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Archive mag to survey RISC OS computer use

By Chris Williams. Published: 10th Aug 2005, 22:37:42 | Permalink | Printable

Vote online in our survey

Archive magazine logoThe editor of Archive magazine is to conduct a survey to gauge which machine is the market's favourite. The survey of RISC OS computer use, according to Paul Beverley, should reveal "what proportion [of users] are currently using, say, Iyonix as against Windows PCs with VRPC, or Omega, or RiscPCs". Paul, who has often lead investigations into how many Omega and Iyonixes have been sold to date, says he'll sample those people who are currently renewing their subscriptions to the pint sized magazine. And, by the way, the price of a subscription is set to increase next month.

The survey will ask users which RISC OS powered computers they use on a daily to weekly basis, be it virtual or native.

The statisticians amongst us are up in arms that this survey is doomed to fail as it isn't a true random sample and the results will be otherwise worthless. The market researchers, on the other hand, have quite rightly spotted that the Archive readership demographic will skew the results: for example, it may be that one RISC OS publication's readers are indifferent to the native hardware versus emulation argument, whereas another outlet's audience may be die hard native hardware users. Finally, the cynical have dismissed the survey as a publicity stunt, as around half of Archive's subscriptions are due to lapse very soon.

Like a true editor, Paul dismissed these minor details, describing his plan as an "interesting exercise". He added, "What prompted it was a reader who said it would be very interesting to know how many people were using VirtualRiscPC relative to those using a native RISC OS machine. He is a very pro-VirtualRiscPC person, I might add.

"The Archive readership may not be truly representative of the RISC OS users as a whole (but then how do you define a RISC OS user anyway?), but it is a group that is easy to specify."

Our survey
Paul also called on drobe.co.uk to conduct a parallel survey so notes can be compared afterwards. Even though he admitted that he has "never replied to an Internet survey", he did ask nicely. So here it is. You can log in, make your selections, and we'll announce the results of our experiment in a fortnight. Emphasis on the word 'experiment'.


RISC OS computer use in 2005 survey

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Who cares about having a truely representative survey, the people that really count are those that vote first and vote often.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 10/8/05 11:05PM
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If the statisticians believe that this survey is "doomed to fail", please could they let us know what sort of survey of RISC OS users is bound to succeed?

Also, have they carried out such a survey yet, and can they publish the results?


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 10/8/05 11:13PM
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Hey, I just tried to vote but the *% thing said I'd already voted, which I really didn't. Well I am using an Iyonix on a hourly basis.


 is a RISC OS UserIke on 10/8/05 11:56PM
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Oh and forgot to mention: incidentally a laptop with VRPC-SE and an A7000+


 is a RISC OS UserIke on 10/8/05 11:59PM
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Ike: There was a bug in the software, which has now been fixed. You can vote. If you, or anyone else, finds a problem with the page, please do email us so we can fix it.


 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 11/8/05 12:29AM
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Guys, when I am away from my RiscOS hardware, I use RedSquirrel - It's unfortunatley not an option in the survey so already it is skewed towards defunct hardware. An accurate picture of the RiscOS community is going to be an illusion as we've been without a guiding core (Hardware manufacturer or Software producer that is taking us in a unified direction) for so long that the solutions to 'using' RiscOS we have available now are not going to be listed in any simple poll. Still, any poll is a bit of fun as we try to vote outside the bell-curve :o)

 is a RISC OS Userlostamarble on 11/8/05 4:05AM
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too bad there isn't the option "iyonix | a9 | something new is they were cheaper!" I bet that if I sell my 4 RiscPC, and all the PreRiscPc stuff (archies, a3010....), along with original software and manual, I wouldn't still gather enough cash for a brand new top class riscos machine.

Must be the the Euro-Pound exchange... :-)

 is a RISC OS Usernodoubt73 on 11/8/05 8:02AM
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I means, ofcourse, "IF they were cheaper" ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usernodoubt73 on 11/8/05 8:03AM
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nodoubt: if there were an option for "well, I'd really like to use this", then the results would be completely skewed and nonsense. Although the article is about RISC OS hardware, not RiscOS hardware ;-)

I took objection to Paul's proposal because it was far from clear what results he was trying to get, and exactly what a "serious user" was, or what meaningful any result might be.

