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Simtec denies Omega USB involvement

By Chris Williams. Published: 8th Apr 2004, 18:52:28 | Permalink | Printable

A clarification

RISC OS USB logoToday's article, 'MicroDigital's Omega priorities', reported on (amongst other things), MicroDigital's plans for USB and the Omega. The Yorkshire based hardware developer noted that they had finished their low level driver software and were waiting for Simtec to complete the USB support.

Firstly, as the Omega is a RISC OS computer, the Simtec USB implementation should be referred to as the STD USB stack because STD have recently taken over the RISC OS facing support of the stack. Secondly, we received the following clarification today from Simtec's Gavin Simpson, which thoroughly extinguishes MicroDigital's claims:



Date: Thu, 08 Apr 2004 17:47:58 +0100
From: Gavin Simpson
To: chris@drobe.co.uk
Subject: Omega article

Chris,

I have just read the article 'Microdigital's Omega Priorities' on Drobe and would appreciate it if you could clarify Simtec's involvement in delivering USB - we are not currently working for Microdigital. Your article implies that we are the cause of the delay. This is not the case and we have, as yet, had no involvement in any such work.

About a month ago, Microdigital told me that as soon as they have completed the low level hardware drivers they would like to come to us to arrange the porting of our USB stack. We haven't heard anything further.

All we know so far is that Microdigital intend to use our stack, although this came as a surprise since we had always thought they were going to implement their own stack which would follow the Simtec API.


--
Gavin...
---------
Gavin Simpson
Simtec Electronics.



Perhaps MicroDigital ought to re-prioritise their USB support.

Links


Simtec Electronics
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Discussion

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MD telling (more) porkies? Oh surely not. Hehe.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 8/4/04 6:54PM
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Hmmm... When I read the reference to USB in the Drobe article in question, I thought that it put a slight slant on the situation -- no doubt that famed sarcasm at work again!

MicroDigital's announcement made it clear that *no* software had yet gone to Simtec:

"When we release the software to Simtec the completed system will basically depend on how busy they are with other work."

Drobe reframed the situation as:

"MicroDigital have, oddly enough, left the ball in Simtec's court by saying the release of Omega USB support is down to "how busy [Simtec] are with other work". We have to wonder why Simtec should be expected to govern MicroDigital's software release policy, but it probably makes sense to someone, somewhere, hopefully."

Hence the above email from Simtec, which asks for the *Drobe* article to be clarified:

"Your article implies that we are the cause of the delay. This is not the case and we have, as yet, had no involvement in any such work."

Thus, the way I read things, the email from Simtec doesn't "thoroughly extinguish MicroDigital's claims" at all, rather it confirms what they said. Whether MD should have mentioned Simtec before things were done and dusted is a whole other matter, of course ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 8/4/04 7:22PM
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Stewy: So Omega owners are still waiting, because Simtec are still waiting, because MicroDigital haven't bothered to provide what Simtec need to start work yet? Because it's priority number three, *after* the mythical X-Scale/ARMtwister thingummy?

At this rate, they might be finished by about 2015.

Nice to see choice in the RISC OS market, isn't it ;-)

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 8/4/04 7:39PM
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In reply to dgs:

I don't think that there's any suggestion that MD "haven't bothered" to provide Simtec with what they need. If you read the MD statement, it implies that they are at the 'testing' stage. Moreover, my guess would be that there's more involved than simply handing across 'software' to Simtec, and that part of the process has involved documenting the Omega's 'low level' software.

Surely it's a good thing that MicroDigital have listened to customers -- present and potential -- who said that they wanted networking first? The MD update also notes that "some of the above activities are being progressed in parallel", so USB may not have to wait for ARMTwister's appearance.

"At this rate, they might be finished by about 2015."

By which time, Select may have appeared on the Iyonix ;-)

Good to know that RISC OS will still be around that long. See you at ROUGOL in 2015?!

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 8/4/04 8:42PM
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In reply to dgs

Probally the reason Microdigital have not provided Simtec need to start work is because it is not completely tested. Which seems resonable to me.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 8/4/04 8:47PM
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Stewy: Whichever way you look at it, MicroDigital have *not* finished even their part of the USB work, quite apart from submitting anything to Simtec and talking properly to Simtec about undertaking the work.

Quite nice for something that was promised in the basic spec of the Omega, don't you think?

