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2005 Predictions

By Peter Naulls. Published: 30th Dec 2004, 21:37:09 | Permalink | Printable

And how close we came for 2004

It's that time of year again, when we peer into our crystal ball, and look forwards and backwards to see what has been, what should have been, and what we might be finding under the tree for Christmas 2005.

2005 PredictionsTo start with, we'll take a look at what we predicted in 2004 and how close we came. Indeed, looking at the list, we did very well. However, before you accuse us of gloating, all of the predictions we made were educated guesses - based upon knowledge that was readily available, although not always widely known - and the 2005 predictions will be no different. If they surprise you, then all the better, but they've been made for good reasons.

2004 Predictions
  • Select on ROM. Well, not much to say here; RISCOS Ltd has had an apparently brisk trade in the ROMs it offered for sale, and is fitted in the machines of three drobe writers.

  • Iyonix NetBSD. Of course, we'd known Gavan was working on this since the middle of 2003; unfortunately it's not as complete the the Linux port yet, but hopefully that will be soon.

  • No Iyonix Laptop. The reasons we stated remained true throughout 2004, and Castle's focus remaining on supporting their desktop machine; but see what we say further down for 2005.

  • Shared Libraries. Well, they didn't appear in a form I was hoping for - Steven Simpson did do more work with his AOF system - but more work remains to be done, some of which was covered in our recent article on AOF and ELF.

  • Package Management. Despite numerous instances of cases where much grief could have been avoided by a proper package management system in 2004, a comprehensive system has yet to arrive, although Graham continues to press on. The Unix Porting Project hopes to make uses of this system in 2005, and will hopefully encourage a larger take up.

  • ARM Twister. What can we say? MicroDigital have had a very quiet year, and there's no evidence of any of the promised upgrades since the ethernet cards at Wakefield 2003.

  • Web Browsers. NetSurf continues to be developed apace; the Unix Porting Project demonstrated a port of a simple but functional browser, Dillo, and continues to make important progress towards bringing Firefox to RISC OS.

  • Cino. Oh dear! It's been demonstrated at various RISC OS shows, and information about its development has been quite open, but we've not yet seen a release. Maybe next year, guys?

  • PCI Cards. Well, there wasn't a proliferation of PCI cards supported in RISC OS in 2004, but we did see the release of Geminus. We hadn't known anything about the project, but familiarity with the Iyonix video system in RISC OS and Linux suggested that it was certainly possible, which is why it made the predictions list. And of course, PCITV was released too.

  • GCC 3.3.3. Not only was GCC 3.3.3 released (although upstream versioning meant it was labelled a pre-release), but also was 3.4.1 and, on Christmas day, 3.4.4. Unixlib too, has had an unprecedented number of updates, improvements and bug fixes.

  • GemPrint. This has been very popular, and probably doesn't require any further explanation.

And onto 2005
Well, it looks like drobe.co.uk did pretty well. Let's try and repeat the trick for 2005, starting with that perennial favourite.
  • RISC OS Portable. No, we're not going to predict a portable RISC OS machine in 2005. Why? Because we believe there will be not one, but two. We have no idea what forms these will take in terms of OS versions, processor speed, physical design, etc. But what we do know is that things have changed hugely since the debacle of the RiscStation laptop. There's now a plethora of ARM-based devices around, with a huge range peripherals and made from a vast range of components - there's bound to be something suitable for RISC OS (and plenty more terribly unsuitable). Of course, putting RISC OS on any new machine is a vast amount of effort, but at least it is now rather more practical.

  • Development tools and Unix compatibility. 2005 will be another busy year for Unixlib and GCC. Work has already begun on porting GCC 4.0, which has substantial changes and promises even better code output. There's also the ELF changes we previously discussed, and some major work on Unixlib to close some of the gaps with Unix compatibility. I won't talk too much about those here, as I'll be discussing those soon in a separate article. I think we will also finally see the ability to produce modules using GCC, leaving you with no reason not to use it should you choose.

  • Non-updated RISC OS news sites. No, really? Yes, sadly. The Iconbar, despite more erratic and sometimes odd updates, has managed still to produce quite a volume of articles in 2004, and we don't want to see them disappear. On the other hand, the number of news items on riscos.org, Acorn Cybervillage and MyRISCOS has continued to drop. It's our hope that in 2005, they'll decide it's not in the best interests of RISC OS to display old news.

  • Select 4 and Select 32. Originally intended for release this year, but held up by Castle-RISCOS Ltd controversy, 2005 should see a Select 4, some of the details which were discussed during RISCOS Ltd's Wakefield presentation. We also expect to see further development of Select 32 and machines using it, including the availability of the A9Home, which promises to be a nice proposition for new entry level machines into the RISC OS market (compared purchasing souped-up, but old, RiscPCs).

