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New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release

Published: 10th Dec 2008, 03:40:50 | Permalink | Printable

RISCOS Ltd, the developers of RISC OS 4 and 6, may attempt to block RISC OS Open Ltd from releasing a RiscPC-compatible ROM built from the RISC OS 5 Shared Source project, drobe.co.uk has learned.

Well-placed sources say ROL, whose representatives have this month claimed on public forums that the company now owns all versions of RISC OS from 4.00 onwards, believes the free distribution of such a ROM image from ROOL would be a breach of ROL's exclusive rights to develop and market the operating system, which was formerly produced by Acorn and later picked up by Pace.

History catch-up
ROL first licensed the right to work on RISC OS for desktop machines (and later a greater range of devices) from Pace in 1998 following the collapse of Acorn that year. In 2002, Castle obtained Pace's 32bit RISC OS sources and used them to create RISC OS 5 for its Iyonix computer range. ROL and Castle continued to develop and sell their own seperate streams of the OS: RISC OS 4 and 6 are used in RiscPC and A7000-compatible machines and emulators and later the A9home while RISC OS 5, as a desktop OS, remained exclusive to the Iyonix.

In 2003 Castle said it bought the OS "lock, stock and barrel" from Pace, however ROL continue to dispute the level of ownership Castle has of the OS, drawing attention to the wording of the buy-up announcement. However Castle maintain to date that it bought the OS from Pace and had instructed its own lawyers to double-check its legal position. A year later Castle and ROL briefly kissed and made up after Castle tried to stop ROL developing its stream of RISC OS soon after Castle announced its purchase of the OS.

In 2007 Castle came up with its shared source scheme and chose RISC OS Open Ltd, which is made up of ex-Pace engineers, to manage the publication and development of the RISC OS 5 source code. So far the team have uploaded the blueprints to and pre-built copies of the OS's applications and low-level components, weaved in a number of code contributions from volunteer programmers and distributed some experimental Iyonix-only ROM images. ROOL's overall aim is to allow punters to freely download or build RiscPC-compatible ROM images for their computers and emulators - a move that sources close to RISCOS Ltd believe is a step too far for ROL, which has focused its efforts over the past nine years on the RiscPC-class sector of the RISC OS hardware market, branching out to the A9home when AdvantageSix stepped in.

It is understood ROL is happy to allow ROOL to continue turning out Iyonix-only ROM images but may put the matter to a company shareholder vote on whether or not to take action to attempt to halt the distribution of RiscPC-compatible RISC OS 5 ROMs. In 2003, ROL shareholders decided not to attempt to pursue Castle for developing a desktop RISC OS computer, the Iyonix, after ROL bosses believed the company held exclusive rights to the desktop RISC OS market and the Iyonix was in breach of this. Castle strongly denied any wrongdoing.

ROL's revelation
ROL's new strengthened stance on the OS ownership dispute appears to have come about after company director Aaron Timbrell reviewed the paperwork documenting ROL's licence to develop and distribute RISC OS. This agreement was initially drawn up with E-14, a company formed during the break-up of Acorn that took on the intellectual property rights (IPR) to the technology that we know as RISC OS. This technology was subsequently snapped up by Pace to use in set-top boxes. ROL were, at the time, granted exclusive rights to continue working on RISC OS for the Acorn enthusiast market and from Acorn's final sources it produced RISC OS 4. ROL say this early desktop-only remit was extended by Pace at a later date - paving the way for RISC OS 4 to be bundled with emulator VirtualRiscPC (which is incidentally published by Aaron Timbrell).

Having leafed through the licence agreement and various bits of correspondance and public postings, Aaron now believes RISC OS 5 is a derivative of the source code base that RISC OS 4 was born from. It is understood that some of ROL's early changes to RISC OS had to be passed back to Pace, and ROL's position appears, in part, to rest on whether or not these ROL-authored updates made their way into the code that Pace engineers eventually 32bitted and turned into RISC OS 5.

And having fulfilled various obligations set out in the original agreement with E-14 (such as the aforementioned requirement of ROL to share early source code changes with Pace), ROL can now safely declare itself owner of the OS source it picked up in 1998 and all subsequent updates to it, claims Aaron - who believes Castle's RISC OS 5 also falls under this. Therefore, according to Aaron, ROL own RISC OS 5 and suitable licences must be obtained from ROL before anyone can produce a RISC OS-powered product that falls within ROL's licence remit. Hence the latest objection to plans to release a free RiscPC-compatible ROM image buit from the RISC OS 5 sources by RISC OS Open using materials provided by Castle.

In a comment posted on Drobe, Aaron wrote: "Once RISCOS Ltd had fulfilled certain obligations it acquired all 'right and title' to versions of RISC OS developed over the last decade. There have been some behind the scenes discussions with regard to this going on for some time.

"RISCOS Ltd is now a fully independant organisation that can do what it likes with its IPR (which includes all versions of RISC OS 4 onwards) without any reference to any third party. RISCOS Ltd's agreement with E-14 states that, once certain obligations had been fulfilled, RISC OS 4 (and any deriviative produced from the source) would be then owned exclusively by RISCOS Ltd.

"Since RISC OS 5 is a derivative from the same tree and was based on the RISC OS 4 code that was licensed back to Pace for their STB projects, it follows that RISCOS Ltd also owns this. If you check you will find comments from several of the ROOL guys that confirm this history of RISC OS 5. Neither E-14, Pace or Castle have ever owned any version of RISC OS from RISC OS 4 onwards. They have only ever been able to use them under licence from RISC OS Ltd."

Fellow ROL director Dave Holden added: "After a certain period ownership of RISC OS 4 and all its derivatives passed to RISC OS Ltd."

Castle declined to comment on Aaron and Dave's claims, but it is understood the company is adamant it bought RISC OS from Pace and carried out its own legal investigations into the ownership dispute.

RISC OS Open's response
Meanwhile, RISC OS Open boss Steve Revill said any action taken by ROL to stop ROOL from distributing a RiscPC-compatible RISC OS 5 ROM would have to be directed at Castle, rather his own company.

Steve said: "I wouldn't lose too much sleep over this for the following reasons: first, the IPR belongs to Castle Technology Ltd and ROOL have released it under a shared source licence provided by Castle. If ROL has any complaint they need to address it to Castle, not to ROOL. Second, ROOL has no contractual relationship with ROL and are not party to any agreements between ROL and Castle. Accordingly, ROL has no legal basis whatsoever to take action against ROOL as they don't own the IPR but merely license it from Castle.

"ROOL's position is no more and no less special than that of anyone else out there in the community. If ROL object to what is published, they first have to prove in a court of law that they are completely right and Castle are completely wrong. Then, and only then, would they be able to (possibly) revoke the shared source licence."

• RISCOS Ltd's new online ordering website is up and running after it was downed by technical difficulties earlier this week - just as the world showed interest in low-cost copies of the OS. Orders could still be placed over the phone or by email.

Update at 13:22 10/12/2008
Dave Holden says ROL have offered RISC OS Open a licence, the terms of which are not known.

Links


RISCOS Ltd's website
RISC OS Open's website Castle's website - although now rather out of date

Previous: Beeb fans to show off Acorn kit at 8-bit convention
Next: Something positive to take from the OS 5 ROM licensing saga

Discussion

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Aaron is absolutely full of it. With Castle ceasing to make hardware he sees them not being in a position to defend their head licence, and is cynically making outlandish and unsubstantiated claims, then hiding behind the pathetic JC defence of "I know something you don't, but I can't tell you".

Everyone who still gives a flying frig formerly from Acorn, E14, Pace, Tematic or currently at Castle or ROOL rejects these claims as complete fabrication. Telling neither Paul Middleton, former directors of ROL, or shareholders of ROL ever made previously made such claims before Aaron became involved. Indeed the party line prior to this was that emulators were illegal under their licence.

It is very easy to settle this dispute, either make the licence public or take any parties they claim are violating it to court. But of course this wont happen, with the OS being given away for £5 and £20 there is no money for legal action, and the only use of the licence is to allow inadequate individuals to snipe at the open source efforts from the sidelines.

All this achieves is tainting the whole platform with the same stench as the failed blackmail attempts of SCO.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 10/12/08 9:33AM
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Indeed ... otherwise all the things Aaron found out would suggest that during the former license dispute between CTL and ROL nobody really looked at the license and docs...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 10/12/08 11:40AM
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Whether you agree with ROL or CTL. Druck does have a point. Until these claims are tested in court, ths is all just hot air!

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 10/12/08 10:07AM
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Although ROOL are not "losing any sleep over the claims", I guess ROL could go to court and have an injunction granted against them on the strength(or not as the case maybe) of their claims to stop them from distributing a version of RISC OS 5 that would be suitable for the Risc PC.

But do RISCOS Ltd have the balls to do anything about their claims? This is very much the question.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 10/12/08 10:13AM
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If it turned out that ROL did actually own RO5, then it would make sense for them to allow RISC OS Open to carry on, because it could only benefit them.

Also it would raise the question of what Castle actually bought. The assumption would have been 3.8 and before, plus any development done by Pace. We already know they had some sort of right to 3.7 (because they can build A7000 with it).

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 10:38AM
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ROL's existence depends on the strength of a dwindling community of enthusiasts. Disputes such as this drive people away and destroy that community.

ROL may well find itself in full control of the product, but with precisely no-one to sell it to.

Looking at this statement I think I can see the overarching ROL strategy. For those interested see here: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userwrankin42 on 10/12/08 10:39AM
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I agree. ROL's existence seems to rely on RPC and VRPC owners and now with a free RO for those soon-to-be there (ROOL does deliver when they say they plan to) things look worse...

Perhaps ROL should have started to support current hardware long ago. For IYONIX pc all you got was words. For A9home a bit more but despite statements from ROL suggesting RO6 to be a priority (and thus the RPC on back burner) for A9 RO6 still didn't arrive.

I just wonder what happens if a A9-HAL is done for RO5 :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 10/12/08 11:50AM
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If the A9 HAL were done, as well as an RPC and a direct to host HAL for emulators, then ROL could put the same interface in RO 6 and developers could make HALs for other devices such as Pandora, and then ROL could sell RO6 for it.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 12:02PM
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I meant a RO5 HAL; has nothing to do with RO6...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 10/12/08 12:57PM
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So did I. ROL could use the same interface in RO 6.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 2:42PM
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More great PR from ROL. They've actually managed to generate some attention outside the RISC OS world with their £5 offer. But what would a newcomer see, on venturing into RISC OS land? A broken 'sales' site and a publicly-aired legal wrangle over licences. You couldn't make it up.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 10/12/08 10:46AM
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Why dont ROL and ROOL simply stick a couple of hot water bottles under the duvet, jump in, and have a big cuddle for Christmas. They can then call the new company RO'OOL with the same objectives (getting RISC OS back to the fore) and live happilly ever after.

