Drobe :: The archives
About Drobe | Contact | RSS | Twitter | Tech docs | Downloads | BBC Micro

South East 2006 show report

Published: 21st Oct 2006, 19:41:07 | Permalink | Printable

News, presentations, new mags, photos, gossip and more

RISC OS show news logoThis weekend's South East show in Guildford, Surrey, was surprisingly upbeat: no negative bombshells have been dropped recently, and a number of companies have been pumping out positive announcements in the past few days. Over 200 punters passed through the door, exceeding the organisers' break even point. Below is a round up of what happened, or you could skip straight to the photos.

Castle and RISC OS Open
Castle's Jack Lillingston and RISC OS Open's Steve Revill ran through the announcement of open source(ish) RISC OS 5, and explained how it was all going to work. There was nothing further ventured from either of them beyond what is published on the RISC OS Open website. A build of RISC OS 5 for RiscPC users will be posible, in theory, punters were told.

Jack also stunned the audience when he said Castle were no longer doing RISC OS 5 development. CTL's John Ballance later clarified that while Castle aren't directly involved anymore, licensees such as RISC OS Open and Iyonix Ltd will continue to work away at RISC OS 5 - as seen with the appearance of RISC OS 5.12. Iyonix Ltd is run by Jack and John from Castle at the same registered address of Castle, and the company took over Iyonix sales to dodge the RoHS regulations earlier this year.

John said while we wait for the RISC OS Open project to gradually manifest into something tangible, he needed to see a return on the current on-going development work. It is clear that we could be at least twelve months away from seeing enough source code published to allow people to build what resembles a working RISC OS 5 ROM image, and in the meantime, John has further plans for OS 5. Quoting standard Castle policy of no pre-announcements, he wouldn't comment or hint at what was to come, going as far as saying he couldn't confirm if there would be a RISC OS 5.13 after 5.12.

A pic of AMSA mini-interview with Annraoi McShane
Better known as AMS to Drobe regular readers, Annraoi has posted over 540 comments and forum posts, and is a familiar name on the website - his comments often spark concerned emails and phone calls from companies to Drobe HQ. Annraoi, 40, who lives in Dublin and works for an insurance software company, flew all the way from Ireland to make it to the show. He said: "I'm not pro-Castle or anti-ROL, I just have a lot of passion for RISC OS. I've been using it for many, many years. I don't think emulation is the right route to go down for the future, especially when there're new XScale processors coming fron Intel. I would be very sad if we moved away from that. It still feels like a big community, and I'm here for the show and here for the weekend." He joked: "I can talk some s*** sometimes." He also said he'd give being a Drobe columnist a go, if the position were to open.
RISC OS Open continues to be staffed by programmers working on a part-time basis, and the 5.12 updates will be eventually fed into the published source. We could therefore see the open source(ish) version of RISC OS 5 lag by, say, six months behind the paid-for closed source version. The team hope to release as much as of RISC OS 5 as possible within the next year, although they admitted that a small amount will probably remain closed due to conditions placed on the components during the Acorn era.

John confirmed that sales of 5.12 were going well, and said the initial hiccup where users couldn't buy the upgrade online was caused by a typo in a script on the web server.

On the subject of Castle, Oregano publisher Richard Brown was on the company's stand with a copy of version 3 of the unreleased web browser. Resizing the browser window, causing it re-layout the web page and redraw it, seemed slightly faster than previous beta versions; the software is, we're told, more or less complete. Richard said he was waiting for a polished version to be finished which can be released as a full product. Any major bugs or problems found after it's released will require a lot of user support and developer time to address, and this will therefore eat up cash raised from sales. The Oregano 3 information box showed a build date of late August 2006, and we're told the software has been updated and tweaked to the point where it crashes a lot less than Oregano 2. We understand someone along the line needs to pay Oregan's accounts department the (not insignificant) amount of moola required to fund the estimated two or three week's development time needed to finish the RISC OS browser port.

The RISCOS Ltd stand at the show had a lot of computers running Select 4, and the printed Select technical documentation in a large ring binder - but it was missing one vital thing: an actual released version of Select 4. ROL's Paul Middleton complained bitterly he was being dogged by vocal Select opponents, reportedly deliberately bent on destroying ROL, who claim that RISCOS Ltd have not worked on RISC OS for months. To combat this, he announced RISC OS 6, the new version number for ROL's stream of the operating system to be included in Select 4, but with no actual release to place in the hands of eager punters. Changing the version number before a product is launched is irrelevant, and it showed - people expecting to pick up a copy were glumly turned away with Paul promising a free preview release in time for the November 25 show in Wolverhampton. He told users there were bugs to iron out, but hoped to have the preview version online for download by the end of next month.

Normally, Castle is famed for repeating their previous presentations by demonstrating again and again how to unpack Iyonix cases and use USB photo printing. Despite a strong theatre presentation of the latest Select 4 features at this year's Wakefield event, Paul appears to have taken a leaf out of Jack Lillingston's book and gone back to showing off older fuctionality.

During his presentation on Saturday, Paul showed off Select's ability to reorder window tool furniture; the Configure plugin system; the AIF executable integrity checking system; the GIF decoder for the ImageFileConvert system; Filer thumbnailing; Paint import and export of image formats supported by the ImageFileConvert system; and other features either seen in Select 3 or shown off ages ago in previous Select 4 presentations and leaflet hand outs at shows. The functionality he displayed is undoubtedly useful and welcome, but it did little to support ROL's position that work was being done - especially as punters were warned by Paul that if they didn't resubscribe to Select, ROL will scale back development. Earlier in the week, ROL published its internal changelogs, and instead of explaining what the top headline updates meant in a clear and straight forward manner, Paul instead chose to focus on the IFR system - a Select 3 development - raising concerns that Paul may not understand the features in his own product.

Paul also talked about the hardware abstraction in RISC OS 4/6, and added that it includes a video driver module for Viewfinder users with acceleration for some operations. A similar module exists for the SM501 graphics chip in the A9home. He also mentioned that not every feature planned for Select 4 will be in the first version as they'll roll out new features gradually over future releases. There was no word on the Filer toolbar system, and the plan to use drawfiles instead of spritefiles was played down too.

The company is too busy pushing for a Select 4 release to consider what to do with the RISC OS Open project, so no cooperation is immediately on the cards, according to Paul. Paul said it was ROL's intention to release RISC OS for all suitable hardware, but they don't have the time and resources to work on an Iyonix port while they strive to finish Select 4. Another sticking point is that ROL don't know how the Iyonix hardware is powered up and initialised before RISC OS begins, according to Paul, and without that information, developing a full port will be difficult.

In a recent interview, Castle's Jack Lillingston said: "I certainly hope [that there is an Iyonix port of Select], but you'd need to speak to RISCOS Ltd about that. They're the ones who produce Select." ROL's line can be summed up as: 'We'd certainly hope to do an Iyonix port, but you'd need to speak to Castle. They're the ones who have to pay for it, like AdvantageSix paid for the A9home port.'

