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RISC OS Adjust feature list published

By Chris Williams. Published: 25th Mar 2004, 10:05:25 | Permalink | Printable

What's new in 4.39

RISCOS Ltd., the developer of RISC OS 4, has published online the RISC OS 4.39 feature list and the changes made to RISC OS 4 since Select 3i3. RISC OS 4.39, aka RISC OS Adjust, will be supplied on ROM chips, whereas the Select scheme distributes softloadable OS updates.

As well as the past three years of Select features and updates, RISC OS 4.39 includes among other things, a multitude of updates and fixes to toolbox components, the Wimp and the Filer. The ROMs have undergone considerable testing and many of the listed updates will hopefully provide a stable and reliable OS installation for users of 26 bit RISC OS. Before the South West show last month, RISCOS Ltd. had hoped to have the ROMs ready to hand over to paying users at the event, however the release was delayed for more testing to be completed.

A crucial question is, who is Adjust aimed at? The answer would appear to be any one who wants three years of Select development with all the benefits of having your OS in ROM: fast boot times and your essential OS components stored on a safe and reliable media. RISCOS Ltd. have meanwhile assured RISC OS Select subscribers that they will shortly receive the Adjust upgrade as a softloadable update and the next major Select release is due later this year.


RISC OS 4.39 feature list

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Any estimates on how much quicker Adjust will boot compared to Select? Or, put it another way, how much slower is Select compared to RISC OS 4.0x?

-- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 25/3/04 10:31AM
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VDU23,0,12 is no more, sob :-(

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 25/3/04 11:21AM
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Wow, it's a mightly list - they must have been busy!

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 25/3/04 11:27AM
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That sure is one long feature list. Last I'd heard, 78 of the 150 Flash ROM's were spoken for - If there's any left by the time Wakefield is upon us I'll buy one there. (That'll give me time to save up too)

Yes, having the OS in ROM should be faster, even although it does not actually run from the ROM. My understanding is that with Select the RISC PChas to first boot into 4.02, which involves copying it into RAM (where it runs faster) then softloading the Select ROM image, and then booting into Select. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 25/3/04 11:30AM
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More like one big long Bug fix list you mean?

I didn't see any real features which would make a non-Select user want to buy this version.

I'm still waiting for the ability to plug 3rd party programs into the Filer.

I quite fancy the ability to hover the Mouse over a file in a Filer window and get a small popup window that tells me the X,Y and DPI settings of a JPEG/TIF file or the number of words in a text file or the time length of a MPEG3 file for example.

 is a RISC OS UserMiltonS on 25/3/04 11:47AM
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That is quite a long list, isn't it?

And if Castle/ROL never get round to settling their differences, at least Castle can use it as a reference of possible bugs in RISC OS 5 which need fixing ;)

 is a RISC OS UserPhlamethrower on 25/3/04 12:18PM
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And that VDU does what exactly? I think if nobody knows what it was for nobody would miss it :).

 is a RISC OS Userskock on 25/3/04 12:32PM
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According to the StrongHelp manuals, VDU 23,0,12 doesn't even exist. Trying it out (on RISC OS 3.7) doesn't seem to do anything either.

 is a RISC OS UserPhlamethrower on 25/3/04 12:47PM
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I yould have liked a feature list which separates the Toolbox upgrades from the rest as well as a distinction between bug fixes and new features - but it is a nice, long list indeed.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 25/3/04 1:07PM
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martin: on standard Risc PCs, the version of RISC OS in rom is always run from ROM on startup. On kinetic ones, it's copied to the fast kinetic RAM. Select is loaded from hard disc into RAM and run from there (although it still 'thinks' it's running from ROM).

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 25/3/04 1:09PM
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skock: Programming the 6845 CRT Controller The VDU 23 command may be used to write to the control registers of the 6845 CRT controller. The command VDU 23,0,reg,value,0;0;0; writes 'value' to register number 'reg' of the 6845 CRT controller.

It is something deep and dangerous on a BBC

 is a RISC OS Useregel on 25/3/04 1:34PM
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Sprite: there's no noticable slow downs from ROS 4->Select, and some areas of Select are faster than OS4 - that's just my observation and from docs I've read, plus I haven't seen anyone complain about things running slower on the support mailing list.

Milton also said, "I didn't see any real features which would make a non-Select user want to buy this version" - what, other than the previous three years of Select features?

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 25/3/04 2:23PM
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As diomus said: Of course there are all the feature of Select 1-3. And that are a lot.

The filer is able to plug in third party apps. There are programs who substitute the search function for example. And there is also LongNnames which displays the full name. So are you looking for something that does the same as LongNames but not only showing the name but information about the file itself? I don't see that this can"t be done in prinziple.

 is a RISC OS Usermaikl on 25/3/04 4:27PM
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Maikl Don't you mean FullNames? It has been running in the background now for about year now on my Iyonix, and worked under vanilla RO4 so 'third party plug in support for the filer' is nothing new.

also in reply to diomus I still do not understand how the Select 'improvements' would improve the way I can do things under RISC OS. All comments about the 'great feature set' are so vague.

How about an article in Drobe showing how say using a digital camera and editing images under RISC OS or emailing and web browsing are improved using the Select feature set (assuming they are)?

Does Select help in the creation of documents or music manuscripts? If so how does it help?

How about some concrete examples as I am unable to find significant quantifiable improvements useful improvements?

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 5:05PM
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Graphics ----------- Very much improved Paint, Imagefile convert/viewer system supporting numeros formats thumbnails in filer extended sprite format with extended mask. and probably a lot of other things.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 25/3/04 5:27PM
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Firstly, is it really ROL's position to develop digital imaging and/or music composition software, especially when others do it so well? Secondly, if Select isn't for you, then it isn't for you. If the feature set doesn't turn you on, then it doesn't turn you on. Great, it's wonderful when we all have this thing called freedom of choice. I don't need TechWriter but while I'm sure it's a great app for some people, I wouldn't complain that it doesn't do what I want to do. Also, I don't use Impression and Sibelius and I probably never will - so should I lobby the Aemulor team to stop wasting their time trying to add support for such apps to their emulator? Should I hassle them, Xat and other users, asking for justification as to why they're so hyped up about it? No; I appreciate that the aforementioned apps are just what their users need while at the same time not being what I need. Great, freedom of choice. I love it.

I, or specifically, drobe.co.uk shouldn't need to persuade or lecture you or anyone on any RISC OS product, let alone Select - we give you the facts, you decide. It's up to the individual companies and developers to do the advertising and go for the hard sell. If you're having trouble deciding which product to buy then please do ask any specific questions and someone will bound to help you, although it sounds to me like you've made up your mind already. Have we, or anyone else, said anywhere that Select will specifically help users of digital cameras or the musically gifted? Select works in the background to ensure the user facing side of the computer stays working efficiently and reliably, as any operating system should. It just so happens that, like most modern OSes, it provides a set of user facing services itself by default and they work quite well, personally speaking as a Select user.

Anyway, if we were to do an article on digital photography or music composition, it would be aimed for all RISC OS users but we would highlight where an advantage could be gained through the use of extra hardware or software. For example, I'm pretty sure the Iyonix's faster processor and fast IDE interface are useful when doing image malnipulation, but we don't have to write an entire article on that to say it. Also, the filer thumbnailing, increased support for the different types of JPEGs (including those produced from digital cameras) and other image formats, updated !Paint and overall increased system stability would all be useful too for anyone organising digital images - but I doubt we'd have to devote an entire article to that.

You're welcome, of course, to write an article for us on any subject - just pitch the article idea to the usual address if you want some editorial feedback.

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 25/3/04 5:48PM
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VDU23,0,12 allowed you to set the start of screen memory to different addresses on the BBC Micro. You could make it display the first 20K of memory so that the OS workspace and program were visible on screen. You could see counters in zero page being updated, and variables changing as the program ran.

Its never done anything on ARM based machines, so you have to ask why its taken almost 20 years to remove it from the kernel.

Cheers ---Dave

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 25/3/04 5:52PM
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Chris Thanks for your considered reply.

Perhaps what I am asking for is 'facts' to elucidate the 'facts' we get from Select.

I am not trying to say that ROL is responsible for improving/developing applications.

Drobe indeed hasn't said anything about how Select would help the musically gifted but that is my point. How does Select really help in normal daily tasks that RISC OS users carry out? IF it doesn't help someone using Sibelius then who does it help?

If my daily RISC OS experience with or without Select is the same then why upgrade do I need to continue upgrading? Obviously the improvements for you are so great that it is worthwhile. So what do you do with your RiscPC that I didn't with mine to make the difference? ;o)

IF Select is faster (a plus) why not do some benchmarking between RO3.7/4/Select to quantify speed increases between differing versions of the OS rather than saying 'it's faster honest' (not that Drobe have said that ;o) ?

As far as stability goes how on earth can you test that or prove that Select is more stable than RO4?

Paint for me is an application that just gets in the way when I would prefer DPlngScan to open a sprite. I have almost never used it. I can imagine that a devotee of Paint would see improvements. For them that is a visible and useful part of the feature set and I can understand how that would be useful.

I don't expect Drobe to sell me Select but some objective 'quantifiable' reporting surely is within the remit of Drobe.

grek1 See comments re paint and conversion between image file formats

What exactly does the extended sprite format do for me? I rarely use sprites but there must be some advantages so what are they? Which current sprite using apps can make use of the extra features and in what way?

I can't get this information from a feature set list.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 7:10PM
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It allows a variable degree of transpareny insted of the simple mask used before. Currently Select Paint is the only application capable of handling that format properly.

The point with the imagefile system is that every application can use it and therefore understand all the imageformats supported by that system. Currently Paint,Draw,the Pinboard and the filer (thumbnail) use it. I use it mainly from the commandline to convert say a directory of images without having to worry about imageformats.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 25/3/04 7:22PM
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Grek1 Thanks!

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 7:44PM
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Although it's good news that improvements are going on, it's sad to see that we still won't have native long filenames support in DOSFS and LanManFS. It's certainly the last (alive) OS not being able to access correctly fat-format media/CIFS shares.

I know there was Win95FS and LanMan98 add-ons, but both have their limitations and bugs, and moreover appear not to be supported anymore by WSS; anyway - as I said earlier, this should be implemented natively in the OS - especially as 90% of the job is already there.


 is a RISC OS UserRoono on 25/3/04 7:54PM
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Renaud Win95 is certainly supported and is currently being 32bitted for the Iyonix! I haven't noticed it being especially buggy having used it on an A4 and various RiscPC's. Cheers Stan

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 8:18PM
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blahsnr: one way to see how more stable Select is over ROS4 is to see the vast build up of bug fixes and updates to the kernel and low level OS components - not just in the 4.39 table, but for Si1, Si2 and Si3. Each release ideally reduces the number of faults in the OS, which increases stability. Two of the biggest bug fixes that spring to mind are the fixes to Taskwindow and MessageTrans, which cured a fatal bug that would prevent my RiscPC from staying up for more than a day or two at a time.

As for benchmarking, general benchmarks like processor tests and file I/O rates will probably reveal little change from OS4.0x to 4.39, unless you specifically test areas that have been updated for speed in particular, like the internet stack which ROL say they've sped parts of that up by 25 percent, if I recall correctly.

Remember that not all the bug fixes and updates, though, will apply to you as your day to day usage might not trigger some of the more obscure yet fatal faults in the operating system - ones you won't hit that often, if at all, but are highly annoying when you do. As always, I prefer people to hear from end user experience.

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 25/3/04 8:46PM
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Chris It would be interesting then to find a way of benchmarking the internet stack. Any ideas?

I have an available RPC600 with network card that could be upgraded to Select easily and I have some RO3.7 chips lying around (for the harder downgrade).

I'd be interested in finding out what a 25% speed up for bits of the internet stack translates to in 'real life' situations (a lot less of an improvement than using an Iyonix at a guess ;o)).

As regards stability we have moved rapidly into the realms of 'anecdote' ;o). Not that I am not glad that your system has become more stable as a result!