  • Iyonix 2? We're not sure we want to put our money on this one for 2005. Although it's clear that one based around the IOP332 is certainly possible, or possibly some of the newer and faster ARM9 devices, we think that Castle's focus will not be on a producing an Iyonix replacement until 2006, but you can be certain that they will be keeping their minds open about the possibilities.

  • New Users and more publicity. There's been a trickle of new and returning users in 2004, although perhaps it's not entirely obvious why. With new software and new hardware in 2005, we might reasonably expect this to increase. RISC OS has also done quite well with appearances in wider computing circles, with for example, drobe.co.uk being linked numerous times from OSNews. This may be part of the reason for the new users.

  • New Software. Apart from the previously mentioned items, we might reasonably expect to see USB2 support from Castle (with the USB card in the Iyonix already providing hardware support), a 32-bit Impression Publisher that XAT have been working hard at and possibly Java/Flash plugin solutions via various free software developments.

And as always, loads of things that we simply couldn't predict. How close do you think we came? Don't forget, before you rush to add your own predictions, the point of this exercise is to be as precise as possible: anyone can wave their hands and say that vague development will occur for given types of software for RISC OS (we certainly did above).

If you have your own visions for 2005, then we encourage you to share them with us along with reasoning for them, and the precise manner they will come about.



Previous: News in brief
Next: Best of 2004 awards results


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I predict in 2005 there will be no Macromedia Director port or Flash 6 ... which means goodbye to RISC OS in primary education.

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 30/12/04 9:54PM
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And this is despite my suggestion above? As I suggested at the end, please provide some basis for your prediction.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 30/12/04 10:14PM
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Reasons for no suitable Flash/Director port? Money. Market size. Demand.

Lack of demand <= reasons for goodbye to RISC OS in primary education: poor web access (specifically to the content above, eg. at the excellent BBC site); lack of time/will to support two computing platforms within a school; peer pressure to scrap remaining old machines; etc. etc.

I'd also be willing to bet that the onsite support that the likes of RM provide (necessarily given the awfulness of their kit) provide a safety net which is well-valued by the hassled ICT co-ordinator in a small school. AFAIK there are no similar support services offered for RISC OS machines. Even worse, they wouldn't be viable due to the lack of demand - resulting in a horrible vicious circle :-(

 is a RISC OS UserJaffa on 30/12/04 10:24PM
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That depends. Last I heard, Oregan were pretty close to getting a Flash 6 player done, so that's not an impossibility. And I've heard of another thing which may come to fruition which would result in a Flash 6 player...

 is a RISC OS Useraardvark on 30/12/04 10:37PM
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Yeh, the article pointed out the mentions of RISC OS on "mainstream" sites such as OSNews.com which is good. I've found that if you submit a relevent Drobe/TIB article to OSNews they always post it, so reccomend that people do this as much as possible when the articles on either sites are relevent.

Also... I predict articles on TIB and Drobe will both continue to increase in number, and I do have inside knowledge for one of the sites ;)

Laptop wise...? Why not vote in the TIB poll on this one. Personally I agree with drobe.co.uk that there is going to be some activity this year for native laptops.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 30/12/04 10:38PM
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To Mr. Chocky (Peter): I've spent a long time ensuring RISC OS is trouble free and as up to date as it can be, given lack of suitable funds and uncertainty over RISC OS useability for interactive sites. Unfortunately there is still no sign of Macromedia Director port (needed to run much of the new education software and for interactive web content). Every time it has been brought up, back comes the reply that Macromedia require many thousands of pounds - more money than anyone wants to invest in RISCOS's future. I know that Oregan are close with Flash 5 - but there is no other hopeful news. Oregano 2 sadly has some faults too (it can't cope with the output from Textease very well), it expires without warning too often and seems to remove sprite memory - causing problems for other software. If someone were to say that there will be Macromedia Director and Flash 6 ports real soon, it would be very easy to convince my Governors that we could buy new RISCOS machines, or at least buy 11 sets of RISC OS 4 with Select to update our current stock (one third of the computer stock).

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 30/12/04 11:01PM
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I really hope, that there is coming a Risc OS portable computer with LCD color screen in 16 million colours with the new ARM9 processor on board and a CINO dvd- player and Risc OS 5 ONLY and NOT that stupid XP or any other Microsoft software on board, we do NOT like that at all.

 is a RISC OS Userdatawave on 31/12/04 1:45AM
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With regards to Macromedia Director, what you actually want is the Macromedia Shockwave plugin and the Flash plugin. There's two flavours - the combined technology, and the Flash only player. Bear in mind Shockwave is now on version 10, and Flash is version 7, and have advanced hugely since the beta version that appeared on the Acorn Clan CD of 1997/98, which was running version 4 (even by then, it was outdated).

