Drobe :: The archives
About Drobe | Contact | RSS | Twitter | Tech docs | Downloads | BBC Micro

STD defends A5 concept

By Chris Williams. Published: 2nd Aug 2004, 21:40:36 | Permalink | Printable

There, there

Over the weekend Stuart Tyrrell of Advantage Six defended the recently unveiled A5, stressing again that it's a proof of concept, despite the device running RISC OS on an emulator.

While users speculated on the idea of RISC OS running natively on a PDA, Stuart warned of the mistakes Acorn made with the doomed Stork portable.

"We [Advantage Six] should have realised from the start that the way to take RISC OS forward was to approach customers to blindly fund future machines running on processors they weren't 'used to', using an unknown OS, without giving them indication as to whether the lot was suitable for their intended application in the first place," complained Stuart, after someone foolishly assumed that the A5 was actually just yet another bit of WindowsXP kit to slap VirtualRiscPC on.

"Heaven forbid we offer them a workable migration path from their existing x86 applications - surely they'll just let us re-write them without reference... After all, this is the 80's."

Top effort for sarcasm, Stuart. Or at least, we hope that's sarcasm.


A5 website

Previous: News in brief
Next: August news


Viewing threaded comments | View comments unthreaded, listed by date | Skip to the end

They have no need to defend a good product if other people are to blinkered thats there problem.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 2/8/04 9:48PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Thanks for this article. It's reminded me that we should be oh so grateful to STD for continuing to manufacture Windows PCs for the RISC OS community. Their talent for making Windows seem like a cool product deserves some respect. And they're just so community spirited.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 2/8/04 9:52PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

The original quote on Drobe referred to the A5 as a "proof of concept/technology demonstrator". I, like others, I guess, assumed that the technology being being demonstrated included the compute platform. That appears to include the WINTEL bits.

Personally, I am attracted to an ARM-based platform because I like the overall RISC OS/ARM conbination. If the technology being demonstrated is the RO/tablet parts, with the final product being a battery-efficient ARM-powered machine, then that's much more attractive.

However, I stand by my comments on the attractiveness of an XScale-powered PDA; not a directly comparable product but at least as attractive.

Either way, I wish STD luck in moving RO forward into new niches.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 2/8/04 10:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

tonystill:I am attracted to an ARM-based platform because I like the overall RISC OS/ARM conbination.

Why, for Pete's sake? Have you got some strange attraction to running a desktop computer on a chip designed for a mobile phone? Apart from sheer bloodymindedness, of course? ;-)


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 2/8/04 10:26PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

adamr> Err... you do know that the ARM was designed for a desktop computer, right?

 is a RISC OS Userthesnark on 2/8/04 11:25PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

thesnark: The original ARM was. ARM havn't designed a CPU in donkey's years for desktop use. 99% of ARMs designed and fabbed these days are designed for mobile phone use, RAID cards, or other embedded applications. Certianly not desktop machines.

I'm sure STD would be happy to build a true-ARM based tablet, or high-performance desktop machine, if somebody gave them a huge wodge of cash. But the market can't really support that much new hardware considering the cost of developing it.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 2/8/04 11:28PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

adam: I want an arm based desktop, for similar reasons to using low energy light bulbs - efficiency. nun: STD don't need to build one, just to get risc os running on an already existing one.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 12:41AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

jess:As I understand it (and I reserve the right to be wrong!) Intel Centrino (?) processors use less power/MIP than "high performance" ARMs...

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 3/8/04 1:02AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Can't see how, arms are far far simpler, so any improved technology applied to them as well would restore their lead. I can't see intel missing out in the phone market and not applying advances in efficiency.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 1:17AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

What's wrong with using up-to-date hardware to run our out-of-date operating system, when there's no better native hardware alternative?

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 3/8/04 2:22AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

(you know I'm geting narked off at firefox, every time I accidentally hit my nav buttons on my mouse my commend disapears)

I'm not going to believe anything I hear about Pentium M/Centrino's Mips/Watt figures, since after 30 minutes of searching I find absolutely nothing apart from brags about how there 'high', but I don't really have any worries that the Pentium M will cut into ARM's market share in the hand-held devices front, but it might pinch Transmeta a bit, who currently sit on the sub-notebook area and look to take a portion of any Tablet PC's which come out (would be nice to get X-Scales in a few wouln't it)

I suspect however that ARM's are stuck on low-power devices forever and the only viable option to turn RISC OS into a powerful platform operating system would be to migrate to PPC , x86 wouln't present any comercial opertunities for other markets of the system board and IA64/etc are all rather expensive and dificult to implement.

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 3/8/04 3:38AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I agree with "simo's" point, at least STD may provide for user's who need emulation to substitute what we don't have and cannot provide for now. The flip side of the coin is the three wishes of "Merlin's" magical "Modernisation" project which looks good. Then we shouldn't complain about the choices we have with the two sides of the RISC OS coin, as long as it isn't a double headed coin then we could end up with more choice than what Windoze offers? Regards, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 3/8/04 3:39AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

We (users) should have realised from the start that the way to take RISC OS forward was to blindly fund Windows XP machines without giving them indication as to whether the lot would support all the onboard features as/if provided by the underlying Windows XP operating system and make sure that their intended application runs secure and stable on top of a highly flawed OS in the first place.

