ITRON Newsletter No. 39 (HTML Edition)

ITRON 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

"ITRON Technical Committee" becomes the "ITRON Committee"
Release of the µITRON4.0 Specification
ITRON International Meeting '99 and Project PR at ESC '99
New ITRON Committee Members
Toshiba Information Systems (Japan) Corporation
Personal Media Corporation
New CPU Code and Manufacturer Code Assignment
ITRON-related Publications
ITRON-related Publications
Presentation at ESS '99 Conference
Tutorial Presented at OMG Meeting
New Product
Kernel: An Embedded Control Kernel
Other Products
ZIPC Ver. 6.0
Recent Publications

"ITRON Technical Committee" becomes the "ITRON Committee"

As of May 1999, the TRON Association has adopted a new organizational structure. One result is that the ITRON Technical Committee is now called the ITRON Committee. The role of this committee and its day-to-day operations remain unchanged. Note that the issuer of this newsletter is now the ITRON Committee

Release of the µITRON4.0 Specification

In April 1998 the ITRON Committee formed the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group. In it the Kernel Specification WG has been working on standards for the next-generation µITRON real-time kernel specification. Now that the work is completed, the results have been released in the form of the µITRON4.0 Specification.

Back in 1996 the ITRON Committee decided to expand the scope of standardization work beyond real-time kernel specifications for embedded systems to include also supporting specifications, and in particular standards for software components, or middleware. Among the results of these efforts to date are the ITRON TCP/IP API specification and the JTRON2.0 specification, released in May and October of 1998, respectively. An example of an attempt to determine needs in a particular application field is the work of the RTOS Automotive Application Technical Committee carried out during fiscal 1997. During the course of such activities it became apparent that the existing real-time kernel specification was due for revisions, and the decision was made to begin working on the µITRON4.0 specification. As the fourth generation of ITRON real-time kernel specifications, µITRON4.0 was approached from the following four standpoints.

Software portability is more of an issue today than before, now that embedded software has grown increasingly large-scale and complex. Improved software portability will make it easier to port existing application software across different µITRON-specification kernels. Improved software portability is also an extremely important factor for encouraging companies to market middleware for use with µITRON-specification systems. These needs can no longer be met adequately by sticking strictly to the basic design policy of "loose specifications" that has characterized ITRON up to now. At the same time, it is this loose specifications policy that has given the µITRON specification its broad scalability and made it possible to minimize runtime overhead and memory use, contributing to the wide acceptance of the µITRON specification.

The µITRON4.0 specification approaches this dilemma by maintaining the principle of "loose specifications" for the specification as a whole, but defining precise specifications for a standard function set aimed at improving software portability. The standard function set is called the "standard profile." This standard profile assumes a relatively large system in the typical application fields of the µITRON-specification kernel, since software portability tends to become more important the larger the scale of the system. In addition to the standard profile, the µITRON4.0 specification defines a profile for smaller-scale systems, intended for use in the automotive control field. This profile was specified based on the requirements drawn up by the RTOS Automotive Application Technical Committee noted above.

There is much more to the µITRON4.0 specification than the defining of profiles. It introduces many new functions that were not found in earlier ITRON specifications. It also tightens the specifications and reduces the degree of implementation dependency. It is the most complete and refined ITRON specification to date. Details of the specification can be found out by examining the specification itself, but the ITRON Committee will also be providing detailed explanations in seminars, at embedded systems conferences, in magazine articles and elsewhere.

Whereas earlier ITRON specifications were published in book form, the µITRON4.0 specification is being made available for downloading from the ITRON Project Web site. Moreover, the specification may be copied and redistributed in its entirety or in part. The only stipulation is that when copying or distributing a part of the specification, it must be noted that the excerpt was taken from the µITRON4.0 specification, the location of the excerpt must be noted, and the means of obtaining the specification as a whole must be clearly noted. Altering the specification without authorization is strictly prohibited.

The µITRON4.0 specification is intended to be a more precise specification than earlier versions, and as such may be more difficult to understand for someone new to this field. To meet this problem the ITRON Committee plans to prepare a Standard Guidebook explaining the specification in readily understood terms.

The ITRON Committee would be happy to hear your ideas or wishes with regard to the µITRON4.0 specification, or to answer any questions about the specification.

ITRON International Meeting '99 and Project PR at ESC '99

Following on the successes of last year, the ITRON Committee is again planning to put on an ITRON International Meeting in San Jose, California, timed to coincide with the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) to be held there. The ITRON International Meeting, aimed mainly at people in the United States with an interest in the ITRON project, introduces the ITRON specification and provides updates on recent activities in the project.

