By Timothy Prickett Morgan
5th December 2008
The military has always had better security than we can get on our
computers, and Green Hills Software, a provider of a real-time, secure
operating system called Integrity, wants to change that. To that end,
the company has spun its Integrity operating system into a wholly owned
subsidiary called Integrity Global Security and has set it loose with
the job of becoming a kind of security abstraction layer for Windows,
Linux, and Solaris guest operating systems on x64 iron.
David Chandler, who was vice president of sales of Green Hills and
helped push the company up above $100m in sales, has been tapped as
chief executive officer of the new unit, which is going to try to take
Integrity mainstream. Thus far, Integrity has been used mainly in
embedded systems and usually in military equipment. Chandler concedes
that Green Hills came late to the embedded systems market, but with more
than $100m in sales and profits to boot, the company is doing as well as
its peers, who do not generally focus on security as their driving
Green Hills was founded in 1982 by Dan O'Dowd, but didn't get into the
operating system business for the embedded market until the mid-1990s.
The Integrity operating system was announced in 1997 and was significant
at the time because it allowed multiple applications to run in a secure
and predicable way on a single processor because its "secure separation
architecture" was created from the ground up to guarantee specific CPU
resources to multiple applications and to rank which applications get
priority over others.
This is kind of important in a weapons system, which is why Lockheed
Martin chose the Integrity real-time OS for use in America's B1-B
bomber. The software is in use today in the F-16, F-22, and F-35
fighters deployed by the American military and is also used in the new
Airbus 380 and Boeing 787 commercial aircraft. The Integrity OS runs on
x86/x64, ARM, and PowerPC processors and has a POSIX interface, which
allows Unix apps to run on it. Integrity has its own native interface as
The Integrity OS is the first - and according to Chandler, the only -
operating system to be certified at the EAL 6+ security level by the
Common Criteria security rankings. "Integrity is for environments where
you expect hostile, repeated attempts to breach security," explains
Chandler. (You can see the Common Criteria certifications here  for
all kinds of software and appliances).
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