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Techie docs for mystery Acorn CAD workstation surface

Published: 10th Dec 2008, 00:32:13 | Permalink | Printable

Documentation for Acorn's 1988 prototype 'high end' technical publishing workstation have been scanned and published online by collector-of-old-kit Chris Why. The A680 was an advanced Archimedes-series machine that ran Acorn's Unix attempt, RISC iX. It was initially powered by a 25MHz ARM2 and had a 67MB hard disc with up to 8MB of RAM and a monochrome display.

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Interesting stuff. I remember seeing with an R260 back in the early 90's. Compared with other UNIX workstations of the day e.g. the Sun Sparcstation it was relatively cheap, but the floating point performance was not good.

Has anyone tried running RISC iX on a emulator? Would be an interesting blast from the past.

I guess RISC iX is one of the less well known parts of the Archimedes / ARM / RISC OS projects

 is a RISC OS Userstevek on 10/12/08 6:36AM
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My understanding is that ArcEm can run RISC iX. I also recall the product being generally considered a failure; Sun gave many universities kit so cheaply it was almost free, while Acorn had to pay Sun huge royalties for each copy of RISC iX sold.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 11/12/08 1:35AM
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Maybe if you ask RISCOS Ltd. nicely, they'll sell you a license for use with ArcEm. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 12/12/08 12:14AM
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It's unclear who owns RISC iX. I'd be interested in knowing the answer, however.

Also: Who owns what exists of ARX?

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 12/12/08 1:00AM
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Well, I was really just being flippant, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was no longer possible to distribute RISC iX legally. I imagine it depends largely on the kinds of agreements Acorn had and who took on its obligations when it was sold off - perhaps their license to distribute it had already lapsed or was non-transferable, anyway.

A mini-Groklaw for RISC OS and other Acorn stuff would be useful, if only we could get hold of the relevant contracts and agreements.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 12/12/08 8:16PM
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