Yep this IS the way forward. Standing inline next to emulators of defunct home- and gamecomputers running on top of an acclaimed insecure OS.

BTW. fylfot: STD doesn't "manufacture" Windows PC. They're no more than a box-shifter in this respect (just like all the others with their shuttle XPC's orso).

Oddly enough it's been told here several times that perhaps if they really want to use excisting technology; Why not use X-scale Pocket PC's, PALM's or those X-Scale linux PDA's orso. That would be a nifty "Technology demonstration" and a far more interesting "Proof of concept". Just MHO of course.


 is a RISC OS Userepdm3be on 3/8/04 5:29AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

On the other hand.

Why do we really care? At least that same STD gave our aging RPC another 10 year lifespan with that multipod, isn't it?

So it can't be all bad.

 is a RISC OS Userepdm3be on 3/8/04 5:31AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

As the original target of Stuart's newsgroup reply, I need to wave my oar, don't I. I've made it fairly clear that I can't see why STD and RComp need to badge bundles of VA and clone PC as if they were some special box. I don't object to the VA product at all. It's the bundle that's the problem. We have banged on about the reliability of "our" kit for years, reduced Cost of Ownership justifying higher purchase price, etc. I know that sticking VA+Adjust into the mix ramps the base price by a bit. It does seem strange, though, to go for bottom-end machines to demonstrate the "proof of concept". Either STD will be selling them, in which case it matters to a degree in terms of margin, or they won't. If the A5 is a "proof of concept", surely a better base would have been more sensible? Maybe it's the ability to badge the clone in question, although that begs the question of the transparency of the demonstration. Does one pretend there is nothing but RISC OS on the box, and not let the client touch it? Or is there a big "ta-Daa" moment, when the emulated nature of the beast is revealed? Bottom line is I *so* don't like the smoke and mirrors bit. There's nothing wrong with the idea of demonstrating the concept of RISC OS on a stylus-entry device using emulation as the first step on the way to a native pen-based device. It's a wonderful idea. The point of the branding exercise escapes me, though.

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 3/8/04 7:45AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

epdm3be: Making RO work on an existing X-Scale PDA device would require quite a lot of work. Making VA run on a similar looking windows device does not. Therefore you show the VA system to potential buyers (outside the current market), saying the real thing will start quicker, be lighter and last longer, if enough are interested you pay for the RO port to the X-Scale PDA, if not you sell the VA unit to the existing market.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 8:14AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

If its a proof of concept the concept is a "RISCOS Tablet". As STD says there is no point in spending buckets of customers money and their own to provide, on delivery day, a RISCOS Tablet which the customer looks at and says "What's this ? Where's the Start button !" etc etc. Instead the customer can see how a RISCOS tablet would work without anyone spending one red cent on hardware..... Now if the customer is happy with the "concept" then a full RISCOS/ARM version can be built.

As for the ARM is for phone comment, well honestly! Here's a simple question if AMD had the opportunity to provide an x86 chip for phones would it say "No thanks we make chips for desktops not lowly phones" or "Yes please (whilst the dollar signs flash before their eyes)" ? The market is changing rapidly from desktop based computing to hand held computing. That "phone" is slowly turning into an all encompassing PDA and multimedia device. The latest phones have games, MP3 players, PDA stuff and the internet. Everything in fact that the vast majority of people rushed out to buy a PC for a few years back. The x86 family is struggling to meet that demand due to its high power demands. Oh by the way for those obsessed with meaningless MIPS. It's not the MIPS that a phone company worries about its the total power requirement. Since it's the total power consumption that defines the battery life and if you have two chips with the same total power requirement you then choose the one with the higher processing capability, hence why the ARM chip is very popular.

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 3/8/04 8:29AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Another thing that it neatly demonstrates to new markets is the fact that any purchaser could run the same software on a PC via an emulator - just like Palm Pilots did (or is that do?) VA could be an importan part of any connectivity pack

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 8:36AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

It seems quite simple to me. STD is saying:

1) Here is an ARM powered device running Windows 2) Here is the same device running RISC OS under emulation. Good, isn't it. 3) Did you know that groovy RISC OS doesn't need Windows to run on an ARM device. 4) If you give us your money, you can hae this ARM device with all the advantages of RISC OS and none of the disadvantages of Windows.

Simple, a proof of concept, a way to wean people who are so used to asking, as mripley says "What's this ? Where's the Start button !"

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 3/8/04 10:12AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Start button - maybe it would be good if there were an App (NOT part of the OS EVER) that provided a start button in the bottom left, alt-tab, tree save, windows tool order and jump to front windows, to ease the transition.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 10:19AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Jess: There are numerous pd/freeware/other programs around that *do* provide alt-tab, app-launch from the icon-bar, and so on - either all-in-one or separately; take your choice.

NoMercy: (miles further up) If you want a really powerful RISC-OS machine, the way to go is support for multiple processors. There are already a number of cheap chips containing several (usually 4) ARM cores and suitable support; 4x600MHz would be "only" about 2GHz (maybe even a touch less) once you allowed for switching losses and the like - but the power consumption (and price!) would be much lower than for an X86, so you could always fit more than one....