This year's meeting is planned for Wednesday, September 29, while the ESC is in session, at a hotel near the San Jose Convention Center. Details of the meeting are being worked out in the ITRON Committee and will be posted on the ITRON Project Web site. If you are planning to attend ESC, please join us at this meeting as well.

As in previous years, the ITRON Committee also intends to promote the ITRON Project at ESC itself.

New ITRON Committee Members

From May 1999 the ITRON Committee is joined by two new observer members, Toshiba Information Systems and Personal Media Corporation. A complete membership list is available on the ITRON Project Web site.

Toshiba Information Systems (Japan) Corporation

Leveraging the areas of core competence built up since its founding in 1962, Toshiba Information Systems is promoting its business around the S, S&S theme, for Service, Software & Systems. The Advanced Systems Headquarters is organized into three specialized divisions, which carry out software and other development in the areas of SI for Embedded Systems (SIES Division), microcontroller systems, and open systems. Products range from real-time operating systems, drivers, middleware and boards to microcontroller application software and application systems. The work of the SIES Division is especially relevant to the ITRON project and to information appliances. Its product lineup includes Java, RTOS and middleware licensing, reference development boards, and the latest IP (Intellectual Property) development.

Personal Media Corporation

Formed originally as a company to develop and market package software for business use, Personal Media Corporation soon became a major player in the BTRON subproject, making a name for itself by developing and marketing B-right/V and other BTRON-specification OS products. Its ITRON products include I-right/S for SPARC machines and J-right/V, a JTRON-specification OS for DOS/V PCs. An ITRON-specification kernel is also used at the heart of the B-right/V OS. Personal Media's publishing wing puts out a number of ITRON specifications and reference works, including the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook Revised Edition and the µITRON Standard Guidebook 2, as well as issuing the bimonthly TRONWARE and many other TRON-related publications. Through its OS development and publishing efforts, Personal Media is deeply involved in the TRON Project.

New CPU Code and Manufacturer Code Assignment

The following addition has been made to the CPU codes in the ITRON specifications (referenced in the cpu parameter returned for the get_ver system call in the µITRON3.0 specification, but no longer used in the µITRON4.0 specification).

B'10100000(H'a0)Zilog Z80 (and compatible processors)

For use with kernels developed by individuals or by private entrepreneurs, the following manufacturer code is added (referenced in the maker parameter returned for the get_ver system call in the µITRON3.0 specification, or in the µITRON4.0 specification by means of the kernel configuration macro TKERNEL_MAKER or referenced in the maker parameter returned for the ref_ver service call). In addition, it is now possible for a value to be assigned to each individual in the upper 8 bits of the kernel identifier (referenced in the id parameter returned for the get_ver system call in the µITRON3.0 specification, or in the µITRON4.0 specification by means of the kernel configuration macro TKERNEL_PRID or referenced in the prid parameter returned for the ref_ver service call).

0x0008Individual (or private entrepreneur)

The assignment of CPU codes other than the above is covered in section 4.2 of the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook Revised Edition and in ITRON Newsletter No. 37, while manufacturer code assignment is discussed in section 5.4 of the µITRON4.0 specification.

The ITRON Committee adds CPU codes and manufacturer codes as necessary, for products registered in the Registration System for ITRON-specification Products. Requests for such assignment may be made with the ITRON Committee.

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 June 1, 1999. Lists of previously registered products are given in Newsletter Nos. 24 through 28, 30, 31, 33 and 36. The most up-to-date list of registered products is available at the ITRON Web site.

List of Products Newly Registered in the ITRON-specification Product Registration System (December 1, 1998 to June 1, 1999)
Specification Product Processor Company
µITRON3.0 Kernel: An Embedded Control Kernel Z80 Masayuki Kawakami
* The ITRON-specification Product Registration System is not intended as a guarantee of the quality of a product or its conformance to the ITRON specifications.
* 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 Committee as of June 1, 1999. Please contact the sources indicated to obtain copies.

The revised edition of the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook contains the latest version of the µITRON3.0 specification (Ver. 3.02.02). The changes made between the old version of the µITRON3.0 Standard Handbook (Ver. 3.00.00) and Ver. 3.02.00 are detailed in the ITRON Standard Guidebook 2. The changes from Ver. to 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 the µITRON Ver. 2.0 and ITRON2 specifications. Printed editions are no longer available, but the entire contents are available from the publisher's Web site.