All the best Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 10/12/08 10:47AM
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If one of the requirements for ROL to meet was to submit those early changes to the head licence owner - the intent would presumably be that they would grant the head licence holder rights to use them. (Whether or not those changes were used is another matter). If not then what is point of that condition in the licence?

Now this article suggests they are trying to essentially take those submissions back - does that mean ROL could be breaching the conditions they had to meet to get their new found rights? It makes no sense- can someone show this licence so we users know where we stand?

I had strong hopes that with development moving to ROOL a new level of cooperation between ROL and ROOL would happen. Seems not.

 is a RISC OS Userbenc on 10/12/08 10:55AM
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Also remember attempts to block ROOL is just speculation.

The only thing documented is the claim to ownwership.

It would be stupid to block ROOL, because a free RO 5 would work as a good advert for RO 6.

I would assume their claim is just in case RISC OS becomes a commercial prospect ever.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 11:21AM
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Spot on. It's a great shame that despite the harmany that really exists, some people, for their own nefarious purposes, wish to cause the appearance of discord.

Let me clarify. RISCOS Ltd owns all right, title and interest in versions of RISC OS created in the last decade. That is clear from reading through the licences. If some wish to disagree without having any knowledge of the materials, then that is their choice.

A grevous deceit has been perpetuated on the whole RISC OS community. I find it most ironic that abuse is being hurled at those that are trying to resolve this deceit for good.

A lot of people have invested their time, their money and their hopes in ROOL. It is imperative that this investment gets its due return, for the good of everyone. In order to ensure this RISCOS Ltd has already written to the ROOL directors.

This letter quite specifically states that RISCOS Ltd support what ROOL is doing, in particular RISCOS Ltd supports (quoting from the letter):

Release of the source code by RISC OS Open Ltd either via the website or sold on a CD.

RISC OS Open Ltd (releasing) RISC OS ROMs without having to pay a licence fee to RISCOS Ltd.

RISC OS Open Ltd (offering) a commercial licence to potential RISC OS 5 users and to profit from such a licence.

Perhaps the vitriol would be better directed at those responsible for the deceit, not the victims of it.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 10/12/08 1:33PM
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Perhaps you could publish the whole letter(blacking out any commericaly sensitive bits). Maybe that would help everyone understand what this current storm in a teacup is about and put it to bed(at least until the next time!) once and for all.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 10/12/08 8:26PM
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Incidentally, I own all the tar in your lungs.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 11/12/08 1:33AM
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Every so often we come back to this issue of the two forks, it's been hanging around in the background for some years now. It was never a great long term solution for our small user base to be effectively split into two. Headache for users, a bigger headache for developers.

ROOL's latest move has clearly rattled ROL. The two sides must knock heads together and get this issue sorted one way or another, and quickly, as this is just the kind of publicity our community doesn't need.

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 10/12/08 11:41AM
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I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Apologies for the knee jerk reaction to this story. I would still prefer a platform that is not split into two however. If anything is going on behind closed doors to bring the two sides together, then great!

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 11/12/08 9:17AM
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Unless we see the agrements on both sides it is just speculation on our part. And why should they do this?

Anyway, since we can only speculate her is my 2p worth.

Company 1 is not interested in desktop OS's.

So it licenses this avenue to company2 to get some cash.

Company2 says, hold on if we cant own it outright can we get the sole exclusivity to the desktop market and since you (company1) are not developing the OS for desktops, can we modernise the desktop software.

Company1 says OKAY go ahead, however, we want you to feedback any changes you make to us as part of the license. Oh and in no way can you add restrictions (eg desktop software) that would affect us selling it to new owners in the future. IE If the new owners want to use it for a desktop then I'm afraid we can sell it to them and they can buy it for that reason.

Company3 (who has an interst in the OS for desktops) says. Hey company1, we can use the Old OS on our desktops, but it would save us a lot of time and cash if we could buy your "newer" version of the OS. OH PS it is a condition of the sale that we can use it for desktops (we have heard that company2 has an exclusive right to that)

Company1 says... its okay company3, we have a clause in our contract that says we can do this.

Company2 and 3 enter a few years of arguments. :-)

Insert company names where you want... Is that about right?

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 10/12/08 12:27PM
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Please don't get caught up in idle speculation on what may or may not be in any licence, it just plays in to the hands of those seeking to sow division.

Aaron is making these claims and it is up to Aaron alone to justify them.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 10/12/08 1:21PM
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Why has this argument broken out now? Because ROOL are closing in on a RPC version of their code which could be bundled with RPCEmu, potentially eating Virtual Acorn's lunch, especially if it can be made to run on Linux, which is a market area VA have consistently ignored. Since the parties on both sides of this argument backed down a few years ago, when they were presumably richer and selling to a healthier market, I doubt if anything will come of the latest sabre-rattling: you'd have to sell an unfeasibly large number of copies of RO4 at £5 to pay for a court action or injunction, and if the earlier dispute proves anything, it is that this is /not/ an open-and-shut case. So ROOL should relax and press on as fast as possible, and damn the torpedoes. An open-source RO running via an optimised emulator on top of (preferably) Linux on fast hardware is the only future we've got IMHO, and personally I can't wait. VA could have supplied this commercially but chose not to - their choice, but no justification to play dog-in-the-manger now.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 10/12/08 12:44PM
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Well said.

 is a RISC OS Userwrankin42 on 10/12/08 1:08PM
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I was speculating wildly to make the point that no one knows the real story and it is a waste of time speculating.

Ironic you thought I was speculating non-speculitively. :-) Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 10/12/08 1:46PM
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Note the complete absence of an even slightly plausible story line from ROL.

People from Acorn/e14/Pace have said before that it is a laughable suggestion that the licence of ROL would include anything more than a licence to develop and sell RISC OS 4. Paul Middleton has repeatedly strengthened that claim when asked about other possibilities for ROL to make money (like sublicencing RO, selling it in a non-ROM form, selling it with an emulator).

So either PM is a liar, or he is completely incompetent (because he missed vital degrees of freedom in ROLs licence), or perhaps most likely Aaron is just making things up.

BTW, Aaron also said that the ROL's RISC OS licence does not give them any kind of exclusivity - at least this is it what he told me when questioning the legality of VirtualA5000 with its bundled RO3.1. Now it seems the story has changed again.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 10/12/08 1:48PM
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I notice Aaron specifically said RO 4 and above.

I suspect the VA5000 arguementwent something like this:

ROL: We have exclusive rights to RISC OS on the desktop. VA: That's just to RO 4 Pace: Why don't we allow ROL to license VA with RO4 and then you'll both get what you want?

Whether RO 5 belongs to Castle or ROL or both, doesn't appear to matter because they are both happy with RISC OS Open.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 3:11PM
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There is a lot of speculation in the comments above. Let's be clear here; RISC OS Open and RISCOS Ltd are not waving their fists at each other. We've enjoyed open and clear communications from the outset and are continuing to talk. Finding the best way for all parties to co-operate for the good of RISC OS has always been one of our aims.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 10/12/08 2:33PM
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In reply to riscosopen

Well said. To reiterate; there is no problem, disagreement or conflict between RISCOS Ltd. and ROOL. RISCOS Ltd. are happy with what ROOL are doing and have made offers to them to ensure that their work can continue.

As usual this is an attempt by a small number of people to stir up dissent and conflict where none exists.

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 10/12/08 2:44PM
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Now that ROOL have declined your licensing offer, is this the end or this sad affair? Or do you have another rabbit to pull out of your hat, or an ace up your sleeve?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 16/12/08 1:25PM
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It seems to be the ROOL-Castle licence ROL are attacking. Perhaps ROL feel in a stronger position now that Castle are not currently producing saleable computers.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 10/12/08 3:23PM
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I rarely contribute to such discussions but the imminent arrival of a working OS release from riscosopen coupled with an open source emulator is such an excellent development that I have to comment.

This argument is just the latest in years of FUD spreading which has held back the OS enormously. I don't believe that commercial RISC OS has ever really been viable since the demise of Acorn.

Anyone spending any money with companies opposing ROOL (even just £5) is potentially bankrolling an opposition to the only real future for the platform, i.e. one that is open source.

 is a RISC OS Userdanielhanlon on 10/12/08 3:25PM
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The opposition to ROOL is speculation, that has been denied by representavies of both companies.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/08 3:49PM
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Well fine, but in that case, what is this article all about? Are the 'well-placed sources' talking through their collective hats?

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 10/12/08 4:37PM
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OKay this comment is suppossed to be light hearted.

On wikipedia (which is always right.. YEAH?) if you look at Acorn's page..... at the bottom is says

# RISC OS Ltd. develop Acorn's OS under licence from Castle

I thought that one was funny... :-0

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 10/12/08 5:42PM
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If there really is any conflict, perhaps it's within RISCOS Ltd. My guess is that Aaron indeed feels (professionally) threatened by the possible appearance of a freely downloadable RISC OS 5 softload for use with RPCemu. To specifically prevent this, he tries to find some legal leverage. Which, of course, ends up encouraging all activities ROOL is engaged in, except in allowing a RISC OS 5 softload to be released for RiscPC computers and emulators. As far as any supposed details go, it seems only Aaron is pointing fingers. Obviously Aaron could exert a certain amount of pressure on ROL, since the licenses VirtualAcorn sells are a main source of income for ROL.

Personally, I think ROL has been close to running on empty for some time now, because RISC OS itself simply isn't commercially viable anymore. Any future for the OS is in the direction ROOL is going. I have no technical knowledge on the exact differences between RO4/6 and RO5, so RISC OS 6 may well have the edge, but it has no future if it continues to live off a dwindling base of subscribers who get no assurances as to what and when they get anything for their annual fees. That said, I find the most recent release of RISC OS 6.14 / Select 5i1 to be pretty good, but these are rare.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 10/12/08 5:45PM
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"Let me clarify. RISCOS Ltd owns all right, title and interest in versions of RISC OS created in the last decade. "

That doesn't clarify for me personally. It doesn't say "all versions". Clarity for me would be who owns RISC OS 5 which as far as can be gathered is Castle.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 10/12/08 7:28PM
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Having been at the Birmingham show at the weekend, I feel that any idea that ROL and ROOL are in some sort of conflict is misplaced. Both Paul Middleton and Steve Revell (& co) were far more relaxed and happy than I've seen them for a long time.

A lot of projects from both players are progressing very nicely, and there is a lot of movement on price along with new ideas on how to take RISC OS forward. Sure, RISC OS is now a tiny market but, in the flesh, I think there is a remarkable good humoured spirit of positivity and willingness to do what is needed to take the platform forward.

I'm sure is anyone felt hard done by or cheated they'd be shouting about it on drobe, but what we have got is all party's saying there is no real problem.

Let's move on, shall we ?

Regards, Martin Hansen.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 11/12/08 1:18AM
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This thread is the funniest I've read in a long time, I can't believe ROL are still around let alone making such ridiculous comments.

Given that Castle has licensced its RISC OS IPR for use in several Digital TV products worth many millions of pounds to the licencees, I'm quite certain Aaron would have immediately received some communications from these licencees lawyer's if anyone believed there was even a minute shred of evidence to support what he is claiming. Go figure.

In reality ROL's rights to use RISC OS are only those granted by its licence from Castle and even these are somewhat tenuous at best. If ROL are spoiling for a fight I'm sure these rights can easily be terminated again.

Aaron is making comments that could be seen as defamatory to the business of several large companies; he should be aware he is playing with fire!

Now go play nicely children.

Pete Wild Castle Technology Ltd

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 11/12/08 2:28AM
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Yes, RISCOS Ltd are still around!

Your condescending attitude is what caused 100% of the RISCOS Ltd shareholders to totally reject all the claims that were made by Castle 4 years ago, when they tried to present Castle as being the only future for RISC OS. "Death by Powerpoint" was the phrase that sprung to mind.

For anyone not aware of the RISCOS Ltd Investors, this includes:- Paul Beverley, Bernard Bollons, Paul Corke, Roy Heslop, Chris Evans, Richard Jozefowski, Pineapple Software, Andrew Rawnsley, Allan Rawnsley, RISC OS Investment Group, Spacetech, Stuart Tyrrell, Paul Richardson, Ian Walker, Gordon McLaren, Laurie Van Someren, Iain Logan and many others. A group of people with lots of experience of the RISC OS community and people who will be known to most RISC OS users as having integrity and honesty.

They didn't find your attitude funny then, and I'm sure they don't now. As you know full well the Set Top Box markets and the Desktop Markets are two completely separate areas.

It is nice to see Castle are still around as your Accounts for y/e 30th September 2007 have only just been filed, several months late. Iyonix Ltd in comparison are over 10 months late in filing its accounts and last filed accounts as a Dormant Company on 10/08/07, so I take it that the millions of pounds of business done by Castle's licencees is slow in coming through as cash to the Castle group.

We are not playing. We are doing what we were set out to do and keep RISC OS alive for the users and the companies involved in RISC OS for whom RISC OS is their living.

We want to continue to work with everyone still involved in the RISC OS market, and contrary to various claims we have done nothing beligerent to anyone in the RISC OS world. We are only maintaining our rights that were clearly set out in our Head Licence with Element 14. The RISCOS Ltd shareholders are fully aware of those rights. It is only Castle that are seeking to make out that those rights do not exist.

Paul Middleton, Managing Director, RISCOS Ltd

 is a RISC OS Userriscosboss on 11/12/08 12:39PM
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We are not playing. We are doing what we were set out to do and keep RISC OS alive for the users and the companies involved in RISC OS for whom RISC OS is their living.

Funny way of doing so, I must say. It does look as if you are indeed "playing", at least from the perspective of anyone in the world beyond RISC OS. In the ten years since the demise of Acorn, RISC OS has languished while other platforms have eaten its lunch in just about every area it had any kind of advantage. The final straw must have been the whole netbook phenomenon: GNU/Linux (or Windows XP if you're wedded to The Man) on a hardware profile that would have been a natural complement to RISC OS back in the day. Oh, and there being a widespread proliferation of interesting ARM-based designs, many available to buy on a per unit basis for reasonable sums of money, and yet RISC OS is the "devil on skis" choice, hypothetically available for such devices if people weren't too busy squabbling and playing gatekeeper with their continually depreciating "intellectual property".

Technically, taking the sum of all the parts, RISC OS was obsolete back in the mid-1990s. RISC OS Ltd. speculated on there being substantial continued interest in the platform, which there may have been, but any acquisition of RISC OS was always going to involve a lot of renovation and improvement to keep the technology relevant. Ten years on, with people still arguing over who owns which bit, I think we can all see the preferred focus of various parties and, with even the most devoted champions of the platform going elsewhere, the final outcome: they think it's all over...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 12/12/08 12:29PM
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"...exclusive rights to continue working on RISC OS for the Acorn enthusiast market..."

That's an interesting phrasing. I'm sure the phrase "enthusiast market" isn't in the licence. I'd be interested to know who came up with it.

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 11/12/08 9:17AM
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I'm delighted to see that Peter Wild is still around and that he decided not to sell his stake in Castle Technology Ltd. I would reply directly to his post, but then my post might get a bit lost with the new Drobe structuring of comments.

Anyway, I see that Peter stills seems to have the same mis-understandings as he did in 2004. I am quite sure he recalls the meeting where I was able to correct a number of his simple errors with regard to RISCOS Ltd's rights.

Moving on, I note that Peter said:

"Given that Castle has licensced its RISC OS IPR for use in several Digital TV products worth many millions of pounds to the licencees, I'm quite certain Aaron would have immediately received some communications from these licencees lawyer's if anyone believed there was even a minute shred of evidence to support what he is claiming. Go figure.

Indeed. Under the paperwork negotiated between RISCOS Ltd and E14 a licence was granted back to E14 for the use of RISCOS Ltd's IPR in set top boxes and thin clients. I pressume that Castle have inherited these rights. As such Castle were perfectly entitled to produce further batches of exisiting products for Pace.

Using RISCOS Ltd's IPR in this way was entirely correct, but does not indicate any form of underlying ownership on Castle's part. I refer Peter to clause 3.6 a (ii) in the agreement between E14 and RISCOS Ltd.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 11/12/08 10:37AM
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Aaron, I can't say I'm delighted you're still around but it is at least heartening to know you are still living in total fantasy land.

Sorry, but I'm not going to be baited into replying to your contemtuous arguments.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 11/12/08 11:46AM
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So just when the thread was settling into the assumption that the whole story was all a bit over the top, and actually just boiled down to a minor licensing disagreement which was being delt with maturely and in a friendly manner...

...Along comes Peter Wild and Paul Middleton to blow that out of the water with quite unnecessarily personal mud-slinging. Given that more or less the whole platform's in the same boat; who benifits by the mutual slagging off of the state of each others companies?

And what do you mean, "not going to be baited into replying to your contemtuous arguments". As far as I can see, you made relevant point, he countered it with a direct reference. If he's wrong then tell us, but I didn't spot anything contemptuous about his comments.

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 11/12/08 1:11PM
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I love RISC OS but if it is in the the hands of the sort of people who post comments like this...

I don't really know what to say. I'm a teacher and work with children. If it were them arguing I'd take them to one side and give them a talk about how arguing just makes everyone upset - if you both pull on a toy then it breaks and everyone is sad.

:-(

 is a RISC OS Userwrankin42 on 11/12/08 3:39PM
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You wouldn't bother finding out who's toy it was, then?

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 11/12/08 3:56PM
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If they couldn't agree I'd just take it off them. I should know adults are just kids who've been around for few years. The posts I read here were not written by "grown-ups".

I've supported RISC OS for years - despite ridicule from just about everyone around me. This however is just too depressing. I'm removing my drobe feed til after christmas.

I'll see if they've sorted things out by then.

Good work guys - you've lost /another/ customer, not that many to go!

 is a RISC OS Userwrankin42 on 11/12/08 5:09PM
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It all sounds suspiciously convenient that just when a free emulator and OS (ROOL RO 5) that all this starts up.

All stomping on ROOL or RO5 will do is put a near total end to any development of the OS (and given the hardware platform is effectively dead that IMHO would mark the true demise of the OS as well).

If this all goes "legal" all that it'll do is soak up the last bits of available cash to pay lawyers and put a spanner in the development works.

Besides ROL, if it had the documents at hand, could have challenged Castle long ago - they didn't. In fact it was Castle who challenged ROL and for a time production of ROL based products stopped - surely if the documents Aaron claims to have seen were so unambiguous the dispute with Castle would have lasted at most 10 minutes - ROL/Ad6 would have resumed production and Castle would probably have had to apologise.

The point is, I suspect, not as "clear cut" well not to the point of taking legal chances with. I suspect the current situation arises because Aaron or ROL feel that Castle having left the market would be more "relaxed" about extravagant claims being made by ROL and inclined to let these go unchallenged. And then there's the danger of a free RISC OS - nope that could not be tolerated could it ?

Whenever I ask myself why to I bother myself with RISC OS things like this make me more inclined to move my activities elsewhere. I mean what's the point?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/12/08 3:55PM
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If no-ones got the cash to do anything about it, can't they just keep schtum? Then, when (if) there's some more money floating around in a few years, start all over again with the; "I bought the rights... But I bought rights for this particular bit... But my rights trump your rights... But I've got a full house... Raise you one set top box argument".

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 11/12/08 4:18PM
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I wonder if ROOL might be blocked from distributing the source code. Maybe we should grab it while it's available.

 is a RISC OS UserBecky on 11/12/08 5:20PM
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Random things that I seem to remember that could be relevant: * ROL used to pay royalties to Pace on sales and then paid, or argued about not paying, same to Castle. * Looking for ROL's accounts and only finding some several years old; this was a while ago. But maybe they just stopped putting them on their website (the attraction was that they used to say how many copies of RO they had sold in the year).

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 11/12/08 6:37PM
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Yawn.. bored now.

Bitching, Moaning, Fighting.. Speculation. Who honestly cares about any of this.

What is happening is we have a small group of companies [that's getting smaller still] supplying a core group of users with software needs. The ARM Club are gone; Castle are (essentially) gone; other smaller players have disappeared entirely over the last few years.

Do we really need to moan when somebody is making an effort to actually do something in this tiny market?

