It is important to realize that when your organization has a fielded product based upon an older RTEMS release series, your customers are depending on you to rapidly fix problems. A support contract can easily pay for itself by saving your engineers time when they are stumped and need a question answered quickly.
The RTEMS Project follows standard free software practice and maintains the development source as well as the previous two release branches. For example, once the 4.8.0 release was made, the 4.6 release branch was closed and no further public releases from the 4.6 branch were made by the RTEMS Project. There should be no expectation of support from the open RTEMS Project as its focus moved on to newer releases. However, this does not mean that your project which standardized on an older RTEMS release cannot continue to receive updates with bug fixes.
OAR has long recognized that real-time embedded systems often have fielded lifespans which often far exceed a decade. We have designed our Legacy Support service to address the needs of these projects. After the public project has closed a release branch, OAR moves that release branch into legacy support mode. Those customers with Legacy Support agreements can report problems with the older software and receive fixes. Currently, this service is available for the following RTEMS branches:
- 4.6 Branch Legacy Support Information
- 4.7 Branch Legacy Support Information
- 4.8 Branch Legacy Support Information
When the open RTEMS Project drops support for an older release series, OAR uses the last public release as a baseline for future legacy support releases. When appropriate bug fixes are back ported and user reported issues are addressed. This provides a feature stable, long term supported solution for your project.