ITRON Newsletter No. 50 (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

ITRON Debugging Interface Specification Released
Introducing New ITRON Committee Members
RICOH Co., Ltd.
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd.
ITRON-related Publications
ITRON Promoted at ESC; North American Chapter Preparatory Committee Meeting Held
Lectures at ESS 2001 Conference
Technical Papers

ITRON Debugging Interface Specification Released

The Debugging Interface Specification Working Group, part of the µITRON4.0 Specification Study Group of the ITRON Committee, has completed its studies and released the ITRON Debugging Interface Specification Ver. 1.00.00.

The ITRON Debugging Interface Specification defines standard interfaces to be implemented by debugging tool vendors in their debuggers, in-circuit emulators and other tools supporting real-time kernels based on the µITRON4.0 Specification. The approach to standardization does not involve any additional functions in the real-time kernel for debugging support; instead, the tool vendors embed in their products an RTOS Interface Module (RIM), providing the functions that support debugging of software on a real-time OS. The ITRON Debugging Interface Specification defines the interfaces between the debugging tool and the RIM.

The Debugging Interface Specification WG began its work in 1999. Last July they released a provisional specification for the purpose of getting feedback from the public at large and to evaluate the specification in implementations. Further refinements to the specification were made on this basis, bringing it to a level satisfying the WG requirements for official release.

A number of vendors have already begun developing products based on the specification. µITRON4.0-specification kernels and debugging tools implementing the specification are expected to be available soon. The ITRON Committee is also planning to issue an English version of the specification.

Introducing New ITRON Committee Members

Three companies that have joined the ITRON Committee since January are introduced here. They are RICOH Co., Ltd., Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd., and CATS CO. LTD.

RICOH Co., Ltd.

RICOH is working to achieve dynamic growth in new business areas under its "Image Communications" concept. The company's main product focus continues to be on information equipment for offices, as it carries on corporate endeavors closely tied to office life.

RICOH has already developed several products that adopt an ITRON-specification embedded OS. Its latest RIFAX CL Series of facsimiles is the most recent product to be designed around an ITRON2.0-specification RTOS. As is evident in so-called information appliances, the embedded systems field is no exception to the rising calls for greater development ease, more flexible configuration and openness. In fact, one of the five key aspects of the company's "Image Communications" concept is "Pursuing flexible, expandable open-system product development".

Seeing the great potential in ITRON as a software platform, RICOH intends to continue its efforts toward standardization and openness in its new status as an observer member of the ITRON Committee.

Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd.

Inspired by the advice of Dr. Yogoro Kato that "Research should be creative," as he urged Japan to produce its own original research rather than copying the work of others, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL) was established in 1980 as a unique company that solely carries on research and development, with no manufacturing facilities of our own.

The flat panel display is today one of the star products in the electronics industry, as high-performance displays are bringing multimedia to the home and workplace. The active-matrix LCD used in these products is one of the biggest products to originate in Japan in the past few decades. Liquid crystal or EL (electroluminescent) displays using low-temperature polycrystalline-silicon (poly-Si) thin-film transistors (TFT) and with the peripheral circuitry integrated into a single unit are likely to become the next-generation mainstream display.

Building on the know-how accumulated in solar cell research, SEL carries out wide-ranging R&D in application technologies, including applications of the low-temperature poly-Si TFT. In this area our company is working day and night to develop technology that is in the top class worldwide, and has already acquired numerous basic patents. We are currently devoting a company-wide effort to enhancing this technology even further. SEL is also developing a whole range of products from basic testing equipment to specialized semiconductor production systems implementing new process technology, building up an extensive base of know-how unmatched by any other company.

The spirit driving the researcher is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in a major discovery. We at SEL hope that this drive that energizes our researchers will also lead to results contributing toward the benefit of all.

--Dr. Shunpei Yamazaki, President and CEO


Since its startup in 1989, CATS has carried on original and commissioned development as well as sales and consulting, with the ZIPC CASE tool for embedded control systems being its best-known product. A real-time OS is used in many of its embedded development products. The most common of these is ITRON, as the company has been one of the early ITRON implementors and currently supports seven different ITRON-specification OSs. ZIPC is a long-selling product that has been around for 12 years and even today enjoys wide use by customers. The company plans to continue working to advance CASE tools for embedded development support, including fuller support for an ITRON development environment.

ITRON-related Publications

Listed below are the publications prepared and issued by the ITRON Committee as of April 1, 2001. 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 -
µITRON4.0 Validation Specification (draft) Specification (Jpn.) -- TRON Association 2001 --
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 -
JTRON2.1 Specification (Ver. 2.01.00) 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.

ITRON Promoted at ESC; North American Chapter Preparatory Committee Meeting Held

The ITRON Committee took part in the recent Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) held from Monday, April 9 to Friday, April 13 at San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center, using the opportunity to publicize the ITRON specifications.

Accelerated Technology provided us with a section of their booth for exhibit space, and we were also able to make use of the presentation spaces in both the Accelerated Technology and US Software booths to give live introductions of the ITRON specifications. These were given once each day, for 20 minutes each.

During the conference week, on Wednesday April 11, the committee preparing to set up a North American chapter of the TRON Association met at a hotel near the conference site. As a result of the deliberations, it was decided to devote the rest of this fiscal year to studying the legal and technical issues, prior to the official establishment of the North American chapter in fiscal 2002. A basic agreement was also concluded between US Software and the TRON Association, setting up a North American liaison office in US Software.

Lectures at ESS 2001 Conference

The ESS 2001 System LSI Solution Fair, held Wednesday, April 18 to Friday, April 20 at Tokyo Big Sight and sponsored by the Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), included a presentation on the latest trends in the ITRON specifications. This was given in a Technical Session by Kenji Kudoh, ITRON Committee Chairman (Fujitsu Device), on Thursday April 19 from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m. Kudoh gave an outline of the ITRON project, then introduced recent developments such as the beginning of studies toward introduction of a memory protection mechanism in the µITRON specification.

TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura (Univ. of Tokyo) gave a talk on recent trends in the TRON Project at a special session of the Conference. The TRON Association had a booth in the trade show part of ESS 2001, using the exhibit mainly to introduce the ITRON specifications.

Technical Papers

RTP 2001, a workshop on real-time processing, took place March 5 and 6 at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology. Papers on ITRON presented at the workshop included "Device Driver Portability in the ITRON Device Driver Design Guidelines and Its Evaluation," coauthored by Kenji Muranaka of Toyohashi University of Technology and other members of the Device Driver Design Guidelines WG; "Development of a µITRON Simulator Using Real-Time Linux" by Genjun Yamamoto et al. of FJB Web Technology; and "Deadlock Avoidance in the ITRON-specification OS Multiprocessor Extension" by Shoji Tatsumi et al. of the Musashi Institute of Technology.

The real-time processing workshop (RTP) is held each year as a computer system forum of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE). The Proceedings are published in the form of technical society reports. This year's workshop was co-sponsored by the system software study group of the Information Processing Society of Japan, which also published the papers.

! This newsletter is a special edition for WWW of the one appeared in TRONWARE vol.69.

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