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Is it still cool to hate Intel and IE?

By Chris Williams. Published: 29th Aug 2004, 23:40:53 | Permalink | Printable

Times change, enemies don't

Editorial There's something delightfully ironic about this Intel logo (pictured right), and RISC OS. Once upon a time, we would adorn our A5000s and RiscPCs with 'Intel Outside' stickers: a proud emblem to distance our milliwatt ARM processor cores from the power hungry Pentiums. And yet now, we're enjoying our XScale Iyonixes, and in the future perhaps XScale Omegas. Intel is back on the inside.

Of course, you can't overlook the fact that Intel acquired the XScale technology when they got the rights to the StrongARM processor (developed by ARM and DEC), as a settlement in a lawsuit between DEC and Intel (DEC accused Intel of stealing intellectual property, fancy that). Even so, with Intel pushing the XScale in all sorts of directions, from PDAs to RAIDs, are ARM cores (going more and more mobile and embedded) still relevant to RISC OS? Are we fickle enough to follow just the Mhz, or does our loyalty still lie with ARM?

The reason I'm bringing this up again, here, is that I was earlier wandering across the vastness of the web and happened across the website of a particular RISC OS celebrity. While known for offering various popular, useful resources on his website, this particular outspoken member of our platform is particularly keen to promote RISC OS where ever possible and has been known to impress a few of society's elite with our OS, he reminds us. Constantly. And if he's going to insist that RISC OS is "completely impervious to all forms of internet virus, worm or trojan", then who are we to stop him.

Anyway, his site is currently running an "Intel: Just say no" campaign, which amused me, at least, because he probably wrote that page on an 'Intel inside' Iyonix. Just say no, until it becomes convenient to use? The campaign is because of Intel's "unethical business practices," our well travelled campaigner told us. As long as they keep churning out those IOP321s, it's a-ok, presumably.

Web browsers
Funnily enough, if you visit the aforementioned RISC OS resource portal, and your browser dares to be Internet Explorer, you'll be blocked, scolded and told to upgrade. I personally hate being told to upgrade my browser - clearly, these people have never heard of Oregano's unique upgrade path. I hate these CSS sites that tell me I need to visit some precocious 'web standards' website that will lecture me into using their browser of choice. A favourite site of mine, Andrew "Jaffasoft" Flegg's TV listings site, at least congratulates me on "being true to the origins of web browsing". I hope that's not sarcasm I smell, there.

How many times have RISC OS been locked out of mainstream websites that ought to know better, and told to upgrade to IE? Maybe blocking IE from RISC OS sites is some kind of humorous revenge. Well, we sure showed them, now they'll never find out more about our platform. And if anything, this kind of action is not going to scream 'tolerance', all-in-all a great advert for the rest of the passing-by-web. Maybe people will see the block, try out an IE alternative, and then thank us for showing them the light. I asked our friend if there was any chance of a compromise, like a friendly link to Firefox or something, but the response was: "People should not use MSIE full stop. End of story."

People should not use VirtualAcorn, should not bother upgrading that RiscPC, should not read banned books and should not leave the house after 8:30pm, either, huh? Our platform representative is also anti-Microsoft, yet we hear he owns an Xbox to play games on and watch DVDs. He's thinking of eBay'ing it now, though.

Now, not that I want to pick on our friend, and I've tried to play down his identity here because it's nothing personal. It's just interesting to see how times have changed, and certainly changing beyond our control, forcing us all to adapt. Having had the platform grown and fostered within the warm confines of the initial relationship between Acorn and ARM, the fact that we're now more or less on our own, 'piggybacking' on the success of convenient XScale processors, open source software, emulators, the embedded market, and the rest, is probably the hardest fact for our platform's zealots to grasp.

As an aside, yes, we are running online polls now - you can vote if you're logged in or not, and if you have any suggestions, do email us. Also, we are including Google ads now on the site, to help pay for server hosting and to contribute to the development of the site and its writers. More details on this soon.


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Odd that [link] works fine in IE, just the root page that redirects.

People should be told that IE is bad, and shown alternatives (not that using another browser helps when IE is still installed and used by other apps). Of course why not block anyone using Windows XP, flaws in that have caused some of the biggest, more rapid virus outbreaks, and of course most of the spam. And Apple accepts money from Microsoft, so they're implicated. Linux GUIs and apps are often just MS clones, so they're supporting the MS way.

Intel appear to want to take the Xscale down their own ARM incompatible ways, which is an obvious lock-in attempt.

