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RR11 - Preliminary assessment of Linux for safety related systems

The Linux operating system is in widespread use, and there is now interest in using Linux for safety related systems. Considers the availability and quality of evidence for the safety integrity of Linux. Defines three criteria for the suitability of an operating system for use in safety related applications: the operating system must be sufficiently well understood; that it must be suitable for the characteristics of the safety related application; and that it must be sufficiently reliable. Linux is then assessed against these criteria, and a framework for the hazard analysis of the interaction between applications and operating system is given. Concludes that Linux would be, in broad terms, suitable for use in many safety related applications with Safety integrity level (SIL) 1, SIL 2 integrity requirements, and that certification to SIL 3 would be possible. States it is not likely to be either suitable or certifiable for SIL 4 applications. Describes an outline programme for the work necessary to certify Linux to SIL 3

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Updated 2010-03-19