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Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC leaves beta

Published: 20th Apr 2008, 22:42:06 | Permalink | Printable

Emulation software on sale in time for Wakefield 2008

RiscPC-hardware emulation software VirtualRiscPC is now officially available for flash Apple Mac computers after spending a year in beta testers' hands. A full release is now shipping after selected brave punters test drove the software and offered their feedback to VRPC publisher VirtualAcorn so that bugs and other issues could be addressed.

In May last year, VRPC was first made publicly available as a beta to Apple PowerPC Mac users. In October, a version went on sale for new Intel-powered Macs. The latest full version of VirtualRiscPC released this month is compatible with both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

Previous beta testers can also post back their install CDs to upgrade for free to the latest full version.

In an announcement, VA boss Aaron Timbrell said: "The first beta version was made available at Wakefield 2007 and in the 11 months since then we have been hard at work improving the product with the valuable assistance of all the beta testers.

"The feedback offered has been excellent and has allowed us to greatly improve the product. In addition we have been able to add a number of features that we hadn't previously considered."

VirtualRiscPC was developed by Graeme Barnes, who last time we heard was working full-time for chip design giant ARM, and emulates a RiscPC-class machine to allow punters to run RISC OS and associated applications within a Windows or Apple Mac OS X environment.

• Aaron also this week angrily denied there was any truth in "deeply insulting" suggestions that there is a conflict of interest between himself and stalled efforts to bring out a port of RISC OS Select for the Castle Iyonix. Aaron is a director of RISCOS Ltd, which develops Select and RISC OS 4 and 6 and these versions of the operating system can be run on VirtualRiscPC but not the Iyonix, which instead uses RISC OS 5, a rival to ROL's OS.

Aaron added that he had "spent some considerable time trying to get Select for the Iyonix sorted" but said ROL were still waiting for technical details from Castle before a stable port could be carried out.

He added: "I've worked bloody hard over the last couple of years to get ROL's development back on track. I made myself very ill working on RISC OS Select 4i1 and 4i2. I've made it clear that I've done my best to get Select working on the Iyonix.

"I'd have more to gain by just walking away from RISC OS completely but I am not going to. I, along with many others, have made a commitment and we will all stick to that commitment. My role is now mainly hands off. I do not dictate the development work that is undertaken and I certainly do not 'restrict' RISC OS development in any way."


VirtualAcorn website

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With many schools moving from Acorn machines to Apple I have always thought that VirtualRiscPC would have a lot of appeal in the education market. Perhaps a bundle targetting schools with discounts a class set and a selection of good educational software might spark some interest. Just thinking out loud here.

I'm not sure if I understand this correctly, but VirtualRiscPC comes with RISC OS 4.39 and so you need to subscribe to RISC OS Select to latest version? I understand that Select is funded by subscribers and I don't want to start a flame war but wouldn't it make sense to include the latest OS?

Aaron is one of those people who has put his heart and soul into RISC OS over many years and I hope it pays off for him.

 is a RISC OS Userstevek on 21/4/08 8:01AM
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The beta version runs really well on the latest Mac hardware and also latest Select works on it. So I'm really looking forward to release version.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 21/4/08 9:29AM
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This is excellent news.

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/4/08 10:11AM
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Now if only VRPC (either Mac or Windows) could be run from a memory stick to overcome the One computer limit I'd buy right now. However, having to buy 5 licenses or room-hop is not feasible for me. But then I've always been asking for this.

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/4/08 10:16AM
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nijnsky: Install the TUN/TAP device driver used by things like OpenVPN, create a "virtual" network interface, and make up a MAC address to register VA with? I have no idea if that would work, but you can always try and then return the software under distance selling laws if it doesn't work out :)

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 21/4/08 10:18AM
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What wonderful news. Thanks to Graeme and Aaron and the beta testers for their efforts. I'd love to see RISC OS running on a Macbook Air. Anyone tried it yet?


 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 21/4/08 10:23AM
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I still fail to see any weight in what comments like nijinsky's hold. You buy a WindowsXP licence for every PC, a MacOS licence for every Mac (although it may seem to be pre-loaded, you're still paying for it). Why would RISC OS be any different? It has never been a free OS. You might as well ask MS or Apple for their OS to do the same (ie. run from a pen drive without activation)!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 21/4/08 10:32AM
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In reply to stevek:

I've never subscribed to Select, but have 4.39 running on two computers: my wife's laptop and my iMac (both VRPC).

