The Taos VP Operating System
This document gives the reader an overview of the most exciting and
important software product in the world, including some comments
from the Press, a features list, contact points and an explanation
of the advantages Taos brings to its initial target markets within
the telecommunications and multimedia market-place.
If you have any questions relating to the product, send them to the
e-mail addresses provided below.
Enjoy the read!
What The Press Says About The Only Software Product That Provides A Strategy For Convergence In Multimedia & Telecommunications
Winner of the Gold Award for IT Innovation, - The Computing Awards
for Excellence 1994
"The most sophisticated piece of software engineering the world
has yet seen." - Computing
Taos VP "could be at the center of a revolution in computing."
- Electronic Times
Taos VP, "a radically different, object-oriented parallel operating
system." - Byte
"A new operating system that could change the world." - Edge
Taos VP: "The Parallel, Object-Oriented Operating System The World
Is Waiting For." - Computergram
Taos VP "is undoubtedly a radical advance." - Edge
"The future may well be Taos [VP]." - Acorn User
"By far the most radical aspect of Taos [VP] is its hardware
independence." - Byte
"The Taos [VP] Operating System is a breakthrough in open software."
"Everyone wants a microkernel now, but Taos [VP] is already a
nanokernel system." - Byte
"Taligent promises objects from the ground up with dynamic binding;
Taos [VP] has had them from the start." - Byte
"This ingenious software could have huge ramifications for the
entire computer and videogame industry." - Edge
The most immediately striking attribute of Taos [VP] is its blazing
graphics speed." - Byte
- Truly Portable Code with no need to recompile programs to run on any Taos
- Exceptional performance efficiency
- Taos VP code is translated - Taos VP is not interpreted
- Endian Independent
- Language Independent
- Truly Object Oriented Re-usable tools
- Dynamic Binding
- User-Specified Kernel
- Network Development
- Asynchronous Messaging
- Parallel Systems from one processor upwards with no practical limit to the
number in a network
- Heterogeneous Processing (Total Open Computing)
- Dynamic Downloading of Tools
- High Level Libraries
- Authoring Tools
A Selection Of Processor Architectures Supported By Taos VP Today
- Intel 80x86/Pentium
- Motorola PowerPC
- Advanced Risc Machines ARM
- Hitachi SH
- MIPS R3XXX
- SGS THOMSON Microelectronics Transputer
- VP Resource Centers
- Training & Certification
- Consulting & Application Development
- Email Help Desk and Other Technical Services
- Comprehensive Courseware and Manuals
Why Taos VP Will Advance The New Generation of Multimedia and
The most over-used word in technology these days is 'Convergence'.
The different consumer and business markets are supposed to be moving
together. In some respects they are. But true convergence would mean
that there was a system of complete 'plug and play' with common
applications and interfaces available from the low-end embedded
products such as video camera's and printers, through to DVD's,
PDA's, set-top boxes and workstations right across to high end
products such as home networks and video servers. To achieve this
convergence, it would have to be able to run the same software very
fast, using minimal memory, across systems of dissimilar
architectures over any type of network. So the idea of 'convergence'
would appear to be an ideal rather than a practicality. But
appearances can be deceptive.
The Taos Operating System makes the idea of 'convergence' a reality.
It is truly binary portable, object oriented from the ground up and
it retains incredible efficiency both in terms of speed and memory.
The winner of the 1994 Gold Award for IT Innovation at the "Computing
Awards for Excellence", Taos is important because it takes away the
barriers that have delayed consumer electronics companies from
designing and manufacturing powerful, low-cost, modular, flexible,
integrated, networked products. Taos provides a cohesive 'strategy'
for multimedia and telecommunications.
So Taos is clearly a major breakthrough. The reason Taos is far ahead
of other operating system technologies is not because of one
particular feature. It is because Taos is a combination of so many
carefully thought out ideas implemented by highly experienced
world-class video games and telecomms software engineers that it is
becoming the accepted Solution.
Below is a selection of some of the critical features of the Taos
- CPU Independence
Taos is binary portable. This means that the same executables will
run on different CPU architectures. For example, a user can run an
application on a Pentium(TM)-based system and then run the identical
application, without re-compilation on a Power PC(TM)-based product.
The binary portability is achieved by use of a Virtual Processor
model which is translated to target native code during load time or
run time. Standard data types supported include 8-bit, 16-bit,
32-bit, 64-bit integer operations and 32-bit, 64-bit IEEE Floating
Point with the capability of adding further extensions in the future
while retaining complete backward compatibility. It is possible to
create a translator for any type of CPU, be that a microprocessor, a
microcontroller, or DSPs.