You've actually paid up for an Omega, so your opinion on this counts more than mine (I've only paid what APDL charged my credit card).

But do you *really* hold out hope of ARMtwister being available and properly usable, during 2004? Tell us what you really think.

(Nice to see choice in the RISC OS market, isn't it ;-) )

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 8/4/04 9:28PM
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RevinKevin: If it wasn't tested, they wouldn't have announced it in their glossy leaflets given out three years ago.

Or two years ago.

Or one year ago.

Right?

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 8/4/04 9:30PM
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dgs the word Microdigital use is fully tested.

Dont forgor Acorn with all there experince announced the Phoebe how long before it was not released?

So Microdigital underestimated the timescale, but they have released it.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 8/4/04 9:48PM
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RK: I can't make any sense of the comparison with Phoebe. Acorn never claimed to have released it, nor gave it unfinished to customers.

No, they haven't released it - USB that is, which was certainly dgs' point. And given how long they've taken with other features, there's no reason to think it will be soon.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 8/4/04 10:06PM
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mrchocky: As I understand it, ethernet support hasn't been released either.

At least, hubersn hasn't received ethernet support yet, as far as we know. (He bought an Omega).

One MicroDigital apologist suggested a while ago that some Omega purchasers would receive less support (or access to support forums) than others. If you were negative about the Omega publicly, you got less support. (Is this right?)

Does this apply to other things -like ethernet - as well?

It all sounds like a dreadful mess for *anyone* who chose to buy an Omega.

(But, of course, it's nice to see choice, people can buy an Omega if they *really* want to...)

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 8/4/04 11:42PM
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I have to say that I agree with Stewy here. Drobe seem to have made something out of nothing. Which is a shame because MD were never big on trusting the media before hand and with this latest press release they've been got at again.

-- Spriteman - Surprised to be sticking up for MD

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 9/4/04 12:48AM
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Spriteman: Well, there's no big worry. Drobe have published the links to Castle's Iyonix USB compatibility pages, and also the STD USB compatibility pages.

Once USB comes out for the Omega, everyone can carry on comparing which USB devices work with which computers.

(I'm still not clear on when, exactly, USB is supposed to be available for Omega owners?)

You really think MicroDigital needed a reason to call the free press money-grubbing liars at a European show, yet again?

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 9/4/04 1:00AM
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In reply to dgs:

"But do you really hold out hope of ARMtwister being available and properly usable, during 2004? Tell us what you really think."

I *always* say what I really think ;-) I hope you'll excuse a little bit of prologue: as the situation stands, MicroDigital are shipping a highly compatible and expandable computer: the StrongARM machine which they billed as a 'go-faster RiscPC'. All I can say with certainty is that my Omega offers a smooth RISC OS experience, it is remarkably compatible, and I use it productively.

I'd like USB, and hopefully Omega users will have that before much longer. I'd also very much like to have the excitement offered by the optional XScale upgrade. In the meanwhile, I already have what I regard as an impressive machine. Why am I prepared to wait? Well, one of the things that attracted me to the Omega was that it offers an exciting, and in some ways 'radical', vision of a RISC OS computer at its most flexible.

Will ARMTwister arrive in 2004? My best guess is that it will. As Steffen said in another thread, producing a machine which runs an unchanged RISC OS is a "remarkable technical achievement". They've managed that, I trust that they will deliver ARMTwister also.

"Nice to see choice in the RISC OS market, isn't it ;-)"

I agree. I like your positive attitude too. It's a good slogan that you've adopted -- I may even borrow it myself ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 9/4/04 2:21AM
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Stewy: We'll wait and see whether your "best guess" is right.

I certainly wouldn't put money on it.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 9/4/04 2:29AM
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In reply to dgs:

Are you nocturnal? ;-)

"Boing! Time for bed," said Zebedee...

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 9/4/04 2:36AM
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Stewy: It's MicroDigital that should be working night and day to fulfill the promises they made more than three years ago.

Until they actually fulfill some of those promises - as opposed to just posting yet more promises and protestations on their website - the Omega still remains something of a laughing stock to most RISC OS users.

Sad, but true.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 9/4/04 3:31AM
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@dgs: "One MicroDigital apologist suggested a while ago that some Omega purchasers would receive less support (or access to support forums) than others. If you were negative about the Omega publicly, you got less support. (Is this right?) "

Not at all. I never wrote that it is "official" MD policy to give "negative users" less support.

regards, Rick

 is a RISC OS Userddenk1 on 9/4/04 7:50AM
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ddenk1: Well, someone suggested it. Did I say it was you? ;-)

Of course, it later turned out that Steffen's lack of access to the MicroDigital forums was purely because the forums were in "beta testing", or something.

