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RISC OS 5.12 released with price tag

Published: 14th Oct 2006, 02:54:59 | Permalink | Printable

Pay now and download for free later?

RISC OS unzippedA fortnight after announcing plans to share the RISC OS 5 source code, developers Castle have slapped a 69 quid price tag on their latest OS upgrade. The news has lead to some confusion over the future direction of the operating system, and fuelled concern that crucial components of RISC OS 5 will remain closed source as chargeable updates.

Upgrading to RISC OS 5.12, which ships on new Iyonixes as standard, will cost £69 or £139 if an Nvidia FX5200 graphics card is thrown in with it. The new version, announced under the banner of Iyonix Ltd, will form the base of future upgrades - and users must upgrade to version 5.12 in order apply future patches and updates. The ROM images can be bought online, and copied by the user into an Iyonix's FlashROM.

Castle's John Ballance told Iyonix users: "Those wishing to upgrade to 5.12 will pay an upgrade charge. This is a sort of 'step in time', i.e. it is not expected that ROM 5.13, for example, will require an additional charge. There may be a future point beyond RISC OS 5.12 when a further charge might be levied, but there are no plans to do so at present."

John added that enhancements chipped in by outside developers could be "softloaded" over an official RISC OS 5 ROM. Contributed updates that rely on underlying features in RISC OS 5.12 will therefore require the user to upgrade, according to John. Some users have also noted that because the shared source initiative will take time to reach the point where users can construct their own RISC OS ROMs from scratch, charging for ROM upgrades now won't necessarily obstruct the goal of creating an open operating system.

The latest version of Castle's stream of RISC OS has two "key features":

Firstly, it has support for newer Nvidia PCI graphics cards, specifically up to the 6200 series. This work was first reported in August after Castle investigated sourcing graphics cards that were more reliable and readily available than the aging GeForce 2 series included since the launch of the Iyonix.

Secondly, version 5.12 has USB 2 support built into the ROM. This was previously available as a 30 quid upgrade for Iyonix owners - a discount is not said to be on the cards for punters who bought USB 2 support and now wish to upgrade to RISC OS 5.12.

In a statement, Castle said: "Iyonix Ltd today announces the availability of a new ROM upgrade, RISC OS version 5.12, for all Iyonix PCs. This will be the first 'charged for' ROM upgrade since the launch of the Iyonix PC in 2002, and the new ROM will form the basis for all further ROM upgrades. This ROM has been shipped for several months in new Iyonix PCs."

Last month Castle and RISC OS Open launched their drive to release the blueprints to RISC OS 5 for free for end users. Castle were not immediately available for further comment.

• Steve Revill of RISC OS Open has stressed that ROS Open was not rushed into making its recent shared source announcement, and it would not publish a release timetable "if there is any risk that it will not be met, especially as some people are working on this in their spare time."

He added: "We feel sufficiently confident that the project is going ahead that we are willing to announce its existence so that we can get people involved early to help out.

"As everything will happen in stages and the implementation of the tasks involved is a fairly fluid process, it doesn't lend itself to a published timetable. Just know that we're moving as quickly as possible."


RISC OS 5 online ROM shop

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If I had an Iyonix I would certainly buy it! Could some more features of 5.12 be listed or is that all?

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 14/10/06 8:27AM
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Although I don't need support for a graphics card that I don't want, and although I already bought USB2 seperately, I'm quite willing to pay for this upgrade, just because Castle has been providing many upgrades during many years for free.

If only I could pay... I tried it three times last night, all of which generated a message that my payment was unsuccesful.

Paul Sprangers

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 14/10/06 8:44AM
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I just read on the news groups that payment can be done on a Windows machine (with FireFox), and indeed, I've now received my update.

So, we can't upgrade our Iyonix on an Iyonix. Embarrassing...

Paul Sprangers

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 14/10/06 9:36AM
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This seems a reasonable deal to me. Of course, Id rater not pay UKP69, but I have had a long run of free upgrades - many of which that have brought enhancements as well as bug fixes - and there is a clear offer of more to come without further payment.

