TRON News Items for January 2001

Personal Media to Market B-right/V R3 in February

Personal Media Corporation announced on January 16 that it plans to begin marketing the next version of its BTRON3-specification operating system for IBM-PC/AT compatibles on Friday, February 9. The new operating system, B-right/V R3, will be marketed under the product name Cho Kanji 3 [Ultra Kanji 3]. The main improvement to the operating system is the incorporation of the GT Typeface Font, a freeware, unabridged kanji character font created at the University of Tokyo, but numerous improvements have been made to the operating system plus its bundled applications. In addition, a popular third-party partition management software application that can easily install and boot multiple operating systems, Sumitomo Metal System Solutions Co. Ltd.'s System Selector, is being bundled with Cho Kanji 3.

The previous version of the B-right/V operating system--B-right/V R2.5, which was marketed under the product name Cho Kanji 2--had a character set of 134,567 characters including the Konjaku-Mojikyo character set, an unabridged kanji character set plus related characters created by the Mojikyo Institute. However, due to new licensing requirements regarding commercial use recently stipulated by the Mojikyo Institute, the Konjaku-Mojikyo character set has been dropped in B-right/V R3. In spite of the fact that the Konjaku Mojikyo character set will not be included in B-right/V R3, the total number of characters supported by the operating system has increased to 171,500. The character sets and the number of fonts for each to be included in B-right/V R3 are listed in the following chart.

Character Type or Standard Name Number of Characters Number of Fonts
JIS Levels 1 and 2 (JIS X 0208)



JIS Levels 3 and 4 (JIS X 0213)



JIS Auxiliary Kanji (JIS X 0212)



Korean Hanja Hangul (KS X 1001)



Chinese Simplified (GB 2312)



Chinese Traditional (CNS 11643)



6- and 8-point Braille



i-mode picture characters



GT Typeface Font



Dai Kan-Wa Jiten Characters



Unicode Version 2.0 Characters






Characters from other countries



IPA phonetic symbols



Symbols, marks, etc.






The GT Typeface Font, which is also available for Windows NT and GNU/Linux (click here for information), was created on the basis of user defined character lists drawn up by the publishers of the Kojien unabridged Japanese dictionary, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, the Japan Federation of Printing Industries, and various Chinese-Japanese dictionaries. According to a press release by Personal Media, the GT Typeface Font is an extremely important piece of infrastructure for digitally archiving Japanese cultural materials, in addition to developing new applications such as electronic books. Unlike the privately created Konjaku-Mojikyo character set, it has the support of major business organizations in Japan, in particular publishing companies, and thus many fonts are likely to be developed on the basis of it.

Among the noteworthy software improvements that will appear in B-right/V R3 are: a "ruby" function for the Basic Text Editor that allows kanji side readings to be added to texts; a function for inputting European language strings into vertically written Japanese; compatibility with USB peripherals; and a postal code dictionary utility for inputting addresses, which allows for major portions of addresses to be input simply by inputting the postal code (this dictionary includes many place names that cannot be written with the JIS levels 1 and 2 character sets that are the standard character sets of other personal computer operating systems on the market in Japan). It should also be noted that a full suite of productivity applications are included with the operating system. In addition to a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a card database program, a drawing program, an Internet browser, an e-mailer, and various utilities are included on the system CD-ROM.

For those who are interested in the history of the commercialization of the BTRON-specification operating system--which began over a decade ago--please refer to the following chart. As can be seen, Personal Media has been upgrading the BTRON3-specification operating system on almost an annual basis.

  16-bit Intel MPUs 32-bit TRONCHIP 32-bit IBM-PC/AT Compatibles  32-bit NEC (V810) MPU
1990   2B (so-called "pure BTRON" running on Gmicro series MPUs)    
 1991 1B/Note (Matsushita laptop; not IBM-PC/AT compatible)      
 1994 1B/V1 (IBM-PC/AT compatibles)      
 1995 1B/V2 (IBM-PC/AT compatibles)      
 1996 1B/V3 (IBM-PC/AT compatibles)      
 1997       B-right (µBTRON for BrainPad TiPO PDA)
 1998     B-right/V (multilingual system based on a single character plane)  
 1999     B-right/V R2 ("Ultra Kanji" with true BTRON multilingual system)  
 2000     B-right/V R2.5 ("Ultra Kanji 2" with JIS levels 3 and 4)  
 2001     B-right/V R3 ("Ultra Kanji 2" with GT Typeface Font)  

Personal Media will be marketing B-right/V R3 directly to consumers at a price of 20,000 yen. (Contact the firm's sales department here for further information on how to directly order Cho Kanji 3.) However, there is no fixed price when purchased at personal computer shops throughout Japan. In effect, this means the street price will initially be between 10,000 and 15,000 yen. Personal Media said in its press release that it is expected to sell approximately 300,000 copies of B-right/V R3 this year. This is about double the number copies of the previous version.

Famous Japanese to Lend Support to Spread of BTRON OS

According to a news item in Vol. 66 of TRONWARE, an organization composed of various Japanese luminaries has been established to support the popularization of the BTRON3-specification operating system in Japan. Called Cho Kanji Ooendan, which literally means "Cho Kanji Cheering Party," the group will be led by Mr. Hiroshi Aramata, a highly popular Japanese writer and television commentator. Mr. Aramata wrote the best seller Teito Monogatari [Tale of the imperial capital], a novel that sold 3.5 million copies and won the Japanese science fiction prize in 1987. There is a long interview of Mr. Aramata by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura in the same issue of TRONWARE.