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Select 4 features list revealed

By Chris Williams. Published: 21st Feb 2005, 19:06:33 | Permalink | Printable

Iyonix users told to chill out

Select cogsAmidst uncertainty over Select support for the Iyonix, RISCOS Ltd. have today announced a brief list of features intended for Select 4. ROL also declined to include a timescale for the next installment of RISC OS 4.

Managing director Paul Middleton explained in his email to subscribers: "The totality of Select development since the release of Select3i4 has been towards the goal of total conversion of the RISC OS 4 sources to be 32 bit neutral, thus allowing the eventual running of Select on any supported platform."

The developers of RISC OS 4 say they have been working on moving the operating system over to being 32 bit neutral, seemingly focusing on a 32 bit OS for the ARM9 powered A9 range of computers. ROL and Advantage Six appear to be mostly working on their own and say they have used the opportunity to discover and fix various bugs hidden within RISC OS' ants nest structure.

However, subscribers with Iyonix computers have noticeably grown impatient over RISCOS Ltd.'s lack of direction. Earlier this month, one user said he was still "waiting to hear a fairly clear announcement of what is going to happen and when". Another fumed: "I've not taken sides in any of the various disputes, this is...just a request for some information to enable us to make up our minds about what to spend our money on. I haven't renewed my subscription, but I will if there appears to be something to reassure us that things are moving forward in the right direction and at the right pace."

Paul said today, "We are definitely committed to supporting all current RISC OS platforms via the Select scheme, and we will be making Select32 application forms generally available when a clearer completion target date is in sight. We are not at present funding Select32 via advance payment of Select subscriptions, though that may become necessary at some point."

ROL told drobe.co.uk late last year that they intend to work on embedded 32 bit RISC OS 4, then Select 4 and then finally, Select 32. The A9 range of computers use an embedded form of RISC OS 4 that's tailored for clients' particular applications.

Select 4 features (in brief from RISCOS Ltd.)
  • More image format converters and updates to !Paint and !Draw
  • 'Search as you type', a toolbar and keyboard shortcut support for the Filer, as well as other updates
  • Multicast DNS support for the Internet stack and other features to help make configuring your network setup as straight forward as possible
  • CMYK and YCbCrK JPEG handling
  • Desktop theme designers can now introduce 'rollovers' on buttons in windows, so that they automatically animate as you move the mouse pointer over them
  • Filecore and !HForm boast support for the latest ATA and SMART standards


RISCOS Ltd. website

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Next: Light shined on Omega USB


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I think one of the more interesting bits of the post from Developer is that RISC OS has always been able to refer to drives by letters, as well as the usual stuff. Drive 4, being ADFS::E. Perhaps this could be an indication that Acorn were at some point mulling over the idea of following the MD-DOS drive naming convention, then forgot to remove the code when they decided against it.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 21/2/05 8:33PM
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Surely the "latest ATA... standard" is SATA, which ain't gonna work without the hardware i/f. Although if all the Select development is heading into A9, which is what it reads like, I suppose Simtec can build a SATA interface into their mobo for that, and then STD can bolt it onto Unipod...

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 21/2/05 10:28PM
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The article text has it exactly right. As yet another Iyonix owner, I'm chilling right out and investing in USB2 support (500% the speed of old-timer USB support on the Risc PC, according to reports).

When RISCOS Ltd produce something relevant to me, my cash is waiting.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 22/2/05 2:31AM
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And SMART is a monitoring technique to look at the harddisc to check if it still is in physically good shape. I'd suggest that some simple tool should be able to retrieve that info from a harddisc.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 22/2/05 9:27AM
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@hzn: Yes, but the monitoring functionality has to be turned on every time the drive is powered up, IIRC.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 22/2/05 9:51AM
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Thanks for this info JGZimmerle: If it has to be turned on upon power up then that would mean it has to be done in ROM prior to any access? Then that would need new ROMs. If it can be turned on later, that is after some initial disc accesses, then that sould be possible with a app which dismounts and stops the disc, activates SMART and then starts it up again.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 22/2/05 11:15AM
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With all due respect, are the following really what people think should be high on the priority list of RISC OS fixes?

"More image format converters and updates to !Paint and !Draw" "Desktop theme designers can now introduce 'rollovers' on buttons in windows"

 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 22/2/05 11:25AM
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gulli: meh, who wants memory protection when you can have rollovers on buttons! ;-)

To be fair though, such things probably reflect very good "value for money" for the developers. Even though they are hardly earth-shattering, they are probably also very easy/quick/unproblematic to implement.


