ITRON Newsletter No.36 (HTML Edition)

ITRON Technical Committee, TRON Association
Katsuta Building 5F, 3-39, Mita 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073, JAPAN
TEL: (03) 3454-3191    FAX: (03) 3454-3224

Table of Contents

Debugging Interface WG starts up work
ITRON-specification Product Registration Update
ITRON-related Publications
Report on ITRON International Meeting '98 and ESC Exhibit
Report on MST'98 and the ITRON Special Seminar
New Products
MR79 by Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems Corporation

Debugging Interface WG starts up work

The ITRON Technical Committee in April 1998 started the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group. Under it were formed three working groups, a Kernel Specification WG, Application Design Guidelines WG, and Device Driver Design Guidelines WG. They were joined somewhat later by the Debugging Interface Specification WG.

The objective of the Debugging Interface Specification WG is to standardize interfaces between a µITRON4.0-specification real-time kernel and debugging tools (debuggers, in-circuit emulators, logic analyzers, etc.). Such standards will eliminate the need for debugging tool vendors to provide separate support for each µITRON-specification kernel, shortening development time and reducing costs. For kernel vendors it will mean improved availability of a wide assortment of debugging tools, with large benefits for users as well.

After the initial meeting scheduled in February 1998, the working group is carrying on its discussions mainly through e-mail exchanges and is drawing up debugging interfaces.

The ITRON Technical Committee welcomes participation in both the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group and the working groups by embedded systems engineers who are willing to contribute actively to these efforts. There is no fee for participation, but active contribution to the studies is a requirement. See the ITRON Web site for details on how to take part.

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 up until December 1, 1998. The most up-to-date list of registered products is available from here.

Newly Registered Products (June 1, 1998 - Dec. 1, 1998)
Specification Product Name Processor Company
µITRON3.0 MR79 7900 Series Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems Corporation
* Some registered products are not supported outside Japan.
* The product name is valid only in Japan.

ITRON-related Publications

Listed below are the publications prepared and issued by the ITRON Technical Committee as of December 1, 1998. Each of the publications below can be obtained directly from the sources indicated.

The revised edition of the ITRON3.0 Standard Handbook incorporates Ver. 3.02.02 of the specification. Changes made since the earlier edition of the Standard Handbook (Ver. 3.00.00) as of Ver. 3.02.00 are given in the ITRON Standard Guidebook 2. Subsequent revisions as of Ver. 3.02.02 involve only organizational changes and additional explanations, not affecting the technical contents.

The ITRON-µITRON Standard Handbook is a one-volume compilation of µITRON (Ver. 2.0) and ITRON2 specifications. Printed editions are no longer available from Personal Media Corporation, but the entire contents are available in PDF format at the company's web site.

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.) (out of print) 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
ITRON TCP/IP API Specificaiton (Ver. 1.00.01) Specification (Jap.) - TRON Association 1998 -
JTRON2.0 Specification (Ver. 2.00.00) Specification (Jap.) - TRON Association 1998 -
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 U.S. IEEE CS Press 1998 ISBN0-8186-7795-3
* Prices do not include applicable taxes.
* The documents are available to TRON Association members at a special discount rate.
* Specifications issued by the TRON Association are available from the ITRON Web site.

Report on ITRON International Meeting '98 and ESC Exhibit

The ITRON Technical Committee had an exhibit in the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) held at the San Jose Convention Center from Sunday, November 1 through Thursday the 5th. We also took advantage of this occasion to hold the ITRON International Meeting '98 in a hotel near the trade show site.

The ITRON International Meeting '98 follows on the ITRON Supporters' Meeting held the previous year, making this the second ITRON-related conference to be held in the United States. The meeting was therefore aimed at updating interested persons in the United States on the status of the ITRON subproject, and introducing ITRON specifications and related products developed mainly in the United States. The meeting this time was sponsored with the cooperation of The Open Group, which carries on open standardization efforts. We also received support from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). A summary of the meeting is given below.