I don't see where "People should not use VirtualAcorn, should not bother upgrading that RiscPC, should not read banned books and should not leave the house after 8:30pm, either" came from, and as long as you don't buy any XBox games it's costing MS money, so that's ok.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 30/8/04 12:19PM
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Interesting, thoughtful article. Looking round at my fellow RISC OS users I sometimes wonder whether we do not sometimes overplay our desire to be different, to know best, to out-nerd the rest of the sorry human race ("speak for yourself", "rhubarb", I hear?). It just may be that there is a reason why mavericks (and we are all mavericks, aren't we) go for something like RISC OS. As well as proclaiming our egregiousness, our difference can be an advantage. I refused to believe that I was human when I was small - some still believe me. Still, it is silly to take it seriously.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 30/8/04 12:45PM
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If Vigay wants to appear an idiot to viewers of his own private vanity site, why should we care? At least he stopped his total stupidity with the same blocking and ranting on riscos.org. Vigay certainly not the most balanced of fellows to be running a "RISC OS portal", that's for sure.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 30/8/04 12:54PM
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In response to the title of the piece; it isn't cool, and never has been. The need to slag off something that's not what you happen to like is really just a prejudice. It might be justified; it might not; but I'm pretty sure that a prejudice isn't a cool thing. It's just a thing. I have my own; I know and accept those.

As for those of Paul... well, he's got his own convictions and I believe he's wrong or misguided, but I can't fault him for saying what he thinks or standing by those beliefs.

As I recall, CERT (or was it one of the other bodies ?) only recently issued an advisory, recommending that users stop using IE. Are they too being intollerant ?

You reference the bleb site which degrades very gracefully, but you might also want to look at ebuyer, which degrades reasonably well too, although for it considers 'CSS' to be a 'basic web standard' which I personally disagree with, but that's progress I guess.

I do believe that Drobe itself used to tell users to stop using Browse/Phoenix because of a single flaw that it was seeing. Viewing in Browse now, I don't see that warning and although my memory is shakey, I'm confident it's not failed me here.

On a slightly topic, I was surprised to be chastised for voicing an opinion that using the most suitable system for the purpose was more practical than sticking purely to RISC OS because that's what we do. Ah well.

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 30/8/04 2:48PM
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Any decently-designed CSS site will degrade to be viewable in a non-CSS browser. Any that don't simply aren't nicely designed, and aren't true to the spirit of CSS.

The problems come when websites *partially* support CSS, and that's very difficult to get round. Perhaps all browsers should come with a "Switch off CSS" option.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 30/8/04 3:06PM
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*Browsers* partially support CSS, I mean. Sorry.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 30/8/04 3:06PM
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I made my first comment without realising whom Chris was talking about. Now that I have looked at the site in question I must say that I think Chris has exaggerated what the "Say No to Intel" snippet actually says. It _is_ nasty when big firms lean on little ones. There is nothing there about CPUs, apart from the little in-joke about strongarm tactics. I think we should appreciate that without a little paranoia from our friends we might be bullied even more than we often are. So keep up the good work, Paul.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 30/8/04 3:18PM
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Ooh, mentioned on drobe for TV listings - hot on the heels of an NTK mention as well. I must be doing something right... :-)

Anyway, no sarcasm is intended with the "true to the origins of web browsing" quoted above. After all, I'd end up being sarcastic with myself when looking at them on Fresco, and I'm not *that* sarcastic.

[link] - for all your TV/radio listings needs.

 is a RISC OS UserJaffa on 30/8/04 3:31PM
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gavin> 'Say No to Intel' was not the only snippet on that site. There are at least 3 others on there if you bother to look hard enough.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 30/8/04 3:32PM
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I ask MSIE users on my online game to upgrade to Firefox in a small message at the top of the main page, but I don't force them too, or stop them playing the game.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 30/8/04 3:33PM
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IE, at least at present still doesn't conform to many of the details of specifications, it will load a XSLT from an XML stylesheet reference but won't load CSS in the same way, it's box model is buggy, it loves to re-load images for no aparent reason, doesn't support transparency in PNG's properly...

So I try to include a GetFirefox button for any browser which doesn't support xhtml in it's accept header, but I wouln't ever block access for any browser.

Side issue, any of the browsers being developed for RISC OS using Gecko?

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 30/8/04 4:23PM
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Drobe blocks Phoenix as it sent referer headers when it shouldn't, apparently Browse does too though: [link]

Unless you use frames NetSurf is probably better at 90% of browsering than Browse.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 30/8/04 5:58PM
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To get around it easily: Go to [link], be redirected to [link] press the Up button in your google toolbar (why don't all browsers have this?), click on RISC OS and get to [link] where you can navigate easily.

