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Resource allocation clarification

By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Dec 2004, 17:58:59 | Permalink | Printable

Blushes all round

A large spritefile iconIt's come to our attention that we've been publishing inaccuracies. It seems back in 2001, this news item from RISCOS Ltd. managed to slip under our news radar and was completely missed by drobe.co.uk: it announces that the RISC OS resource allocation list is to be managed by RISCOS Ltd., and not by Pineapple's Alan Glover.

The resource list maintains a database of numbers and names that applications and other software can officially use. An application developer cannot officially use resources, such as SWI numbers and names, system variables and icon names, with having had them allocated from the list. This prevents applications clashing and otherwise upsetting each other if two developers were to try to use the same resources. For more information on the subject, see RISCOS Ltd.'s announcement.

Now because developers should request resource allocations during the early stages of development, the resource requests are commercially sensitive - as an example, in the past and still to the present day, Castle and RISCOS Ltd. remain rivals as they develop their separate streams of RISC OS (especially in the desktop arena and now moreso as RISC OS gears up for embedded kit). One side may not want the other side to see what kind of developments they're up to. You might find this sort of thing to be ridiculous in a market the size of the RISC OS platform, but competition drives innovation and this is the reality of the situation. Justin Fletcher recently gave a good argument why the list should be kept independent, if you ignore the bits where he, like others, thought that Alan was still maintaining the list independently.

So therefore, we and many others argue, the list should be independently maintained and protected by trusted a third party that has no overall interest in any particular developer: this person has been, for a long time now, Alan Glover. Due to the nature of the allocation process, it can't be automated, and Alan's basically done a good job over the years in maintaining the allocation list.

And so now, it turns out that RISCOS Ltd. now own ("manage") the list, although Alan still, at the end of day, maintains the list for ROL. However, ROL can request the list at any time from Alan. Yes, it's messy, but the announcement in 2001 is before the RISC OS 4/5 split hit the scene. Castle confirmed that Alan still maintains the list for all third parties, although Castle's CTO John Ballance seemed as surprised as us. When we tried to contact Alan today, we learnt that he does still centrally maintain the allocations list.

Anyway, previous drobe.co.uk articles, such as the one about the filetype wiki, which refer to Alan as independently maintaining the list are wrong: RISCOS Ltd. have for some time now managed the list, with Alan maintaining the allocations for them. Let's hope this is clear now.

Links

Resource allocation on riscos.com

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Discussion

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So, Alan Glover used to maintain the list, and now it is maintained by, er, Alan Glover. The news here is what exactly?

 is a RISC OS Userjbyrne on 5/12/04 12:14AM
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jbyrne:

That *ROL* says that Alan Glover still maintains the list that Alan Glover used to maintain.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 5/12/04 1:35AM
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I guess the news (or perhaps just the intersting item) here is that this list is more or less in the hands of ROL.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 5/12/04 9:01AM
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"ROL can request the list at any time from Alan"

The "news"/thing-to-get-your-knickers-in-a-twist-about is that it seems that the list is *not* independant of one of the major RO parties any more.

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 5/12/04 12:12PM
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In reply to adamr: Alan is as independant as he always was, the only change was that requests instead of going via Pineapple go through ROL. ROL acts as independant broker in respect of software houses as well as ASMs!

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 6/12/04 11:37AM
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