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Aemulor Pro sees light of day

By Chris Williams. Published: 6th May 2004, 18:00:56 | Permalink | Printable

A watched kettle never boils?

Ameulor Pro logoFinally, the Aemulor team have officially finished off their Aemulor Pro product, which provides a 26bit compatibility layer for Iyonix users. The new Pro version includes support for legacy 2, 4 and 16 colour modes, 26bit sound system and filesystem support, emulation of the old Acorn VIDC/MEMC chipset, which games tend to rely on, and many other bits and pieces.

"Aemulor Pro includes all the features of Aemulor, and adds many new emulation features along with over 50 different compatibility improvements and bug fixes; all of which result in vastly increasing the number of applications which can now be run on the Iyonix PC," Aemulor's Neil Spellings explained earlier today.

Before the advent of RISC OS 5, many assumed that moving the platform to a 32bit OS and processor would leave the existing sea of 26bit only software stranded on aging RiscPCs and similar machines, whereas now, Aemulor appears to have swiftly dismissed all those old fears. Now that the Pro version is out of the way, hopefully the team will set their sights on wrapping up the pre-announced CinoDVD app too.


Aemulor website - time limited demo version also available

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The Aemulor Pro handout I have here also mentions the JIT compilation as an extra feature to appear in "future releases".

So although Aemulor Pro is finished off in the sense of released to users, there may still be more features to come.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 6/5/04 7:29PM
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Oh there are, trust me. I've switched off a number of features in the code until I'm confident that they've been proven stable for release.


 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 6/5/04 7:39PM
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Hehe. Cool. So you can run your apps emulated on a 600Mhz XScale processor, or run them emulated on a 3.XGhz x86 processor. Ain't life grand? :-)

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 6/5/04 7:49PM
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The difference being that the XScale executes *most* instructions directly (without emulation) and the 3.XGHz x86 doesn't ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/04 7:56PM
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Well done to the Aemulor team.

Proof that there is still life in the RISC OS market.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 6/5/04 7:56PM
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> apps emulated on a 600MHz XScale processor

As Aemulor progresses less and less code is actually emulated and a future version of Pro will actually convert 26-bit code to equivalent 32-bit code which it will remember.

The emulation is then only used as a fallback, and as AMS pointed out only a small percentage of instructions actually have to be emulated anyway.

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 6/5/04 9:25PM
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imj: Which apps do you have in mind? There are not many key RISC OS productivity apps that do not have a fully 32-bit Iyonix compatible version either available or in the works (remember these versions will also work on the hybrid X-Scale RISC OS computers being produced in Australia).

For those apps that aren't already available for the X-Scale, Aemulor Pro is the solution. They're mostly things like Sibelius, plus some games and demos.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 6/5/04 11:20PM
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No apps in particular, but Aemulor must have been written for a reason. You're suggesting it's a little pointless.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 7/5/04 12:50AM
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In reply to dgs:

The production of 32-bit versions has been encouraging. There are still a number of applications that currently need Aemulor though, some of which will probably never be updated. Amongst those that spring to mind are:

RiScript. Citation. WebFX3D. Insignia. TableMate. WordWorks. ImageFS. And, of course, Impression ('til X arrives).

The Aemulor website says that Vantage, TopModel2 and S-Base either don't work at all, or not reliably. All three of these are key applications, so hopefully the Aemulor Team will work their magic, and add them to their compatibility portfolio. But in the meanwhile, if these are primary applications for a particular user, then I guess that the Iyonix isn't going to be the machine of choice. Yet ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 7/5/04 1:04AM
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Stewy: Glad to hear you've finally started saving up for an X-Scale based RISC OS computer ;-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 7/5/04 1:52AM
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imj: I'm glad you take an interest in the background behind the writing of Aemulor. Back issues of Acorn User would be one good place to start your research. (There are other sources).


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 7/5/04 1:55AM
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In reply to dgs:

Sorry to disappoint you, but I've no need to 'save up' ;-)

You seem to have deftly side-stepped the issue, but no matter. It's a pity about TopModel2 though, as it's a key application that I'd have thought would benefit from running on the Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 7/5/04 2:51AM
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In reply to Stewy: You mention Vantage as key application! I remember that doing the odd test I had to see that Vantage was quite a bit slower than Draw and ArtWorks. Well, Draw is much simpler but anyhow, I asked for some sensible faster screen redraw. Since TRUISM was claimed to be using quite some time for its good work, I suggested perhaps a mode with TRUISM shut off for speedyness - and then I was told that Vantage was intended for new, faster RISC OS machines (like the Imago based one in talk at that time). Wow, new hardware is there for over a year now and Vantage still wasn't made available for that? Lucky me as I now use ArtWorks2 :-)

As for TopModel2 and S-Base it's a pity indeed.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 7/5/04 7:02AM
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TopModel2 may actually work, I don't know for sure. The version I have here is clearly broken (the first 5 instructions of its Gemini module make no sense!) and it doesn't work on my RO4 SA RPC. It really needs an Aemulor (Pro) user to try a known good version of TopModel2. For all that you say it's a critical app, curiously we've had nobody mention it or request support for it.