It's not as if the [link] page is great, wasting 30 of my browser window with white space and having giant linespacing, and the colour difference between visited and unvisited links is so slight it's invisible.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 30/8/04 6:04PM
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I have never liked the x86 pc concepet and I still doesnt use them at home. If O2 cant display a page I can allways use my 600mhz pegasos 2 browse it with firefox. You realy dont need to have x86pcs around. Personaly I HATE them.

 is a RISC OS Usermicken on 30/8/04 6:48PM
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When I was at Stonar, I had an A-level ICT student whose father was (and still is) the European Sales Director of Intel. I developed a good relationship with him, and once, when showing him round the Strongarm-based network he remarked that many companies would give anything for a network of such integrity. He offered me a set of 'Intel inside' stickers, and was not the least offended when I said, on balance, perhaps not. He also gave me a 10k gift of ethernet switchgear. On learning of school's proposed change to Windows, his views were that it would be a wrong move of the first order, putting it politely.

 is a RISC OS UserMartinD on 30/8/04 9:13PM
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I'm not a fan of x86 on any level, I hate windows, and here I am sat writing this on a x86 PC running windows *sobs*. But the last time I drueld over an RISC OS machine was 93', now Opteron's configured in a NUMA archetecture under the hood of a PC wettens the corners of my mouth.

It took a bunch of graduates with big ideas and a large injection of money to push Acorn to the head of the game, if for a brief while. Mabie the opertunity will come by again, but will we catch it and run with it, or will it just get swalloed up into the huge uguly Windows (tm) world.

Linux gave me hope for a while, but there's very little inovation going on, everyone is trying so hard to make it mainstream, user friendly, etc... it's turning into a free version of windows :/

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 31/8/04 12:31AM
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*mavhc* I agree that people should be told that IE is not the best choice, more people like us have to tell them though. Blocking XP Windows users may keep out problem users an systems, and I guess if they want to access RISC OS sites, then get a RISC OS computer. But I think the other side of the blocking idea may get our platform browsers, and other sound 'N media gear up to date to cope with the MS ban??

*NoMercy* If all that you said is so, I'm dumbfounded why such a browser as IE from such a financial company as MS has IE on it's forefront of the Windows desktop?? I didn't realize our competitors were not so "Flash" up to scratch!

I still do not think that RISC OS ever has to compete against any bigger software or computer company, it's quite the reverse really? Regards, Steve

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 31/8/04 3:28AM
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Just looking at the Google ads displayed on each page, there seem to be a few RISC OS ads that turn up all the time, notably Qercus and the A6. Are Drobe going to be effectively charging them lots of money by creating lots of Google views and thrashing their ads? Does this just mean that inadvertently Drobe ends up siphoning off cash from other people in the RISC OS market? I suppose that's the advertisers' risk...

 is a RISC OS Usercaliston2 on 31/8/04 11:18AM
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If users from drobe visit sites advertised in the google ads then basically we are sending them potential customers. This is how Google adsense works and the advertisers are fully aware of this.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 31/8/04 11:43AM
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With reference to the above article I think we shouldn't be overly relying on ANY idealistic type of processor to run RO on, even though the ARM chip has wonderful aspects, is currently mostly suited and is adored by us all. In my personal opinion, the jump to VirtualAcorn is a professional and liberating one. Perhaps it can mean the beginning of an x86 based version of RO. In certain ways it is comparable to the recent jump to a 32-bit OS.

As NoMercy points out above, in some ways linux is turning into a free version of Windows - i think there's some truth in that, even though the community could collectively steer away from that any time. If we could offer RO as a similar non-standard, but conforming, means of easy computing, we could really interest a lot of people. I am not talking of making it Open Source though.

"completely impervient to all forms of internet virus, worm or trojan" is a blatant misstatement - we cannot account for that, it is quite possible something slips in via email or the web and sabotages RISC OS through mis-configuring it, for example. And for the non-expert user it could take a while to figure out what went wrong. What we can be proud about, is the fact the ROMs cannot be erased or modified / hacked. (Unfortunately, I don't know about the programmable ROMs on certain machines, but I guess some form of security exists to prevent it being permanently wasted)

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 31/8/04 1:17PM
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hEgelia>"the jump to VirtualAcorn is a professional and liberating one. Perhaps it can mean the beginning of an x86 based version of RO."


Liberating you by tying you irrevocably to Windows which has no link *whatsoever* to RISC OS where MS could implement policies and change its means of working in such a way that they could (inadvertantly) lock VA out an leave us high and dry ????

