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By Chris Williams. Published: 7th Jul 2003, 16:50:15 | Permalink | Printable

Castle promises online FAQ, answers our questions

A lot of questions of have been asked over the weekend after Castle Technology relieved Pace of RISC OS on Friday. Today this lunchtime, Castle informed us that they're preparing an online FAQ which should clear up most of your queries when published. In the meantime, we had a few burning questions that needed answering and Castle's Managing Director Jack Lillingston was on hand to help.

Firstly, Jack assured us that Castle now owns all of RISC OS. All previous licences with Pace are preserved which means RISCOS Ltd. still have a licence to develop and distribute RISC OS 4 and as such RISCOS Ltd.'s sub-licences with companies like MicroDigital are safe. The position seems more clear now - if you want RISC OS 4 (which is 26 bit), you talk to RISCOS Ltd. and if you want RISC OS 5 (which is 32 bit), you talk to Castle. On the subject of emulators and RISC OS, Jack mentioned that he wasn't aware of any written agreement between VirtualAcorn and Pace although Castle haven't got a problem with the emulation of RISC OS hardware to run RISC OS, if that's your cup of tea.

Jack revealed that Castle and RISCOS Ltd. were in talks at a meeting last Friday and Castle are very keen to work closely with RISCOS Ltd. Jack spoke highly of RISCOS Ltd.'s work and described them as "experts" when it comes to RISC OS on the desktop. Therefore, we should expect active integration of RISC OS Select with Castle's RISC OS; RISCOS Ltd. have already spoken of this - the exact details on how such a merged version will be released to the public are still being worked on. Castle would like to see, from a maintenance and stability point of view, a single fundamental version of RISC OS which contains all the essential core modules which can be used in an embedded form and then functionality specifically for desktop users (hello, Select) can be used on top.

You see, Castle are very keen on entering the consumer electronics market and producing embedded RISC OS powered gadgets in order to push RISC OS forward. ARM are shifting more and more processors a year and Castle want to be a part of that, we were told - you may recall Castle's Neuron products. Remember that Pace produced more RISC OS powered kit than Acorn produced RiscPCs, so with any luck we may see RISC OS cropping up in places we wouldn't have thought possible. In order to get RISC OS onto newer hardware, this is where Tematic comes into the frame, a company made up of many ex-Acorn and ex-Pace engineers with whom Castle are delighted to be working with.

With this in mind, are Castle the next Acorn? Unfortunately, Castle don't own the Acorn nut logo although they were allowed to use it with their RiscPCs and A7000s but Castle would prefer to remain as just Castle, rather than Acorn Mark II.

Jack also added that he was very glad to see work like Simon Wilson's PCI TV Card project. Castle have produced an Iyonix Technical Reference Manual, which is at the printers as I type this, we're expecting news on that later this week. Castle being Castle, Jack wouldn't give out details of any future projects so we'll have to sit tight.

Finally, we asked if Castle were going to follow in RISCOS Ltd.'s footsteps and opensource some components of the OS, seeing as Castle had already published their HAL and EtherY software under the GPL. The answer was no.


Castle Technology

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I very much like the sound of a single fundamental version of RISC OS with extra functionality developed for desktop users. I think this puts RISC OS, Castle and RISC OS Ltd. in a strong position.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 7/7/03 4:54PM
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It'll be nice to see Select integrated into OS5 at some point relatively soon!

Writing software that takes advantage of feature X that isn't present in version Y aint much fun. -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 7/7/03 4:56PM
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 is a RISC OS Usertakkaria on 7/7/03 4:57PM
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I believe the phrase is "It's all good".

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 7/7/03 5:06PM
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So, do we support RISC OS 5 and Select integration by subscribing to ROL or will Castle be funding most of this work?

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 7/7/03 5:07PM
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Precisely takkaria. That all looks very good.

It looks like everybody is appreciating each other's talents, they want to work together and we should get a better RISC OS out of it :)

On the subject of open source, RISCOS Ltd have opensourced one component, and it's not part of what I would call the OS. I think that printing is one clear area where opensourcing can only be a good thing.

 is a RISC OS Userilludium on 7/7/03 5:10PM
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The Acorn thing isn't going to go away - the platform needs a clear identifiable logo and unified name and I think Acorn is perfect for it.

By the way Jonix, I've a SAM Coupe on my desk beside me here! You don't own a SAM do you? -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 7/7/03 5:25PM
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I wonder if castle will buy the Acorn Nut Device off HH? :)

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 7/7/03 5:26PM
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I for one would hope that Castle do start to use the nut (if they were allowed), but I would not expect them to pay for it, I think they have better things to spend their money one. I think HH is rich enough that any money Castle could give him would be insignificant by his standards.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 7/7/03 5:31PM
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I'm going to continue with my Select subscription even after purchasing an Iyonix.