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 3/8/04 10:44AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

What about this Transmeta Cursoe Chip? It's suppose to be software programmed to behave like another processor. So why not a ARM chip?


There are a number of laptops and Tablets using this processor.


So I wonder if it would be possible to take a complete Tablet PC, reprogram it to be a ARM chip and then rewrite the kernel so it can communicate with its hardware?

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 3/8/04 10:59AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

quatermass: The code morphing software that runs on Crusoes is just as complex as any other JIT, as that's what it is. You'd be much better off using a faster CPU.

What's all this about VRPC funding Windows? I imagine it's such a *TINY* number of sales, nobody at Microsoft have noticed.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 3/8/04 11:14AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

quatermass: have you noticed what processor the A5 uses? If it is possible, then perhaps STD are one step ahead?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 11:18AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

nun: But do faster processors do this in "hardware"?The point quatermass was making that you could have what is effectively a strongarm machine and create a version of RO for it. (presumably you would include FP too). That arrangement would be of interest to me.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/8/04 11:36AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


I did a little bit of looking at the MPCore by ARM, and in raw MIPS it comes to around the same as a 1GHz x86 chip, though I failed to find any implementations of it... would be an interesting study to see how much preformance at what price could be achieved by building a system with 4, 8 or even more processors :)

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 3/8/04 12:15PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

jess: No. They do it in software. Just like the Crusoe does.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 3/8/04 12:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In fact ARM are starting to realise that their "turf" may be invaded by others (cut down Mips and PPC processors and even (gasp) x86 derivatives) so they're gradually having to up their specs. Allowing for larger/faster caches and so on (I don't have the URL to hand but ARM do discuss larger fast caches - which *would* improve performance) and there are multi-core ARMs (or even single core faster ones such as the 80331 mentioned here on drobe).

The capabilities of ARM will improve (as ARM have no choice but to - unless they wish to concede ground to others). The end result is that *we* may benefit from faster, better, ARM's in future.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/8/04 1:51PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

On the subject of power consumption, doesn't someone need to mention that the screen and hard disk of an ARM-based solution would consume a fair amount of power, too? Nobody is doubting that ARM-based CPUs are very suitable for low power consumption applications (see [link] for some nice kit), but add a screen and other components and I'd imagine that the benefits start to fade away.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/8/04 2:19PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

in reply to nunfetishist: "What's all this about VRPC funding Windows? I imagine it's such a TINY number of sales, nobody at Microsoft have noticed"

I don't care whether M$ have noticed or not. It's the principle: why are we forced to use Windows? Why don't they (STD) offer an alternative?

 is a RISC OS Userscl4c0rn on 3/8/04 2:49PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

AMS: My partner works for MIPS. They don't compete with ARM at all. MIPS has the edge on performance, and ARM has the edge on power consumption. It seems to be a situation that all are happy with.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 03/08/04 3:27PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

scl4c0rn: "I don't care whether M$ have noticed or not. It's the principle: why are we forced to use Windows? Why don't they (STD) offer an alternative?"

You're not forced to use Windows. Go to Castle if you want a real ARM machine. STD do offer an alternative, the A75. It might not be quick, but that's because it's expensive and doesn't make much business sense to design a whole new computer. If you want to avoid the 'Windows tax', lobby VirtualAcorn to create a Linux version of VRPC.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 03/08/04 4:22PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

"If you want to avoid the 'Windows tax', lobby VirtualAcorn to create a Linux version of VRPC."

Give it up, Linux VARPC is not going to happen! And anyway, you'd still pay the Windows tax as no self-respecting PC manufacturer can sell a PC without Windows, just ask Dell.

I don't see what the problem is myself, I use Windows much more than RISC OS now, I just find there's very little I can actually do on my 2 SA-RPC's anymore, or at least nothing that can't be done better on my 2.5GHz PC (except maybe Pluto and ArtWorks2).

I can't believe that most RO users don't actually NEED to run Windows for work or some reason (like being able to use online banking!) so VARPC seems like the best of both worlds. The only issue is that once you start on the emulation route, your hardware is dead, just ask Amiga/Atari users.

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 03/08/04 4:47PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Simo: The hardware may as well be dead if it can be emulated quicker than it can be run natively.

STD aren't doing anything which doesn't make sense, since using VA is going to be far cheaper, quicker, and easier than building an entirely RO & ARM solution, and if there's not much of a performance gap then the anti-emulation arguments are largely emotional. If native hardware can't keep up with an emulator then frankly it's had its time.

This same argument seems to come up every time there's an item that mentions emulation. with the same points. I'm surprised to hear quite a few people say that there's loads they do on Windows that they just can't on RISC OS, so they use it most of the time. Unless you need more processing power, or obscure features, I find that's just not the case, for day to day ordinary things.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 03/08/04 5:02PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Can't believe most RO users don't NEED Windows?!

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 03/08/04 5:03PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Simo: Dell will quite happily sell you a PC without Windows, if you ask nicely enough. I know, I have one. Very of the big-name PC retailers will sell you a PC without Windows, but so what? Plenty of trustworthy (as well as dodgy) local retailers will quite happily sell you one. I'm sure STD would sell you a PC without Windows, for example. World Of Computers, my local computer shop, are completely superb in this respect, too. The big names find it difficult to sell a PC without Windows because they get a big bulk discount on the price (so very little of the final price actually goes to Microsoft anyway.) If all else fails, you can always do exactly what the EULA says, and send the Windows media back before accepting the licence agreement, but you're only likely to get a couple of quid back.

