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Iyonix Select yet to show 'commercial viability'

By Chris Williams. Published: 23rd Jun 2005, 18:46:33 | Permalink | Printable

Pledged Select cheques won't be cashed until work begins

ROL and 3D cogFurther to earlier comment on RISCOS Ltd. and the issue of Select on the Iyonix, ROL boss Paul Middleton says he won't ask for money from Iyonix users who want Select until development on that version begins.

Responding to concerns from punters that they are being asked to buy into a scheme with no real direction, Paul explained, "The plan at present is to simply continue to take pledges for Select for Iyonix and when we are in a position to proceed, we will ask to convert those pledges into real cash."

It's believed that the company is seeking 100 Iyonix owners who are not Select subscribers to pledge, in order to secure funding for a Select port.

Apparently over-stretched from fighting legal threats, supporting the older Acorn range of computers and the new 32bit products from AdvantageSix, RISCOS Ltd. has put forward "vague and unclear" proposals because, according to Paul, the company needs to be sure there's enough Iyonix owners who will buy Select subscriptions to make the effort commercially viable. In order to get RISC OS Select to run on an Iyonix, RISCOS Ltd. will need to write the various driver modules required to power the Iyonix hardware - such as PCI, USB, the graphics system and so on.

Paul added, "We are not going to start taking money for a project that we are unable to give a serious timescale on.

"We have stated that it is our goal to make Select features available to all current RISC OS users, however there has to be a commercial viability to that goal. The technical requirements of producing Select for Iyonix have to be balanced with the commercial return. We know the size of the market, and I don't want to raise false hopes of progressing with Select for Iyonix until we have both the available resources and the required level of subscribers."

The exact technical specifics of how a 32bit Select will be installed and run on an Iyonix are still on the drawing board, although it's likely that the Select operating system will replace the RISC OS 5 host OS in the same way Select takes over from RISC OS 4 on older kit. Although some have claimed that Select can be loaded in a 'piecemeal' fashion by loading separate modules over RISC OS 5, Paul said, "Simply adding Select 'desktop' features to RISC OS 5 is not an option because of the required low-level support within the kernel."

Whilst some Select subscribers have complained that they were not included in the recent 32bit Select survey, others have pointed out that it's been about a year since the last release of RISC OS Select. One Iyonix owning subscriber commented, "I will subscribe to a 32bit Select, but only if its appearance is firmly promised. I don't mean a date; I'm an engineer, and I know that dates slip for all sorts of good reasons. I simply mean that a statement of a wish to bring out a 32bit Select won't be enough to make me part with money."

Links

RISCOS Ltd. website

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Discussion

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So if you're an Iyonix users and you want Select, let them know. You'll only be asked to pay them money when the project's complete. There are no risks.

I'm glad that one's been cleared up.

Still a bit worrying that we've not seen Select 4 for 26bit users (it was due for December 2004!).

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 23/6/05 7:01PM
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But wasn't Select 4 put on the back burner somewhat whilst Adjust 32 for A9 was produced. With that project nearing completion, I imagine we'll see a Select 4 within the next few months. I'd at least hope to see it by the Autumn show.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 23/6/05 7:06PM
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sa110:

"But wasn't Select 4 put on the back burnet somewhat whilst Adjust 32 for A9 was produced."

I'm not sure that's the case, but even if it was, it's not an excuse. Select subscribers have continued to pay ROL and deserve to receive the product they pay for. Why should they be disadvantaged because ROL have taken on more work than they can chew?

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 23/6/05 7:33PM
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RISC OS Ltd have got some bad press for their stance on Iyonix Select in the past (and probably rightly so). Compared to what has been presented before this looks to me like a really positive move and is a much more reasonable proposition.

So credit to RISC OS Ltd for listening to their potential customers and making the situation clear.

As for softloading over RISC OS 5, I'd urge them to consider using the flash ROM as a better alternative. The softloading of Select used to annoy me and it was a real relief when it wasn't necessary using an Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 23/6/05 7:38PM
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This pledge stuff makes a lot more sense. I'm happy now.