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 22/2/05 11:41AM
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Gulli: Where does it say those things are high on the priority list? I get the opposite impression: That the 32bit RISC OS 4 is high on the priority list and everything else is done in 'spare' time.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 11:43AM
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Grek1: "they intend to work on embedded 32 bit RISC OS 4, then Select 4 and then finally, Select 32" This looks rather like Select 4 preceeds Select 32 on the priority list - note that the 32 bit RISC OS 4 at the top of the list is actually EMBEDDED and the things I mentioned are taken from the above Select 4 feature list.

adamr: I agree that the rollover buttons probably add to the visual appeal and make more visible improvements than, as you say, memory protection - but I honestly think that RO has reached the point where the visual should have to wait and future proofing (read 32 bitting) be the only priority.

I once was a big advocate for making RO look and feel more pleasing to the eye, including all sorts of bells and whistles all over the place but when the underlying OS has been at a near standstill for almost 11 years, such things are going to be of little help in the long run.

 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 22/2/05 12:54PM
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Gulli: 32bitting RISC OS 4 embedded will go along way towards 32bit Select.

You want RISC OS Ltd to skip Select4 in favour of Select-32 ?

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 1:41PM
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As the 32bitting of RISC OS 4 embedded is for the A9, which does not have a HAL, will 32bit Select be designed to work with computers with a HAL, ie. Iyonix, or will it be only able to access computer hardware direct, as now?

 is a RISC OS Userajb on 22/2/05 3:13PM
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ajb: How could I possibly know that?

I'm just saying making the kernel and other parts of RISCOS 32bit is big step towards a 32bit Select.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 3:24PM
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I hope Select 4 will work on the Kinetic :-)

 is a RISC OS UserMartinD on 22/2/05 4:51PM
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I was just trying to find out if it was known whether 32bit Select could be designed to work on both HAL and non-HAL computers, ie. Iyonix and Omega, or would different products be required?

 is a RISC OS Userajb on 22/2/05 5:06PM
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Looking at the features of Select 4, does anyone (who looks at other platforms) recognise the 'search as you type' feature? Apple have been developing 'Spotlight' for Mac OS X Tiger, which is due out this year, which works exactly like that. I believe Microsoft also want to incorporate a similar feature into Windows Longhorn (currently in development).

I must say though, in answer to Grek1 - I want to see 32-bit RISC OS before Select 4. There's no point building on an aging OS unless there's somewhere for it to develop in future. Besides, it may be possible to add better 32-bit only features or hardware accelerated features into Select 4 that way.

With the HAL issue: I'm not sure whether you'd see a noticable performance decrease, but RO could be restructed to rely on a HAL, then a HAL for non-HAL computers created. So they'd be a RPC HAL, Omega HAL and A9 HAL and also the Iyonix HAL. It could make OS development considerably easier in future.

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 22/2/05 7:30PM
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Smiler: And I as a RiscPC owner with a Select subscription would be P***** if I got nothing for my subscription and yes a Select-32 instead of Select4 would amount to nothing for me. I'm ready to accept that I get less because of resources diverted to making RISC OS 26/32 bit neutral but I won't accept getting nothing for my money.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 7:49PM
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Grek1: That's a fair point.

I didn't mean to say they should divert all resources - why not develop them in parallel, making Select 4 the first neutral Select?

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 22/2/05 8:02PM
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Smiler: Because they have limited resources and making Select 26/32 bit neutral is a big task?

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 8:04PM
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In reply to Grek1: And someone as an IYONIX pc owner with a Select subscription (kept due to the promised committment of ROL towards furnishing Select for IYONIX pc) would be P***** for having got nothing for his subscription for the odd year by now.

But for me the main issue still remains: Why the heck are they into amending/developing the full RISC OS in 26/32 bit neutrality when RISC OS 5 with quite a few features Select introduced is there even with HAL, PCI, ... What a waste of programming resources.

And when they make Select 32 als full OS will it include all the features of the current RISC OS 5 and will all apps running now (including the tricky ones like Aemulor) run as smooth... well I guess I won't worry about those issues until ROL (weren't they about to rename themselves) will put forward more details like features included, price, ... and have it ready to buy and then decide if it's worth the price.

But perhaps they decide to offer part of the Select features as add-on module/application set for RISC OS 5 at a reasonable price. Much less work and thus should come cheaper and if should be possible to offer quite a few interesting enhancements like a better CDFS and ... and if the rounded buttons are not in the pack I that would be ok with me.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 22/2/05 8:35PM
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Hzn: I understand that and like I said I would end my subscription if I even get into a situation like that.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 22/2/05 8:43PM
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In reply to Grek1:

Luckily I quite Select subscripton long ago due to:

a) The lack of features introduced with it which made it worth the price; DHCP is one that comes to my mind as a good one. But the new CDFS wasn't interesting since I have CDROMFS, etc. - thus not really much compared to the price.

b) The request to continue subscribing with just a loose "committment" to look into Select for the IYONIX pc but with no guarantee, not fixed date of delivery or feature list and thus no real price tag since I was expected to pay yearly.

Adding these two together I quit Select. I do hope that ROL will come up with some interesting offer for the IYONIX pc in near future ...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 22/2/05 9:08PM
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