SparkY> Yes I have a SAM, doesn't see much use though at the moment.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 7/7/03 5:52PM
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It's all good.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 7/7/03 6:27PM
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Sparky> I agree that the RISC OS community really needs a good logo, but I don't think the Acorn logo is it. Too much legacy, too much baggage. I'd quite like to see some good artwork along the lines of "Sophie The Squirrel", which was discussed some time ago. Surely we must have some good artists amongst us? A goodly collection of free logos would allow people to make backdrops, car stickers, computer-case adornments, etc. All pushing the RISC OS scene, and hopefully giving people a logo to recognise, and 'get behind'.

Can anyone here draw like Eric Shwartz? Lots of squirrels! (Use Google if you don't know who Eric is.)

 is a RISC OS Userzeeb on 7/7/03 6:28PM
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flyfot: We hope Castle will be funding it, but we support them ourselves aswell!

 is a RISC OS UserTimothy609 on 7/7/03 6:29PM
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The great thing about the nut logo is that it's simple.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 7/7/03 6:29PM
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It would be so incredibly hard to start from scratch to create an identity. Nostalgia is a good thing, and I do believe people have tracked down RISC OS because of its Acorn links - I'm one of them. Difference now is that once they get interested for nostalgic reasons, then we can sell them a nice new fast machine :) -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 7/7/03 6:31PM
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Castle blatantly stole ROL's cog device, so why should they have any worry about stealing the good ole nut?

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 7/7/03 6:34PM
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It was never ROL's for them to steel it from. Doen'st Richard Hallas who designed it and as far as i know, he still holds the copyright. It was also Richard who did the icons for RO5. Having the shadow of the cog was to keep a link with RO4. -- Paul Stewart, Bletchley, Milton Keynes

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 7/7/03 6:50PM
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Why doesn't someone design a Castle icon? Why are people so bothered about using the old Acorn logo? It was simple and easy to remember but imo ppl need to dissacociate the current RO market with the dodgy company that went bust a while back.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 7/7/03 7:05PM
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I thought the whole point of the cog logo was that it could be used for *all* versions of RISC OS?

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 7/7/03 7:13PM
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<Monty Burns sound fx> "Technical Reference manual, Simpson eh ?"</Monty Burns sound fx>

Sounds good, seems like Castle have been busy - bodes well overall. The availability of the Tech Ref will help, this may accellerate further hardware/driver development - a good thing surely.....

-- Annraoi McShane,

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/7/03 7:16PM
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IMJ, they didn't steal it, it was created for use for the whole platform by Richard Hallas (though sadly I don't think it's particularly good, no offence Richard!). Get over your anti-Castle nonsense IMJ, it's getting dull mate and none of your arguments are justified. -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 7/7/03 7:19PM
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its all nuts!!


 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 7/7/03 8:04PM
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Just to stick my oar in... I for one would welcome the return of the nut, despite around 5 years of hardwork and effort by many companies in the RISC OS arena, the 'Acorn Nut' still commands more respect, and re'cog'nition (sorry couldn't resist the pun), from many people than all the RISC OS marketting put together - many may see it as baggage, but at least it's baggage non-RISC OS people recognise.

I'll now keep my logo-related trap shut, and eagerly await Castle's FAQ :-)

-- Ryan Hitch, Cottingham

 is a RISC OS Userdrjones69 on 7/7/03 8:53PM
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Trouble is, when I tell people I have an Acorn computer, they think of Beebs...or they ask if Archimedes is still going. Surprise that we have a decent C compiler, or a Web Browser are other reactions.

Castle described Iyonix as a fresh start and not an Acorn computer. I think they're right. Let's go for Richard's cog wheel: It's simple and effective and already unites the two camps in our littlle world!


 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 7/7/03 9:58PM
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My only problem with the cog is that it's far too similar to the KDE logo. I know it's a common whiny compliant, but it *is* true.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 7/7/03 10:19PM
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Indeed :( In marketing terms, it also has no real character - it's not a particularly nice or attractive image (and I'm not referring to the quality of the art). I honestly don't think you could get it into the hearts and minds of people. I don't believe that when they see a cog, they would ever think "ahh, RISC OS"! -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 7/7/03 10:29PM
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Yes; it's also the problem with the name IYONIX; it has no real character.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 7/7/03 10:34PM
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I refuse to type Iyonix in capitals, I think it's Castle's only mistake in the last year or two :) -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 7/7/03 10:40PM
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I think I'm the only one who persists ;)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 7/7/03 11:02PM
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Ahhh the cog or the nut!!!!!!!!

