Difference between RTOS and GPOS

An operating system is a computer program that manages computer hardware and performs all basic tasks such as file management, process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, etc.

Based on the purpose RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) and GPOS (General Purpose Operating System) are two different types of operating systems. In this article, we discuss RTOS and GPOS and the differences between them.

Real-Time Operating System

RTOS is a type of operating system which is designed to run an application with very precise timing and a very high degree of reliability. A real-time OS process data as it comes without buffer delay. Its processing must be done within the well-defined fixed time constraints otherwise the system will fail.

In RTOS scheduling is always priority-based. Most of them use preemptive scheduling which is based on priority level.

FreeRTOS, Zephyr, VxWorks, QNX, etc are some examples of real-time operating systems.

General Purpose Operating System

GPOS is a type of operating system which is designed to perform general tasks that are not time-critical. For example, creating documents in MS office, playing music or videos, etc.

Scheduling in these systems is not always priority-based. A process with less priority can be executed first. Task scheduler uses fairness policy which enables the overall high throughput but offers no guarantee that high priority tasks will be executed first.

The example of GPOS includes Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc.

RTOS vs GPOS: The Key Differences

The following table shows the major differences between RTOS and GPOS.

Scheduling is always based on priorityIt has a fair scheduling which can be adjusted dynamically for optimized throughput
Predictable time responseResponse time not guaranteed
Kernel is preemptive either completely or up to maximum degreeKernel is non-preemptive or has long non-preemptive code section
Priority inversion is a major issuePriority inversion usually unnoticed
It works under worst case assumptionIt optimizes for average case
It does not have large memoryIt comparatively has large memory
Used in embedded computingUsed in PC, servers, tablets and mobile phones


You have seen the differences between RTOS and GPOS in the given discussion. Now if you have a query or feedback then write us in the comments below.

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