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Is this the widest RISC OS desktop yet?

By Chris Williams. Published: 5th Sep 2005, 17:23:36 | Permalink | Printable

You make my VIDC20 cry

Our attention has been drawn to the screenshot below, taken by Geminus developer Adrian Lees, which shows RISC OS 5 running across 3 TFT monitors. That's a resolution of 3840 x 1024. Publisher Neil Spellings gushed, "We suspect it's probably the largest RISC OS desktop ever seen - and larger still is possible if we had three CRTs to hand which supported higher resolutions, but we 'only' have LCDs."

Thumbnail of wide desktop
Click for larger version

You can monitor the team's development efforts from their forum website. In the days after the break up of Acorn, many users could not have imagined RISC OS running on an XScale processor, using Nvidia PCI cards to display a three monitor wide desktop with 3D acceleration. Much like users these days imagining using a certain unavailable DVD player, which is admittedly relying on updates to ADFS and other speed ups.


Geminus website

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Yep I seen Geminus at the last South East Show in Guildford and found both Adrian and Neil very helpful and willing to talk about their developments. At that stage they *only* had two screens running. Adrian prophetically said that you *could* add more than one extra PCI Video card (and now here it is).

Given the OpenGL port (and now multiple video cards) these represent very interesting developments on the RISC OS graphics development front.

Nice one lads - continue the good work !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/9/05 8:18PM
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Wow - it is so tempting to get this just to "show off" what Iyonix can be made to do. Amazing and cool.

I fully concur with the article's jokey reference to a "certain unavailable DVD player": now that is what we really, really want.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 5/9/05 9:24PM
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Brilliant - Who'd have thought it, RISC OS spread across 3 monitors, I really must start saving for a couple of extra LCD screens :-), druck: I agree DVD playback on the Iyonix would be fantastic, and I'm sure we'll see it one of theese days (running smoothly ;-))

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 5/9/05 9:55PM
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That's quite impressive. It's a shame it highlights Adrian's appalling taste in text editors though ;). Adrian: do you need me to send you a copy of Zap? <fx: hides behind desk>

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 6/9/05 2:44AM
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Definitely nice work. I can see the use of 2 screens, but 3 ... that's out of my league!

Seeing as Geminus has been quite functional for a while now, I'd be more impressed when they finally get Cino done, though I can imagine it now has about as much to do with Castle, as it has with the Spellings team.

Is Castle still serious about bringing DVD film playback to their Iyonix machines? It would nicely complement their new range of DVD writing models.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 6/9/05 8:02AM
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I cannot believe that Neil Spellings "gushed". That is what ladies with pekinese do. The word that Chris was looking for is "bubbled", if he will forgive me the sin of telling him how he ought to have expressed it. Anyway, good on Neil.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 6/9/05 9:04AM
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hEgelia> I just wanted to be sure that the code worked with more than 2, as I'd intended. There's a lot of unreleased work already been done on Geminus that we feel is likely to benefit more users than the multi-screen support, especially the hardware acceleration and cacheing techniques which really do make the desktop feel a lot faster. I acquired the 3rd card to investigate some problems with that code.

Cino's completion and release hinges upon being able to wring enough performance out of a CPU and, especially, memory system that's really not intended for anything as computationally intensive as DVD decoding/playback.

We're not waiting upon Castle for any of Cino's development. Just me. :|

For what it's worth, I just tried Geminus at 3 x 2048 x 1024 (total screen size = 24MB which is the limit in current releases of Geminus) and that works too, although my LCD panels obviously can't display all the pixels ;)

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 6/9/05 10:17AM
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Greate work Adrian! Three screens is definately be better than two, as it means windows are will appear centered in the middle screen, and not split accross the boundary of two. However it would use up all of the available PCI card slots in the Iyonix, so I hope eventually a dual headed card will be supported. A dual head and a single head with TV in capability would be ideal, but probably wishful thinking given how busy Adrian is with all of his exciting projects.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 6/9/05 10:33AM
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adrianl: "There's a lot of unreleased work already been done on Geminus that we feel is likely to benefit more users than the multi-screen support, especially the hardware acceleration and cacheing techniques which really do make the desktop feel a lot faster."

My apologies and congratulations! This puts a whole new perspective on Geminus and one which quite enjoys my fancy :)

As to Cino, I sincerely hope you'll be able to squeeze the required bandwidth. However, since we're waiting for you, did Castle do anything about reworking ADFS or other speed ups to RO5 which would benefit Cino's performance?

Good luck, btw ;)

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 6/9/05 12:02PM
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<gush> The issue of error boxes opening mid-screen should really addressed by Castle. Hopefully now all their programmers are using Geminus they will find this annoying enough to fix in the WIMP! Other features that would be nice would be the ability to maximise windows to a single screen instead of the entire desktop. We could spend time hacking the wimp about to allow this, however its probably better off being done at source by Castle.

Also, if Castle start supporting dual-headed cards in the OS, we will certainly look at supporting them in Geminus to reduce the PCI slot requirements.

/Neil/ </gush>

 is a RISC OS Userspellinn on 6/9/05 12:57PM
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Pity that 1600x1200 LCD are not yet supported - I'd like to be able to use the portrait mode on that one - setting two of these side by side would be nice too but probably not be compatible with my bank account...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 6/9/05 1:04PM
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Think how much stuff you could get on the iconbar!!!

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 6/9/05 2:01PM
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In reply to hzn:

Unfortunately due to the clever tricks Geminus uses, the resolution of the screen in the direction which is used for the horizontal has to be divisible by 256 pixels. That means 1024, 1280 and 2048 pixels are ok, but 1200, 1600 and 1920 pixels aren't. This is a shame as there is a lovely 3840x2400 24" widescreen LCD monitor thats driven as two 1920x2400 (or four 1920x1200s). I'll just have to wait until they up the resolution to 4096x2560 which can be driven as two 2048 wide screens, although that will be beyond the current Iyonix's graphics card (needs a pixel clock of 400MHz for 60Hz).

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 6/9/05 2:38PM
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druck> we've suggested a change to Castle for inclusion into the NVidia module. If/when implemented that should allow Geminus to be modified so that the 256-pixel constraint does not apply on the leftmost and rightmost screens; since you'd only have 2 screens, this should allow the object of your desire to be used.

 is a RISC OS Useradrianl on 6/9/05 3:11PM
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I want that monitor too :-D

but we'll need a driver for:


/dream ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 6/9/05 3:24PM
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In reply to adrianl:

That would be excellent, I'd only need to scrape together 5 grand and off we go to pin sharp ultra high resolution widescreen LCD loveliness.

In reply to ROHC:

Ooooh, that is obscene! Driving two of the IBM T221s for a combined resolution of 7680x2400 - Adrian, any chance of upping that limit from 24MB to 70MB? :D

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 6/9/05 3:48PM
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