RISC OS-on-Linux project prepares live CDPublished: 9th Sep 2007, 12:35:09 | Permalink | Printable
And one day using QEMU to run ARM apps on x86?An ambitious initiative to eventually run RISC OS desktop software on Linux-powered PCs took a step closer to reality this month. Issues with the user interface code have been addressed, and a bootable CD is being prepared to demonstrate the system's abilities.
The aim of the RISC OS Look and Feel project is to enable native RISC OS applications and Linux programs to run within a familiar looking desktop on modern hardware - allowing users' favourite software to run on systems that can also play DVDs, browse the latest web content, play games and use the latest gadgets.
Developer Simon Willcocks said he is ready to produce a 'live CD' that includes basic components, including an iconbar, a filer, a terminal emulator, an image viewer, an MP3 player, NetSurf, Inkscape, and so on.
ROLF uses its own custom-written window manager to provide a RISC OS-style desktop, although GTK+ applications can be used thanks to an interface layer. Programs can be developed natively for ROLF using a provided library, and software that uses OSLib could soon be easily ported across to ROLF. An image-support library is also included.
At some point, work will begin to allow native ARM-targeted RISC OS programs to run over the Brandy BASIC interpreter and QEMU on an Intel-powered Linux PC. THe ROLF project is entirely separate to ROX, which uses the X Window system.
Simon said: "It's probably worth noting that I'm not intending this system to be used for multi-user or Internet server purposes. It's just for a single-user, simple to use system with a RISC OS style interface and enough oomph to permit the applications people are starting to miss on real ARM hardware to be realised."
Simon also called for more help with the project.
He added: "Nobody should expect anything polished or fast. Optimisation of the images library is being left until I have proof-of-concept code for all the basic features - or until I find it too annoying to put up with.
"I'm unsure at the moment how much standard Unix behaviour to leave in, and how much should be done using more RISC OS-like applications. I expect to evolve an approach over time."
The ROLF website
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