TRON: A real time Operating System Kernel for embedded systems primarily associated with Tokyo University professor Ken Sakamura. TRON development has been funded by a consortium of Japanese electronic firms. It is widely used in embedded systems built in East Asia. TRON is asserted to be the most widely used operating system in the world.

TRON is intended to provide a compact, real-time OS that can interface to PC or mainframe systems, and/or can be linked with other TRON computers in distributed networks. TRON was developed in 1984. Some English documentation is available although the primary project language has been Japanese. Although TRON was designed with both embedded and desktop applications in mind, it has been primarily developed for embedded applications where it is said to be used in more than 50% of the world's digital appliances. It has been alleged that the failure of TRON to emerge as a PC Operating System is due to political machinations by the first Bush Administration which threatened to prevent importation of microcomputers using TRON into the United States.

Conventional functions such as interrupt handling and memory management are provided in TRON. Computer languages supported include C, C++, Forth, Fortran, Pascal and a TRON specific language -- TULS. TRON specific CPUs are available.

At least three sub-projects exist. BTRON, ITRON, and CTRON are focused on Business, Industrial, and Communications applications respectively. These are different TRON implementations. For example, BTRON is a 16 bit system because 8 bit character sets are not adequate for East Asian business applications. There are a number of interest groups addressing the use of TRON for applications such as navigation and household automation. Although the TRON environment is largely a product of (Japanese) corporate effort, the system is has open specifications. At least publicly, the Japanese express a disappointment at the lack of Western participation in the project.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2008 by Donald Kenney.