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South West show reports and photos

Published: 27th Feb 2007, 00:45:37 | Permalink | Printable

The what, when, where, why, who and how of the weekend's event

The South West show for 2007 has been and gone, and all that remains is the news and gossip we picked up from the event. This year we've got two reports - one by an exhibitor and another by a punter - and some photos. Thanks to dgs and Mark Stephens for their hard work. Enjoy.

Dgs's report and gossip of the show

Mark Stephens's report of the show including the theatre presentations

Dgs's photos of the show

Show organiser John Stonier told us: "The show went better than expected, despite a reduction in the number of exhibitors.

"The crowds turned up, creating a positive atmosphere. Judging by people leaving the show with carrier bags, I would say that a lot of business was done. My own view is that another show in the South West is definitely needed, next year.

"A big thanks to all companies taking part and all those at the Wessex ARM User Group who helped out on the day. I would never have been able to run the show without them."


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There were some "Acorn show" signs on the roads around the venue.....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 27/2/07 7:38AM
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I've checked my notes. I'm sure I didn't mention the Qercus offer to User Groups (ie we'll include flyers out to Qercus readers in a group's catchment area) - so thanks dgs for mentioning what I missed! The presentation (rather than an earlier discussion that I had with dgs!) was mainly about the new and return series that will be appearing in Qercus and the archives that we are preparing based on Acorn User paper and electronic sources.

The reporters also seem to have missed the importance of real development. David Snell has just released version 2 of WebWonder that seemed to be going down well with the purchasers and was talking about the contents of version 3. With ProCAD at a new, low price he's one exhibitor that made the most of the opportunity - and not the only one, the SW Show is traditionally the 'end of the season' where you can see early hints of what is likely to be released at Wakefield. There were plenty of hints - and more.

Thanks to John and the Wessex group for the organisation - and best of luck to those hoping to extend user group activity in the area following the good ideas of the Midlands Group.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 27/2/07 9:49AM
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David was mentioned along with the price cut along with the state of play on MWs printer driver, Photodesk, Artworks and TechWriter and the fact Graham Shaw has been busy...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 27/2/07 10:13AM
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fwiw, the Web Wonder 2 release was covered in an article on Dec 16.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 27/2/07 10:24AM
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There were several new products/updates on the RComp/RCI stand too. We found this SW show to be one of the better ones in recent memory. Thinking about it, the shows continue to be excellent, which must be good news for the market, and be indicitive of all the hard work the various show organisers put in.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 27/2/07 10:37AM
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From Mark's report - It's good to hear that being a professional RISC OS programmer still opens opportunities elsewhere (c.f. MW, Xara) :)

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 27/2/07 10:56AM
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diomus: "the Web Wonder 2 release was covered in an article on Dec 16" The important consideration is *continued* development. It's happening with Web Wonder, RComps products, EasiWriter, ArtWorks, RO6, Graham Shaw's stuff - even with Qercus! It's not just what is released now that's important but also what can be seen of what's to be released tomorrow. You need both (something now and something seen in development) to give a feeling of confidence in the future.

Someone criticised us for using so much space in Qercus to advertise the show. I'm glad we did. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 27/2/07 11:12AM
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I would like to add my thanks to John Stonier and the organisers. This year I was not one of those leaving with bulging carrier bags, but felt it was well worth the 270 mile round trip from Surrey. As others have said it is a show were you can talk to exhibitors without feeling guilty about a long queue waiting patiently behind you.

 is a RISC OS Userchriswhy on 27/2/07 11:32AM
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Anyone who attended the ROOL presentation: any more details on a date for production of the first batch of code? It's been a while since any information was released. I know the legal process is tortuous, but I'm beginning to worry that the whole thing may take so long that by the time stuff gets out there the market will have shrunk too far. Although no panacea, open-source RISC OS seems to me the only hope left for the platform (alongside continued development of Firefox, ArtWorks, etc.) - would be excellent to see it emerge sooner rather than later.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 27/2/07 3:54PM
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DGS mentions a "subtle new logo" for RISC OS that the Midlands User Group is playing with. It is visible on this web page:- [link] It is part of the name on the image of the mug and explains why our official abbreviation is MUG(R) not MUG.

 is a RISC OS UserJohnR on 27/2/07 6:01PM
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Warning - and apologies! the link in my previous post will not back out to Drobe owing to a redirecton page meant to trap index.htm and convert it to index.html. I need to rethink this:-(

 is a RISC OS UserJohnR on 27/2/07 6:06PM
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JohnR, I wonder maybe if it's worth paying a design agency to come up with a new logo for RISC OS, either via Castle, ROL, or ROOL? I've purchased a couple of designs (for an entirely different purpose) recently from small agencies, you can get something pretty nice done for about £200. Let's face it, the logo used by ROL is utterly hideous and looks like it was designed by a 12 year old.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 27/2/07 11:01PM
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thegman: There is little point in one of the major players commisioning a new logo for RISC OS, if the others chose not to use it. Any rebranding would require a degree of co-ordination and cooperation between ROL, ROOL and Castle.