There will also be no 32bit build of RISC OS 6 for RiscPC-class machines as this would force users to either run a 26bit mode emulator or pay for 32bit upgrades for their software. ROS 6 will be released as a softload as seen in previous versions of Select. No ROM build is planned right now, although a FlashROM image will be available to A9home users. Punters will be unable to buy RISC OS 6 on its own as they will have to subscribe to Select to get it. Paul added that VirtualAcorn would be welcome to produce a release of their emulator that includes ROS 6.

Unveiling RISC OS 6 appears to have backfired for RISCOS Ltd in a spectacular manner, with the announcement rushed out barely days before the show. ROL's management could have avoided this entire situation by being more open and keeping their paying customers up-to-date each fortnight or month with the progress of development.

Now that Richard Hallas has left Foundation, Paul is said to be taking over the CD magazine as editor. No one envies Paul's job, but having being at the helm of ROL since 1999, perhaps it is time for Paul to gracefully stand down and hand over the reins to fresher blood.

VirtualRiscPC has been bug fixed and a free update uploaded to the VirtualAcorn website. Support for setting up printer definitions is now more user friendly, and a new version of HostFS is included, which addresses a fault that occurs when software is run on a multi-core processor PC. The HostFS extensions file was also tweaked to allow RISC OS to open .PDF and .zip files. New copies of VRPC posted to punters since the start of September have included this update. Development of VRPC for Apple Macs has also moved on with a number of bugs fixed, but the port is still not ready for release. We understand a PowerPC version will be made available first, and a MacIntelitosh release second.

LouieRISC OS Now
The first issue of bi-monthly magazine RISC OS Now was on sale at the show, complete with printer errors and screw ups: 22-year-old maths teacher and editor Louie Smith, pictured left, was understandably livid. The front cover is supposed to be in full colour, and not black and white as printed, for instance. First, the down sides: There are grammatical errors and 'Camel Capitals' in prominent places; letters go missing thanks to a mix up with colours; text is poorly justified in places or simply runs right off the page as if scared away by some hidden monster; random punctuation appears while some paragraphs are completely devoid of any; the huge body text font size is several points too large; the page design over-uses rectangular frames with curved corners; and one or two articles are written like an email sent to a pal rather than a finely crafted piece you'd pay to read in a printed magazine.

But, the up sides: The magazine is printed on thick glossy paper with very bold colours and is nicely held together with staples; the ArtWorks tutorial for beginners is quite fun and easy to read; the tutorial articles have a rating system to indicate how taxing each piece is; the BASIC programming feature is very gentle and has lots of examples for budding programmers to play with; Gavin Wraith and Paul Vigay make healthy stabs at explaining how computers and hexadecimal numbers work; the magazine has two enthusiastic youngsters who are new to writing about RISC OS; and Louie interviews Castle's Jack Lillingston.

In the fawning interview piece, Louie noted: "Jack is a surprisingly easy person to talk to - I had expected him to be a hard-nosed businessman, but he is friendly and welcoming... The reality of the busy office breaks the conversation as Jack takes a call from a customer. The conversation has been good and fluent. The atmosphere surrounding him is one of knowledge and confidence, I find this attitude is rubbing off on me, something makes me feel, personally as the editor of a new magazine targeting a potentially small market, very confident too."

That aside, she did press him on the RoHS issue, that there are now fewer updates to the developers' section of the Iyonix website (Jack: "It just means there are less things to sort out."), the stand off between CTL and ROL (Jack: "We have tried on a number of occasions to work with each other, sometimes successfully but more recently less successfully. However my door is always open."), and the RISC OS Open project. Problems with the page design, sub-editing and printers aside, punters seemed to welcome the new magazine's debut issue. With a keen sub-editor who has a sharp-eye for design, RISC OS Now could quite easily become a jewel in the platform's crown.

Louie's boyfriend and crop circle chaser, Paul Vigay, is also building a new website for the magazine; he was, presumably, behind sneaking the anti-ID card adverts into the back of the magazine. Louie told punters she is aiming to get her magazine stocked in newsagents, and left a suggestions form for people to fill out.

And on the other side of the exhibition hall, Qercus editor John Cartmell was happily handing over the 'relaunch' issue of his magazine - a good year after the previous edition landed on people's doormats. The front cover is an unedited photo of a river with a tree reflecting in the surface ripples. The page design is now very neat and respectable with a good sized font. The news section runs to a page and half, leaving plenty of space for what a monthly magazine should be good at - its features, and a few of which were on drobe.co.uk earlier.

However besides that, there's an interesting poster art tutorial using just !Draw, part six of an AppBasic guide, RiscCAD author David Buck demonstrating his software, a report of Wakefield 2006, an EasiWriter tutorial, an eBay guide by eBay Advisor's Dave Bradforth, the final part to a BASIC programming series, and a regular column written by a RISC OS-powered local government councillor. Dave also helped get Qercus back onto the straight and narrow. It took him two weeks with Adobe Distiller on an Apple Mac to get it right for the printers. It turned out that the wide range of unique fonts used in a typeface feature article series were causing the delays with the postscript generation.

A little paragraph buried on page six of Qercus issue 277 reads: "Future issues of Qercus are likely to be at two monthly intervals (maybe slightly less)", with the next issue due out at the end of November - the former piece of news is perhaps a bit of a shock for the publication's subscribers, who signed up for a monthly magazine. The front cover of the next issue is a vector art picture of an Egyptian pharoah's wife, and the issue includes a guide to writing interactive fiction, programming in Lua, using CAD, and a StarInfo tutorial on writing a desktop silly that pretends to turn windows transparent.

In brief
R-Comp's staff and helpers made it to the show while Allan Rawnsley recovers from his heart attack, and launched UniScan - this allows users with Microsoft Windows to use scanners plugged into their PCs from their networked RISC OS computers. The software is available standalone or as a UniPrint upgrade. Allan was moved by the kind words and well wishes sent his way by drobe.co.uk readers... CJE Micros are putting together the finishing touches to their A9home software bundle. It should include versions of Writer, Messenger and other applications but CJE had problems sourcing a 32bit compatible PPP driver for A9home users who still use dial up Internet. CJE's Chris Evans said he has finally got through to someone who can help, and expects to be able to complete the package soon...

AppBasic author Joe Taylor revealed that his programming aid is slowly turning into a fully fledged IDE, allowing people to design an application graphically and have AppBasic generate all the skeleton source code needed to get the project running. The developer only has to then fill in the various empty functions linked with the user interface to respond to user requests...

A new version of Martin Hansen's ArtGraph was released earlier in the week, and includes many more example images created by mathematical equations now arranged in a slideshow format... A new ArtWorks release is planned for the next Wakefield 2007 show which might include multi-page support. Developer Martin Wuerther said he was still interested in working on postscript generation and printer drivers for RISC OS. He also mentioned that he wouldn't be against introducing support for Select's ImageFileConvert system to ArtWorks...

Graham Shaw is also toying with extending Simtec's threading library and developing an open source alternative to the RISC OS Window Manager module... The NetSurf developers are working their way closer to a stable version 1.0 release... The Electronic Font Foundation had several new font families for sale, including a gospel font and some Cyrillic typefaces...