This is marvellous news: I've always enjoyed VRPC on the Mac and look forward to making a Mac the main computer. Sorry to say it, but the Iyonix - still the flagship "RISC OS in hardware" computer - is beginning to show its age.

I'm even more disappointed that I can't go to Wakefield now.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 21/4/08 10:42AM
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arawnsley: I seem to recall that Select subscribers are allowed to run Select on any machine they have - does that not include VRPC? Isn't it essentially a "site licence"? If not, perhaps if VA could provide a "site licence" to their emulator, and then sell RISC OS licences seperately?

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 21/4/08 11:16AM
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arawnsley: just compare V-RPC with Windows XP running inside a VMWare virtual machine. See the difference?

Anyway, I am now mostly using Tom Walker's excellent RPCemu which does not have many of the obstructive limitations of V-RPC.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 11:23AM
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This is one of the problems with emulation.

People forget that the package actually includes an Operating System which needs to be paid for on a per machine basis.

RISC OS isn't yet a free Operating System.

I suppose the confusion comes from the fact you can (illegally of course!) buy a windows OS CD, for instance, and use it accross multiple machines (real or virtual).

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis on 21/4/08 11:35AM
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OS licencing as far as I am aware (at least for Windows):

1) oem copies are for use on 1 machine, and one machine only. They live and die with the machine (real or virtual), and are non-transferrable 2) RISC OS bundled with VRPC is oem and should be considered like Windows-oem 3) Retail copies of Windows cost a LOT more (usually 2-3 times the price, and certainly more than VA costs) but can be transferred from machine to machine. 4) MS are quite fussy about which OSs they allow to be virtualised anyway - it tends to be the expensive ones!

The only thing I'm not sure about is how MS would view a Virtual Machine on a USB stick. I suspect that it would contrevene the oem licence (which probably hasn't been tested in court, of course!) and require a retail OS build.

Select required an OS 4 ROM as a baseline. It can be used on top of any machine with an RO4+ RISC OS Ltd ROM/image, including VRPC.

Using RO4+ ROM images on RPCemu is, I think, pretty much a blatent licence infingement, but hey, this is the RISC OS market - noone can afford to get litigious!!!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 21/4/08 12:51PM
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arawnsley wrote: "Select required an OS 4 ROM as a baseline. It can be used on top of any machine with an RO4+ RISCOS Ltd ROM/image, including VRPC. "

It doesn't need to on VRPC, you can boot straight in to a suitably prepared Select ROM image.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 21/4/08 1:18PM
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In reply to arawnsley:

"Using RO4+ ROM images on RPCemu is, I think, pretty much a blatent licence infingement,"

Surely that wouldn't apply if the user bought VRPC and used the provided RO4 image with RPCemu instead of using it with VRPC?

Re your point 2: before we had VRPC it was possible to transfer a ROM from a dead machine to a working one. E.g. if an RO4 machine died the owner could transfer the ROM into a working RO3 machine. Does the same not apply to VRPC?

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 21/4/08 1:41PM
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arawnsley: Although, under UK law, terms that prevent or limit interoperability are unenforcable. Assuming somebody has obtained RISC OS legally, running it under RPCemu is a grayer area than you might think.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 21/4/08 2:00PM
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IN reply to Arawnsley.

One computer at home.... Came with Windows (bought computer on ebay with genuine license). So I didn't have to buy separately. Work OS (2 computers) came with OS (I work in a Uni and they allow you to put XP on a home machine as part of their agreement (I don't, I have my own license that cam with the machine)) No cost to me. The MacOS machine did come with MacOS (of course) and it is a work machine so they bought the OS. No cost to me.

So the cost of the OS's to me are ZERO.

Surely you don't think someone that uses 5-6 computers actually bought the 6 from their own pocket?

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/4/08 2:28PM
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Bob, you're not making a lot of sense - even if you didn't pay for all your machines, SOMEONE did. And if you didn't, that's all the more money saved to buy RISC OS licences! And as for your last comment, most of us using multiple machines buy/build them, yes (either directly or through company) - it's called Tax Breaks ;)

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 21/4/08 2:57PM
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This is good news :) I hope VA will now be able to devote some development time to fixing some of the problems in the Windows version of VRPC.