Have you tried Xara X, btw? :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 03/08/04 5:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

s/Very of the/Many of the/, obviously. Damned brainos.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 03/08/04 5:31PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Rob> Thanks for the clarification on MIPS.

In some applications power is *not* an issue (the new xScale referred to by Drobe hits 10 Watts dissapation - so can't exactly be described as frugal) in those scenarios ARM *is* up against PPC and probably MIPs as well. I don't think ARM can really sit around admiring how well it's done and become complacent - and they do seem to be trying to up their performance (about time). None of these ARM's may be "targetted" at the desktop, but if (at the end of the day) RISC OS can better exploit the enhanced performance who would mind ;)

Thanks again and regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/08/04 7:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to adamr: Why do I like running the RO/ARM combination? Well the original comment was in the context of a PDA/tablet so I think the answer there is obvious.

Why do I have an ARM-based desktop machine? Because I admire the elegance of the ARM architecture and I've thought that the x86 architecture was bodged (from somewhen around the 8080, let alone the 8086). I like the low power consumption (that delivers the fan-free and hence silent Iyonix, quite apart from the other benefits). I have an old-fashioned affinity to the British CPU maker and its Acorn roots. I value diversity and choice. I am appalled by how little WINTEL have achieved with all that revenue. RO/ARM does what I want to do; starts up quickly; shuts down quickly; avoids most viruses. Because I can. Hell - it's my hobby so it's my choice.

Hum, was that a rant?

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 03/08/04 9:30PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

After looking at everybody's opinions I still think personally that there is nothing wrong with STD's alternative product even if it does work with Windows. Some people just may choose that option or simply need to have the two systems. As "Nunfetishist" simply put it, go to Castle if you want a real ARM machine. My thoughts on that leaves me thinking we are really lucky to have that choice, and MW Software's !Artworks article last week Martin points out that RO Users don't realize how lucky we are. More likely we do tend to forget these amongst our niggles and wants of the RO platform. I too have to remind myself this!!! Regards, Steve. :grin:

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 03/08/04 9:38PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

tonystill: "I have an old-fashioned affinity to the British CPU maker and its Acorn roots." "Hell - it's my hobby so it's my choice."

That's fair enough, but nostalgia and hobbyish tinkering are not going to save RISC OS! This is where the arguments come from, I think. Some people want to cling to a "pure" past, while others want to move forwards...


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 04/08/04 02:02AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I wonder how many of those who "NEED" Windows are comparing a modern PC with a 10 year old RISC OS design?

The fact is an Iyonix can do a lot of things out of the box that an RPC either can't do at all, or can't do without hardware add-ons and even then will do it less quickly than Iyonix.

I have an Iyonix at home and find that I don't need Windows at all. OK. I use Windows at work and am using it now, but that is because it is the computer my employer has put on my desk. I am not aware of anything I do with it that I could not do equally well with the Iyonix (except perhaps logging in in the morning and accessing a few badly designed websites).

If your RISC OS machine is an RPC or older, you may find that it cannot do some of the things that would be possible with a more modern machine. But that more modern machine could probably be an Iyonix, it doesn't necessarily have to be a PC.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 04/08/04 09:11AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Simo: Atari is dead, but that has not much to do with emulation. Amiga is surviving because of emulation and porting to already available hardware. And people are buying it because they can always use the hardware for a normal-user-friendly Linux and Mac OS. The only alternative on ARM, for the things Risc OS doesnít offer you, is a hobbyist/sysadmin Linux.

(from: [link] ) 7. What is the benefit - from your point of view - in using the Pegasos instead of other hardware solutions?

<Piru> The number one benefit is the quiet computing. Second is low heat dissipation. Third is low power consumption. These all are pretty much connected... :)

(Pegasos is a new ďAmigaĒ PPC-hardware)

The ARM-hardware isnít anymore a unique selling point for a desktop-machine. Maybe you can even say the work on the development of new ARM-hardware was a waste of resources that could have been used for development of RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Useregel on 04/08/04 10:05AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

But RISC OS only runs on ARM.

mrtd: What things can you do on Iyonix that you can't on RPC?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 04/08/04 10:57AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


I don't want to answer for Martin, but I agrre with what he says.

Before upgrading to an Iyonix, I was using a Select SA RiscPC and browsing with Fresco. Increasingly I found myself frustrated by not being able to do things, so I would use Windows instead.

Now I've upgraded to an Iyonix and I hardly use the PC at all. Browsing is faster (with a better network card) and more pleasant (Oregano2 is bundled for free), I can use my USB pen drive to transfer stuff to work, compiling programs no longer takes ages, the machine starts up quicker (Select on a RPC was slower than WinXP). On the RiscPC I *could* use a flashy jpeg backdrop, play MP3s and listen to internet radio stations, but not without compromising on the speed of other operations. On an Iyonix you don't have to think about these things.