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 28/2/07 1:51AM
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thegman, JohnR: I disagree. There's nothing wrong with the cog. Let's not waste time & money designing a new logo that no-one will use.


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 28/2/07 11:59AM
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In my opinion the current RISC OS logo, the cogwheel, is fine. It's the ROL logo (which incidentally has probably been done using Draw by a non-designer in a few minutes) and their particular usage of the riscos.com domain that annoys me, personally. If they can't properly keep it up-to-date and an accurate resource, they should pass it on to someone who can.

The 256 colour Acorn-palette puzzle pieces, the seemingly random structure of dated or even inaccurate information, stone-age webdesign. Think about the RO4.02 advertisement dating back to 1999 still prominently displayed on the front page while no mention is made about the current ROSix, dated information regarding Select among other things - utterly unprofessional and counter-productive to their supposed aims. I'm sure there are some people around willing to do a site overhaul for ROL, if only to get rid of the current thing. ROL just needs to ask. The OS desktop cosmetics is obviously a bigger job and probably require professional dedication from a true designer, such as Richard Hallas. But, in all fairness, it seems ROL can just about sustain its own existence, barely any fundemental OS development and can hardly financially justify a cosmetic overhaul of the RO desktop... I'd say nowadays getting a Select subscription is mostly about putting food on PM's table.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 28/2/07 12:37PM
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In Reply to thegman:

If you think ROL's logo was designed by a 12 year old, what do you make of Iyonix blue blob. I'm sure a 6 month old baby could have come up with something more appealing.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 28/2/07 12:42PM
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sa110: The logo came from the blue oval power button of the Iyonix Classic case, which is an off the shelf ATX case not a Castle design. But I'm sure Castle can give you the name of the supplier to complain to.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 28/2/07 1:31PM
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adamr: "There's nothing wrong with the cog"

I quite agree. However, I don't think John and MUG are proposing the replacement or abandonment of the cog, just "playing around with" an alternative that may be useful in some places.

I even suggested the (R) logo and the cog logo could be amalgamated into one rather easily, but I haven't seen this done yet.

ROOL are using a variant of the cog as well, of course.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 28/2/07 1:48PM
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If the (R) symbol is registered, then it can be used in the form (R)(R) :)

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 28/2/07 2:39PM
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Damn... I'm sure I put a second half to that sentence. Oh well, here's the second half that isn't there:

Perhaps, to make the symbol they're playing around with more distinct from the symbol for a registered trademark, they could use a lowe case r? (Though I'm not sure that meets with the logic of the symbol they've devised, in which I guess the outer circle is meant to be an 'O' so that the whole thing represents the initials RO).

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 28/2/07 2:43PM
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Vince has cracked da code ;-)

It came about when I was playing with letters to make up the club name. MUG gave the right flavour but wasnt specific enough. MUGRO was specific but lost the sense of irony. MUGro was no improvement. Then I happened upon the registered copyright symbol which combines the R and the O in a sort of ready made RISCOS monogram.

Hence MUG® - don't know if the symbol will be rendered properly so I usually write it as MUG((R)

 is a RISC OS UserJohnR on 28/2/07 4:04PM
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Reply to sa110, Well, yes, the blue blob Iyonix logo is just awful, I think they just made it the blue blob because it looks like the power button on the bog-standard PC case they used. I suppose they want us to think they had the case designed to look like the logo, rather than the other way round...

Getting back to the ROL logo, yes, the cog is less of a problem than ROL's logo, which really beggars belief that they thought it was in some way acceptable.

I think both logos could be replaced with something really modern, and the thing is, it costs NEXT TO NOTHING to get a really, really nice logo made. Really you're looking at about £200. £200 put put a fresh new image on the OS, a logo which could be used to replace the shockingly terrible splash screen on RISC OS Adjust (I had the use of it a couple of days ago), and in lot's of different places.

I happen to like this logo for Haiku:


It makes you think Haiku is modern, funky, and all round great, but the fact is, Haiku is still pretty beta, and less useful than RISC OS, but from the RISC OS logos you see, you'd swear it was run by a primary school and not by limited companies.

