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At present, an increasing number of distributed control systems are based on platforms made up of conventional PCs running open-source real-time operating systems. Often, the need arises in these systems to have networked devices supporting synchronized operations. In this paper, an inexpensive solution is introduced, described, implemented and evaluated that relies on standard software and protocols such as RTAI, RTnet and IEEE 1588. The main goals of this architecture are reducing design and development costs, ensuring adequate synchronization accuracy, and easing the porting of control applications to different H/W and S/W configurations.