As to an x86 version of RO have you *ever* compared the two instruction sets ? A fair proportion of RO is still *assembler* (in short will still need to be emulated - hence it will need VA or something like VA to run). There is (IMHO) no possibility of RO becoming x86 native.

As to Linux turning into a free version of Windows I wouldn't say that too loud in case any Linux users would hear you ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/8/04 2:02PM
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I am not talking about Windows. We should never allow RISC OS to be governed by MS in suchaway. What I'm talking about is the jump we made, slowly, but surely freeing the OS of its ARM roots, thereby making it usable on other types of processor. Preferably, any type.

I have never compared the two instruction sets, otherwise I think I wouldn't be so bold in making such statements. There is always a possibility. Even if it means rewriting our beloved OS. Don't get me wrong - I love RO running on ARM and Castle/Tematic are devoted to exploring that, but if we are serious about conquering the world with our superior OS, we should be thinking about making it useable on other processors - natively. We should free our minds. Free the OS from its ARM.

Oh, and I'm sure some linux users already heard me. Why are we sticking (even RO) still to 2 dimensional WIMP interfaces based on 20 year old technology and psychological interfacing models? It's primitive! I tend to use RISC OS because it seems to have one of the best WIMP interfaces around. When I look at linux, I see Windows Re-Done. I'm not talking about the details here. We are living in an age voice-(or even thought) controlled human interfacing models allow a totally new and radical approach to using computer technology. I believe all these OS'es nowadays are basically the same and we are argueing over petty differences.

I made a little, basic song which touches on the same principle;


 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 31/8/04 3:26PM
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hEgelia>"I am not talking about Windows"

Well VA (which you mentioned) *only* runs on Windows. To use VA effectively you need windows. It isn't a simple matter of "freeing the OS from its ARM roots" as the roots go rather deep (much of the OS is written in ARM code and you can't easily transfer ARM to x86 as the code is different the number of types of registers differ and so on). The OS is has an intimacy with the underlying hardware (which differs somewhat from that on the PC) unless you opt to port RO5 and that (even with the HAL) would be a bit of a steep climb.

ARM is gradually improving its performance and even countenancing larger caches and changes in architecture to improve performance. So perhaps we should be too *quick* to ditch ARM just at the moment - any switch would involve considerably more pain and probably not a lot of gain to boot.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/8/04 5:27PM
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I meant to write *not too quick*.

Darn it and that after just one Hamburger ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/8/04 5:30PM
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Never know what the future holds, might want to make RISC OS work on Cell Processors, might find ARM cores emebed in DDR ram's on the market and ideal for super-clusters of lightweight decies, or the next Transmeta chip might have a configurable code-morphing which allows it to emulate x86, ARM and PPC at the flick of a switch.

Who knows where the future goes, but if somone finds out and puts RISC OS on the front of it, we could be back in the lead *goes off to have even more pipedreams*

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 1/9/04 2:25AM
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NoMercy >

ARM (on their website) even discuss larger (up to 2MB caches - which would certainly improve performance). Also ARM may have little choice but to upgrade ARM as other traditionally "desktop" bound RISC processors (such as MIPs and even PPC) move down into the areas ARM "thinks" it "owns".

The five core NEC ARM core (mentioned on Drobe) is another example of lateral thinking on the part of both ARM and NEC. All of this stuff may not be of immediate use - but at the same time I (for one) wouldn't rule anything out). Intel (as this article somewhere mentioned them) have upped ARM performance several times. A low-end version of their IOP331 dissapates 7.5W at 500MHz (at its upper end 800MHz more than that). So to simply have the view that ARM is always going to be relegated to running mobile phones is (IMHO) shortsighted (I don't think you'll find many 7.5W processors targetted at phones will you ?)

As to us "regaining the lead", why is it important to lead ? I'd be happy just seeing a progressive improvement in the performance and capabilities of RISC OS and its native hardware and I think such improvements *are* real possibilities.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/9/04 6:45PM
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> Why are we sticking (even RO) still to 2 dimensional WIMP interfaces based on 20 year old technology.

Because we have 2d input and output devices still.

The portable computer you carry around now, be in mobile phone, pda or laptop will end up being your only computer, connecting to larger IO devices that are available where you travel, so they're eventually become as powerful as desktop computers.

If you want more power now work out how to use multiple CPUs with RISC OS.

It's easier to convert VRPC to another platform than RISC OS, so it's less tied to Windows than RISC OS is to ARM.

If you can't access RISC OS websites from none RISC OS machines how do you expect to gain customers? Just make it slightly annoying, a bar across the top that says IE is bad because... But you need a realistic alternative, so support attempts to get lots of software running on RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 1/9/04 9:00PM
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"Because we have 2d input and output devices still."

