The Hard Real-Time Operating System for Mechatronics

About the Project

XOberon/PowerPC is a hard real-time operating system (HRTOS), deployed for high-end mechatronic products control. It has been developed at the Institute of Robotics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. XOberon is loosely based on the Oberon System, and it is written in the Oberon-2 programming language. XOberon in its most recent incarnation takes advantage of the computational power of the PowerPC processor architecture.
The goal of XOberon is about providing a framework for non-computer-scientists, looking for a rapid application development (RAD) tool for programming embedded applications.
The system is particularly suited for complex modeling of real-time applications, given its modularity, clean interface definitions and the presence of a dynamic loader, which checks for interface compatibility, too. The very fast compiler, along with the dynamic loader allow short edit-compile-run cycles.
The operating systems, presents a clear, object oriented and polymorphic interface to the programmer. The framework provides high-level abstractions for most of the real-time programming problems.
Particular care has been applied for providing a reliable and safe run-time environment. XOberon solves most of the usual real-time issues by implementing a deadline-driven scheduler with admission testing. Run-time memory accesses are guarded by the address translation done by hardware and software. The testing for logical correctness is simplified by the strong-typed Oberon-2 compiler.
The run-time performance of the system and the applications has also been carefully tuned. The system schedules tasks with a 100 microseconds time-slice, with a kernel overhead of less than one percent on a PowerPC 604, clocked at 100 MHz.

Board support packages are available for 603/603e, 604/604e -based Motorola MVME1600, MVME2300 and MVME2600 boards.

Available versions of XOberon

The 68K target version of XOberon is free to download and use. The PowerPC version is available on request.


Motorola MVME162 68K Processor Board, XOberon Operating System


Win95/NT version of the XOberon development environment

Sun/Unix version of the XOberon development environment


Read the Quick Reference of XOberon

Further material such as periphery drivers, software examples and the complete source code of the target operating system are available on our ftp-site: in the directory /pub/XOberon.

PowerPC based controller hardware for a 6 dof robot and the XOberon development environment

Introduction on real-time operating systems

Performance of the XOberon system

Roadmap and latest releases


Roberto Brega, Sjur Vestli

Institute of Robotics Homepage

Jun 1998, R. Brega & M. Honegger

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!!! This document is stored in the ETH Web archive and is no longer maintained !!!