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Castle conference transcript online

By Chris Williams. Published: 4th Jul 2004, 22:45:24 | Permalink | Printable

From the horse's mouth

Last month, as you may all recall, Castle held a press conference concerning their dispute with RISCOS Ltd. Published today on drobe.co.uk is a transcript of that meeting, for your information. The document was provided by a source other than Castle, who have also promised a transcript of the conference.

The dispute kicked off when Castle (now owners of RISC OS, after purchasing it from Pace Micro) admitted that they had terminated RISCOS Ltd.'s licence to develop and sell RISC OS 4, whilst RISC OS 4 sub-licencees and Castle competitors like STD and VirtualAcorn announced that they had halted their product lines. RISCOS Ltd. have refuted Castle's allegations that they have breached their licence with the owners of RISC OS, and have continued to ship copies of Adjust and Select.

Products such as VirtualRiscPC and the A75 are currently frozen until the dispute is settled, as (almost conveniently) Castle say they can't licence RISC OS 4 to anyone because RISCOS Ltd. own parts of it - although they are offering RISC OS 3.7, an "early version" of 4, and 5 to anyone with a cheque book.

In our view, the outcome of the dispute can't be assumed or speculated until the licences and contracts involved are examined independently. Plus, the stakes are now so high that each side of the dispute cannot afford to be wrong.

Links

Transcript of the Castle press conference

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Discussion

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Ever noticed the (economical) Macrosoft way of dealing with disputes and allegations against them? M$ usually drags the disputes and allegations on for years until the software version (or it's issue) is outdated, hence now outdated and not an issue. I wonder how long the RO4 license term was originally for ROL? :rolleyes: Just a thought!

Cheers, Steve

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 5/7/04 7:13AM
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Thankyou for puttng this on-line, Chris; It is a most interesting read.

And good on Castle for facing their audience even although what they are saying is not what many want to hear.

The questions are tough and direct too, especially, I thought, from John Cartmell towards the end.

Unfortunately the more one learns about the situation between Castle and RISC-OS Ltd the more knotted the problems seem to be.

My own view is that Castle are underestimating how important Virtual Acorn has become in reviving and adding excitement to the desktop market. (but then, I bought an A6 so I would think that)

So, RISC OS is now a "premium product club" with a high enterance fee. Champagne, everyone ?

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 5/7/04 10:26AM
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Do we get to see the presentation referred to as well?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 5/7/04 12:48PM
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Castle and ROL need a negociated settlement but if the head of ROL cannot or is unwilling to do this then the share holders should appoint someone who can.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 5/7/04 2:04PM
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jlavallin: Why should the head of ROl be willing to negotiate? If Paul M thinks he is right and his lawyers think that too there is no reason whatsoever for him to negotiate....

 is a RISC OS Userrdenk144 on 5/7/04 3:18PM
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rdenk144

Nothing to be lost by talking . ROL's lawyers may be duff ,so nothing lost in taking second opinion. It would be a pity if this stalemate is down to a personality clash.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 5/7/04 4:42PM
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Anyone ever thought that it may be some of the shareholders who are pulling Paul M's strings.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 5/7/04 5:13PM
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markee174: The word "Confidential" written in the bottom left of each slide probably means you won't

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 5/7/04 5:14PM
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markee174: the transcript says the presentation can be quoted from, but not distributed in full.

rdenk144: you don't really need solicitors to tell you that if you have bought all the rights and technology that is RISC OS... that is, you 100% own RISC OS... then you are the owner and not the guys who had it before you. For ROL to refute this obvious fact is childish and quite frankly staggering. It's like claiming that the sun is wet.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 5/7/04 5:53PM
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Why did ROL stop giving Castle royalty payments? They can't accept Castle as owner and then stop without a) being crazy, or b) having a reason.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 5/7/04 6:47PM
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mavhc> Here's the odd thing, for a while (again in the transcript) - ROL *did* pay royalties to Castle.

Where there seems to have been an issue was because Castle (quite rightly in my humble opinion) took the view that VA was an unapproved product. Castle seemed to want to charge ROL a different Royalty fee for this - and ROL baulked and rather than just *not* pay the extra - they paid nothing.

Because (for a while) ROL did pay Castle, then it could be said that ROL (in effect) *did* accept that Castle were the owner of the RISC OS. It was only when Castle started to behave like the owner that ROL had a problem methinks.