Trust me: they're not doing it for vast sums of money.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidbradforth on 11/12/08 7:32PM
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I think its best that ROL leave Castle-ROOL alone. This platform simply cannot afford to lose any more supporters. I for one refuse to buy any more software,hardware (from Risc OS dealers) or attend any more shows until this matter is sensibly resolved.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 12/12/08 8:24AM
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Punishing the dealers/developers because of a new spat between ROL and Castle is a bit on the harsh side.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 12/12/08 9:32AM
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"Punishing the dealers/developers because of a new spat between ROL and Castle is a bit on the harsh side."

And yet the correct course of action. Most of the dealers are shareholders of ROL and if you want this situation resolved they're the people you need to convince that this is a very poor course of action.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 12/12/08 9:37AM
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All sounds rather like another RISC OS bullet / foot situation.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 12/12/08 9:11AM
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flibble/jlavellin>I agree with you both - however I am not sure which shareholders have the most influence on this. Do not assume they all have equal influence. Reluctantly if a broad boycott is required to resolve this then I'd say so be it.

At the same time though a firm message needs to be sent - and the bluff called.

If Aaron/ROL had a leg to stand on Iyonix would not have happened, ROOL source would never have been released, the dispute which seen an ROL licensed product temporarily taken off the market when Castle challenged ROL and their licensees would not have happened.

It's the same old bluff and bluster - it should be ignored. IMHO ROOL should ready their source and release a ROM image as promised then at least the OS has a fighting chance of further development - otherwise things are very bleak. We've lost the prospect of new native hardware let's not lose the option of a vibrant developing OS as well.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/12/08 11:07AM
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> If Aaron/ROL had a leg to stand on Iyonix would not have happened,

That doesn't follow. The situation is obviously ambiguous. Castle have some sort of right to use 3.7 on the desktop. They obviously have the view the 5 is based on 3.8. Obviously ROL didn't see it that way.

> ROOL source would never have been released,

Unless ROL also though it was a good idea.

> the dispute which seen an ROL licensed product temporarily taken off the market when Castle challenged ROL and their licensees would not have happened.

Surely were there no leg to stand on, the product would never have got back on the market?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 12/12/08 11:31AM
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And any talk of ROL blocking things is theorectical anyway.

If they think they own it, why would they kill it at this stage?

My feeling is that Castle didn't quite get as much as they expected, and the ROOL initiative was a way to resolve it with the co-operation of ROL.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 12/12/08 11:43AM
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"If Aaron/ROL had a leg to stand on Iyonix would not have happened"

If ROL had been doing a better job of managing the OS development at the time, Iyonix would not have happened, it would have gone to court.

Castle's argument holds no water at all. I've seen it; you would laugh at it.

To be clear, I'm not looking at ROL's characterisation of it, I'm looking at Castle's "Briefing to ROL Shareholders", 11th June 2008. Ask Mr. Wild for a copy; he's the one who handed them out.

I don't know about ROL's new claims (and I think they're probably a very bad idea) but the above I do know about, and your comment, together with the idea that ROL's licence was for the "Enthusiast" market lead me to believe that people have been telling outright lies about this.

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 12/12/08 11:51AM
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Correction: 11th June 2004

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 20/5/09 5:58PM
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In reply to AMS You wrote "We've lost the prospect of new native hardware let's not lose the option of a vibrant developing OS as well"

RISC OS 4 has been continously developed since it's launch!

ROL have been adding both new front facing features and doing a lot of work to the backend of their branch of RISC OS. A version of this also runs on the only RISC OS hardware currently in production. Assuming another company comes along and wishes to use it,then more new hardware will could appear.

Castle released the Iyonix, a good successor to the Risc PC, but then didn't particularly do anything else to their branch of the OS. The only reason anything is happening to RO5 now is because of the ROOL initiative. If CTL had followed ROL's approach, RISC OS 5 could be much more feature rich than it currently is.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 12/12/08 12:23PM
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Drobe's history overview doesn't tell the full story:

"In 2003 Castle said it bought the OS "lock, stock and barrel" from Pace, however ROL continue to dispute the level of ownership Castle has of the OS, drawing attention to the wording of the buy-up announcement. However Castle maintain to date that it bought the OS from Pace and had instructed its own lawyers to double-check its legal position. A year later Castle and ROL briefly kissed and made up after Castle tried to stop ROL developing its stream of RISC OS soon after Castle announced its purchase of the OS."

If anyone at ROL has any doubts over Castle ownership of RISC OS I suggest they re-read the letter sent to them by Pace on 1 June 2004.

The most significant part of recent history is glossed over by "kissed and made up". On 15th October 2004 Paul Middleton, on behalf of ROL, signed a new licence agreement with Castle in the presence of the other ROL directors, an independent witness and an emminent lawyer specialising in IPR from a multi-national law firm. This licence is now the ONLY legal authority ROL have to use Castle's IPR and distribute Risc OS. In signing this document ROL and its Director's formally accepted that the 1999 E14 licence, along with any other agreements, side letters etc, was terminated and ALL previous disputes closed (the 1999 licence had in any event already been terminated in May 2004 as alluded to in the Drobe article).

The licence was a complicated document running to 52 pages plus attachments. However some salient points which I believe were discussed publically at the time and seem to have been forgotten:

1. Under the agreement all IPR is assigned to Castle, including IPR of all derivative works created since 1999. 2. The ROL sources would be merged into the Castle CVS repository to create a single RISC OS source tree. 3. After 12 months from the date of the agreement (i.e. 15 August 2005) ROL could no longer sell new versions of RISC OS 4 but must transition to the new merged OS. 4. Castle would concentrate on developing the core OS and ROL would develop a set of desktop extensions, with appropriate cross licensing to each other. 5. Much more flexibility was afforded to ROL to allow it, and sublicencees such as advantage 6 and Virtual Acorn to sell into different markets.

ROL's revelation "ROL's new strengthened stance on the OS ownership dispute appears to have come about after company director Aaron Timbrell reviewed the paperwork documenting ROL's licence to develop and distribute RISC OS. This agreement was initially drawn up with E-14, a company formed during the break-up of Acorn that took on the intellectual property rights (IPR) to the technology that we know as RISC OS. This technology was subsequently snapped up by Pace to use in set-top boxes." [snip] "In a comment posted on Drobe, Aaron wrote: "Once RISCOS Ltd had fulfilled certain obligations it acquired all 'right and title' to versions of RISC OS developed over the last decade. There have been some behind the scenes discussions with regard to this going on for some time".

OK Let's inject some FACTS here:

The 1999 licence was terminated; ROL have NO RIGHTS UNDER IT, their rights to use RISC OS are only those granted by the 15 Oct 2004 licence under which all IPR, including derivative works is assigned to Castle. However, clause 3.6 of the licence, which Aaron is citing, does survive termination so let's look at what it says (in simple terms):

Clause (a)(i) States that all IPR including derivative works belong to E14 (Now Castle by succession) Clause (a)(ii) Provides an exception to (i) whereby ROL can own the changes made to the IPR contained in a derivative work, but NOT THE UNDERLYING IPR. However, there was a strict condition that to own the IPR ROL had to provide E14 with the source code to all the changes they made in the first 4 years of the licence agreement. Note that in the document the word PROVIDED prefacing this condition is in capital letters. By failing to comply with this ROL has also prejudiced its rights of ownership after the expiry of the four year period, i.e. all derivative works since also belong to Castle.

Apart from one early release to E14, ROL have failed to feedback any further sources to Pace, accordingly ROL have not complied with the requirements of 3.6 (a)(ii) the derivative works are therefore owned by E14 (and again Castle by sucession). Furthermore, if ROL did feedback the sources and OWN the changes in the Derivative work, a further condition of (a)(ii) is that they provide E14 (Hence Castle) a licence to do whatever they want with them free of charge.

In summary, Castle owns all the underlying IPR in ALL versions of RISC OS, and by implication of ROL's failure to comply with clause 3.6 (a)(ii) of the 1999 licence all derivative works created by ROL in accordance with clause 3.6 (a)(i). Aaron's claim that ROL has acquired all 'right and title' is pure bulls***. Even had ROL complied totally with the requirements of the licence they would only have owned the changes they made (not the underlying IPR) and Castle would have had access to all of the derivative works to use in other projects, including ROOL.

Anyway, its all irrelevant as under the 15 Oct 2004 Licence ROL has already assigned all right and title in the 1999 software and derivative works to Castle.

Well, that sets the record straight from Castle's perspective. I'm sure it will give people on this board plenty to gossip about ;) and they'll be plenty of Black is White type arguments from the usual suspects :)

So where does RISC OS go from here? My personal opinion (others at Castle may not share these), is to let sleeping dogs lie. I had no wish to get involved in this debate after the collosal waste of time in 2004, but when ROL director's start making blatantly untrue and unfounded claims on public forums denigrating Castle's IPR something has to be done. I feel replying here is more appropriate than sending yet another lawyer's letter.

ROL is able to exploit RISC OS for commercial use under its licence of 15 Oct 2004. It is regretable that many of the terms of the licence were never complied with, particularly those regarding setting up a joint source repository and merging the two OS threads together to move the platform forward. Castle always has legal options it can follow, and there are ample grounds for terminating ROL's current licence and sending out more "cease and desist" orders, but unless the provocation from Aaron and others continues why bother? It won't serve any useful purpose. My suggestions to everyone involved:

1. Stop arguing about who has the rights to do what, get on and work together to make what little is left of your market happen 2. Aaron and co should retract the erroneous, defamatory and potentially libelous comments they've made on public forums 3. ROL should, instead of trying to bully ROOL with false claims, work with them for the good of everyone's business. I'm quite certain if ROL embrace and assist ROOL the benefits will be far greater than if ROL trys to obstruct them. Bear in mind what ROOL is doing is non commercial, properly licensed by Castle and totally legal; ROL should have no issue with that. 4. As a gesture of collaboration and goodwill, ROL could always abide by the spirit of the 1999 licence (where Aaron has helpfully reminded us of the content of Clause 3.6) and handover to ROOL the source code for the derivative works created by ROL before March 2003 for inclusion in the open source project :) 5. Maybe stop making these tit for tat comments on drobe and newsgroups and concentrate on positive aspects? 6. ROL Shareholders can vote for whatever they want, but that doesn't make the position any more legal. Fancifal thinking is still fancifal thinking. Just because a group of people expend vast quantities of hot air on a subject it still doesn't mean they are right, nor does it change the content of legal agreements ROL have already signed up to. 7. Last but not least, if Paul Middleton could find his way to pay just a bit of the several years back royalties ROL owes Castle for use of Castle IPR I'm sure it would be appretiated :)

Well, its 8 p.m. here where I live in Thailand, a very pleasent 20 degrees outside and I'm off for a beer! On the way out I'll remember to feed the pig for his evening flight.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 12/12/08 1:00PM
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Um, Drobe, what happened to the numbered lists :( ?