- Endianness Independence
Taos runs equally effectively on little and big endian processors
while presenting a consistent model to the programmer. All code and
data, including disk files or network communicated data, can be moved
transparently from a little endian processor system to a big endian
processor system or vice versa without any endian conversion process
or data exchange protocol needed and without any performance
- Language Independence
All compilers (for example, Basic and C) produce VP Code [Virtual
Processor] binary or source. Programmers do not need to learn any new
language in order to take advantage of the portability.
- Object Oriented
Taos consists of thousands of very small, modular re-usable tools,
object based from the ground up, not just at high level language.
Tools are typically between 100 and 200 bytes in size.
- Dynamic Binding
Individual tools are bound during run time or during load time in a
programmer selectable manner. This Dynamic Binding extends throughout
the entire system, including the core operating system functions and
All tools are shared between applications. Only one copy of any
particular tool is in memory at any time regardless of the number or
types of applications using it.
- System Footprint
Taos is extremely compact. Its footprint is driven by the
application, not by the operating system.
- Performance Efficiency
Performance approaches CPU native code hand-written applications. The
Taos VP is not an interpreted intermediate code. Unlike interpreted
systems, which are inherently slow, the unique translation process
used for Taos is incredibly fast.
- Memory Efficiency
A combination of the dynamic binding, the object oriented nature of
the system, the tool multithreading and the application-driven system
footprint make Taos the most memory efficient operating system.
- Application Driven Kernel
The kernel is as small as applications require due to the dynamic
binding extending from the ground up. The program gets what it needs
and nothing else. Small embedded systems may only require 2-4Kb,
workstation applications may require 10-20Kb. The full workstation
kernel on an Intel(TM) Personal Computer (10Kb) performs memory
handling, process scheduling creation, task switching, messaging,
object handling, caching, global name space management and interrupt
- User Specified Kernel
The vendor can choose which tools are to be resident in the system
boot image. These tools are then always resident at boot time and
need no further binding or translation during run time. This
custom-created boot image may extend to the entire application and
all dependent operating system and library tools, in other words, an
entire embedded application.
- Custom Hardware Independence
Dynamic binding of tools allows support of platform-specific custom
silicon, transparent to the programmer. The Dynamic Binding process
uses native or custom tools in a preferred order. In the circumstance
where no native or custom tools are found, the VP version will be
translated and used. This is particularly useful in supporting custom
acceleration hardware, for example, mathematics co-processors and
graphics accelerators. This enables hardware manufacturers to create
value-added tools for specific platforms and to differentiate
themselves in their market.
- Network Independence
Taos presents a simple, efficient communication model for the
programmer which is independent of the underlying network technology.
- Inherent Parallelism
Taos' object based, multi-process, message passing architecture
promotes automatic parallelism. It uses a masterless network
technology that can be implemented on shared memory and local memory
(or mixed) architectures. A single Taos system can comprise anything
from a single processor up to millions of processors without need for
- Heterogeneous Processing
Taos runs applications efficiently across parallel networks of
dissimilar processors. This is known as 'Total Open Computing'.
Parallel applications can be created for Taos that exist as
shrink-wrapped products that transparently take advantage of a user's
system, regardless of the number, type, mix or connectivity of the
- Dynamic Downloading Of Tools
Using the Taos dynamic binding allows application tools to be bound
during execution from a server object, such as ROM, Flash ROM or
embedded ROM, disk media, network server or satellite. This means
that applications do not need to be resident in a device being
operated by the user; they can be bound across the network in a
demand-driven manner. Service providers can upgrade, enhance or
provide new services without recalling or refitting their users'
So Taos has everything a developer, a manufacturer or a consumer
would require in an operating system for the converging markets of
multimedia and telecommunications. Its patent pending techniques put
it at the forefront of global technology, both at a technical and a
commercial level. The Taos Operating System has laid the foundation
for the future.
- Formal Description Language
A Z-based formal description version of the Virtual Processor Op
Codes is being developed as part of an extensive formal analysis and
verification project exercise. This guarantees identical behavioural
characteristics of all translators across dissimilar architectures.
Once an application is approved on any Taos platform, this approval
will carry across to any other Taos platform, even if the new
platform has a different CPU!
All trademarks acknowledged.
Copyright © 1996 Tao Systems Limited. All Rights Reserved.
Tao Systems Corporation
9891 Broken Land Parkway
Phone: +1 (410) 290 8825
Fax: +1 (410) 381 6709
Tao Systems Limited
46 London Street
Reading RG1 4SQ
Phone: +44 (1734) 569965
Fax: +44 (1734) 596500