If you still think that it's £200 wasted, then we'll have to agree to disagree. As for time taken, it would take a small design agency a couple of days after getting the brief, and trivial programming to get it into websites and the OS itself.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 28/2/07 8:25PM
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It's a shame the RISC OS Now woman is using a Mac.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 28/2/07 11:22PM
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in reply to AW:

I was a bit surprised to see the Mac but anyone who has to travel to give a presentation has little choice. Given the close association of RISC OS Now with PV a PC laptop with VRPC would be out on religious grounds. An A9Home would be possible, but is a bit messy with separate mouse, keyboard and screen - which leaves the Mac. It was plainly not was Louie's machine of choice - she had to ask the audience how to use it at least once.

 is a RISC OS UserJohnR on 1/3/07 11:32AM
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If only VA would release their Mac version.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 1/3/07 11:44AM
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AW: Modern Macs are fantastic computers, in my experience. After always using RISC OS and realizing I needed more then could be expected of a RO machine, the choice was obvious to me: a Mac. Why? Mac OS X is very powerful, yet easy, uncluttered and pleasurable to use with the most resemblance to RO I've yet to see elsewhere. Plus their hardware is pretty nice. Apple and Acorn have a history together and I've always been of the opinion that if I'd need an alternative system, it would be a Mac. I haven't regretted this decision for a microsecond and it's a great partner to my RiscPC.

Indeed jess, it is a great shame VA hasn't pushed on and completed their Mac version of VRPC. Now that all new Macs have Intel CPU's inside them, I suspect it could be easier to port the code over to OS X. I'd hate to run Windows on a Mac to get to VRPC, because I hate to run Windows.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 1/3/07 1:07PM
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If you read the explanation of how the RISC OS cog came about, it seems a lot more thought went into it than is being suggested here. I suspect that Richard Hallas might be a bit miffed at being described as a 12 year old, too.

As for changing the logo again: why? The cog is universal now: it appears in the RO4, RO5 and RO6 logos, ROOL's logo, and in a lot of the platform's publicity. As more logos get redesigned, it's replacing the Acorn as the standard symbol of the platform, regardless of supplier.

And just as this is happening, some people want to design a new logo to replace it, thereby diluting what 'brand image' we have. Why?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 1/3/07 2:22PM
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I've read the cog explaination, and yes there are reasons behind it, but not very important ones. Almost all major computer vendors started off with 8 bit machines and moved onto 32-bit machines, but they don't feel the need to reflect that in their logo. Actually, the cog is not that bad, and I'm not saying Richard Hallas is a 12 year old, only that most of the logos and design in RISC OS looks like it was created by one.

My major beef is with the ROL logo (and whole website), the RISC OS splash screen, the Iyonix logo, which are pretty bad. The ROL logo in particular can be singled out for taking about 2 mins in !Draw and being utterly, utterly terrible.

We don't really have a brand image to dilute, and the image we do have is ghastly, just gaudy websites filled with shamefully amateur logos and graphics, designed with zero professionalism. The only point I'm trying to make is this: RISC OS in many ways looks horrible, we can fix this with very minimal expense. RISC OS is pretty dated technically, but looks even more dated than it actually is, again, it would not hurt to pretty it up a bit, again could be done for a few hundred pounds on a couple of nice icon sets.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 1/3/07 2:45PM
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Just to let everyone know, the charity stand raised £200 for our chosen charity.

 is a RISC OS Usermfraser on 1/3/07 3:13PM
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stevef: It seems to me most critisism given here is about the RISCOS Ltd logo, not the RISC OS logo itself which indeed is the cogwheel. I know Richard Hallas has designed the cogwheel (and have read his thoughts behind it in his Foundation article), but somehow I doubt if he did the ROL logo which certainly looks like a schoolboys first exercise in Draw. The cogwheel as a logo is fine and, for the most part, I agree with the sentiments behind its creation. A new logo would only add to the confusion already existing within the RO community and outside of it, but at some point it could perhaps be remade to gain a more flashier appearance like having a bit of shading, shadow, blending, etc.

thegman: I agree with much of what you've said. What, indeed, really does need to be redone is ofcourse the RISCOS Ltd website, together with its presentation of their various products and services. It could even become a sort of 'RO knowledge centre' including forums and more personal examples of RO application by various users, including ofcourse screenshots, stories, tutorials, etc. A lot of possibilities exist and it's a shame ROL does not exploit them. It is the riscos.com domain after all! The websites of many RO companies and dealers also look quite outdated and boring. Yes, boring... it can really help sell products if a website has an active and exciting appearance. It can even have a Flash film somewhere as long as it's not too big and there are not too many of them. With regards to compatibility, we have several decent browsers which can cope with technically more advanced designs than what currently remains the standard. NetSurf can render some pretty nifty sites very well nowadays!

mfraser: What a positive bit of news to return to topic! :)

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 1/3/07 4:18PM
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OK, so many of those involved with RISC OS use poor logos and design. I'd largely agree with that, and I also agree thet the "RISC/OS ltd" logo is bad. However, I don't make the leap from that to the idea that we should abandon the cross-platform branding that has built up following a lot of work.

Getting to the point that we have a single logo (the cogwheel) which is flexible enough to be incorporated into other designs took a fair bit of effort. If any one RISC OS company now goes out and commissions a new 'universal logo', it will be ignored by the other players. We already have a consesus: why can't we build on it?

There's nothing to stop ROL, Castle, ROOL and so on commissioning new logos from these £200 design houses that incorporate the cog. Surely that would solve your problem, too?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 1/3/07 4:21PM
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Reply to stevef and hEgelia,

To an extent, I agree on the cog, it's far from great, but it's not openly offensive :-). If we can get everyone to use the cog, don't see why we cannot get everyone to use something else for a more complete logo, i.e. is there a logo which everyone uses for the words "RISC OS" as far as I know there is not, ROL have a couple:

[link] - Obviously no use for RISC OS 5 and RISC OS 6 [link] - basically a standard font with two rectangles of colour.

Castle don't use either of the above, so we don't have a united image at the moment. I don't see why ROL and Castle, and maybe ROOL could not chip in a third each and get a much nicer logo made, one which can be used for ROL's and ROOL's branch of RISC OS.

The websites are a much greater problem, but it's more difficult to fix that, as it requires time and effort, and I think it also requires RISC OS companies to "get with the times" which they are generally reluctant to do on all fronts, i.e. online ordering etc.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 01/03/07 10:45PM
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thegman: The cogwheel is the complete logo, i.e. the logo which (hopefully by now) everyone uses to refer to RISC OS. The cube logo refers specifically to the early versions of RO4, i.e. RO4.0x and since then ROL have adopted the cogwheel as the basis for their OS logos. The RO Six logo is in my opinion a slightly better logo, where the aluminum / metallic 'SIX' seems to have been influenced by Apple's depiction of its Mac OS X Tiger logo. Incidentally, there seem several areas within Select 3 and later which seem to have been influenced by OS X style and behaviour. I guess it's the iMac G5 they have, though Apple seems to inspire a lot of OS design nowadays with Windows Vista being a particularly obvious example.

Castle has certainly also adopted the cogwheel, however it may not be quite as prevalent as is on ROL's website. ROOL has also very clearly adopted the cogwheel, although their version has been cleverly enhanced to illustrate the open and diverse nature of an open source version of RO5. So, I believe we have a logo and for some time now. For example, it's always used by OSNews.com to indicate RO related articles. However, perhaps in due time the cogwheel may be revised to gain a more attractive appearance.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 02/03/07 11:23AM
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Whenever I see the cog logo, I see a bad copy of the KDE logo. A shame.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 02/03/07 12:29AM
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I think that the 12 year old RISC OS cog logo is OK. No worst that the 8 year old dull four panel Windows logo?

An estimation of quality by age level is quite amusing. Some of the artwork of a 12 year old at my school in New Zealand look like art museum quality. So maybe the RISC OS cog puts Windows at an 8 year old level at it's best? (Ha, just teasing humour).

I recall reading some time before somewhere that each spocket of the cog represents something to do with computers? Does anyone know about these sprockets?


 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 02/03/07 9:47PM
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Repost since for some reason all my text was gone...

Wow, this is a nice thread for a show review article...

This long and detailed discussion about a logo does explain a bit to me why so many "show-off" features for Select like round buttons, new hi-res icons, screensavers etc. are so high on the wishlist for some. That does get me thinking about what the main need for the users is: have a usable computer, or have a nice gadget to look at and perhaps show around. Well that might explain a bit too why MS put so much effort in desktop-effects for Vista. For me I want a usable and preferrably quick computer and for that most of the modern "good-looks-features" are barely and help and some are even a pain and it is good if you can disable them. And as for screen saver I want that to simply put the monitor into power saving mode (saves my money and is good for nature) since usually when screensaving starts it is due to me not being near the computer anyhow.

But as for a logo as such it is indeed important to attract new customers but I dare say that for that the logo is by far not enough... for that I dare suggest that the things offered, shown on the web site etc. and available to take away are more important...

Another statement did really surprise me: That there are supposedly no women using RISC OS - I agree that there are just a few but there are some which are even pretty active like Harriet Bazley and Louie from RISC OS Now.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 03/03/07 09:17AM
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[Groan] I thought all the unpleasantness about my cogwheel logo was over and done with five years ago. [Sigh] Let's put it this way: I'm a lot older than 12, I'm satisfied with what I've done here (I think it's a successful logo which fulfils all its purposes and requirements), and I did the work for free and released it in source form for the community to use, in the hopes that doing so would do some good. It's inevitable that some people will loathe what I've done, because it's impossible to satisfy everyone, but (despite what some have said) it's good quality work which was done in good faith for the benefit of everyone. I'd really appreciate it if we could now just let the logo continue to do its job, which is to represent RISC OS in all of its versions (including the forthcoming open one). It's been doing that job for the last six years or so, apparently to most people's satisfaction (if not, perhaps, joy).

For the record, since people seem unsure about what design work I've done for the 'core companies' and what I haven't, here's a quick summary.

RISCOS Ltd: the cogwheel logo (and its associated variations) and a bit of icon work for Select (filetype icons etc.). I'm not a fan of the RISC OS 4 icon style, so I don't generally say much about the RO4 system icons I contributed, but there are several of my icons in Select/Adjust. I also, of course, designed all aspects of Foundation RISC User, and in the early days I also put together a few magazine adverts (the gold-textured ones that usually advertised FRU as well). That's it, though. I've had nothing to do with the wider RISCOS Ltd Web site or its corporate logo. I believe that they were all done by Paul Middleton himself (certainly the RO4 cube was), though I could be wrong. As it happens, I did design a new corporate logo for RISCOS Ltd back when I designed the cogwheel, but Paul mustn't have liked it because it's never been used (except occasionally by me, in more recent issues of FRU). It was basically just the words "RISCOS Ltd" in Gill Sans with the cogwheel replacing the O in the centre of the text. I thought it was clean and well balanced, though probably not terribly exciting.

Castle: for Castle I designed all the RISC OS 5 icons (and Iyonix users will be aware that all the system-level file icons, for filetypes like Obey, Data etc., incorporate a small cogwheel logo, just as they do in RO Select). I did not have anything to do with the Iyonix name or blue jellybean logo (that was presented to me as the branding from the outset), though I did produce a realistic recreation of it in ArtWorks for use in my further design work (as the original was just a hi-res bitmap). I also designed the new Acorn C/C++ icons and the icons that appear on Castle's 32-bit software database pages to categorise applications that appear there. Beyond that, though, I've had nothing to do with Castle's Web site either.

RISC OS Open Ltd: I haven't done anything for ROOL as yet. I'm not responsible for their multicoloured cogwheel-like logo, and I wasn't even consulted about it (which I found slightly regrettable, but never mind). However, I've indicated that I'd be very happy to work with them if they'd like me to. I'm obviously keen, for example, to see them continue to use the work I've done for the RISC OS 5 icons in future versions. I designed the RO5 icons from the outset to be capable of taking advantage of alpha-blending (which is already available in RO4/6, of course) to produce proper soft shadows. (They're also vector-based and hence scalable, if that ever becomes more of an issue.)

In response to a few of the points in this thread:

I've been accused of plagiarising the KDE logo in the past. All I can say is that any similarities are purely coincidental. At the time I designed my cogwheel, I'd never even seen the KDE logo; had anyone pointed it out to me while I was designing the RISC OS cogwheel, I may have made some changes. However, the aims and inspirations for my cogwheel are well documented in articles that are available online, and represent the sum total of the influences. As for being a 'bad copy' of the KDE logo, well, that's personal opinion once again. It's not a copy at all, and actually my cogwheel could be said to be better balanced and more realistic than the partial one that appears in the KDE logo. (The KDE logo also falls into the trap of having letters associated with it, rather than being a stand-alone, purely graphical design.)

Is there a full "RISC OS" logo that includes the cogwheel and the word "RISC OS"? Yes, there is, despite the fact that people here are saying that there isn't. An article from FRU, complete with the ArtWorks versions of all cogwheel variants, used to be hosted on www.riscos.org, but appears to have been removed now, which is a pity. However, the original article, taken from FRU 7, is still online in RISCOS Ltd's FRU Online site. I am no longer able to update this site, and it seems to have become a bit mangled since I last touched it, with the result that some graphics are broken. However, the article is mostly intact, as are the downloads. Here's a direct link:


The various cogwheel logos are available here in Draw and ArtWorks formats, as are some RISC OS Web buttons. (Of course, they're also on FRU CDs and DVDs, including more Web buttons in later editions; I also did an IYONIX Web button.) You'll find not only the single cogwheel logo, but also square and diamond permutation logos, and lots of variants that include the name "RISC OS" in some way.

I guess it would be a good idea to host these archives somewhere more prominent, especially now that the ones on www.riscos.org have vanished. If anyone wants to do this (Drobe staff?), please email me.

There's also a quick summary of what the cogwheel logo is all about on the Select site here:


...but it's just a restatement of some of the stuff in the longer article with the associated graphics archives. Its appearance on the Select site also gave the erroneous early impression that the cogwheel was intended to apply only to Select.

(Sawadee: no, the teeth of the cogwheel do not represent anything individually. However, the fact that there are eight of them is significant, in that putting together four into the square-logo version used in RO Adjust makes 32 in total. '32 bits out of four 8-bit components' is the concept here, though it's a very subtle one. The above article explains all the ideas of this kind that went into the concept.)

Anyway, the bottom line is that the cogwheel is intended to represent RISC OS in all its versions, and it has actually succeeded in becoming established as such. It was designed (at the suggestion of Justin Fletcher, incidentally, who claimed to like the solution I came up with very much) precisely with the intention of devising something universal that could be used instead of logos that were either no longer appropriate (Acorn nut) or OS- or machine-specific. Having finally achieved that aim, the very last thing we need now is to throw it all away and start again, just because a few people don't like it much. Lots of people don't like the Windows logo (I'm not keen myself), but that doesn't mean that Microsoft should discard it.

That's not to say that it can't be tweaked and titivated, though (note how MS has made its flag-logo 'glow' for Windows Vista). That's one good reason why the RISC OS cogwheel is plain and simple: it's *intentionally* a universal, bare bones design, so that it can be used in as many different ways as possible. Basically, it's little more than a shape. People who complain that it's too boring and simple are missing the point. That's what a good, successful logo should be, because that's how you make them as adaptible as possible. Once you've got the basic design established, you can do things with it.

Indeed, I've made it a little more fancy myself at times. In one or more of the old RISCOS Ltd adverts that I designed (they appeared in Acorn User and elsewhere), I had a big version of this cogwheel in the centre of the page, and it was 'shaded' internally by a stripey effect that blended from octagonal in the middle to circular at the outside (ends of the teeth) and made the design look more visually interesting. As a matter of fact, this version of the logo is actually used (at a small size) on the Iyonix, in one specific instance: the high-definition version of the 'switcher' icon (i.e. the logo that appears in the Task Manager's Info window alongside the name RISC OS, and in system error windows). By 'high definition' I mean the 68x68-pixel icon that appears in XEig=0, YEig=0 screen modes. You can't see the stripes in this version (there still isn't enough resolution for that), but it does give the logo a bit of shading and makes it less flat. More could be done, of course.

The only really key thing is to make sure that you *don't* alter the basic shape. This is why I'm a little disappointed with the ROOL logo. It looks pretty, and you can see what inspired it, but it's a new shape which means that it's not actually the RISC OS cogwheel logo. Of course, if they just want to use it as their own corporate logo then that's fine; I just hope that it doesn't get imposed on future versions of RISC OS itself, as then we'd be back to having unhelpful OS-specific variations of the logo, which is the problematic situation that the cogwheel was designed to solve.

As a general point, although I clearly don't share thegman's opinion of my work, I do agree with his basic point about amateurish appearances and RISC OS. For what it's worth, it's precisely this kind of thing I had in mind when I set out to design the RISC OS 5 icon set (as explained in another old article that can be found online if you hunt). I was very conscious of the extremely amateurish look of RISC OS itself (i.e. the RISC OS 4 icons), not to mention many RISC OS sites, and my RISC OS 5 work was carried out with the hope of making RISC OS itself look more serious and professional. (Again, I feel that I achieved my various aims with the RO5 icons, but there are certainly users who disagree, so please let us *not* open up that debate again as well. Apart from anything else, I've suffered enough over all that already.)

Remember, too, that design is not just about achieving a set of aims; it's also about pleasing the client. The RISC OS cogwheel was what RISCOS Ltd wanted at the time (or at least Justin Fletcher; I'm not sure about Paul's opinion). The RISC OS 5 icons were what Castle was looking for (basically; there were quite dramatically opposing viewpoints within the company, but I tried to satisfy everyone as best I could). R-Comp has had various pieces of design work from me in the past (mainly for software user interfaces), and they have ranged from e.g. the very quirky and colourful (some may say gaudy) Grapevine to the very RISC OS 5-like (i.e. standard OS look) Messenger Pro, DataPower, HTMLEdit Studio etc. (latest versions of these). In doing a design, one has to (a) define the requirements and potential uses of the artwork, (b) target the medium and its needs, and (c) take the client's specific requirements into account and try to satisfy them.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I agree that the level of presentation of RISC OS as a whole could be a lot better. I've tried to do my bit to contribute positively to the situation, and I'm willing to do more if asked. I'm happy to continue to design icons for people, and I'm also potentially willing to design Web sites, too. I haven't had all that many approaches, so maybe either people don't generally care for what I've done or there isn't enough money going around to justify expenditure on interface graphics and Web sites. I've actually been quite open to doing things for nothing in the past, but now that I'm a student again I'd be a little more keen to be paid for my time.

Whoever does the job, though (as a general point), I do agree that it's a good idea to employ someone who's at least vaguely professional, and whose work is a known quantity, to come up with new Web site designs and the like, as the RISC OS world could certainly present a more professional image. But, on the other hand, it could certainly be argued that this problem is something that has plagued the RISC OS world for its entire life. I remember lobbying about lack of presentational quality in the young life of RISC OS (early 90s). The design work I did for RISC OS 5 was actually the fulfilment of a long-standing dream that I'd been harbouring for maybe ten years.

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 04/03/07 12:43AM
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Gah gah gah! IT BURNS MY EYES. Richard, get an editor.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 04/03/07 1:11PM
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Richard : Are you a graphics designer by trade or just a well meaning Acorn Enthusiast who was in the right place at the right time to be offered the chance to design the logo.

 is a RISC OS UserJwoody on 04/03/07 6:52PM
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Reply to Richard Hallas, I should have clarified my statements. My major (MAJOR!) beef is with the ROL logo, it's just unspeakably terrible. The cog logo, while I don't especially like it, is competent, and I don't have any major issues with it. The Iyonix blue blob is not good, if only because it means absolutely nothing, and is very unmemorable.

Whatever we think about any of these logos, they've been around a while, and maybe could do with a 'refresh', I just think that a really fresh, new logo for RISC OS, and a few new nice icons in the OS could give the OS and the community as a whole a bit of a boost.

I think a nice logo, website, and all round appearance is quite inspiring, to use the example of Haiku, as I have elsewhere: Haiku is in beta, it's not a whole lot of use in the real world, but I think their lovely website, logo, and appearance of the desktop makes people think that it has a good future ahead of it, and makes people glad to be a part of it. RISC OS, on balance, is probably more useful in the real world than Haiku, but the impression you get from all the websites about it is that it's ancient, ugly, and all round a bit crap.

ROOL, I think, realise this, and their website is clean and pleasant. iyonix.com is alright, but a nice logo would make a big difference. ROL's website is beyond saving I think and needs redesigning from the ground up.

Lot's of companies would refresh their branding after 5 or so years, maybe we should too.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 04/03/07 11:25PM
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thegman: "Lot's of companies would refresh their branding"

Sorry, but whatever you may think of other people's pictures, I think that the first requirement for any sort of design is having competency in whatever language you're planning to use. Get that right first, lecture the rest of us about design afterwards.

That goes for several would-be design "gurus", by the way ;-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 05/03/07 03:07AM
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Hello dgs, While it would not be a proper thread on a RISC OS forum without somebody commenting on someone else's grammar, spelling or mis-capitilisation of "RISC OS", I genuinely don't see why my grammatical errors make me any less able to comment on design work. One can appreciate the Apple logo without being able to speak, read or write in any language, so I don't really understand your point.

I have also never claimed to be a design guru, I'll be the first to admit that I am useless at design or art, truly useless. This is why I pay someone else to do it for me, in the same way that right this very moment, I'm paying someone to fit a bathroom for me.

And before someone says that RISC OS companies cannot afford to pay for design work, I'll point out that looking at ROL's accounts shows that they make A LOT more money than I do out of software. Also, when you're in a market in which you have to at least *pretend* you're competing with lots of professionally run companies, you can't afford *not* to pay for good design work.

And finally, I'm not lecturing anyone, merely passing comment in a forum, the same way you are.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 05/03/07 08:11AM
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Richard, ignore the couple of wingers, the vast majority of RISC OS users greatly appreciate your work on the logo and icon sets which are far better than anything that has gone before. Your articles in FRU setting out the design aims and how you've implemented them are particularly informative and thought provoking.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 05/03/07 10:34AM
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thegman: "Whatever we think about any of these logos, they've been around a while, and maybe could do with a 'refresh', I just think that a really fresh, new logo for RISC OS, and a few new nice icons in the OS could give the OS and the community as a whole a bit of a boost."

Well, I guess the Iyonix could do with a new logo, since the only association I can make is with the power button on the older style cases. Perhaps RISC OS could do with a 'modernized' version of the cogwheel logo, as Richard has intentionally made his design 'bare bones' to accommodate any enhancements or adaptations in the future. However a completely new design would be foolish and unnecessary, since the cogwheel is a well-defined logo and largely adopted by the market and beyond. It describes RO well and I see no reason why it should be discarded from that role. I'm sure it could be made more stylish to please a larger amount of RO users and give a more professional sheen towards the computing public.

While paying a professional is usually a guarantee to get a good piece of quality design, I believe anyone who's well skilled and has a rich background in design work could do it, for free or otherwise. This applies equally well to a website or a logo. It seems many RO companies do the design of their website themselves, for whatever reason. This shouldn't be a problem, if the person in question can do so with skill and professional capacity. However, the situation is that many have a dated design with a decidedly amateurish appearance, and have done so for years. For example, the ROL website has been like this for about 7 years!

Perhaps the problem is that many RO companies just don't find it's necessary to spend their precious money on presenting a professional company image. Even though the service or products being offered are of a professional quality. Perhaps they think their market is too small to make it worthwhile, since most customers are familiar faces. Or because they like to remain compatible with ArcWeb. I simply don't know why they keep their websites and logos like this, but I do believe this contributes to the detriment of RO's marketplace, which has only shrunk over the years. I know for a fact that RO and certain software titles can produce very high quality work, through ways and means other systems just can't approach. I believe that so long this market is a breathing and developing one, it deserves to be presented with the quality design RO is capable of achieving in several lines of work. It would certainly help and would certainly not be prohibitively expensive. Furthermore, I'd strongly recommend enhancing the content of many sites to feature (more) screenshots, better product descriptions and up-to-date material.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 05/03/07 11:39AM
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"Lot's (sic) of companies would refresh their branding after 5 or so years, maybe we should too."

In case you missed it, RISC OS 5 benefited from a full icon re-design four years ago, which gave it a structured and coherent appearance. The Iyonix branding was also new four years ago. I'm not sure when the cog appeared, but it must have been around that time too.

