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Select32 mini-Q and A

By Chris Williams. Published: 24th Nov 2004, 16:39:28 | Permalink | Printable

Trying to get to the bottom of this

There's a level of confusion at the moment surrounding the future of Select.

Firstly, RISCOS Ltd. and Advantage Six announce Adjust32, a 32bit RISC OS Adjust that runs on an ARM9 platform. But a Select32 is still some time away, how is that possible? So it turns out that Adjust32 really is an Embedded RISC OS, as it's been heavily customised for the A9 range and not what we'd consider a desktop OS.

Next, RISCOS Ltd. announce a Select32 survey. A number of people saw this as a way of the OS developers wriggling out of doing a 32bit Select as ROL could later claim that there isn't enough interest, apart from at least the 600-800 or more Iyonix users out there. We interpreted the survey as a way for ROL to estimate the number of expected customers, so they can prepare pricings and such details. Select32 currently has a release date pencilled in for around Q4 2005.

And then on top of this, there's the issue of Select 4 and how does this fit in with Select32, and what of the users complaining that Select3 doesn't work with their Kinetic RiscPCs? So we asked ROL's managing director, Paul Middleton, and his responses are below in italics:

Is there going to be a Select4? What's going in that?
"The planned order of things is Embedded Adjust32 which will test out features such as Video Hardware abstraction, then Select 4, then Select32 (Release 4). I can't detail the full Select 4 features list just yet. Select 4 was planned for Christmas this year, but has had to be delayed due to uncertainties earlier in the year."

What's going in Select32? What's the difference between Select4 and Select32?
"Select 32 is intended to just be the 32bit version of Select (26) so ultimately no major difference. However it is not just a matter of compiling a 32 bit version because Select relies on many low level changes to RISC OS which need to match the relevant hardware on which it is to be run. Select 32 versions of the relevant Select (26) version are always likely to lag behind the 26 bit version. In practise I would expect Select 26 to continue to lead for another two years, by which time I would expect there to be enough choice of new hardware for everyone to be able to move over to 32 bit only hardware. 26 bit versions for Virtual Acorn would of course still be able to be produced."

When will the bug fixes for Kinetic users be released?
"I hope that Select 4 will resolve the issues that some Kinetic users have reported. Unfortunately we have not been able to reproduce those problems on our machines, so it is not simply a question of Kinetic cards not working with Select, as it clearly works with many Kinetic systems. Select 3i4 and Adjust are identical so Kinetic cards should show the same problems with Adjust ROMs, but that doesn't seem to be the case."

It's interesting to note that Castle have quite recently gone quiet again. The RISC OS 5 roadmap was lost in the post, we presume? Having passed the Merlin features list over to ROL management, probably with a post-it note attached to the top that reads, "Take it away, boys", RISCOS Ltd. believe this is the last we'll hear about the Merlin project.

Also, RISCOS Ltd. have created a Christmas special offer, for anyone not already a Select subscriber.


RISCOS Ltd. website

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The Kinetic card that I was using was tried in two Risc PCs with Select3i4 and didn't work in either, but when the bog standard StrongARM card, or the Kinetic card switched to StrongARM only mode was in either it worked fine.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 24/11/04 6:26PM
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Just a thought, but doesn't that suggest the problem is to do with the RAM on the Kinetic card?

Is Select loaded onto the Kinetic card's RAM, or the mobo's RAM?

-- Jymbob, quite ready to bow to anyone else's greater knowledge on the subject

 is a RISC OS Userjymbob on 24/11/04 7:04PM
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Should be loaded in the Motherboard's RAM AFAIK

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 24/11/04 8:57PM
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From what I understand first the Kinetics onboard RAM is used, then the motherboards. But still, it is reported many Kinetic users have no problem whatsoever with Select3. I know of one machine for certain all versions of Select3 ran on it succesfully.

Perhaps it could be attributed to the combination of the Kinetic expansion and a certain type or (older) model of RPC?

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 25/11/04 12:56AM
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Not older, because the one I was using was not an upgraded Risc PC, but bought as a Kinetic from Castle.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/11/04 1:50AM
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I have 2 Kinetics here, both upgrades from Castle machines. One with standard Kinetic 54MB RAM, the other with a replacement 64MB Kingston RAM. Both have 8MB on the motherboard. Select3i4 fails on both - no sound and pointer problems.

 is a RISC OS UserMartinD on 25/11/04 8:41AM
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Maybe it has something to do with the amount of RAM on the motherboard? Mine, wich runs 3i4 just fine, has 64 MB on the motherboard.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 25/11/04 9:42AM
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Mine also has 64MB on the motherboard, and doesn't boot. I suspect it's something rather more subtle, and ROL would have looked at such obvious suspects initially.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/11/04 10:13AM
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Zimmerele / Chocks> What configuration is your 64MB? Both just a single SIMM? And both in slot zero ?

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 25/11/04 11:03AM
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I've tried various RAM configurations on the motherboard and none have worked with the Kinetic.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/11/04 12:01PM
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Sounds like a DMA problem, maybe that select is allocating things in kinetic ram that need to be in main memory in some circumstances. I'm sure the person at ROL looking into it would have thought of the possibilities. Perhaps they could take a dump of the page tables (wherever they are) and where the OS thinks "cursor/system/sound" is located. Oh, and it's practice, not practise :P

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 25/11/04 1:42PM
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I'd be surprised if Castle's no longer pursuing any of the Merlin enhancements. I'm sure some of the underlying issues suggested would be relevant for their commissioned projects and the work of Tematic. I'd expect ROD to take on the more visible user/desktop oriented enhancements from the list.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 25/11/04 5:19PM
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Is there any difference between the Kinetic success-rate with 4.37 and 4.39? If so, the problem(s) would be clarified. My Kinetic works perfectly with 4.37.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 25/11/04 6:40PM
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AFAIK 4.37 (Select 3i3) works fine on all Kinetics.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 25/11/04 7:53PM
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JGZimmerle: Agreed Select3i3 works on Kinetics, even with 3i4 boot sequence, insofar as it does not show the particular problems of 3i4. But it's still not right, as Sunfish (which is very standards-conscious) won't work on 3i3, and Alex Waugh thinks there is a problem in 3i3 in the way paths are handled.

 is a RISC OS UserMartinD on 25/11/04 8:03PM
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Yeh, it's only the actual 3i4 ROM image that seems to cause any problems.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/11/04 11:39PM
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