ITRON Newsletter No. 41 (HTML Edition)

TRON Association, ITRON Committee
Katsuta Building 5th Floor, Mita 1-3-39, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
TEL: (03) 3454-3191 FAX: (03) 3454-3224

Table of Contents

RTOS Use Trends to be Surveyed
Work on Revising JTRON2.0 Specification Begins
Device Driver Design Guidelines WG Issues Interim Report
Provisional Release of µITRON4.0 Debugging Interface Specification
Assignment of Manufacturer Codes
ITRON-related Publications
Report on ITRON International Meeting '99 and ESC Exhibit

RTOS Use Trends to be Surveyed

The ITRON Committee will be conducting a survey of real-time OS use trends in embedded systems, from November 1999 to January 2000. Questionnaires are being distributed mainly to embedded systems developers, in an attempt to gauge the status of real-time OS use as well as issues related to that use. Surveys like this are carried out each year to obtain data useful for charting the course of the ITRON project.

In addition to the items surveyed in previous questionnaires, this one includes a section on the incorporation of network functions in consumer electronics products. The questionnaires are being mailed and distributed at embedded systems trade shows during November and December. A Web-based form for submitting questionnaire answers on the Internet is also being planned.

Results of past surveys have been made available on the ITRON project Web site. It is planned to follow the same procedure this time around. If you receive a questionnaire, we ask for your kind cooperation in filling it out and returning it to us.

Work on Revising JTRON2.0 Specification Begins

The ITRON Committee is preparing to begin the work of revising the JTRON2.0 specification released last October 1998. Specifics of the revisions will be decided in the course of these studies, but are likely to include the following.

Work on the revisions will take place in the ITRON Committee's JTRON Specification WG, with the aim of completing the revisions during the current fiscal year ending next March.

Device Driver Design Guidelines WG Issues Interim Report

Since its startup in April 1998, the Device Driver Design Guidelines WG of the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group has been working on guidelines for designers of device drivers for a µITRON-specification kernel. The WG recently issued an interim report in order to obtain comments from the general public.

The interim report avoids the term "device driver" as open to misunderstanding, using in its place Device Interface Component (DIC). It offers a layered model consisting of a Primitive DIC (PDIC) as the minimal interface software dealing with devices, and on top of this a General DIC (GDIC) providing additional functions. The interim report states as the aim of the studies to present guidelines for writing a PDIC independent of processor or OS, and GDIC design guidelines. It goes on to expound an interrupt handling model as a precondition for making the PDIC portable. The results of studies by the Device Driver Design Guidelines WG on this interrupt handling model have already been incorporated in the µITRON4.0 specification.

A great deal of time and work is going into the device driver design guidelines, due to the wide diversity of system requirements and devices. The interim report reveals that there is still much to be done, but the results of the WG to date are being released in order to get comments from the general public, with the aim of making better guidelines. We invite interested persons to read through the interim report and forward your comments. As a reminder, the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group is open to participation by anyone who wishes to contribute to this work.

Provisional Release of µITRON4.0 Debugging Interface Specification

The ITRON Committee has released a provisional version of the µITRON4.0 Debugging Interface Specification and is inviting comments from the public.

The µITRON4.0 Debugging Interface Specification is intended as a standard specification for the interfaces between a µITRON4.0-specification real-time kernel and the RTOS support functions of the debugging environment (debugger, ICE, etc.). The studies are being carried out in the Debugging Interface Specification WG of the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group. Starting in February 1999, the WG has been meeting at a pace of once a month. The basic framework of the interface specification was finalized by October, with attention turning next to implementation for the purpose of evaluating the specification. At the same time a provisional specification based on the test implementation has been released and comments are being invited from the general public.

In order to make the µITRON4.0 Debugging Interface Specification applicable also to target systems with limited processing capacity such as those built on 8-bit and 16-bit processors, debugging support functions are not being added to the kernel. Instead, RTOS support functions are provided in the debugging environment running on the host system. This is done in the form of a module providing RTOS-supporting debugging functions (called an RTOS interface module), which is to be provided by RTOS vendors and plugged into the debugging environment. Accordingly, the debugging interface specification mainly specifies the interface for plugging in the RTOS interface module.

