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ROL calls for Select coders and testers

Published: 12th Nov 2006, 16:01:43 | Permalink | Printable

Come on in, join the party

We've run out of Select motifsRISCOS Ltd have called for coders and beta testers to step forward and contribute to the company's flavour of RISC OS. Users were also welcomed to pitch ideas and feature suggestions - provided they weren't web browser-related.

The company said this weekend it was "looking at ways of increasing the involvement of users in the future development of RISC OS Select". While it's not quite the same as Castle's plans with RISC OS Open, ROL have previously drawn upon a close circle of third party programmers to top up its features list, rewarding them with beta and alpha test builds of RISC OS and free Select subscriptions.

In an email to Select punters, ROL said: "Whilst the original aim of the Select scheme had been to get everyone involved in beta testing early Select releases, we had to stop that due to too many users not realising that beta testing means trying things out that may or may not work.

"If you have the time to test and report on your experiences of using Select components and/or would like to be involved in working at source code level on non-core components of RISC OS, then we would like to hear from you."

Users were quick to suggest ideas ranging from modern media players, shared libraries and translucent Drawfile objects to Unicode font support, an overhaulled DOSFS, and various user interface tweaks.

Earlier this year, ROL published on its website its RISC OS Select technical documentation and other resources for developers. RISCOS Ltd have also moved over to Google Groups for its Select end user mailing list, after ditching the sinking Smartgroups ship.


RISCOS Ltd website

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I would love to test the Iyonix version of Select.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 12/11/06 4:21PM
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Where's Select 4 Paul?

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 12/11/06 5:00PM
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I wonder what constitutes "non-core" RISC OS source?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/11/06 5:10PM
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I can't see this announcement on the ROL website but I guess the obvious question is how the IPR will work. If someone "works at source code level", who owns that work and what can they do with it?

I guess it's too much to hope that one of things that could be done is to offer it back to ROO (and, indeed, vice versa) :-(

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 12/11/06 5:57PM
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Being a cynical so-and-so, I'd say this looks like trying to get programmers without paying for them. Still, it's better than getting nothing out of ROL.

Hopefully they'll be able to get someone to redesign their website too.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 12/11/06 6:20PM
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"If someone works at source code level, who owns that work and what can they do with it?"

For new components, ROL have various template agreements that a programmer can pick to suit them. Generally speaking, they range from 'the author owns it and ROL have a license to redistribute it' to 'The author hands over all ownership to ROL'. I picked the latter for the bits and pieces I contributed to Select because if a major bug was discovered, and I was too busy to fix it, there should be no barrier to stop ROL fixing it or updating it and issuing a release to end users.

Components already owned by ROL remain ROL's. Core components are things like the Kernel which require a full-time effort and experience of working with the ROS source to safely understand how they work. Non-core will, mostly, be components like ChangeFSI, Configure plugins, etc. Developing these takes the pressure off the few people left who can navigate the core stuff.

This is speaking from my own experiences, I could be wrong.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 12/11/06 7:04PM
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Contribute to RISC OS? OK then, you opensource it, merge with Castle/RISCOSOpen and we'll fire up !Zap

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 12/11/06 7:31PM
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We really do need a GOOD modern media player.l

 is a RISC OS UserCheatWarrior on 12/11/06 9:16PM
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cheatwarrior: cos yes, in the source code of risc os, there's one just hanging around.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 12/11/06 9:24PM
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aargh I like to try it on my A9home (sadly I won't get any mail from RO ltd my subscription expired 2 about 2 years ago :) )

 is a RISC OS UserEasyKees on 13/11/06 12:20AM
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flibble: Replay? Just kidding ;-)

Is this announcement intended to (relatively) speed up the release of S4? ROL did say they were short of Beta testers.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 13/11/06 4:27AM
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Amazing how by and by ROL gets back to its roots, i.e. back to the things intended/offered when they started out :-) 1. 32bitting was one of the main initial aims but ROL simply dropped that from their agenda ... but years later that came back. 2. Beta testing was one of the initial offerings but acclaimed stupidity of the users (too many users not realising that beta testing means trying things out that may or may not work) this was simply dropped and thus implicitely assuming that the users were even too stupid to be told what beta testing means ... but now years later that comes back. As for the reasons for those steps I rather not comment :-)

I agree with simo: ROL should merge with ROOL.

