ITRON Newsletter No. 47 (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

JTRON2.1 Specification Released
Questionnaire Used to Survey RTOS Trends
ITRON-specification Product Registration
New Manufacturer Code Assignments
ITRON-related Publications
Report on ITRON Specifications Seminar (introductory)
Report on ITRON International Meeting 2000 and ESC Exhibit
Report on OSEK/VDX Debug Interface WG Meeting

JTRON2.1 Specification Released

The ITRON Committee of the TRON Association formed a working group in November 1999 to carry out revisions of the JTRON2.0 specification. The results of this effort have been released as the JTRON2.1 specification.

The JTRON specification defines the interfaces for building applications that run on a mixed ITRON-Java system, consisting of a Java runtime environment implemented on an ITRON-specification kernel. Such applications are able to take advantage of both ITRON and Java features. For this purpose the specification defines a standard communication interface between real-time tasks running on the ITRON-specification kernel and Java programs running on the Java runtime environment. Although the specification is designed primarily for use with an ITRON-specification kernel, it is in large part applicable to other RTOS architectures as well.

The JTRON2.1 specification provides three types of communication means between real-time tasks and Java programs. Type 1 is a function calling interface by which a Java program accesses the ITRON-specification kernel resources. Type 2 is a memory sharing interface enabling the sharing of Java objects between Java programs and real-time tasks. Type 3 is a stream communication interface. The Type 1 interface is based on that defined in the JTRON1.0 specification, updating it to support the latest µITRON4.0 kernel specification (JTRON1.0 supports the µITRON3.0 specification). The Type 2 and 3 interfaces were introduced with JTRON2.0; the JTRON2.1 specification revises the Type 2 interface to support the JNI (Java Native Interface). Other revisions were made to improve various details of the specification design and wording.

Like the other TRON specifications, JTRON2.1 is an open specification than anyone can implement freely without having to pay licensing fees. The specification in its entirety can be downloaded from the ITRON Web site. The version currently available is in Japanese, with an English version to follow.

Questionnaire Used to Survey RTOS Trends

The ITRON Committee of the TRON Association is conducting a survey of RTOS use in embedded systems. Based on a written questionnaire presented mainly to engineers working with embedded systems, the survey began in November 2000 and lasts through January 2001. Similar surveys have been carried out since 1996; they are aimed at finding out the status of RTOS use in embedded systems, issues faced by those using or considering use of an RTOS, and opinions on the ITRON specifications. The results each year help to shape the future directions of the ITRON project. They are made public on the ITRON Web site, where they are viewed by large numbers of visitors.

Questionnaires were distributed at MST2000, the Microcomputer System & Tool Fair 2000 held in November in Tokyo. The same questionnaire is also being made available on our Web site through January, as well as being sent out by post and e-mail. Your cooperation in taking time to fill out a questionnaire will go a long way to helping us manage the ITRON project.

ITRON-specification Product Registration Update

The following product was registered with the ITRON-specification product registration system since our last Newsletter and through October 1, 2000. Nucleus µiPLUS was registered by Grape Systems, which acts as Japanese distributor for the US developer, Accelerated Technology, Inc. See the ITRON Web site for the complete, up-to-date list of registered products.

Products Newly Registered in the ITRON-specification Product Registration System (from July 1 to October 1, 2000)
Specification Product Processors Vendor
µITRON4.0 Nucleus µiPLUS MPC98k, PPC860, ARM7, V850e, SH3, SH4 Grape Systems, Inc.
*Registration of a product with the ITRON Committee implies no guarantee of conformance to the ITRON specifications or of product quality.
*Some registered products are not supported outside Japan.
*The product names are valid only in Japan.

New Manufacturer Code Assignments

The following manufacturer codes have been newly assigned. The ITRON Committee adds CPU codes and manufacturer codes as necessary, for products registered in the Registration System for ITRON-specification Products or under the new system allowing advance application for code assignment.

0x010fAccelerated Technology Incorporated
0x0110Elmic Systems, Inc.
0x0111FJB Web Technology, Ltd.

