How to Make Money from the TRON Project

Steven J. Searle

Web Master, TRON Web

One of things that has amazed me for quite some time is the lack of people overseas who don't see any potential for making money from the fruits of the TRON Project. There are really a lot of opportunities for seasoned programmers, many of whom are currently unemployed in the U.S. due to their former employers outsourcing their jobs to China and India, to make money just by porting software to BTRON and maintaining it for a small fee. After about six months of training. they could once again be in the software development business in one of the world's richest markets. The market for ITRON and/or T-Kernel applications is, of course, larger, but in that area a one-man software operation is going to end up competing with large firms who have greater resources and deeper pockets. That's not to say that someone with innovative ideas is not going to be able to get anywhere in ITRON/T-Kernel software development; all I'm saying is that going into BTRON software development at this point would be better, since it is literally virgin territory and thus offers more opportunities. And, of course, µCTRON is also available for the curious to play with.

In order to save the enterprising entrepreneur the cost of hiring an overpriced Tokyo-based consultant to recommend promising areas to enter using TRON-based technologies, allow me to list some things that seem to offer a good possibility for making money. The first four on the list are jobs that one would create for oneself or propose to investors, and the second four are products that one would create, most likely with the help of an OEM supplier.

TRON cafe-pub owner/manager Everyone knows that the personal computer revolution is intimately connected with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley. In Tokyo, there is no equivalent place where TRON enthusiasts can meet, so how about creating a TRON cafe-pub? An ordinary structure would do, but an intelligent one would be better. Maybe a famous coffee shop chain would help you with capitalization. I know Prof. Sakamura would love to help with the building design and electronics work.
TRON programmer school director Although the TRON Project has lots of Japanese leaders, most of these leaders don't have the slightest idea about how to get foreigners involved in the TRON Project. Those most likely to get involved are programmers, but most of those programmers need training before they can do anything. Someone who is a seasoned programmer and knows how to program on top of TRON would probably be favorably received if he/she offered to establish a school at which foreign programmers would be trained. Intensive training courses could last for one, two, or three months.
Cho Kanji traveling salesperson Anyone who has lived through a hot, sticky Tokyo summer knows that the best job in Japan would be one in which you would live and work in the south during the winter, and live and work in north in the summer. How about offering to drive a Cho-Kanji-mobile around the beautiful Japanese countryside for Personal Media. Your job would be to demonstrate and hopefully sell Cho Kanji to people in rural areas throughout Japan in which there are no computer stores. Great job for a photographer.
BTRON network service provider If business is slow at your TRON cafe-pub, you could try to generate a new revenue stream by running network server services out of the back room or from the second floor. Since you cafe-pub would be frequented by BTRON savvy hackers, you probably wouldn't have to go far to find the workers to set up and maintain the server for you. You might even be able to find a hacker who knows something about CTRON and could set up a server based on that operating system. Imagine CTRON providing network services to BTRON. That's a radical idea for sure.
Intelligent home DIY kits I have proposed this before, but it needs repeating that lots of people would love to turn their homes into intelligent homes if someone offered do-it-yourself kits to help them accomplish the job. We are just getting to the point now where all the basic buildings blocks for creating highly functional intelligent homes are coming into place, so it's time to think about providing them in "Leggo building block form" to people who know something about computers, but are not seasoned engineers.
BTRON audio-visual expansion card One of the biggest problems with the commercialization of the BTRON specification operating system is that it lacks audio-visual capabilities, but at every TRON SHOW we get to see all sorts of audio-visual capabilities being demonstrated on top of T-Engine. Why doesn't someone create an audio-visual expansion card for BTRON based on the audio-visual capabilities demonstrated on top of T-Engine? If you can retail it for 20,000 yen or less, you'll have a market waiting for you to sell it into. Version two could have added wireless network support built in.
Classic BTRON machine Although I use BTRON on an IBM-PC/AT compatible PC, I would like to use it on a less power hungry architecture based on a low-power T-Engine board. I am mainly a writer and translator and do not play games on computers, so a low power machine is ideal for me. The form I would like this low power BTRON machine to come in is the portable classic BTRON machine that Prof. Sakamura designed way back in the mid 1980s. This time around, however, we wouldn't need a wire running between the keyboard and the main unit, and we could also write right onto the LCD screen instead of using a digitizing pad on the keyboard.
IBM-PC/AT + T-Engine motherboard One thing some developers would like is a personal computer motherboard in which the IBM-PC/AT motherboard and the T-Engine CPU board are integrated into a single board. A dual-processor design like this would allow for greater security when using networks. By running the communications and audio-visual functions on the T-Engine board, for example, you could protect the main operating system from spyware, trojans, viruses, and worms. Imagine all the trouble that would save Microsoft's security engineers, which is not to mention its users. Personal computers with dual CPUs first appeared in Japan in the 8-bit personal computer age back in the 1980s, so this is not really a radical proposal.

There are lots of other things that I could think up, but the possibilities above seem to be a good mix for the casually interested, the seriously motivated, and the irrepressibly enthusiastic. If a billionaire asked me what would be the best thing to do, I'd probably tell him to develop a TRON-based intelligent city, since that was supposed to be the ultimate application project back in the 1980s. The best place for something like that would probably be overseas where land is cheaper than Japan. In fact, a semi-underground city in a desert region would be nice, since it could be solar powered, and thus energy independent. The biggest problem with a desert city, of course, would be water and sewage, but with proper pipelines to and from a source of water and drainage to the sea, that could be solved. On the other hand, a desert city would be more likely to engage in recycling and highly efficient waste management than a city elsewhere, so it might lead to the realization of cities have smaller ecological footprints than those that exist today. The way things are going on this planet at present, that wouldn't be a bad development.

For the pragmatists out there, it should be noted that there are no big bucks to be made from anything listed above. At best, you could turn a small profit. Accordingly, the type of person who should be getting involved in TRON at this point in time is either the one who likes a difficult challenge or the one who is fascinated by the possibilities of implementing a total computer architecture that stresses real-time responsiveness. Just like the young pioneers of the personal computer industry were driven, you, too, must be driven by an insatiable desire to see the TRON Project succeed. If you can go to bed thinking about thinking about TRON and wake up in the morning thinking about TRON, then, yes, you are cut out for tackling one of the projects listed above, or maybe even something even riskier and more exciting. Keep in mind that the personal computer revolution started out with people just wanting to have fun making the magical machine do all sorts of neat things. Their first goal wasn't making money, and that's probably why they succeeded in launching a revolution. That's the point TRON is at today, it's waiting for the magicians.