The reason stated for ROL not paying the license fee (I am not sure who stated it so I won't give attribution) was that if ROL had paid the invoice in *any* measure it would have constituted acceptance of the Invoice in whole (including the change in payments).

Sounds like a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Kind Regards

Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/7/04 7:39PM
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AMS: How can you say that Castle's view that VA was an unapproved, or unapprovable product was "quite right" without knowing the contents of the agreement ROL signed? Or was that just another out-of-the-air-anti-VA-will-kill-us-all rant?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 5/7/04 8:28PM
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VA will kill us all though.

There was always talk about ROL only being able to sell OSes for ARM hardware (#include standardrjekargument xscale not arm, blah blah blah), which would be a reason it's unapprovable.

ROL need to clear up this stuff with a new statement/coference/3d multimedia webcast

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 5/7/04 9:28PM
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nunfetishist> Yes of course - you know me so well ;)

And it wasn't going to be a full rant, only a demi-rant.....

I suppose on reflection I can't state that it was "quite right", it was more an expression of an opinion than a statement of fact, my appologies for not making that clear. I believe it to be quite right - but that does not necessarily make it so.

That having been said you (like me and a lot of others) haven't seen the license so you can't definitively say that Castle were *not* within their rights to object.

And then there's the other thing, is ROL hell bent on defending their (alledged) "right" to push RISC OS users over to Microsoft Windows even to the point of putting the whole platform in jeopardy - is that what things have come to ... I certainly hope not.

One hopes that ultimately reason will prevail....

Kind Regards

Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/7/04 9:35PM
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The transcript, if right, mentions Stan Borland sold part of E14 to himself then sold for 200,000 then sold it to Broadcom 600 million pounds. If that true he must be chomping cigars while watching a 20ft wide television connected to his Lind Hifi, with MacLaren F1 parked next to his other car a Ferarri. While he waits for his helicopter to pick him up for the journey to the airport, where he can board his Lear jet.

A tenth of the money would have saved Acorn.

 is a RISC OS Userspeccyverse on 5/7/04 11:32PM
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arenaman: When it comes to ownership in complicated legal contructions you do need a lawyer. You cannot compare this with eg owning a car. Clear is that it is unclear which part of the Ip belongs to ROL and which part belongs to Castle . The same goes for the code.

So it has nothing to do with 'childish' but different intrepretations of a contract.

Futhermore the fact that you own something at this moment doenst take away the fact that legally you can breach a contract.

When this will come to court a judge will allways look at the situation *as it was* at the time of the breach. At that time Castle didnt own Risc os ( code or ip) ROL has an exclusive licence for the desktop market. So Castle violated that.

 is a RISC OS Userrdenk144 on 5/7/04 11:41PM
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As I understand it, RISC OS Ltd only own what they have produced (and even then they are contractually bound to show the source to the IPR holders of RISC OS). All they had was a licence to sell RISC OS 4 exclusively to ARM based ie ARM7500 and StrongARM based desktop computers. IN other words, they could only sell a 26bit version of the OS to run on obsolete equipment. PACE, the IPR holders are then approached by Castle, who say they want to sell a desktop machine that runs on the new XScale processors in 32bit mode. So PACE sell them a licence to run their IP on a completely different set of machines. This version of the OS is called RISC OS 5 to distinguish it from the product that ROL is selling, it is a seperate and completely independent product, sold under a different licence. RISC OS Ltd can cry foul as much as they like, their licencing agreement with PACE was not affected by RISC OS 5 because it is a completely different product.

Now, in the mean time, ROL have started selling a version of RISC OS 4 that runs on Intel Pentium processors under the Virtual Acorn emulation software. This is a flagrant breach of their original licence with PACE, but PACE were not to bothered, as RISC OS was a small part of their bussiness. However, when PACE sold the IPR that is RISC OS to Castle, a small company that is 100% dependent on their newly acquired IPR, and cannot afford to allow RISC OS Ltd to continue breaching the conditions of their licence.

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 6/7/04 12:35AM
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speccyverse: I assume you mean 'Linn'? And anyway, surely he'd buy from Meridian, 'cause they're local, and have had dealings with Acorn before. :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 6/7/04 9:20AM
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Slight correction, John: ROL only started to licence RO 4 for the Virtual RiscPC software *after* Castle bought RISC OS from Pace.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/7/04 10:44AM
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The ROL shareholders have to read the wrinting on the wall. ROL as an independent organisation can take RISC OS no further.

