TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

The University Museum, The University of Tokyo

B-right/V, the new implementation of BTRON, is popular. I hear new voices from a broad strata of personal computer users saying they want to test out BTRON. This is really wonderful. This recent rise of interest in BTRON is probably also a result of the fact that the importance of being able to handle large numbers of kanji has been recognized. With B-right/V at present, it is possible to handle approximately 20,000 kanji (JIS auxiliary kanji, Chinese GB code simplified characters, Korean KS code). And then at the end of the year, up to the 64,000 characters of the GT Mincho font will be supported.

Without a doubt, there are many people who have become interested in BTRON making their starting point the fact that a lot of characters can be handled. I'm happy about this. But I'm even more delighted at the stories I hear from people who have actually used it and become interested in the essence of the BTRON way of thinking. They say it's "BTRON-like." In other words, BTRON differs from other operating systems. One of those differences is that the filing system is not the usual tree structure, but rather it has an original hypertext structure called the real object/virtual object model.

In order to understand this way of thinking, it is best to actually use it. Once people become completely immersed in Windows, they sometimes display a reaction of not understanding because of malaise. The common sense (?) that the filing system is made in the form of a tree structure, that there are directories (folders), that it is impossible to grope along without going back to the source parent directory in order to go to a child directory that is different from the one one is now at--these things serve as hindrances to understanding. In other words, such peoples' minds have changed into Window-like thinking. I would like such people to change their way of thinking a little.

What we call the real object/virtual object model is something that was born from a natural way of thinking that matches human thought. It is exactly the tree structure that almost all of today's computers possess that is not natural. The thoughts and concepts inside the human mind are not ordered and arranged with tree structures that run from parent directories to child and grandchild directories. A certain concept appears in various places, and it is related to many concepts. For example, there are various words, such as apple, fire truck, loan, etc., that we think of from the concept of "red." In handling things where we don't understand the parent/child relationship but there is a relationship, the real object/virtual object model is extremely effective.

It might also be easy to understand the real object/virtual object model if one considers a real object inside a single computer to be the same as a page that can be displayed with a World Wide Web (WWW) Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address, and a virtual object to be the WWW link to it. It becomes a very powerful tool for limitlessly creating relationships among the ideas that one has thought up. Ideas of how it would be good to utilize the real object/virtual object model have appeared from various BTRON enthusiasts, and many of them are very interesting.

One idea is to use BTRON to make daily diary entries all over the place, and then simply through the process of creating relationships by additionally making virtual objects of the items inside those entries, a very unusual hyper-diary comes into being. BTRON also serves as an idea processor when collecting one's thoughts. The threshold might be high for people who are currently using other computers, but I have heard from users that once you understand it, a new world unfolds, which gives me a lot of encouragement. I hope that all of you will also tell me when you discover a new application for BTRON.

BTRON has always been developed as a system using a total way of thinking--in addition to being able to write lots of kanji, it possesses the real object/virtual object model. And on the other hand, an ergonomic keyboard based on the fruits of human engineering has also been created for it. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of delightful stories where people say, "in the beginning, I had Windows and BTRON installed by dividing them with a partition, but eventually I completely went over to just BTRON." At the end of the year, further improvements will be added to BTRON; there is a slew of things to talk about.

I would like you to take the B-right/V demo attached to this issue and test it with a DOS/V [IBM-PC/AT]-compatible personal computer. I would like everyone to run this slightly different operating system with an old/new way of thinking called BTRON on their computers and definitely experience the world of BTRON that helps thought.

B-right/V is a registered trademark of Personal Media Corporation.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 53 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 1998 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 1998 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo