VxWorks is a real-time operating system (RTOS) developed as proprietary software by Wind River Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of TPG Capital, US. First released in 1987, VxWorks is designed for use in embedded systems requiring real-time, deterministic performance and, in many cases, safety and security certification, for industries, such as aerospace and defense, medical devices, industrial equipment, robotics, energy, transportation, network infrastructure, automotive, and consumer electronics.[1]

VxWorks 7 Boot up Screen
DeveloperWind River (a wholly owned subsidiary of TPG Capital)
OS familyReal-time operating systems
Working stateCurrent
Initial release1987 (1987)
Latest release7 / March 2014 (2014-03)
Marketing targetEmbedded systems
Platformsx86 (including Intel Quark), x86-64, MIPS, PowerPC, SH-4, ARM
Kernel typeMonolithic
Official websiteWindriver.com/products/vxworks

VxWorks supports Intel architecture, POWER architecture, ARM architectures[2] and RISC-V[3]. The RTOS can be used in multicore asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP), symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and mixed modes[4] and multi-OS (via Type 1 hypervisor)[5] designs on 32- and 64-bit processors.[6]

VxWorks comes with the kernel, middleware, board support packages, Wind River Workbench development suite and complementary third-party software and hardware technologies. In its latest release, VxWorks 7, the RTOS has been re-engineered for modularity and upgradeability so the OS kernel is separate from middleware, applications and other packages.[7] Scalability, security, safety, connectivity, and graphics have been improved to address Internet of Things (IoT) needs.[8][9][10]


VxWorks started in the late 1980s as a set of enhancements to a simple RTOS called VRTX[11] sold by Ready Systems (becoming a Mentor Graphics product in 1995).[12] Wind River acquired rights to distribute VRTX and significantly enhanced it by adding, among other things, a file system and an integrated development environment. In 1987, anticipating the termination of its reseller contract by Ready Systems, Wind River developed its own kernel to replace VRTX within VxWorks.[13]

VxWorks key milestones are:[14]

  • 1980s: VxWorks adds support for 32-bit processors.
  • 1990s: VxWorks 5 becomes the first RTOS with a networking stack.
  • 2000s: VxWorks 6 supports SMP and adds derivative industry-specific platforms.
  • 2010s: VxWorks adds support for 64-bit processing[6] and introduces VxWorks 7 for IoT in 2016.[15]

Platform overview

VxWorks supports Intel architecture, Power architecture, and ARM architectures.[2] The RTOS can be used in multi-core asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP), symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and mixed modes[6] and multi-OS (via Type 1 hypervisor)[5] designs on 32- and 64-bit processors.

The VxWorks consists of a set of runtime components and development tools. The run time components are an operating system (UP and SMP; 32- and 64-bit), software for applications support (file system, core network stack, USB stack and inter-process communications) and hardware support (architecture adapter, processor support library, device driver library and board support packages).[6] VxWorks core development tools are compilers such as Diab, GNU, and Intel C++ Compiler (ICC)) and its build and configuration tools. The system also includes productivity tools such as its Workbench development suite and Intel tools and development support tools for asset tracking and host support.[6]

The platform is a modular, vendor-neutral, open system that supports a range of third-party software and hardware. The OS kernel is separate from middleware, applications and other packages,[9] which enables easier bug fixes and testing of new features.[15] An implementation of a layered source build system allows multiple versions of any stack to be installed at the same time so developers can select which version of any feature set should go into the VxWorks kernel libraries.

Optional advanced technology for VxWorks provides add-on technology-related capabilities, such as:

  • Advanced security features to safeguard devices and data residing in and traveling across the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Advanced safety partitioning to enable reliable application consolidation
  • Real-time advanced visual edge analytics allowing autonomous responses on VxWorks-based devices in real time without latency
  • Optimized embedded Java runtime engine enabling the deployment of Java applications
  • Virtualization capability with a real-time embedded, Type 1 hypervisor


A list of some of the features of the OS are:[4][16][17][18]

  • Multitasking kernel with preemptive and round-robin scheduling and fast interrupt response
  • Native 64-bit operating system (only one 64-bit architecture supported: x86-64). Data model: LP64.
  • User-mode applications ("Real-Time Processes", or RTP) isolated from other user-mode applications as well as the kernel via memory protection mechanisms.
  • SMP, AMP and mixed mode multiprocessing support
  • Error handling framework
  • Bluetooth, USB, CAN protocols, Firewire IEEE 1394, BLE, L2CAP, Continua stack, health device profile
  • Binary, counting, and mutual exclusion semaphores with priority inheritance
  • Local and distributed message queues
  • POSIX PSE52 certified conformity in user-mode execution environment
  • File systems: High Reliability File System (HRFS), FAT-based file system (DOSFS), Network File System (NFS), and TFFS
  • Dual-mode IPv6 networking stack with IPv6 Ready Logo certification
  • Memory protection including real-time processes (RTPs), error detection and reporting, and IPC
  • Multi-OS messaging using TIPC and Wind River multi-OS IPC
  • Symbolic debugging