WORLD EXCLUSIVES: Cybervillage's Dave Bradforth has stopped dying his hair red +++ Ad6's Stuart Tyrrell has an old school style briefcase +++ Martin Wuerther was nearly unrecognisable when not wearing his suit and bowtie (that's him in a green t-shirt) +++ NetSurf developer John-Mark Bell 'no regrets' over user-agent HSBC scandal...

Many other companies and organisations were exhibiting - see the show website for the list.

Click here for the next page with photos

Previous: RISC OS South East show this Saturday
Next: NetSurf users hit by HSBC account freeze


Viewing threaded comments | View comments unthreaded, listed by date | Skip to the end

I found Graham Shaw (RiscPkg), the Netsurf chaps and Martin Hansen (ArtGraph) to be fascinating, interesting and enthusiastic people to talk to. These are the people (amongst others, I'm sure) who are those who give real hope of their being an interesting and well-supported future for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userjms on 21/10/06 8:22PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I thought the show was fairly upbeat as well. I was surprised at the numbers of people there. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 21/10/06 9:55PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

It was a good show, nice also to put some names to faces even.

I've booked in for plastic surgery so you'll all be hard pressed to recognise me when I turn up next year, unless of course the surgery goes horribly wrong in which case I'll be easy to spot.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/06 10:50PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

A clarification before anyone becomes over-exited: I have written, and will shortly be releasing for public review, a proposal for some extensions to the Simtec threads module. I've also done enough proof-of-concept work to be convinced that I can implement them without too much difficulty, but they (along with the Free Shared C Library - which is almost ready for a preliminary release) are just two parts of a larger plan that will take quite some time to implement.

 is a RISC OS Usergdshaw on 21/10/06 11:08PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

EFF had some new fonts and continue to produce stylish and attractive faces. They actually do lots of font work for commercial clients who don't know how they manage to achieve so much (but then their customers are on Windows ;-)

Netsurf stand deserves a mention for spending all day plugging a free product, being very courteous and collecting a long list of sites to look at.

JL sat in on the Select talk to find out what was going on - I didn't see PM at the Castle talk....

RComp made it to the show despite recent personal problems and had their full stand.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 22/10/06 9:53AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

This is probably a sexist comment, and I'm sorry if it offends anyone, but the fonts were by no means the only stylish and attractive faces on the EFF stand. I was quite distracted...

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 22/10/06 11:57AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

The very amusing animals font was designed by Monica herself, so I'm afraid I succumbed to temptation. It was a similar story with Louie over at the RISC OS Now stand, so I suspect any entrepreneurs may be able to work out how to successfully part me from my money from now on.

AMS: you may have to do a bit of work on that accent if you want to go unrecognised :)

Great to meet everyone that stopped by The ARM Club stand for advice or a chat.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 22/10/06 1:29PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I didn't speak to everyone I wanted to in the 2-ish hours I had free, but I thought it was an excellent show, and I left considerably more up-beat about things than when I arrived. Thanks to all who organised, and I hope the attendance and the sales for exhibitors made the effort worthwhile.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 22/10/06 1:46PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


I think having a rather good product might have helped rather a lot as well.....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 22/10/06 2:16PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


I think the best thing about the show was the infectious enthusiasm of so many helpful people - the RISCOS scene at its best....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 22/10/06 2:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Well I don't know about anyone else but I've got a sore throat so I must have talked to more people than usual.

 is a RISC OS Userinchiquin on 22/10/06 3:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I also came away thinking the mood was more upbeat, than it has been for a while.

Where did the snippet on Appbasic come from?

Many thanks to the shows hardworking organisers for another good show.

 is a RISC OS User2307 on 22/10/06 4:42PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Louie Smith is gorgeous.

That is all.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 22/10/06 4:43PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

<harry enfield>Oi! Virtual Acorn! When are you going to release VA for MacOS?</harry enfield>

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 22/10/06 5:38PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Nice to see pictures of a show with three women on the exhibitors side! Looking forward for the report.

Erm... "Qercus is out and the next issues is planned for November": which year :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 22/10/06 5:47PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

You'd think some people on the RISC OS scene had never seen a woman before...

On second thoughts, they probably haven't.

 is a RISC OS Userinchiquin on 22/10/06 7:22PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Nah, they're just not used to the idea of a RISC OS magazine editor without a scarey beard ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userniftybit on 22/10/06 9:18PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I didn't have a scary beard. Richard Hallas didn't have a scary beard. Mike Williams didn't have a scary beard.

Mind you, we were all probably scary in other ways.

 is a RISC OS Userinchiquin on 22/10/06 10:04PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to hzn: Nice to see pictures of a show with three women on the exhibitors side!

It was great to be working on the exhibitor's side with one of them!

 is a RISC OS Userpeterb on 23/10/06 1:17AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Actually, there were at least four women on the exhibitor's side!

 is a RISC OS Userpeterb on 23/10/06 1:21AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I counted more: Fortran Friends, Qercus (Fleur Designs), R-Comp, EFF, Geminus, RISC OS Now - Plus the First Aider on the St John Ambulance stand as well those helping on the catering stand. Here, Lin S had bought up the entire stock of sandwiches at her local Tescos that morning and managed to sell the last one 20 minutes before closing time. Many thanks to the supply of coffee & tea - I hope the charity (CHASE - Children's Hospice) did well from your efforts. A long day, but for the exibitors like RComp who had a further 4 hours of travelling afterwards it would be even longer. (PM admitted to having driven 1200 miles so far that week)

 is a RISC OS Usercharles on 23/10/06 7:57AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Supurb show rerport - thanks very much.

 is a RISC OS UserCharlesB on 23/10/06 8:02AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

This was my first show attendance for 6 years. I actually went in twice. I did actually walk out after 15-20 minutes, I wasn't that impressed. Or so I thought. After a few minutes outside, the scales fell from my eyes and I went back in. I finally had the courage to catch up with individuals I hadn't seen/spoken to in a long time, and I felt very welcome as a result. This enthusiasm for the platform should be bottled up and sold as a product, it might solve a few problems in the world :-)

It was great catching up with Dave Bradforth and Aaron, having a few lively discussions about the Tau Press days, and what happened later on after my departure. Never knew how one woman could be so universally hated by the whole community from her actions. I guess I had to be there at the time to see the brown stuff truly hit the fan. I viewed part of Louie's presentation about RISC OS Now magazine, I bought a copy, it's actually a great read. I wished her luck for the magazine. Thanks also to Chris@Drobe and Dave Holden for chatting with me, the latter especially for getting my revised manual for Birds of War onto his Flight Sim compilation CD. I never thanked you for the free copy :-D

I'll finish off by saying that the mass of beards on display were as such that I seriously thought I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Gandalf Appreciation Society's annual general meeting. :-p All in all, a most enjoyable time. More please!

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 23/10/06 9:44AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Sounds like it was a great show and I wish I could have been there.

Nice informative and upbeat article about it too. Just reading about all of the developments has regenerated a bit of enthusiasm, and will likely result in me spending some money on new RO products.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 23/10/06 11:33AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

flypig: Only negatives were that Select 4 has now been perpetually "2 weeks away" for more than 6 months. And that ROOL hadn't gotten much further than had been publically reported on drobe before, which was a bit disapointing.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 23/10/06 12:36PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Dave Ruck wrote>"you [AMS] may have to do a bit of work on that accent if you want to go unrecognised "

Hey give it a rest man I only said "begorrah" and "to be sure" twice when I was talking with you. I am a devil with clever accents - sure some people even think I come from Dublin's North side ;-).

Clever bit of work also there Chris on the photo, it doesn't look like me at all - as you well know I get continually mistaken for Brad Pitt (whoever he is...).

2307 wrote>"Where did the snippet on Appbasic come from? "

From Joe Taylor himself, he said much the same to me as he did to Chris. Joe is using the Resource file to determine what objects are present in the UI and create a framework of files each representing the actions that happen to that object. The coder then fills in the "blanks" as it were and AppBasic reassembles the whole schebang into a !RunImage you can use.

Being able to quickly get the "skeleton" of a Wimp RISC OS app up and running quickly with minimal effort means programmers can "forget" about the common UI bits and concentrate on the thing they're trying to acchieve. On other platforms (e.g., PC, Linux) languages such as Delphi, Kylix and C# allow you to in a few clicks have the basis User Interface up and running then YOU add the bits that define the functionality of the application.

When I was talking to Joe he said the code doesn't necessarily have to be BASIC it could be C that is output as well - if that comes to pass that will make this development even more interesting and useful.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/10/06 4:34PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

It was a great show which demonstrated to me that RISCOS is alive and well. When we are tempted to think that development is a bit slow sometimes we should remember that much of it is done for very little cost and perhaps less glory than it deserves.

Anyway thanks to everyone who contributed.


 is a RISC OS Userjohnfo on 23/10/06 5:33PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

As for "... punters were warned by Paul [Middleton] that if they didn't resubscribe to Select, ROL will scale back development." Would that be a change?

As for "RISC OS Now" and the down and up sides: - For a first issue to be not quite perfect: that is ok (anybody might just try to write a magazine of about that size and then re-think the criticism!) - Please take into account that RISC OS Now is published by a woman so I expect it to look different from the usual man-made ones. - And you forgot to mention a very important up side explicitely: It got printed and was made available in time (something the odd company fails to manage)!

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 23/10/06 5:51PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

"- Please take into account that RISC OS Now is published by a woman so I expect it to look different from the usual man-made ones."

This amuses me immensely. Does it have pictures of flowers down the sides? Scented paper? A few cooking recipes perhaps?

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 23/10/06 6:05PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


Louie said there were faults in the first edition (she wants to get it into WHSmiths but will not be sending them this edition to evaluate as there are too many errors).

But as a first go it was impressive!

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 23/10/06 6:05PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Yup it was a good show.


Because it was upbeat and fun! :-D

Oh and AMS doesn't get the farthest travelled award I saw a guy in a RISC OS.be top... ;-)

Just finished RISC OS Now & yes it has potential

Now waiting for the new version of Germinus that works with the new graphics cards...

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 23/10/06 11:01PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

So, it was a good show ... sorry to rain on the parade

Yes heartening that those who went found the atmosphere friendly and helpful - that is one of the great pluses of the platform - when it's not sniping and and descending into abuse or worse on the newsgroups .

I didn't go (for the first time in 14 or 15 years!), mainly because of a heavy cold. But if I had decided to make the drive from north London to Guildford, what actually would it have been for? The presentations revealed nothing new in terms of announcements or even any new information on how the ROL/ROOL developments are actually going to work. In terms of new product, the only significant things were Uniscan (to help you to make even more use of the PC) and Risc Os Now ... a brave effort which everybody wishes well. But how does that help the most pressing problem of the platform - certainly of the much-maligned "ordinary user".

I'm sure improvements through ROL/ROOL of the operating system are much needed. But people don't buy computers for the operating system (at least if it doesn't include web browser, media player etc). They buy it to do things - with applications programs. And all the OS, compiler, porting projects and other programming tools don't in the end seem to be delivering more of what sells computers - those applications. And of course the most important of all - a competent browser.

It seems to me that the best thing that could have happened at Guildford is that everyone who still earns a living - or part of a living - from Risc Os had taken a couple of hours off to talk to each other about a browser strategy. And then agreed to stop their own development work for two months to all work together to deliver it, whether it's an acceptable Firefox 6, Netsurf with Javascript, or Oregano 3. (I, as would other users, would be willing to pre-buy, donate, whatever).

The user base is still shrinking - mainly because people can't do what is now the most basic function on a computer. Plenty of "ordinary users" have said this before - usually to be abused for their "ignorance" about what they want to use a computer for.

A case in point. I use an Iyonix almost exclusively at home (while working on a Mac at work and maintaining several PCs for the household). More than half of what I do at home is on the web. My kids occasionally use the Iyonix to pick up hotmail or browse - until if freezes, crashes (not generally that long), at which point they shrug and wonder why I use a Mickey Mouse machine. If I can't get it on FF5 (however inelegantly) - I go to Iyonix Linux. But even that is no longer being developed (it would be lovely to have Debian Sarge).

If there were a fully working browser, I would be able to justify buying a new RO machine for the household - and I might even buy an A9 for portability. As is is, instead of buying two more machines - and all the related software for them - I am currently wondering if it is worth bothering to continue with the Iyonix. A possible net loss of one, instead of a net gain of two. I can't be the only user making these calculations. (And forget about new users).

Much has been made of the RO4 (sorry 6) / RO5 split. I suspect, as several programmers have said, this makes little difference in practice. On the other hand the split of resources in browser development really is crippling the market (in my opinion).

Sorry, but here is one user who up to now has continued to spend money on the platform who is very close to the tipping point ...

(PS many thanks to all those who do still work hard to keep the platform going ... it's much appreciated, even if, at present, it seems like a losing battle ...)

 is a RISC OS Usernw on 24/10/06 00:55AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to loris: "This amuses me immensely. Does it have pictures of flowers down the sides? Scented paper? A few cooking recipes perhaps?"

I did think a bit if I should reply to that statement... well since you didn't even add a smily I am not sure if you seriously mean that...

Personally I wanted to hint that due to the editor being a woman the magazine can be a bit different from one edited by a man but that doesn't mean (and I never intended it to) that thus it will be so off-topic as you suggested. And to make it clear: What I wrote was not critisism or anything negative! Overall I applaud Louie for having started out and made it!

But on the other hand, perhaps in the odd computer magazine the odd simple cooking recipes might be a good idea to get them internet and game junkies etc. off the microwave pizza :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 24/10/06 06:28AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


There is only half a pint in the glass - whether you see it as half full or half empty is a matter of perspective. People still use RISCOS because it was an elegant tool to workwith for many things.

As regards the speed of development, Microsoft Vista is years late (and has had to be heavily cut down) so money is not necessarily the only problem in IT. Is the water really any better in Windows, Linux or Mac land?

The Browser is a big issue as is the lack of multi-media support. Richard Brown was there and talking about how O3 was progressing and the Netsurf developers were there taking details on any sites which don't work and talking about possible plans once Netsurf 1.0 is released.

There was new blood at the Show with the RISCOS now magazine aiming to target new markets, and Louie saying how nice personally to rediscover RISCOS after several years.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 24/10/06 08:05AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Quite right Nigel although I do see a glimmer of hope. Whether thet glimmer will brighten or not depends on where all the programming resources go in the next few months. Pessimistically the time will be taken getting all the disconnects between RO5 and RO6 fixed so we end up with two OS's that are closer but still damagingly different. Optimistically all effort will be spent on getting basic standard ordinary 21st applications on RISCOS running under one of the OS forks (and I don't mind which!). The optimistic approach requires work on RO5 to get it to work on an A9 or work on RO6 to get it to work on an Iyonix. Either way you have one OS working on all the latest hardware.

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 24/10/06 09:13AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

NW: well said; I am in a similar position to you and agree absolutely with your comments. The browser issue, given the will, could actually be solved relatively quickly I suspect but it requires either time (Firefox) or money (O3), and most of all, someone to take responsibility.. As to time, the kind of boring development seems no longer interesting to the programmers who are still active on the platform, and as to money, that remains in very short supply. As to responsibility, it completely escapes me how the highly intelligent and dedicated individuals working for Castle, ROOL, ROL and the various developers continue to overlook this absolutely crucial area for desktop users. If Iyonix Ltd and Ad6 did not sell desktop machines I could understand this, but they do. Yet a desktop machine with the quality of current browsers is getting seriously difficult for a home user to justify purchasing.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 24/10/06 11:20AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

"Yet a desktop machine with the quality of current browsers is getting seriously difficult for a home user to justify purchasing." Yes I agree and we have a bit more catching up to do now as both Firefox and Internet Explorer have had new versions in the last week.

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 24/10/06 12:21AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to NW:

Have you contacted Castle about getting the hardware modification done? My Iyonix used to freeze all the time till I had it fixed - it's much better now.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 24/10/06 12:35AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

nw: "... whether it's an acceptable Firefox 6, Netsurf with Javascript, or Oregano 3. (I, as would other users, would be willing to pre-buy, donate, whatever)."

If experience has taught you anything in the RISC OS world, pre-buying, subscribing amd donating is generally a bad idea. If you treat companies like charities, they'll treat you like donors and donors don't have to receive products.

However, next time someone releases a freeware or Open Source app that you really like, give them money.

Most current RISC OS development is coming from people who give their time and effort for no reward, reward them for their efforts, don't reward anyone in advance of a product you may never receive.

Peter (Oregano 3 developer)

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 1:02PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


But sometimes you need money upfront to break the vicious circle of no development can be done as there is no money to pay for it....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 24/10/06 1:17PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

markee174: For that you need to convince people to invest (so they've got a chance of getting something back), and to have a proven track record of delivering. People don't invest in charities, they do in businesses.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 24/10/06 1:31PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to NW and bucksboy: -

Totally agree with you. RO these days is pretty hopeless at browing the internet save for basic html sites. Netsurf is a good effort, but what about the rich content sites that use Flash? In my in my opinion, I'd rarther Castle and ROL address these issue instead of adding little fancy bits to the OS or creating yet another OS fork.

In reply to fibble:


Yes most if not all development on RO is done in their part time these days. However it a few got together and created a product that most users wanted, they'd be able to charge for it and subsequently make some money for the time and effort they put it in.

It seems to be that the few developments that take place are not addressing in anyway shape or form the issues that many people have raised time and time again in the last few years. Issues that have been raised on here and in the newsgroups. Now, I and others are aware that some things require licenses, but there are starting points that could be made. For example bringing together the work that as been done on KinoAmp and the various MP3 players and the shoutcast radio client in to one multimedia application. Something that would at least start to give use the equivelant of the likes of Media Player, Real Player and AMP.

There are things that developers can do and make money from, as long as the end product is an easy to use polished off program.


 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 24/10/06 1:37PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

sa110: When people write software as a hobby, in their own free time, they are addressing there own interests and requirements. When those interests overlap with your needs, everyone is happy, when they don't you moan.

People don't just code for financial gain, a few hundred or even thousand quid return for a RISC OS app that they don't want to write isn't really worth it, when they could get no return and write something they want too.

Although I'm not a huge ESR fan, this doc might help you understand coders motivations a little more. [link]

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 1:49PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Flibble: No fair-minded user should object to coders working on what interests them in their spare time: I certainly wouldn't. And, as you say, quite often the result is useful. However, the RISC OS market does contain commercial companies that are selling hardware and software for profit; my point was, and is, that if these companies wish to be able to carry on selling computers to people like me, or software to run on those computers, the browser issue should be right at the top of their agendas. Seemingly, it's not.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 24/10/06 2:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 24/10/06 2:10PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

bucksboy: This is going to sound annoying I know :) But perhaps you're no longer the person that those companies are aiming to sell things too? If it costs more to supply your needs (and people similar to you) than they'd gain in income, why would they do it?

Of course they'll happily tell you "You're very important to us, please subscribe to XYZ to support future development", it's called marketing.

I don't know what the answer is to a browser for RISC OS. Maybe you should look at alternate OSes. At least they browser would be cheaper and available right now.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 2:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

bucksboy: "However, the RISC OS market does contain commercial companies that are selling hardware and software for profit; my point was, and is, that if these companies wish to be able to carry on selling computers to people like me, or software to run on those computers, the browser issue should be right at the top of their agendas. Seemingly, it's not."

It's not, arguably because the RISC OS desktop market isn't their primary concern: it's just a testing ground for technology that goes into their other projects. And unless those other projects demand modern Web browsers and all the rest, they aren't going to see the need for such things. Why is RISC OS being released as shared source? To benefit the community? Nope: it's either to bulk up the development effort on something they don't want to spend too much time on themselves, or it's to keep the remaining punters interested in running their reference designs. If it were to benefit the community, it'd be genuinely open source software so that people can have a shot at porting the code to the latest XScale wonderboard, rather than waiting for some paying project to nudge Castle or RISC OS Ltd into looking into the matter.

I would have thought that the economics of the RISC OS scene would have been laid bare for everyone's inspection over the last few years, but it would seem that a number of people still have the early 1990s corporate fan club mindset. These days, and especially in a scene like this one, if you want great things to happen it might be best to do them yourself.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/10/06 2:32PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I can truly understand people's frustration with the current browser situation. But I do agree with flibble on this. Unless someone is paid to specifically finish off one of the existing browser efforts, it's unlikely to happen with coders working in their free time and for their own reasons.

When Castle released the Iyonix they were well aware of the need for a decent browser, which I assume is why they commissioned Oregano. I'm sure that ultimately either they decided that the return wasn't worth it (they seemed to get a lot of flack for it), or that they were better off focusing on the hardware side of things.

I'm sure this is true of Ad6 too. If they want to sell a desktop machine, then it makes sense that they should want a good web experience for it. But writing browsers isn't what these companies do. They make hardware. If the RISC OS desktop market is sustainable, then presumably there is scope for another company to step in and *sell* a browser to the many people who clearly want it.

Isn't this what Oregano are doing? Too slowly for some unfortunately, but maybe it will bear fruit soon?

This is to some extent what Peter Naulls was/is doing, but with a different funding model. Unfortunately (for us) his situation has changed, and development is now happening too slowly for some. Maybe this will result in a fully working Firefox in the near future if more work is done on it? I get the impression that for this to progress more quickly, Peter needs someone to do administration work. This is something that anyone with time could do, and so if people who aren't programmers want to 'put something back' maybe they could think about helping with that?

Netsurf in my opinion is an amazing piece of work and I use it constantly. But it clearly isn't going to provide everything that people want yet.

I'm sure that all of these projects are working as fast as is practically possible given the resources available to them. Personally I find it amazing and gratifying that RISC OS has such a breadth of possibilities in such a small market.

As far as I can tell, if people think that there is any chance of doing better, then it means that there is a viable way to develop a browser for RISC OS. The solution is to get together, with money and time, set up a company and then employ a programmer to finish off the work. This is something that I imagine anyone with the time and money could do. It doesn't require programming experience or anything like that. If producing a RISC OS browser is viable, then such a scheme will generate money for whoever does it.

Having said that, if you want a browser with Flash, I'm sure the best idea is to support Oregano by telling them you'll buy their product.

If you want a browser that will be more likely guaranteed updates in the future, but without Flash, think of a way to support the Firefox project.

If you want RealPlayer support or something else, you're going to have to employ a programmer to do the work. I personally doubt if it will happen otherwise.

This *really* isn't intended as a rant, and I'm really sorry if it comes across that way. It just strikes me that the hardware producers simply don't think it's their job to write a browser, even if it would indirectly benefit them. There are already projects doing what people want, but they're just taking too long. The only solution is to support these projects. More than anything else, this probably requires time from people, as much as money.

It would be sad if people left the platform for the lack of browser etc. But I do get the impresion that there really are people out there trying to address these issues. It's just a lengthy (and maybe frustrating) process.

I'm not claiming that I do anything particular to support these projects by the way, and I'm sorry if I've made presumptions about what these projects need.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 24/10/06 3:31PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

We also have RISCOS Ltd who will/do want lots of our money soon, I think they should be helping in some way to get us a decent browser as well.

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 24/10/06 4:26PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Peter Darnell: let them build a track record of results before you assign them any more responsibilty, or for that matter throw money at them.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 4:46PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Flypig: I can see why the desktop hardware companies think it's none of their business to promote browser development - I just don't agree that their logic is sound. Turning to practical matters, if I weren't about to return temporarily to full-time employment for the next 6 months*, I'd be interested in helping with company formation/admin/whatever. As it is, if anyone else is thinking of stepping into the breach, I'm prepared to offer what support (including financial) I can: just email me.

(*why am I worrying? Probably in 6 months nothing will have happened anyway :-)

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 24/10/06 4:47PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Firefox 2.0 - not very much work, but probably doesn't give a great deal to RO over 1.5. Just more UI stuff that doesn't really fit. Flash - the free GNU player is very much portable to RISC OS given some effort - and an OpenGL port, which might make it Iyonix only.

Nothing I haven't really said before of course, But I'm sure we'll continue to hear all manner of wacky schemes.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 24/10/06 4:48PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Aww fuck it, if anyone wants a copy of Oregano 3, I'll get you one. 500 ukp in non-sequential 10 pound notes. No promises, and the NDA involves me killing you.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 4:58PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

You know what particularly disturbed me - at Wakefield this year, PM apparently told eager visitors that a browser is too expensive, so he advised it would be cheaper to get 2nd hand PC's with Internet Explorer. That really annoyed me, for several reasons. RISC OS absolutely needs a decent browser of its own and it's probably one of the most required developments by RO users today.

Yes, it should be their job to develop a browser or they won't have a job for much longer. The most obvious thing to do, would be to assign one (or more...) ROL coder to the NetSurf project. That would benefit us all, show that they are genuinely concerned about the issue and help restore lost credibility.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 24/10/06 5:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


So what would it take to see Firefox 2.0 and Flash on the Iyonix?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 24/10/06 5:11PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


Not wanting to answer the question you've put to Peter, but perhaps you should be more specific and put a time frame on it? Unless you're asking 'what ports are required that I can start working on?'

Otherwise there are surely lots of different answers to this apparently simple question.


LOL. I'm almost tempted... ;)

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 24/10/06 5:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


No, I think its up to Peter. I'm trying to turn 'what might be possible' into ' what is the path to get there'. Peter has the best idea of how long it would realistically take. The biggest mistake in the IT world is to give unrealistic timetables.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 24/10/06 5:27PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to hEgelia:

If I remember correctly I think the comment made was more along the lines of it would cost ROL too much to develop a browser that would meet everyones requirements, and that it would be cheaper *for ROL* to buy a cheap pc for everyone who wanted it. Not quite the same as advising everyone to buy a cheap pc for browsing.

If ROL had infinite money I'm sure they would develop a RO browser.

Like I said though this is from memory and might be wide of the mark.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 24/10/06 5:35PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


What might be more useful than that is some kind of progress report on it, and perhaps requesting URLs to test and report on that people are particularly interested in knowing if it works with them. Subject to being able to, of course.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 24/10/06 5:52PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

VinceH: perhaps, but then again maybe not, I'm not even meant to talk about it, yadda yadda, direct all enquires to Richard Brown, etc.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 24/10/06 5:58PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I'm surprised none of the RISC OS suppliers has produced a combined NAS and application server using linux tailored to fill the gaps in RISC OS software.

It could be made available via VNC with different apps running on different displays, each with their own default save location within the shared drive.

Something like the NSLU2 from linksys might be suitable, or a version for PCs that installs like smoothwall perhaps.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 24/10/06 7:13PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I guess I could test a few URLs in O3 for people, as long as I don't get inundated! :-)

 is a RISC OS Userpv on 24/10/06 11:50PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

A very interesting discussion on the browser issue - lots of interest and strong feelings, and ideas.

Is there any way that this can be formulated into some plan of action - before the discussion, as normally happens, just tails off into the void (until the next outburst of frustration)?

Answers on an ecard to Drobe ...

 is a RISC OS Usernw on 25/10/06 01:27AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I'm not very concerned about the timetables. That's up to how many people want to get involved. But here's an idea, how about someone _else_ put together such a plan. I might be the "best" person to put it together, but that doesn't mean it's appropriate, and I have plenty of other things to do. Remember, we aren't talking a plan to bring a newer browser to RISC OS, we aren't talking about media plugins, we're talking about everything - or enough of everything to make a big difference, and lay out things that are possible (as many now are), and be realistic and be split in to different tasks that people can take on.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 04:57AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

hEgelia: Col1: I see that again people are demanding things of RISCOS Ltd that are not their province. Indeed, when the company was forst incorporated there was a pledge that they would *not* develop or sell software other than the OS and it's associated apps because they didn't want to be inconflict with mainstream software companies. The Ant suite was a slight departure from this but it's hardly 'state of the art' and so doesn't relly count.

