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Adjust in hands of users

By Chris Williams. Published: 25th Apr 2004, 11:37:14 | Permalink | Printable

Select OS in ROM

Over the course of last week, Adjust ROM chips arrived at the doorsteps of users, confirming the availability of the first totally ROM based release of RISC OS 4 since 4.03. It also brings RISC OS back to its MOS roots and the golden age of microcomputers, where operating systems were fixed in ROM chips.

Thankfully however, RISC OS Adjust is a far cry from its MOS heritage and incorporates all the features of RISC OS 4 and RISC OS Select into one tidy package. Personally speaking, this writer finds the whole idea of opening up your RiscPC, tearing out chips and carefully fitting new ones just to upgrade your OS to be a little barbaric and the softloading system of Select was a welcomed change in the OS's upgrade approach. The RISC OS userbase still has its diversity though, and many ROM favouring users will be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that their new OS is safely protected in the silicon on their motherboards. RISCOS Ltd. have also spent a long time testing Adjust, so that all the code and resources committed to ROM are as bug free as possible.

One new Adjust user, Dave Briggs, initially commented around the time of release: "Got my Adjust 4.39 ROM set yesterday. Installing the ROMs and updating the !Boot went smoothly and all seems to be working well. Copying files seems to be a bit faster and, not having the double boot, means that the desktop certainly comes up quicker."

32bit RISC OS motifAs RISC OS Adjust is still a 26 bit OS, Iyonix users certainly won't be able to benefit from the upgrade. While RISCOS Ltd. have in the past called for greater cooperation between themselves and Castle over the issue of 32bitting RISC OS 4, there seems to be little movement from the Iyonix developers. RISCOS Ltd. have also denied that the majority of their Select scheme could be easily made 32bit, as a lot of their work relies on kernel level changes and this is presumably where RISCOS Ltd. needs Castle's help. An increasing number of users have now threatened to not renew their subscriptions to the Select scheme unless RISC OS Select is made Iyonix compatible. We look forward to asking a lot of interesting questions at this coming Wakefield show, in May.

While there must be around 4,000 copies of RISC OS 4 in the wild, the first run of Adjust was only a batch of 150 Flash ROMs. Provided there's further demand, RISCOS Ltd. would like to do a further run of 250 OTP ROMs.

Links

RISCOS Ltd.

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Discussion

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Select in ROM is something that *lots* of people have been asking for, so it's encouraging to see that ROL have responded to that. True, there's controversy over the absence of Select for Iyonix, but as the VRPC user-base grows (with informed speculation of more VRPC users than those with an Iyonix?), the market for a '26 bit OS' may continue to be lucrative.

Although ROL have said that there'll be a version of Adjust for Virtual RiscPC, they haven't announced any pricing yet, have they? Presumably, it will be cheaper, as it'll be supplied on CD? Anyway, I'm looking forward to buying Adjust for my VRPC laptop and my Omega. As I understand it, the Omega can have physical ROMs or simply upgrade its 'Flash ROM', which is nice and versatile.

"tearing out chips and carefully fitting new ones just to upgrade your OS to be a little barbaric"

You can get a refund on the RO4 chips, so 'tear' them out carefully ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 25/4/04 12:43PM
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Ah! RISC OS back in ROM, the way it was meant to be...

I just wish my new ROMS had turned up :-(

...but here's looking forward to 'tearing' mine out soon! ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserTrippy on 25/4/04 12:46PM
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I presume they're still on course for providing a softloading ROM to Select users by the end of this month?

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 25/4/04 1:39PM
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What makes you presume that?

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 25/4/04 2:15PM
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Heck, I hope Castle close some big OEM deals soon, so they can splurge some cash on buying up RISC OS Ltd. and ending the confusion. Each party clearly just hopes the other would go away.

The Castle move in obtaining the OS was clearly because ROS Ltd have become second only to MD in dashing hopes and talking rot.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 25/4/04 3:08PM
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PM expects to release Select 3i4 (the Select version of Adjust) by the end of May, according to Foundation Newsletter.

 is a RISC OS Userian.l on 25/4/04 3:10PM
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Stewy> You seem pleased that VARPC *might* (and note this is *only* speculation on your part) be outselling the Iyonix. Does it please you that ROL and VA are collectively acting as salesmen for Microsoft - does this in *no way* bother you ????? Nor does it bother you that this *must* be having some effect on hardware sales of Iyonix (and also Omega) ?

Although this has been done to death, emulation *long term* will finish off the RISC OS platform (by that I mean the OS *and* hardware), perhaps you're one of those people who honestly believe that this is somehow a good thing, if 100% reliance on Microsoft for the future of RISC OS is *ok* then nievity will have won out over common sense.