So it's not so much that things *can't* be done on a RiscPC (although often with extra expense), but that the user experience makes it seem like a Windows PC is a better option in comparison. This isn't true with an Iyonix.

That's just my experience, anyway. Probably those who have bought emulated devices experience something similar.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 04/08/04 12:23AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In Reply to mavhc

I agree with David. Mostly it is a question of how usable things are, I suppose any computer can do just about anything with the right software. And the backwards compatibility we take for granted in the RISC OS world ensures that just about anything that runs on Iyonix can also run on a RPC. But if things are too slow the experience can be painful and you tend to give up.

Things an RPC can't do (very well, copmpared to an Iyonix or modern PC) include

Providing a workable display at 2048x1536 pixels in 16M colours High quality photo printing using a range of modern photo printers in a reasonable amount of time. Access USB devices (at least without an add-on). 100 BaseT / 1000 BaseT Ethernet. Rapid rendering of large images at high resolution (eg for digital photography). Faster rendering of web pages

I'm sure there are lots more. But my point is that you probably wouldn't want to use your PC in preference to your RPC if it was a 386 running Windows 3.1, ie a computer of the same vintage. I suspect you prefer you PC for many things because it is a more modern design, with a faster processor and better software. This has very little to do with the operating system, and is mostly to do with the advance of hardware technology. The software argument doesn't really apply to RISC OS, since unlike Windows apps most modern applications will run on old versions of the OS.

I find that I can do many things at least as quickly, if not more so on the Iyonix compared to my PC (2GHz Pentium running Win 2K). I don't think that that would be the case with an SARPC.


 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 04/08/04 2:07PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

martin: "I use Windows at work and am using it now, but that is because it is the computer that my employer has put on my desk"

Work situations, I'd contend, are one of the key benefits of Virtual RiscPC (another being laptops, of course). Persuading an employer to buy an Iyonix could be an uphill struggle (ahem!); asking them to spend 100 quid, or so, on Virtual RiscPC is less problematic. Personally, I'd be quite prepared to fund that myself, plus any additional licences for RISC OS applications, in order to get my work done efficiently and rapidly using my preferred software (StrongED, EasiWriter, ArtWorks 2). I can't think of any Windows-only packages that I use, and working in a RISC OS environment is important to me and boosts productivity ;-)

There are, of course, some IT departments/system administrators that refuse to allow so-called non-standard software to be installed. Or jobs that require the specific use of Windows-only packages, etc. But if that's not the case, then Virtual RiscPC is a wonderful solution to the 'Windows machine on desk' situation, and purchasing licences for RISC OS applications to use with Virtual RiscPC bolsters the RISC OS software market, which is good for everyone concerned.

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 04/08/04 2:28PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

OK, things regularly I use my Windows/Linux PC's for, could I do these on an Iyonix under RISC OS5?:

1. creating DVD's - photo slideshows mixed with home video, plus some movie "backup" 2. programming C# and Python GUI apps using wxWidgets/Qt/Windows.Forms/Tk toolkits 3. playing Unreal 2003 4. watching *any* video format I want to from *any* website (including Flash7 sites) 5. serving up 200Mb database websites using Perl, PHP and C++ 6. home automation and PVR (TIVO to those who don't know) 7. downloading (not uploading!) via P2P, all legal content of course

As far as I know I can't do any of that on my Select SARPC, well maybe a very limited version of (5).....

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 04/08/04 5:01PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Flypig: The USB Pen Drive device sounds like or similar to the USB Jetflash pen type device that I have. Does the Iyonixs have special software to read the pen device that you have or can the Iyonixs read any external storage device plugged into the USB? So your generlised opinion about the difference with Iyonixs is that there needs to be a number of hardware/software additions purchased to get RO 4 or RO3 up to the Iyonixs feature level (if that is possible) ? One thing Iyonixs cannot do is MPEG, but maybe soon I hope! Martin: I strongly agree that we do tend to forget the age difference of RO3 & RO4 when we compare to XP Windows. My Risc PC 600 ('94) with RO4 should be realistcally compared to Windows '98 or even less. As for anyone using Windows because of your employer, either change boss or job if you cannot use your choice. I use all RISC OS in my school music department when I started her 9 years ago because I said so, or look for another music specialist teacher (my boss imported me from Melbourne to Auckland and I accepted on those terms). Do people get AppleMac and/or PC choices in their jobs, wouldn't a Mac user go for a Mac environment job? Maybe RISC OS users should convice their employer to at least be able to use one RiscOS machine (to show off) . Regards, Steve ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 04/08/04 11:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


You'd have trouble doing most of those on an Iyonix as well, so you obviously have some good reasons to be using a Windows machine!

I think to be fair, you can achieve an element of some of them under RISC OS. E.g. there is an article about creating jpeg slideshows for DVD players in August's Archive. You can do programming on RISC OS, but not in C# (just as I can't do native ARM coding under Windows). You can play games, but not Unreal etc.

But certainly if you have specific Windowsy things that you want to do, you're going to have to use Windows. I think the point is really just that if you're going to make a comparison with recent PCs, you should compare to the modern RISC OS hardware too.


