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Optimization of Linux OS for real time embedded

Padma1, Chandrashekaran2,Channabassappa baligar3 ,Srinivas rao4

M Tech, 4th Semester VLSI Design & Embedded Systems, VTU Regional Centre @ UTL Technologies, Bangalore -22
Scientist C, LRDE, DRDO, C V Raman Nagar, Bangalore-93
Visiting Professor, VTU Extension Centre, UTL technologies Ltd, Bangalore-22
Scientist E, LRDE, DRDO, C V Raman Nagar, Bangalore-93
1 , ,

AbstractThe Linux kernel is mainly used is general-purpose

operating system, i.e., in server and/or desktop environments.
During the last years, however, academic institutions and
companies showed an increasing interest in using it for realtime and control applications as well.
Since Linux has not been designed to be a real-time
operating, the best-effort scheduling policy is not suited to
provide high utilization and strong guarantees to timesensitive tasks. This paper present an enhancement of the
Linux scheduler through the implementation of the wellknown Earliest Deadline First algorithm for real-time tasks,
leaving the current behavior of existing policies unchanged .
And also the time slice of the round robin-scheduling
algorithm is reduced so that the real time task experience
shorter blockings.
Linux is a General Purpose Operating System (GPOS)
originally designed to be used in server or desktop
environments. Since then, Linux has evolved and grown to be
used in almost all computer areas. An important part of Linux
is the process scheduler (or simply the scheduler). This
component of the kernel selects which process to execute at
any instant of time, and is responsible of dividing the finite
resource of processor time between all runnable processes in
the system.
During the last years, there has been a considerable interest in
using Linux also for real-time and control, from both
academic institutions and companies. Some reasons for this
could be the free availability of its source code, the support for
a great number of architectures, a rich set of already
developed device drivers and the existence of billions of
applications running on it. Unfortunately, Linux has not been
designed to be a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), thus
not much attention has been given to real-time issues.
Therefore, making a classical real-time feasibility study of the
system under development is not possible, and developers
cannot be sure that timing requirements of tasks will be met
under every circumstance. POSIX-compliant fixed-priority
policies offered by Linux, on the other hand, are not much
sophisticated and often do not suit the specific application

These issues are particularly critical when designing time

sensitive or control applications (e.g., MPEG players) for
embedded devices like smart-phones. In fact, when size,
processing power, energy consumption and cost are tightly
constrained, you need to efficiently exploit system resources,
and at the same time meet the real-time requirements of the
It has to be said that companies exists that started selling
modified versions of the Linux kernel with improved real-time
support. However, these non-standard versions of Linux are
often non-free, and cannot avail themselves of the support
from the huge development community of the standard kernel.
Therefore, we believe that to be really general, Linux
should also provide enhanced real-time scheduling
capabilities. In this paper, thus, we propose an implementation
of the Earliest Deadline First (EDF) algorithm, the wellknown real-time dynamic-priority scheduling algorithm.
The paper is organized as follows: at the beginning the current
Linux scheduler is explained and the implementation of the
proposed scheduling policy (SCHED EDF) is provided, then
the explanation of the reduction of cpu quantum time is
provided. Last but not least, our implementation is evaluated
and validated through a test and experiments on real hardware,
and finally, conclusions are driven.
Linux provides two real-time scheduling policies,
Out) scheduling is simple, priority-based, pre-emptive
scheduler. It implements a simple FIFO algorithm without
time slices, meaning that when SCHED_FIFOtask becomes
runnable, it will continue to run until it blocks or explicitly
yields the processor. The only scheduling attribute this policy
takes is tasks priority.
Currently, Linux comes with two scheduling

Sched_fair: the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS)

algorithm, for SCHED_NORMAL and SCHED_BATCH
policies. The idea here is to run tasks in parallel and at

precise weighted speeds, in, so that

receives a fair amount of processor share;

each task Pick next task (...): chooses the most appropriate task
eligible to be run next;

Sched_rt: the POSIX fixed-priority real-time scheduling,

for SCHED FIFO or SCHED RR policies with 99 priority

Put prev task (...): makes a running task no longer running;

Select task rq(...): chooses on which runqueue (i.e., on which
CPU) a waking-up task has to be enqueued;

SCHED_FIFO: Linux uses priority arrays, data

structures, which contain one queue for each priority
level. A SCHED_FIFO task that has been preempted by
another task of higher priority will stay at the head of the
list for its priority and will be selected for execution as
soon as all tasks of higher priority are blocked again.
When a SCHED_FIFO task becomes runnable, it will be
inserted at the end of the list for its priority.

Task tick (...): accounts each periodic system tick

to the running tasks.

SCHED_RR: Round Robin scheduling is a real-time

round robin algorithm, a simple enhancement of
SCHED_FIFO, which allows tasks with same priority to
time slice amongst each other. Tasks running under
SCHED_RR run just like those running under
SCHED_FIFO, except that SCHED_RR tasks get to run
only for the time quantum before being put back to the
end of the queue for particular priority level.


The time slice of RR scheduling is usually around 20
milliseconds in kernel 2.6.24 so it is reduced to around 4

An application code has been written to test the new scheduler
and also to test the time slice of RR.


EDF is a dynamic algorithm that does not require tasks to be
periodic or that they would need the same run time per CPU
bursts as does for ex. RMS algorithm. The scheduler keeps a
list of runnable tasks, sorted on deadline, and runs the first
task from the list, i.e. the one with closest deadline. Whenever
a new task becomes runnable, the system checks to see if its
deadline occurs before that of the currently running task. If so,
the new task preempts the current task.
EDF algorithm is superior to RMS in the way that it works for
any schedulable set of tasks and it can achieve 100% CPU
Fig.1.a:- Output of EDF scheduler
A (partial) list of the hooks a scheduling class may provide, by
filling them in its own struct sched class structure, follows:
enqueue task(...): enqueues a task in the data structure used
to keep all runnable tasks (runqueue); usually called when the
task enters a runnable state;
dequeue task(...): removes a task from the runqueue; usually
called when the task stop being runnable;
Yield task (...): yields the processor for other tasks to have a
chance to be run;
Check preempt curr(...): checks if a task shall preempt the
currently running task;
Fig 1.b:- Output of EDF scheduler

The author wishes to acknowledge LRDE and, VTU
extension centre, UTL technologies for their extensive

Fig 2 Time quantum without modification

Fig 3: Time quantum with modification

Fig1.a and Fig1.b shows the output of EDF scheduler in that
the process 3 has a deadline of 14 so it is executed first
followed by pid2, pid4 and pid1, Fig 2 shows the time
quantum of a RR scheduler without any modification and Fig
3 shows the time quantum of a RR scheduler with

The real time capability is achieved by two new kernel
mechanisms, first the time slice of the Round Robin is
reduced and second a new scheduling algorithm (earliest
deadline first) is added in the Linux kernel so that real time
jobs will experience shorter blockings.

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