VirtualRiscPC freed from Alpha laptop?By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Jul 2003, 19:36:24 | Permalink | Printable
VirtualAcorn demos standalone version to usersVirtualAcorn last night treated the Wakefield usergroup to an exclusive peek at their VirtualRiscPC software running RISC OS 3.7 on a standalone PC packing WindowsXP and a 3Ghz P4 processor. VirtualAcorn's VirtualRiscPC software enables Windows based computers to emulate Acorn computer hardware so users can run RISC OS and their favourite software on their PCs.
"Well, we saw a development version of 'Virtual RiscPC'. It was running on a 3GHz(ish) desktop PC (with Windows XP). On top of this, RISC OS 3.7 ran substantially faster than one of the club's genuine StrongARM'd RiscPCs", WROCC committemember Ruth Gunstone told us earlier today, regarding the user group meeting last night.
"The desktop was very responsive, and the few Artworks files I tried rendered very quickly in AWViewer. Using HostFS, VirtualRiscPC allows long filenames and >77 files per directory."
Until now, VirtualRiscPC could only be found on Microdigital's WindowsXP Alpha notebook emulating an ARM710 RiscPC and running RISC OS 4. Around the launch of VirtualRiscPC, it was stated that the each copy of the software is 'locked down' to each Microdigital laptop, allowing the emulator to run only on the Microdigital hardware. This has disappointed a number of users who were eager to purchase and run VirtualRiscPC on their existing PC computers.
VirtualAcorn declined to take orders for VirtualRiscPC and also give any kind of availability details.
VirtualAcorn has been privately teasing drobe.co.uk recently with hints of a release of a version of VirtualRiscPC that will run on any Windows based computer - a move that will no doubt please the crowds of VirtualA5000 users who are looking forward to emulating RiscPC hardware and RISC OS 3.7 or 4 on their PCs. We await further news on this subject.
The availability of VirtualRiscPC is quite critical because it means PC users can embrace RiscPC architecture and therefore in theory run more modern RISC OSes like 4.36 on much faster PC based hardware. In the past, VirtualAcorn's emulation software was frowned upon by OS developer RISCOS Ltd. however the two companies appear to have kissed and made up with the advent of an officially recognised emulated RISC OS 4 in the MicroDigital Alpha.
WROCC chairman Steve Potts told us the VirtualRiscPC product was billed as something that "may or may not be released".
"Basically the potential of Virtual Risc PC is clear (both in performance and increasing the userbase for software vendors and RISC OS Ltd.)", Steve told us, "but at this point there are no guarantees that this will be available anytime soon (if at all) and if it were, it is likey to cost significantly more than VA5000 although not figures were given as these were not known."
"Things are possible, we'll have to see how it all goes."
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