Yes, your USB Jetflash device sounds very similar. If it is a "Transcend JetFlash", then according to the Iyonix website, this would work with an Iyonix without any extra software ([link]). This may well work on a RiscPC too, but you'd need to buy a USB upgrade podule if you don't already have one.

In terms of software, I think RO 4 and RO 5 are fairly similar (RO 4 is better in some areas), but really it's the hardware that makes the difference with the Iyonix - largely down to the speed increase. It sounds like such a minor thing, but I certainly didn't anticipate how much more productive the extra speed would make the machine.

You'd also need USB, Viewfinder, sound recording, CD writer, flash card reader, fast IDE interface and so on to get a Risc PC up to a similar feature set.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 05/08/04 02:41AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


Yes, I agree, most of those thigs are not possible on Iyonix either, but some are very Windoes specific things that have equivalents on RISC OS, a bit like saying I can't write relocatable modules under Windows.

Programming, in C++ is something I do, but for serious work you need GCC. And PERL is available.

I suppose it depends on what you want to use your machine for. My main uses, email, web browsing, publishing a monthly magazine and digital photography, collating weather statistics and managing my personal finances are all things that work well on RISC OS, and I prefer to use it rather than Windows, since I'm sure it saves me time as well as being a more pleasant experience.

DVD reading and playing (don't know about writing) software is of course in the pipeline, and the range of compatible USB devices is improving all the time.

The problem with my PC at work is that it is managed by the IT department who do not allow anything to be installed uless approved and supplied by them. I chance of getting VRPC approved by the IT commisars in Paris is approximately zero. Even worse, they have a standard configuration of Lotus Notes that is deployed company-wide, that is the most horrible email client I have ever come across. Like having basic features only, no threading for instance, defaulting to top posting on replies and displaying the latest email at the top of the page rather than the bottom with the facility to change this diabled. Drives me mad.


 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 05/08/04 09:31AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Sawadee: "My RiscPC 600 ('94) with RO4 should be realistcally compared to Windows '98 or even less."

It quite possibly should, but then RO4 is pretty much the functional cutting-edge of RISC OS technology. Even with faster hardware, you're effectively saying that the best of RISC OS is comparable to a six year old operating system running on hardware with six year old "mainstream performance". For people looking to buy new kit today, that isn't a great advert, is it? People aren't forced to travel back in time to buy computers, are they?

mrtd: "Yes, I agree, most of those thigs are not possible on Iyonix either, but some are very Windoes specific things that have equivalents on RISC OS, a bit like saying I can't write relocatable modules under Windows."

Well, you can write kernel modules under Linux, which is a fairly similar thing, but then you'd only want to if you were writing device drivers or filesystems. That's another thing which makes RISC OS software development somewhat laughable: imagine insisting that a Linux application required a handful of kernel modules to be installed before doing run-of-the-mill GUI stuff.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 05/08/04 12:46AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

guestx: "That's another thing which makes RISC OS software development somewhat laughable: imagine insisting that a Linux application required a handful of kernel modules to be installed before doing run-of-the-mill GUI stuff".

There are situations in which you need to recompile the Linux kernel to install suitable drivers. That would be laughable under RISC OS where you'd just install a new module. But the two systems are not really comparable in that respect as they have such a different structure. Certainly Linux has many advantages over RISC OS, but the same really is true the other way around too, depending on what you want from your machine (even from a software development viewpoint).

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 05/08/04 1:10PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to guestx:

I honestly don't understand why you are making such a big deal about some RISC OS applications requiring relocatable modules to handle aspects of the GUI. If, as I assume, you are refering to the Toolbox modules then bear in mind that these have been included in ROM since RISC OS 3.6.

 is a RISC OS Userthesnark on 05/08/04 1:12PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

flypig: "There are situations in which you need to recompile the Linux kernel to install suitable drivers. That would be laughable under RISC OS where you'd just install a new module."

True. That's the downside of various monolithic architecture aspects of the Linux kernel, motivated in part by the "ideological freedom" of being able to recompile one's kernel - something I've only done once or twice, and something I generally avoid. That said, much of the time, provided that the necessary support is already there in the kernel, it's a question of compiling a new module and loading it; if your distribution vendor is keeping up, they may even have done all that work for you.

thesnark: "I honestly don't understand why you are making such a big deal about some RISC OS applications requiring relocatable modules to handle aspects of the GUI."

Because it's a big risk for reliability. Just as most sane people should try and write user-space programs in Linux unless they want (often without justification, possibly not even getting it anyway) "top shelf" performance, it seems ridiculous that you need the equivalent of a kernel module to provide shared library facilities to RISC OS applications.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 05/08/04 1:28PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

*Another laughable thought* Here we are, effectively using our 10 year old technology on a brand spanking new world acclaimed 'State of the Art' XP Windows computer. What would be the reaction of a pure Windows user if you told them that the best way to benefit from a computer set is to either network your XP to be supported from your '93 or '95 Windows computer, OR emulate your '93 0r '95 Windows on the XP for the best results. (using the words Windows '93 & '95 to a pure Windows user to obscure and interpret the meaning of using a '94 RiscPC) Reaction? = :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Regards, Steve

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 05/08/04 10:18PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Having just opened this week's CTO, there's a full page ad in there for the EZ30D, which appears to be the beast in question. Full details are linked from [link] People will possibly be pleased to know that it has a Transmeta Cruse processor. Running that at 800MHz to emulate an Intel processor and then running VA on top seems interesting. The 2.5 hour battery life is a serious concern; I expect 4/5 hours on current generation Intel kit, so the lower powered Crusoe should run for longer, I would have thought. This figure is for the beast as supplied, rather than as running VA.

