March 13, 1998
ITRON Technical Committee, TRON Association

Announcement and Invitation to Participate
The µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group

Since late 1996, the ITRON Technical Committee of the TRON Association has been making preparations for drafting the next-generation ITRON real-time kernel specification. Through the work of groups such as the ITRON Hard Real-time Support Study Group, the Embedded TCP/IP Technical Committee, the RTOS Automotive Application Technical Committee, and the Java Technology on ITRON-specification OS Technical Committee, the requirements for the new specification were clarified and proposals for specific studies were considered. Now that the results of each of these parallel efforts have emerged, the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group has been formed to begin the actual work of drawing up the µITRON4.0 specification, as the next-generation ITRON real-time kernel specification.

The existing µITRON specifications adopt a policy of loose standardization, enabling full advantage to be taken of the performance potential in hardware. The tradeoff is less portability of application software and software components than would result from tighter specifications. The µITRON4.0 specification will aim for improved software portability, while also making necessary provision for implementing the JTRON specification, by defining a standard profile with a higher level of standardization than is provided by the current µITRON specification. Functions that are too large for the standard profile, such as hard real-time support functions, are to be defined as extended functions. In addition, smaller-scale profiles will be defined for application to fields that require high performance under strict resource constraints, such as automotive control, to which real-time OS application is considered difficult.

The µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group, besides working on real-time kernel specifications, will draw up standards for the interfaces between the kernel and debugging tools (debugger, in-circuit emulator, logic analyzer, etc.). Such standards will eliminate the need for debugging tool vendors to provide separate support for each µITRON-specification kernel, resulting in quicker development and lower cost. Kernel vendors, meanwhile, will enjoy a better selection of debugging tools; and users will benefit greatly as well. One more aim of the study group will be to create guidelines on designing application systems and device drivers using a µITRON4.0-specification real-time kernel.

To cover the above research themes, the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group will have four working groups in charge of drawing up the specifications and guidelines. These are the Kernel Specification WG, Debugging Interface Specification WG, Application Design Guidelines WG, and Device Driver Design Guidelines WG. The work of each WG will proceed around meetings held roughly once a month, augmented by discussions carried on by electronic mail. The goal is to come up with a new kernel specification in approximately six months.

Although the discussions in the monthly meetings and email will take place in Japanese, international meetings are also being planned, to coincide with overseas trade fairs and similar events.

In keeping with a basic TRON Project policy, the results produced by this study group will all be made available as open specifications, which anyone can implement freely, including for commercial use.

The ITRON Technical Committee welcomes participation by embedded systems engineers willing to contribute actively to the study group work. There is no fee for membership in the study group, but contributing actively to the group's activities is a condition for participation. Those wishing to participate are requested to fill out the application form attached to the Japanese version of this announcement and submit it by email.

The first meeting of the study group will be held April 22, as outlined below. All participants are urged to attend. At this meeting, the ITRON Technical Committee will explain the objectives of each WG and how their work will proceed, while soliciting the views of participants.

First Study Group Meeting
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 1998; 10:00 a.m. to noon
Place: Mielparque Tokyo (Yubin Chokin Kaikan), 6th floor (room: Shien)
Shiba Koen 2-5-20, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105
TEL: 03-3433-7211

Following that meeting, the Kernel Specification WG will hold its first meeting in the same room that afternoon, as outlined below. The purpose of this meeting will be first of all to introduce the results of studies to date by each of the study groups and committees; then the actual work on the specification will begin.

First Kernel Specification WG Meeting
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 1998; 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Place: Mielparque Tokyo (Yubin Chokin Kaikan), 6th floor (room: Shien)
Shiba Koen 2-5-20, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105
TEL: 03-3433-7211
  • Study results to date
  • Study of the µITRON4.0 real-time kernel specification

Please contact:
Hiroaki Takada (Manager, ITRON Technical Committee)
Toyohashi Univ. of Technology
TEL: +81-532-44-6752
FAX: +81-532-44-6781

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