By contrast, look at the vote in this article. The question is clear and unambigious, and it's dead easy to vote, meaning that it's likely to get a large number of votes. A broad spectrum of users isn't certain, but perhaps likely given drobe's readership - certainly far more than Archive has. And of course, druck is right to an extent - the people whose opinion matters when it comes to RISC OS usage, are often the most vocal.

As usual, public opinion is hard to measure, even with the most careful of studies - look at the unexpected number of RiScript purchases.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/8/05 8:29AM
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Sure, what I "suggested" was just for fun. Or just to remember, once again, that RISCOS equipped machines are still too expensive (and not advertised/known outside UK, if I may add this one too). To talk about the survey: well, I think it's just fun. I don't really think that it will used by any marketing expert at all. It's probably useful for us all, RISCOS enthusiasts, to know something about our "community". I'd like to know how many users we are, and what do we use, and for what also. We'd need a detailed poll asking what do we exactely do with our RISCOS (and ARTHUR :arc: ) machines. Zool playing must be on of the selectable options :laugh:

>Although the article is about RISC OS hardware, not RiscOS hardware What did you wanted to tell me with the above one? ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usernodoubt73 on 11/8/05 8:44AM
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Yes, but the point is to be clear what the question is that is being asked, even if it's for fun. The question of what hardware you'd like to use versus what you really do use is quite different. If it isn't clear, then it can't have the usefulness you ask for. As for "RiscOS", that refers to something is quite distinct from the OS originally developed by Acorn.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/8/05 8:59AM
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lostamarble: As you've probably seen, there is an option called 'Some other RISC OS computer' as well as VRPC (which is a further developed version of RedSquirrel). Unfortunately, the specific option 'RedSquirrel' is missing, for good reason I'm sure.

What defunct hardware? If you actively use a machine, even if it's 2000 years old, how can it be defunct? If you can install and run modern software on such an ancient device, how can it be defunct? On the other hand, all native RISC OS machines run on defunct hardware ... ;)

The poll is "an interesting experiment" - only an idiot like me would take its findings seriously.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 11/8/05 8:59AM
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druck:"Who cares about having a truely representative survey, the people that really count are those that vote first and vote often."

I keep re-reading this and can't quite believe it - are you being sarcastic?


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 11/8/05 9:55AM
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hEglia: The newest native RISC OS machines run on pretty modern hardware, it just isn't the best hardware for a desktop machine.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 11/8/05 10:07AM
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In the DROBE survey I ticked use of "VirtualRiscPC on a PC". What I actually use is VirtualA5000 running under XP - is this the same thing, or have I muddied the waters?

Incidently I have to run VA5000 with the Windows firewall turned off, otherwise the mouse pointer is hijacked when I write to disk.

 is a RISC OS UserJohnR on 11/8/05 10:55AM
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If you're still using VA5000, then you are *really* missing out. Virtual RiscPC is a massive step forward: faster, more features, RISC OS 4 (or the even swisher Adjust).

Well worth 99 quid:


 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 11/8/05 11:08AM
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it is the best that is available - what else is there?

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 11/8/05 11:21AM
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ROHC: Rather a lot else is available, just look at about every other computer you'll ever see. The fact is that RISC OS is tied to hardware that isn't designed for the use that it's being put to (or an emulation of that hardware).

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 11/8/05 12:15PM
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SimonC, rubbish! You've just been brainwashed by the WinTel myth that you need almost 4GHz to write a letter. Current RISC OS hardware isn't suitable for every possible application, but its fine for the uses we put the machines to, and more besides.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 11/8/05 1:22PM
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Don't forget people that the Xscale is not fully utilised yet

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 11/8/05 1:31PM
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I think people are missing my point (deliberately or otherwise). Of course it's fine for what we use it for, by definition, because we could hardly be using it for something that can't be done with it. If you go for the "writing a letter" argument you could probably say I should sell my Iyonix and go back to the A5000, or earlier. If I'd been brainwashed then I would be using WinTel machines all the time (the fact that I am now is because whoever buys them at work has been brainwashed, not me, although a great deal of what I do here does need lots of processing power).

