"T-Engine/T-Kernel: Is It Really that Hot?"

Steven J. Searle

Web Master, TRON Web

That was a query in an e-mail message I received recently from an engineer in Europe who contacted TRON Web to seek technical information about porting his company's software to ITRON. TRON Web has received several business inquiries over the years, all of which were handled with the strictest confidentiality, but this one struck a cord deep inside me. Although it is still a very young project, having been launched at the end of June 2002, the T-Engine project has garnered massive support from throughout the world, particularly in Asia where it is spreading like wildfire. Singapore now has a government backed T-Engine development center called TEADEC, and both Korea and China recently signed technical agreements with Prof. Ken Sakamura to jointly develop and promote T-Engine and TRON ubiquitous computing technologies in their countries. More importantly to developers in the West, big U.S. firms, such as IBM Corporation, Sun Microsystems Inc., Oracle Corporation, and Microsoft Corporation, have also joined the T-Engine Forum.

Of course, I can thoroughly understand why the gentleman from Europe asked the question. Input T-Engine or T-Kernel into the search engine of any of the leading technology news sites on the Web, such as CNET, TechWeb, or EE Times, and precious little information about either will appear in the search results. That's very surprising, because it takes very little effort for reporters to gather information about T-Engine and TRON-based ubiquitous computing. The YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory is only a short walk from Gotanda Station, a major train station on the Tokyo loop line, and the annual TRON show last year was held very near Tokyo Station. Since there are lots of foreign tech reporters in town, one is left to conclude that the reason there is so little information in English and other European languages on T-Engine/T-Kernel is that the editors do want to publish on the subject, even if a large number of powerful foreign companies are involved in it. And so T-Engine and T-Kernel remain a mystery to many in the U.S. and Europe.

What these tech editors do want to publish, it seems, is anything about technology developments in the U.S. Apple Computer Inc., which has only a small share of the personal computer market even in its home market, gets an incredible amount of press coverage compared to something like the TRON Project, even though the latter has produced the world's leading operating system. That that leading operating system is at the core of the cell-phones, digital cameras, and other consumer electronics that are gradually becoming more important than personal computers is something those editors don't bother to tell their readers. These editors also don't tell their readers that it is the TRON Project that has developed the best technologies for creating ubiquitous computing networks. In addition to the T-Engine family of open development boards, the project has come up with a network security architecture called eTRON, and it has developed a new meta code for identification in ubiquitous networks called "ucode," which can be used with both RFIDs and barcodes.

For those who are interested, T-Engine/T-Kernel is hot, very hot. Membership in the T-Engine Forum continues to climb, and it looks like it will be well over 400 companies and organizations by the end of 2004 when the TRON Project holds its annual show. More importantly, the porting of middleware to T-Engine is continuing at a rapid pace, which is not surprising, since as I noted previously the T-Engine family of open development boards are the most important development boards to hit the world of computing since the IBM-PC/AT mother board hit the scene. Of equal importance is the fact that the T-Engine Architecture provides a total solution for ubiquitous networks. It has security, it offers real-time performance, it has compatibility with the past, and it has the new technologies on which the computer society of the future can be developed. Oh, and did I mention that it is open and royalty free? Imagine being able to rapidly develop advanced applications for ubiquitous networks without having to pay monstrous royalties. Now, that's hot!