But the question has to be asked - why couldn't ROL have released a statement to this effect before now? Even *I'm* better at communication than ROL!

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 23/6/05 7:46PM
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moss:

Because apparently whispering on a mailing-list is all they have to do. If we don't know what they're trying to sell, and RISC OS collapses, it will be our fault! Or so the mentality goes.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 23/6/05 7:51PM
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flypig:

"As for softloading over RISC OS 5, I'd urge them to consider using the flash ROM as a better alternative."

I think they want to retain the option of being able to 'easily' re!Boot in RISC OS 5, without the need to reflash. Perhaps it would be nice to provide those not needing to revert back to OS 5 the option to reflash the ROM... but will certain -atm- RO5 only features be present in this (hypothetical) forthcoming Select release?

My guess is it would be an Iyonix optimised/enhanced version of Select4, but not until a 26 bit version is released.

[link] [link]

Anyway, it sure is good ROLtd have come out with some details now! :)

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 23/6/05 8:00PM
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So if I'm an Iyonix owner and I've stayed with Select for the last 2 years to encourage a version for my machine, what should I do????

Maybe I should leave so I can then sign up as one of the 100...... ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 23/6/05 8:21PM
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fylfot: "So if you're an Iyonix users and you want Select, let them know. You'll only be asked to pay them money when the project's complete. There are no risks."

Where does it say that? You might have to pay when they start the project!

Plus you'll pay for various driver modules required to power the Iyonix hardware - such as PCI, USB, the graphics system and so on... which you already have.

What we want: "Simply adding Select 'desktop' features to RISC OS 5" is not an option. :(

Never mind then.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 23/6/05 8:58PM
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I would assume that they would do it the same way as with the 26-bit machines: Soft load the OS and use the hardware specific modules from the ROM, probably including USB, PCI and maybe even graphics drivers.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 23/6/05 9:05PM
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Jaco:

Yes, apologies. A slight mistake there. My main point was there's no risk of losing money if not enough others buy subscriptions and the project doesn't proceed. Only pledges are required.

You've raised some other important points. It's still "vague and unclear". They've not really told us how Select on the Iyonix will be achieved or how it will be implemented.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 23/6/05 9:11PM
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Yes me to but according to what's written above ROLs boss says that they're going to write that stuff themselves.

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 23/6/05 9:13PM
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oops My last post was in reaction on JGZimmerle

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 23/6/05 9:16PM
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JGZimmerle:

You'll be interested to hear what Paul Middleton said in an email to me (which he has given me permission to quote from):

"Any final version will not be a replacement for the existing RISC OS 5 ROM image, but will probably be based on a ROM image that is created on the fly in order to utilise machine specific drivers from the machine ROM added to Select features."

Whether or not this is technically accurate is another question.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 23/6/05 9:18PM
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It will be interesting to see how many RO5 users will be interested in RO432 on Iyonix...

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 23/6/05 10:30PM
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Have recently got a Iyonix but am still a subscriber to select so I suppose I will have to cancel my subscription for the Risc PC so I can be included in the 100 that would like it for a Iyonix., good plan from RISCOS Ltd they will now get less money..

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 24/6/05 8:29AM
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I wonder if it could just be poor wording from ROL and the total they actually need is just 100 more than the ones they already know about?

I think a clear public statement from ROL is needed.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 24/6/05 9:12AM
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This still seems to be a botched solution. I though the idea was to combine RO5 and select to produce a new single stream definitive version, not just to softload a few modules over RO5. Doing that will not end the current forked situation if Castle contunue to sell Itonixes with RO5 only. What they should end up with is a single souce tree from which RISC OS versions for all current machines can be produced. It should not need to be softloaded over aything else, and should be the default supplied with all new machines. This will of course require extensive co-operation and co-working for ROL and Castle. They need to bury thier differences inthe intersets of the platoform. Anything else does not solve the problem.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 24/6/05 9:37AM
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Now theyve said they wont take the money and run. I thought I'd find out how much it was.