They have a choice. Do the decent thing and allow a Castle takeover - OR try to take Castle (and the whole of RISC OS) down with them.

If they see sense then RISC OS has a good chance of survival under Castle's leadership. If they don't then the party is probably over.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 6/7/04 12:23PM
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jwcr: You are jumping into conclusions. I think that not one line in the contract concatains the word 26 bit....

It will contain something like : ROL has the exclusive right to sell risc os to the arm based desktop market.

So in that light Castle has violated the contract *not* rOL.

Futhermore ro5 is *not* a complete new product. It hasnt been designed from the ground up but is based on an old version of risc os.

But were both speculating right now...

 is a RISC OS Userrdenk144 on 6/7/04 12:31PM
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rdenk>

You've seen the contract then ?

You say "it'll contain something *like*", trouble with contracts (from what I've seen of 'em) is that they attempt to be unambiguous.

*If* the contract *did* say that ROL have an exclusive right to sell RISC OS to the "arm based desktop market" then they would have violated the license under those terms (by making ROS available under VA). As Castle have Pace's role in all this then Castle *could* terminate the license for that reason.

RO5 is based on code derived from RO3.8 (and stuff for Pheobe) it is *not* licensed to ROL (who got the license for what became RO4) while Castle got the license (from Pace) for what became RO5.

Until we get to see the *actual* contract the whole thing is conjecture - but it is significant that *all* the AMS have chosen not to put this to the test by continuing to sell products based on the OS licensed from RISC OS Ltd - I find that *quite* significant.

Regards

Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/7/04 1:57PM
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annraoi: Like i wrote we are all speculating. Unless we have seen the contracts acompanied with some experts opinions we are all wasting our breath....

Besides that having a exclusive right on a market will not say that it isnt allowed that you bring your product on a other market...... exlusive doesnt mean the same as restricted....

And for the record: 3.8 is not a new build from the ground up version but a continuation. Therefore it isnt a completely new product.....

 is a RISC OS Userddenk1 on 6/7/04 2:10PM
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ddenk1: you're wrong. "Exclusive" can mean restricted. If the contract allows ROL to sell RISC OS exclusively for the desktop market, it means the desktop market and nothing else. By way of example, "You have exclusive rights to sell RISC OS on ARM-based desktop computers" means only ROL has the rights to sell RISC OS 4 for the desktop market, whereas "You have the rights to sell RISC OS 4, exclusively for the ARM-based desktop market" means that ROL has been given rights to sell RISC OS 4 *only* for ARM-based desktop machines.

As for your other comment, of course you need solicitors to go over the legal details. However, I meant some things are so obvious that you don't need a solicitor to realise them - but of course you need one to verify and take action.

If RISC OS 5 is derived from 3.XX and not 4, and ROL's contracts gives it exclusive rights to market RISC OS 4 for ARM-based desktop machines, then Castle will not have broken that contract. And there are so many other things that could well be in the contract, you just don't know. For example, maybe it says ROL is the only licencee with exclusive rights, but that the licencer (ie owner) of RISC OS can also sell to that market. Who knows...

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 6/7/04 3:15PM
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arenaman:no i am not wrong. Exclusive means that you are the only one with that right. It doesnt say that on other markets you are not entitled to sell. If that is the case then there should be a sub article in a contract which says that the acitvities of comanpy X is restricted to this market, and that it is forbidden for them to enter other markets. If that isnt in the contract you are allowed to do so. And I never used the word exclusively.

The fact that Castle has put a '5' behind risc os doenst make it a completly new operation system. In risc os 5 very large portions of both code and ip are directly comming from risc os 3.XX . So it is a follow up and *not* an new os... (Just like windows 98 is nothing more then a improved version of windows 95 etc..) Therefore Castle has broken that contract.

As i said before we are all speculating.... you , i and all those dear people who do their best to analyse this very messy situation.

 is a RISC OS Userrdenk144 on 6/7/04 3:40PM
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rdenk144: yes you are wrong. The meaning of "exclusive" depends upon where it is in a sentence, as I took the liberty of explaining. Read my answer again.