RISC OS is probably not alone in the world as being without this technology, but with ubiquity comes a hopefully lower price. Macromedia could always do reduced license fees for lower versions, just to encourage some development without the developers taking a price hit in the process. It its enough to encourage more sales in our platform, then you get added impetus to license the latest version?

You never know what may happen in 2005. I think for now, however, attention is now drawn to more recent events... in any case, all the best for the new year everyone :-)

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 31/12/04 2:45AM
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My predictions for 2005: druck & co will continue sniping on Usenet Castle will continue their stupid spat with everyone else while RISC OS 5 goes nowhere Oregano 3 won't land on RISC OS Cino still won't be released (I still say it's all unproven pointless hot air anyway) STD will produce yet another astonishing multifaceted rabbit from their hat VirtualRiscPC will be released for Linux We'll see yet another bloomin' web browser rear it's head Microdigital will release a CPU upgrade for Omega but it will require Select32. Unipod software becomes stable. Kortink will release viewfinder code as opensource Qercus will get a decent name and some content

Ok, I'm just being silly with those last few (draw the line wherever you desire) ;-) I expect some reaction to that lot :-D Here's to a fine 2005 for all, anyhow.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 31/12/04 3:48AM
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I agree very much with "DaveW" comments. In education, people love their MS like a car from the salesyard "Honest Harry's 2nd hand faulty Imports" as opposed to a Horseless Carriage from RISC OS with only a few bits and pieces missing. If a few of the bells and whistles are missing, then very few will bother with RO no matter how good the "Plain Jane" RO machine is. This is not my opinion, but a similar daily experience I share with "DaveW" in a school environment. I still think now as I did six months ago, that 2005 WILL be a very good year for RISC OS despite our slow progress and despair.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 31/12/04 5:59AM
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Searches for a shockwave player for linux bring up petitions for macromedia to create a version, so it looks like we are in good company .

Would a thin client solution provide a suitable stopgapalternative? (I did see some adverts for products that allowed windows shockwave to be used on linux, so a linux based system *might* be possible as opposed to a windows terminal server)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 31/12/04 9:51AM
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What precisely is a "thin client solution", and exactly what is the relevance to RISC OS? I think you are barking up the wrong tree. "Products that allow windows [programs] ... to be used on Linux". No, this is not practical for a whole host of reasons, not least that you'd need an x86 emulator.

Jess, please don't do your usual trick of then dismissing these points, and trying some other tack.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 31/12/04 11:55AM
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Chocks, please don't continue your usual line of sniping at everyone who offers an opinion, it does you no favours.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 31/12/04 12:35PM
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imj: please don't continue your usual rants against Castle, unless you can justify them, no interest to anyone, and rather tiresome.

Easy to turn these comments on their head isn't it? In any case, I wasn't sniping, I was mentioning reasons why Jess's comments didn't make sense - and am therefore seen as the bad guy.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 31/12/04 12:43PM
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mrchocky: Please don't continue your usual "I am the world" replies, unless you can prove that they interest nobody.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 31/12/04 1:31PM
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Oh I think the Castle debacle is of huge interest to a great many people. It's killed quite a lot of developments this year and wasted one hell of a lot of money, time and good will from a great many parties. Any respect I had for Castle's developments of the Iyonix board are utterly blown away by this mess and their continued bumbling in clearing matters up. I know you really love Castle, but you have no justification to say that Castle's rude actions are of "no interest" to anyone when they are the single most likely thing to kill off everything!

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 31/12/04 1:32PM
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My predictions for 2005: imj & co will continue sniping on drobe Castle will continue RISC OS 5 Oregano 3 won't land on RISC OS, and noone will really care Cineroma will be released (imj will still say it's all unproven pointless hot air anyway) STD will just give all their products to jymbob VirtualRiscPC will be released for Linux, and noone will really care We'll see yet another web browser blooming Microdigital will release anything No software becomes stable. Kortink will release PackDir code as opensource Qercus will get a decent name (Acorn User) and some content (licenced from drobe.co.uk)

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 31/12/04 1:37PM
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I should have mentioned the post was in answer to DaveW's post.