If Castle are to continue to produce RO5 upgrades (very desirable), to do these on a 'small but often' basis (good for Iyonix owners) and to earn revenue (essential for a commercial company), this "step in time" approach seems sound. The customer gets a concrete product immediately (can software be concrete?) and a promise of service for some period into the future; that promise is non-specific but can be judged against Castle's track record.

As a scheme, it's no worse than a Microsoft or Apple OS upgrade and better than some models we have seen.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 14/10/06 9:38AM
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Great news that RISC OS 5.12 is out!

I'm a bit surprised (and unhappy) that there is no discount at all (not even a small one) for the users who paid 30 UKP for USB2 - and be it a discount available for a short period of time only.

Since I never had any problems with my nVidia card and have no plans to upgrade it and have USB2 I do wonder what benefits RISC OS 5.12 offers apart from an a bit shorter boot time due to USB2 now being in ROM. Thus some more info about the benefits in 5.12 and the ones on the list for future free ROM upgrades would make it easier for me and probably others too to part with 69 UKP now instead of waiting what Castle has on the list.

Gee, why am I not surprised that you can't buy online with an IYONIX pc considereing what we have as http-viewers (most of them I'd not really want to call a web browser) for RISC OS. Well perhaps NetSurf might be capable - anybody try yet?

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 14/10/06 10:06AM
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I have tried to buy the RO 5.12 ROM using both NetSurf and Oregano2, without success. I do not have any other machine to try with. I suppose the WAI does not apply to private businesses, but I am puzzled that Castle lock out loyal and eager clients. Perhaps John Ballance can tell us whether they are prepared to do business by letter and parcel post?

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 14/10/06 10:22AM
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hzn: Agreed, for me the upgrade brings no benefits, as my graphics card is fine and I don't want USB2. Yet I must pay a not inconsiderable sum to upgrade, in order to receive future bug fixes? No thanks, I'll wait for the open source build...

It's good that Castle are still showing commitment to developing the OS, and I agree that the recent free updates have been of value, so it's fair for them to try to recoup some money I suppose. But a compulsory 'buying-in' to future bug fixes - of which there are still several I've put up with for years - does not attract me in the slightest.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 14/10/06 10:30AM
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One small attraction for me is that the Geminus accelerator has no effect on my current setup as the graphics card is a very early one. So, upgrading to the new OS and a new card will allow use of this clever bit of programming.

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 14/10/06 10:45AM
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Good to see development of RO 5 continuing. I don't myself have a problem with the charging concept - Iyonix users have had a lot of free support up to now. It will be interesting to see if USB2 works more reliably in ROM than when softloaded: I find I need to use !USBKick to make sure that my Epson 1660 Photo scanner - which I use irregularly - works in conjunction with !DPingScan (Iyonix X100, 5.11). All other USB devices seem to work OK, but I suspect the scanner has a 'sleep' mode which causes the problem.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 14/10/06 11:31AM
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In reply to GavinWraith: I guess they will offer some method of purchase which does not require you to use a Windows PC - otherwise how should the users not having anything but RISC OS buy. Let us hope they sort things out so that the standardy IYONIX pc user can buy that upgrade using Oregano 2. It seems that currently a Windows or Mac system is needed to pay and an IYONIX pc is needed to download the ROM.

In reply to tamias: I didn't say there are no benefits - I just mentioned that I'd like to know what benefits there are before I part with my money. I hope (and assume) that Castle will supply that information soon. And if there are none yet and none announced well I might decide to wait until there are.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 14/10/06 4:52PM
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in reply to Gavin and others:

1: O2 does work.. but requires scripting to be enabled.

2: The delivery site was down due to the unexpected disappearance of the script that actually delivers the upgrade after you have registered your upgrade PIN. This is resolved, though I do not yet know why the script vanished.

3: the HSBC site will aggressively check your card details.. if something does not match with what it knows it'll refer the transaction back to us.

4: the HSBC site seems to have problems contacting some card issuers.. if it fails this, you'll be bounced back to us with no money paid.