This is as silly as Phoebe debates 1)how to spell it 2)the yellow colour

cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 8/7/03 10:26AM
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If we've got nothing else to moan about than whether we should use an acorn or a cog, that must be good news.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 08/07/03 10:44AM
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Nod 'alf.

 is a RISC OS UserA.W. on 08/07/03 10:51AM
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As long as they don't use that blue blob, i'm happy. But yeah, the Nut logo is more marketable than the cog, not that the cog isn't a fine peice of artwork. The nut just looks better. Perhaps Richard should draw a new nut logo.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 08/07/03 12:53AM
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Why not compromise and have the nut in front of the cog?

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 08/07/03 2:33PM
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I'd be for a brand new logo over the cog/nut combo, nothing to buy except paying someone to do a new logo. I know of a company which will do MacOS X icons for about 60, so I'm sure they would do us a nice logo for a few hundred pounds.

The cog does not mean anything, and is not synonymous with the platform, I remember reading somewhere that the number of teeth on the cog had something to do with being 32-bit, but practically all platforms these days are *at least* 32-bit, so it's not a big thing anymore.

The blue blob is not so good either, as it's just a drawing of the power button on the Iyonix (which is just a standard button).

I agree with Jonix that's its great that this is all we can find to complain about.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 08/07/03 3:13PM
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Any logo should probably be a singular object. Like an acorn or a cog or something else. I'm sure there are legal issues with using the Acorn logo. Perhaps someone has more information on this?

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 08/07/03 3:31PM
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I would have thought that it'll be some ex Acorn person/company/crystalline entity that owns the rights...

Unless you make the nut see through...

Or with some alpha channel kenwood blended mushroom soup...


 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 08/07/03 3:44PM
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Herman Hausser owns it. I'm trying to contact him at the moment with some questions.

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 08/07/03 3:52PM
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I do think that RISC OS needs a new name. The present one conveys nothing to people outside the RISC OS world and, as has been pointed out, the name Acorn puts a lot of people in mind of the BBC Micro.

(When I went for a job interview in 1993, I mentioned my computing activities and the interviewer said that he didn't realise that Acorn still made computers.)

We've heard about how Castle, with Tematic, would like to use RISC OS in consumer electronics. The operating system needs a brand name which conveys to the average person more of what it is and does and is, preferably, a little easier to say than RISC OS.

Does anybody have any ideas?


 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 08/07/03 5:12PM
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I don't think that the name should change. People cope with OS X, so why not RISC OS?

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 08/07/03 5:21PM
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I am not sure a name change is needed for the Desktop product. I'd make a point, however, of distinguishing between the "desktop" and "embedded" versions of RISC OS.

If people think the OS is used for controlling washing machines then they will assume that's all it's good for (and I think that sort of self-inflicted damage is best avoided).

Yes, by all means mention RISC OS but clearly indicate that the embedded version is a "subset", if people like what it does then they can upgrade to the "big" version the rest of us use ;) for those tasks where it is appropriate.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/07/03 6:54PM
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Hows about RISC OSbaby as in BMIbaby?

for the embedded market of course...

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 08/07/03 7:02PM
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A name change would be interesting, RISC OS is so generic and has actually been used before, RISC/OS running on MIPS chips.

But I'm sure Castle have better things to think about.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 08/07/03 9:41PM
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Arthur? (*shudder!*)

Acorn OS? :) Nice!

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 08/07/03 10:13PM
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Acorn OS might be nice, simple, to the point. Maybe a revamped nut to go with it, maybe made glossy like the Apple one, mmmm...

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 09/07/03 00:28AM
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 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 16/07/03 07:45AM
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Sparky - surely Castle own the Acorn name and logo now? PAce previously owned it according to a Castle advertisement I saw.

 is a RISC OS UserA.W. on 16/07/03 3:14PM
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No, Herman Hausser retains ownership of them - Castle were licensed to use the name and log on their A7000 and RiscPC machines.

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 16/07/03 3:56PM
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I too think the name 'RISC OS' is perfectly fine. All these companies trying to be 'hip' and change well established product names/their own names consistently leads to drops in profit, and the usual reaction of 'What?? Who??" from people that don't know about the name change.

RISC OS X? Stuff like that maybe ok, but please, don't drop the RISC OS.

Has anyone (castle) actually emailed/contacted Herman to ask permission (maybe donation!) of the nut device to the RISC OS community?

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 16/07/03 9:29PM
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Yes Sparky has I think.

 is a RISC OS UserA.W. on 17/07/03 2:43PM
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