The ITRON Standard Guidebook 2 is written with µITRON3.0 in mind. 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.) 4,000 yen Personal Media Corp. 1997 ISBN4-89362-154-8
ITRON Standard Guidebook '92 - '93 Reference work (Jap.) 3,500 yen Personal Media Corp. 1992 ISBN4-89362-197-6
ITRON Standard Guidebook 2 Reference work (Jap.) 3,500 yen Personal Media Corp. 1994 ISBN4-89362-133-5
ITRON TCP/IP API Specification (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.) 12,000 yen TRON Association 1989 -
ITRON2 Specification Ver Specification (Eng.) 15,000 yen 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 1997 ISBN0-8186-7795-3
* Prices do not include applicable taxes.
* The documents are available to TRON Association members at a special discount rate.
* English-language specifications issued by the TRON Association are available from
the ITRON Web site.

Presentation at ESS '99 Conference

The Embedded System Solutions '99 Conference & Exhibition (System LSI Solution Fair) was held by the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association (JEIDA) from May 12 to 14 (Wednesday to Friday) at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight). Giving one of the conference presentations was ITRON Committee chairman Kiichiro Tamaru (Toshiba Corp.), who spoke on recent trends in the ITRON project. After updating his audience on the present status of the project, he talked about the changes taking place in the project in recent years and introduced some of the latest accomplishments.

The TRON Association was present at ESS '99 with a booth, where visitors could learn more about the TRON Project and ITRON in particular. Placards expressing support for ITRON were displayed in 12 of the exhibitors' booths, as listed in the table. We would like to extend our thanks to these vendors for their cooperation.

Exhibitors displaying ITRON placards (alphabetical order)
A.I. Corporation
ERG CO., Ltd.
Fujitsu Limited
Grape Systems, Inc.
Hitachi, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NEC Corporation
Software Development Systems Inc. Japan
Toshiba Corporation
Yokogawa Digital Computer Corp.

Tutorial Presented at OMG Meeting

An introduction to the ITRON project was given at the meeting of the OMG (Object Management Group, the CORBA standardization body) held from Sunday, May 16 to Friday, May 21 at the Tokyo Bay Hilton Hotel. The presentation was in the form of a tutorial by the Real-Time PSIG (Platform Special Interest Group) given on Monday, May 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The first part of the presentation, given by Hiroaki Takada of the ITRON Committee and Toyohashi University of Technology, was a general introduction to the ITRON Project and recent activities. He was followed by ITRON Committee member Koichi Nakamoto of NEC, who proposed a component-based system design using Java and CORBA.

New Product

The most recently registered ITRON-specification product is introduced here briefly.

Kernel: An Embedded Control Kernel
Masayuki Kawakami


Kernel is a real-time, multitasking kernel for control use in embedded systems, implemented for the Z80 8-bit microprocessor series.


  1. Implements the µITRON3.0 specification, supporting level R and S system calls.
  2. Can be configured with the minimum necessary kernel functions for each application. Provided in library format, the necessary functions can be selected when the kernel is linked to the application program.
  3. Supports high-level language (C). Equipped with high-level language support routines, it enables tasks to be written in C.

For more information

Contact the developer directly at the following address:

Masayuki Kawakami
126-8-1 Yunoo, Imajo-cho, Nanjo-gun, Fukui 919-0101 Japan

Other Products

This section gives brief introductions to ITRON-related development tools and middleware products that have been made available recently.

ZIPC Ver.6.0
CATS Co. Ltd.

This integrated CASE tool supports software development from the upstream to the downstream stages. It adopts Ver. 2 of the Extended Hierarchy State Transition Matrix Design Method (EHSTM).


Functional configuration

ZIPC Ver. 6.0 consists of seven basic units and two optional units.

Basic units
(1) Editor
(2) Checker
(3) Simulator
(4) VIP
(5) ATV
(6) Generator
(7) Reverse
Optional units
(8) ROSE option
(9) Emulator option

Runtime environment

Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0.

For more information

CATS Co. Ltd. Sales Office
Tenko 50 Bldg., 4th Floor, 2-7-19, Shinyokohama Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, 222-0033 Japan TEL: 045-473-2816
FAX: 045-473-2673
Web Site:

Recent Publications

Nikkei Electronics (published by Nikkei BP ) began a new series of articles starting with its May 3 issue, "Ironclad rules for getting the most from a real-time OS." Written by Hisanori Miyazaki of the Miyazaki System Design Office, it includes the µITRON3.0 specification in its coverage.

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.58.

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