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 12/12/08 1:07PM
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I thank Peter Wild for his long and detailed posting as it presents a number of opportunities to broaden the general discussion.

With regard to the "new agreement". Indeed a lot of time was spent negotiating this. I refer Peter to the communications in the few weeks after the negotiation and the meeting at Eversheds. As he will no doubt recall it was mutually agreed by both parties to abandon this agreement. I prefer not to embarass Castle Technology Ltd, or its directors, by going into further detail.

This does raise one very important question. If Castle had purchased everything, then why would a new agreement have been needed? Why would such an agreement need to say that "all IPR is assigned to Castle"? The only reason I can think of at the moment is that under the original agreements such IPR was not assigned to Castle.

It does make one think, doesn't it...

Moving on. Further to the posting earlier from Stoppers. I've dug out my copy of the Peter Wild briefing to Shareholders from the 12th June 2004. The parapgraph begining "E14 got a..." is very interesting.

Finally I see that Peter Wild claims that "The 1999 licence was terminated; ROL have NO RIGHTS UNDER IT.". Well Peter, if that is the case then the licence back to E14 for the use of derivative works would also have been terminated.

Another question that people might want to ask. Why was it so important that the original agreement between RISCOS Ltd and E14 was destroyed? What does it say?

On a very final note. I am very disapointed that this is turning out this way. Having discovered the real situation all RISCOS Ltd wanted to do was correct it and provide ROOL with an agreement to let them do what they already do and more besides. I am greatly sorry that it's ending up like this.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 12/12/08 1:56PM
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Why does ROOL need to be provided with anything? Are you suggesting that if I were to mirror the sources on my own site, I'd need a licence from ROL too?

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 12/12/08 2:05PM
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ROOL would be a fool to sign anything from ROL. At the moment Castle has granted them their rights, and rights to every other member of the public too. If ROL have a problem with that, ROL need to contact Castle and ask them to change the terms of the shared source license.

And Castle will tell them to "f*** off" to their face.

As mentioned before, the status quo has not changed.

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 12/12/08 2:12PM
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Wah Pete, don't rub it in. It's grey and freezing here in UK!

What you describe from your posting sounds like the British economy - a complete dog's dinner. I'm off down the pub for a Tiger beer :-p

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 12/12/08 2:05PM
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Shall we leave it there, assured that its neither possible nor interesting enough to resolve?

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 12/12/08 3:26PM
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I'm off to Costco for a crate of beer.

And it is F'ing freezing here in Scotland. Mind you... It has its good points.... I'll get a bit of Skiing in on Sunday. :-)

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 12/12/08 4:03PM
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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I'm happy to report the pig landed safely read VirtualAcorn's post and prmoptly flapped his wings and left.

Dammit, I thought I had the upperhand until someone mentioned ski-ing :)

Glad to see there are a few people left in the RISC OS community who actually have a life.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 12/12/08 6:20PM
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Would you believe I had an email last night from someone in central Queensland asking me if I could help them get a RISC OS machine! Seems unlikely but it is true!

Perhaps I should suggest he reads Drobe before we proceed any further!

From my involvement since the 1980's I've seen a capable and brilliant system slowly wither. What we need now is for all the energy, resources and funds to be directed in a positive way to the benefit of RISC OS as a whole. If we continue with a factional approach that is little more than a civil war then we will end up like so many African nations.

Pull your fingers out, bang heads and then get on with working together and stop this destructive nonsense!

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 12/12/08 9:06PM
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rmac, I think the problem is that for most of the last decade, no-one has really been able to be sure of the difference between helpfully "banging heads together" and "destructive nonsense". Both nice phrases, but not exactly specific and measurable!

On another note... even a few African nations are better than none at all.

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 13/12/08 5:25AM
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Even this story has got out into the[link] wider world on OS news.

 is a RISC OS UserHairy on 14/12/08 11:42AM
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OSNews sum it up pretty well. It's Sad and Pathetic.

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 14/12/08 1:39PM
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So long as the APIs remain the same its a shame, a sad duplication of effort/resources, and bad publicity but not otherwise a huge issue. The Linux world manages to thrive with several 'versions' and a little competition might even be a good thing to encourage better ideas, marketing, etc.

Ultimately its the applications we can run on RISCOS that really matter....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 14/12/08 3:36PM
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Well here is a positive slant.

I just spent my first fiver in RISCOS land for years. I got something I was wanting for ages but was put off by the other emmulator costs. I now have RISCOS (from ROL) on my linux machine.

Now I may not use it much, however I might still have S-base developer kicking around and datapower etc so you may see some database apps written. You may not but this has offered the posibility.

All the best Bob; not just reminiscing but now using RISCOS again

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 15/12/08 9:50AM
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I guess RISCOS Ltd will be hoping for more sales to people like yourself.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 15/12/08 10:30AM
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on 12/12/08 VirtualAcorn wrote:

"With regard to the "new agreement". Indeed a lot of time was spent negotiating this. I refer Peter to the communications in the few weeks after the negotiation and the meeting at Eversheds. As he will no doubt recall it was mutually agreed by both parties to abandon this agreement. I prefer not to embarrass Castle Technology Ltd, or its directors, by going into further detail."


LOL! The only person who could be embarrassed by this tale is Paul Middleton. In the week's after signature Paul decided he didn't like what he'd SIGNED UP TO and tried to change the agreement. Akin to someone exchanging contracts on a house purchase, moving in and then trying to back out cos they didn't like the wallpaper! Castle was categorically not part of any mutual agreement to abandon anything and this agreement continues in full force and effect until and unless it is properly terminated in accordance with the provisions of the agreement. It seems ROL was in agreement at the time: look at your own company's press release: [link] not to mention several articles on drobe: [link] (Licence announcement) [link] (ROL Changes name) [link] (SE Show Report - Jack and Paul Q&A). For a brief period ROL even paid royalties as cited in the agreement.

Castle does have ample rights and grounds to terminate this agreement as Aaron well knows. Contrary to the assertions of some, Castle is not being the bad guys here and have allowed ROL to carry on doing what they are doing for more than four years without intervention. That is despite multiple breaches of the licence and continued non payment of royalties by ROL. Aaron would do well to remember that those living in glass houses should not throw stones.

on 12/12/08 VirtualAcorn wrote:

This does raise one very important question. If Castle had purchased everything, then why would a new agreement have been needed? Why would such an agreement need to say that "all IPR is assigned to Castle"? The only reason I can think of at the moment is that under the original agreements such IPR was not assigned to Castle.

It does make one think, doesn't it...


If you've read the 2004 licence you don't have to think too hard..... The reason was simple: to create a single merged source tree for RISC OS owned by Castle, and a set of desktop extension module which would be developed by ROL. The IPR ownership was required for the merged source moving forward, not just the pre-exisiting sources. Not difficult now was it?

on 12/12/08 VirtualAcorn wrote:

Moving on. Further to the posting earlier from Stoppers. I've dug out my copy of the Peter Wild briefing to Shareholders from the 12th June 2004. The paragraph beginning "E14 got a..." is very interesting.

Finally I see that Peter Wild claims that "The 1999 licence was terminated; ROL have NO RIGHTS UNDER IT.". Well Peter, if that is the case then the licence back to E14 for the use of derivative works would also have been terminated.


Sorry to disappoint you, but clause 3.6, which Aaron so helpfully drew to this forum's attention, survives termination. This means any licence to use such derivative works continues and is perpetual so ROL have no means to terminate it. Of course, it's academic anyway; ROL failed to abide by their obligations under this clause so have no rights to any derivative works. Moreover, anything else ROL did own, they assigned ownership of to Castle in the 2004 agreement.

on 12/12/08 VirtualAcorn wrote:

Another question that people might want to ask. Why was it so important that the original agreement between RISCOS Ltd and E14 was destroyed? What does it say?


As I recall the objections were all from ROL's side as it didn't allow you to do what you wanted ;) Not least of all, Virtual Acorn! The 2004 agreement regularised that and was much more favourable to ROL in terms of markets and products it could license.

on 12/12/08 VirtualAcorn wrote:

On a very final note. I am very disapointed that this is turning out this way. Having discovered the real situation all RISCOS Ltd wanted to do was correct it and provide ROOL with an agreement to let them do what they already do and more besides. I am greatly sorry that it's ending up like this.


And butter wouldn't melt......... The "real situation" is that by making totally false claims about IPR ownership, you were cynically trying to set up a position whereby you hoped ROL could claim some royalties from ROOL's future activities if their work ever attracts commercial users. You were hoping Castle wouldn't notice the game you were playing and you were WRONG! Aaron, you reap what you sow.

I had no wish to get involved in this discussion; I have way better things to do. All I ask is that ROL respect Castle's IPR and the terms of the 2004 licence then work with ROOL for the benefit of RISC OS as a whole. If ROL were to pay Castle some of the royalties they owe for distributing RISC OS, and particularly for distributing Virtual Acorn, that would be nice too :)

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 16/12/08 2:52AM
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For the record, RISC OS Open have declined the offer of a license from RISCOS Ltd. We are continuing with our work on behalf of Castle, publishing the source code and bringing RISC OS to a wider audience.

We are also fully committed to working with RISCOS Ltd to find ways of addressing the fork in the development of the OS, to make things easier for people on both sides of the divide.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 16/12/08 3:19AM
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In reply to PeterWild and VirtualAcorn:

Why don't you guys actually go to court and get this contract argument settled once and for all? Then you will both know what rights you do/do not have and where you both stand, instead of this latest round of newsgroup/Drobe Comments open warfare.

All this is good fun to read, but I guess most of us would rather it was sorted out quietly behind the scenes.

If court is not the answer, why don't you all get together, have a working lunch and sort it out (without resorting to throwing food at each other!).

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 16/12/08 7:45AM
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sa110>You would think so wouldn't you!

Thing is this the ROM image ROL sell has proudly emblazened on it the Pace logo (at least the splash screen shown on Drobe does and my RO4.01 rom does). That suggests that Pace had some sorts of rights to the OS (why else would ROL have included it?)

