RISC OS Open website expandsPublished: 12th Dec 2006, 22:05:40 | Permalink | Printable
Bugs, licence issues, and moreRISC OS Open caused a mild stir this week as it quietly launched an updated website with various new features. The team behind the open sourcing of RISC OS 5 are testing their new online site - and sneaked out the new site on its .co.uk and .org domains, leaving riscosopen.com pointing to the older static version. The updated website also reveals the scale of the licensing issues the team face.
The new site has an online source code vault, but it contains the blueprints to a CVS client rather than the operating system source code at the moment. The site does includes a bug and fault tracking service, which may come as a relief to third party programmers who feel their bug reports to Castle and RISCOS Ltd may be disappearing down a blackhole.
Out of all the faults filed so far on riscosopen.co.uk, the most interesting show stopper is the lack of a non-commercial licence from Castle. According to the fault logs, ROS Open's Steve Revill said in November: "We're slowly getting closer to this. We've had a couple of new drafts going around the loop recent. Hopefully, we can all agree the non-commercial licence in the next couple of weeks." Castle's licence web page is currently empty.
Another show stopper before the first batch of source code is released is the need to review every component in the operating system and remove items that cannot be released under Castle's proposed dual-licensing scheme. These components will instead be moved into a separate repository and distributed independently of Castle's source code, it is hoped.
The wording of the software licence at the start of every BASIC program included with RISC OS 5, of which there are over a hundred, has to be agreed, and the source code has to be scoured for "questionable keywords" - quite possibly a reference to the amount of swearing and flippant notes left in comments in the source code. The leaking of the Windows NT4 source revealed some hilarious cursing and outbursts from Microsoft engineers, for example.
The team's new website also includes a discussion forum, which users must register an account to use, and RISC OS Open have called for donations to the project.
Steve Revill and Castle's Jack Lillingston are due to appear in public at ROUGOL in central London on Monday, January 15. A user group insider said: "There may possibly also be a chance to look at the first batches of RISC OS source code released. Jack should also be able to demonstrate RISC OS 5.12 for the Iyonix, and talk about the developments arising from it, and the upgrade process."
RISC OS Open website
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