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 06/08/04 10:35AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

mikeg - you're having a laugh about battery life aren't you? I'd be happy with 2.5 hours, it's about average, current Intel (and especially AMD) kit is not very portable, I can only get 2 hours from my old PIII/500.

I admit its disappointing that the Crusoe doesn't get significantly better battery life than a P4-M or Mobile XP.....

Also, didn't know it was ECS - that'll be a pile of Taiwanese sh1t then!

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 06/08/04 5:05PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Should I change jobs becouse I need to use tools which don't exist in RISC-OS?

I like RISC-OS for hobby stuff but MS-Windows is the best OS I can use to do the stuff I need to do. You need to stay realistic, 10 years ago RISC-OS worked 10 times better and easyer then MS-Windows but now it's the other way around.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 06/08/04 5:56PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

My Psion NetbookPro claims to last 8 hours. But that has no harddrive, and use of a wireless card can considerably reduce it.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 06/08/04 6:19PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Jaco: perhaps that's your impression, but I have a different view. Although MS Windows has improved dramatically since the combination of NT and "Wintendo" (95/98/ME) flavours into 2000 and XP, I find it still does odd things that make me thankful for RISC OS. It is generally regarded as stable, but it is an unpredictable OS. I can't tell you how long it will take to open a particular application - sometimes Firefox takes 30-60 seconds on my P4 2GHz, depending on what files are already cached. I also can't tell you whether or not I'll have to reinstall a USB driver when I move the device from one port to another (this happens more often than not with non-generic devices). I can't tell you when explorer.exe (not iexplore.exe) will decide to cane the HD for an unknown reason, slowing the system to a crawl.

Most RISC OS users don't feel entirely comfortable using Windows because of these and other issues. I've used Windows every day since 1991 but I still spend more time in front of a native RISC OS box.

Good for you if you find Windows ten times better and easier than RISC OS, but you have to remember this is your own experience, and asking people to stay realistic is virtually meaningless. Personally, I can't put a value on how "better and easier" I find RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 06/08/04 7:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


I thought Windows was a DOS, not an OS. If you play lots of videos, games and MP3's, then I agree with you that Windows is the best home entertainment device. But in a "realistic" world of working computers, RISC OS Users and particularly the Iyonixs Users are saying our non existant tools get us by quite well. If you want RISC OS back "the other way around" as it was 10 years ago, then why accept Windows in your work environment? I didn't, I demanded RISC OS in my work as a condition to accepting the teaching job in my school. There are 8 teacher's new 18 months old work station XP Windows computers that are constantly every week being serviced and or repaired, these 8 computers (and the 24 in the computer room) alone have outstripped the total yearly budget allocated to my music department.... $12,000. The 12 RISC OS computers in my music department in the past 4 years had one faulty monitor (fixed for free under warranty) and the RISC OS machines wasn't entitled to a computer repair budget... because the school complained that a budget can't be allocated if the darn things never break down! I am "ALWAYS" asked by my school to do special school certificates, logo designs etc. because the better & easier Windows (including the ones in our Media Studies) cannot achieve what I can on my RISC OS.... AND I do not have !PhotoDesk or !Artworks (yet!!) Jaco, I cannot really see where "Windows is better and easier now it's the other way around"???? I do not mean to be rude to you, but to point out that I have alway in my 9 years of RISC OS (including today now) managed to live without Windows and exceed expectations in many tasks without Windows. Regards, Steve

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 07/08/04 10:31AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I was talking about a realistic world and bussiness use. - I need a laptop so I can take it with me to clients - I need to connect to different LAN's (home, office, clients office) and be able to use VPN tunnels toward my office LAN - I need to be able to read Power-Point, Word, Exel and other formats which are used in the bussiness world. - I need to have a good web browser (I mostly use Firebird but need IE as well for some badly implemented but mandatory web sites) - I need to use certain terminal clients which are written for MS windows and not available for other OSes - I get 150+ emails a day, some from mailing lists and I need to look at them all preferably within 20 minutes. - All this needs to be secure

Granted -MS windows takes a long time to start up and the same for all applications you start for the first time. Mostly I don't shut it down and just put my laptop in sleep mode so this is no problem for me. -Making logo's is much easyer with RISC-OS, but that's about the only thing and I never do that.

RISC-OS is as much unpredicable to me as MS-windows. For example in MS windows it's easy to install and uninstall applications, under RISC-OS I've installed and removed demo's which left very hard to find stuff in some boot file which stopped the boot up and asked for a licence (for a removed application). Also I gave up webbrowsing and reading email under RISC-OS, the first is just useless (my mobile phone does it better) and the second is a pain to set up.

I bought my first RISC-OS computer in 1990 and only have 6 years experience with MS windows but I find MS windows easyer to use (since a few years). Ofcourse if you only have experience with RISC-OS you will find RISC-OS much easyer to use than MS windows.

