ITRON Newsletter No.31 (HTML Edition)

ITRON Technical Committee, TRON Association
Katsuta Building 5F, 3-39, Mita 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108, JAPAN
TEL: (03) 3454-3191    FAX: (03) 3454-3224

ITRON Newsletter Marks Five Years of Publication
Ken Sakamura,
TRON Project Leader

The ITRON subproject was the first TRON subproject to be started, back when the TRON Project began over a decade ago. In this sense, the story of ITRON is the story of the TRON Project itself.

Thankfully, the ITRON subproject has benefited from the tireless efforts of many people, who have worked on the specifications, releasing them to the public and setting up validation testing, holding open seminars, releasing source code, and issuing this Newsletter. The ITRON specifications have been adopted by numerous companies in Japan and overseas. It is used in a wide range of products, from VCRs and digital cameras to air conditioners, communications equipment, synthesizers, and automotive components. Today ITRON enjoys the stature of a de facto worldwide standard for embedded real-time operating systems. And now ITRON is being merged with Java and other open architectures, a trend that is attracting great interest. All of us in the TRON Project deeply appreciate the work that has been devoted to ITRON up to now, and we look forward to continuing support and cooperation toward its further growth.

Looking Back on Five Years of the ITRON Newsletter
Kiichiro Tamaru,
Chairman, ITRON Technical Committee

The first issue of this Newsletter came out in April 1993. The present issue is the 31st to date, as we enter the sixth year of publication. Over the past five years, the Newsletter has been issued without fail at a bimonthly pace, thanks to the fine support of everyone associated with the ITRON subproject. For this we offer our warm gratitude.

The ITRON project itself, which began at the same time as the TRON Project in 1984, has now been in existence for 14 years. The TRON Association has been around for ten years. Since the first ITRON specification was released in 1987, semiconductor technology has made considerable strides. The ITRON specification underwent two major revisions, in 1989 and again in 1993, to bring it up to date with these advances. During this time a major effort has also been devoted toward the wide acceptance of this specification. As a result, the ITRON specification has established itself as an industry standard in Japan, and is gradually making inroads overseas as well.

Nonetheless, an enormous effort and long time are required to build an OS specification and win its acceptance as a worldwide standard. The ITRON Technical Committee, at the same time as it works toward the global spread of the ITRON specifications, aims to meet the new demands that keep arising. New standardization activities were carried out last year in response to the latest trends in embedded system technology, and this year we intend to offer the results to the public, starting with the µITRON4.0 specification. We ask for your on-going support of the ITRON project.

About the ITRON Newsletter

The ITRON Technical Committee issues this Newsletter bimonthly as a way of disseminating information about the ITRON project and the work of the ITRON Technical Committee. Additions and corrections to the ITRON specifications are posted here, as are corrections to publications issued by the Committee. The Newsletter is also used to introduce products related to the ITRON specifications, publications, articles and papers concerning ITRON topics, and events such as trade fairs and seminars.

The ITRON Newsletter appears in the Japanese-language magazine TRONWARE and in the TRON Project Journal. It can be read also on the Internet by anyone accessing the ITRON Web site. Those wishing to contribute an article for the Newsletter are invited to contact the ITRON Technical Committee. In addition, the Committee welcomes your questions, comments and wishes regarding the ITRON subproject.

The ITRON Technical Committee Members

The ITRON Technical Committee as of February 1, 1998 consists of the member firms shown in the table. As the membership grows, we plan to keep this list updated in the Newsletter.

ITRON Technical Committee Members
Committee Members (alphabetical order)
Oki Electric Industry Co.,Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NEC Corporation

Universities and Research Institutes
Sakamura Labolatory, Univ. of Tokyo
Takada Laboratory, Toyohashi Univ. of Technology
Observer Members (alphabetical order)
Aplix Corporation
Metrowerks Co., Ltd.
Mentor Graphics Japan Co., Ltd.
Nihon Cygnus Solutions
Seiko Instruments Inc.
Sony Corporation
YAMAHA Corporation

TRON Association

Announcing the ITRON Open Seminar for 1998

This year's annual ITRON Open Seminar will be held on Wednesday, July 15, at Arcadia Ichigaya, Tokyo. The program is still being planned at this writing, but will likely include an overview of the µITRON4.0 specification, a panel discussion, ITRON-related product presentations and application case studies, and an address by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura. Further details on the program and how to register will be announced later. We look forward to another large turnout this year.

Committee Formed to Draft µITRON4.0 Specification

During fiscal year 1997 the ITRON Technical Committee, through the work of groups such as the ITRON Hard Real-time Support Study Group, the RTOS Automotive Application Technical Committee, and the Java Technology on ITRON-specification OS Technical Committee, has been clarifying the requirements for the next-generation µITRON4.0 specification. 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 drafting the µITRON4.0 specification, starting in April 1998.

