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ROS 4 cheap as a few nights down the pub, says ROL

By Chris Williams. Published: 28th Apr 2005, 21:13:41 | Permalink | Printable

Ill havf the shame agane, barman

RISCOS Ltd. logoResponding to calls to allow Select to boot on RISC OS 3, RISCOS Ltd. has argued that such users should just fork out for an upgrade, adding: "A RISC OS 4 ROM set is currently the equivalent of a two month Sky TV subscription, or to some people, about two nights down the pub".

RISC OS Select currently requires a user to have RISC OS 4 installed in ROM, in order to softload the OS. Punters on the Select list argued that Select should be extended to RISC OS 3 users, although a ROL spokesperson said that the Select boot sequence requires RISC OS 4 only features, such as long filenames, in order to boot up. He added: "It's simply a lot easier to get people to upgrade to RISC OS 4. That way we make some money and developments carry on."

The company also insisted that software developers should be using computers running RISC OS 4 or Select if they want to develop software for the currently 26bit only stream of RISC OS. However, this hasn't put off some programmers, as for example, Iyonix owner Rob Davison was able to introduce support for Select alpha sprites into Variations without a RiscPC, relying on end user feedback and testing.

In an email to Select users on the subject of the cost to upgrade to RISC OS 4 and Select, a company representative commented: "Don't forget that one of the reasons that the PC market is so healthy is that users are pretty much forced to upgrade the major part of the setups every two to three years. In Acorn's days, the profit from hardware manufacture subsidised the software development very substantially. The profit margin on a RiscPC was about 300%. If everyone keeps on using their RiscPCs for another 10 years, then there will not be any native RISC OS manufacturers left.

"If you want RISC OS to develop and grow, you have to go out and buy new products, otherwise the market simply stagnates and dies."

We note that no one pointed out that RISC OS Select is currently only officially supported on RiscPCs and similar Acorn kit, which makes it a little tricky to upgrade to a new machine and yet still run the OS. Earlier this year, ROL declared that RISC OS 4.02 had reached the end of its life and announced plans to support Select on the Iyonix.

Links

RISCOS Ltd. website

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Discussion

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"We note that no one pointed out that RISC OS Select is currently only officially supported on RiscPCs and similar Acorn kit"

This is not true, it does run on MicroDigital and RiscStation machines, too.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 28/4/05 10:13PM
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Are those platforms "officially" supported?

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 28/4/05 10:55PM
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Is it officially supported? I put 'officially' in that sentence for a reason. I don't doubt that you can run the latest versions of RISC OS on these machines.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 28/4/05 10:55PM
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there's also the omega - how "official" is that?

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 28/4/05 11:05PM
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"Punters on the Select list argued that Select should be extended to RISC OS 3 users, although a ROL spokesperson said that the Select boot sequence requires RISC OS 4 only features, such as long filenames, in order to boot up."

Ofcourse, it's not too difficult to get around the 'long filenames' issue. I think the real reason Select may not be run on top of RO3 is because of the specific license ROLtd has. Besides, as said, I guess there are too many differences between RO3.x and 4 to have Select run on pre-RO4 machines.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 28/4/05 11:51PM
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The license issue must have been overcome to make VRPC legal. They could sell a RISC OS 4 license (or sofloader) in addition to select for eacher pre-RO4 machine used. It just seems that there are lots of 3.7 users still out there and changing ROMs is quite a nasty task.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/4/05 1:18AM
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@jess:

I guess that ROL has to make reasonably sure, that their RISC OS updates (for example Select) can only be loaded on machines, wich have a version of RISC OS licenced by ROL on them. This is the case with all ROS4.xx RiscPC, MicroDigital, RiscStation and VirtualRPC machines.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/4/05 10:43AM
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Yes, they are officially supported. Look at the news articles dated 4th July 2002, 5th October 2002 and the section "Can I use Select if I have a Kinetic StrongARM card, a RiscStation, a Mico or A5000?" on [link] The Omega is identical to a mico from the OS' POV and has been demonstrated with Select by ROL on various occasions.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/4/05 10:56AM
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Perhaps the issue for the users which are still on RISC OS 3.5-7 is not just the money to pay for RISC OS 4 ROMs but the issue of doing that upgrade since AFAIR that means to reinitialise the harddisc to the new filecore format. So an idea might be for ROL to offer a harddisc conversion tool so that upgrading means

1. Run a small app which renames !Boot to Old!Boot and installs a very simple, small dummy !Boot. 2. Replace the ROMs 3. Run the new tool (the one to be written) to convert the harddisc with *no* loss from old to new filecore 4. Run the app to install the full !Boot, certainly taking whatever is possible from Old!Boot 5. Be happy ...