Also you may remember a while back ROL (this predates Iyonix) made available 32bit libraries. These also carried (c). Pace messages - but then (at some point) ROL refused to make them available anymore. To me that would *look* like Pace had made them available and then subsequently ceased doing so. ROL had no choice but to *accept it* and stop distributing them.

Later on Pace (according to THEIR website and a press release made by them and Castle) had sold their head license to Castle.

All of this suggests that in "rights" terms Pace had the lead. We *know* Pace sold their rights to Castle. That would suggest Castle has rights that are in some way "superior" to ROLs (just as Pace had done).

The real issue is how "ambiguous" the license terms were. I think you'd find that if Aaron and ROL had a real proof and no ambiguity about their claim this would have been to court years ago, they haven't which suggests that although they *may* have some rights to some portions of the OS that their rights are not as clear cut or as defensible as they might wish us to believe.

Let's suppose that the court finds against them? What then? You have the most advanced hardware implementation of RISC OS (Iyonix) gone, you'd have ROL unable to sell Select nor VA able to sell their product.

I think sa110 this is one piece of ambiguity that if you want *any part of the platform* to survive is better left ambiguous. I think you'd find taking this to court would be a sign that after all these years of shooting itself in the foot the RISC OS world had chosen to shoot itself in the head.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/08 11:34AM
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AMS wrote "I think sa110 this is one piece of ambiguity that if you want *any part of the platform* to survive is better left ambiguous. I think you'd find taking this to court would be a sign that after all these years of shooting itself in the foot the RISC OS world had chosen to shoot itself in the head"

That maybe so. But then(assuming they are in the wrong here) they would be able to come a new unambigious agreement with Castle and after a short pause everything would return to normality with the air fully cleared. If Castle were unwilling to give ROL a license, there would be nothing stopping ROL from releasing their own feature pack for RISC OS which would sit on top of a standard ROM image.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 16/12/08 12:42PM
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Apparently the license is not that ambiguous. The fact that ROL did not take any action when the Iyonix and RISC OS 5 was released was a decision made at the time for the good of the market.

Had they taken the opportunity(presumably with the full backing of Pace) at the time to act against Castle, this dicussion no doubt would not be taking place.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/12/08 9:30AM
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> Had they taken the opportunity(presumably with the full backing of Pace) at the time to act against Castle,

Unless Pace had made a mistake allowing Castle to use the OS in a desktop.

In which case selling the head license would be a nice easy way out.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 18/12/08 9:55AM
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sa110 wrote>"there would be nothing stopping ROL from releasing their own feature pack for RISC OS which would sit on top of a standard ROM image"

Indeed, I even suggested that as an option for them with respect to Iyonix and RO5. (It would have allowed them to get sales from customers they would otherwise *not* be able to directly support - or at least not without considerable added expense). Sadly this was *not* followed up on.

The best outcome IMHO is that things continue as they are (as unsatisfactory as that might seem). So ROOL would be free to release truly "free" RISC OS 5 for other platforms and ROL could do likewise (albeit charging a nominal fee). That way both "flavours" would be available and people could make their own choice.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/08 11:11PM
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Maybe its not that simple just to bolt things from one version onto the other because of low-level changes and the way both have diverged at the code level?

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/12/08 7:49AM
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'Apparently' Paul, your grasp of reality is becoming as 'ambiguous' as Aarons.

Castle were only able to obtain the right to use 32bit RISC OS 5 from Pace with Pace's complete approval and legal clearance. Which could not have occurred if there were any outstanding contractual conflicts with any of Pace's other RISC OS licensees, i.e. ROL.

Whether ROL approved or not is immaterial, Pace as owner of the head licence called the shots, and it was their decision which allowed the Iyonix to be made.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 17/12/08 2:44PM
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Druck. I see the rose tinted spectacles are well and truly glued on! Perhaps one day you'll take them off and see the real world :) I hope you and castle live happily ever after. Oh just remembered, I's heard the new love in your life is Linux. Therefore I won't keep you.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/12/08 3:09PM
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sa110>That's way out of order.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:35AM
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Druck, If ROL's license gave them exclusive rights to the desktop market, it therefore follows that Pace no longer had the rights to grant Castle a license for the same market. Only ROL could do this.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/12/08 3:26PM
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sa110>Pace *owned* RISC OS. They, in effect, replaced Acorn/E14. They had to right to grant or revoke whatever they wanted.

Pace sold what they owned to Castle. Therefore whatever rights *Pace* had then Castle had. Whatever obligations ROL had to Pace they *then* had to Castle once Castle replaced Pace.

Doesn't sound particularly complex to me - or have I missed something ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:23AM
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AMS: "They had to right to grant or revoke whatever they wanted."

Only within the terms of existing agreements. There would be no point in having these sorts of agreements if you could just nullify them by "selling" something to another company and buying it back again the next day.

"Pace sold what they owned to Castle. Therefore whatever rights *Pace* had then Castle had. Whatever obligations ROL had to Pace they *then* had to Castle once Castle replaced Pace."

Yes, but also, whatever *obligations* Pace had then Castle had. Whatever rights ROL had stayed with ROL.

Not much more complex, is it?

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 18/12/08 8:15AM
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Paul you can 'if', 'but' and 'therefor' all you like, your unquestioning fanboyism is becoming rather tedious.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 17/12/08 3:31PM
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One could say the same for unquestioning loyalty to CTL's version of events too.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/12/08 3:35PM
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Apologies for the delay in replying to a couple of the posts on here.

Firstly I am sadened that RISCOS Open declined RISCOS Ltd's offer to fully disclose all of the paperwork (including the ROL/E14 agreement). In my opinion this would have settled the matter once and for all.

With regard to Peter Wild's latest posting I think perhaps that it's worth me injecting some facts. Firstly it was Peter Wild himself who first noticed problems with the new agreement (I have copies of the e-mails here). As a result of the numerous "accidental problems" that had appeared RISCOS Ltd invoked the "binding dispute" clause to sort them out. Castle refused to abide by the terms of the agreement, therefore in law it was scrapped as it was deemed to have been un-acceptable and unworkable for both parties.

I should also point out that Peter Wild was not present during any of the discussions on the day.

With regard to the original, and still current, agreement: Castle had no rights to terminate it. The sight of Jack and John scurrying out of the EGM after being presented with the Pace side letter which gave additional rights to RISCOS Ltd was proof enough of Castle Technology Limited's mistakes.

I am glad to see that Peter has confirmed that under clause 3.6 of the ROL/E14 agreement code was only supplied back under licence and was never owned by E14, Pace or indeed Castle Technology Ltd.

RISCOS Ltd acted entirely properly in licencing RISCOS for use in emulators. The side letter from Anthony Dixon (8th Jul 1999) specifically pre-approved RISCOS licences for items other than thin clients and set top boxes. This is the same letter that was presented to Jack and John at the EGM.

In your closing paragrpahs you seem to have things somewhat backward. RISCOS Ltd was trying to form closer ties with ROOL. With regard to licencing RISC OS. Only RISCOS Ltd has the right to licence RISC OS for desktop computers etc.

The right to licence RISC OS for thin clients and set top boxes was retained by Pace on the "purchase of the RISC OS technology". I draw your attention to the following points from this agreement:

"The sale of the Technology is subject to and with the benefit of all existing licencess of the Technology"

"Buyer shall grant to Pace a perpetual irrevocable worldwide royalty free licence with the right to grant sub-licences (which shall be binding on any successors in title of Buyer)."

"Buyer will undertake not to create, nor grant licences to other 3rd parties in respect of activities which compete with the Pace business."

Buyer of course, was Castle Technology Ltd. As such it can be plainly seen that:

RISCOS Ltd maintained it's rights to licence RISC OS into all markets except thin clients and set top boxes. This right was acknowledged by Castle Technology Ltd at the time.

See this link:

[link]

Pace maintained its rights to licence RISC OS for thin clients an set top boxes.

Like you I have no wish to have this arguement. My preferred approach was to sort things out behind the scenes. For RISCOS Ltd and RISCOS Open Ltd to work together, to co-operate. Sadly this looks increasingly unlikely due to the actions of a few very very stupid people. People who have no real need of RISC OS and thrive on conflict.

Ultimately the truth will come out.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 17/12/08 5:47PM
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Re- Virtual Acorn "Firstly I am sadened that RISCOS Open declined RISCOS Ltd's offer to fully disclose all of the paperwork (including the ROL/E14 agreement). In my opinion this would have settled the matter once and for all"

Whilst not taking sides on any of your other comments and those of others I can't see why you expect ROOL to disclose the paperwork when surely it is Castle Technology who need to do that as ROOL are only hosting the RO5 sources on behalf of Castle.

Also as ROOL and ROL seem to have stated previouslyy that they have a good working relationship then surely you should leave them out this dispute, which is none of their making.

This is the season of good will and perhaps one or two people from both factions should start to spread a little of it around and start talking constructively.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 17/12/08 10:04PM
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VirtualAcorn wrote:

"I am glad to see that Peter has confirmed that under clause 3.6 of the ROL/E14 agreement code was only supplied back under licence and was never owned by E14, Pace or indeed Castle Technology Ltd."

Aaron, if you are going to paraphrase what I said please at least have the courtesy to paraphrase the whole paragraph and not just one sentence. The point has at least two conditionals against it which invalidate your arguments and are a matter of record in my posts above. You may think playing with words makes you look clever, well it doesn't it! It just shows up your ignorance and insincerity.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 18/12/08 12:14PM
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Aaron says: "Like you I have no wish to have this arguement. My preferred approach was to sort things out behind the scenes."

So why on earth did he raise it all in RISC OS WORLD 9:4, distributed to subscribers a week before this thread started? We would all have been saved much anxiety and wasted time if he had followed his own preference.

I support ROL, VA, and ROOL and wish to see them co-operate productively (and quietly).

 is a RISC OS UserBernardUK on 18/12/08 1:01AM
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I stopped subscribing to RISC OS World after a similar diatribe against Castle at the end of Version 8. I don't really care whether Castle/ROL are the goodies or the baddies (probably somewhere in the middle and depends entirely on your perspective). I took issue with the editor using it as a platform for such attacks without giving them a space to reply and so did not renew.

At the end of the day, RISCOS is an OS I use for both practical (its still a world-beater in many respects and a pleasure to use) and emotive (we grew up together) reasons and all this sadly undermines this. Even more sadly, it seems to be a general trend of the internet (you only need to hang around some Mac forums or slashdot to see similar).