If ROL have rights to sell RISC OS 4 and RISC OS 5 is derived from 3.XX, then Castle have not broken any contract, as 5 is not derived from 4 but from 3.XX. As ROL doesn't have access to RISC OS 3.XX code, only RISC OS 4, then I would assume that they only have rights, exclusive or otherwise, to RISC OS 4. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Castle have broken any contract by selling another version of RISC OS to the desktop market.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 6/7/04 4:01PM
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I'd imagine actually, that RO4 is derived from RO3.8.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 6/7/04 5:12PM
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RO5 has some of the initial RO4 features such as long file names. ROL originally submitted changes to the "master source code tree" which did not happen with later Select features.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 6/7/04 5:31PM
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When Virtual A5000 was launched, VA claimed to have permission from Pace but ROL made lots of noise about it being unlicensed. Then ROL permitted VRPC. Now Pace's successor are claiming that VRPC is unlicensed and ROL are saying it's fine. So it's gone through almost 180 degrees.

OK, so Castle care more about RO than Pace but it's odd that ROL originally claimed VirtualAcorn was unlicensed and now are saying the exact opposite.

 is a RISC OS Usercaliston2 on 6/7/04 6:35PM
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caliston2: in my opinion, it speaks volumes about the competency of ROL.

nunfetis***: I think that's correct. But if RISC OS 5 was derived from 3.XX and not actually from RISC OS 4 itself, then that means that Castle have not developed and sold RISC OS 4 for the desktop market, but have developed and sold RISC OS 3.XX, for which they had permission to do so before they bought RISC OS.

Therefore, if indeed ROL have the only rights to develop and sell RISC OS 4, then those rights have not been breached.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 6/7/04 6:52PM
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arenaman: We can debate our pants off wether it should be exclusive or exclusively and were the restrited thing comes in.

Bottom line is that there is a lot of speculation. No one knows for shure. So we *all* should be very carefull and think twice before we start pointing our fingers and shouting :" Company X or Y is wrong."

But your statement that RO4 is a complete new operating system ( since you say that it doenst come from 3.XX!) is very odd. What on earth does this support the claims of castle? If it has no bondage with 3.XX and is rewritten from the ground up then the claims of castle doenst hold much ground..... In this case the complete code and ip belongs to ROL.

But we all know that both ro5 *and* ro4 derrive from 3.XX.

And that is the bottleneck in the dispute.

 is a RISC OS Userrdenk144 on 6/7/04 7:09PM
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markee174: "RO5 has some of the initial RO4 features such as long file names. ROL originally submitted changes to the "master source code tree" which did not happen with later Select features."

Long filenames was a feature of RO3.8's FileCore. As was the filer-style Configure.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 06/07/04 10:49PM
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To waldorf: As for STD's temporary closure and "Or does Stuart just like to announce his holidays in the most dramatic way possible?"

Interesting fact is that STD was the first company to mention this license issue implicitely by stating that they won't deliver the A6 and A75 for some time due to some third party dispute - I don't know what Castle wrote to the AMS but they did want to keep this more quiet. Now they're again the first to issue some statement again. So it can well be that they want to force some issue.

Well, perhaps they just want to "tickle" Castle a bit. I would think them to need a quick resolution of the license issue since AFAIK they need Adjust for the A75 (AFAIK RISC OS 4 classic won't help them and RISC OS 5 might have the "wrong" USB stack and might not be happy on the ARM7500 to start with). As for the A6 or other virtualised Acorns I think the early RISC OS 4 should do the trick. But no flames, please - it's just a wild guess.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 07/07/04 06:04AM
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waldorf & hzn: Maybe STD's 7 day closure is merely to show (the law) that they have complied to ceasing business, even if it's only 7 days. (hzn...just a flameless response to a flamin' dispute!) Cheers, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 07/07/04 07:02AM
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Errr - weren't my comments in the forum over that way ->

Whilst we're here, is the A75 the "Stealth" hardware referred to in the Kernel CVS changelogs for Adjust?

If not - can we have some unfounded speculation on what it might be?

 is a RISC OS UserWaldorf on 08/07/04 4:47PM
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Stealth is the codename for the Castle StrongARM powered Kinetic card, released in 2000, iirc.

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 08/07/04 7:27PM
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I missed it earlier but someone mentioned the 'fact' that ROL refuse to consider a negotiated settlement. Has anyone bothered to ask Castle and ROL if either of them has ever suggested (or refused) mediation (maybe earlier this year) - or if either of them would accept it now?

My information so far suggests that 'fact' is way off beam.

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 09/07/04 2:00PM
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