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Three weeks before Omega can ship?

By Chris Williams. Published: 18th Mar 2003, 21:44:52 | Permalink | Printable

German dealer a4 seems to think so [Updated 15:56 20/3/2003]

Despite having no machines to ship at the moment, the Yorkshire-based RISC OS hardware company Microdigital defiantly continued their Omega mini-roadshow last weekend, stopping off in Germany at Soest and Wolfen. The shipping of the Omega is being held back, we're told, by confidential contractural reasons which need resolving before end users can get their hands on the 300Mhz StrongARM machine. Every time Microdigital turn out to an informal usergroup meeting, we end up learning something new and this one's no different.

a4, a German RISC OS dealer and, on the face of it, an exceedingly pro-Omega company, were overseeing the Sunday Wolfen event and have released photos and other details of the event. a4 report that Microdigital are optimistically looking at two to three weeks before their licencing problem is resolved, adding that distribution of the very-very-very much long awaited RISC OS 4 computer can immediately begin once this blockage has been shifted.

Usually hardware companies such as Microdigital are required to licence RISC OS from the OS developer, namely RISCOS Ltd. While Microdigital refuse to name who's involved in this licencing hold up, one doesn't have to gaze very far to guess which companies are complicated in the process to release the machine. Possibly, y'know, it could be something ultimately non-RISC OS related. Finally, given a4 is pretty close to Microdigital, we're tempted to believe them although three weeks is a lot closer than we expected - having spoken to Microdigital in previous weeks, when they thought the Omega could be shipped was anyone's guess.

We're also reliably informed by our pal Jules Zimmerle that the Saturday Soest event (overseen by the Arche usergroup) drew some local press and we're waiting to get our hands on their coverage.

And on the subject of photos (kinda), we've noticed that - wait for this - Acorn Cybervillage has updated today with a link to their new backdrops section. From here you can rifle through what looks like Cidervillage editor Stuart Halliday's personal photo collection and pick a colourful pinboard image - we particularly like the blue sky ones. There's always the drobe backdrops too.

You'll be pleased to know that the local press coverage of the Soest event has been duly scanned and published on Arche chairman Jules Zimmerle's website. You even get to see Microdigital's Dave A and Dave P looking smart as well as cheerful.


Omega in Wolfen, Germany

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*sigh* The Omega release is more like a pantomine than anything else.

"The Omega is going to be released!" "Oh no it isn't" "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no it isn't"

"It's behind you!" "Where? Where?"

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtfull.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 18/3/03 11:25PM
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 is a RISC OS UserPhlamethrower on 18/3/03 11:26PM
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Yes, the Omega is coming soon! Will it bring joy to the RISC OS market or will the sponsor of all gossips aginst MD forge a new FUD campaign?

I cross my fingers and wish RISC OS a long life! -- Artur Albuquerque,

 is a RISC OS Userartur on 18/3/03 11:31PM
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artur: The Omega will or will not bring joy to the RISC OS market entirely on its own strengths and weaknesses. Any mythical sponsor of gossips against MD will affect it precisely as much as it has affected development so far - not at all.

The main reason people have and Fear, Uncertainty or Doubt about the Omega (both its functionality and its delivery) is the conduct of MD itself.

If the machine hadn't been "coming soon" for more than a year, people would be far more inclined to believe what MD say, which as we all know, is surprsingly little (at least in public) since the announcement of the Iyonix last year.

I think almost everyone using RISC OS (except perhaps those who believe we should have only one hardware manufacturer) want the Omega to be launched *soon* and to show itself to be a worthy competitor for the Iyonix.

And I think we all cross our fingers and wish RISC OS a long life. If not, we're really in the wrong place. -- Antony Sidwell

 is a RISC OS Userajps on 19/3/03 1:05AM
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What about the XScale board? It won't compare too well with the Iyonix without it.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 19/3/03 11:39AM
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I'm surprised Drobe reported this 3 weeks thing. Actually, I'm more surprised MD don't just shut up and get the thing out. Whether the information comes from them directly or indirectly, it hasn't been correct yet. I don't care about the excuses anymore - just get the thing out and shut up until you do! -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 19/3/03 12:13PM
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I kind of preferred it when they updated their NewsDesk with information, rather than the months of total silence we've had recently. Sure, their annoucements came to nothing, but at least we could read about the machine, what features it would have and so on.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 19/3/03 12:22PM
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Then can we get a RiscStation laptop for Christmas 2003? ;)

-- Dougal

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 19/3/03 12:28PM
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Microdigital informed us they refuse to update their Newsdesk pages because people on the newsgroups rip their words to pieces. They otherwise don't do press releases or statements.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/3/03 1:54PM
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Hi Drobe, Well the pictures on the Acorn Cybervillage are technically not on the Cybervillage. But are on their parent site - Quantum Software. Those pictures have been on the QS site for 3 years now in their free clipart section. There are Draw files there too.

But you must admit they are nicer pictures that Drobes. Yours just seem to be full of children anime cartoons. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 19/3/03 4:07PM
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Well Stu, after that staggering and condeming redress, I completely stand corrected.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/3/03 4:13PM
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Stu! Technically the wallpaper on drobe is actually on it's co-site www.animehunter.org. But don't worry, i'll widen the scanning parameters for the engine and get some decent (lots of) other types of images in there. :-)

-- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 19/3/03 4:17PM
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> Microdigital informed us they refuse to update their Newsdesk pages because people on the newsgroups rip their words to pieces. They otherwise don't do press releases or statements.

Well, that's fine - in that case they could *update* their Newsdesk pages once more to explain this...