5: the advantage to us of this payment system is primarily that we nolonger have to have any sight of users card details. It thus resuces the security obligations on us considerably..


 is a RISC OS Userjb on 14/10/06 7:40PM
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sorry about the typos.. I clicked netsurf's preview button and it just submitted it!.

BTW is there a list of formatting commands used by drobe? where it says 'in reply to 1:' for example, I had just started a para with the 1 and colon.

thanks John

 is a RISC OS Userjb on 14/10/06 7:42PM
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Is John telling us that HSBC is having trouble contacting NatWest! I gave exactly the details I always give for online buying, and this is the first time that I have come across this "no response from card issuer" business.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 14/10/06 9:40PM
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I've had similar problems when buying from other shops that use the HSBC system.

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 14/10/06 10:01PM
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Thank you fwibbler. I was getting worried that my credit was suddenly no good. I have now tried three times, being meticulous with the card details, The difficulty is that HSBC's replies are very unhelpful. They do not indicate why they got no response from the card issuer; a technical problem? a data mismatch? I would be grateful if jb could tell us what we are supposed to do next. I feel sorry for him that so much aggravation is being caused, but it is aggravating for us customers too, and I cannot help thinking that the new system has not been thought through fully - issues with VAT, with inaccessible pages, with mysterious "no response" problems. Too much banging square pegs into round holes for the sake of "simplification" makes for bad PR. If Castle would announce a fallback - old fashioned cheques through the post or whatever - that might ease the stress.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 14/10/06 10:23PM
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Gavin: no.. all I'm saying is that there does seem to be an issue with the HSBC system.. I would think it very unlikely that the issue is your card. Usual suggestion is th try again if you ge thte message that hsbc couldn't contact the card issuer.


 is a RISC OS Userjb on 14/10/06 10:38PM
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I have tried about five times now, with the same "no response" message each time. I note from the Javascript of the HSBC page that an initial form entry has been commented out. It asks the buyer to enter the type of credit card. In the absence of this input HSBC's server must be performing some sort of calculation about which database to query, because the card number and expiry dates are the only mandatory fields on the page. Its calculation is evidently not giving a sensible answer for some cards. This is not Castle's fault, but I think they should chase HSBC up about this. Why is that first field commented out?

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 15/10/06 12:08AM
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In reply to Gavin Wraith,

Probably a silly question, but did you try paying on a Windows machine, eg with FireFox? For me, it solved all problems at once. The actual download was done on the Iyonix, though.

Kind regards, Paul Sprangers

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 15/10/06 9:13AM
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In reply to Paul:

No, I do not have a Windows machine. I suppose there must be some Iyonix owners without an internet connection. How will they cope? As I will be part of the hosting team at the SE show maybe I will have a chance to make my purchases from Castle face to face. In any case, I am resolved to be more patient. Struggling with anonymous machines is futile.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 15/10/06 10:17AM
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GavinWraith>"I suppose there must be some Iyonix owners without an internet connection"

Yep I find myself in precisely that position. My Iyonix at home doesn't have even dialup (never mind broadband). I only can access the Internet using PCs elsewhere. It is therefore highly unlikely that I can upgrade unless (a). I can purchase and download the image from a PC or (b). Obtain a copy of the ROM Image at the SE show (just booked my flight today ;-))

Obviously if neither (a) or (b) can happen then I'll be saving myself 69STG or will spend it on something else at the show (I'd much prefer to update the OS from the now fosselized 5.03 my Iyonix labours under).

If to acchieve either I have to supply my machines MAC address/Serial No or proof of purchase I'll be happy to oblige.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/10/06 2:29PM
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I have to say that I have always found jb very reasonable and accommodating. When I first bought my iyonix, for example, he made special arrangements so that updating was possible via my RPC. So, I am sure that when the initial furore passes everybody will get fair treatment. It is unreasonable to expect every special case to be dealt with instanter.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 15/10/06 3:12PM
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Gavin>I wasn't actually giving out (there is *no* furore coming from my direction)

Was just trying to find if there was a mechanism for *doing* an update *without* having an internet connected Iyonix. I was just indicating that I was *keen* to be able to use the update and there was a "sale" in it for them.