 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 7/5/04 7:30AM
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adrianl: That perhaps makes the point that a lot of the apps that aren't either supported under Aemulor, or being made 32-bit, simply aren't being supported or developed any more anyway. Thus the number of people using them will steadily dwindle...


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 7/5/04 9:20AM
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In reply to adrian1:

"For all that you say it's a critical app, curiously we've had nobody mention it"

Curious indeed. Don't think I said 'critical'. At any rate, I certainly didn't mean to sound 'critical' when you're doing such impressive work ;-)

Maybe TopModel2 has not been mentioned because it *does* run?! I was just going by the Aemulor compatibility database...

Incidentally, is anyone out there using Citation in combination with Aemulor? Any known 'issues'?


 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 7/5/04 9:30AM
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In reply to dgs:

You're quite possibly right. Aemulor is intended to help up move forward. It doesn't really offer the RISC OS world anything new. It's taken a lot of work but it's just a stepping stone. Now it's time to move on...here's to the future ;)

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 7/5/04 9:47AM
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I want an Xscale A7000-level machine, then 32-bit RISC OS can finally lay RISC OS 4 to rest.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 7/5/04 5:10PM
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Yes, so you keep saying, but you've failed to explain how such a thing could come about, or what features it would and wouldn't have.

The A7000 to the RiscPC is a similar comparison to the RiscPC compared to Iyonix, so as I've said before, a RiscPC fits this perfectly in terms of performance and price.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 7/5/04 5:24PM
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mrchocky: The problem is that the RiscPC is no longer being produced by Castle, so there is the gap in the market that JessFranco has identified. However, you are being perfectly correct when you state that wishful thinking is not going to bring such a machine to the market.

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 7/5/04 5:36PM
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An A7000 style XScale machine would be complained about by the same people who demanded it, because it lacked expansion and all the bells and whistles of the IyonixPC. For a specialist computer with a market a fraction that of the Apple Mac market, I find the IyonixPC to be incredibly reasonably priced. The only way you'll get cheaper versions is if the market grows big enough and even then, it might not be viable (or desireable) to make cut down IyonixPCs. Tthese machines need to be as impressive and useful as possible - they can't compete on purchase price or games, so I would have thought cutting specifications would not be the best way to encourage people to buy.

If you need cheap, go on Ebay and buy a RiscPC.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 7/5/04 11:11PM
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The Iyonix is much more sensibly priced than Acorns last effot the Phobe ..a computer so expensive that it almost seemed to be designed to break Acorns hardware division. When the Iyonix2 comes out it is likely to be more expensive than the original which would become the budget model :-)

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 8/5/04 3:01AM
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Or the same sort of the price and the IyonixPC either discontinued or lowered in price. More expensive would not be good!

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 9/5/04 12:00AM
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I suppose that the price of an Iyionix has fallen since it was launched if you take into account inflation. Equivalent to the price of inflation; it may not seem much but its better than nothing!

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 9/5/04 11:28AM
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jlavallin: Your comment "When the Iyonix2 comes out it is likely to be more expensive than the original which would become the budget model" is interesting. I think Iyonix2 is more likely to be a direct replacement for the current Iyonix and priced similar. I think then Iyonix1 will be redesigned as a budget games machine, 2 pci ( sound & graphics ), 2 usb ( mouse & keyboard ). If expandability is needed buy the new Iyonix2 or stick a usb hub in. :smile

 is a RISC OS Usergvrace on 9/5/04 1:23PM
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adrianl: Actually, would it be a fair statement to say that an Iyonix with Aemulor Pro is actually more backwards compatible than a StrongARM RiscPC was? I'm thinking mainly in terms of games, where self-modifying copy-protect code would stop many old games dead in their tracks, but I'm sure there are some more productive examples as well.

Now all we need is a version of Aemulor that lets Select run on the Iyonix! (I'm joking! Oi! Gerroff! Ouch!)

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 10/5/04 2:34PM
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