If you are correct and VARPC is outselling the Iyonix (and by implication Omega as well) then things don't look too good do they ? Shame that you've managed to turn a good news story (ROL making ROM based RO4 Select available) into a *bad news* one.

Par for the course I suppose.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/4/04 3:17PM
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Yeah, at least make VRPC work on Linux! That way you could at least have a slim Linux installation suffient to run RISC OS and avoid M$. Now, if VRPC was being used as a tool to make a more portable RISC OS, module by module, this would be good thing. I doubt anyone is doing this though.

Its true - the present situation simply destroys hardware sales and hands dosh to a company selling an old OS only suitable for old hardware and emulators. Although the fact VRPC is outselling Iyonix could simply mean there's people buying it for nostalgia or to access old files, who would never buy any more RISC OS hardware.

Also, Caslte don't get away smelling of roses. The failiure to market a cut-down Iyonix for the thousands of RISC OS fans that don't have 1200 to spend has made software option look far too attractive.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 25/4/04 3:40PM
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"Failure to market a cut-down Iyonix".

Yawn. How many times have we heard this? Iyonix can't realistically be made cheaper and still have a viable product, and there's virtually nothing you can remove from the Iyonix and still have a sensible computer. Except of course, the podule support - but guess what, that's precisely what they removed in the desktop versions.

Please let's try and keep critisisms of RISC OS companies based on realistic things that can be done.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/04 3:58PM
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"Iyonix can't realistically be made cheaper and still have a viable product" They could sell a version which doesn't get the OS updates and support for free.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 25/4/04 6:40PM
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JessFranco: "VRPC is outselling Iyonix" isn't a fact, it's merely a rumour provided by Stewy, from "informed sources" whom he doesn't name, giving speculation about what they think, presumably based on data we've not been told about here, collected we don't know how.

(Is that third hand or fourth hand or fifth hand information? It's all too convoluted to be sure).

Back in the real world, Stewy is one of the *very* few VRPC users I've met, who doesn't also have an Iyonix.

(VRPC for laptops, Iyonix for desktops; it's a common combination).

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 25/4/04 7:07PM
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Yeah, right, that'll work.

As product manufacturers, they're obliged to provide support and bugfixes, and intentionally excluding some people from this wouldn't change the amount of work they would have to do on the latter, and excluding the former would provide a questionable point at where they would draw the line, and just create confusion and complication.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/04 7:09PM
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The RISC OS market is tiny, and can't possibly begin to approach the price of commodity PCs. A bespoke computer design is going to cost more than the mass produced PC world.

If you want a cheap computer, you can always get a PC. If you want a good computer then be prepared to pay a little more. We all wish Prosche would drop their prices to match that of a Fiesta, but it ain't going ot happen.

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 25/4/04 7:20PM
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I think Dougal for not poiting out that RISC OS machines are not Porsches. ..oops.

Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 25/4/04 8:11PM
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n reply to AMS: Given the reference in the article to 'tearing' out ROMs, it didn't seem unreasonable to mention that Adjust will also be available for Virtual RiscPC and the Omega, and that neither of these needs to physically remove ROMs. Nor did I mean to ruffle feathers by noting that the 26 bit OS market has continued to expand due to Virtual RiscPC: that's the current reality. The situation seems clear to me: if Castle want Select for the Iyonix, then they will have to fund it or, as is evident from the various forums, leave a number of their customers disappointed. In the absence of any such initiative from Castle, then ROL *may* need to cater for ex-Select customers, who have migrated to the Iyonix. If the combination of RiscPC, Virtual RiscPC, etc. users is enough to fund continued development of Select, however, this need will be less pressing. From the look of things, RISC OS Select is set to go from strength to strength, and so the only 'bad news' is if Iyonix users want Select features and Castle fail to fund ROL's development costs. I really hope something can be done to resolve the apparent impasse. As the article suggests, Wakefield is going to be a fun place to air these issues ;-)