In March 2014, Wind River introduced VxWorks 7, which emphasizes scalability, security, safety, connectivity, graphics, and virtualization.[10][15][19] The following lists some of the release 7 updates.[1][6][7][10] More information can be found on the Wind Rivers VxWorks website.

  • Modular, componentized architecture using a layered build system with the ability to update each layer of code independently
  • VxWorks microkernel (a full RTOS that can be as small as 20 KB)
  • Security features such as digitally-signed modules (X.509), encryption, password management, ability to add/delete users at runtime
  • SHA-256 hashing algorithm as the default password hashing algorithm
  • Human machine interface with Vector Graphics, and Tilcon user interface (UI)
  • Graphical user interface (GUI): OpenVG stack, Open GL, Tilcon UI, Frame Buffer Driver, EV Dev Interface
  • Updated configuration interfaces for VxWorks Source Build VSB projects and VxWorks Image Projects
  • Single authentication control used for Telnet, SSH, FTP, and rlogin daemons
  • Connectivity with Bluetooth and SocketCAN protocol stacks
  • Inclusion of MIPC File System (MFS) and MIPC Network Device (MND)
  • Networking features with 64-bit support including Wind River MACsec, Wind River's implementation of IEEE 802.1A, Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) over L2TP, PPP over virtual local area network (VLAN) and Diameter secure key storage
  • New Wind River Workbench 4 for VxWorks 7 integrated development environment with new system analysis tools
  • Wind River Diab Compiler 5.9.4; Wind River GNU Compiler 4.8; Intel C++ Compiler 14 and Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (IPP) 8

Hardware support

VxWorks has been ported to a number of platforms and now runs on practically any modern CPU that is used in the embedded market. This includes the Intel x86 family (including the Intel Quark SoC),[20] MIPS, PowerPC (and BAE RAD), Freescale ColdFire, Intel i960, SPARC, Fujitsu FR-V, SH-4 and the closely related family of ARM, StrongARM and xScale CPUs.[2] VxWorks provides a standard board support package (BSP) interface between all its supported hardware and the OS. Wind River's BSP developer kit provides a common application programming interface (API) and a stable environment for real-time operating system development. VxWorks is supported by popular SSL/TLS libraries such as wolfSSL.[21]

Development environment

As is common in embedded system development, cross-compiling is used with VxWorks. Development is done on a "host" system where an integrated development environment (IDE), including the editor, compiler toolchain, debugger, and emulator can be used. Software is then compiled to run on the "target" system. This allows the developer to work with powerful development tools while targeting more limited hardware. VxWorks uses the following host environments and target hardware architectures:[2][22]

Supported target architectures and processor families

VxWorks supports the following target architectures:

  • ARM
  • Intel architecture
  • Power architecture
  • RISC-V architecture[3]

For the latest target architecture, processors and board support packages, refer to the VxWorks Marketplace: https://marketplace.windriver.com/index.php?bsp&on=locate&type=platform

The Eclipse-based Workbench IDE that comes with VxWorks is used to configure, analyze, optimize, and debug a VxWorks-based system under development.[23] The Tornado IDE was used for VxWorks 5.x[24] and was replaced by the Eclipse-based Workbench IDE for VxWorks 6.x. and later.[22] Workbench is also the IDE for the Wind River Linux,[25] On-Chip Debugging,[26] and Wind River Diab Compiler product lines. VxWorks 7 uses Wind River Workbench 4[27] which updates to the Eclipse 4 base provide full third party plug-in support and usability improvements.

