Your Web Master Bids You Farewell

Steven J. Searle

Web Master, TRON Web

In the West, people say, "nothing good lasts forever." In East Asia, as a result of Buddhist teachings, people say, "everything that has a beginning has an end," and that includes everything, whether it is good or bad. TRON Web, whether you have considered it to be good or bad, is now coming to an end. The reason is that after nine years of doing this I want to move onto something new, particularly something that interests me. What interests me, and what originally brought me to the TRON Project way back in 1988, is multilingual data processing, and so that is the area I plan to go off into in the next couple of months after adding five more BTRON-related translations to TRON Web. I will, of course, be involving myself in multilingual data processing on the BTRON subarchitecture, and there are a lot of things that need to be done there. Few people overseas are intimately are familiar with the BTRON subarchitecture, but it is well known in Japan that the full TRON Multilingual Environment has yet to be realized. Since that is part of TRON Application Databus, or TAD, TAD likewise is incomplete in this area, as in others.

I first heard about the TRON Project in the fall of 1985, when I was a science and technology reporter on the Overseas Desk of Kyodo News Service. My Japanese colleague was doing a story on it, and I remember him telephoning Prof. Ken Sakamura to clear up some details. I first met Prof. Sakamura in the early spring of 1987, when a Kyodo feature story writer asked me to accompany her to an interview with Prof. Sakamura to help her interpret the technology. I later did a couple of feature stories on TRON myself. Then one thing led to another, and finally I offered my services to Prof. Sakamura as a newsletter letter. Although Prof. Sakamura dumped a whole bunch of other assignments on me, I eventually wrote a newsletter titled TRON News & Information, which was published for a year starting in the fall of 1988. So I'm an old hand when it comes to introducing the TRON Project to the world. Even when I wasn't directly working for the TRON Project between March 1992 and January 1997, I was telling people about TRON, and even bringing people from overseas to meet Prof. Sakamura to discuss possibilities.

At the time I began preparing this Web site in February 1997, the TRON Project was in trouble, and, outside of ITRON, there was almost no information available about it on the World Wide Web. That's why Prof. Sakamura readily agreed when I suggested creating an English language Web site for the TRON Project. The proceedings of the Fourteenth TRON Project International Symposium, which took place in March of the following year, were a mere 43 pages long, and they weren't even bound. But no one gave up. The Java on ITRON, or JTRON, specification was drawn up and a successful commercial product was created on the basis of it. Personal Media Corporation pushed ahead with BTRON development, moving it off of the dead end 80286 architecture and onto the new Intel microprocessor architecture. They also created the multilingual framework for BTRON and introduced a massive Chinese character set for writing Japanese. Yes, thanks to TRON, for the first time it became possible to do data archiving in Japan, thus proving that even with limited resources, you can do things that influence the world.

TRON Web, also, is another product of the TRON Project that was done with limited resources but influenced the world. A single guy working half-time with very little support from others has produced a Web site that contains about 1,000 pages of text, including many valuable technical materials that can help engineering professionals learn about the project and its advanced technologies. This includes T-Engine, T-Kernel, and Ubiquitous IDs, which are the technologies that form the core around which the TRON Project began its revival in the summer of 2002. And has the TRON project come back with a vengeance. Prof. Sakamura has said that since 2002 the project has been making progress in one year that previously would have taken 10 years. Japanese industry is now supporting the project again, and this time around the Japanese government has throw its support behind the project. Most importantly, application projects and verification trials based on the new basic technologies are popping up all over Japan. There's even a new TRON intelligent house, Toyota Dream House PAPI, and it has attracted a lot of attention overseas.

Against this background of a successful revival of the TRON Project, I feel everything I wished to accomplish when TRON Web was launched has been achieved. Prof. Sakamura, moreover, now has a new laboratory, a huge budget, and a huge staff, so he can definitely afford to let me move on to something new, which will also be something that will help the advancement of the TRON Project. It has particularly pained me to see progress being made in multilingual processing on other computer architectures, whereas the progress on top of BTRON has mainly been in the area of processing Chinese characters. Ironically, that's the area where the other architectures are behind BTRON. As I look into the future, I think my time with the project will finally come to an end when the TRON Multilingual Environment is complete, and when BTRON-specification computers are being widely used for data processing throughout Japan. In a way, that's the final frontier for the TRON Project, and I intend to do everything in my power to get it there. To paraphrase American naval hero John Paul Jones, I have not yet begun to use BTRON.

Farewell, friends and readers, and best wishes to all.