"You seem pleased that VARPC might [...] be outselling the Iyonix." Why would that please me? The reason that I chose an Omega is because I wanted a desktop machine running RISC OS on ARM-based hardware. Currently, the Omega happens to meet my needs better than an Iyonix, but that's a personal choice, and I have no aversion to the Iyonix, which is a very worthy and interesting machine. Everyone's needs are different, however, and I understand why some people are opting for 'hybrid' desktop machines. It seems seems a little churlish to 'rant' at them when they're doing their best to stay loyal to RISC OS (and buying new software for their new machines). If you have ideological issues with Microsoft, then that's your prerogative, and I can understand that. As for myself: I'd rather not use Windows (for a number of reasons), and waited a *very* long time (too long) for an ARM-based RISC OS solution; in the end, it never materialised, and so I bought a laptop and Virtual RiscPC. I can't see how that harms either Castle or MicroDigital's sales. Moreover, people are returning to RISC OS via the Virtual RiscPC route, and are supporting the market by buying software (including a licence from ROL). That strikes me as positive. I understand your fear that the desktop market may suffer, but seem to have more confidence that the Iyonix and Omega will continue to hold their own against the competition. "Shame that you've managed to turn a good news story (ROL making ROM based RO4 Select available) into a *bad news* one." I'm sorry that you chose to read my words that way. That aside, at least we can agree on something: like me, you obviously want ROL to succeed. That's good to hear :-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 25/4/04 9:24PM
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In reply to dgs:

"Stewy is one of the very few VRPC users I've met, who doesn't also have an Iyonix. (VRPC for laptops, Iyonix for desktops; it's a common combination)."

Hmmm... There are a number of companies selling Virtual RiscPC laptop (and desktop) machines. MicroDigital, STD, RComp, CJE, RiscStation, etc. Then there are RiscPC owners buying Virtual RiscPC direct (or from Archive) for existing laptops. If it's also common for Iyonix users to buy VRPC for their laptops, then you seem to have made the case rather neatly ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 25/4/04 9:40PM
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I thought Castle were trying to sell RISC OS/ARM designs to larger speciailist/mass-market customers? Has this strategy been revised to merely selling a few 'bespoke' Iyonixes to the RISC OS market?

Surely something designed primarily for Customer X's consumer widget could have the side effect of being a cut down Iyonix in disguise? If it had been a tad less limited, a Bush Internet box could have been a good A3010-level option for example. Acorn might even have brought a Stork portable to the RISC OS market if another deal had gone differently.

Imagine something limited to processor, graphics, USB, maybe firewire? That's all an iMac has, after all.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 25/4/04 9:52PM
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I have VirtualRPC and don't have an Iyonix. I would have an iyonix if it had a decent OS but since that won't happen, Castle lose a sale. To be fair, I'm not impressed enough with VRPC to ditch the RiscPC for it (more likely to ditch it for the PC but we won't go there for now!)

Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 25/4/04 10:16PM
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JessF: So, again. What precisely could be removed from an Iyonix to make this mystery cut-down Iyonix?

The processor is fixed, so nothing there. The is not much choice in the range of graphics cards for PCI machines.

In short, the idea has little practical application, except that those wanting a very cheap, and still very functional RISC OS machine are easily able to purchase a RiscPC.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/04 10:20PM
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Stewy: Lots of RISC OS dealers can sell me a 20" LCD monitor, that doesn't mean that sales of 20" LCD monitors outpace all others in the RISC OS market.

(Most of the companies you mention could also sell me an Iyonix, so what does that prove?)

I think you've "made the case rather neatly" for your logic being completely broken ;-)

As I said before, you're one of the *very* few VRPC users I've met that doesn't also own an Iyonix.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 25/4/04 10:52PM
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Spriteman: just how much had you had to drink before you wrote that? :)

JessF: comparing with Apple still doesn't escape the fact that Apple are a bigger company with a bigger market. They sell many more machines that the Iyonix is ever likely to, and therefore can more easily spread the NRI costs. Castle don't have that luxury.

You're comparing, and please do forgive the pun, apples and oranges here. It's not just NRI costs, if you sell much lower volumes you can't get the same bulk discounts other players have. The Iyonix and Omega are not cheap machines, but that's just how it is given the current RISC OS market. I'm sure Castle would love to cut prices and ship more units, but they also have a business to support and people to pay, so they'll charge what they have to.

And what is the difference in functionality of an iMac and the Iyonix? What do you want to take away? The floppy drive :D

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 25/4/04 10:53PM
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Stewy: Looking at your other earlier post, there's also this.

Amongst many other things, you make a big thing of Castle "leaving a number of their customers disappointed" if they don't "fund Select for the Iyonix."

You then dismiss the very large number of us Iyonix owners who have said we won't be subscribing to Select again without a firm commitment to the Iyonix.

You don't really explain why you expect Iyonix users to blame Castle rather than RISCOS Ltd. More practically, you don't explain why you expect those of use who have both Iyonix and Select (me and many others) to carry on paying money to RISCOS Ltd, rather than further upgrading Iyonix machines with which we're already very happy.

If you're happy with old-style hardware that's fine, you and everyone else who owns it should upgrade it and keep RISCOS Ltd in business. I'd consider a RO Adjust upgrade myself, except I can't buy one unless 249 other people do too.