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 21/4/08 4:12PM
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Still doesn't affect what comes out of my Pocket. However, One thing I could do is to buy a VARPCSE version at 79GBP and stick my unused VA5000 on a work machine. Then I could slap on my Mpro, datapower, and the Browser (etc) that I got from Rcomp on my new RISCOS home machine. After all it is only a Hobby OS for me these days. :-)

However, I still say that the best IMHO model that VA could have would be to have a One user license.

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/4/08 5:12PM
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arawnsley: "Using RO4+ ROM images on RPCemu is, I think, pretty much a blatent licence infingement, but hey, this is the RISC OS market - noone can afford to get litigious!!!"

Using a RISC OS 4 (or RISC OS Adjust or whatever) that was properly bought and is not used in another context is of course perfectly legal on any machine - including RPCemu.

Concerning Windows OEM licences: Microsoft's view of things have been tested in court (at least in Germany), and Microsoft lost. As a result, it is perfectly legal to resell OEM licences, and it is perfectly legal to do whatever the user wants after he has bought it (bundled or unbundled), including running it on a VM. I suspect the same rules also apply to RO4 bundled with V-RPC.

Moral: if you sell something, you can't arbitrarily restrict its usage.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 8:21PM
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Quite right. However, the hypothetical future scenario of RPCEmu running a suitably modified ROOL R05 would make things rather more simple. I'm hoping Wakefield will see another announcement of released sources - visible progress on this important project is always encouraging.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 21/4/08 8:29PM
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hubersn: The issue here is that Microsoft and ROL aren't selling anything other than a CD: they are providing you a licence to use the software. Of course, if they want to sue their own paying customers, that's their prerogative; but I doubt they'll be customers for long.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 21/4/08 8:32PM
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rjek: under German law at least, the software is the licence is the "item". Its usage can't be arbitrarily restricted. Resale cannot be denied. The "licence to use" cannot be denied. The kind of hardware it is executed on cannot be defined. The customer has certain rights that no "licence" can take away. This includes e.g. making backups, reverse engineering the software to ensure compatibility and runnability etc.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 9:36PM
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Regardless of the legal can or cannot's of the licensing I think people need to look at consider that using software without paying for it will discourage developers from producing new software for RISC OS. We can't let that happen.

The market for RISC OS is small and doesn't have the same economies of scale that larger markets have. Developers charge what they think is fair to make a return on the investment of time they make to create these products.

Anyone who can develop a good quality application for RISC OS could almost certainly earn a lot more developing on other platforms and so many of them do this for love of the platform not to become the next Bill Gates.

Please consider these things before breaking the licensing conditions of a RISC OS application.

 is a RISC OS Userstevek on 22/4/08 8:11PM
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stevek: I think you misunderstood. The RISC OS 4 ROMs were of course bought and properly paid for. RO Ltd. just think that it is illegal to use it in this specific context, for whatever reasons. They were not able to offer an alternative product they could sell.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/4/08 10:34PM
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IN reply to SteveK.

Also consider the people that are not very good at programming. Like Me. :-) They may wish to programme for a small market like RISC OS and make money, rather than programme for windows and make nothing because there are tons of free apps or better programmers in windows land.

That is why I write apps for a specialist market (microscopy) or for PDA's. Indeed, many of my Palm apps were cracked and you can get them on a .ru site. That was why I eventually stopped writing apps for palm and now do custom jobs.

Anyway moan over. :-)

cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 25/4/08 1:39PM
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This is good news - especaily as I'm considering migrating to Macs from doze. My congratulations to the developers on their continuing hard work.

TBH I gave up on VRPC some time ago with issues related to the above comments. -If its installed on a PC that has regular changes to its setup (network especially) the dreaded invalid licence error pops-up requiring an application to the developers for yet another licence... ...makes the software unusable if your settings are changing on a more than daily basis.

Is this a whinge? I hope not, it's just there are other copy-protection methods & I'd like to be able to use V_RPC.

P.S. On the subject of licencing there is NO legal impediment for running any OS from a memory stick if that suits the user. If as is common for home use you have a licence to run one copy on one computer at any one time, what's the difference (apart from convenience) between installing onto transferable media or installing/uninstalling each time you move computer? But my terms of use state that the licence is tied to a particular computer... ...tricky when PC's can be 'upgraded' endlessly.

 is a RISC OS UserCharlie on 2/7/08 1:57PM
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