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 18/12/08 8:24AM
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I find it interesting that David Holden on usenet, and now VirtualAcorn on this thread have both taken to selectively quoting from confidential documents on public forums. This is a clear breach of ROL's obligations under various agreements and Non disclosure agreements. Moreover, I note these comments are being selectively taken from these documents and used out of context. David Holden has already been caught red handed selectively editing old newsgroup quotes in an attempt to prove falsehoods. An interesting observation on the integrity of the people we are dealing with here. Conversely I note they don't quote other parts of agreements, sometimes the very next sentence, which completely contradicts their point of view. Come on guys, if you're going to illegally post these quotes, at least have the courtesy to post the whole clause, and not just selected snippets; that way everyone can see the gaping holes in your arguments!

Apart from that, the rest of VirtualAcorn and Dave Holden's comments are simply irrelevant anyway as they refer to the 1999 licence which HAS BEEN TERMINATED AND REPLACED BY THE 2004 LICENCEwhich sets out the ONLY RIGHTS ROL HAVE TO USE RISC OS.

Regarding the 2004 Licence VirtualAcorn has let the cat out of the bag in his last post: "RISCOS Ltd invoked the "binding dispute" clause". Clear evidence that this licence subsists, I mean, if it didn't and ROL didn't believe that it did, why would they invoke the disputes clause? This then gives a very firm basis to challenge the rest of VirtualAcorn's assertions.

So what does the dispute clause cover? Well, it sets out a dispute resolution procedure under the auspices of a mediator. If at the end of the process no resolution is found, the parties may issue proceedings as they see fit. It categorically DOES NOT allow the agreement to be terminated or "scrapped". The only legal way this agreement can be varied from the execution copy in anyway is either by a judge ruling part of it invalid (in which case the rest of the agreement subsists in accordance with severability clause) or by mutual agreement in writing between Castle and ROL. I can state categorically that Castle HAS NOT AGREED ANY CHANGES to the agreement as executed and it continues in full force. If the agreement was terminated by invoking one of the termination clauses, e.g. summarily by Castle for non payment of royalties, then clauses such as IPR ownership, which is assigned to Castle would continue in force.

VirtualAcorn's concept that somehow the 1999 agreement continues is laughable and just fanciful thinking on the part of himself and his cohorts at ROL. It has no basis in law whatsoever, You can't just decide unilaterally you don't like a legal agreement and claim to substitute it with another, the suggestion is just plain daft. I refer VirtualAcorn to clause 18.1 of the 2004 licence which pertains to the settlement between Castle and ROL which confirms termination of the 1999 licence. This agreement has Paul Middleton's signature on it. If ROL have some claims they want to pursue regarding any dispute with the 2004 licence they should get a judge to rule on it, if not you have to accept the 2004 licence applies and cease making ridiculous claims about previous extinct licences.

Finally, I note VirtualAcorn now claims Castle had no rights to terminate the 1999 licence. Really? And next you'll be telling us all royalties under it were fully and properly paid too! Bulls***! When considering the validity of VirtualAccorn's comments on these forums everyone should note that they've spent several years distributing Castle's IPR for their own financial gain whilst almost nothing been paid back to Castle as royalties. I'll let the court of public opinion make it's own judgment on the morality of those perpertrating these actions.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 18/12/08 9:16AM
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Peter,

A general contractual question.

If having spent hours negotiating a contract, only to find you have to sign such a contract within a few minutes of the wording being agreed, not having the chance to fully read thru it, then suddenly find that later(having read thru it) many of the amendments that had been agreed were no longer present, do you consider that to be fully above board and legal?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 18/12/08 10:49AM
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sa110>That is *so bogus* an argument that I'd laugh my head off.

A contract (verbal or written) is a contract. It commits you to either doing something or accepting something. In short once you sign it it's legal irrespective of how long you considered it's contents. If (as you now seem to be accepting) that ROL only signed off on it in a rush and failed to appreciate the nuiances then that is their own tough luck.

Besides that whole argument you advance doesn't wash, how can you negotiate something and not read it or be aware of it's implications?

As someone else pointed out by revealing selective snippets from the 1999 agreement (something that's *never* happened before) Aaron (or ROL or both) have arguably broken whatever Non-Disclosure Agreement that was in place (that may well also amount to a breech of contract supposing confidentiality was a part of said document).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 11:15AM
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Okay I'm not taking sides here... However, sa110, your general contractual question does not hold water. A signed contract is a signed contract. A contract is binding unless it is deemed outwith the norm.

Eg You take out a loan from a company and you didn't realise it is 1000% interest. This is plainly wrong and you would be a muppet to sign it, but people do and the law allows things like cooling off periods and also (I forget the exact term) the fact that the company is taking the P*SS.

Now I dont do this now, but for many years I negotiated deals with suppliers on a daily basis. A standard rep technique was to say that the deal was only available for a short time and I had to sign.

I always said. I will want that deal the next time I order even if it was outwith the timeframe. If not then you will not get a look-in for the next three months including my time for a visit. THis prevents them from being able to say to the area sales manager that they are fullfuilling their visits to our company. In 99% of cases I got the deal. :-)

Now for a company negotiating IPR, who should have the advice of a good IPR/Patent lawyer to be rushed into a deal is just stupid and I'd be amazed if anyone did this (it only happens in the movies, like the thomas crown afair). All proper business meetings should have a preagenda a timeframe slot for AOB and a post-discussion time to sign (unless you want to sign there and then).

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 18/12/08 11:37AM
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Sa110> If you think "I didn't read it before signing it guv" is any good as a legal defence I suggest you go try it on your credit card or mortgage company ;)

Seriously, the 2004 licence is a complex document and at 52 pages it's not too surprising if sometime after signature a couple of minor mistakes are spotted. In this case small points were raised by BOTH parties and amicable discussions were started to correct these. They broke down when Paul Middleton started trying to use these discussions to re-write the whole agreement!

Small errors happen in any number of legal documents, it doesn't make them invalid, and clauses such as a severability clause are included to ensure they don't undermine anything else in the agreement. Amateur lawyers are always good at raising very trivial issues as major obstacles and get outs (just look at this thread ;) ). In reality, if this stuff ever went to court the judge would first look at the licence as a whole and see what the parties intended and not waste time on the minutia. Despite any minor issues the intention of the parties in the 2004 Licence is still very clear and the licence remains completely valid and enforceable.

 is a RISC OS UserPeteWild on 18/12/08 11:48AM
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Peter,

Perhaps the best thing or all concerned is to have all the paperwork looked at by a judge and have the issue finally settled. That way both Castle Technology Ltd and RISCOS Ltd will have this and any other contractual related issues finally sorted and both parties will know exactly where they stand, what they can and cannot do and who owes what in terms of license/royalty fees.

It may cost money to put it before a judge, but it has to be more effective than this long running and open disagreement.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 18/12/08 12:26PM
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sa110>You do realise whoever loses may have to pay legal costs (as well as possibly damages). Do you think either party could afford this?

Don't be too confident my friend that ROL would win. Contracts are complex beasties and unless ROL were *scrupilous* in following the 1999 and subsequent 2004 one then they could wind up in a whole world of pain....

If it went against Castle - then what? RO5.xx effort stops from ROOL stops - you wind up with stagnation (you'll note for example that the ROL announcement about RO6.xx features got just ONE response on drobe after several days - while this thread has over 100 in the same time). The most dynamic part is the ROOL/RO5.xx effort - kill that off and well that's the whole thing well and truly banjaxed.

As I said before living with the status quo (the ambiguity) would be better.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:56PM
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Living with the status quo might be fine. However having the issue sorted once and for all is in my opinion the best way forward. Yes, I maybe pro ROL and RO6. However if they are in the wrong and going to court shuts then down, then so be it - life goes on. If they are in the wrong, then they should not let it get that far and get it all cleared up behind scenes with Castle, rather than the very public quoting of selected bits from contracts or from defective memory recollections to support their position.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 18/12/08 1:38PM
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sa110>Earlier on you were making the defense that ROL were rushed into signing the 2004 agreement and missed something. Surely that could also apply to their 1999 agreement (I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that that agreement was still in effect). Therefore it would be highly dangerous of them to take it to court especially if some niggling detail they missed resulted in their claim being rendered void.

A few things to think about:

If ROL had the "exclusive right" for desktop use of RISC OS (I believe they *had* in 1999) then releasing any ROM image for *emulation* (which they did) would amount to a breech IMHO as (i). An emulator is a program not a desktop machine and (ii). That even if we viewed an emulator as simulating a desktop machine it could be installed on a laptop in which case (again) it would not be a desktop machine (to my knowledge ROL did not discourage such use - in fact the first machine released with emulation and ROL's blessing was the Microdigital Alpha - a PC laptop with VA installed)

Then there's snippets of NDA covered documents being bandied about by persons affilitated to ROL - surely some terms of the 1999 or 2004 agreements would prohibit that (certainly an NDA would - which if broken weaken ROL's claims considerably - IMHO).

ROL when distributing ROM images for emulation include Pace's logo and copyright. Was this (a). With Pace's recent permission and (b). Did it appropriately recognise that Castle had bought Pace out and therefore the copyright should be attributed to Castle. If either (or both) are untrue then some answering is needed.

Anyway I am off to get some of those saugages the lads further down are talking about (sadly they've remove the dioxins from the ones over here - it use to add a little tangyness I used to like.... ;-) ).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/12/08 1:10PM
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AMS: That's a lot of speculation, with the quite major assumption that ROL didn't ask for (and receive) permission from Pace to make those developments.

How do you explain why Pace never cancelled the licence, if ROL were in such flagrent breah of contract? Also, how Iyonix didn't impinge on ROL's target market if Castle didn't buy the head licence from Pace until after the Iyonix had come out?

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 19/12/08 6:12PM
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Stoppers>Ok, let's deal with those.

Neither I nor *you* have any knowledge of *if* ROL did or didn't receive permission off Pace to allow emulation use (rather than strictly interpreting desktop use as meaning RISC PC (say) use). My RO 4 ROMs had a paper slip that said it was *not for emulation use* and I got those off ROL many moons ago.

As I said, emulation is *not* exclusively a desktop use so would *demand* some sort of permission. Was that permission given?

