REVIEW - MicroC/OS-II - The Real-time Kernel



The Real-time Kernel


Jean J. Labrosse



Cmp Books (1999)




Chris Hills


December 2000



I completely recommend this book for MicroC/OS-II users; it will become their bible.

This is a book about software that is freely available on the net; The MicroC/OS-II. So why buy the book? The introduction/history lesson explains it all. For those who do not know, the Author, Jean Labrosse wrote uCOS as a free embedded RTOS back in 1992. The RTOS has been ported to around 30 different processors and has enjoyed much success in the embedded field, from 8 bit CPUs upwards, in both commercial and non-commercial use.

The OS itself is a pre-emptive multitasking system that has proved itself over the years. It uses some standard OS methods like tasks, semaphores and pre-emptive scheduling. Although the source code and porting kits are available on the web the book contains much useful information on multitasking OS as a whole. Whilst it explains the microC/OS-II system (in detail) it also explains alternative methods not used in microC/OS-II. You will learn why the choices were made and the merits of all the methods. Thusthe book will be of use to those studying operating systems in general.

There are some very clear diagrams with the text for things like interrupt priority inversion, interrupt latency and scheduling. Also, the source code is very well commented and constructed, i.e. you will be able to read it and (should be able to) make sense of it. This is a book I wish I had when doing OS theory!

More useful to MicroC/OS users is the porting guide so you can port the OS to new platforms if your target is not on of the 30 odd it is currently ported to. The version with the book is for a x86 target (it will run on your PC). There is a complete explanation of how the machine specific parts work for the x86 version included. Coupled with the porting guide this should be more than enough information to enable you to do you own port.

Apart from all the OS information the initial chapters will quickly get you up and running with a series of programs that will demonstrate various aspects of the OS. This makes the book a very useful operating system learning tool.

I completely recommend this book for MicroC/OS-II users; it will become their bible. As it is a hard cover book it will last a long while. It is also well worth a look for anyone who wants an RTOS for home or commercial projects where they want control over the source. I also recommend this book for students studying operating systems particularly in the embedded field, though be warned it will not work with some of the small 8bit micros. Highly recommended.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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