Good point. I'm just a dreamer as you might have picked up already... and sometimes I just get a bit fed up with an apparent lack of radical progress it seems. It's my intention to get a laptop (be it powerbook or VA Adjust) in the not too distant future and it's a fact nowadays that a 'good' laptop may fulfill the same needs a desktop machine does in terms of music production/composing.

I'm using an ARM (RISC OS 4.37) and K5 (Win95) 2nd cpu in my RiscPC and I'm not too sure what I could gain from a hydra expansion or a second ARM. Another interesting tool seems to use the PC FPE accelerator by RISC OS, but is not really beneficial on StrongARMs.

I'd agree it would be easier to convert VA to another platform than RISC OS, and perhaps if the current VA on Windows proves succesful enough it could be ported to Mac or Linux? If that would be worth it ..

It seems just as arrogant to block any non-RISC OS browser on some pro-RO website, as the other way round which I encounter from time to time.

As to 'important to lead', well I guess RO does lead in certain area's already, if we would only solidify these area's and build up more the weaker aspects in relation to current/future user/market demands.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 1/9/04 10:01PM
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With regards to VA being "ported" to Linux if it were going to happen then it would already have happened surely (it has been out for what nearly 4 years) ? It was written in Microsoft Visual C++ which (let's face it) doesn't often get used to write Linux apps ;)

The *only* circumstance I could foresee VA being ported to Linux would be is if sales of the Windows version started dropping. At the moment though I'd say VA are *cleaning up* and can safely ignore the RISC OS emulated on Linux market.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/9/04 10:47PM
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Your average computer user doesn't know what's good or bad, look at all the people who used RISC OS and are now using Windows to do the same things, just badly.

When Red Squirrel was the only project a port to Linux would have happened if the author wanted it. Now it will happen if it's more profitable than whatever they're spending their time on now. 99% of the work needed for VAonLinux has been done already of course by writing VA.

There is no radical progress anymore technology wise, it's how people use computers that's changing fast, internet, email, web, chat programs.

The 3 revolutions of computing: 1. A computer in your home 2. A GUI in your computer in your home 3. The internet in your home

I predict the 4th revolution will be taking them all out of your home and putting them around yourself. Instant access to any information anywhere, videoing your entire life. At that point computers will start to change humans.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 4/9/04 12:17PM
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I agree with mavhc about blocking IE browsers from sites. Internet Explorer isn't all that bad considering the fact that it hasn't been significantly updated for years, which as RISC OS users should find quite a familiar concept. I think many of you guys run on this over-inflated sense of ego that gives you a false sense of security, but let's face facts:

a) RISC OS has a VERY small following, hence suffers little in the way of being attacked by malicious coders. Microsoft Windows and IE have a HUGE user base which helps to exasperate the problems that are faced when providing an application that opens your computer to the outside world. I doubt anybody nowadays would really want to cause damage to a RISC machine (or network of RISC OS machines) simply because the user base is so small. Even if they did want to, it wouldn't be that difficult anyway considering how many security loop-holes there are in RISC OS as it is - it's very easy to point fingers at the people who give you what you want but not exactly what you need.

b) I never thought Paul Vigay was clever using his anti-MS campaign, it certainly hasn't helped RISC OS grow, in fact it's probably put off some potential users. This mentality pretty much follows from what I've read in your forums, if someone from outside your pond shows a little interest in RISC OS; you either ignore them or chastise them for their lack of 'nerd-knowledge'. Basically, what I'm trying to say is you guys act like the group of school-kids that bullies the new guy but aren't really significant enough to be that popular yourselves - which also leads to the mentality that everything else is bad news and should be slated too.

Sticking a 2MB cache on an ARM processor at the moment would make an already expensive component considerably more so, plus, if Intel were that interested in getting ARM chips into the desktop market they'd have done it before now. PDAs and 3G mobile phones I can well accept (seeing as mobile phone battery life is fast approaching that of laptops now), maybe even Tablet PCs but then you've got the added problem of how do I port optimised x86 aseembler routines to ARM code? Overclocking will always provide some reprieve, but can only go so far before, as has been stated, the power consumption overcasts their usefulness, and in those markets there's already existing chips that can take over if that's the case.

I think RISC OS and ARM are great, in fact they're very much a gem within computing history and I hope they continue to evolve, only, let them evolve at the pace that the technology they run on lets them - you're slice of Intel's pie isn't significant ehough to warrant huge changes just to satisfy your desires. If you really want something faster and more flexible buy a PC too or even an Apple Mac. It's surprising but they're really not that expensive.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 21/10/04 3:29PM
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