General-purpose computers are increasingly being used for serious control applications, due to their prevalence, low cost and high performance. Real-time operating systems are available for PCs that overcome the nondeterminism inherent in desktop operating systems. Depending on the timing requirements, however, many users can get by with a non-real-time operating system. This paper discusses timing techniques applicable to non-real-time operating systems, using Linux as an example, and compares them with the performance that can be obtained with true real-time OSes.

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