Much like the ethernet card, presumably...

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 9/4/04 2:01PM
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@dgs:

"Well, someone suggested it. Did I say it was you? "

No, but let's keep it on that the suggestion is not right ;-]

regards,

Rick

 is a RISC OS Userddenk1 on 9/4/04 2:42PM
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stewy:

I still think my iyonix looks much cooler then your omega :-D

pictures please...

;-)

& for the record I respect his choice of machine

I am luckier - I don't need RiscPC+

s'all good :-)

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 9/4/04 6:00PM
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Well it was bound to happen sooner or later. Drobe being all smug trying to get one over MD, not stopping to think that they may also be blackening the name of a very respected organisation.

After reading the original, and Drobe's carefully edited version of what MD said, it's clear that they have good reason to be p***ed off with 'the RISC OS press'. I'm not MD apologist, but you can't just edit bits out of a sentance to change the meaning and then quote it as being what was said.

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 11/4/04 11:26AM
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robert79: What "very respected organisation" have had their name blackened, in your opinion?

How is reporting their perception of MicroDigital's rambling comments "trying to get one over MD" ? Do you imagine that Drobe and MicroDigital are news sites in competition with each other, or something? :-)

(Does David Atkins still believe that Drobe are "only in it to line their pockets" ? )

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 11/4/04 7:22PM
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Simtec.

I was merely drawing attention to the fact that Drobe edited what was actually said to make it look as though MicroDigital were blaming Simtec for the lack of USB, wen in fact this was not inferred at all in the original statement.

As I said, I aint no MD apologist, but I do believe it is wrong to 'edit' like that and I think Drobe deserved a slap on the wrists from Simtec :)

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 11/4/04 10:27PM
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robert79: Well, if you've talked to Simtec and they see it that way, fair enough.

Personally, I seem to remember this whole thing cropping up before. i.e. MicroDigital saying "Simtec will sort out USB", and Simtec pointing out that they haven't yet agreed to do so.

Draw your own conclusions as to who deserves a "slap on the wrists from Simtec" for it happening *again*.

When Gavin says "All we know so far", I imagine that's exactly what he means. Neither Simtec *nor* Drobe should have to take the blame for MicroDigital once again being way behind where they should be.

(Are Simtec supposed to be doing this work? Why can't they start? Because MicroDigital aren't ready yet).

Tell me again whose name was blackened?

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 11/4/04 10:38PM
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'MicroDigital have, oddly enough, left the ball in Simtec's court by saying the release of Omega USB support is down to "how busy [Simtec] are with other work".'

Compare to:

'When we release the software to Simtec the completed system will basically depend on how busy they are with other work.'

MD say it WILL depend how busy they [Simtec] are at the time, whichj seems a reasonable enough thing to say. Drobe's careful editing makes it look like Simtec already have the necassary to do the work, and are the cause of delay. In actual fact, MD never said or implied any such thing. If Drobe hadn't so clumsily edited the original statement for its own agenda without thinking, perhaps Simtec wouldn't have felt the need to write too them.

I am not complaining about the situation viz a viz Omega, MD and Simtec as quite frankly I don't give a monkeys, but I am complaining about Drobe deliberatly editing comments in order to change their meaning. And you are right, Simtec shouldn't take the blame, so why did Drobe edit the comment to make it looka s though MD were attempting to shift the blame to them? In fact MD haven't "left the ball in Simtecs court " at all, as their original statement states quite clearly that MD haven't finished their bit yet.

So why *did* Drobe feel it necessary to edit in that way?

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 12/4/04 12:52AM
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Thanks for your opinion on our coverage, we welcome people to be as frank and constructive as possible. We're always trying to improve, so your views mean a lot - otherwise, why would we have this comments system? We also try to represent people and situations as fairly as possible.

It was felt that MD's explanation of the state of the USB system shifted any blame for the USB system's delay onto Simtec, which Simtec later denied through a clarifcation. Note that Simtec's reply was carefully worded so as to not rule out anything, in case Simtec and MD do actually get together and arrange some USB work.

