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Select subs asked to renew despite no Select 4

Published: 17th Jun 2006, 23:22:15 | Permalink | Printable

Two years pass since release of Select 3

RISCOS Ltd logoSubscribers to the RISC OS Select scheme were surprised to receive letters this month from RISCOS Ltd asking them to resubscribe even though they haven't seen a new release in two years. The annual scheme last sent out a new version of RISC OS 4 in June 2004, but further development stalled after cash-strapped ROL spent its resources on court battles, according to the company.

The demand for more money comes after others complained they were unable to place new orders with RISCOS Ltd., and alleged ROL were difficult to communicate with.

One Select user said: "Today I received my subscription renewal letter. I thought there was going to be an extension to the subscription period to allow for a release, just after Wakefield."

ROL have previously stressed that the subscription money was used in 2005 to pay for a 32bit version of RISC OS 4 and the development of Select 4.

A RISCOS Ltd spokesman said: "Subscription renewals are still sent out on the Anniversary of the renewal date. The actual renewal date is extended by three months if paid on the due date.

"All renewals are automatically extended by three months for access to the web site, so they don't expire until three months after the original renewal date."

Meanwhile, while the company has gained a Skype address for customers to call them freely over the Internet, at least one punter has struggled to get in touch with ROL. After sending various emails about an order for RISC OS 4.39 ROMs, new user John Hogg told others of his frustrations on a RISC OS forum.

He said: "Do ROL actually want to sell their product to customers, or what? No wonder RISC OS is struggling if this is any reflection of anyone else's experience.

"I think I'm giving up. I bought a RiscPC to get back into RISC OS and see how I got on with it, but I'm not spending any more time or money if the company who are supposed to be selling it can't even reply to a sales enquiry."

Users are recommended to call RISCOS Ltd, rather than email them. ROL earlier held off a rebellion of angry subscribers in October 2005.

• RISCOS Ltd have silently sneaked a copy of the Select 4 feature list out onto their website. The PDF is the leaflet distributed previously at shows and later transcribed on drobe.co.uk.


RISCOS Ltd website

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"....the company has gained a Skype address for customers to call them freely over the Internet..."

RO users to use Skype to contact the company?

It would be nice if we could have Skype on RO.



 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 18/6/06 4:47AM
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I don't think this has been handled so well. If RISC OS Ltd had committed to a release date for Select 4 which fell well within the 3 month extension offered in return for prompt payment I wouldn't feel so uneasy.

Offering another means of communication can only be called a positive step even if it is limited to those who have a second machine running another OS. I agree wholeheartedly with Sawadee that having Skype on RISC OS would be excellent.

 is a RISC OS UserJohnB on 18/6/06 8:31AM
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This is very amusing ! A company is asking people to buy another operating system to contact them. RISCOS Ltd is sinking lower then ever.

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 18/6/06 9:40AM
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highlandcattle>Actually that's already happened - remember ROL's endorsement of VARPC - that in effect requires Windows to run RISC OS.

I am pleased to see that Drobe has *once again* used the "legal issues" of the past to suggest that that was the cause of delay. That happened *2 years ago* and ROL promised certain things to be done *after* that date when they *would have known* how much money they had and what impact legal costs would have had. Using that old excuse is lame - really....

ROL have (for their own reasons) reprioritised their developments to suit the A9Home - with the knock on effect on *every other* RO Select subscriber has had to wait. The legal mechanations of 2004 had *nothing* to do with this - and once again RO Select subscribers have taken a hit on the chin.

*THAT* is a large cause of the delay. As it happens in that context the delay is understandable (though for users of older machines a little unfair - given that they've paid in advance and *others* who haven't have seen the benefits).

If this sort of thing continues (e.g., Massive Delay, Issue lists of "Promised features, Subscription Request, further delay) then ROL's credibility will become as good as MicroDigital's - but hopefully that sort of thing won't happen.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/6/06 4:11PM
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IMHO, RISCOS Ltd should not charge for a yearly subscription, but should instead charge for a complete release. One payment should mean that a complete Select 3 (for example) can be got before a subscription runs out. This means it does not matter how long it takes for a release to happen, all users that payed will get that release. I'm still on RISC OS 4.37 and can't get the fixed 4.39 unless I pay another subscription even though 4.39 is part of Select 3. Very annoying.

 is a RISC OS UserFootie on 18/6/06 11:47PM
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"The legal mechanations of 2004 had nothing to do with this"

Assuming that ROL had to pay hefty legal fees during the OS licensing saga, I'm sure that it does. That money could have been spent on hiring an extra programmer, for example.

