RISC OS 6 Select 4 preview releasedPublished: 25th Nov 2006, 08:30:45 | Permalink | Printable
Download until end of the yearRISCOS Ltd has released a preview build of RISC OS 6 Select 4 for Select subscribers to download. The release came just in time for the Midlands 2006 show this weekend after the company pulled out all the stops to finish the preview package. Copies of the operating system were available on CD from the event in Wolverhampton. The preview version is expected to be the forerunner to a full bug fixed Select 4 release, which will only be available to users who have continued to renew their Select subscriptions.
An announcement sent out on Friday evening read: "RISCOS Ltd are pleased to announce the immediate availability of RISC OS 6 Preview for Select subscribers. The RISC OS 6 Preview release gives RiscPC, A7000 and VirtualRPC-Adjust users an opportunity to experience recent developments within RISC OS through the Select scheme."
The new 'About this operating system' window
Users who re-subscribed to the Select scheme after May 31, 2004 are allowed to download the new operating system beta version - until now subscribers to the annual Select scheme had not seen a release for over two years. ROL has said it spent a lot of the time on making the OS source code compatible with 26bit- and 32bit-mode ARM-compatible processors. Powered by RISC OS 6.02 which was finally built on November 21, Select 4's key features include a highly modularised design to aid portability, stability and maintenance of the OS; legacy support components; and updated graphics, toolbox, programming library, networking, and desktop components.
This Select 4 release has been tested on RiscPCs fitted with StrongARM, APDL Turbo StrongARM and Castle Kinetic cards, and VirtualAcorn's VirtualRiscPC-SA and VirtualRiscPC-AdjustSA emulators. The OS has also been tested on A7000 and A7000+ hardware, although ROL said RISC OS 6 is "designed to be run on StrongARM class RiscPC-type computers." It cannot be installed on Microdigital Omega, VirtualRiscPC-SE, VirtualRiscPC-Adjust, Castle Iyonix and AdvantageSix A9home computers.
However, the Viewfinder driver software is incompatible with Select 4 because the video driver attempts to manipulate the kernel directly, according to RISCOS Ltd. The RISC OS 6 kernel has video abstracted from it, which will cause the Viewfinder driver to fail, and users must switch to using the on-board Acorn VIDC chipset. A small number of APDL Arcin IDE cards fitted with Flash memory cannot boot on RISC OS 6, and the RISC OS printing system has been disabled.
According to the release's documentation: "RISC OS 6 Select 4 Preview is a 'preview' release of RISC OS 6. 'Preview' releases are designed to allow users and programmers to evaluate the new and enhanced features and interfaces which are available in a future full release operating system. 'Preview' releases are not subject to the same rigorous testing regime as that which is required for a full release, and a number of limitations or bugs may be expected.
"Some features of the full RISC OS 6 (Select 4) release are currently undergoing an overhaul. As such some facilities have been disabled in the Preview release. Currently the disabled items are ViewFinder support and Printing support."
One Iyonix-using punter told us: "Well done to RISCOS Ltd for keeping this promise of making the preview available by the Midlands show." Another said: "If I understand the rules correctly, I will not get a version of Select that is at all usable unless I pay for a further subscription."
RISCOS Ltd is said to be holding its AGM in December, and earlier this month called for programmers to contribute to the Select scheme.
RISC OS 6 website - with new riscos6.com domain name, preview available for download until end of the year
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