There are four 'current' browsers for RISC OS, two free and two commercial, and some people seem to think that ROL should be going into competition with these people to produce yet another browser. I find it entertaining that this is at the same time as people are moaing about the duplication of effort over the OS fork.

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 25/10/06 2:29PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

David which is the last one? I count Netsurf, 03 (our best chance in my opinion) and FF. Which is the last one? Is Webster XL still in development?

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 25/10/06 2:40PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

high: does not compute. RISC OS has suffered again and again from commercial browser development which has then ceased. It's not a viable prospect for RISC OS, and never has been:


Of course, had there been just the smallest amount of cooperation in the RISC OS world, we'd _have_ a feature complete Firefox 2.0 port right about now, and would have been using a complete Firefox 1.5 for some considerable time. But that's unlikely now as then.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 4:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to David:

Just to clarify- I'm not demanding ROL produce a web browser.

My comment purely related to a comment by hEgelia. i.e. he said ROL advise people to buy a pc for their web browsing - I also heard the comment made by PM during his speach at Wakefield but thought the context was different, i.e. that it would be cheaper for ROL to buy everyone a pc for web browsing than it would be for ROL to produce their own RISC OS native browser.

I also thought I was clear in that my comment was a personal recollection of PM's comment at Wakefield - I may have got the context wrong.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 25/10/06 4:22PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


So what is needed to get FF2 out?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 25/10/06 4:42PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Col1: and by the same token, it would be orders of magnitude cheaper for ROL to support existing browser development and therefore ensure a continued market for themselves. But ROL have never shown such foresight.

mark: just what I said. Someone _else_ to figure that out, and some kind of cooperation from people, and to realise we aren't _just talking about browser development_. As for myself, I want to recover some of the very large amount of money it cost me to get as far as I did, and lay the ground work for that cooperation to occur.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 5:02PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

highlandcattle: Oregano, Firefox, Netsurf and WebsterXL. Since the ROOL list Browse amongst the things they're saying the source code is now available for and claim it's already been updated I suppose you should include that to make 5.

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 25/10/06 5:05PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

mrchocky: "it would be orders of magnitude cheaper for ROL to support existing browser development", but lets see how viable it is, let's say ROL put up the money (or provided a programmer) for someone to work on a browser for 6 months, let's say a very very cheap 25000/year programmer.

25000 / 2 = 12500 ukp

12500 = 83.bit select subscriptions @ 150ukp a time.

So it's viable if at the end of the it 83 *more* people buy Select.

Assumptions made. "All problems can be fixed in 6 months by one person" "A programmer of the correct skillset can be found, and willing to take on a 6 month contract at a below industry rate" "People would pay for Select just to offer ROL a return on their investment even though the browser wouldn't necesarily require it"

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 25/10/06 5:54PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Peter, What can a guy as me do! I would love to help out! I know you've asked for help a number of times in the past. I have no real computer skills,but I'm eager to learn. And because I'm currently working part-time (until 31 jan). But I don't no how I could help.

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 25/10/06 6:02PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Peter: "Of course, had there been just the smallest amount of cooperation in the RISC OS world, we'd have a feature complete Firefox 2.0 port right about now, and would have been using a complete Firefox 1.5 for some considerable time. But that's unlikely now as then."

I think you're being a bit hard on people here. Most of us don't have the qualifications to help (This includes me; I don't know C++, or even C). Of those that could, probably some are working on other projects which might help, some don't want to make commitments they're unlikely to be able to keep (or enough to make it worthwhile), and some are just scared of you.

If you are actually looking for financial support (which the link you gave suggests but doesn't seem to be what you are saying above) then it would be helpful to indicate how much you want. Perhaps though your project is being tarred with the same brush as the various vapourware schemes. Probably unconciously, since you've clearly delivered on your proposals so far.

But it seems to me that your funding scheme was almost set up to draw minimum income, since the licencing requires you to give it away for free once it is made. So initially many people put off pledging money, waiting for something to happen. But IIRC (and I may not be), approximately at the point you released the beta, you indicated there wouldn't be further development, so these people didn't feel they'd gain anything by subscribing at that stage.

Please forgive me If I'm way off on this, I'm not out to cause offence. This is just my perception and I concede anything you can put me straight on.

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 25/10/06 6:06PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

mrchocky: With all due respect, your comment "Someone else to figure that out" isn't actually very helpful!

In reality you are probably the only person who could sort out any plan, as you know the most about what is involved. Anyone else would almost certainly have to come to you for so much help, that you would probably end up wasting more of your own time than if you'd just done it yourself in the first place.

You've done an excellent job in getting FF this far, but since it was you that did it, only you can identify what's needed to take it further; even if you then just sat back and kept a watching brief.


 is a RISC OS UserDS1 on 25/10/06 6:29PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

flib: reasonable assumptions, although perhaps not really what I meant, but underlines some of the financial problems. I'm not sure if there is a point here you're trying to make though.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 7:08PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I suppose my point is, it would be orders of magnitude cheaper for ROL to not support browser development.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 25/10/06 7:41PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


If you put up a pledge form to fund continued development, I would happily sign up and I am sure a lot of other people would.


 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 25/10/06 7:50PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Sure, In the short term, it's often cheaper to do nothing at all. But consider that much of the remaining credibility and usefulness of the platform is quickly vanishing because of lack of these applications (I once again will not limit myself to just mentioning "browsers", since the issue is much more than that), therefore there might be no market at all if they do nothing. If ROL (or other RO company of your choice) were to invest, for the sake of argument, 2500 UKP (i.e, one magnitude less than the value you name), then that could be seen as a excellent return on investment.

Loris: none of the stuff I've done requires me to give it away for free. It's dangerous to make those kind of generalisations - not only is it incorrect, but the licensing between different programs often differs in details.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 7:56PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to Peter Naulls:

If none of the stuff you've done requires that you give it away for free, would it have not made more sense do the FF2 port and then simply make a reasonable charge for it?

I for one would have no problem in paying(between £50 and £100) for a browser that is able to access most websites. Would be nice to have a browser that allows me to post to the newsgroups via google groups and access on-line banking.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 25/10/06 8:16PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]


So if the community raised 2,500 pounds what would we get for the money?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 25/10/06 8:24PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I'm sorry, Peter, but I did try to couch my statements appropriately.

I thought Firefox was GPL, so since you were distributing it you would have to make sources available under those terms. Are you meaning that you could charge for the binary, or a reasonable price for the source (whatever that may mean)? Alternatively, I see now that I have looked in to it that it has several licences. Are you now using the "Mozilla Public License", which <a href="[link]">permits, in limited ways, proprietary, derivative works</a>? Your web-page says: "Whilst there is no real problem with selling Firefox as a product, once it is available to someone, they are free to distribute it as they wish." Since you took money to develop Firefox, you'd have to give it to them, and presumably they could then distribute it for free or sell it?

In any case, this is a digression. It looks like many people want to know how they can help, or what needs to be done. Please answer them.