As for the IPR: Simply depends on the contract you have with them.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 13/11/06 6:29AM
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In reply to hzn:

Why should ROL merge with ROOL?

ROL already have access to the RISC OS source They already have their own team of programmers They also have their own set of goals

I think if ROL require anything that is available within RO5 and are able to agree licensing terms with ROOL, then yes they should work with ROOL along those terms, but I fail to see why they should merge.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 13/11/06 8:31AM
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sa110: Agreed. Merging of the companies makes not the slightest sense. I don't even see what RO5 has to do with it as ROOL don't have RO5 (that's Castle) and I don't see what ROL would want from RO5 as any advantages RO5 might have over Select are likely to need to be implemented in a different way than in RO5. What would make sense is co-operation between those experienced programmers in ROOL with those in ROL - but that's likely to be difficult to achieve and a completely different thing from merging two (or more) companies.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 13/11/06 9:10AM
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I had already spoken to Paul M about why you can only manually boot from a network resource under adjust.... (excluding con. netboot) using the boot manager, as currently there is no way to use it to set that as the main way to boot.

how about a OS Java implementation?

From the register "Sun open sources Java"


on the same randomness: "Adobe opens Flash to Firefox"


 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 13/11/06 9:31AM
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Oh what about that little AMFiler application they at wakefield 2003?

I wouldn't mind having a Jukebox for my car with a touchscreen (Shame it doesn't? play ogg vorbis)

that should be distributed free with the OS (and yeah i know its not a source code thing)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 13/11/06 9:46AM
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sa110: "Why should ROL merge with ROOL?"

These are the sentiments that have been kicking around before.

1) It would allow all people to have access to the same version of RISC OS with the same features regardless of the hardware they own. 2) It would stop two groups of people implementing the same features, wasting time 3) It would allow programmers a common API and ABI to program against. 4) It removes the idea of 'us against them' that is so prevalent on all RISC OS forums and present at RISC OS shows.

And here's why it won't happen

1) Castle and Risc OS Ltd hate each other's guts.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 13/11/06 11:08AM
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In reply to fibble: "Castle and RISCOS Ltd hate each other's guts"

Could this possibly be another reason why CTL have gone down the ROOL root. If ROL were to deal with ROOL rather than directly CTL, it may be possible for some cooperation and commen API's to be implemneted.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 13/11/06 11:29AM
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An interesting move, this is. Can I deduct that there are not enough developers at ROL to finish Select 4 before Christmas? Or... even that they've 'lost' one or two developers or beta-testers?

So, simply paying a Select subscription is not enough anymore, now you can join them and do the work yourself. Well, at least in that way you actually get something (RISC OS 6 Preview?) ... However I'd like to suggest a developer with free time for RO work to join the NetSurf project, since that seems to be a slightly more urgent cause at the moment and one ROL is reluctant to address.

This is not the first time ROL have stated they welcome suggestions and ideas for new or enhanced features, but one must consider their severely limited resources and development schedules, so take it with a grain of salt - A media player would be out of the question I think, however a revised DOSFS could be possible and very useful with USB devices.

At least it seems Castle and ROOL have a sense of decency and clarity with the way they're intending to continue RISC OS 5, but after the 'public shares' move of ROL and now even asking programming end-users to help them out I see little future for the company, unless they're willing to open up the sources. As for beta-testing RO releases, it would demand quite some time and patience and unfortunately I have neither for ROL, though perhaps only subscribers have the priviledge of becoming one.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 13/11/06 1:36PM
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em2ac: how about not muddying the water with talk of Java, until they've shown they can deliver the work people pay them to do, and only they can do - Select 4 *features*. Anyone can work on open source code, and improving FireFox is a far higher priority.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 13/11/06 2:05PM
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In reply to diomus: Thanks Chris. So (but it's probably academic) source could be offered both into RO4/6 and RO5 from a single implementation.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 13/11/06 6:42PM
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Much as I applaud ROL's "announcement" of exploring ways to involve users and devlopers in the future of Select I can't helping thinking why this has been done now. As a select subscriber who has paid up and not recieved anything now for 2.5 years and counting the only future I want to see is the release of Select4/RISCOS 6 or Preview. Surely the future can be left to after the release of this. Just before the SEShow we had the announcment of RISCOS6 which was imminent and yet nearly a month after still no sign. My renewed confidence is being sapped as we speak and all this talk about involving users is irrelevent if they haven't got anything to play with. I sincerly hope that the next announcment is not "well we asked for helpers but didn't get enough takers " aka Select on Iyonix and the 100 users smokescreen.