Either way, it's not clever, and it's not likely to be self-financing for RISC OS Ltd for very long at all.

(And I'm still not clear as to whence you came up with those "informed speculation" rumours).

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 25/4/04 11:05PM
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When are we going to grow up, YES the RISC OS market is very small on the PC (Intel/Microsoft) scale, and yes there are a handful of flavours of RISC OS, namely RISC OS 2, 3.0, 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.02, Select 3i3, Adjust, and 5.0 ish. The first two are very old hat, and not supported in anyway; 3.1 is still in widespread use in A5000's, A3000's, A3010, A3020, A4000, A4 laptops and Virtual Acorn A5000; 3.5 Early RiscPCs, mostly upgraded to atleast 3.6 or 3.7, and 4.02/4.03 are in the majority of current Risc PC/A7000 and A7000+ 's/MD Mico/RiscStation 7500/MD Omega and VA RPC SE and still in widespread use. On top of that there are the various incarnations of Select running on Risc PC A7000/A7000+/MD Mico/Riscstation 7500/ MD Omega and VA RPC SE and now Adjust for the previous last list of machines. Lastly there is Iyonix running 5.0. As far as I can see, Iyonix might be the latest hardware, but it is running the most different OS, and very much in the minority. The vast majority of RISC OS users, run 3.6 to Adjust flavours of RISC OS, whether on ARM native processored machines or via Windows based Laptops and general Desktop machines. I for what it is worth run RISC OS 3.1, 4.02, Select 3i3. My machines consist of a lowly A3010 (4Mb Ram), MD Alpha (512Mb Ram, 128Mb dedicated to 4.02) and a much upgraded Acorn Risc PC, with 202Mhz StrongArm (82Mb Ram). Due to financial circumstances, I was unable to renew my subscription to Select this year, so no plans YET (working on it!! ) for Adjust in ROM. So cant we all work together to protect RISC OS, in what ever form we use it, support it and the market and for goodness sake stop BICKERING about whose flavour's the best.

 is a RISC OS Userjcmcculloch on 25/4/04 11:16PM
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> As for Select for IYONIX pc. What I wonder is why ROL doesn't consider to offer the Select features they can as add-on for RISC OS 5 instead of telling everybody that it's too much work to make RISC OS 4 32bit. I do believe it is much work to make RISC OS 4 32 bit and furthermore they'd have to look into HAL and the hardware drivers but that is all already there. So my whish is that ROL starts to get their user visible parts of RISC OS Select to tun on RISC OS 5 and I'm sure that that can be done e.g. for Paint and Draw as well as e.g. for the ImageConvert module series to name a few. They did manage do get that done for the Toolbox modules. True some parts can't be done this way but as for the internal things like moving parts from the kernel to some other place, fixes and the like: You can assume that when 32bitting RISC OS Pace and now Castle did fix quite a few things and quite a few new things have been built in like DHCP and HAL and so on so that I see no need for them to be redone in 32 Bit but 32 Bit Select should sit on top of RISC OS 5. >But I have the distinct impression that ROL doesn't care to consider to offer the Select features for RISC OS 5 but wants to do a full RISC OS operating system with Select for IYONIX pc. That is indeed much work - too much duplicating work.

*Please* *ROL* *and* *PM* *offer* *Select* *features* *for* *RISC* *OS* *5* *and* *thus* *IYONIX* *pc* - please do *not*go for a full 32bit RISC OS 4 since that would be a waste of energy!

> To jcmcculloch "The most different OS is running on IYONIX" you write. I don't think RISC OS 5 is more different from RISC OS 4 than Select is from RISC OS 3 e.g. And with a 26 bit RISC OS your'e heading straight for a dead end due to new ARM processors not offering 26 bit anymore ...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 26/4/04 8:37AM
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jcmcculloch: Do you have any actual evidence to back up your various claims about what is in "widespread use", what is used by "the vast majority", and what is "very much in the minority" ?

It does read rather as if you've decided what is more common in the RISC OS market purely on the basis of what you currently use yourself (or can afford).

It's all very well pointing out all the hardware variants on which RISC OS 4 can run, but let's face it - the Mico and Omega represent very few sales indeed. Even the A7000 and RiscStation are hardly likely to represent very many new sales these days.

btw, heavy use of upper case is not the best way to stamp out bickering :-)

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 26/4/04 11:11AM
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RISC OS : IT speak with forked tougue.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 26/4/04 7:19PM
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Anyone actually want to talk about Adjust ROMs being released? Nope?

