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RISC OS development charity taking shape

Published: 25th Jun 2007, 23:43:12 | Permalink | Printable

There may be discussions ahead

A possible ROS Connect logoAn effort by users to produce a charity that will support future RISC OS software development is beginning to take shape. Using a mailing list to coordinate the project, a group of punters eventually hope to create a website that will allow people to offer cash and skills to developers.

For example, a cash bounty could be collected for a particular piece of software to be created and the coder to fulfill this first will be rewarded with the pot of money. Alternatively, developers can list project ideas and call for help from others - be it coding, documentation writing, window template design or project administration. The exact details have yet to be decided.

While the principle of encouraging collaborative development is sound, some high profile programmers have told drobe.co.uk that they would be reluctant to take money for RISC OS work. One reason is because people may feel aggrieved if any resultant software is not up to scratch. If the software is released for free (open or freeware), this scenario is avoided because no one can seriously complain about work they didn't pay for. This changes once money is handed over. Also, collaborative projects can involve several people contributing different kinds of work, and dividing up money fairly could lead to friction.

Having chosen the name 'RISC OS Connect' during a discussion at the Wakefield 2007 show, the group are now voting on a logo to represent the project - an example is shown above. A domain name has also been reserved. To join in the project and help out, see the links below.

• Jeroen Groenendaal and his brother hope to resurrect the RISC OS games they originally developed under the GEK banner. A number of their titles are available here, keep an eye on the site for other completed works. It is hoped their games will be released as freeware.


RISC OS Future mailing list
Reserved website domain: www.riscos-connect.org

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Instead of promising cash up front, a committee could award a prize for the best free software for RISC OS, with prizes in several categories such as: Best new software, best maintained software, largest contribution to OS development, best ported software, etc.

 is a RISC OS Usertorbenm on 26/6/07 8:18AM
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Fair enough that some programmers aren't keen to accept payment (and the accompanying obligation to produce a reasonably finished product) for RO work, but the problem of just leaving it up to the vagaries of enthusiast programmers is, it seems to me, that some highly desirable heavyweight items - a uptodate Flash plugin for example, or an update to the Firefox port - are (a) not particularly sexy and (b) may need the efforts of more than one person to complete in a reasonable time. So I think this initiative is a good one and I support it.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 26/6/07 10:47AM
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My money is ready to support such a scheme. There are projects that will require more than one person to complete either because of the sheer volume of work or because of different skills and backgrounds needed.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 26/6/07 11:39AM
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Why not subscribe to the mailing list and make your suggestion there? The link is above, and it isn't in any way closed - and AFAIK because everything is really in the early stages, discussion of ideas and possible routes to take is welcome.

Speaking more generally, as a developer I release some software with a price tag, and some I make freely available - in the former case, payment from such a system is inappropriate, since users are paying for it anyway, and in the latter case, if I wanted people to pay for it, the price tag would be something other than £0.00, so I'd neither want or expect any kind of payment from a venture such as this.

However, not every developer is the same, and nobody's background is entirely the same; from what they can spare in terms of development time, to what their abilities are, what help and support they need and in what areas - and right through to their motivations for coding.

I therefore think the motivation behind RISC OS Connect is a good one and worthy of support, and that's why I am on the mailing list - primarily only as an observer or interested third party, though I'll comment and offer help where I can. I would urge other developers, even though they may feel as described in the article about benefitting from the project themselves, to do likewise.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 26/6/07 11:42AM
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In reply to bucksboy:

I don't agree that an up-to-date flash player is "not particularly sexy" - it's one of the things that's causing RISC OS to lose so many users to rival platforms. I would willingly hand over money for a browser that allowed me to access the full features of (for example) youtube on my Iyonix.

I've signed up and hope to help in any way I can.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 26/6/07 12:19PM
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cables: If you want youtube (which uses flash video) ask Castle to provide a H263 video decoder library for the iyonix. Whilst your at it, ask them to provide an abstracted higher level 2D and 3D APIs, abstracted media APIs and language binding for many more programming language, oh and ask them to not charge for it. Then maybe you'd have more people writing the programs that you seek, and programmers won't just head to other platforms where such things are available at no cost.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 26/6/07 1:18PM
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I think this is a great idea. I brought up the topic on Iconbar a few months ago and it was generally dismissed or people took pains to think of every possible reason why it would fail. Then sat on their hands and complained some more before booting up their Linux or Mac boxes. There's a similar scheme running successfully for the AROS OS which is encouraging developments for the platform. Hopefully it will help here. Actually, I think this could be even better, if people can get involved with things related to platform development that aren't just coding.

 is a RISC OS UserGinger2 on 26/6/07 1:36PM
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VinceH: "Why not subscribe to the mailing list and make your suggestion there? The link is above, and it isn't in any way closed" Well, the archive is apparently closed to non-subscribers. Why's that?

