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Euro 2006 show report

By Michael Gerbracht. Published: 23rd Jun 2006, 06:08:38 | Permalink | Printable

Select 4 Filer photos, Impression-X, and more [Updated]

The RISC OS euro roadshow took place last Saturday and Michael Gerbracht was there to witness it in all its glory. Here are his thoughts on the event, held at the Hotel Mercure in Nieuwegein, near Utrecht, Holland. Below are close up photos of Select 4's new Filer in action, as well as other shots.

Once again there was a RISC OS event in the Netherlands. This time its name changed into the RISC OS road show and it was organised by RISCOS Ltd instead of the Big Ben Club.

News in brief
CJE Micros is said to be considering producing a software bundle for A9homes... Ad6 are ready to show off a Linux port for the A9home... 32bit Impression was demonstrated to Dutch users recently at a usergroup meeting. The project is said to be nearing completion but is described as an uphill struggle...
For the first time AdvantageSix joined the show on the mainland to present the A9, which was officially launched at this year's Wakefield Show in May. The interest seems to be huge and the A9 was sold out hours before the end of the show.

To save space, Ad6 decided against carrying huge monitors with them, and had some really small displays that did not exceed six inches or so. Still, it was enough to show off the machine and to give some impression of how RISC OS may look on small high resolution screens - more on that later on that. For visitors with poor eyesight, an A9 was present on the RISCOS Ltd stand with a normal monitor attached. The red A9 computer with Bluetooth support was also shown but it is not available to end users.

It was not easy to speak to ROL's Paul Middleton because most of the time he was chatting and discussing matters with other visitors. I was most interested in the RISC OS Select 4 features.

Unfortunately most of the machines were running Select 3 and so it took some time until I had a chance to play around with it. The filer windows now have a button bar of shortcuts, which makes it easier to apply often used commands. It is also possible to control the filer with keyboard shortcuts. Once a filer window is activated by clicking on it with Alt held down, you can jump to a file by pressing the first letter of the file name.

Additionally, it is possible to use the cursor arrow keys to select files. There have been a lot of changes between Select 3 and 4, the exact change list from the developers' logs filled 20 pages or so. Most of them will be tweaks the end user does not see when working with RISC OS or which are important in general and not for every day use like support for SATA hard drives or the hardware-independent graphic drivers.

Like last year, Genesys was there again with their Oregano 3 browser. After establishing an Internet connection everybody was invited to try problematic websites for their compatibility with the new but still unreleased browser. Even complicated websites could be displayed and it behaved stable so I personally hope a release is not too far off.

I had an interesting conversation with Jan Rinze Peterzon, who ported RPCEmu to the Pocket PC. At the moment, achieving more that 2 MIPS is not possible, but there is enough horsepower in his PDA to demonstrate it; RISC OS on the Pocket PC looks really good. But speed-wise, there is some hope that it can be increased to around 20 MIPS, which is almost at the pace of an A7000.

This would be enough to do sensible work on the machine and it is already faster than Windows CE. Additionally people are trying to port Linux to the Pocket PC and first attempts in this direction have been successful. In principle, it is possible to run RISC OS with the full processor speed if the Linux port comes along.

There is still a long way to go and it is not clear whether it will be successful because there is no information available on some of the components used in Pocket PCs. But running RISC OS on PDAs may be a way to attract more people to RISC OS.

Dutch translation of RISC OS Adjust
Members of the Big Ben Club have translated RISC OS Adjust into Dutch. The work will eventually be released for free. For more information, visit their website.

Photos
The A9home alongside a USB CD drive
Bluetooth enabled red A9, with special scientific wizard hardware known as a cola bottle cap to you and I
Small LCD screen attached to an A9home
The unmistakable red A9
No release date on Oregano 3
RISC OS running on an emulator on a PocketPC PDA
The euro shows are always swanky affairs
The new Select 4 filer in large icon mode. The toolbar is configurable and can be switched off. The red ring fence around the filer icon is the keyboard navigation. You can also see Select 4's new login banner splash window.
Another view of the Select 4 filer
The A9, its cute LCD and an external slim-size DVD-writer
The other side of the show hall, where the Big Ben Club was hosted. The second computer from the right, possibly an Omega, the one with paper taped over, is running the Dutch version of RISC OS.
Another view of the RISCOS Ltd stand. You might notice that iMac in the distance which is running RISC OS in a window. It was a single core G5 1.8GHz machine.
Another small hardware project from RISCOS.be: a piece of toy hardware controlled by an A9home via the Velleman Kit 8055 and the USB drivers written by Dave Higton


The other exhibitors
Icon Technolgy were showing off much of what they had at Wakefield - EasiWriter and TechWriter, with PDF export and Artworks transparency support. Archive also made the trip over, as did several other exhibitors.

