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RISCOS Ltd.'s Paul Middleton defends Select Scheme

By Chris Williams. Published: 22nd May 07:51:48 | Permalink | Printable

It is not often the RISC OS market is turned on its head by a single announcement. This particular announcement was issued to drobe prior to the Wakefield 2001 show, winging its way from RISCOS Ltd., the company behind the desktop version of RISC OS. Announcing the RISC OS Select Scheme, here is basically the low down on what RISC OS Ltd have in store:

The RISC OS Select scheme enables RISC OS users to purchase the next release of RISC OS, namely RISC OS 4.5, over a 12 month period.

  • For 105 you get a CD about every 4 months, each CD containing the latest OS components and updates to install on your RISC OS 4 machine. You are free to choose which parts to install and remove at any time. You also get the Manuals CD which features the technical documentation on writing software for RISC OS.
  • If you have not already bought RISC OS 4, then you can get the RISC OS 4 ROM set and one year's subscription to the Select scheme for 179.
  • If you have not already bought RISC OS 4 and do not want to subscribe to the Select Scheme, then you can buy RISC OS 4.02 for 95.
  • If you do not wish to subscribe to the Select Scheme and are happy with your current version of RISC OS then you pay exactly nothing.

Reading back through that, it all seems pretty straightforward, of course RISCOS Ltd. would like to join the Select scheme so you can enjoy regular developments and also so you can invest in future RISC OS work. It's like every previous OS upgrade, expect this one comes on CDs and is distributed over a 12 month period.

However, maybe the problem seems to lie in that RISCOS Ltd. have taken the brave step of prioritising their work- such as support for 32bit processors has been delayed in favour of improving other key areas of RISC OS, ideally network and internet support as well as hints of technologies filtering down from RISC OS IPR owner and corporate developer Pace. As this editor confidently understands it, the only thing holding back a full 32bit release is the final step over for the OS kernel and an actual 32bit processor machine with 32bit compatible software running on it. So far only Microdigital have publically promised their commitment to a true 32bit machine but admittly, first they need to complete the 26bit side.

As the RISC OS newsgroups and online forums continued to blaze with the usual predictions of the end of the platform followed up by reassurances from supporters, Paul Middleton -the managing director of RISCOS Ltd.- has today spoken out in defense on one such forum. Reproduced below for your information and strictly in his own words, is a copy of Mr. Middleton's posting, as published on the iconbar.com article forums:

"I can see that the Scheme is provoking some very extreme reactions and I would like to let readers know that further details of whats going to be in RISC OS Select will be included in the next newsletter for Foundation members which will go out later this week.
Details will then follow on the Web Site.

I would love to answer all of the suggestions raised in other comments but commercial restrictions make that impossible.
There are far more factors involved in the future of the RISC OS market than anyone who is not directly involved can ever realise, but suffice to say that some commentators are so wide of the mark with their suggestions that it would be funny, if it wasn't unfortunately so serious that it is usually their defeatist predictions that get believed.

The future development of RISC OS is totally assured, and as I have been pointing out in various presentations since last years Wakefield Show, RISCOS Ltd is just a small, but essential part of the whole picture.

The enthusiast market, that RISCOS Ltd is primarily concerned with, has a very large part to play in ensuring the future development of desktop versions of RISC OS and I hope that those who are decrying the Select Scheme will read the announcement again and try to appreciate both what we are trying to offer, and what they will be contributing to the RISC OS market if they join the scheme.

As regards 32 bit what many people still fail to see is that even if there was a machine that ran solely in 32 bit mode available now, and there was a 32 bit version of RISC OS to go with it there would be virtually no application software to go with it. We have worked to get new tools to support development 32 bit development released and there will be further announcements about tools later this year. If you consider the current cost of Xscale chips and delivery lead times then you would begin to realise that our announcement is not quite the disaster that some people are predicting."

Paul Middleton

Earlier today, drobe.co.uk contacted RISCOS Ltd. to ascertain the exact details of RISC OS 4.5. They confirmed that they will be announcing details on their website shortly, presumably after they have assessed the response to the Select scheme. Once these details have been made, we'll be the first to let you know. Since Epsom 2000, the user base has been awaiting the next installment of RISC OS. RISC OS 4.5 was promised for this summer and it appears RISCOS Ltd. are willing to deliver, while at the same time clearly illustrating that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.


