Porting a minuscule OS to RISC-V
ThreadX is a featherlight real-time operating system (RTOS) for highly demanding embedded systems and IoT devices. It has been installed more than six billion times worldwide, including in consumer devices, medical electronic devices and industrial machinery. TNL realized a ThreadX port to a commercially available RISC-V softcore processor.
Small and versatile RTOS
ThreadX is produced by Express Logic, market leader in the field of royalty-free real-time operating systems. The basic version of ThreadX is tiny: the RTOS is only two kilobytes large and requires just one kilobyte of memory space. This means ThreadX is suitable for applications with limited resources and low energy consumption. For this reason, RTOS is used a lot in IoT devices. The system is small but versatile: it consists of a kernel that can be used, among other things, to schedule threads, process interrupts, and communicate between threads. The basic functionality of ThreadX is easy to expand.
Port to RISC-V
Express Logic asked us whether it was possible to implement ThreadX in a Microsemi RISC-V processor. RISC-V is an open-source instruction set, and both softcore and physical processors can be developed for it. A RISC-V softcore processor can then be implemented on an FPGA, a programmable chip. TNL had already developed a RISC-V processor before as a foundation for security products. The current ThreadX port offers Express Logic a ready-made RTOS for the RISC-V architecture, one that can be easily implemented on an FPGA. ThreadX is an attractive option for developers who use softcores.