TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

The announcement that Microsoft is joining the T-Engine Forum took place on September 25, but I did not foresee even with forethought that it would beckon reverberations to this extent. I received a telephone call from a friend in India who said, "it has really been played up in Indian newspapers, and I was amazed." It seems like it was reported throughout the world.

However, it also seems like there were various misunderstandings among the reverberations. A typical misunderstanding was the one that "TRON is joining together with Microsoft to oppose Linux." Why is it that in Japan everything ends up becoming a composition in which there is a 'opposition between A and B'? I am completely at a loss to understand this. In technological progress, competition is important, but I wonder if the view that roughly divides things into powers that then unite as camps and engage in all out fighting isn't antiquated. The goings-on of the world are more complicated than one might think, and thus, in regard to technological development, fighting with an organization does not automatically become a battle of standards. On one side, we are competing, and on another side we are cooperating. A relationship of both competition and cooperation is subdivided, and thus technological development at present is something that has become very complicated. It goes without saying that we are not fighting with Linux. As has been taken up at great length even in this magazine, this March, MontaVista Software, the largest embedded Linux company, joined the T-Engine Forum, and both parties announced that through joint development they will load the company's embedded Linux onto T-Kernel. When there are powers that are jointly developing in this manner, why would they be in opposition to each other?

When I look at the recent trends, I feel that in all sorts of settings the age is moving greatly toward "ubiquitous computing." The popularization of the data system form centering on the personal computers and Internet of the 1990s has made the rounds, and now a completely new model called ubiquitous computing is trying to get started in a big way.

Also, the way of creating technological standards has greatly changed. Until the 1980s, the de jure method, in which international public organs such as nations and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) decided standards, in other words, public standards, was mainstream. With the de jure method, time was required for standardizing, and there were frequently cases where at the time something became a standard it had become old. In the IT field where progress is fast, in particular, that slowness becomes a problem. For that reason, the de facto method, in which standards that gain victory in markets become the standards, has become a great influence. Basically, everyone has come to recognize that it is easier for the de facto to become a good standard than the de jure. However, because the markets decide the standards with the de facto method, a problem has appeared in which there are also cases of something that oligopolizes or monopolizes markets coming to seize standards, and then to the contrary obstructing technological development. From reflection on that, there has been an increase of cases in which people who possess a strong intention of participating in a certain field decide standards with the forum method in which they go on creating standards on the basis of discussions in which they discuss which parts they should cooperate on and where they should compete. The T-Engine Forum also is in keeping with this school.

In addition, looking at things on a worldwide basis, as the open architecture method in which the specifications are made public has come to beckon interest and become a topic of conversation, I think it has become clearly understood that in the 21st century open architecture will become mainstream. At present, beginning with MontaVista and Microsoft, close to 300 firms from throughout the world have come to participate in the T-Engine Forum. In 2004 also, T-Engine/T-Kernel of the open architecture method will further develop. We will make the maximum efforts that should be made to meet expectations, as I would like to continue to make the T-Engine project grow for the sake of ubiquitous computing in the world. At this year's TRON show, I by all means hope that you will take a look at the many T-Engine-related products, from basic software to manufactured application products, which are being sent to market.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 84 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 2003 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 2003 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo