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Best of 2006 awards voting now open

Published: 17th Dec 2006, 00:02:43 | Permalink | Printable

Who's hot and who's not this year?

Best of 2006 awardsThe shortlist for the Best of 2006 drobe.co.uk awards has been drawn up, and voting has opened. Following hundreds of nomination submissions from readers, the final top 80 are listed below, ready for you to vote on. In previous years, the drobe.co.uk team have ransacked the news archives from the past twelve months to produce the shortlist; this time we've left it to you.

The annual awards give everyone the chance to give their favourite RISC OS programmers and dealers a pat on the back for their hard work and efforts over the year.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the nominations process, and please find the time to vote in this year's awards. The closing date is December 30, at 12 noon. The winners will be quickly counted up and announced on December 31.

The nominations also highlight the divisions across the RISC OS community - some nominees have been simultaneously put forward into the best overall contribution or best product and the top own goal categories. As the old saying goes, one man's trash is another's treasure - or in this case, one man's enemy is another's hero.

Take a look at the shortlist below and vote now in the Best of 2006 awards!

Best commercial product
A9homeAdvantageSix's ARM9-powered computer went on general sale in May
ArtWorks 2This year saw ArtWorks 2.6 released, and users described the software as "indispensable."
GrapevineGrapevine 2 was updated in 2006, and several readers agreed with this user's view: "Chatting to my friends via MSN and ICQ is an essential requirement for me, and so the continual development of Grapevine is part of what keeps me using RISC OS as my primary OS."
Impression PublisherNo news on a 32bit Impression-X but this dinosaur package was still nominated. One punter said: "After 10 years, it still is the most easiest DTP going - even my girlfriend, who has never used RISC OS, produced a professional looking university essay within three hours."
Messenger ProMessenger Pro 4 updates saw support for HTML and Unicode, and other enhancements. One reader said: "Recent improvements in version 4 have really enhanced the use of this software, which has been excellent right from the free version onwards."
MoreDeskA utility that expands the virtual size of a desktop. One user asked: "Probably the best multi-desktop manager on any platform. How did I manage without it?"
Ovation ProNow available on Windows, this DTP package is still a RISC OS favourite
RISC OS 5.12Supports newer PCI Nvidia graphics cards
RiScriptThe PDF authoring package relaunched in 2005
Select 4 RISC OS 6 PreviewA pre-release version of the hardware abstracted RISC OS from RISCOS Ltd. One punter said: "ROL has made mistakes in the past, but they have recently improved and this should be recognised. The work on ROS 6 lays the ground work for future developments of RISC OS."
TechWriter and EasiWriterMany updates including PDF export, and a planned Word 2K export. One user said: "Mainly for the excellent PDF export facility, and for Martin's excellent support."
Textease Studio PlusStill has a strong following from some corners, as one reader gushed: "I can't live without it. It does everything I've ever wanted in a DTP package, it gives me virtually complete control of the page."
VirtualRiscPC-SAThe definitive RiscPC emulator now provides StrongARM-specific features
Best non-commercial software
AvalancheAn effective remote desktop client that uses VNC
DirectorA popular toolkit of desktop utilities and enhancements
FirefoxThe RISC OS port of the mammoth open source web browser. One user said: "This browser is the main reason why I still rely on RISC OS for my daily home computing needs."
FTPcAn FTP client that gained secure FTPs this year
GCCSDK with autobuilderVarious improvements were made to this essential development environment
GhostscriptVersion 8.54 was ported to RISC OS in August
IslandsA new and fun Risk-clone strategy game
KinoAMPThis video player earned Iyonix-hardware acceleration this year and other updates
MoonfishThe NFS server for RISC OS
NetSurfThe constantly evolving native open source web browser for RISC OS that managed to spin off several sub-projects and libraries. One user noted: "NetSurf is a definite example of what can be achieved when RISC OS users work together."
OrganiserThe popular desktop diary organiser, which one reader admitted: "This has seen no recent development, but how can you improve on perfection?"
Pic_IndexA web gallery creation tool
PicoDriveA Sega Megadrive emulator ported to RISC OS with a CPU emulation engine geared towards the ARM platform
PrintPDFA handy utility to lessen the burden of creating PDFs using the PostScript printing system
RemotePrinterFSSend documents to printers connected via a local network
RPCEmuThe open source RiscPC emulator for Windows ported this year to Linux, Mac OS X and RISC OS itself for bonus irony points
SargassoThe RSS client rewritten in C from python, resulting in a huge speed boost
SmartmenuA handy new utility that opens sub-menus to the left if the parent menu is too close to the right-hand side of the screen
StrongEDA text and source code editor that's been revised and updated this year
SunfishThe NFS client for RISC OS
TauA powerful graphing program that one user described as "an easy to use application that produces presentation quality graphics. It's easy to use, and the most powerful app of its kind."
VariationsNot updated this year but still a favourite in many users' hearts. One testified: "The most useful application for playing around with images. I love it."
WIBLIThe flexible toolbar for TechWriter, ArtWorks, RiScript and other desktop packages
Best RISC OS event of 2006
Euro 2006 showHosted in The Netherlands and organised by RISCOS Ltd
GAG meetingThe German Archimedes usergroup's annual get together
Midlands showNear Wolverhamptons and organised by The ARM Club
MUG founding meetingThe new Midlands usergroup
ROL northern roadshowRISCOS Ltd's tour of Glasgow and Newcastle
South east showHeld in Guildford and organised by SASAUG
Wakefield showThe WROCC's annual event
Best ingenious project or idea
ARMv5 emulatorThis module was developed to allow A9home users to run the 'Iyonix-only' Firefox 2 port. One reader said: "Although it's probably not the ideal way of running Firefox on an A9home, it still is an impressive achievement."
Atom tape player with AMPlayerSoftware tapes, stored as MP3s, were loaded into an Acorn Atom via AMPlayer and an A9home
PostScript 3 driverA new PS 3 driver is being considered by two leading RISC OS programmers
RISC OS NowThe new bi-monthly A4 colour magazine launched this year
RISC OS OpenA bold and ambitious project to open source RISC OS 5. One punter said: "The decision to open source RISC OS will hopefully mark a turning point in the platform's fortunes."
riscos.infoA wiki-powered website to encourage everyone to document the ins and outs of the RISC OS platform
RPCEmu for Linux and Mac OS XThe emulator was ported to the Linux desktop, shiny PowerPC Macs and little PocketPC gadgets
South East show videosThe more interesting key-note presentations at the show were filmed and broadcast online after the event. One punter said: "This was great as even though I attended the show, I missed all of these talks as they were either too early or I was helping out exhibitors whilst they were on."
Best overall contribution to the platform
Adrian LeesThe Aemulor and Geminus developer
AdvantageSixThe people behind the A9home
Alan BuckleyHe continues to port various fun little games to RISC OS
Alex WaughResponsible for Sunfish, Moonfish and WebJames, and ports of Perl and PHP. One reader said: "I think he's one of the most important people in RISC OS in the last few years."
Chris EvansBoss of CJE Micros and retailer of A9homes. One customer said: "He's at every show with every product, or at least it feels like it. The last real RISC OS retailer."
Colin GranvilleCurrent developer of Messenger Pro as well as FTPc
Dave HigtonRunning a one-man campaign to improve Castle's USB while working on various drivers
Dave RuckARMalyser and Discknight author, who as one reader put it, "is always quick to help with good quality ideas, even if he is Mr Grumpy sometimes."
Fred GrauteThe current maintainer of StrongED. One fan said: "Fred's a great guy, and StrongED has been really neat'n'tidied up with bug fixes and improvements like bitmap fonts in 24 bit and 32 bit colour modes etc."
John TytgatFor his work for various projects, including GCCSDK and Select
Martin WuerthnerContinued development of the TechWriter family and ArtWorks. A user said: "For continuing to upgrade EasiWriter TechWriter and his efforts with ArtWorks. I also looking forward to seeing what he will be able to produce when RISC OS Open release code in to the wild."
NetSurf developersUnpaid but much loved, the programmers behind NetSurf and many other subsidary projects
Paul VigayThe original and untouchable RISC OS advocate. One user said: "I chose Paul because of his software support at Orpheus Internet, and general encouragement."
Peter NaullsFor his Firefox porting work
Ray FavreThe author of several applications and tools which were updated through out the year. One user said they nominated Ray for "Dr Wimp and all the applications by him and others which have resulted."
RISC OS Open and CastleFor pursuing the seemingly impossible goal of opening up the blueprints of RISC OS for everyone else to improve and contribute to
RISCOS LtdThe Select technical documentation for programmers was published for free online this year
The RawnsleysThe R-Comp team continue to provide a high level of support and push forward development of their software
Top own goal
Castle and ROL fall outThe rift between the developers of RISC OS 5 and 6 will always touch a nerve with sane RISC OS users
John Cartmell and QercusTwo issues in roughly 12 months is bad enough, but John posting hundreds of messages to usenet and mailing lists in the meantime instead of editing a magazine broke the camel's back and demolished its stable. One subscriber said: "Until a few months ago, Qercus would have fit neatly into this category. Now it seems that the magazine is back from the dead, but it's still on the critical list."
Oregano 3Users have decidedly had enough of this vapourware
Paul Vigay's OSNews articlePaul tried his best to put a positive spin on RISC OS in a series of articles, but instead made even the Linux fanboys on OSNews cringe. One of Paul's close pals said: "His articles on RISCOS.org were subsequently posted on OSNews and were quite flamed in the comments."
Peter NaullsFor slipping unnecessary Iyonix-only code into Firefox 2. One user also added: "Every time I am tempted to give him money, he puts me off by abusing potential customers on either drobe article comments or the Iyonix support mailing list."
RISC OS OpenOther ends of the RISC OS market are unimpressed with this vapourware project
ROS fan loses Acorn domain nameA RISC OS fan lost acorncomputers.co.uk in a domain dispute with a new company using the old Acorn brand to sell Windows laptops. One user said: "All the guy had to do was keep his domain's Whois details up to date - doh."
Select 4 RISC OS 6 PreviewWhile some were glad to finally see a release after months of silence, others were gobsmacked by the lack of printing and Viewfinder support, and the vacuum of non-technical documentation. One said: "If ROL had run a regular newsletter, including interviews with programmers and updates on what they re doing, then they would have garnered a lot more understanding support. As it is, I can't help but feel they shoot themselves in the foot with their public relations. And still no proper Select 4 release."
Select for IyonixNoone really knows who to blame for this debacle - Castle or RISCOS Ltd, but it's probably both


Vote now in the Best of 2006 awards

Previous: Select chief coder leaves RISCOS Ltd
Next: First release of unofficial open source SharedCLibrary


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Maybe Impression should be in the what we would most like to see in 2007 category.....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/12/06 9:49AM
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The voting system refused to allow me to vote for the Wakefield show with 2 attempts but accepted another choice immediately ;-(

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/12/06 9:54AM
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There was a bug in the script that stopped people voting for Wakefield - very sorry about that, it affected the last item of that category.

If anyone wants to change their vote now that it's working again, let me know via email. If anyone tried to vote last time and couldn't, they can now try again.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 17/12/06 9:58AM
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Why isn't Louie Smith up for best contribution? The rest of the nominees although very worthy (except me, I've done nothing this year except learn to fly), have been around forever, Louie is something this platform hasn't attacted in a long time (no not just that shes female) - new blood, coming in and setting up a huge venture of a glossy magazine, all in her spare time.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 17/12/06 11:27AM
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druck: I agree. We also forgot to nominate Zap...

 is a RISC OS Userscl4c0rn on 17/12/06 12:34PM
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Can you still by Textease Studio Plus (RISC OS)?

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 17/12/06 1:25PM
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Sadly I don't think so. Shame, it would be nice if someone could take over development of the RISC OS version and squash some of the bugs (mind you, it would be nice if someone could squash the bugs on the Windows version too!) None the less, it is still an incredibly useful package, unique in the way it works. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 17/12/06 1:46PM
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This is an excellent initiative once again. I'm struck by looking at the list that, despite all the platform's many problems, there's still good stuff going-on. If there were an appropriate category, it would be good to nominate Drobe for something here: where would we be without it? :)

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 17/12/06 1:48PM
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I was a touch surprised UniPrint didn't appear in the commerical list, since of all our RCI products, its the one I find most exciting in terms of what can be achieved with it (and also, where we can take it in future). Still, thanks for the nominations that did appear - much appreciated :) I'd like to vote for all the shows, cos the organisers work their tails off for the good of the platform though, usually without much thanks/credit. Big cheers for everyone involved!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 17/12/06 4:38PM
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I'd like to thank Justin Fletcher for his massive contribution. So many people have benefited from his long-term dedication to the platform.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 17/12/06 4:59PM
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In reply to arawnsley Ooooo I didn't realise that there was a version of UniPrint that would run on my Iyonix ;) I thought it ran on a WindowsPC!

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 17/12/06 6:02PM
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Textease Studio Plus RISC OS and Mac versions stopped both development and support about 2 years ago. The latest incarnation is Textease CT, which my technician tells me is much more robust than the current Windows version (with which we have problems). The RISC OS version (5.93) on Risc PCs rarely has problems. I would very much like to know what the commercial status is of Textease Studio Plus i.e. whether it can be freely distributed now it is no longer sold or developed. Nice if it were to be a freebie for everyone!!!!!!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 17/12/06 11:15PM
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In reply to arawnsley: Uniprint is EXCELLENT!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 17/12/06 11:17PM
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" it would be good to nominate Drobe for something here: where would we be without it? "

The Iconbar which is sounding more defeated by the day it depresses me to say.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 17/12/06 11:39PM
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So, where can I find Smartmenu?

Thanks in advance,


P.S. I would like to propose another candidate for best own goal - us collectively!

 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 18/12/06 9:20PM
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In reply to AW: Well, I did actually nominate Chris but either no-one else did or he modestly removed himself. I agree that Drobe makes a big contribution to the platform.

As for Louie Smith, I guess we all forgot :-( Still, it might mean more next year.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 18/12/06 9:30PM
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In reply to NewlWB: SmartMenu is at [link]

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 19/12/06 5:18PM
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yup smart menu is groovy :-)

...still getting used to moving the mouse *the other way*... ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserROHC on 19/12/06 7:55PM
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Is everyone and everything in the RISC OS community on the shortlist this year? ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 19/12/06 10:19PM
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