RISC OS Select Scheme: www.riscos.com/select/
RISCOS Ltd.: www.riscos.com

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RISC OS should be treated as a National Treasure and must be maintained and developed. We as users must be prepared to pay for this in whatever way we can. Also funding should be sought from available sources,eg National Lottery, to avoid development becoming moribund through lack of investment because of the uncertainties, both real and imagined, perceived in the market.

 is a RISC OS User on 27/7/01 8:07PM
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Hahahahahahaahahaha! If they can't make it in the real world, they shouldn't be trying to sponge off us!

 is a RISC OS User on 30/7/01 10:23PM
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The foundations of RISC OS are dated and were largely so even as a *microcomputer* operating system ten years ago! Had Acorn ported some of their technologies to UNIX and surfed the Linux wave, rather than dipping their toes in the Java wave, they might still be around today with a multi-million pound valuation *and* making money.

But the "RISC OS is best" attitude saw Acorn miss yet another opportunity, even as the company and the community demonstrated an unprecedented awareness of the mistakes of the past.

 is a RISC OS User on 31/7/01 4:28PM
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RISCOS is an excellent OS, but totally out of it's league on the desktop, in terms of quality of software, power and value for money, RISC OS would be better off taking on WindowsCE and other embedded systems. As for RISCOS Ltd, they have delivered very little but have little incentive to produce a 32-bit OS when the likes of Riscstation will not even produce a StrongARM machine, let alone Xscale.

 is a RISC OS User on 31/7/01 7:31PM
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RISC OS have delivered what they set out to deliver - RO4. The select scheme is a way of getting more cash to add new feature to RO4 but ultimatly will not sustain them. It's up to he hardware companies to get RO into new markets. Only then will ROL be able to produce the much improved RO that we all want

 is a RISC OS User on 31/7/01 9:41PM
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What is Lottery Funding for if it is not to help 'Good Causes' Are you saying RISC OS is not worth saving? The 'Real World' will be a poorer place without it.

 is a RISC OS User on 1/8/01 8:30PM
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The "Real World" is mostly blissfully unaware of RISC OS.

It would be cheaper and more fruitful to invest in one of the more reliable platforms out there and add what people like about RISC OS's Desktop to that, rather than mess with the architectural nightmare that is RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS User on 3/8/01 12:03PM
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The "Real World" is mostly blissfully unaware of RISC OS.

It would be cheaper and more fruitful to invest in one of the more reliable platforms out there and add what people like about RISC OS's Desktop to that, rather than mess with the architectural nightmare that is RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS User on 3/8/01 12:04PM
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What happens to my UKP 105 when they go bust, besides i do not have a cd player

 is a RISC OS User on 3/8/01 4:18PM
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What happens to my UKP 105 when they go bust, besides i do not have a cd player

 is a RISC OS User on 3/8/01 4:24PM
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What happens to my UKP 105 when they go bust, besides i do not have a cd player

 is a RISC OS User on 3/8/01 4:24PM
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Looks good to me, I'll be forking out just as soon as I can find the money (after food, clothes, a new canoe, ...) You want it, you pay for it, TANSTAFL

 is a RISC OS User on 6/8/01 8:23PM
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Referring to the first comment in the list: While RISC OS may be a National Treasure (I fully agree), Paul Middleton, unfortunately, isn't.

 is a RISC OS User on 23/8/01 1:54AM
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ukp 105 seems very reasonable to me when you look at the cost of Windows upgrades that appear with monotonous expensive regularity, take hours to install and usually 3 or 4 attempts before they work

 is a RISC OS User on 23/8/01 12:24PM
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Erm, but Windows is only updated once every two years or so, with /free/ updates and bug fixes between major revisions. 105ukp is very expensive, if you look at it that way. (Considering that a Windows major revision upgrade costs between 40-70 quid)

 is a RISC OS User on 24/8/01 11:38AM
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