The new Study Group will carry out its work in four working groups. The Kernel Specification WG will be responsible for writing the µITRON4.0 specification in a period of about six months, building on the work of the groups noted above. The Debugging Interface Specification WG, Application Design Guidelines WG, and Device Driver Design Guidelines WG will each prepare guidelines on their respective themes.

The ITRON Technical Committee welcomes the participation of real-time OS and embedded systems engineers willing to contribute actively toward this project. Details on how to participate are given on the ITRON Web site.

Promoting JTRON Specification Standardization

The JTRON specification, defining interfaces for implementing a Java runtime environment on an ITRON-specification OS, was released at TRONSHOW '97 held in December 1997. Work on this specification was originally carried out mainly in the University of Tokyo Sakamura Laboratory, but further standardization is now the responsibility of the Java Technology on ITRON-specification OS Technical Committee. This committee plans to complete its work by the end of the 1997 fiscal year and to release a version 2 of the JTRON specification, which will incorporate the current specification.

Lecture at ESS'98 System LSI Solution Fair

The Conference portion of this year's Embedded System Solutions trade fair, to be held from April 14 through 17 (Tue.-Fri.) at the Tokyo Ryutsu Center as the System LSI Solution Fair'98 (sponsored by the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association), will feature a presentation introducing the latest developments in the ITRON project. Further details are given on the ITRON Web site.

ITRON-specification Product Registration Update

The product listed in the table was newly registered as an ITRON-specification product since the last issue of this Newsletter and before February 1, 1998. Since these products implement the µITRON3.0 specification, a comparison with the µITRON3.0 compatibility checksheets can be viewed at the ITRON Web site. The most up-to-date list of registered products is available from here.

Newly Registered Products (Dec. 1, 1997 - Feb. 1, 1998)
Specification Product Name Processor Company
µITRON3.0 HI7000 SH-1, SH-2 Series Hitachi, Ltd.
HI7400 SH2-DSP Series Hitachi, Ltd.
HI7700 SH-3 Series Hitachi, Ltd.
* Some registered products are not supported outside Japan.
* The product name is valid only in Japan.

ITRON-related Publications

Listed in the table are the publications prepared and issued by the ITRON Technical Committee as of February 1, 1998. They are available from the publishers indicated.

The revised edition of the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook includes the latest version of the µITRON3.0 specification (Ver.3.02.02). Changes made between the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook Ver.3.00.00 and Ver.3.02.00 are listed in the ITRON Standard Guidebook 2. The changes from Ver.3.02.00 to Ver.3.02.02 are limited to organizational changes and additional explanations; they do not affect the technical specifications themselves.

The ITRON-µITRON Standard Handbook is a one-volume compilation of µITRON2.0 and ITRON2 specifications. The ITRON Standard Guidebook 2 deals primarily with µITRON3.0. The earlier ITRON Standard Guidebook '92-'93 remains as a valuable reference for use with the µITRON (Ver.2.0) and ITRON2 specifications, even though the dates in its title are now past.

ITRON-related Publications
Name Type Price Publisher Issued ISBN No.
ITRON-µITRON Standard Handbook Specification (Jap.) 4,800Yen Personal Media Corp. 1990 ISBN4-89362-079-7
µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook, Revised Edition Specification (Jap.) 4,000Yen Personal Media Corp. 1997 ISBN4-89362-154-8
ITRON Standard Guidebook '92-'93 Reference work (Jap.) 3,500Yen Personal Media Corp. 1992 ISBN4-89362-197-6
ITRON Standard Guidebook 2 Reference work (Jap.) 3,500Yen Personal Media Corp. 1994 ISBN4-89362-133-5
µITRON Specification Ver Specification (Eng.) 12,000Yen TRON Association 1989 -
ITRON2 Specification Ver Specification (Eng.) 15,000Yen TRON Association 1990 -
µITRON3.0 Specification Ver 3.02.00 Specification (Eng.) - TRON Association 1994 -
µITRON3.0: An Open and Portable Real-Time Operating System for Embedded Systems Specification (Eng.) $40.00 IEEE CS Press 1998 ISBN0-8186-7795-3
* Prices do not include consumption tax.
* The documents are available to TRON Association members at a special discount rate.
* English-language specifications can be downloaded free of charge from here.

