Adjust users get Select site accessPublished: 19th Aug 2006, 20:47:38 | Permalink | Printable
Plus PRMs go online for free downloadAdjust users can request access to resources and documentation on the password-protected RISC OS Select website, say RISCOS Ltd.
The subscribers-only Select website is normally open to people who have taken out subscriptions to Select, which includes technical notes on how to write software specifically for modern versions of RISC OS 4. RISC OS Adjust is essentially Select 3i4 in physical ROM form with a few extra tweaks, although owners of the ROMs haven't otherwise been able to get into the Select area.
ROL boss Paul Middleton, pictured, told drobe.co.uk: "Adjust purchasers are more than welcome to request access to the Select area on the RISCOS website, if they are not already Select subscribers."
PRMs online for free
The news comes after one or two eagle-eyed software developers uncovered developer.riscos.com, and in particular, an area that contains resources previously published for privileged paying registered developers. The historical collection mainly dates back to the early days of RISCOS Ltd and the final days of Acorn, but it includes details of how the insides of RISC OS 4 work with example source code. An archive of the PRMs - the hallowed volume of books that tell programmers how to write software for the OS - is surprisingly freely available on the site in web page format, but the zipfile is busted.
To access the zipfile, download it, then run it through zip -FF and then through unzip or SparkFS. The archive includes StrongHelp and plain text copies.
When RISCOS Ltd was formed, the company continued Acorn's registered developers scheme where paid up programmers got direct access to the RISC OS in-house developers, and had access to PRM information. This worked in the form of a yearly subcription. According to RISCOS Ltd, the Select scheme was later born in order to merge the registered developer scheme with a new scheme that would provide users with the latest developments, some of which would be in a beta quality state. All Select subscribers would therefore effectively become registered developers, and continue to access technical documentation.
Paul said: "We didn't think that the £99 cost of the Select scheme was beyond the reach of any developer.
"However, it is clear that some people feel that we should make PRM details freely available for anyone to download. The fact is however that producing documentation costs money, no matter how it is produced and distributed. You either pay for the printed copy or at the very least you pay your ISP if you access it via the Internet.
"If developers want to take advantage of Select features then they need to subscribe to the Select scheme in order to be able to test their work. We do not agree with the sentiments of those who claim that they should be able to get the documentation for free in order to develop software that takes advantage of Select, without they themselves owning a copy of Select."
|Select subscribers still wondering if they will ever see Select 4 were told ROL are still ironing out bugs in 32bit RISC OS 4, which is holding back Select 4 because both products are derived from the same source code tree.
Paul informed subscribers: "I appreciate that it may appear that absolutely no work seems to have been done on Select 4 in the past 2 years, but the fact is that we have done the conversion of RISC OS 4 to 32 bit with far fewer resources than Pace had when they did the work on their version of RISC OS.
"The bottom line is that we have very limited resources and consequently some apparently relatively trivial problems can take a lot of time to resolve. We rely on volunteers for the Beta Testing of Select 4 features and a number of those have had to reduce the time they have available this year for various reasons."
Ex-subscriber and Discknight author David Ruck said: "Paul promises they are still 'doing something', but you've got to keep paying in vain hope that in perhaps one year out of three, you will actually get some sort of release for your money."
A number of third party developers have argued that this technical information, referred to as APIs, should be made available for free, much like Castle's approach, in order to encourage further development of software that uses new features of the operating system. However others believe that programmers need both the documentation and the operating system installed on their computers to make full use of the APIs.
OHP2 author Tony Still said: "Without availability of this programming information, it's just not practical to use these APIs. I would buy Adjust, probably, if it ran on my main machine, an Iyonix. I'm unlikely to buy it simply as a way of obtaining its API details."
VNC client Avalanche developer James Peacock said: "Even with the documentation, it's almost impossible to develop anything reliable without being able to test it. I write stuff for my own use, so putting what little time I devote to RISC OS development into utilising features I can't benefit from isn't going to happen."
RISCOS Ltd website
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