Sorry ROL but as much as I want to be positive until the delivery of Select4 my renewed faith in RISCOS is back on hold.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 13/11/06 7:32PM
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In reply to markee174 : Hopefully it works on the Iyonix, but be aware : It changed quite a lot !!! Lots of mistakes appear on your monitor display, ie like ANT Internet Suite not working properly, also the mentioned SCSI-2 card from Cumana is not working properly, iam using the latest scsi software of Cumana Ltd, which can handle long file names perfectly on RISC OS 4.02, NOT on RISC OS 4.39 Select 3 issue 4. At the moment RISC OS 4 Select 3 issue 4 wont work with the Cumana SCSI-2 Podule, at least not on the internal podulebus, on my computer, but it works perfectly on the outside scsi-2 connector.

outside poduleconnector

 is a RISC OS Userdatawave on 14/11/06 8:15PM
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Datawave: Suppose there is a Select version for the Iyonix. How many Iyonix users are working with the ANT internetsuite ? Oh and are there any Iyonix users with a Cumana SCSI podule in their machine ? :) :)

 is a RISC OS UserEasyKees on 14/11/06 9:19PM
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In reply to hEgelia: Your deduction can't be correct unless a time machine is involved!

RISC OS Six was demonstrated in a very near complete state at the recent shows, to involve new programmers would slow down completion, they may possibly want beta testers for specific bits but I doubt it. n.b. How many years of Select subscription did you make?

In reply to bluenose: "Why has this been done now" previously Castle were very against open sources, remember they took ROL to task over Printers+ so now that Castle have opened the door to some Open Sourcing, ROL can do likewise!

p.s. Is the 'preview a comment' broken in all browsers I tried posting twice yesterday but selecting preview lost all my text twice:-( (I'm using Fresco)

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 15/11/06 11:57AM
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People can always change their mind over Open-sourcing (as Sun has just done).

What is still missing from either ROL or Castle is some strategic idea of how they can work together. or maybe ignoring each other is the big idea :-(

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 15/11/06 12:32PM
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CJE: Select 4 was demonstrated in a 'very near complete state' at Wakefield and ROUGOL in May 2006. It was hoped that it would be available to subscribers at the Big Ben show in June 2006.

The question is once again. Where's Select 4 Paul?

Had I believed ROL at either of those events what would 6 months of Select subscription got me?

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 15/11/06 12:36PM
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In Reply to CJE

Thanks for your insight in to why this may have been done now but I can't help thinking it has been done to deflect away from the none general release of RISCOS6/Select4. I hope I'm wrong and certainly the recent re-iteration by "Developer" on the Select list of the priority order of Select4 then Select32 for Iyonix has been helpful as far as I'm concerned. Off course the best way to reassure people is to get it delivered and it would be good to have this done so by the Midlands show.

Also the preview option on Drobe fails with Netsurf but works with O2.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 15/11/06 1:04PM
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CJE: "Your deduction can't be correct unless a time machine is involved! RISC OS Six was demonstrated in a very near complete state at the recent shows, to involve new programmers would slow down completion, they may possibly want beta testers for specific bits but I doubt it."

Thank you for pointing that out. You see, I'm not able to actually see or test ROL's recent achievements as I live on the mainland. The only chance was the recent Dutch roadshow, but I'm glad I missed it since I'm far too young to have wasted my time there. So anyway, I have to rely on the internet for information about them, which many OS developers seem to provide satisfactorily, but in ROL's case it often seems to leave (too) much room for speculation about the state and release times of ROL products. Ergo, please forgive any misconceptions on my part.

"n.b. How many years of Select subscription did you make?"