As of yet, we've received no official complaints from relevant parties concerning our coverage of the recent Omega news, so we're satisfied that we've done ok. We're glad we've pulled the whole issue into a greater public debate, with real facts and background coming through which will benefit everyone.

Chris.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 12/4/04 2:25AM
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duh. It looks like inability to admit mistakes however small and understandable is contagious to the Risc-OS incrowd.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 12/4/04 9:43AM
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diomus:

Perhaps you felt that Md's explanation shifted the blame for USB delays, but that certainly ins't how I interpreted the original statement. However, if one just read your carefully snipped version and not the original, then of course one would (incorrectly) think MD were trying to shift blame. The reader then forms either 2 opinions: 1. MD are trying to shift blame to Simtec and cover their own asses. 2. The statement as quoted by yourselves is true (ie Simtec are responsible for continuing delays over USB).

Neither of these statements is true, or what MicroDigital actually said by any stretch of the imagination.

You see me problem here? :)

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 12/4/04 10:16AM
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Stewy "MicroDigital are shipping a highly compatible and expandable computer" All computers are highly expandable. As for compatibility perhaps you would care to show me how use an Irlam 24i16 podule in an Omega ;o)?

An Omega is more expandable than an Iyonix in that it can in theory take a second ARM processor in a dedicated slot.

The Iyonix is more expandable than an Omega in that it can take Acorn podulc cards, and the USB hardware is USB2 thus in theory needing only a software upgrade to bring USB2 to an Iyonix. It is possible to fit better graphics cards to an Iyonix without changing the software.

Both machines can take 1Gb memory and 4 IDE drives, the Iyonix has the HAL and OS in flash ROM the Omega has its FPGAs thus potential in both machines for software updates.

Had MD started by telling us that the Omega would provide a RiscPC clone with faster IDE but no UDMA no USB, screen resolutions a bit better than a RiscPC, but no ethernet, SCSI or PC card, then we wouldn't be in the sorry position we are now.

We could all marvel at the technical achievment of using FPGAs to emulate the hardware of the RiscPC, instead of arguing about the obvious fact that after more than three years the Omega is as yet nowhere near the basic specification on the MD website (and nowhere near the spec of an Iyonix).

It isn't about taking sides though. Sadly it seems all too easy for companies to go beyond the normal limits of marketing spin, a luxury the RISC OS market can ill afford.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 12/4/04 11:18AM
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robert79: If MicroDigital hadn't even commissioned Simtec to do the work yet, they shouldn't even have mentioned them as associated with it in the press release.

That would've removed any potential for misunderstanding at a single stroke.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 12/4/04 1:14PM
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This forum topic follows the discussion from [link]

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 12/04/04 2:38PM
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In reply to dgs:

That's as may be. My point is that Drobe shouldn't have edited the statement to deliberately change the meaning.

As I keep saying, I am not apologising for MD.

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 12/04/04 3:02PM
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robert79: There's a difference between trying *deliberately* to change the meaning of what was said; and summarising with the accidental *effect* of changing the meaning of what was said.

I've seen no evidence that Drobe did the former (which now seems to be what you're suggesting - i.e. that the Drobe article was intended to mislead). After all, Chris linked to the original MicroDigital article as well.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 13/04/04 07:41AM
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Either way it's not very good editing.

And one assumes it was deliberate as no protestation of innocence has been made.

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 13/04/04 5:15PM
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I'm not convinced you have to protest your innocence in order to not be guilty of something. I can recall many allegations made about Castle, ROL and Microdigital which the various parties haven't publically denied, but I'm sure they aren't all true.

Is there a time limit within which a denial needs to be issued so that I can get on with stating these allegations as fact, or can they be denied at any time and it be binding?

 is a RISC OS Useranon/80.2.96.66 via 62.252.192.8 on 13/04/04 11:59PM
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In reply to epistaxsis:

"I still think my iyonix looks much cooler then your omega :-) pictures please..."

Your case certainly does look like an improvement on the bland Iyonix beige ([link]). Nice! I'll have to take some snapshots of my Omega sometime. In the meanwhile, there's something very similar at:

[link]

The neon lights on my machine are voice-activated: the height of tastefulness ;-)

Alas, the case has 'folded edges', so no Technicolor bleeding fingers like the one on your site! Oh, and to almost bring this back on thread, the Omega *can* currently use certain USB devices...

... like USB lights, fans, etc. :)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 15/04/04 2:22PM
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