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Intel Open Sources Arduino 101 Real Time OS

| by Sergio De Simone on Apr 29, 2016. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Arduino has announced that Intel has released the Arduino 101 real time operating system (RTOS) for hacking and studying purposes.

The source code can be downloaded from the Intel Web site and provides the complete Board Support Package (BSP) for the Curie system-on-chip module that is used on the 101. Specifically, it includes both the Core OS and the firmware used to manage updates and the bootloader.

According to its own description, Arduino aims to be a fully open-source project, including both its hardware and software. Yet, the 101, which was introduced in October 2015 and was the first Arduino to be based on Intel, was not entirely open-source due to Intel’s firmware/bootloader. Now, Intel’s decision makes it possible to tinker with the Arduino 101 and create new features for it which will be hosted on the GitHub Arduino repo. Previous to Intel open sourcing Arduino 101 RTOS and firmware, Arduino says, it was not possible to interface directly to the board and only a limited number of tasks could be accomplished, such as interfacing with a PC over USB, etc.

Arduino 101 can be regarded as an incremental improvement over the Arduino UNO. Thanks to its Curie module, it features Bluetooth connectivity, gesture recognition, and a six-axis motion sensor. It contains two cores, an x86 and a 32-bit ARC (Argonaut RISC Core), both clocked at 32MHz, which provide higher performance than the UNO’s ATmega328 microcontroller and lower power-consumption. The x86 core runs ViperOS RTOS, while the ARC takes care of I/O. The 101 provides the same pinout and peripherals as the UNO.

Intel’s announcement also concerns Genuino 101, which is the Arduino 101 version commercialized outside of the USA.

In the first hours after the initial publication of the package, users reported they were asked to accept a restrictive license before being allowed to download the source code. This seems to have been an error that Intel later fixed. InfoQ has confirmed that, at the time of writing, the user is only presented Intel’s generic disclaimer which is used for all of their open source software, while the actual downloaded files include a BSD-like license.

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