I've talked to John before at a previous show a few years back and he seemed a helpful and knowledgable chap, so please don't take any of what I wrote previously as *any* form of critism - it *ISN'T*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/10/06 3:29PM
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in reply to AMS:

if your Iyonix isn't on the internet, how are you connecting to Drobe then?

Can't you simply plug the Iyonix in instead?


 is a RISC OS UserIke on 15/10/06 5:45PM
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AMS: there is nothing in the rom update that requires the iyonix, prior to unpacking the final delivered zip. do what you need for this on any machine, put the delivered zip on e.g. a cd, and take to iyonix. unpack the zip there and continue.

BTW if requested we can supply backups of the current disc image (which includes, obvioously, any stuff that the updater has had for delivery). There is a small charge for this, but would be happy to bring it to the show as a result of an order.. sales or jwb address please


 is a RISC OS Userjb on 15/10/06 8:53PM
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I know this is very off topic, but it's very hard for me to imagine why people that do own a computer - an Iyonix even - don't have internet connection. Of course, there's a price tag, but I can't think of any money that I've spent better in my life (even my lovely espresso machine is inferior to the combination of e-mail and www). The second best thing, by the way, was broadband.

Apologise for this interruption, Paul Sprangers

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 16/10/06 8:10AM
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an anyone please tell me after paying £69 and upgrading to 5.12 what advantages would this give me other than being able to use a different graphics card? I already have USB 2.

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 16/10/06 8:47AM
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Please substitute Can for an.


 is a RISC OS UserPete on 16/10/06 8:49AM
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I'm also interested in what is included with this upgrade. Looking at the 5.12 features pages on the Iyonix website, it seems that all we get (at this stage) is USB2 and gfx card support. Other than that, the payment entitles us to all subsequent free upgrades. Which is probably pretty good, but means I don't get much that's /tangible/ at this point - I'm relying on what Castle choose to release in future. A bit like the Select Scheme ... :)

 is a RISC OS Userkrisa on 16/10/06 9:55AM
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This upgrade is a little difficult to sell as if you don't need a new graphics card and have USB 2.0 there isn't a lot for you at the moment. As JB says its chargeable step from pre 5.12 to post 5.12, so you don't have to upgrade now, but if something that does interest you comes along in say 5.13, you can upgrade then. Castle have done a substantial amount of work improving the OS since the launch of the Iyonix and I suspect a little injection of cash is needed to be able to continue to make this commitment.

Thats fine with me, but then I'd also looking to replace my orginal 32MB graphics card with one that can properly benefit from Geminus' accelaration. I'm realiably informed that the FX5500 doesn't have a fan, so wont ruin the whisper quiet Iyonix experiance.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 16/10/06 10:03AM
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re: all the 'HSBC unable to contact supplier' gubbins: I was informed while paying for a pub lunch yesterday that HSBC's authorisation system was down, meaning attempting any transaction with an HSBC card (chip & PIN, or just getting cash out of an ATM) would fail. Dunno if this could explain why certain cards weren't working. Especially as the HSBC system on the Iyonix site will have to authorise all transactions.

PS. Luckily, I don't use HSBC, so I paid for my food without incident, and the mixed grill was delicious (o:

 is a RISC OS Userjymbob on 16/10/06 10:11AM
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I also got the same "unable to contact card issuer" error when ordering some tickets on Friday night, which succeeded on the second retry. I don't know if the venue is using HSBCs systems, but there may well be a wider prober with credit card authorisation systems. There have been several large DDOS attacks against financial institutions recently.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 16/10/06 11:03AM
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In reply to all:

Don't know whether this has anything to do with the problems but it seems HSBS had a lot of problems over the weekend. From the Reg:


 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 16/10/06 12:14AM
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In reply to myself:

Must type slower. Fingers can not keep up with the brain.

Should read:

HSBC had a lot of problems.....

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 16/10/06 12:15AM
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