Assignment of Manufacturer Codes

Up until now the ITRON Committee has assigned manufacturer codes as necessary when products were newly registered as ITRON-specification products. In response to requests that the assignment be made at the development stage, this policy has now been changed to allow for assignment of manufacturer codes in advance, on the condition that the finished product be registered with the ITRON Committee once it is released.

Another issue was that kernels developed by universities or research organizations could not be assigned a manufacturer code since they were not eligible for registration as ITRON-specification products. The policy has now been updated so that the following code is available for assignment to such a kernel. Moreover, the upper 8 bits of the kernel identification number can be used to identify the individual laboratory responsible for the development. (This is the same as for the code given in ITRON Newsletter No. 39 for kernels developed by private individuals or individually operated businesses.)

0x0002 Universities and Research Organizations

For details, please contact the ITRON Committee.

ITRON-related Publications

Listed below are the publications prepared and issued by the ITRON Committee as of October 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
µITRON4.0 Specification Specification (Jap.) 5,000 yen (incl. tax) TRON Association 1999 -
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
JTRON2.0 Specification (Ver. 2.00.00) Specification (Eng.) - TRON Association 1999 -

*Prices do not include applicable taxes unless otherwise indicated.

*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.

Report on ITRON International Meeting '99 and ESC Exhibit

The ITRON Committee exhibited at a booth in the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) held at the San Jose Convention Center from Sunday, September 26 to Thursday, September 30. In addition an ITRON International Meeting was held on Wednesday, September 29 at a hotel near the conference site.

The ITRON International Meeting '99 was the third ITRON-related conference to be held in the United States. The aim was to give updates on the status of the project, and introduce ITRON-related products, for the benefit of people in the U.S. who are involved with the ITRON specifications. This year's meeting was held in cooperation with The Open Group, which is active in promoting open standards in the U.S. and elsewhere. We also received assistance from JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization.

Whereas previous such meetings emphasized ITRON-specification products developed in the U.S., this time the focus was on introducing new technologies originating in Japan. Two of the main highlights were a special talk by Embedded Developers Journal Editor in Chief Steven Liebson, giving survey results on the status of embedded system development in the U.S., and Koji Sato's presentation on Toyota's application of a µITRON-specification kernel to automotive control.

The meeting was attended by more than 80 persons, including the speakers and ITRON Committee representatives, which we consider a satisfactory turnout. The program is outlined below.

Date: Wednesday, September 29, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Place: Hyatt Sainte Claire, San Jose, CA
11:30 Lunch
12:00 Opening Remarks
12:05 "Introduction to the ITRON Project"
Kiichiro Tamaru (ITRON Committee Chair /Toshiba Corp.)
12:20 "Recent Activities in the ITRON Project"
Hiroaki Takada (ITRON Committee / Toyohashi Univ. of Technology)
12:35 "The Open Group work related to Java and ITRON"
Vania Joloboff (The Open Group)
12:50 Special Talks
13:20 Break
13:30 Product Presentations
14:45 Closing Remarks

The reception that evening was well attended. The ITRON Committee took advantage of this opportunity to reveal its plans to establish an ITRON Committee US Chapter, which became the topic of much discussion.

As in past years, the ITRON Committee exhibited at the ESC trade fair, where it promoted the ITRON specifications. Due to the strong demand for exhibit space at this year's ESC, the TRON Committee was unable to obtain a booth of its own. Cygnus Solutions was kind enough to provide space at their booth, for exhibits introducing the µITRON specifications, ITRON TCP/IP API specifications and JTRON specifications. Thanks to the favorable location of the Cygnus booth near the center of the exhibit floor, with its high traffic, we were able to introduce the ITRON project to more people than in past years. Placards indicating support for the ITRON project were placed in the booths of 28 exhibitors (as far as we were able to confirm).

Articles (in Japanese) on the ITRON International Meeting '99 and ESC are to be found in Vol. 60 of TRONWARE magazine.

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.60.

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