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Place: Hyatt Sainte Claire, San Jose, CA
12:00 Lunch
12:15 Opening Remarks
J. Farrell (TRON Association U.S. Liaison Office)
12:20 Introduction to the ITRON Project
K. Tamaru (ITRON Technical Committee Chair / Toshiba Corp.)
12:35 Overview of the ╬╝ITRON4.0 and ITRON TCP/IP API Specifications
H. Takada (ITRON Technical Committee / Toyohashi Univ. of Technology)
12:50 Open Java Solutions for Embedded Systems
V. Joloboff (The Open Group)
13:05 Overview of the JTRON2.0 Specification
S. Hachiya (ITRON Technical Committee / Aplix Corporation)
13:20 Break
13:30 Product Presentations
  • "MT!-ITRON 3.0 and an Embedded Desktop Interface"
    N. Witchey (US Software Corp)
  • "CodeWarrior and ITRON, the Next Generation - Kernel Aware Debugging and RAD Toolkit -"
    J. Cheuck (Metrowerks KK.)
  • "GEOS-SC - Efficient GUI, Browser and Personal Java 1.1 for microITRON-based Mobile Devices"
    D. Fults (Geoworks, Inc.)
  • "A Introduction to JENE, Breakthrough technology for Java Embedded Systems"
    D. Winterburn (Insignia Solutions)
  • "Tools for Developing C/C++/Java-written Applications for Embedded Systems"
    G. Malek (Apogee Software, Inc.)
  • "ZIPC for ITRON - State Transition Matrix Design Method CASE Tool"
    M. Watanabe (CATS CO., LTD.)
  • "eCos: a configurable, micro-ITRON compatible RTOS"
    S. Akamine (Cygnus Solutions)
15:00 Closing Remarks
15:05 Special Session "The Impact of Open Source Infrastructure for Designing Embedded Systems"
A. Daly and P. Beskeen (Cygnus Solutions)

After lunch was served in the conference hall, James Farrell of the TRON Association U.S.A. Liaison Office opened the meeting. The first presentation was by Toshiba's Kiichiro Tamaru, ITRON Technical Committee chairman, who gave an outline introduction to the ITRON project along with recent developments. Then Hiroaki Takada, of the TRON Technical Committee and Toyohashi University of Technology, described the µITRON4.0 specification and the ITRON TCP/IP API specification. Next, V. Joloboff of The Open Group gave a presentation on his organization's work in bringing Java technology to embedded systems. Joloboff also noted that The Open Group has built and maintained conformance tests for the POSIX specifications, and he expressed an interest in the conformance testing system developed for the µITRON specifications. He was followed by ITRON Technical Committee member Shoichi Hachiya of Aplix Corporation, who ended the first half of the program with an introduction to the JTRON2.0 specification.

After a short break, product introductions were given by seven companies, most of whom develop ITRON-specification OS products or supporting products in the United States. This part of the meeting was then closed, following which a special session was presented by Cygnus Solutions on the use of open source elements in embedded systems. Cygnus in September 1998 announced its eCos OS as an open source, royalty-free OS with an ITRON-specification API. This product was also introduced and demonstrated at the session.

The meeting was attended by approximately 80 persons, including the presenters, ITRON Technical Committee members and The Open Group members. Considering that this was only the second such meeting to be held in the United States, these can be seen as satisfactory results. One problem, however, was that the timing of the meeting overlapped with the ESC trade show, in which many of the participants were also busily involved. Moreover, the length of the meeting was deliberately made short because of this, which meant each presenter had only a very brief slot to work with. On the other hand, holding the meeting at the time of ESC made it easier to attract participants. These factors will need to be weighed carefully when the ITRON Technical Committee plans a similar meeting for 1999.

The ITRON Technical Committee took part in the ESC exhibit again this year as well, publicizing the ITRON specifications. Initially we planned to share a booth with Japan System House Association (JASA) as we did the previous year. However, JASA pulled out of the exhibit at the last minute, so we ended up exhibiting in our own booth. The booth used panels to introduce the µITRON real-time kernel, the ITRON TCP/IP API specification, and the JTRON2.0 specification. Another panel listed the available ITRON-specification products. A personal computer connected to the ITRON Web site rounded out the booth. This year some 28 exhibitors cooperated by displaying placards with the ITRON logo and the simple message, "We Support the ITRON Project."

Next year's ESC is scheduled to take place at the same San Jose Convention Center, from September 26 through 30 (Sun.-Thu.). The ITRON Technical Committee plans to take part in the next year's ESC exhibit again.