In the show guide, Xample appear to have remembered that they are supposed to be working on a 32bit version of the DTP package Impression.

They write: "We are currently working on a full 32bit version of Impression and we hope to be able to provide more informaton on this soon. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced but for existing users, there will certainly be an upgrade path.

"During the conversion process, we will try to repair some long standing bugs and we might even be able to add one or two new features along the way. At the moment it's impossible to predict a time scale for the 32-bit version. Converting this type of complex software is a tedious task and testing the many features in the software will undoubtably be very time consuming."

Xample hope to merge all the Impression family, from Style to Publisher Plus, into one version called Impression-X.

Links


More photos here Michael's report and photographs were originally published on the German RISC OS news website, Arcsite.de. Additional pictures from Manu.T

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Next: ARM absorbs graphics processor firm

Discussion

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What would we do without ROL!

 is a RISC OS UserCheatWarrior on 23/6/06 6:23AM
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Running RISC OS on PDA's may be a way to attract more people to RISC OS BUT only if it runs natively. The slow speed of emulation will put new people off

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 23/6/06 8:28AM
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I don't think so. If 20 MIPS are available RISC OS will already be much faster than Windows CE on this devices.

 is a RISC OS Usermaikl on 23/6/06 9:50AM
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Due to having real menus instead of a menu bar is using a toolbar really any faster? Find as you type search is useful when you have more than about 200 items in a directory though. Keyboard cursor control is only really useful when you have no mouse though.

How exactly does menu/adjust clicking work on the PDA?

 is a RISC OS Userbobloblaw on 23/6/06 10:34AM
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To bobloblaw: Click with the pen, Menu/Adjust by pressing a key and then click with the pen. Works fine.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 23/6/06 11:46AM
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Keyboard short cuts to files on the filer is a commendable idea.

One minor correction Select does *not* offer SATA (Serial ATA a serial rather than parallel bus for hard disks- which requires special hardware and offers potential speed increases) - but rather SMART - an access and performance monitoring system built into the modern disk drives. If the drive starts taking too long accessing sector(s) [indicative of an error or impeding failure] then SMART will show this up.

If RO Select offers a *warning* on impending drive failure that would be a useful feature, of course this should really not be necessary as we all keep backups don't we :)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/6/06 1:50PM
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Wow. We need a +500MHz PDA to run RISC OS like a 50MHz desktop.

Natively running this thing would beat the crap out of a A9Home, wouldn't it?

To stay in topic.

It appears that there were more ppl attending the show this year than the previous year. It's still not much but at least it's better, right. I totally forgot it last year and by the time I remembered the Expo it was too late.

There where less stands. At the door there was Paul Beverly but the 2 major attractions was STD/CJE and ROL whom had the largest stands as well. Frank o/t RISCOS.BE-club had his dutch translation of Ovation Pro at the show had also some succes both with that and a project to drive electric stuff from his A6 using a Velleman kit and an USB port.

It was interesting but in a few hours and a chat with Paul Middleton later I was back on my way home.

Hopefully there will be another one next year. I noticed some ppl from the HCC (big dutch computer club). Perhaps they'll get themselfs more involved next year.

 is a RISC OS Userepdm3be on 23/6/06 1:58PM
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What about running RPCemu on a Sharp Zaurus - that already runs Linux so could a decent speed be achieved?

Of course, a native port of RISC OS would be better :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhelpful on 23/6/06 2:18PM
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epdm3be: I remember three stands there were at the show last year: Peter Naulls (now in USA), CDVDBurn and ArtWorks (both Steffen Huber and Martin Wuertner already had appointments for that day so they couldn't appear this year). So I hope at least the later two stand will be back next year. Also there was now Advantage 6 which have not been at the show before.

helpful: I also wonder whether it would be possible to run it on a device where Linux is already present, but AFAIK the Zaurus in not continued and even with Linux there is a lot more to do and who ever does the port needs a Zaurus to run it on.

 is a RISC OS Usermaikl on 23/6/06 3:59PM
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In reply to epdm3be: "Wow. We need a +500MHz PDA to run RISC OS like a 50MHz desktop." It's currently just an early stage of this development and speeding things up is on the list. If the linux port for that PDA is ready then Jan will look into that instead of Windows CE too - so I understood him.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 23/6/06 5:33PM
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The sharp zaurus runs a weird cut down linux. I cant remember the details but my linux apps wont run on it.

