About eCos

eCos® is a free open source real-time operating system (RTOS) which offers important advantages for deeply embedded systems. The portability, rich feature set and exceptional configurability of eCos has resulted in widespread deployment across many industrial sectors where high performance and a minimal resource footprint are key requirements.


The commercial pressure to reduce hardware costs fuels a continuing demand for size-optimized software components. Most embedded operating systems offer a degree of modularity in their design, allowing certain modules to be omitted when not required in order to save memory. eCos raises the bar with a configuration system that operates at the source code level to offer fine control over both the feature set and the precise behaviour of individual operating system features via thousands of configuration options. In this way, eCos may be customised to match precise application requirements and can be deployed where other operating systems will not fit.


The eCos kernel uses a single process, multiple thread RTOS model. It offers a comprehensive set of synchronisation primitives to support powerful multi-threaded applications while keeping interrupt latencies to an absolute minimum. A range of additional system-level features can be added and configured as required, including filesystems, networking stacks, C and Math libraries, C++ STL and a POSIX compatibility layer. The eCos configuration system ensures that application performance is not compromised by operating system features that are not required.


The open source nature of eCos allows many developers across many organisations to review the source code. Issues are quickly identified and resolved. As a result, the core components of eCos reached maturity many years ago and can be trusted in the context of tight project schedules.


eCos is architecture-neutral by design. It features an elegant hardware abstraction layer which has resulted in deployment across all the major 32-bit processor architectures and on many individual evaluation boards. Further hardware support is contributed by the community of eCos developers on an on-going basis. The open source nature of eCos makes it easy to bring up eCos on your own hardware design using existing code as a guide.


Copyright in the core components of eCos is held by the Free Software Foundation who act as the trusted guardians of many open source technologies. The eCos run-time source code is licensed under the eCos License, a variant of the well-known GNU General Public License (GPL) which incorporates an important exception clause. The exception clause allows proprietary application code to remain confidential when deployed with eCos. This license is a key factor in the adoption of eCos within embedded designs where the release of commercially-sensitive application software in source code form is simply not an option. The eCos License also ensures that you are free to share operating system code with your commercial partners and guarantees a complete absence of royalty fees and product licensing fees when deploying eCos.

Design wins

eCos is deployed in a huge number of products across many industrial sectors. Examples include:

CompellentStorage area network appliances. More…
Media SystemsPersonal and vehicle security products.
NetgearA number of powerline ethernet, router and managed switch products.
PrintronixA range of thermal printer products for industrial applications.
SchindlerHoist motor control units for a range of high-rise elevators.
TandbergA range of high-definition video conferencing products.

Commercial support

eCos is developed as a free open source community project under the guidance of a team of independent maintainers. Commercial support is available from a number of vendors. The Code Confidence Tools provide the most productive development environment for embedded application engineers working with eCos. Our introductory training course brings your embedded engineering team up to full productivity with eCos in the shortest practical timeframe.


2023-11-24 : Code Confidence Tools for FreeRTOS updated for Eclipse 2023-09 IDE. More…
2023-11-19 : Code Confidence Tools for eCos updated for Eclipse 2023-09 IDE. More…
2015-10-02 : Hard fault exception decoding added to Code Confidence Tools for FreeRTOS. More…
2012-11-19 : Lauterbach TRACE32 PowerTools validation with Code Confidence Tools for eCos. More…