I was referring to the specific school scenario. By thin client solution, I meant have a terminal server on the network with shockwave installed. (This would be an x86 box). The acorns could then use RDP to run a webbrowser in a session on it, allowing them not to be replaced. It might be possible for a linux based server to do a similar job, but as I understand it you would need crossover to allow it to run the windows shockwave.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 31/12/04 1:38PM
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nut: I haven't, thanks.

imj: I don't "really love Castle". It's these kind of personal digs that are at best, unhelpful. In any case, you've misquoted me. I asked you to justify your repeating dissing. The problem is, RISCOS Ltd and other RISC OS companies are far from blameless, which means any arguments you _do_ try and make will soon be undermined, and descend into an insult-flinging fest.

It's a shame that you've persisted all year in spreading your own brand of negative feeling with your obsession over these issues.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 31/12/04 1:42PM
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You're just taking the p*** now, Chox. I HAVE explained exactly what Castle have done wrong, in my previous comment, do read it.

I'd like YOU to try and explain what you think ROL have done wrong, exactly? They've stuck stolidly inside the bounds of the legal contract with Pace afaiwaw which is the ONLY legally binding contract they have still, since Castle are, as far as I've heard, still mucking about. We've heard they're apparently "talking" but not much more has appeared.

The only negative feelings being spread are created by Castle and their actions. I'm sorry if my "obsession" with not seeing such rude and cruel thoughtless careless actions by them upsets you, but they were/are close to buggering up what's been my favourite hobby for the past 15+ years and unsuprisingly, that doesn't please me. You have a different view. Fine. Keep it. And I'll keep mine and *will not* be bothered by you or anyone else's snidey put-downs on this matter.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 31/12/04 2:52PM
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"I HAVE explained exactly what Castle have done wrong" Er... It didn't explain much to me. Can you explain some more?

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 31/12/04 3:22PM
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My, isn't this a heated debate!

mavhc: "VirtualRiscPC will be released for Linux, and noone will really care" I'll care - that's one more than "noone"!

"Kortink will release PackDir code as opensource" Heh heh, then druck will alter it and release a commercial version, just to annoy him ;-)


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 31/12/04 3:23PM
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No, that's not it at all. You might have explained it at superficial level, but that's not what I asked for. Obviously we could banter for hours about what I meant - but how about writing an complete article on it, complete with references, dates, etc, and see how well your arguments stand up and are agreed with by the wider public?

It's not that I agree or disgree with you or the actions of given companies (and my part, I've stood up for ROL a great deal). In fact, I've expressed very little publicly stated opinion on the mess, except where I thought I might say something positive.

No, my problem is the blinkered view that it's entirely Castle's fault, when clearly all RISC OS companies to an extent, and certainly many users were very much complicit in the events of 2003 and 2004 (nor would I be quick to discount myself). If you want to diss Castle, that's fine - but only if, in equity, you name some of the disastrous actions taken by ROL (and indeed, STD, CJE, APDL, MicroDigital, etc, etc). I've not mentioned anything legal here, since IANAL, and neithr are you.

"they are close to buggering .. my favourite hobby". Castle haven't taken away your RiscPC, nor the rights to use your OS, nor your ability to use all the software you bought/wrote/obtained, so I can't really take that one on. If you want to blame anyone for that, blame Acorn - there's certainly plenty of reason you might.

So, finally, it's not that I disgree with you. It's that it's not really clear what I would disagree with you about, since you rarely make an effort to justify much of what you say here or elsewhere - which is a shame, as I know you have a great deal of insight into ROL that few others do.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 31/12/04 3:32PM
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I still think a lot of people have not fully appreciated the level of damage done to the market by events earlier this year and I don't think RISC OS on desktop machines will ever recover. I certainly don't see any great future for RISC OS on desktop machines. Embedded products yes. Not desktop. A hell of a lot of people walked quietly away from the RISC OS platform because of the dispute and are still leaving because of it. As far as predictions go, well I wouldn't like to say but I hope that VRPC becomes available for Linux. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 31/12/04 3:33PM
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"clearly all RISC OS companies to an extent, and certainly many users were very much complicit in the events of 2003 and 2004 "

That is a complete baseless falsification, a lie, and nonsense. Stop perpetuating this dribble. You're certainly being hideously rude to all these companies, and you may well be actually being libellous there.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 31/12/04 3:47PM
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So much for the complete article.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 31/12/04 4:16PM
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ROL say that they stayed within the licence; Castle say ROL repeatedly and broke the licence. Without actually seeing the licence, it's impossible to know who's right. Have you seen the licence? (If so, can you please tell the rest of us what it says.)

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 31/12/04 7:59PM
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Damn Castle, fancy selling us the fastest RISC OS machine ever and selling us 32bit RISC OS, I hate them!

What ROL have done wrong: Not made RISC OS 32bit. And then when someone else did, apparently attempt to do it again.

