOS is completely free to download, experiment with and deploy. Each port comes with a pre-configured demo application to ensure you start with a known good and working project that can then be tailored to meet your needs - getting you up and running very quickly. Should at some point you require commercial licensing or support then packages are available at very competitive prices, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
"Open source software is badly written" FreeRTOS is commercial grade, stable and reliable. There are even safety critical versions based on it, with improvements from the safety critical certification being fed back into the open source code base (although not the new safety related features). FreeRTOS conforms to a strict coding standard, and a coding philosophy that ensures non-deterministic actions never executes in an interrupt or in a critical section.
"Open source code becomes fragmented, with many different versions available" The FreeRTOS release procedure is very tightly controlled with all official ports being updated simultaneously. Current and past releases are available in .zip files. The head revision is available from a publicly accessible SVN repository. Naturally, occasionally errors are made, but these are quickly spotted by the large user base (more than 6000 downloads per month [very conservative figure given]) and are documented as soon as they are brought to our attention.
"Use of open source code leaves you at risk of IP infringement" Only code of known origin is included in official versions. If you are still concerned about IP infringement, purchase a commercial license to receive standard indemnification.
"Open source projects have no longevity" Neither do some commercial products! Unlike commercial equivalents, the FreeRTOS license allows you to continue to use FreeRTOS software forever, at no cost. FreeRTOS has been around since before 2003, and is still growing!

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FreeRTOS Partners

ARM Connected RTOS partner for all ARM microcontroller cores

Espressif ESP32

IAR Partner

Microchip Premier RTOS Partner

RTOS partner of NXP for all NXP ARM microcontrollers


STMicro RTOS partner supporting ARM7, ARM Cortex-M3, ARM Cortex-M4 and ARM Cortex-M0

Texas Instruments MCU Developer Network RTOS partner for ARM and MSP430 microcontrollers

OpenRTOS and SafeRTOS

Xilinx Microblaze and Zynq partner