Wind River Simics[28][29] is a standalone simulation tool compatible with VxWorks. It simulates the full target system (hardware and software) to create a shared platform for software development. Multiple developers can share a complete virtual system and its entire state, including execution history. Simics enables early and continuous system integration and faster prototyping by utilizing virtual prototypes instead of physical prototypes.[30]

Notable uses

VxWorks is used by products over a wide range of market areas: aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial such as robots, consumer electronics, medical area and networking.[7] Several notable products also use VxWorks as the onboard operating system.[31]

Aerospace and defense



Space telescopes


Consumer electronics


Industrial robots
Test and Measurement
Storage systems
  • GrandMA Full-Size and Light Console by MA Lighting[81]


Networking and communication infrastructure

TCP vulnerability

As of July 2019, a paper published by Armis[110] exposed 11 critical vulnerabilities including remote code execution, denial of service, information leaks, and logical flaws impacting more than 2 billion[111] devices which use the VxWorks RTOS. The findings are significant since this system is in use by quite a few mission-critical products. This YouTube video from Armis[112] shows how an attacker can tunnel into an internal network using the vulnerability and hack into printers, laptops, and any other connected devices. The vulnerability can bypass firewalls as well.[113]


  1. "VxWorks Goes 64-bit", Electronic Design, March 25, 2011
  2. Wind River Expands Hardware Support for VxWorks, Bloomberg News at bloomberg.com, March 24, 2010
  3. "Wind River Announces RISC-V Support for VxWorks RTOS". www.businesswire.com. December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  4. RTOS Handles AMP and SMP, electronic design, March 2009
  5. John Rath (February 2014). "Intel Adds Virtualization Platform for Industrial Systems".
  6. Embedded Star Article, February 2011
  7. Wind River reinvents real-time system for the Internet of Things, iTERS news, March 2014
  8. "VxWorks 7 Announced". harmonicss.co.uk. 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  9. Wind River Reinvents the RTOS for the IoT, Business Wire, February 2014
  10. Jackson, Joab (2014). "Wind River outfits VxWorks for 'Internet of things' | ITworld". itworld.com. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  11. "Embedded Systems Glossary: V". www.netrino.com. Netrino, LLC. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  12. "SEC filing". Secinfo.com. January 19, 1996. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  13. Lord of the Toasters, Wired (magazine) interview with Jerry Fiddler, September 1998
  14. Company Histories, Funding Universe
  15. Wind River Outfits VxWorks for the Internet of Things, Computer World
  16. "Wind River Releases 64-Bit VxWorks RTOS". Windriver.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  17. POSIX Certification Register
  18. Filesystems in VxWorks, CDF online, Fermi Labs
  19. Wind River Reinvents the Real-Time Operating System for the Internet of Things Windriver.com,
  20. Intel Tackles SoC With Quark"' EE Times, October 7, 2013
  21. "how to configure woflssl for vxworks 6.6 build (Page 1) — wolfSSL (formerly CyaSSL) — wolfSSL - Embedded SSL Library". www.wolfssl.com. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  22. Workbench Product Note
  23. Wind River reinvents the RTOS for the IoT, Business Wire
  24. "Wind River VxWorks 5.x Page". Windriver.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  25. "Wind River Linux Main Page". Windriver.com. March 29, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  26. "Wind River OCD Main Page". Windriver.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  27. "VxWorks Gets Re-vamped" Information Technology
  28. Simics, Wikipedia
  29. Wind River Simics
  30. Accelerate Software Development with Wind River Simics, Intel webpage
  31. VxWorks customer list
  32. ExtremeTech news
  33. "Wind River's VxWorks Powers Mars Science Laboratory Rover, Curiosity". Virtual Strategy Magazine. August 6, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  34. Clementine Project Information Page
  35. The Software Behind the Mars Phoenix Lander
  36. ExtremeTech article
  37. "Wind River Powers Mars Exploration Rovers--Continues Legacy as Technology Provider for NASA's Space Exploration". Wind River Systems. June 6, 2003. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  38. Dragon Lab Fact Sheet
  39. Bullseye: Autonomous Satellite Enters Jupiter’s Orbit
  40. AgustaWestland Project Zero
  41. the US Navy’s unmanned combat air system X-47B, YouTube video
  42. Verocel webpage
  43. The Free Library, Farlex