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 23/6/06 9:07PM
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The Nokia 770 runs ARM Linux and can run ArcEm (as I said before, RPCEmu hung at the start of booting), the port's really too initial to be useful due to me not spending any time on the absolute <-> relative mouse pointer conversion. Handy to have BBC Basic in your pocket though :-)

[link] [link] [link]

 is a RISC OS UserJaffa on 23/6/06 10:35PM
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So, RISC OS Ltd's crusade to turn Select into a cheap Windows clone continues apace. First they make Select softloadable, which slows booting down to a microsoft crawl, and eats precious RAM. Now they are giving the Filer a tool/menu bar at the top of the window to waste space. What next I ask myself

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 24/6/06 12:58AM
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Sure wouldn't mind a reasonably priced Oregano 3 released quite soon now...

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/6/06 2:07AM
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Yes JWCR exactly what I thought about the filer. Let's hope at the bare minimum RO Ltd can add some genuinely outside-the-box innovative thinking to the filer to ameliorate convergence with Windows. Please!

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/6/06 2:09AM
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Interesting screenshots there! What is the (N) for in the filer title bar? Also, what is the purpose of putting the path in the white bar below the toolbar when it is already in the title bar?

Also, Oregano3 looks pretty ready to me. If it is any better than O2, which it probably is, can't it just be released now?

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 24/6/06 6:06AM
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Very good to see the A9 selling well. I hope that CJE do organise some kind of software bundle for the A9 hopefully within the current retail price.

Given the need for a more up to date & comprehensive brower I hope that O3 is released before the SE Show!

 is a RISC OS UserJohnB on 24/6/06 8:43AM
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ksattic: The (N) is for sort by name. I'm not sure about the white bar, it's perhaps a writeable icon to edit the path shown or cut'n'paste the path to and from? I could be wrong.

From another show report, Richard at Genesys said he needs a five figure sum (I guess 10 to 40 grand wouldn't be out of the question, speculating wildly) to give to Oregan to commit to a RISC OS version. In which case, it'd can't flop, if it fails to take off.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 24/6/06 9:20AM
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i love the way that now everyone is moving away from filers that look like web browsers towards the "spatial" look that riscos has had for years, that rol is going the opposite way - and judging by the icons, using oregano to do it!

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 24/6/06 10:47AM
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I have just noticed, that on the picture of the A9Home display, there is a Firefox icon on the Iconbar. Is that the product of a new version of !Firefox for RISC OS that isn't generally available yet, Beta5, or simply the !FirefoxI utility running?

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 24/6/06 11:20AM
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Has anybody picked up development of Firefox!?

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/6/06 1:18PM
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JWCR: A while ago, one of the Select developers experimented with porting the HTML engine of Mozilla to RISC OS, and I guess, I copy of it has been left on the show computers. The Mozilla used was a very early version, and really only worked for straight HTML. Still, could be useful for rendering documentation or for an IFR plugin.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 24/6/06 1:52PM
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Just a few of my own thoughts on the Select screenshots:

At last some changes that would be worthwhile to me! Keyboard control of the filer is a Windowsism long overdue. Some of the previous Windowsisms creeping in have annoyed me enough to avoid Select entirely (cutting and pasting in Edit has now become incredibly cumbersome, for example - yes I like Edit, leave me alone).

The path in the writable icon is also useful, as it's handy for cutting+pasting and allows you to pass command line arguments to things without having to open a taskwindow & change the current directory etc. Not sure the navigation buttons are really neccessary on RISC OS though. It would be good to have an option keep the path icon, but lose the buttons.

I suppose the large icon mode will also be welcome as screen resolutions go up on newer hardware.

 is a RISC OS UserCogs on 24/6/06 2:55PM
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You can copy the path using Swipe anyway, another util that makes RISC OS better than everyone else, copying any text that's displayed on the desktop. Pasting is more valid, although Director will usually be faster, and the command line arguments argument is ok, but would it be used much in ROS?

Does anyone want a filer toolbar?

 is a RISC OS Userbobloblaw on 24/6/06 11:51PM
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Not keen on the Filer toolbar. One of RO's strong points (IMHO) is that the display real-estate is offered to the user for his/her work, not compromised by menu bars ad tool bars. The icons here also seem to include the 'Display' options - if Select still only offers a system-wide, not per-directory, choice of these, they seem particularly wasteful.

Keyboard short-cuts are welcome though. I believe they've only been available as 3rd party add-ons until now.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 25/6/06 3:47PM
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Any chance of a bigger picture of the "toy" being driven by The Velleman kit?

 is a RISC OS Userkrisa on 26/6/06 12:12PM
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Re filer toolbar "enhancements". Excellent! The company that first encouraged us to go and buy Windows PCs (to run emulators on) now wants to get those RISC OS users who have resisted buying into M$ to get used to Windows like GUI "improvements".

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 26/6/06 8:02PM
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