Our RiscPC with RO4.37 on it is only used to scan images every now and again and drop them onto the Iyonix RAM disc for further processing and seems no more or less stable than it used to be doing that specific task.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 9:05PM
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Stan (blahsnr), Don't you think that, in the year 2004, a brand new Iyonix and state-of-the-art RISCOS5 should *not* need Win95FS to correctly read fat-formated discs, as well as for Select ? ;-)


 is a RISC OS UserRoono on 25/3/04 9:19PM
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roono Depends if you want an OS (like Windows) that integrates functionality that was once supplied by third parties (such as web browsers or video players) into an 'OS' of if you want an OS that allows you to make choices for yourself and pay developers for their work. Hence encouraging third parties to write useful utilities (as in HID for example) ;o)

[Removed duplicate comment posting - Chris, 21:59 25/3/2004]

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/3/04 9:27PM
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"Currently Paint,Draw,the Pinboard and the filer (thumbnail) use it."

But are we likely to see apps not written by ROL use it considering the limited market?

Maybe apps would offer basic image support nativly and if you had Select they would automatically be able to support many more image formats.

"I don't need TechWriter but while I'm sure it's a great app for some people, I wouldn't complain that it doesn't do what I want to do", etc

But TechWriter isn't the OS, you have to use an OS

[Removed duplicate comment posting - Chris, 09:44 26/3/2004]

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/3/04 9:11AM
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mavhc: that's kind of the whole issue with OSes. It's catch-22. If enough users use the OS and ask for the features, and the developers use them, then it'll be supported. If they don't ask, don't think of it, or there isn't enough support, they aren't.

For example with alpha-transparent sprites (sprites of variable opacity, so you can see one image 'through' another). Why not use them in DTP work, or Artworks? Of course, it's easier than that because if you make the minimal changes for alpha-transparency, you might as well add the ImageFileConvert support and then the user can use any graphics file format they choose. Techwriter's being modified, and Ovation Pro is under development too - if users asked for these features, they would be more likely to appear. As new features appear in newer versions of Select, other options become available in other applications. Doing so doesn't mean it's OS-specific - you can introduce the feature but disable it on RISC OS 4 or Iyonix. So, it's not a problem to developers - they just need to know that people would like such features because it does take them time to add the features, and hence it has to be worthwhile.

You can even use alpha sprites for desktop sprites - I've converted sections of the Crystal iconset from KDE to test this out, for example. What this means is you can create shadows in sprites whilst the background is stripey without it looking odd, etc.

The above is purely a very very small example of what you can do with Select based upon two changes in Select 3. There's a LOT more out there you can do if you want to. Kind of the whole fun with updated OSes :o).


 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 26/3/04 5:34PM
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> ...converted sections of the Crystal iconset from KDE...

Any chance I couldd have a look at them ?

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 26/3/04 5:42PM
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In reply to Grek1: "The point with the imagefile system is that every application can use it and therefore understand all the imageformats supported by that system." But the app has know how to use it to start with; take ImageFS and there *no* app needed to know about the foreign formats but was able to use them!

As for bug-fixes: Yes, ROL did indeed fix lots of bugs ... as far as I can tell most of them in the Toolbox modules though which are not really part of the OS but a nice add-on for application development.

As for DOSFS/Win95FS: As for this one I'd say that ROL and CTL do seem pretty strange to me since they still sell an operating system with just DOS FAT 8+3 file name support but not long file names and the like. DOSFS was o.k. when it came out but to include such a module in a new OS now is ... sorry, I can't come up with the correct English word for this one ... but I guess you know what I mean. I would have expected something like Win95FS to be part of any RISC OS since quite some time. By now I even expect a real FAT32 filingsystem, that is without the limitation of an image filingsystem so that I can access bigger FAT32 drives.

As for the IP stack/benchmarks: When benchmarking just remember that for testing with a Windows share that if your transfer rate is about 50% of what the network bandwith suggests that you are at the limit of what can be achieved here (i.e. 10MBit Ethernet is about 1MByte transfer capacity so that with Windows you shouldn't expect more than 500kByte transfer rate; for 100/1000MBit Ehternet just multiply the values by 10 or 100). Using a Linux with NFS as partner you can expect much more throughput.

As for now: enough :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 27/3/04 3:13PM
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