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United at long last

By Chris Williams. Published: 15th Jul 2004, 18:30:34 | Permalink | Printable

No hard feelings, ok?

Newer RISC OS cogsIn an historic announcement, issued jointly this evening by RISCOS Ltd., Castle, Advantage 6, MicroDigital and VirtualAcorn, it would very much appear that the past on-going disputes surrounding RISC OS have been settled. Take a deep breath, then wait for this.

The aforementioned developers have decided on a "new initiative", following talks chaired by Icon's Mike Glover, that were held on Wednesday earlier this week. This undertaking is hoped to "ensure that the RISC OS hardware and software developers can continue with the development and sales of their respective products."

Today's statement also carried further news that will appeal to many users: "relevant" RISC OS Select features will be available to Iyonix users via the Merlin project, as RISCOS Ltd. and Castle announced that from now on they'll be working together. Castle's engineering arm, Tematic, will focus on "core operating system technologies", and also work with RISCOS Ltd. to ensure "future development of key features of the RISC OS desktop environment".

Yesterday morning, RISCOS Ltd. shareholders were informed that today's news should signal "a major new era of co-operation along the lines first suggested at the RISCOS Ltd AGM last year".

When the dispute between Castle, RISCOS Ltd. and the other developers spilled into the public eye, users felt the market plunging into uncertainty. It now appears that this week has been a week of some much needed discussion, whereby finally a common ground was found.

Hopefully now, there will be further developments waiting for us, the end users of desktop RISC OS, towards the end of the year, in time for the two Autumn RISC OS shows.


RISCOS Ltd. website
Castle website The joint press release

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Sounds good ... especially the Merlin part.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/7/04 6:38PM
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About time. Someone must have banged a few heades together. Well done to that man or woman.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 15/7/04 6:38PM
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About time............... Now this OS can start going forward in Leaps and Bounds :)

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 15/7/04 6:40PM
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German translation at [link]

Deutsche ‹bersetzung unter [link]

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/7/04 6:41PM
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As a professional user of RISC OS I am delighted that I can have VRPC on my laptop and a developing RISC OS on my desktop (Iyonix) all seamlessly connected on a network. Apart from MS Excel which is brilliant, my needs are well catered for by a great operating system. Thanks to everyone involved!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 15/7/04 6:50PM
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A second chance for everyone. Excellent. Let's hope that everyone is now 100% committed to making what has been agreed, work, and to expanding the RISC OS market on several fronts. When all five companies are filthy rich in a few year's time perhaps they'll be able to laugh about this little scrap. At any rate, I'm sure everyone is emerging with a clearer idea of where they are going and what has to be done to get there. It may yet all turn out for the best.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 15/7/04 7:49PM
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I expect that a lot of the questions we had over the past month won't now be answered, but with everyone getting along again now they're mostly irrelevant or at least uninteresting.

The meat of this agreement wouldn't normally be a big deal - companies with similar aims working together, wow! But what it represents is a clearing of the air, which the past few weeks have shown was sorely needed. Oh, and in the more immediate term, the restarting of a number of companies' incomes :-)

It's been a long month, but after which I've actually got more interest in RISC OS than I did before.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 15/7/04 7:51PM
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Looks like a few people might now be renewing their select subscriptions....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 15/7/04 8:26PM
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Not only is this news good for RISC OS development but look at who managed to get in the same room without any bloodshed :-)

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 15/7/04 9:12PM
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Glad we got that sorted out ;)

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 15/7/04 9:19PM
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And the winner is .....the RISC OS market.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 15/7/04 9:36PM
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Excellent news. Crikey, I thought the end of the World had arrived. Now, let's get some really innovative and appealing software on this platform again. We have the hardware. We really need to convince the punters around the world that there is a serious alternative to Whinedoze. If the LINUX bods can do it, so can we.

 is a RISC OS Userandyturton on 15/7/04 9:53PM
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There is a great deal of potential here. With the will and determination those involved should end up with an amicable solution that allows developers that use RISC OS as a core part of their products to flourish in an expanding market. A great deal of progress has been made, lets all make sure that progress continues.

Everyone can help in their own way by supporting RISC OS as a whole. I want to see an end to the "partisan" politics that has infected our platform over the last couple of years. If those in the RISC OS community want to have an arguement then fine, but instead of holding an arguement amongst ourselves, lets construct a positive and logical arguement we can use with those who are currently outside RISC OS to pursuade them to come in and join us all.

A couple of years ago it would be difficult to imagine that ROL and VirtualAcorn would be working together, but now we are. A few weeks ago it might well have seemed that RISC OS was in deadlock, yet today everyone has seen a press release jointly issued by all those directly involved.

Instead of building on the negativity of the past, lets all build on the positivity of the future.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 16/7/04 1:51AM
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To VirtualAcorn:

I like your comment and especially the last sentence.

Often you get replies to requests like "This and that won't work since ... " Perhaps we should move to answering requests with a "This and that will work, if ..." You can pretty much make the same statement both ways but the latter wording sounds nicer and a lot more positive... and leaves the option open to address the if's and then get this and that working ... and the initial reply is still true!