JTRON Presentations Given at 100% Pure Java Day

Presentations on JTRON were given at the 100% Pure Java Day event sponsored by Japan Sun Microsystems recently. The event took place on February 4 and 5 (Wed.-Thu.) at the Hotel New Otani Makuhari, located just east of Tokyo. The presenters outlined the JTRON specification, described the efforts of the Java Technology on ITRON-specification OS Technical Committee, and introduced JTRON implementation and application case studies.

The period from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 5 was set aside for the JTRON presentations. ITRON Technical Committee chairman Kiichiro Tamaru started off by giving an update on the ITRON project. He then outlined the current JTRON specification (version 1), and described what's in store for the Java Technology on ITRON-specification OS Technical Committee. Next, Akihiro Yoshida of Aplix Corporation outlined the Aplix JBlend OS, a commercial implementation of the JTRON specification, along with a product code-named Blue Mountain which his company co-developed with PFU Limited. The latter is an IrDA palmtop computer running on JBlend. The 300-seat hall was filled to capacity by an enthusiastic crowd, which participated actively in the Q&A sessions.

New Products

Products recently registered with the TRON Association are introduced here.

HI7000, HI7400, HI7700
Hitachi, Ltd.

The HI7000, HI7400 and HI7700 real-time OS series implements the µITRON3.0 specification for Hitachi's original SuperH (TM) RISC engine family of 32-bit processors.

Supported microprocessors

HI7000 : SH-1, SH-2 CPU core
HI7400 : SH-DSP CPU core
HI7700 : SH-3 CPU core

What's included


  1. Conforms to the µITRON3.0 specification

    All level S and some level E functions of the µITRON3.0 specification are supported, as is dynamic object generation.

  2. Hitachi-original functions

    Automatic ID assignment, timeslice function, and a paging function using the MMU (HI7700 only) are among the extended functions supported beyond the µITRON specification.

  3. High performance

    Fast task switching time of 7 microseconds is achieved.

    Measurement conditions:
    The time from wup_tsk system call issuing to the HI7400 OS until switching to the other task is accomplished.
    The SH7410 processor running at 60 MHz and using on-chip memory.

  4. Multitasking debugger

    A multitasking debugger is available for use with Hitachi's in-circuit emulator. The debugger supports OS resource lookin, system call issuing, system call history display and other functions.

  5. Third-party support

    A wide range of support is available from other vendors, including debuggers, communication and file drivers, Java, and custom support.

For more information, contact:

Hitachi, Ltd. Semiconductor & IC Division
Nippon Bldg., 2-6-2, Ohtemachi,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan

Related Products

Here we look briefly at some ITRON-related development tools and software components made available recently.

ITRON-related products
Hiroshi Fukutomi, Advanced Data Controls

1. Introduction

Advanced Data Controls is the Japanese distributor for the embedded program development tools of Green Hills Software, a U.S. company. These include program builders, compilers (C, C++, Embedded C++), assemblers, linkers, debuggers and various utilities, supporting nearly all the popular 32/16-bit embedded RISC processors.

Available for debugging support are an instruction set simulator running on the host computer, a monitor running on the target board, and various in-circuit emulators.

The use of a real-time OS on RISC-based target environments is no longer unusual, and commercial RTOS use in particular is growing more common these days. In Japan, the popularity of µITRON-specification OSs is especially high, and for this reason we at Advanced Data Controls have begun supporting this OS on our own.

2. Compiler support

Among our firm's compilers, today only C compiler support is available for use in developing µITRON-specification OS applications; but this support extends to µITRON-specification OSs for the NEC V800 and Vr Series, the Toshiba TX39 Series, the Hitachi SH Series, and the Fujitsu Sparclite and FR Series. In addition, we are preparing to offer support for C++ (or Embedded C++) compiling.

3. Debugger support

As a language-tool provider, we offer highly distinctive debugging tools for the µITRON-specification OS.

Most debuggers for real-time OS use do little more than list the kernel internal states and task transition states. This alone, however, is inadequate for (logical) debugging of individual tasks. Believing that source-level debugging ought to be supported equally in both RTOS and non-RTOS environments, our RTOS debugging environment provides separate source windows for each task, in which ordinary debugging (go, step, memory lookin, etc.) can be carried out.

Naturally, our debugging tools for the µITRON-specification OS also support individual task windows. Task-level debugging means that even when a task goes to WAIT state as a result of source-level single-step execution, the source list does not change to another part. When the task goes back to RUN state, the single-step execution is over and the corresponding source is displayed. In addition to task-level debugging, our debugging tools support object dump, system call execution from the host, system call and interrupt trace and other such functions.

This debugging environment is available for essentially all the same µITRON-specification OSs for which we offer compiler support. In some cases, however, a particular ICE may be required as a runtime environment. Please contact regarding the specific sets of tools available.

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.50 and TRON PROJECT JOURNAL No.50.

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