5 Operating Systems For The Internet Of Things

An Internet of Things OS is any Operating System specifically designed to work within the constraints that are particular to IoT devices which are typically limited in memory size, processing power, capacity, and built to enable swift data transfer over the Internet.

There are several (mostly Linux-based) Operating Systems that you can use for IoT but they wouldn’t allow you to get the best out of your setup and that’s the reason why IoT-focused distros exist.

Here is a list of the 5 best Operating Systems you can use for your Internet of Things projects.

1. Ubuntu Core

Ubuntu Core is a robust version of Linux’s most popular distro, Ubuntu, made particularly for large container deployments and Internet of Things devices. It was built by Canonical to use the same kernel, system software, and libraries as Ubuntu but on a much smaller scale and it is used to power robots, gateways, digital signs, etc.

Ubuntu Core is designed to provide users with a secure embedded Linux for IoT devices. All of its aspects are verified in order to maintain immutable packages and persistent digital signatures. It is also minimal and enterprise-ready.

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RIOT is a free, friendly, and open source Operating System designed for working with IoT devices with the aim of implementing all relevant open standards that support secure, durable, and privacy-friendly IoT connections.

RIOT‘s features include a minimum RAM and ROM size of ~1.5kB and ~5kB, full support for C and C++, multi-threading, modularity, and MCU without MMU.

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3. Fuchsia OS

Fuchsia is an open source capability, real-time Operating System created for the Internet of Things devices by Google. Unlike two of Google’s much-loved products, Chrome and Android, which are based on the Linux kernel, Fuchsia OS is based on the Zircon kernel.

It ships with Node.js which enables support for JavaScript and it is expected to be able to run on AMD devices as well as on phones and tablets with the ability to run Android apps.

Want to see Fuschia in action? Check out this demo link.

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4. Contiki

Contiki is an open source OS designed for connecting tiny low-power, low-cost micro-controllers to the Internet and doubles as a toolbox for creating complex wireless systems.

Contiki is developed to follow the best Internet standard e.g. it has full support for standard IPv4 and IPv6. It is written in C to provide a rapid environment for development in a single download and it has an active community that will make any user feel at home.

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5. TinyOS

Tiny OS is a free and open source BSD-based Operating System aimed at low-power wireless devices e.g. devices used in sensor networks, Personal Area Networks, universal computing, smart meters, and smart buildings.

It initially started as a project hosted on Google Code where it was writeable by only selected core developers but it has since 2013, transitioned to GitHub where it is more open to the open source community and is averaging at least 35,000 downloads per year.

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Do you already use any of the above-mentioned Operating Systems for your IoT projects? Or are you familiar with recommendable ones not on the list? Drop your comments in the discussion section.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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