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/7/04 6:50AM
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So will both OS versions be merged, or what?

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 16/7/04 9:08AM
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JGZimmerle: 'what'. According to the press release, 'RISCOS Ltd will be working with Castle to provide relevant features of the Select scheme to IYONIX pc users through the Merlin project'. That isn't a merger. There will still be a split by the sounds of it, but it will hopefully mean less than it ever did.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 16/7/04 9:32AM
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 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 16/7/04 9:46AM
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Hmmm. Let's wait a few months to see what 'relevant' bits of Select actually make it into the next release of RISC OS 5?

Hopefully this new glue will remain 'set'?

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 16/7/04 9:49AM
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Ironically this deal might never have happened if the whole issue hadn't been made quite so public. So those people who claimed at the beginning that RISC OS could end up stronger as a result may well have been right. I hope so.

Whatever the reason, it's good news and "well done" to all involved!

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 16/7/04 10:29AM
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I was just wondering, what will happen now from a technology POV. Will ROL develop UI related things in both versions and Tematic core modules in both versions (probably leading to a merged OS at some point)? Or will ROL continue to develop Select/Adjust by themselves plus the UI related parts of OS5? Will both companies exchange their sources, to make their versions compatible?

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 16/7/04 10:38AM
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I well I truly hope for a merged OS, though compatibility is next best thing I suppose. With a market as small as ours I would think divergence and duplication of effort is a bad thing, maybe now there is a concensus on how to move forward in a single direction.

 is a RISC OS Userzito on 16/7/04 10:50AM
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zito: A merged OS is probably a red herring: It would cause an incredible amount of work for little benefit. Different Acorn hardware platforms have always had different versions of the OS and this has not been a problem in the past.

Compatibility is very important point though. However, even in the past years, there have not been any serious threats to compatibility, so this can only improve now.


 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 16/7/04 11:02AM
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JGZimmerle: "Will both companies exchange their sources, to make their versions compatible?" I cannot see why this would be necessary and I am pretty certain this will not happen. You do not need to exchange any sources to ensure compatibility, you just need to agree on the interfaces. Besides, there is no need to "make their versions compatible". There have not been any major compatibility problems so far. The only problem I recall is the diverged version numbering of the ToolBox modules.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 16/7/04 11:06AM
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I know it is not necessary to exchange sources, but it would make things easier, wouldn't it? And since both companies have improved theit OSs in different areas, both could profit from a source exchange.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 16/7/04 11:11AM
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Funny how the Windoze box I'm viewing this article on, suddenly went bobbins with the pointer jumping all over & off the screen, had to reboot... This is the kind of development our platform needs at the moment, esp. after all the recent arguments going on between CTL & ROL, casting a worrying shadow over the platform and forcing STD to pull out temporarily. -A concerted effort from all parties to develop the platform in unison, bringing together all their collective skills, can only be a good thing.

 is a RISC OS Usertootled on 16/7/04 11:21AM
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In reply to JGZimmerle and to wuerthne:

I don't think exchanging sources will help much. True, they were developed from the same base, but I think that the changes made in the kernel area were pretty different due to 32bitting one, due to different hardware platforms and due to different intentions. Thus I'd expect the source trees to be pretty different by now so that it would be hard to take changes from one side over to the other one.

I rather expect that we'll have two base OSses for some time, the 26 bit RISC OS 4 thread and the 32 bit RISC OS 5 one. The things sitting on top of the base OS - be it Select features or Merlin - will probably (hopefully) become pretty much the same as time comes by, as will surely the OS interfaces, Toolbox, ... Having a modular OS makes these things feasible, I'd say.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/7/04 11:33AM
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Lets see how long this all lasts for.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 16/7/04 1:38PM
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piemmm Indeed.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 16/7/04 1:42PM
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So long as both companies work together and share *APIs* this is very good news. Getting higher level features of Select on Iyonix would be very nice, but slightly less essential.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 16/7/04 2:24PM
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I hope that we will end up with two version of RISC OS that look the same to the user and that provides the same possibitities to programmers as e.g. the image file renderer. At the moment this is not used by many programs because only Select supports it.

I wonder whether Iyonix owners will have to get a Select subscription or whether all the features will be just part of a Iyonix system upgrade. But I guess time will tell.

 is a RISC OS Usermaikl on 16/7/04 5:14PM
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If we all work together then the winner is RISC OS; if we don't then RISC OS (ie all of us) loses. There's plenty of work for everyone to do - including a couple of months of buying from the AMSs to catch up on! ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 16/07/04 5:40PM
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tootled: Well, the news has already upset Windoze by causing the computer to crash has it? rage

RISC OS does have a future as a desktop computer, simply because Windoze is everything what so many people do not want. A bit of "modernisation" and a few tweeks and finally a product that has just about everything that M$ has and can do, then a good product will sell itself. With a good RISC OS product on the market, it's going to be Windoze that will need to make huge changes to it's neglected and underdeveloped system to compete with RISC OS. I can't see that happening to the PC world already flooded with an inherited poor design in place. I don't believe RISC OS needs to compete, just sell a good "modernised" product. Once upon a time, people were lashing out to buy an Acorn computer just to get their hands on the !Sibelius music software. Most of these people would have been unaware of how good the Acorn computer that they bought was when they bought !Sibelius .... I was one of those people back in '94/'95.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 17/07/04 08:18AM
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Sawadee: Indeed, an excellent idea which worked so well for OS/2, NeXT step, BeOS... (just to mention stuff available for ix86 at some point). It also explains the dominance of Mac OS X with it's 96.3% market share.