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 26/4/04 7:29PM
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md0u80c9: What, and be on topic? That'll be the day! :-)

 is a RISC OS Userphilipnet on 27/4/04 9:32AM
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in reply to dgs.... apart from correctly showing RISC OS in uppercase and using uppercase for Model nomenclature, I used upper case once at the beginning of my posting "YES" and once at the end "BICKERING". Considering the length of my posting, I would hardly say I made "heavy use of upper case" or does the Iyonix not display websites correctly, and transpose lower case into upper case. If so ..... As to my observations about usage of the various versions and models, I go by what I have seen on the newsgroups, peoples signature files, to assess usage. My point was that there are very few new purchases of any new RISC OS equipment, whether it be Iyonix or Omega, does RiscStation still exist? The only "growth area" appears to be the emulation route. Perhaps if we were able to appreciate the plus points of the rivals ie Windows XP and how stable it has become, and not discredit it at every turn. Yes like every operating system it has flaws. However, I like many others have embraced this route. It was a steep learning curve, having acquired my first Acorn product in 1987, a BBC B, then an A5000 with RISC OS 3.0 in 1991 and since then a variety of machines from that stable, it was an amazing struggle on my part to go the Windows XP Pro/ Virtual Acorn RPC SE route, but it has been worth it and I have benefited in a multitude of ways. It has been my experience of XP that it is many things to many people, but at least it is stable, in just less than a year I have had to reinstall it once, and that was due to my wrong footing the Services within XP not due to its failure. I have been mightly impressed with it. I have to say, there are still bits of RISC OS I couldn't ever live without, its handling of re manipulation of JPEG images, in the various software packages I routinely run, is so far in advance of any program I have tried on PC, that I will be using RISC OS for the forseeable future.

I hope that RISC OS limited, hurry and produce an Adjust CD ROM to replace my RISC OS 4.02 CD ROM, I will renew as soon as it is announced! A challenge RISC OS Ltd.

 is a RISC OS Userjcmcculloch on 27/4/04 10:27AM
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In reply to jcmcculloch:

dgs did not even mention MS Windows in his post.

 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 27/4/04 12:04PM
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"RISC OS Adjust is a far cry from its MOS heritage"

More like a near whimper than a far cry, I think.

JessFranco: "Yeah, at least make VRPC work on Linux! That way you could at least have a slim Linux installation suffient to run RISC OS and avoid M$."

There's so much activity around small and/or bootable Linux distributions that everyone's only waiting for one thing...

JessFranco: "Now, if VRPC was being used as a tool to make a more portable RISC OS, module by module, this would be good thing. I doubt anyone is doing this though."

I suppose that ArcEm might be a better start if only to avoid the obstacles of trying to attempt such work with 100% proprietary software.

mrchocky: "Iyonix can't realistically be made cheaper and still have a viable product, and there's virtually nothing you can remove from the Iyonix and still have a sensible computer."

That may be the case, but I still think that Castle and Microdigital could learn a bit from Simtec, in terms of producing reasonably priced stuff and (in the latter case) actually delivering it.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/04/04 12:28AM
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Funniest thing I read today: It has been my experience of XP that it is many things to many people, but at least it is stable, in just less than a year I have had to reinstall it once

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 27/04/04 7:58PM
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Nice to see RISC OS development continuing, but a shame to see it being continued for old, 26bit machines as opposed to new, 32bit machines (ie. IyonixPC). Despite Paul Middleton's refusal to provide a suitable OS, a 32bit, X-Scale RISC OS desktop is on the market, yet said gentleman *still* refuses to move on from 26bit. Definitely a sound businessman with a great visionary outlook on the future of the platform.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 27/04/04 9:54PM
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Yeah, WindowsXP is the most horrible bloatware going. It seems a weird move to migrate to Gate's OS when Linux on the desktop is almost joe bloggs friendly, if it isn't already.

I'm actually amazed at the speed with which Linux is being adopted on the desktop in private and public sector organisations all over the world.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 27/04/04 11:02PM
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But Linux doesn't run Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft, Sibelius, Xara stuff - with one or two exceptions due to WINE. Most people prefer software to run natively, properly, without resorting to hacks. XP Pro is actually quite nice - nowhere near as good as MacOS X - but it is stable, plug and play, and everything is available for it.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 28/04/04 12:31AM
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GX: A Simtec representative happened to be sitting next to me when I read that, and I was sure to pass your condolences on ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 29/04/04 2:01PM
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I purchased Adjust ROMS at the SW show but they haven't yet arrived. I think I was No. 78. Has anyone with a higher number received theirs?

 is a RISC OS Useranon/212.111.169.231 via 213.40.67.65 on 30/04/04 4:47PM
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