In the light of that it could be argued that if Pace were prepared to allow "wiggle room" for that a quid pro quo would be to allow Iyonix to be released. Bear in mind Tungsten/Iyonix started with Pace - and only later came out as a desktop machine.

The embedded A9 style machines (not the A9Home which *is* a desktop computer) would also require permission - but in this case as Pace had left the field (so to speak) it would require it off *Castle*.

The release of NDA material (bits quoted by affiliates of ROL) would *also* require permission - but in this case off Castle (as they've replaced Pace as the owner of the head license).

The non-acknowledgement by ROL of Castle's ownership of Pace's IPR in RISC OS (in the latest RO 4 ROM images) is I would suggest not condusive to calming things down. I might consider it as an "innocent oversight" but in the current charged atmosphere updating the Splash screen to show Castle's copyright claim might help.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/12/08 10:35PM
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AMS: Can you buy a A9 embedded machine running RO?

Where did you get the idea that the target market was limited to desktop computers, to the exclusion of laptops? That's quite a detailed assertion you're making about the content of a licence that's supposed to be secret (and debatable, try *help desktop).

Did they also tell you that it was limited to the enthusiast market? Or that "If Aaron/ROL had a leg to stand on Iyonix would not have happened"? Or Pace "had t[he] right to grant or revoke whatever they wanted."?

Or did you make all that up yourself? (I know you didn't bring up the "enthusiast market", but I suspect it came from the same source.)

Your timeline is also a little out.

November 2002: Iyonix goes on sale September 2003: RISCOS Ltd Licenses RISC OS 4 for general use with VirtualAcorn Emulators

I've been talking about the time the Iyonix came out; at that time, it was in breach of ROL's exclusive market and Castle's argument against that is laughable. (I was going to write specious, but I looked it up and is means "Seemingly well-reasoned, but...", it's not even that.)

Look, both companies have a list of complaints to make against each other. What I'm objecting to is people making absolute statements (and misleading hypotheticals) that are not supported by the facts.

By the way, how could Pace have given permission for Iyonix/RO5, after granting an exclusive licence to ROL in that area, and if they had, don't you think Castle would have included that in their justification to ROL shareholders?

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 20/12/08 10:37AM
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It does though seem to be true that ROL didn't submit all of it's changes in the 1st year as per the terms of the original PACE license.

So surely, regardless of anything else, the license says, ROL is not really entitled to claim any of the rights it had if they didn't stick to the agreement in full???

I am not saying this is true just bringing the point up so ROL can maybe respond to it.

Cheers

John

PS and if castle are correct that you are actually that far behind in royalties surely that is another breach of license?

Again no acusations here, jsut two of the points raised I don't feel are fully resolved in my head and wondered how the parties involved see them.

 is a RISC OS Usermrmac on 18/12/08 10:50AM
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I may have to get some popcorn and soda. This is turning out to be quite the main feature.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 18/12/08 11:20AM
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Yer not kidding.

I know most people are already gone from the market but I do wonder if it is realised just how much this sort of thing must put some people off.

Still I am also gonna kick my shoes off, open some popcorn and enjoy the show. :)

 is a RISC OS Usermrmac on 18/12/08 11:33AM
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I'm for some nice Red (Fleurie) and a packet of thai sweet chilli crisps (so I dont get to posh on you) :-) Enjoy the popcorn

Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 18/12/08 11:42AM
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Well mabee lay off the red since it is a bit early. :-)

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 18/12/08 11:44AM
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Nijinsky: if you were French (I presume you're not) 11:42 would have qualified as 'early lunch' therefore OK for Fleurie (excellent choice btw). As it is, you should certainly be within your rights now - it is the festive season after all. Now all that's needed is an outbreak of peace and goodwill in this thread, and some common sense all round. Open-sourcing is vital to the future of this platform - it is too small now to support commercial OS development - and so is emulation on fast hardware, ideally without the intermediation of Windows or MacOS. Any activity therefore which compromises progress in either of these areas may be in the perceived interests of particular players, but is not in the interest of RISC OS at large.

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 18/12/08 3:21PM
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@ bucksboy Nahhh Scottish; Driving tonight so cant have a glass. The department are all drinking upstairs...

As they don't say in RISC OS-Land

'tis the season to be jolly' :-)

Cheers Bob; 4 deays until I finish until 5th of Jan. :-D

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 18/12/08 3:53PM
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Ah another scot!

Nice one.

Should it not have been a couple a cans o tennets super and a Pie :)

 is a RISC OS Usermrmac on 18/12/08 4:18PM
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Well, that was fun. Perhaps time to reiterate a point made a few times already by others...

The only way this is going to be resolved is in court, but no-one can afford it. Plus of course the winner would actually be winning rights that aren't worth the reams of paper they're written on any more.

PS. tennents and a pie, classy. mines broadside ale - similar effect.

 is a RISC OS UserMonty on 18/12/08 4:52PM
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when your sriving it is only a smoked sausage supper (for the cholesterol) a pickled egg for digestion. 2 pickled onions so my breath smells nice and a bottle of tizer.

Originally from Loch Lomond, but by this diet (only joking) you may assume I live in Glasgow.

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 19/12/08 8:26AM
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mmmmm.

My local chippy does a mean smoke sausage :) one of the only one I know who does them in batter.

At least he cooks everything fresh and it is nice and dry+crispy (inc the chips) unlike most chip shops where it is greesy soggy muck.

 is a RISC OS Usermrmac on 19/12/08 11:20AM
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I am pleased to see that Peter has confirmed that the signature copy of the agreement from 2004 had a number of errors. I suspect what he doesn't know is how different it is from the final agreed draft (which I kept). These "changes" alone make it invalid (as it is not a true and accurate reflection of what was agreed by the two parties). If one then adds in the fact that Castle Technology Ltd did not actually have the rights to enter into such an agreement, then one adds the fact that information supplied by Castle Technology Ltd was at best deeply flawed and at worst a complete fabrication then it can clearly be seen that the the 2004 agreement had no validity in law. Which is why it was abandoned by both parties.

As a small note I should point out that I studied contract law as part of my degree.

I do have one final comment...whilst I have a large pile of evidence for Castle Directors misleading the RISC OS community it hadn't occured to me until today that they might also have been misleading each other...

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 19/12/08 4:55PM
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So Aaron, what are you going to do?

1) Publish the full text of the 1999 and 2004 agreements for everyone to see 2) Get a definitive court judgement one way or the other 3) Shut the f*** up and let everyone get on to with what they were doing 4) Keep up your swinging dick contest until you've driven away everyone with any interest in RISC OS

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 19/12/08 7:49PM
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I think I have a possible solution to something that's always bothered me. Why in the meeting was the signature copy of the document switched at the last minute?

It was never going to work as a plan to con RISCOS Ltd. After all we had (and still have) all the agreed drafts and we had an independant witness in the room. So why do it?

Now I have a possible answer. Peter was the only person not present. So he wouldn't know that the "signature copy" given to him wasn't true or accurate. So when, unsuprisingly RISCOS Ltd invoked the dispute clause to get the errors corrected he thought that RISCOS Ltd was being awkward. Of course the signed document was worthless, but Peter didn't know that. Thus Jack got Peter off his back over the money and it looked like it was all RISCOS Ltd's fault.

The agreed document (cam_lb\302646) and the fake signature document (cam_lb\302647) have 25 significant differences (according to the notes I made in the few days afterwards when it became clear that something had happened). These changed the meaning of the document so much that it was a nonsense.

There is one other thing that's slowly dawning on me. I had assumed until yesterday that Peter was somehow involved in this. I'm increasingly starting to think that he might have been conned as well. I am fairly sure that when I asked him in 2004 he said that he hadn't read the ROL/E14 agreement and that neither had he read the Castle/Pace "sale of the RISC OS technology" agreement and that he was replying on an interpretation that he had been given. If this is the case then I owe Peter an apology. In addition I suggest that he contacts me privately because there are a number of items which he really needs to see.

Finally in reply to David Ruck. I think that his suggestion of publishing the paperwork may be the only sensible way to resolve the issue for good.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 20/12/08 11:31AM
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I'm not a lawyer and didn't study contract law as part of my degree - but I am a journalist who deals daily with potentially defamatory and libellous material - and this post would have our night lwayers moving across the office faster than Usain Bolt ...

Serioulsy, people should be think more carefully about what they post on what is a public forum

Perhaps Drobe as the publisher also needs to take some care.

Maybe time for everyone to taker a step back ...

Nigel

 is a RISC OS Usernw on 22/12/08 1:21AM
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Usain Bolt (born 21 August 1986) is a Jamaican sprinter.

In case anyone else was wondering.

Merry Christmas

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 22/12/08 10:37AM
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IN reply tom Virtual Acorn. Now that confidential docs are starting to be leaked. Perhaps it is now time to do "all or nothing".

I find this tit for tat interesting (in a tabloid paper kind of way) but it should be either private (get it finihed once and for all) or out in the open; getting it finished once and for all.

Regarding "faked" documents. As you stated you studied contract law during your degree, perhaps "Faked" is not the most appropriate word to use based on your expertise.

You say the document was switched at the last minute. If this is the case, then you should immediately contact a solicitor and perhaps the police. If you mean that the wrond document was placed in front of you by mistake and you (not you personally but ROL) signed then why did you not read the thing you signed.

In a recent tender, I kept everyone waiting 30 minutes at the end to "Personally" read the WHOLE 74 page document. Yes I can speed read.

Perhaps if the relevant parties had done this in the beginnin then we wouldn't be in this apparent mess.

I wish, all of you, all the best in sorting out this disagreement. Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/12/08 11:34AM
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Thanks, you are quite correct I should not have used the term that I did, sorry.

There was some considerable pressure at the end of a 13 hour meeting to get a signed document. Since the previous draft had been agreed with only minor changes (for which I have records)then one would expect that the signature copy would reflect what was actually agreed. Otherwise it would have been a total waste of everyone's time.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 21/12/08 1:00PM
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:( I abandoned the excellent RiscOS platform many moons ago because the 'community' was 'dying of boredom'... ...so I joined the remains of the Amiga community for no better reason than at least it's still interesting - only to witness it's 'leaders' engage in an unseemly struggle over the remains of the corpse. The result? Now memories are our only sustenance... ...returning to my 'first love' I find her withered remains are being ravished in an equally unseemly manner! :( I wonder how many of my 'RiscOS converts' from the Amiga community will recant in the face of this behaviour..?

 is a RISC OS UserCharlie on 27/12/08 12:09AM
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