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 26/6/07 2:08PM
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I think it is a bloody good idea and well done to those that thought of it.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 26/6/07 3:15PM
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Excellent news about GEK - I loved the demo of Emotions to bits, although if I recall it's rock hard enough that I never actually got round to completing it and buying the full version. Free copies of some of their older games is much appreciated.

It also made me check the APDL games page, which I'd not before. I have a feeling that could end up costing me, even with the 3 for 2 offer. The GEK compilation, or the platform compilation (which includes some GEK games, but not Emotions, but adds some Tom Cooper games)? The Flight Sim collection for Chocks Away and the excellent SunBurst, or the Racing Game collection for SA compatible versions of Saloon Cars and Stunt Racer 2000? Sod it, I'll buy them all! Bwuahaha!

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 26/6/07 3:16PM
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I'm sorry, much as I love RISC OS. I think the idea of a platform being supported by charity is wrong.

As a socialist, I dont believe that children's health or welfare should depend on Charity. But it does. So I'd rather give my money to the NSPCC or a Childrens hospice such as Rachel house in Scotland.

Sorry folks, nothing from me.

 is a RISC OS Userrpc4ever on 26/6/07 3:39PM
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In reply to rpc4ever:

And yet you are (presumably) willing to give money to private corporations - and through them, their shareholders. How odd.

 is a RISC OS Usergdshaw on 26/6/07 8:25PM
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The reason for becoming a charity is because RISC OS Connect is *not for profit*

The bounty idea for contributions is *optional* - if you contribute you don't *have* to take any money.

Part of what we are trying to do is:

Offer an optional bounty for contributions to the RISC OS community for those that would find this attractive.

Generating lists of stuff that users want and lists of what contributors could provide. This is where I see the bounty scheme really kicking in - for instance someone could really help with documentation on a project if there was something in it for them.

RISC OS Connect is a vessel for people to *help* the RISC OS Community, even if it is "just" money.

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis on 26/6/07 9:58PM
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To follow up on this, as Graham and Keith have said the only reason for making it a charity is to ensure that the maximum contributions go in to developing things for RISC OS and not anything else.

To pick up other points then yes some people would not be interested in a "bounty" but they might need some money to purchase items to assist in the devlopment i.e like C++ tools, RISCPC if they haven't got one. It might mean the "Charity" has some items to loan out to assist things or as stated people help by doing testing/documentation/graphic designs etc. I wouldn't rule out derisking a commercial product as part of the assistance so that the product gets developed when it might not have.

Things are in the early phase and people joining the mailing list now have a chance to influence what goes on. So instead of saying RISC OS is dead because it has got xxx , why not come and try and do something about it

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 26/6/07 10:43PM
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In response to the crap that I posted yesterday.

Ever have a bad day and ramble on stupidly? Well, that's what I did. I'm not proud of my stupid comments and apologise. I hope nobody thinks I was trolling. I'm sorry guys.

It would look like I am a first time poster, but I'm not - I forgot my password and got a new account. I was one of the ones who was bigging up the Netsurf guys. I should know better than making negative posts.

I think that the guys have come up with a plan which has a reasonably good chance of success.

At the moment I really dont think I could contribute financially, and my programming skills are too basic. I tried last year to get to grips with Desklib, but personal matters made it difficult.

I could do some testing though. (If anything needs to be tested on my old rpc700 (OS 3.7) / A7000 (OS 3.6) or I could proof read documentation or something :)

 is a RISC OS Userrpc4ever on 27/6/07 9:03AM
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In reply to rpc4ever:

Don't worry about it, your not the first to post something and regret it and I doubt very much whether you'll be the last! ;o)

For the record I think the exciting thing about this particular development isn't the money, but the fact that a group of users have seen a potential for aiding RISC OS and have done something about it.

Unfortunatly, for me, I'm not in a position to help out at the moment as when I'm not working full time I'm busy trying to complete an Open Uni course. But as soon as that course has finished (Oct) I intend to look into how I can help out, possibly by offering help in writing user documentation etc.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 27/6/07 11:31AM
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