Exhibitors displaying ITRON placards at ESC (alphabetical order)
Aplix Corporation
CARDtools Systems
Cygnus Solutions
Densan Systems, Inc.
CATS Co. Ltd.
Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc.
Gaio Technology Co. Ltd.
Geoworks, Inc.
Hitachi Semiconductor (America), Inc.
Insignia Solutions
Mentor Graphics - Microtec Division
Metrowerks Corp.
Microware Systems Corp.
MIPS Technologies
Mitsubishi Electronics America, Inc.
Motorola - Semiconductor Products Sector
NEC Electronics Inc.
Orion Instruments
Panasonic Industrial Company
Sanritz Automation Co. Ltd.
Sophia Systems and Technology
Spyglass, Inc.
Sun Microelectronics
Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc.
US Software

Report on MST'98 and the ITRON Special Seminar

The TRON Association introduced the ITRON specifications at the Microcomputer System and Tool Fair '98 (MST'98), held at Tokyo Big Sight from Wednesday, November 18 through Friday, November 20. In a symposium session at the MST'98 Conference, an ITRON special seminar was put on by the ITRON Technical Committee.

MST is a specialty trade show devoted to embedded systems technology and development support products, put on each November by the Japan System House Association (JASA). For the past two years it has been held at Tokyo Big Sight. The show has grown in size each year, with some 120 exhibitors at the latest edition. For the first time this year the show was produced in conjunction with Miller Freeman, sponsor of ESC described above.

The TRON Association booth made use of panel presentations, distribution of materials, and personal computer hookup to the ITRON Web site, as in previous years. In addition, copies of the October ITRON Special Seminar proceedings were on sale at the booth. Questionnaires for the annual survey on RTOS use trends were distributed, and when possible, visitors were surveyed on the spot. The now customary publicity means of asking other exhibitors to display ITRON support placards in their booth was adopted again this time, with 41 exhibitors responding to the request (see the list). We would like to thank each of these companies for their cooperation.

At MST '97, the ITRON Technical Committee for the first time ran a special seminar on embedded systems. This time an ITRON special seminar was held to introduce the latest developments in the ITRON project, centering around the µITRON4.0 specification now being drawn up. Details of the seminar are outlined below.

ITRON Special Seminar: ITRON Project Update and µITRON4.0 Specification
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Place: Tokyo Fashion Town (TFT), 9th floor (MST'98 Conference site)
(1:00 to 1:50 p.m.) Latest on the ITRON Project
Tatsuya Kamei (ITRON Technical Committee, Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems)
(2:00 to 2:50 p.m.) Outline of the µITRON4.0 specification
Osamu Higashihara (NEC Information Systems)
(3:00 to 3:50 p.m.) New functions in the µITRON 4.0 specification and their use
Hiroaki Takada (ITRON Technical Committee, Toyohashi University of Technology)

Even though a large hall holding 300 persons was reserved for the seminar, the attendance at each of the presentations was standing room only. Duly impressed with the strong interest in the ITRON Project, the ITRON Technical Committee is planning to hold similar seminars in the years to come.

Exhibitors displaying ITRON placards at MST'98 (alphabetical order)
Advanced Data Controls Corp.
A.I. Corporation
Aplix Corporation
Canon Software Inc.
CQ Publishing Co., Ltd.
Fuji Data System Co., Ltd.
Fujitsu Limited
Komatsu Ltd.
Mentor Graphics Japan Co., Ltd.
Metrowerks Corp.
Midoriya Electric Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NEC Corporation
Nihon Cygnus Solutions
Pacific Softworks Japan
SDS Japan
Sophia Systems Co., Ltd.
Tokyo Leasing Rentals Co., Ltd.
Toshiba Corp./Toshiba Information Systems
Toyo Corporation

New Products

Products recently registered with the ITRON-specification product registration system are introduced here.

Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems Corporation


The MR79 is a µITRON-specification real-time OS implemented for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's 16-bit microcomputers in the 7900 series.


For more information:

Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems Corporation
Microcomputer Software Support Tool Department
Eclarte Esaki Building, 1-18 Toyotsu-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka-fu 564 Japan
TEL: 06-338-5572
FAX: 06-338-4471

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.55.

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