RISCOS Ltd.'s Paul Middleton defends Select SchemeBy 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."
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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