Windows CE (Embedded Compact) End of Life – A Migration Path for Real-time Solutions

Microsoft will soon reach its end of life for support for the Windows CE and Windows Embedded Compact operating systems. Beginning in 2018 through 2020, Microsoft will phase out their support of various Windows Embedded Operating Systems.
Since many industrial rugged devices are currently running these operating systems, it is a good time to begin to plan to move to other operating systems.
For new high-end Windows based products Windows 10 IoT is the right choice to go for. But if a real-time, low latency, deterministic response is required, this solution lacks the real-time component which the former Microsoft embedded operating systems had provided.

A better technical solution to overcome the missing real-time component is the LxWin real-time solution from acontis technologies. The LxWin solution effectively adds a Linux RTOS to Windows. LxWin includes a powerful hard real-time embedded Linux kernel that runs alongside Windows via a Type 2 Hypervisor. This combination provides both deterministic and hard real-time performance together with all the benefits of Windows 10 IoT like Microsoft Azure and other cloud services.

The latest Microsoft Visual Studio versions, even the free Community ones, can also be used for development of applications in the Linux real-time part.

Over the last several years, Linux has become the most popular real-time OS for a wide variety of different applications. Many leading manufacturers of industrial controllers use Linux for its deterministic and hard real-time behavior, sophisticated development tools, and the broad hardware driver and third-party software support. Typical applications are PLC, Motion Control, Computer Numeric Control (CNC), robotics, and real-time test and measurement along with various other types of real-time control systems.

LxWin Architecture

Technical Features

  • Real-time Linux - 32 Bit and 64 Bit
  • Linux Yocto Support
  • Run the Linux RTOS on one or multiple CPU cores
  • Fast interrupt handling and short thread latencies
  • Linux continues operating in real-time even after a Windows Blue-Screen failure occurs
  • Support for Windows 7, 8, 10 - 32/64 Bit
  • Optionally utilize Intel VT for enhanced robustness
  • Third Party Linux applications and drivers run without modification
  • Virtual Network connection between Windows and Linux (for application’s TCP/IP communication and local debugging)
  • Shared Memory, Events, Interlocked data access for high speed application level communication
  • Higher Level Windows/Linux communication: Pipes, Message Queues and Real-time sockets.
  • Integrated acontis technologies’ EtherCAT Master Stack solution available
  • TSN Stack available