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Network happy VirtualRiscPC shipping

By Chris Williams. Published: 25th Oct 2003, 12:56:56 | Permalink | Printable

Last piece in the jigsaw?

VRPC SE logoAs revealed at the South East RISC OS show, VirtualAcorn have finally addressed calls from users to implement networking support in VA's VirtualRiscPC software. In a statement issued on Friday, VA say that the network aware VirtualRiscPC Second Edition is now shipping to end users.

According to VirtualAcorn, the new version of VirtualRiscPC allows RISC OS software to fully access internet and network connections presented by the host OS. This means software like your favourite email client, ShareFS and, Heaven forbid, your prefered RISC OS web browser can access the 'net through the Windows computer running VirtualRiscPC.

Existing users of VirtualRiscPC can download a free upgrade from the VirtualAcorn website.

VirtualRiscPC is the emulation software supplied with Microsoft Windows based computer products offered by MicroDigital, R-Comp and AvantageSix although it is available separately. It provides full emulation of RiscPC hardware so RISC OS and third party software can run in the host Windows environment.

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Discussion

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This is absolutely fantastic! Networking "just works" - totally hassle free. ShareFS, Nettle, Oregano, Browse, everything I've tried works wonderfully. The VRPC team are to be greatly congratulated for this achievement, and providing it as a FREE upgrade is even more delightful. Now VRPC does everything I could wish for... my real RiscPCs will be getting used a lot less, now.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 25/10/03 2:30PM
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....does everything your RPC can, except not run Windows/contribute funds to the evil empire etc etc......

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 25/10/03 2:45PM
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imj: isn't this exactly what the RISC OS market is aiming to avoid? I can only find sympathy for someone saying they'll be using their RPCs less if it's because they're upgrading to Omega or Iyonix :-)

I'm glad the software is so much improved - if I ever do buy a Windows machine (God forbid!) VRPC would certainly be the *first* (only?) app I bought for it. But I'd have to be pretty desperate to pay for a copy of Windows to run it on, and even then I can't see me using it more than my Iyonix.

I've been playing with the RedHat and Win2k machines at uni and now I've even got a job supporting the Windows machines. Every minute I spend using them makes me even more glad to be using ROS!

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 25/10/03 4:01PM
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Why do people think you have to pay for Windows? Steal from the rich and give to the poor RISC OS companies.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 25/10/03 4:04PM
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How does the networking work? Is it a virtual switch or a NAT?

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 25/10/03 5:34PM
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ksattic> Neither.

It's a replacement 'Internet' module. Socket operations are translated from the RISC OS SWIs into Windows socket operations with the appropriate mapping to ensure that the environment presented to RISC OS matches that which it expects.

The upshot, if you don't understand the mechanics of this, is that you appear to be using the same networking system as Windows.

This has a down side as well. If you try to use a port that's already in use on Windows you won't be able to. Similarly, any component which attempts to enumerate the DCI drivers, etc will fail because... there aren't any.

If you think of the old Econet module and its relationship to NetI then you're getting an idea of the relationship between 'Native Internet' and the VRPC version.

[For those who don't know, the Econet module provides the interface to the physical Econet hardware, and NetI provides the same interface, but over whatever IP environment happens to be available (including the VRPC Internet). For those who do know, I'm ignoring the evilness that NetI performs in order to provide loopback services to Econet on a mixed hardware system - that part of the comparison does not hold with the VRPC Internet environment.]

Except in very specialised cases, VRPC Internet is completely transparent and painless.

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 25/10/03 6:05PM
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VRPC is only for people that use M$ trash. What about those who decided to get the functionality RISC OS lacked from Linux, or went for the lesser of two evil empires by going Apple?

VRPC for my G4 would be welcome.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 25/10/03 6:21PM
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Frankly I con't care what system it runs on as long as it put an end to me having to spend money on RISC OS hardware and peripherals. :laugh:

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 25/10/03 7:20PM
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tamias> It's I who should feel sorry for you. As it stands, I've got something more powerful flexible and upgradable than my RiscPC. I can use RISC OS on a laptop wherever I am, which means you get more RISC OS applications. Bind yourself to the clear limitations and expense of Iyonix and/or RiscPC and you're only holding yourself back (think portability, speed, upgrade path, concurrency, price...)

It's also your clients who I feel sorry for. Someone who doesn't understand windows should not have a "job supporting Windows" after just "been having a play with Win2k"... that's how the mess arrives. Would you like a gasfitter to come to your home to fix a problem after he's only "been having a play with boilers" ? Worrying. I think this is probably the real reason folks with Windows get themselves in a mess - the blind leading the blind.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 25/10/03 7:30PM
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"I think this is probably the real reason folks with Windows get themselves in a mess"

Well, that and the 6 million spyware/parasite progs, viruses, and security holes.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 25/10/03 7:58PM
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RISC OS people (and probably unix people) who use Windows often know more than Windows people due to 2 factors. 1. RISC OS people are more intelligent, for proof, see what OS they use. 2. They understand more about computers.

Noone actually understands how Windows works, even MS employees, it's just too big.