A quick trip to the select site was a waste of time. Last updated almost exactly 1 year ago. Sorry but I think the public impression that gives is "we dont care about this anymore" or "This is nolonger developed"

So how are people to find out anything about Iyonix Select?

 is a RISC OS Userajpullan on 24/6/05 9:50AM
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Im a bit unsure of RISCOS Ltd, I put through an order for Adjust...and not heard a peep.

I believe that was the day Firefox got released..its not as If I could have missed a call, as I put my office number and e-mail address on it.

Not impressed so far!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 24/6/05 10:12AM
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jess: Your assumption makes sense. Drop your Select subs and pledge and you'll probably be one of the 101 needed! ;-(

mrtd: Enabling the co-operation necessary was possibly too much at this stage. Trying to do as you suggest could have been the cause of the delay - but at least we get a solution this way even if it's not ideal.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 24/6/05 10:30AM
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jess: "I think a clear public statement from ROL is needed."

:) - Indeed and not only on the Iyonix subject, but I think overall on what their business intentions are regarding their customers. What about all those people who kept their subs hoping to see an Iyonix Select before long? Does ROLtd acknowledge / recognize their investment for the Iyx Select version? How does ROLtd differentiate between the investment made by Select subscribers only wanting a 26 bit version for their RiscPC's and those wanting a version for their Iyonix? Have they asked?

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 24/6/05 10:59AM
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Is it just me or is there no contact details for ROL on their site?

I can't even find an e-mail address / telephone number?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 24/6/05 11:21AM
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Overall, any transparency when floating new OS products can only be good for the userbase. Granted, that not all is ever perfect, especially with SMEs & marketing, but if we cast our minds back to Omega/Phoebe/Vantage/Riscstation laptop etc...; the not too far distance past held many a vlack hole for us.

I, for one, will certainly pledge now, even though I don't own an Iyonix yet, I feel that this is the best we expect now, a solid box with a solid, augmented OS.

So as soon as RO release IySel, I'll buy both that and whatever Castle have at their top-end.

Enjoy the sun y'all.

 is a RISC OS Userpetermcc on 24/6/05 11:24AM
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All very well talking about this, but where do we actually make our pledges online? There's no facility at ROL's website.

 is a RISC OS Userpetermcc on 24/6/05 11:32AM
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ROHC "It will be interesting to see how many RO5 users will be interested in RO432 on Iyonix..." Depends on how good it is compared to RO5 on the Iyonix. So in my case they would have to produce the product first. I've lost enough money, energy and time on projects that did not come to fruition in the past to want to do that again I'm afraid.

However what would be interesting if Select/Adjust for Iyonix were produced, would be to see how the two OS's compared on the same hardware. A lot has been said about increases in efficiency for Select/Adjust over other versions of RISC OS. Being able to compare them on the Iyonix would allow any differences to be measured accurately.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 24/6/05 11:43AM
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jc: I cannot see the necessary co-operation between Castle and ROL getting any easier in the future, once both companies have committed more resources than they have already in following divergent paths. The time for mending the fork is now, whilst there is (probably) development money available to do something about it. I can only see things getting worse the longer it is left.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 24/6/05 12:43PM
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ROL need to cut the bull and get on with it.

The Iyonix user base not only represents a large potential revenue stream (far larger than for certain other defuct machines they've previously supported), but the Iyonix is the primary system of the vast majority of RISC OS developers. No Select on the Iyonix, means little support for Select APIs in 3rd party programs, and makes it very much less worthwhile for existing Select subscribers.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 24/6/05 1:35PM
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Ah!

I must apologise profusely! Thanks to a bug in IE and multi Screen NVida drivers, the contact us section were hidden below the screen!

I have just had Paul on the phone, and he informed me that it was there...I retract any statement made so far! ;@)

Service is excellent! Iyonix with select it is (some point next year when money is available)

Sorry again Paul!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 24/6/05 3:05PM
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It would be nice if for a start Castle adopted the ROL toolbox modules and ROL adopted the castle SCL in ROM.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 24/6/05 3:24PM
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