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5 Operating Systems Making Big Waves This Week

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OS

It's been a busy week for operating systems (OSes). Here's a rundown of what happened and the implications.

1. QNX to Power BlackBerry Tablets

It's not often an embedded OS that controls Las Vegas hotel fountains, car audio units and air traffic control systems makes the news, and this time last week you'd have been hard pressed to find more than a handful of people who had ever heard of QNX.

That is until Research in Motion announced it will be basing its BlackBerry Tablet OS on QNX, which it acquired earlier this year (and promptly made closed source). QNX will thus be at the heart of the highly specced BlackBerry PlayBook tablet aimed at enterprise users when it is released in 2011.

The QNX OS is a far cry from anything RIM has used in its BlackBerry mobile devices before: It's a POSIX OS based on a microkernel architecture, with device drivers, networking stack and file system all running in memory-protected user space. It also features an adaptive partitioning scheduling system, which has an effect similar to Windows SQL Server 2008's Resource Governor: It aims to guarantee applications a set percentage of processor resources, ensuring real-time applications keep running even when the OS is doing a significant amount of multitasking.

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