Frequently Asked Questions

What is eCos? [back to top]
eCos is an open source real-time operating system (RTOS) for deeply embedded applications. It is not Linux nor is it a derivative of Linux. You can find an detailed description here.
What is RedBoot? [back to top]
RedBoot is complete bootstrap environment for embedded systems. It also incorporates a debug-agent for remote debugging of embedded applications. You can find a detailed overview here.
What is eCosPro [back to top]
eCosPro is the commercial version of eCos provided by eCosCentric. It is a stable, fully tested, and professionally supported version of eCos. It includes additional features, drivers and board ports that are not available in the public version.
What about licensing? [back to top]
The core eCos and RedBoot sources are freely available under a modified version of the GPL (GNU Public License). Under the terms of this license, no license fees are payable and your application and middleware sources remain confidential. You are only required to make available the original sources along with any modifications to, or components derived from, the sources. This allows your application to remain proprietary and protects your IP. Portions of eCosCentric's eCosPro distributions are licensed under an eCosPro specific license. The eCosPro license is similar to open source licenses in the commercial freedoms it provides, but does not allow redistribution to other companies and individuals that have not also licensed the software. The eCos network stacks and some other elements are licensed under the BSD license. The BSD license does not require any source code to be made public. More information on the eCos licenses may be found here. If you are creating a product based on eCos or eCosPro and require information or further explanation of your obligations regarding the eCos license or how we can help you protect your IP, contact us.
Who owns eCos and RedBoot? [back to top]
The copyright of the eCos and RedBoot source code is owned by the Free Software Foundation. The original copyright interest that was owned by Red Hat, eCosCentric, the eCos maintainers, and eCos contributors was assigned to the FSF in 2007. The eCos trademark is owned by eCosCentric.
Who maintains eCos and RedBoot? [back to top]
eCos and RedBoot are maintained by a group of individuals. Contrary to popular belief, they are not maintained by any commercial organisation, including eCosCentric and Red Hat. However, some of the maintainers may work for these commercial organisations.

The maintainers are:

  • John Dallaway
  • Nick Garnett
  • Jonathan Larmour (Chief maintainer)
  • Andrew Lunn
  • Mark Salter
  • Gary Thomas
  • Bart Veer
  • David Woodhouse (JFFS2 package only)
  • Jani Monoses (lwIP package only)
  • Please do not contact the maintainers individually. Instead, you will find these maintainers supporting the public community on ecos-discuss which is the best place to contact them. Before emailing the list or the maintainers, we also suggest you first check the list archives to see if your problem or question has not already been addressed or answered.

    Where can I download the free versions of eCos and RedBoot? [back to top]
    eCos and RedBoot are freely available for download via anonymous CVS or from one of the weekly snapshots. The eCos 2.0 final is also available for download or may be purchased on CD-ROM, complete with all development tools, from eCosCentric for a nominal charge. The CD-ROM is not recommended however as it is very out of date compared to the latest version of eCos available via anonymous CVS.
    Where can I download eCosPro and the Eclipse IDE? [back to top]
    eCosPro and the eCos embedded-target enabled version of the Eclipse IDE form part of the eCosPro® Developer's Kit which must be purchased from eCosCentric. They are not available for free download and are also not available on the eCos 2.0 CD-ROM.
    Where can I get the compiler, linker and debugger? [back to top]
    These tools are also freely available for download and are included in the eCos 2.0 Development CDROM. Both Linux and Windows host tools are available. Updated versions of the tools are included with the eCosPro Developer's Kit.
    Is commercial support available for eCos and RedBoot? [back to top]
    Yes. eCosCentric provides a number of support packages suitable for small companies through to a large multinational corporations. Support services are included as standard with all copies of the eCosPro Developer's Kit.
    What is the relationship between eCosCentric, eCos/RedBoot and the maintainers? [back to top]
    eCosCentric was established in April 2002 by the original eCos and RedBoot developers and maintainers while employed at Red Hat to provide commercial support and development of eCos and RedBoot. The maintainers have since left Red Hat and the majority now work for eCosCentric where they continue to develop and contribute to the eCos and RedBoot projects as part of eCosCentric.