Oh, wait a minute...

Today's moral: the best product, doesn't necessarily win.

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 17/07/04 10:45AM
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Seem to recall Acorn actually hoping that "a good product will sell itself" and not needing to compete. Somehow that failed miserably even though RISC OS was years ahead of Windows and MacOS in many areas.

Today RISC OS is having to play catch-up and most definately needs to compete and be pushed on the market. Hopefully the day will come that there will be tens of thousands of RISC OS computers sold a year instead of a few hundred, then RO will start to have a chance against the big boys. Until then there's plenty of work to be done.

 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 17/07/04 1:17PM
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To Gulli: "Today RISC OS is having to play catch-up": very true. Apart from the lethargic pace of ARM chip speed improvement, which despite RO's efficiency means that contemporary PCs and Macs are significantly faster, there is the question of /full/ implementation of modern standards and formats such as PDF, Flash, CSS, Excel etc. These are the main areas for immediate improvement IMHO.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 17/07/04 2:34PM
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bucks> You must remember that everything you've mentioned is *NOT* part of the OS. These things are up to application developers to provide, not part of RISC OS. (which is the point of this thread!)

PDF: !PDF Flash: !Flash CSS: !Netsurf (Oregano?) Excel: !Eureka

It's scary how many times users mix up what's wanted from "RISC OS" with what's wanted from "Applications for RISC OS". One thing ROL/CTL can work on, the other, no.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 17/07/04 3:15PM
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Yes, it is a point I remember that Windoze muscled their product to fame and fortune despite what Acorn and RISC OS had back then. Lately I get the impression and feelings that RISC OS has a better chance to capture enough of the market (which of course is far bigger than 10/15 years ago) to survive happily ever after? I believe RISC OS has this opportunity more so now than then, simply because a good number of the computer users market (M$ Users) are not really happy with the "dead horse" product that is flogged in nearly every computer store conceivable to the human eye. Surely the market is so big now that M$ would not notice us happily thriving on a decimal point percentage of their market? (even 1% of the M$ market would be too much for RISC OS to keep up with supply and demand..... including IBM and/or clone machines???) So don't you think that if RISC OS supplied a "Rolls Royce" class of computer that would not be outdated in 5 years (more likely 10 years for RISC OS) like a cheap car loaded with bells and whistles (M$).... that there is a market place for RISC OS (as it is and being) a more expensive choice as opposed to the M$ short term "disposable" computer market practice? Some of us I see at times moan about the expense of buying RISC OS compared to M$, and yes some even say that M$ can be quite stable compared to RISC OS. But what I see of the RISC OS world is very different in the M$ world, and that is the majority of M$ computer users are not very skilled at computers compared to what exists in the RISC OS scene??? The majority of M$ users that I know are not really all that good at using most of the M$ software on their computers yet alone know how to load programmes, re-configure settings and choices, set up desktops, and all those basic stuff that we take for granted on RISC OS. Nearly all the RISC OS users that I know of are quite the opposite to most M$ users.... and that is very skilled..... thanks to RISC OS.

(I cross my fingers on both my hands and my toes on both my feet. I crossed my feet and both my arms and finally I crossed my eyes and wished for RISC OS to succeed beyond all the recent excitement is our RISC OS world... but much like you, all this can make one feel quite dizzy!!!) Just a thought.

Regards, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 18/07/04 05:11AM
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The thought occurs that I have neglected to say woot to this news.


 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 18/07/04 11:14AM
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To bucksboy: I disagree to your speed statement! Some things are faster on new Windows PC some are faster on the IYONIX pc - it all depends on what you do with the system!!!

To imj: That mixing up is no surprise since nowadays you get Windows with the built-in Browser... and MSOffice is more of a operating system enhancement to some users than an application ;-)

To Gulli: Perhaps Acorn indeed believed that quality sells - well it does if a) the potential customer knows, b) the price is o.k, and c) it is *not* a computer product. The past proves over and over that in computer things quality often does not survive but marketing and dumping prices do the trick.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 18/07/04 6:21PM
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That's because your car can run on any brand of petrol, your radio can pick up any channel, your CD player can play any CD.

If each book publisher wrote in their own made up language, who would learn more than one?

MSOffice is a development system to some programmers.

/full/ implementation of modern standards and formats such as PDF: you're basically going to choose Adobe's program, or the open source version ports. Does running !PDF on ROS 5 give you path clipping?

Flash: well the spec is open, but as Macromedia do a free linux version noone's bothered to make an open source version of the latest specs

CSS: Noone does full CSS, NetSurf does quite well.

Excel: Not a standard. Someone should use the OpenOffice loader or something

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 18/07/04 9:53PM
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Its now reached The Register [link]

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 19/07/04 2:59PM
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