What a curious question. I have been an exclusive supporter of RISC OS since it was born. I have never ever had another system in my possession. I have upgraded to RISC OS 4 on both my machines. I have regularly bought software for heavy, daily use on my machines. However, ROL's conduct has become a disgrace and I have not been tempted to subscribe to them since. I see what you're getting at, and for all I care you go to Disneyworld with Paul Middleton, but until they change their ways I will not support ROL. Since I rely on an older application to do real work and it doesn't work properly with Select, I see no reason to resubscribe. If you wish to question my 'loyalty' to ROL, please send me an e-mail but make sure it doesn't look like spam.

"previously Castle were very against open sources, remember they took ROL to task over Printers+ so now that Castle have opened the door to some Open Sourcing, ROL can do likewise!"

I am not so sure if Castle has ever been "against open sources", but if I recall correctly they protested against ROL violating certain terms of the license. I don't think this necessarily implies Castle is against open source software perse, just that Castle doesn't like somebody breaking the terms of a contract with them.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 15/11/06 2:23PM
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I'd add to hEgelia's final paragraph above and reply to CJE that it doesn't follow that "now that Castle have opened the door to some Open Sourcing, ROL can do likewise!"

I could grant you a licence to further develop and sell RUSK OS, but the terms might exclude open sourcing. I might then open source it myself - that doesn't change your licence. Note: I'm not commenting on what all the various licences actually say - speculation on all of that has been done to death. I'm only pointing out that your comment is a non sequitur.

That said, I'm not sure why you brought up the subject of open source anyway, since this announcement is nothing at all to do with open source! (The only previous mentions of O/S software in the discussion have been about other software).

Incidentally, I've just tried - the preview button certainly does work in Firefox on XP. Given that the source includes:

onClick="previewComment(); return(false);"

And the javascript is loaded from an external file (which, IIRC, Fresco doesn't support) that'll be why it doesn't work in Fresco (or any non-JS browser).

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 15/11/06 8:06PM
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datawave: The Cumana SCSI 2 card definitely does work with Select 3i4 and long filenames. At least it does with SCSIFS 2.08. By the sounds of it you could have an incorrectly terminated SCSI bus. Or perhaps the dreaded RiscPC motherboard timing issues. I would certainly suspect hardware issues before software. Has C32 been removed?

That it works with RISC OS 4.02 may just be sheer chance caused by different memory bus usage (running from slower ROM instead of RAM), who knows?

Anyway, it does work. And reliably. Just not yours unfortunately. Sorry I can't be more help.

 is a RISC OS UserCogs on 15/11/06 11:52PM
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In reply to hEgelia: "What a curious question" well as one of the most vocal and vociferous critics of Select and ROL I thought were upset that you hadn't got value for money. It seems strange to me that you feel so strongly on other peoples behalf! n.b. I have twice had a meal with Paul Middleton, but I have also done so with many other regular RISC OS exhibitors.

In reply to VinceH: My choice of words was wrong I meant ROL were opening up work on RISC OS.

As to Castle and ROL merging the sources it would be a lot more difficult technically than most people seem to appreciate, though I could see certain comparatively stand alone parts being merged like Toolbox etc. Even that would though be difficult as the parties have lost trust in the other.

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 16/11/06 5:40PM
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CJE: Chris I think you missed part of his message "I see no reason to resubscribe" implies he has subscribed in the past.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 16/11/06 7:32PM
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CJE: "well as one of the most vocal and vociferous critics of Select and ROL I thought were upset that you hadn't got value for money. It seems strange to me that you feel so strongly on other peoples behalf!"

First off, I am not a critic of Select by itself, though I have become most critical of RISCOS Ltd for obvious reasons. The Select scheme was a nice idea at the time, but has sadly become a black hole with no guarantees whatsoever. Like flibble pointed out, I have subscribed in the past, but let's just say I get a kick out of criticizing ROL until I reach an orgasmic state of twisted satisfaction and fantasize about taking a dump on PM's car. Just so you know why.

"n.b. I have twice had a meal with Paul Middleton, but I have also done so with many other regular RISC OS exhibitors."

I admire your intestinal fortitude and trust you ended up paying for his meal with the promise you'll get a healthy discount on a Select subscription.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 17/11/06 12:43AM
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