The fact that upgading to a new OS means the need to flush and refill the harddisc is an upgrade path which nowadays isn't really acceptable. And since RISC OS doesn't offer partitions (and a resizer tool which doesn't mean loss of data) this means that you need a 2nd harddisc or lots of time to put things onto CDR, Floppy, ...

As for the supported systems I looked at ROLs website: RISC OS 4 requires a RiscPC, A7000 or A7000+ machine ... For Select I see no such explicit requirements, but obviously RISC OS 4 is needed and since as ROL states that means that you need a Risc PC, A7000 or A7000+ it seems that the other systems it runs on are not officially supported (or do you think that ROL doesn't keep their website current...).

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 29/4/05 11:27AM
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I don't believe that anybody could drink 30 pints over the course of two, or even three nights at a pub. (2.5 pounds * 30 = 75 pounds.)

 is a RISC OS Userthesnark on 29/4/05 1:39PM
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hzn: the hard disc comment is true, but remember that you shouldn't be using a drive that is more than five years old (if you actually /like/ your data, in any case. If you don't mind it going bang one day soon, then that's fine!) Now, RO4 has been out over five years, so it must be presumed that the vast majority of 3.7 users are using drives which are well outside their mean time before failure (MTBF). Scary - as I'm sure druck will agree!!!

So - such users should really be considering replacing their hard drives - and with 20 and 40Gb drives being about 20-30 these days in certain places, that's no major hangup. And if they're going to do that - why not go the whole hog and put the OS in too? Dealers will do it for those who daren't risk the ROM replacement.

Or of course, if they're particularly flush, buy some shiny new hardware. It appears that there will imminently be two machines (the A9 and the Iyonix) which would be undoubtedly quicker than the RISC PC, and run the latest OSes to boot.

ROL have absolutely no requirement to support hardware beyond a certain date, any more than Acorn had to provide RISC OS 3.5 for A3000 users. Indeed, the longevity of the hardware probably was a major contribution to Acorn's downfall.

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 29/4/05 1:41PM
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thesnark: come and work with me in the A and E department on a friday night (or any night, for that matter!). I've met a fair few people who can EASILY drink that, and a few people who can drink that in a day.

Not that it does you much good ;).

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 29/4/05 1:42PM
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@hzn: I can only find your quote on the pages about RISC OS 4 upgrades. However the other machines were never available with a version less than 4.03, and this is probably why these are not mentioned on the RISC OS 4 upgrade pages.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/4/05 3:21PM
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Lets not forget, that you don't have to buy ROS4 new. Since Adjust was released, many people have sold theit old ROS4-ROMs for next to nothing.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/4/05 3:29PM
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hzn: "Perhaps the issue for the users which are still on RISC OS 3.5-7 is not just the money to pay for RISC OS 4 ROMs but the issue of doing that upgrade since AFAIR that means to reinitialise the harddisc to the new filecore format."

In fact it is not needed to reinitialise your harddisc to use RO4. It is recommended though, since you cannot use long filenames and the enhanced E+ format otherwise. I guess the Omega isn't 'officially' supported, because it might be difficult for ROLtd to pinpoint its exact specifications... could be wrong there ofcourse. Perhaps ROLtd does keep their website current, but I wouldn't notice anyway. In fact, I think it sucks.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 29/4/05 4:38PM
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In reply to hEgelia: Thanks for the clarification - that's why I wrote "AFAIR"... But for Select it is needed as can be read in the article: "ROL spokesperson said that the Select boot sequence requires RISC OS 4 only features, such as long filenames, in order to boot up".

In reply to JGZimmerle: I went to the ROL site -> RISC OS 4 - > Features to reach [link] There I found the statement I quoted - but perhaps that is a page about the RISC OS 4 upgrades, or about RISC OS 4.02 only, without mentioning that it is just for the upgrades in a easily seen manner.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 29/4/05 4:47PM
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If you go to the ROL site -> RISC OS 4 it mentions the upgrade package only, so I would assume that the sub-pages are about that, too.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/4/05 7:02PM
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Who in their right mind would scarifice beer for microchips?!

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 2/5/05 3:42PM
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