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 25/10/06 9:33PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I'm afraid I'm pretty tired of being the final "go to guy" for things to be done. Because that often means I'm the only one that does that stuff. There's no doubt plenty of things that I'm the "best fit for". Does that mean I have the enthusiasm, time or whatever to do them - no, it does not, nor does it mean it wouldn't be valuable for someone else to educate themselves on issues, and possibly give a valuable alternative viewpoint. I've already given many many ideas on what users, developers, etc, etc can do, including a variety of plans for funding. I don't really care to hash them out here again, and _again_ debate them ad nasuem. If it were true that I'd had much more cooperation the first time around, and if it were true I'd financially broken even, and if it were true that there weren't still people out there hell-bent on spreading misinformation, then no doubt my attitude would be different.

If someone else wants to put together a plan, then by all means to so. But you certainly shouldn't say I haven't said much on this topic before. Here's are recent posts to usenet on it, which were, of course, duly ignored:


(No, the search terms do not suggest I'm asking for 50K, those just terms I remembered using)

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/10/06 9:47PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Have to agree with Peter there. While its great to have the skills to do it, you shouldn't feel obliged because of the expectations of others and their reliance on you to deliver. True, many love to develop for the platform for its own sake, and exhibit enthusiasm, but many do it for the satisfaction that others get from their works. When people start making demands, unwarranted criticisms (all too common I notice), and wild misrepresentations, then you lose interest in helping those people. Understandable really.

But lets be realistic here, for the platform to survive, it needs a market, bigger than the one it has now. In order to promote that you need basic functionality that the majority of windows pc's have e.g; Browser (Free by the way, so why would people move to this platform and pay for a browser if they can get it on another platform free?) Media (There is nothing even close to the likes of Media Player or Winamp what can play multiple media types all from one app)

These are basic things the platform needs before you can start with the fancy stuff, and to provide that you need programmers, who are unlikley to provide their skills for free. So no financial return there.

I can relate to where Peter is coming from with this, to deliver you need incentive. Correct me if I'm wrong Peter, but with the attitude prevelent in parts of the community, you seem to have lost this..

 is a RISC OS UserJDC on 26/10/06 00:20AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

A little edge seems to be creeping into what has been a good discussion,so before it does break up in dissension ...

Two reasonable propostions have been put.

1) That Peter Naulls is the best one to take on further FF development.

2) As Peter quite reasonably counters, why should there be an expectation that he should do it, after he has already delivered so much.

So the obvious question is: is there another programmer out there with the right skill set willing to consider continuing the FF work?

 is a RISC OS Usernw on 26/10/06 01:25AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

nw: John Tytgat has done a little work. But you're asking the wrong question. The question is, can a RISC OS developer with a relatively little amount of experience get involved and make a difference to technologies which are in use across _all_ the ports. Once again I must insist that we are not talking about Firefox alone. The answer is most certainly yes. Some of the most valuable contributions were made by two people who never built Firefox or looked at the source - one did his work initially to support NetSurf. The important thing is to get developers involved, no matter at what level.

But again, this is all stuff I've said before.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/10/06 02:38AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

more coders

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 26/10/06 10:50AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

more coders, with enthusiasm

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 26/10/06 10:56AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

sorry, typo in above.

some coders, with enthusiasm

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 26/10/06 11:30AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I really enjoyed the show, spoke to Paul M, and enjoyed it, I also dragged my PC loving (although not completely windows mad) friend, and he saw the advantage of the OS being the size it was.

Was just a damned shame I got caught up in a crash on the M25 and didn't get there till 4 :@( was hoping it would last till 6.

Ok, being really stupid here, how do I get access to newsgroups these days, to post (I realize Google can read news groups)?

PS is the right click - spelling thing a part of drobe's comment box, or is it a Firefox 2 thing?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 26/10/06 12:01AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to em2ac:

Google can read and write to the newsgroups, and very handy it is too, you just need to register first. Other perks then are a customisable front page and daily horoscope, life just doesn't get any better ;-)

As to the right clicking thing, must be, IE doesn't do it.

 is a RISC OS Userniftybit on 26/10/06 2:44PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Google is bloody awful for news, it encourages top posting, can't quote to save its life, and is taken advantage of by newsgroup spammers everywhere. Don't use it, and especially dont use it on csa.*. Get yourself a proper email & news program, RISC OS has Messenger Pro and Pluto, and if you must use Windows, then get Gemini from the author of MPro.

Anyway lets get back on topic, this is supposed to be about the SE Show.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 26/10/06 4:52PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

druck: I use google groups to post to csa.*, do you have a problem with them? Alternatively give a link to a free NNTP server that lets me post as well as read.

If you must use windows, use Thunderbird, it's free and a decent threaded newsreader,

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 26/10/06 6:26PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]



You have to sign up for it first, via this page: [link],0.html?back=[link],0.html

Unfortunately, that page isn't in English, but a quick search on Google should find you a few pages where people have basically worked out what you need to put where.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 26/10/06 8:25PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

If you must use windows use Gemini. MessengerPro for windows. And Linux on my laptop. Mark Swale is constantly on the list to answer any probs. But I digress.

cheers bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 26/10/06 8:59PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I use Thunderbird, and it's ok in a pinch, but I find its wrapping rather unsatisfactory.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/10/06 9:21PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

flibble, VinceH & em2ac:

I tried a load of the free news servers from [link] but never found any that were satisfactory for posting.

Eventually I settled on teranews, which I can now heartily recommend. There's a one time setup fee of $4, but nothing more after that, and I've personally not had any problems with them: [link]

(There's also a link there to a page of Windows usenet clients, though someone needs to tell them about Gemini and Thunderbird).

Having said that, gazeta.pl certainly looks like a good tip. Wish I'd known about them ages ago!

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 27/10/06 01:47AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Please login before posting a comment. Use the form on the right to do so or create a free account.

Search the archives

Today's featured article

  • Cross platform development
    Building RISC OS Programs on Windows
     47 comments, latest by EasyKees on 07/10/04 8:05PM. Published: 24 Sep 2004

  • Random article

  • Software news
    Playback controls in KinoAmp, DigitalCD updates plus more [Updated 08:16 2/4/2003] And even more
     6 comments, latest by ribbit on 1/4/03 10:11PM. Published: 31 Mar 2003

  • Useful links

    News and media:

    Top developers:
    RISCOS LtdRISC OS OpenMW SoftwareR-CompAdvantage SixVirtualAcorn

    CJE MicrosAPDLCastlea4X-AmpleLiquid SiliconWebmonster


    RISCOS.org.ukRISCOS.orgRISCOS.infoFilebaseChris Why's Acorn/RISC OS collectionNetSurf

    Non-RISC OS:
    The RegisterThe InquirerApple InsiderBBC NewsSky NewsGoogle Newsxkcddiodesign

    © 1999-2009 The Drobe Team. Some rights reserved, click here for more information
    Powered by MiniDrobeCMS, based on J4U | Statistics
    "Leaking tit bits creates rumours, confusion and often mangles facts"
    Page generated in 0.7272 seconds.