RISC-OS has things going for it and it is fun to use, concentrate on those things and add more of them.

BTW telling your oppinion is not rude at all, I appriciate it.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 07/08/04 4:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Stephen: Windows is a proper operating system - it has been for a while. It's very good in server applications, as well as for playing games. I just don't find it particularly useful as a day-to-day workhorse, but that's just me.

Jaco: I accept your points about the laptop and VPN, as these are two things I miss dearly in RISC OS. However, the need to read MS Office documents and browse the web properly is hardly a downfall of RISC OS itself - it is a result of a lack of applications. I don't think your point about RISC being equally unpredictable is valid. Not being able to uninstall an application completely is hardly the fault of RISC OS. I would also disagree that it is easy to uninstall applications in MS Windows. For example, I installed Firefox 0.7 and then 0.8 over it. I now have 0.7 and 0.8 listed in Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs, but I cannot remove 0.7 from the list without the aid of additional tools. This is a flaw in a tool included in the OS - there is no easy way to remove dead entries without the help of an extra tool. Granted, Firefox should have been more careful not to leave "dead" entries in the list.

The RISC OS method of grouping apps under pling (!) directories generally makes the process of moving and deleting applications simple. Just how would you move MS Office to the "Program Files" directory if you accidentally installed it in C:\? Could you explain to a user why you cannot do this logical operation? You will find that you can do that in RISC OS with just about any application.

Have you also tried to change the icon for a file type in Windows? Try it, and see how far you get.

What terminal clients can't you use on RISC OS?

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 07/08/04 10:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ] "What terminal clients can't you use on RISC OS?"

Recent Citrix ICA and VirtualServer client seem to be missing, for a start. Also, is SSH in the Nettle mainline yet?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 07/08/04 10:13PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

"What terminal clients can't you use on RISC OS?" Most important certain propriatary terminal clients which play macro's and a web browser which can be used to configure web page controlled applications. (and X, VNC, SSH but they might exist)

"However, the need to read MS Office documents and browse the web properly is hardly a downfall of RISC OS itself" I didn't say RISC OS sucks, I'm a RISC OS fan myself. I just said I can't use it for most of the stuff I do in my daily life. You are right, it's not the OS itself but the lack of (good) applications.

In MS windows "there is no easy way to remove dead entries" but you can just leave them there, they break nothing. You can also just move application directories under ms windows as long as you update the shortcuts afterwards or click directly on the right executable to start the program.

MS windows doesn't get 100% out of the computer (not even close) and it's impossible to have 100% control about everything it does but it does have all the applications and is easy to use (if you exept you don't get 100%)

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 08/08/04 10:35AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to Jaco:

X, vnc and ssh all work very nicely on RISC OS. I found them a bit slow on the RISC PC due to bandwidth but they fly on the Iyonix.

MS office formats are effectively closed formats which have to be reverse engineered so most other programs such as Open Office can have problems on some files. If you have to work in MS formats you will have to use MS programs for 100 % compatibility (its the essence of the MS strategy). What is wrong with more open formats?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 08/08/04 10:45PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Jaco: You can move a small number of programs around in Windows if you keep the shortcuts updated, but applications like MS Office and Photoshop will break if you move them, due to paths stored in the registry.

I've used VNC on RISC OS, and I've found the Remote Desktop client that is available to be excellent - very easy to use.

Windows does have a lot of great apps available, but there is no decent free text editor (please don't mention the awful XEmacs)! Please correct me if I'm wrong.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 09/08/04 6:38PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

vi rules :) ([link]) and notepad and wordpad are decent as well

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 09/08/04 8:44PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Funniest thing I've read today.

What do you find easier to use about Windows?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 09/08/04 9:03PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Please login before posting a comment. Use the form on the right to do so or create a free account.

Search the archives

Today's featured article

  • Prototype affordable Braille display in development
    A low-cost computer-controlled Braille board has been prototyped by a RISC OS-using university student. Undergraduate Edward Rogers hopes to sell his completed units for as little as 200 quid each to schools and families to allow more blind children to continue learning Braille. And he said he wanted to launch his venture using RISC OS-powered kit before offering a package for other platforms.
     10 comments, latest by epokh on 27/6/09 12:49PM. Published: 22 Nov 2008

  • Random article

  • Castle admit Oregano2 launch
    Either that or they felt we needed reminding
     29 comments, latest by timephoenix on 24/3/03 7:29AM. Published: 19 Mar 2003

  • Useful links

    News and media:

    Top developers:
    RISCOS LtdRISC OS OpenMW SoftwareR-CompAdvantage SixVirtualAcorn

    CJE MicrosAPDLCastlea4X-AmpleLiquid SiliconWebmonster


    RISCOS.org.ukRISCOS.orgRISCOS.infoFilebaseChris Why's Acorn/RISC OS collectionNetSurf

    Non-RISC OS:
    The RegisterThe InquirerApple InsiderBBC NewsSky NewsGoogle Newsxkcddiodesign

    © 1999-2009 The Drobe Team. Some rights reserved, click here for more information
    Powered by MiniDrobeCMS, based on J4U | Statistics
    "I'm not sure I could have trusted you six months ago"
    Page generated in 0.7368 seconds.