Smart Card Operating Systems

Smart Card Operating Systems

The smallest operating systems run on smart cards, which are credit cardsized devices containing a CPU chip. They have very severe processing power and memory limitations. Some are powered by contacts in the reader into which they are inserted, but contactless smart cards are inductively powered, which greatly limits what they can do. Some of them can handle only a single function, such as electronic payments, but others are able to handle multiple functions on the same smart card. Often these are proprietary systems. Some smart cards are Java oriented. What this means is that the ROM on the smart card holds an interpreter for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Java applets (small programs) are downloaded to the card and are interpreted by the JVM interpreter. Some of these cards can handle multiple Java applets at the same time, leading to multiprogramming and the need to schedule them. Resource management and protection also become an issue when two or more applets are present at the same time. These issues must be handled by the (usually extremely primitive) operating system present on the card.



Tags

multiprogramming, smart card, memory