While I agree that the decision to focus on Adjust32 rather than Select is harsh on Select subscribers given the payment format, it would have been ridiculous for ROL to go another year developing for twelve year old machines (or presumably several years, had RO5 made it on to the A9).

The question is will ROL be able to keep their customers happy given the risk they took?

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 19/6/06 8:56AM
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Well, for one thing, I'm delighted ROL has learnt their lesson and now puts regular updates on [link] There are two PDF's there detailing Select 4 in terms not too technical. Excellent, though strange I hadn't noticed the earlier updates before...

Footie: Exactly the same here, the subscription ran out on 4.37, so I never got the final Select 3 release. Although I'm content with RO4.37, apparently 4.39 contains a lot of bugfixes. I'm sure your idea has been considered by ROL in the past, though it wouldn't provide them a certain amount of financial leverage, ie. it would mean they would have to get on with it, instead of just asking for a renewal. In the case of Select 4, it would have meant they hadn't received any subscribers' funding for at least two years! Still, I agree wholeheartedly and it would make the choice of subscribing a whole lot easier, since I'd have a sort of guarantee a complete OS upgrade would eventually land on my doormat instead of a nice letter saying they want more money whilst another system is directly benefitting from my subscription.

I'm not saying the move to 32-bit shouldn't have been undertaken, but that ROL should've been upfront with subscribers of their intention instead of letting them find out the hard way. Sadly, that could have meant they wouldn't have been able to collect sufficient funding for the project.

"While I agree that the decision to focus on Adjust32 rather than Select is harsh on Select subscribers given the payment format, it would have been ridiculous for ROL to go another year developing for twelve year old machines (or presumably several years, had RO5 made it on to the A9)."

At one time, directly or indirectly as a result of the legal rambling, Castle and ROL came to an agreement to merge RO4 and 5. Since ROL had written all their 'Select-enhanced' modules for RO4 in 32 bit clean code, perhaps they could've been inserted into RO5 neatly at that stage. In my opinion, the merger should have gone ahead. RISC OS 4.39 (Adjust) would have been the final release of RO4, and also for the dated RiscPC's. ROL would then have renamed themselves accordingly, moved in cosy and neatly with Castle and Tematic and continue to work together on RO5, with Tematic doing the hardware level support, ROL doing the bells & whistles and other UI funtionality enhancements.

"The question is will ROL be able to keep their customers happy given the risk they took?"

That is indeed the question. Well, for a large part it will depend on Select 4. I must say, it has some pretty nice features, though some (like the monitor support) only suitable for Viewfinder RPC's and A9home's. I reckon it will be a logical upgrade for A9home users, though I'm not so sure if old RiscPC subscribers still feel so supportive.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 19/6/06 10:52AM
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timephoenix wrote>"Assuming that ROL had to pay hefty legal fees during the OS licensing saga, I'm sure that it does. That money could have been spent on hiring an extra programmer, for example."

I think you've missed my point. ROL made promises *after* that was all over - they *would* have known and *should* have made more accurate predictions about time/duration for project completion given whatever constraints they had *at that time*.

How long can the "legal issues" of 2004 be used as an excuse for delay. Surely ROL *now* should be in a position to assert schedules for release given that if they *haven't* allowed for their actual income and ability to hire staff at this stage in the process - so long after the legal issues - would be to suggest a studied stupidity which I don't think they'd be guilty of !!!!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/6/06 1:28PM
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This is simply ridiculous and, as far as I can see, probably illegal. You wouldn't subscribe to National Geographic for a year and be happy receiving no copies at all, whilst all your money paid for a new online version (for example)...

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 19/6/06 10:28PM
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Select - 25 months, £198, 0 releases, more money please.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 21/6/06 9:44AM
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Illegal or not, ROL must be out of their minds if they expect people to stump up more cash with that track record.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 21/6/06 10:04AM
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Well to avoid any issues of fraud from calling it a subscription scheme, why not just call it by what it has become - a lottery.

£99 a ticket, one draw a year, and now in its 3rd roll over - if you keep playing someone is bound to win that elusive big release!

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 23/6/06 9:35PM
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