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Stepping into RISC OS dead tree style

By Chris Williams. Published: 13th Mar 2003, 23:15:02 | Permalink | Printable

Alligata Media want to publish a book about RISC OS, fancy that [Updated 01:14 14/3/2003]

Tired of publishing software or anouncing that you're publishing software? Thinking of branching out? Book publishing! It has to be, such a logical transition from software and it's what Alligata Media (aka Proaction) are planning next.

"Alligata Media will shortly be in a position to announce the release of a number of publications for users of RISC OS computers", their man David Bradforth announced earlier this week. "In some cases, these books - and they are books [Yes, yes, we believe you Dave - Ed] - are relaunches of existing titles whereby the publishers have lost interest, whereas in other cases they're complete new titles for RISC OS 4 computers and later."

In order to judge demand, Dave wants to know if anyone's interested in subjects like ARM programming, "First steps with RISC OS 4", Wimp programming, DTP or getting the hang of using RISC OS on the Internet (well, you're here already, right?). It turns out that in a follow up press release issued today, Alligata Media have as their first title and foray into the world of dead tree publishing, plumped for First steps with RISC OS 4, describing it as a "book presented in simple step-by-step style explaining some of the first things of RISC OS. The presentation is pretty much as a magazine, with step by step guides exploring most aspects of the operating system."

Dave tells us it'll ready for May this year, be A5 sized and "almost" 150 pages (so what, 149.8?) with some colour and a spiral bound. More interesting facts like the name of the author, whether or not it covers RISC OS Select (4.33) as well as RISC OS 4 and what "first things" means can't be answered by us because Dave's left these out of his announcements and hasn't bothered replying to our email at time of writing.

Of course, drobe.co.uk's looking forward to finalising our first title, First Steps of Marketing.


And as if by magic, soon after publishing this article we got a reply from Dave, who's apparently had a long day so I hope he'll forgive our initial impetuosity. Dave tells us he's composing the book, which is mildly reassuring as he's no stranger to writing on the subject of RISC OS, being a RiscWorld regular. Having spent quite a while on planning and producing this, Dave's now "satisfied" that it'll sell and as such is entering the final lap of the book writing and editing process. Dave also mentions that the 150 page count is a round figure, it could quite possibly turn out to have more but uh, we'll wait until it's finished before worrying about such things.

Having read Dave's description in his email, First Steps with RISC OS 4 strikes us as very much like the original RISC OS 3 user guide; you've got your introduction to RISC OS and where RISC OS is at the moment, then onto your desktop basics (windows, icons, the mouse etc.) and descriptions of all the components that make up RISC OS and then next onto how to use Draw, Edit, SciCalc, ChangeFSI, Maestro and so forth. New to RISC OS and scared by the ultra friendly user interface? Then maybe this book's made for you and if Dave pulls it off, it ought to be shipped with all new RISC OS computers.

Just our opinion, we'll look forward to press time (6 weeks and counting).


Dave of Alligata Media, pricing details here.

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I would imagine that Dave can't say who the authors are is down to contract negotiations and wot-not.

Personally, I welcome anything like this - if for nothing else than to get hold of books which have long since vanished.

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 14/3/03 12:30AM
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I'd prefer them from a company that has a better track-record of competence :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 14/3/03 1:12AM
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I look forward to reading the review on Drobe :-)

Someone could include books like these with new RISC OS machines. It would be a good way to introduce customers to other companies in the RISC OS world e.g. Buy an Omega and get a bundle of Acorn Publisher magazines, RISC OS books, CD full of demo software and 6 months internet access to a RISC OS friendly ISP.

Just a thought -- Cheers Steve

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 14/3/03 1:28AM
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So erm, its going to be out of date when? As soon as RISC OS 5 is released? Wait a sec, that can't be right. Or maybe when RISC OS Select changes the UI to the !Boot.

Its all so very confusing.

I'm sorry, its been a long day and my brain has been frazzled by watching Hugh Grant bumble over his script in Notting Hill for the last hour or too. Serious point time; Surley it would be better to write a book once everything has settled down in OS terms?

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtfull.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 14/3/03 1:28AM
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Well the OS has settled, kinda. You have OS 5 developed by Castle and then OS 4 developed by RISCOS Ltd. The basics of the OS will stay the same and if the book has to be updated every (say) 9 months, then well, roll on volumes one and two ;-)

We need more books again, or at least, a CD of articles and FAQs to get people clued up on various aspects of the OS if they're new to it. From dealer lists to programming to graphics to the user interface.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 14/3/03 1:42AM
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Yes, it has settled, however perhaps in the way Snig suggests, it might not settle for a long time. We no longer have the days of Acorn where there might be a year or more between OS updates.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 14/3/03 8:05AM
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I'd maybe like a book on programming RISC OS with C/C++. One other point though, David suggests doing a book on DTP and include Impression Publisher in it. I think it would be a lot better to disregard discontinued products, as I think we'd all rather a top-notch developer like David Pilling got a sale of OPro, than someone buy a copy of Imp Pub off eBay.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 14/3/03 10:39AM
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I quite agree, although I think Impression should be ditched from the book in favour of Textease which is also a very powerfull DTP package.

Certain people of this platform keep saying we have no Killer apps. I think the Textease suite of programs comes as close as we are ever going to get. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 14/3/03 11:06AM
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TextEase rules, at one point we had Sibelius of course, that was a killer app, but we do need another one. Maybe something for embedded systems would be a more realistic goal than the desktop.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 14/3/03 11:35AM
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a C book covering riscos libraries such as desklib would be welcomed here

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 14/3/03 12:23PM
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Yes indeedy. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 14/3/03 12:27PM
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Mmmm Textease. It is of course the worlds greatest App. However I don't think it can be regarded as a killer app cos its available for Windross anyway. Of course, it feels nicer on RO. -- John Myers,

 is a RISC OS UserJohn Myers on 14/3/03 12:45PM
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Textease is excellent, but it doesn't run too quickly these days. On a StrongARM it's fine. A7000+ is OK, but it is a bit clunky. -- Andrew Harmsworth, Cambridge. www.gcse.com owner and author

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 14/3/03 7:01PM
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> a CD of articles and FAQs to get people clued up on various aspects of the OS if they're new to it. From dealer lists to programming to graphics to the user interface.

Something which I was considering putting together several months ago. But I abandoned it because it was too much work, and it would help if I had a CD writer ;-)

As to the book stuff, well I hope it works and they're great. I like books. But I hope they're spell-checked and accurate - RISC OS companies haven't got a good record of this these days.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 17/3/03 6:15PM
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