Of course the last time Ian wrote an article and we commented on it in relation to Castle he deleted the article rather than explain anything.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 1/1/05 12:41AM
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Happy New Year everyone - all the best for 2005 don't get too drunk, like i have done ha ha ;-) an exciting future for RISC OS it would seem. Looking forward Lee

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 1/1/05 1:07AM
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jess: "a terminal server on the network with shockwave installed" won't give you Shockwave on RISC OS, whatever else it does. It'll give you a window onto a very expensive lump. DaveW is talking about a primary school. It would be much more cost effective for him to buy some decent PCs and licences for VARPC.

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 1/1/05 1:29AM
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IRT mavhc: There are places (allegedly) you can go buy fancy fast cars from. The number plates aren't original, there's no log book, and the VIN's have been removed. But they're fancy cars - so what the heck.

"What ROL have done wrong: Not made RISC OS 32bit", As publicised, all new components and revised components were made 26/32. "And then when someone else did..." ...as in PACE you mean? "...apparently attempt to do it again" ...you mean continue work in progress on a more advanced and in any case entirely different source tree? I'm glad they have!

You clearly have no idea what is or has been going on. AIUI, IMJ does. The problem being that most concerned are either under NDA or just don't want to speak out. Reality is in the hands of lawyers, and "spin" is in the public domain.

Happy new year.

 is a RISC OS Userkdm on 1/1/05 1:45AM
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To Mikeg: I have considered this route - specifically for the use of Notate, but then found out how much it would cost us - way beyond the current budget. Thanks anyway (it is still an attractive proposition). Happy New Year.

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 01/01/05 03:14AM
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I really do not consider Windows desktop PCs a viable route for a school. I work in a secondary school that has recently got rid of 100 PCs and replaced them with simple terminals (net bsd based I think) and 6 citrix servers. The maintenance required on the terminals is minmal, at least as good as well set up RISC OS machines, the start up time too is very good.

Obviously you still have the standard windows baggage to deal with, but that's only on half a dozen machines. The biggest mainenance overhead we have is fixing the windows machines that are used as terminals.

A local primary school also uses our system.

My acorns access them well via my ADSL at home, (especially with the RDP client working in a window)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 01/01/05 09:29AM
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What I *hope* for in 2005:

Castle and VA releasing VA5000 as a free package (with Iyonix style icons and host networking). Aim - as a demo for both RISC OS and VRPC, to make it possible for some home RISC OS users to use some of the same software at work.

Select32 to be available for all machines with RO 3.5 and above.

These should (eventually) allow software developers to aim for one of two levels of operating system. 3.1 + uniboot and select.

RO Laptop or (and :) ) PDA.

Firefox project (This combined with the current Iyonix deals, would make RO a far more viable system for those not currently using it).

RiscPkg to be taken up by lots of freeware authors.

The girl I met on new year's eve to phone me :)

I wonder which is the least unlikely

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 01/01/05 09:48AM
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My predictions for usenet:

Someone will spell Peter's name wrong, possibly involving the use of questionable punctuation.

Peter will reply pointing out the error and asking, politely, that his name be correctly spelt in future.

Someone else will accuse Peter of constantly being rude on usenet.

Druck will post something to usenet with no typos. No, really - blink and you'll miss it.

I'll say something silly.

There will be a huge thread arguing about something pointless.

Ray Dawson will jump on the critical bandwagon, and probably try to justify top posting.

With the exception of the Druck post, which will actually be rarer than a fresh pile of T-Rex's droppings, all of this will happen repeatedly.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 02/01/05 11:16AM
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My hopes for 2005.

I hope that Castle, Tematic, ROD, STD & Co. keep going with their embedded development and take RISC OS into some niche markets. It is perhaps too bigger step commercially to expect to take RISC OS straight back into the classrooom or the office, but with some revenue generated from industrial-type development, it should help take us in the right direction.

I'm also hoping for some progress on the multimedia front. When Cino is completed it will be great to see a decent sound card available; I would like to see an up-to-date music notation package, I would dearly like some sound engineering and/or video editing related software (it has been a long time since any has come about), and I also wish for more of the great work which is going into video and audio players for RO. It is also positive that some new DTP software updates are on the way; it was an area where RISC OS was once very strong and it would be nice for it to make up some lost ground.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 04/01/05 09:33AM
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2005 & RISC OS:

An active fanless Iyonix - we've discovered fanless ATX PSUs... :-)

That'll leave a couple of extracts on thermistors just in case the graphics & USBs cards are about to go up in smoke :rolleyes:

Great for watching video's and DVDs :-D

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 04/01/05 5:31PM
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