  44. http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/rq-170-sentinel/ Airforce-Technology.com
  45. https://act-on.ioactive.com/acton/attachment/34793/f-cd239504-44e6-42ab-85ce-91087de817d9/1/-/-/-/-/Arm-IDA%20and%20Cross%20Check%3A%20Reversing%20the%20787's%20Core%20Network.pdf
  46. PTR Group celebrates third successful launch of the year, PTR GRoup webpage
  47. James Webb Space Telescope, SPIEL Digital Library
  48. Case Study: European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System
  49. TacNet Tracker Software, ESTSC
  50. Flexible camera applications of an advanced uncooled microbolometer thermal imaging core, SPIE Digital Library
  51. Barco Selects Wind River for Military Display and Management, Bloomberg
  52. Wind River: Toshiba is using Simics to develop automotive application software, Embedded Control Europe
  53. Wind River Helps Bosch Motorsport Race For The Win, Globe and Mail
  54. Wind River delivers Android expertise to Clarion AX1 automotive IVI device, Motor Control Design
  55. Hyundia works with Wind River, Telematics News
  56. Magneti Marell i Motorsport Chooses Wind River VxWorks for Formula One Race Cars, HighBeam Research
  57. The Network on Wheels -- Java Developers, Start Your Programming Engines!,Oracle
  58. Drobo In depth review, Automated Home
  59. Honda Robots Asimo, Robotics Technology Simplified
  60. Motorola's DCT2500 Core Interactive Digital Set-Tops Deployed With Wind River Software, BrightRoll news webpage
  61. As a Case Study of WindRiver: introduce MobbyTalk/MobbyTalk253, Mobile Technika
  62. MythTv on ReplayTv hardware?, Don Ritter
  63. "ABB Robotics and vxworks". Abb.com. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  64. Comau Robotics Picks Wind River VxWorks for RTOS, TMCnet.com
  65. KUKA Video, YouTube
  66. COPALP webpage
  67. Yaskawa, Motoman Strategic Partners
  68. Comau Robotics Picks Wind River VxWorks for RTOS, TMCnet
  69. Re-engineering at LeCroy Corporation: the move to component-based systems, Journal of Information Technology (2007) 22
  70. Hexagon Metrology Standardizes on Wind River’s VxWorks for Next-Generation Metrology Equipment, Bloomberg.com
  71. Leading Chinese Transportation Company Relies on Wind River to Meet Stringent Safety Certification Goal, On-line Wall Street Journal
  72. Bombardier Transportation Selects Wind River Platforms for Safety Critical Certified Display on London Underground, Online UK Reuters
  73. Wind Power Automation Leader Bachmann Relies On Wind River VxWorks For Next-Generation Controller System, Globe and mail
  74. Invensys acquisition: “Now, it is up to how well we execute.”, The Instrument Readout SignPost
  75. National Instruments Support Page
  76. Mitsubishi Electric's C Controller, RealTime Logic
  77. EPICS base Release 3.14 Installation Instructions
  78. Bosch Rexroth YouTube video
  79. iBox user guide Page 8-41
  80. Toshiba Photocopiers
  81. GrandMA Full-Size Data Sheet
  82. "Wind River Introduces Software Platform for Medical Devices Complete with Compliance Documentation".
  83. Olympus ESG-400 high-frequency surgical generator
  84. BD FACSCount article
  85. Thema process control article
  86. CEREC Chairside Solutions
  87. Arkoon selects Wind River for nextgen equipment, Highbeam Business
  88. Ubee-Airwalk uses Wind River's VxWorks in femotcell,Telecompaper
  89. Kontron AG e-newswire
  90. QQTechnologies goes Global with VxWorks, Datsheets 360
  91. Stubbs, Jack (August 5, 2018). "Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm's software". Reuters U.K.
  92. Broadlight Client page
  93. Sky Pilot Command Line Interface Reference document
  94. Wind River delivers Raptor with VxWorks Platform, ETT Asia news
  95. Siemens deploys 2.5G Wireless Data Platform, 3G Newsletter
  96. FlexiPacket Release Note
  97. Oracle acme support page
  98. Avaya ERS 8600 Wikipedia
  99. Dell PowerConnect, Wikipedia page
  100. Routing Protocol Operations Guide for SmartEdge
  101. Enhanced Security for Industrial Networks, Belden webpage
  102. VoIP Security webpage
  103. Multiservice Switch, Wikipedia
  104. Knowledge Base, Radware webpage
  105. "Samsung OfficeServ brochure" (PDF).
  106. Tim's IT-Blob: A deeper look on SonicWALL kernel
  107. Thuraya SO-2510 Satellite
  108. SANYO Multimedia Tottori Chooses RADVISION SIP Developer Toolkit to Build New IP Phone, Business Wire
  109. 3Com NBX Phone Systems, AdCom Technologies Inc.
  110. "Urgent/11 Critical Vulnerability" (PDF). Armis.
  111. "Critical Vulnerabilities Dubbed URGENT/11 Place Devices Running VxWorks at Risk of RCE Attacks". Tenable®. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  112. URGENT11 - Takeover of a Xerox Printer, retrieved July 31, 2019
  113. Gmuender, John (July 29, 2019). "Wind River VxWorks and URGENT/11: Patch Now". SonicWall. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.