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A letter from RISCOS Ltd.

Published: 18th Sep 2001, 18:54:21 | Permalink | Printable

To clear up any recent confusion and to set the record straight about the futureof RISC OS, Paul Middleton writes..

While at the RISC OS 4+ press meeting held at the Pace Cambridge office in August, drobe.co.uk learnt that a number of articles published by a well known RISC OS magazine contained references to RISCOS Ltd and its products and plans for the future.

After obtaining permission soon after the press meeting, drobe.co.uk can now bring you the following comments written by RISCOS Ltd.'s manager director following the publication of the articles. RISCOS Ltd. is the central developer of the desktop version of RISC OS and is expected to ship the first CD of it's RISC OS 4+ subscription scheme this month. The following comments have now been published in the Letters page in October's Acornuser. drobe.co.uk has felt it necessary to reproduce the letters not only because we promised we would at August's press meeting but also for those drobe readers who unfortunately don't subscribe to the long running Acornuser magazine.

As one of the people steering the RISC OS desktop market, managing director Paul Middleton in his letter clears up any confusion or possible errors in the Acornuser articles as well as spelling out what is in store for the RISC OS market and how things are currently shaping up. Incidentally, Paul will be appearing tomorrow at the Manchester Acorn User Group and, according to the MAUG organisers, "Paul will be talking about, demonstrating, and answering questions on RISC OS 4+ and the Select Scheme. You should also be able to join the scheme on the evening! Whether you're already a subscriber to Select, or are making up your mind whether to subscribe, this should be extremely interesting. We should also have a "big screen" present, so that everyone has a decent view of what will be a first demonstration for most."

Finally, our Select preview article is being written as we speak (as well as our Vantage review). Plus all the news items we promised we'd publish and all the latest news too.

Chris Williams, 'yeah-RISC-OS-rocks' department

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Does this man ever talk sense?

[Edited by admin 20/9/01]

 is a RISC OS User on 19/9/01 8:56PM
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I don't think you were reading that same article I was just reading. What on earth makes you say that? -- chris@drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/9/01 10:29PM
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Good article. I agree.

Certainly removes some of the confusion and speculation that has been appearing in the newsgroups.

[Edited by admin 20/9/01]

-- Steve Knutson, Palmerston North

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 19/9/01 11:37PM
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Ah, if only the original statements had been proof-read before they were released this wouldn't have been required.

I still maintain that the 32 bit conversion will have to start taking place wether there's a 32bit only computer out there or not. I'm not talking overnight but at least some motion towards it. If that isn't possible without messing up the current versions then say so - please. Don't just tell us it will not happen until someone has a computer ready for you, because it will not happen that way.

Thanks for clearing some things up though Paul.

-- Gunnlaugur Jonsson, Reykjavik

 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 20/9/01 12:36AM
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Two things in particular bother me. Firstly the comments about hacking to OS to get cards like ViewFinder to work. If work on removing VIDC and IOMD dependencies had been carried out (and I believe that the desktop market wanted this and RISC OS Ltds job is to support the desktop market) hacks wouldn't be necessary and I'd even bet we would've seen Evolution by now. Also it would remove the possibility of a user soft-loading the wrong ROM image as it wouldn't contain hardware specific code.

Secondly the point about C code being easily recompilable to 32bit. I hope this means that RISC OS Ltd know something about the compiler tools that we don't because at the moment we don't even appear to have an officially supported C development kit.


 is a RISC OS User on 20/9/01 9:37AM
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Lee, Paul is of the unfortunate disposition of not having a clue. He doesn't see business as what is wanted/required, but what he feels like providing at vastly inflated costs.

Apparently, there's no hardware waiting for 32bit. Paul hasn't heard of Imago, Evolution or Omega.

He somehow thinks that someone is going to be able to develop 32bit RISC OS hardware without 32bit RISC OS to test it with.

 is a RISC OS User on 20/9/01 12:07PM
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Yes that's right, the hardware companies are being very open aren't they? I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll dream up a computer that will run RISC OS on a nice fast AMD processor with USB, fast RAM, built-in microwave and funky video/sound hardware etc. I've designed the case and the logo for the machine and I reckon I'll get it down some time soon. Going by your arguement, am I now allowed to hound ROL too, demanding work which I don't particularly want to pay for and for a machine I can't show anyone? -- chris@drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 20/9/01 12:27PM
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You've got it.

 is a RISC OS User on 20/9/01 2:25PM
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 is a RISC OS User on 20/9/01 3:12PM
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Chris, that machine of yours is obviously very impressive. I've never seen it working, you have no proof that it functions and you may never deliver your product to market - Can I make a deposit? Please? ;)

 is a RISC OS Userpeprice on 20/9/01 7:26PM
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You guys seemed to have missed the point about a 32 bit OS. Yes we want one, and Omega will support one, but if none of the Hardware companies have actually committed to ROL to requring a 32 bit version(or perhaps committed some money to develop it) then it will never happen.

As Paul said, ROL is not a charity and has to pay programmers for any work done. Once the Omega is available and the Xscale is being produced, we might see ROL starting to develop a 32 bit OS, but a 32 bit OS has to developed alongside software that will run on it.

 is a RISC OS User on 20/9/01 11:42PM
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I'm not missing the point, and that's why I raised the point about hardware independence as opposed to 32bit OS - the comment about the C tools was to show that, while Paul has the right idea here, it's unfortunate that there are other problems concerning the toolset.

Evolution is running - IIRC it was demoed way back at Wakefield 99 (I saw it - just not sure about the year). At the time Simtec said the issues were to do with getting RISC OS to run on non VIDC/IOMD chipsets NOT 32bit as they weren't aiming for it then and, rightly so, they also said they'd be happy to provide the drivers if RISC OS Ltd provided the necessary abstractions in the OS. When I last spoke to Roy Heslop (wakefield 2001) he was very open about it - the original Evolution hardware has been gathering dust for a long time. Actually I got the impression, although Roy didn't explicitly say so, that RiscStation had a fairly long shelf of goodies gathering dust.

I propose the following. One of the magazines arranges to get ROS Ltd, RiscStation, Castle and MD all in the same room. In advance the magazine takes questions from the public, get them to answer them face to face (very important that) and write it up. While this could make an interesting article I suspect that, judging by comments I heard at Wakefield 2001 (although things may have changed), they either won't talk openly or they'll all hide behind NDA. It is this feeling which is destroying the confidence about the market held by myself and other people.


 is a RISC OS User on 21/9/01 9:35AM
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It's clear that something needs to be done. I can understand the attitudes taken by the various companies, but it's doing their market no good. If they carry on sticking their heads in the sand, there will ne no market left.

For the record, Omega, Imago and Evolution do *not* need a 32-bit OS, since they use SA-110 chips (as in a Risc PC). Evolution needs hardware abstraction - the other two 'emulate' VIDC and IOMD.

 is a RISC OS User on 21/9/01 1:16PM
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