The cog is becoming a standard logo across the platform: throwing it away now would be extremely foolish and, given the politics, I suspect that any successor would be unlikely to gain such universal approval.

Finally, I'm with Druck on the last point: Richard, ignore the handful of whingers who haven't yet (AFAICT) demonstrated their design abilities.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 05/03/07 5:27PM
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Reply to stevef, I am aware of the Iyonix icon set, and they are alright, could benefit from the use of an alpha-channel, but that is of course not within Richard Hallas' control.

I know the cog is standard, and as I've said, although I'm not a fan of it, it's OK, and is not one of the key parts that need to be replaced.

I think if the cog can get universal approval, other aspects of the design can too, like you say there is politics, but we're seeing a bit more co-operation these days, so I think if an indepedant party had some design work done, and sought the approval of all concerned, we'd probably find an agreement was easier to reach than first thought.

With regard to your last point, I think whether us "whingers" can design or not is utterly irrelevant, we can all go into a restaurant and criticise the food without being able to cook, we can all dislike certain music without being able to play an instrument. I'll be the first to admit I cannot design, draw, or otherwise create visual art. I am completely inept in that field. However does that mean I have to accept bad design (I'm not saying RH's work is "bad", just making a general point) in every area of my life? Does it mean that because I am not able to make attractive art to hang on my wall, I must make do with whatever is supplied to me, and never speak a word about how I think it could be improved?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 05/03/07 7:15PM
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thegman: "I'll point out that looking at ROL's accounts shows that they make A LOT more money than I do out of software."

You must be looking at different accounts than me, the ones I've read show that, although they have turnover, they've not made a profit in any year since they started.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 05/03/07 9:05PM
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Your "independant" third-party: who would that be? You seem to be suggeting that someone gets the design done and than hawks it around the various companies and individuals in the market. Remember that "all concerned" means end users like me, too (I create web pages and the like which include the cog). I'd expect any new initiative to come "from the top" (the cog was sanctioned by Castle and ROL early on), or I can't see me taking it on board.

As for the right to whinge: of course we can all criticise. Campaigning to throw the baby out with the bathwater without showing a credible alternative isn't really that helpful, though. Some of your criticisms of individuls' work (even if you don't name them) have looked extremely spiteful, too; it would be worth bearing that in mind, even if you didn't mean them to come over in such a way.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 05/03/07 9:24PM
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In reply to flibble, you're right, I was looking at turnover, not profit, my mistake.

In reply to stevef, my spelling is not getting any better is it? :-)

I assure you it's not spite, it's just wanting my OS to look pretty :-) I'm not talking about a wholesale throwing out of all design work in RISC OS, I'm just talking about looking at certain asthetic parts of the OS with a critical eye and thinking "can we do better than this?".

I could show credible alternatives in terms of other OS logos, but if we're talking about actually doing a new logo myself, then unfortunately, I'm just not capable.

Well, I've said my piece, and I really don't want to upset anyone by criticising their work, I just think the visual appearance of a desktop OS is really, really important, and if we can improve it, we should.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 05/03/07 10:04PM
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Who designed the RISC OS Six website? It's quite nice looking, although the content needs work - at the moment it's far too wordy, has no screenshots and much of the copy is just plain confusing (the Pricing page, anyone?)

Does anyone know if ROL's website uses any sort of database / content management system, or is it just maintained by hand? If ROL was some kind of user owned co-operative or something I might suggest putting together a group of volunteers to build a new site - there's obviously the talent out there, but whether anyone wants to just give things away to a private company...

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 06/03/07 01:27AM
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Whoops... I'd forgotten they'd added those screenshots. Better, but still, they're buried underneath that enormous amount of text...

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 06/03/07 01:28AM
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Re: RISC OS 6 webpages

It's odd that a RISC OS site should have pages with such high fixed width requirements, considering the resoution/colour limits of non-Viewfinder RiscPCs. On [link] a 1024 pixel display's not enough to see the whole page, and the banner looks too narrow as a result.

I did notice that their pages use the cog as the favicon, though.

 is a RISC OS UserMattLB on 06/03/07 4:41PM
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I notice ROL use Skype.

Skype would require the purchase of A PC or Mac to use, as opposed to standard sip VOIP, which would just require a £30 box plugged into a router and standard phone, and can be set-up from RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 06/03/07 5:22PM
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I think I liked (mostley) the Game stand (not because I was helping in runing it) but it was a long time since I played HoMM2, the CJE stand was good too.

Now talking about Skype, I notice that you get some RISC OS users wish that someone would port Skype to RISC OS and some people joke about actually "it's in the progress" if someone would actually promise and make it for RISC OS and release it either free or otherwise.

Thanks EnteryourGAMEhere

 is a RISC OS Userenteryournamehere on 05/05/07 09:04AM
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