In any case, that's not what I said. I said that it isn't the best hardware for a desktop machine, which is true, even if 99% of the time we don't need the best, and what we have does very nicely.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 11/8/05 2:58PM
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What you say may be true: ARMs may no longer be the best processors for a desktop machine. However, I think your assertion that "RISC OS is tied to hardware that isn't designed for the use that it's being put to" is a curious thing to say, given that the ARM chip, in effect, was designed precisely for the purpose of running RISC OS ;)

I'd have thought It's one of the few examples of OS and processor that were each specifically designed from the ground up for use with the other.

As for the poll, it will be interesting to compare the different machine usage statistics of Archive compared to drobe. I'm really very surprised that the original suggestion of the Archive poll on usenet caused so much controversy. The reasoning behind it does not really seem *that* unsound to me!

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 11/8/05 4:03PM
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flypig: The origins of RISC OS and ARM don't reflect the current status, which is why I said what I did. Muddling the glory days of the past with now is unfortunately about as valid as those people who remember using A3000s at school and say that RISC OS is useless, because they are comparing those with whatever they use now (I'm sure we've all met those people).

Following the attempt to drag this back on topic, the controversy is because Archive readers might not be representative of RISC OS users as a whole. If you had enough surveys from different sources, of which it was when, then I suppose you may start getting some reliable statistics about all RISC OS users. A purely Archive survey is fine if they what they are really trying to do is work out what machines to pitch articles at.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 11/8/05 4:47PM
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mrchocky: " As for "RiscOS", that refers to something is quite distinct from the OS originally developed by Acorn."

I know... I don't know why you tell me: I didn't mention "RiscOS". ;)

 is a RISC OS Usernodoubt73 on 11/8/05 6:00PM
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so what *is* the best hardware for a desktop machine?

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 11/8/05 7:41PM
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SimonC: >so what is the best hardware for a desktop machine?

on windozer side (work), I use a LAPTOP as my DESKTOP machine. And in fact I own no desktop for working....

Am I doing something wrong? :-)

 is a RISC OS Usernodoubt73 on 11/8/05 8:10PM
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i can't vote because of the "you've already voted" bug, but for the first time in 20 years i have no acorn/bbc/riscos hardware.

closest i get these days is redsquirrel, or va5000 under vmware on one of my 4 xp / fedora pc's.

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 12/8/05 12:08PM
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Doh, that was my fault. I've fixed that bug now. Thanks. As with the earlier fault, it shouldn't compromise the results.


 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 12/8/05 12:50PM
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I was about to tick RiscPC and pre-RiscPC, before reflecting that I haven't actually USED those machines for any particular task for a long time - does "tinkering with by way of a pastime/hobby while trying to decide how to arrange things for a couple of projects" or "tinkering with to revive old systems" count as "using" (the computer as an end in itself, rather than as a tool/means to an end)?

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewWickham on 12/8/05 3:41PM
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Some more information on my vote. The Omega is the main family machine, and is what we use for internet access. I typically use this machine every day, for a variety of productivity tasks including web design and spending too much time reading Usenet. It has Select 3i4 installed.

The A7000 is a RISC OS 3.6 machine, and is really only used by my parents for working on Impression Publisher files that won't convert well to Ovation Pro (our version of Publisher being so ancient it still has a dongle and won't work on the Omega). I sometimes use it for games that aren't happy with RISC OS 4 or Select.

I note you don't have an option for the A7000+, this is the "other RISC OS machine" I mentioned. This is my personal machine, and is something of a pet project of mine as it represents the RISC OS machine I may have got when I went to Uni had I realised that I didn't actually need a PC. It has a 128MB SIMM and RISC OS Select. I am considering fitting a CDRW drive in the near future.

 is a RISC OS UserJades on 12/8/05 5:29PM
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I use a Risc PC at work, and an Iyonix at home. Plus I've got an A3010 running the central heating at home (and a second one on long term test), so, although I don't sit at the keyboard + monitor, I do use it.

I use an A4 very occasionally, but certainly not as often as weekly so I haven't included that.


 is a RISC OS Userdavehigton on 25/08/05 8:55PM
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Iyonix and 3 RPCs, oh and an a7000+ attached to the tv, various other machines around if needed

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 25/08/05 10:20PM
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