ITRON-related Publications

Listed below are the publications prepared and issued by the ITRON Committee as of October 1, 2000. 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 -
ITRON Debugging Interface Specification (Ver. 1.A0.00 provisional specification) Specification (Jap.) - TRON Association 2000 -
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 Specifications Seminar (introductory)

On Monday, September 4 the TRON Association sponsored an entry-level ITRON Specifications Seminar, for the purpose of teaching basic knowledge about an ITRON-specification real-time OS and introductory application system building skills. The event took place at the semiconductor training center of Mitsubishi Electric Semiconductor Systems Corporation (MESC) in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

At the morning session from 10:00 am to noon, Hiroaki Takada (ITRON Committee; Toyohashi Univ. of Technology) presented a real-time OS primer and outlined the ITRON project. Then in the afternoon session from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Masako Hirai of MESC described the functions of the µITRON specification and gave a basic introduction to application system building. The seminar was generally well received, although some were of the opinion that it was too brief to cover the material adequately.

Applications for the seminar far exceeded the capacity of 60 persons. Due to the size of the hall, we could not accept any more than that number. We are grateful for the enthusiastic response to this event and regret not being able to fill all the requests to attend. The TRON Association is planning another similar seminar for the sake of those who were unable to take part this time.

Report on ITRON International Meeting 2000 and ESC Exhibit

The ITRON Committee exhibited at the Embedded Systems Conference held September 24 to 28 (Sun.-Thu.) in San Jose, California at the San Jose Convention Center. Coinciding with this event, the ITRON International Meeting 2000 took place on Wednesday, September 27 at a hotel near the ESC venue.

This was the fourth time an ITRON International Meeting has been held in the US. The purpose is to update the project activities for those involved with the ITRON specifications overseas and to introduce products implementing the specifications. This year once again The Open Group, which carries on standardization work mainly in the US, cooperated in presenting this meeting; and we received assistance from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

The program is outlined below.

Date: Wednesday, September 27, 1:00 to 3:30 pm
Place: Hyatt Sainte Claire, San Jose, California
13:00 "Overview and Recent Activities of the ITRON Project"
Hiroaki Takada (ITRON Committee; Toyohashi University of Technology)
13:30 "Recent Activities of JTRON"
Shouichi Hachiya (JTRON Specification WG; Aplix)
13:45 "North America Chapter Presentation"
Donald Dunstan (North America Chapter Preparatory Committee; US Software)
14:00 "Dynamic Compilation for Java Embedded Systems"
Vania Joloboff (The Open Group)
14:15 "Introduction to the µITRON4.0 Specification"
Nicholas Witchey (US Software)
14:45 Product Presentations

The attendance at the meeting was around 80 persons including the hosts and presenters, which is a good turnout for such an event. That same evening a meeting by the committee preparing to create a North American office of the ITRON Committee was held, followed by a reception. At this meeting the preparatory committee discussed details of the new branch office and made plans for publicity at the next ESC.

The ITRON Committee again exhibited at the ESC, publicizing the ITRON specifications. The exhibit used a part of the US Software booth and was devoted chiefly to introducing the µITRON specifications and JTRON specification. The booth presentation space was also used to give outline introductions to the ITRON project, in daily presentations each of the three days of the event.

Now that ESC has outgrown the San Jose Convention Center, it will be moved to San Francisco for 2001 and be held in April. The ITRON Committee plans to be there as usual, and again will be borrowing part of a member's booth (tentatively that of Accelerated Technology, Inc.). Another ITRON International Meeting is also being planned during the trade fair.

Report on OSEK/VDX Debug Interface WG Meeting

As reported in ITRON Newsletter No. 43 and No. 45, the ITRON Committee earlier proposed cooperation with the OSEK/VDX Project in working to standardize debugging interfaces. The OSEK/VDX Debug Interface WG that was formed as a result held its first meeting on Monday, October 2 in Stuttgart. Although this was not officially a joint meeting with the ITRON Project, it was attended by several ITRON Project members.

At the meeting, ITRON Committee secretary Hiroaki Takada (Toyohashi University of Technology) talked about the approach to standardization being adopted for ITRON debugging interfaces. Next the ORTI (OSEK Run Time Interface) under study by OSEK/VDX-specification OS vendors and others was introduced, followed by a discussion on how to proceed with OSEK/VDX Debug Interface standardization. While acknowledging the advantages of the approach taken for the ITRON debugging interface specification, the members decided to go ahead initially with completing work on the ORTI-based specification due to the different nature of the µITRON architecture and the OSEK/VDX OS specification. At the same time they admitted there are limits to the ORTI approach. It was therefore decided that when it came time to study extensions to ORTI, they would reconsider the issue of making the specification compatible with the ITRON debugging interface specification.

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.66.

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