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 19/3/03 5:28PM
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I look forward to seeing the Omega available. Then hopefully we'll see sales increase of both Iyonix and Omega since people will be able to make an informed choice.

Anyway, I'm intrigued to see the truth of the "faster than Iyonix at most things" claim, having already made my choice. The Iyonix here is definitely a fast-moving target :-)


 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 19/3/03 7:41PM
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I'd be amazed if the 300Mhz Omega was faster than the Iyonix at anything!

moss: I'm with you on that, I used to really enjoy the Newsdesk on MD's site, it was the best read in the RISC OS scene (no offence, Chris)

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 19/3/03 7:44PM
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thegman: Well, currently its IDE performance is many times faster. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 19/3/03 7:51PM
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Much as the NewsDesk might have been a good read, it far too often contain technical innacuracies, and sometimes just plain errors. This was the source of much of the FUD which ajps refers to.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 19/3/03 8:32PM
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I would have thought that a 800MHz machine would peform better than a 300MHz machine? Am I wrong in this assumption? -- Snig Undoubtley doubtful.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 19/3/03 9:14PM
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800MHz? Where did you get that figure? Is this some top secret Iyonix II or something? ;)

 is a RISC OS UserPhlamethrower on 19/3/03 10:50PM
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The Doctor: Ah yes, I forgot that the disk access is'nt so hot on the Iyonix yet, but still, the RiscPC IDE interface is appalling, but I don't really notice it as being much worse than Macs at work. I hope MD realise that a 300MHz StrongARM is a bit past it now, and bundle the 1Ghz chip.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/3/03 12:09AM
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Bah. I should really read and sleep before I write. :D -- Snig Undoubtley doubtful.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 20/3/03 8:49AM
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I think that MD are completely correct in not updating their news pages or making public announcements. It is always the best policy to keep the public in the dark, especially when you have nothing to hide. Also, although small in number, the newsgroup contributers' opinions are of critical importance to the risc os market. As we know, their opinions are held in the highest regard due in no small part to the recognition of their unbiased views, informed opinions and sound judgements. I certainly know that I wouldn't make any risc os related purchase before making sure that the product had the unanimous backing of csa.misc. I am a flower-pot. -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 20/3/03 9:20AM
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The point is that MD have opened their mouths and told us/user groups/"important" individuals so many times of various time scales - I mean, how many have we heard now?! The only announcement we need to hear from them is that they have been shipped in quantity. Anything else just looks like they're taking the piss. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 20/3/03 10:20AM
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I totally agree that MD have behaved in a very poor manner, but like Castle I do believe they are working in the best interests of the platfrom and it's users, whatever their faults. However I do think they should release some final specs for the machine, now that they apparently have production models, this will at least allow people to evaluate it and decide whether they wish to buy. This is particularly important for those people who have put down deposits on a machine, and may not know it's exact spec. we've had talk of all this JPEG/MPEG hardware, Mesa/OpenGL, PC cards, Lynx Internet suite, optional Firewire etc. etc. How much of this will be in the box when we buy them?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/3/03 10:32AM
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I'd be very surprised if MD were working in anything other than the best interests of MD. This isn't a negative comment - it's pure business.

I must admit the comments on this article do tend to support my view on


...perhaps MD shouldn't have said anything to anyone and NDA'd their partners that do apparently have hardware.

Regarding the final spec. I understand people's frustration with not knowing. However, judging by previous MD comments, the situation isn't as clear cut as for say the Iyonix. MD have made noises about the FPGAs used to implement their hardware and how they can potentially be modified to provide extra features after the "production motherboards" have been built, and even delivered.

If this is the case the term "final spec" doesn't make as much sense as it does for the Iyonix (and even Castle state the advertised spec could change in their publicity). However I agree it would be nice to know what the expected "deliverable spec" will be.

Having said that I'd be very surprised (and positively delighted) if OpenGL support was there from day 1. Other than that the I guess it would be nice to know the status of the JPEG/MPEG hardware and Lynx Internet suite. PC cards and Firewire are "optional" and may not be available from the start in the same way that 4MB upgrades weren't available for the A30X0 range from the start.

 is a RISC OS Userjohnstlr on 20/3/03 1:54PM
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I think the key thing is what is delivered. That's what we can all be sure of and the sooner the two machines can be compared the better. Using the performance NOW is the most relevant thing to users as opposed to techies (IMHO).

Both will then have unexploited potential (FPGAs in the Omega, disc speed and the graphics card in the Iyonix) so we can look forward to 6 months hence updated comparisons.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 22/3/03 5:39PM
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The Omega will be big competition for the Iyonix... eventually. The fact that the details are quite vague at the moment doesn't help the comparison. And what's going on with XScale Omegas? 1.3GHz sounds much more appealing than 300 MHz. We really can't compare the two until the full Omega release.

The Omega is sure to impress, but all the release delays aren't good advertising.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 24/3/03 7:12AM
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a4com "exceedingly pro-Omega"? [link] ... a4com are just a hardware and software dealer for us RISC OS fans. They sell everything they want to sell and actually can sell. I have no idea how this can be "exceedingly pro-Omega" ... tststs ...

 is a RISC OS Usermaus on 24/3/03 8:00PM
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If you don't say the Omega will never arrive you're pro Omega. Can't see an Omega without an Xscale as standard competing really though, hopefully they're upped the spec. Why not an XScale only version?, hopefully the delays are to make that happen. And they can make a HALomega for their machine too, see HAL26.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 24/3/03 10:04PM
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