RISC OS 5.12 released with price tagPublished: 14th Oct 2006, 02:54:59 | Permalink | Printable
Pay now and download for free later?A 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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