When it works it's acceptable, when it fails it's terrible.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 25/10/03 8:42PM
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Will networking be available for VA5000?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 25/10/03 8:49PM
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Upgrade to VRPC, and you get it. :P

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 25/10/03 10:48PM
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I have just uploaded an updated version of the network upgrader to the website. Can anyone who has downloaded a version of the network upgrade prior to 12:30 Sunday morning please download it again as the old one seems to have got its knickers in a twist and didn't want to play ball on a couple of customers Alpha computers. TIA.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 26/10/03 12:22AM
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imj: I also have something more powerful, flexible, and upgradable than my RPC - that it runs RISC OS natively rather than emulated is of no consequence :-)

As I said, I'd have to be pretty desperate to pay for a Windows machine. If I ever get desperate enough, that machine is more than likely to be a portable running VRPC (although I'd gladly take a Linux/VRPC portable any day).

It's the block mentality of "VRPC is here, I'll hopefully never need to use my genuine hardware again" that will eventually kill the market, in my opinion.

As for me "not understanding Windows", perhaps I should have stressed that, compared to how I use and enjoy using my Iyonix, the Windows machines seem little more than toys to me. Far from it that I don't understand them - to use your analogy, the gas fitter is quite sufficiently equipped to fix your average boiler, but he finds more joy in spending time tinkering with his cold-fusion reactor.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 26/10/03 12:58AM
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Cold fusion is close to a myth and useless to mortals though. :-)

It's the "block mentality" of "I refuse to use a Windows box no matter what I could achieve with it" that I find boggling. A bigoted attitude that just holds you back.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 26/10/03 1:10AM
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Or do we refuse to belive that a computer running Windows emulating RISC OS can possibly be anywhere near as good as an Iyonix, let alone a Risc PC?

What's the point of keeping all your files on a Windows computer, ready to be erased from existance by the latest virus/spyware program/security hole/failure of Windows to boot, probably after applying patches to fix said security hole?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/10/03 7:54AM
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If you need a windows PC anyway (and don't mind all your eggs in one basket) then VRPC is fine. If you don't use windows, then it is a poor way to run RO (In fact several of the sites selling say as much).

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 26/10/03 10:13AM
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imj; re block mentality

Bit like refusing to have anything to do with RO5/Iyonix no matter what you could achieve with it.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 26/10/03 10:36AM
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For full-time users of RISC OS (ie. those who use RISC OS as their main system), VirtualAcorn is bad news. It's going to impact on hardware sales. If hardware sales fail and consequently there is no more hardware, you won't have any developers left at all. No-one will develop for an emulated system, because it's not going anywhere. And no one will buy a standard Windoze box running a strange OS under emulation - the sexy ARM-based hardware is part of the selling point.

If you use Windows mostly and want occassional access to a recent version of RISC OS, VirtualAcorn is perfect.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 26/10/03 12:07PM
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"This upgrade is only required for copies of VirtualRPC-SE with a serial number less than 10449"

How many copies of VRPC does that imply have been sold? 449 I expect. How much profit does ROL make on each one? Is that more copies than they sold for real machines in the same time period? Is that more profit?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/10/03 12:14PM
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The only way for that to be avoided is for natively running RO machines to be able to clearly out-perform an emulated one. Having a RiscPC outrun by an emulator doesn't bother me; it's a pretty old machine by now, but if the emulator starts doing better than the Iyonix the RISC OS hardware market has serious troubles, since it'll be very hard for anyone to justify not going down the emulation path (ignoring any "pay to support the hardware" or "I won't buy anything that runs Windows" arguments).

Hopefully it'll keep the top end of the native RISC OS market on its toes, although certain key points of that are out of their control (e.g. available processors).

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 26/10/03 12:16PM
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As a mere user of these wonderful tools, and that's all they are arn't we missing the point here in that: 1) Decide what you need to do. 2) Choose most appropriate software (ease of use, cost etc.) 3) Decide which hardware is required to run said software.

For some they all ready have the hardware so just add software others do not so have to make choices. No one can criticise anyone else as to what OS or Software or Hardware they run it on. It is nice to have a choice!

 is a RISC OS UserMart on 26/10/03 12:39PM
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Reality check. Whatever our feelings about Windows most people find they need it. Much as I'd like to have an Iyonix networked to a Windows PC, and a nice (non-existent) ARM based portable, I can really only afford one machine - guess what that is going to have to be?

It is a shame that there is no ARM hardware on a PC card so that RISC OS could run natively on a suitably equipped PC. ChiOS got scrapped didn't it?

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 26/10/03 12:45PM
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It's a shame that there is no PC card for the IyonixPC - something most people would prefer, I suspect. However, it would be more useful for any development effort to be spent on bringing software up to scratch so people needed Windows/MacOS less. For example, compare PhotoshopCS to Photodesk...

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 26/10/03 12:59PM
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Mart;

Choice is wonderful, if you have it.

I suspect I am in the small minority of RISC OS users for whom 'Deciding what I need to do' includes NOT using Windows.

If within 2 or 3 years the only new machines that can run RISC OS are Windows based emulators then there is no choice left (other than to not use RISC OS at all).

How many times has it been said that 'I would have bought X Y or Z already if it had been half the price'. Well folks the Windows advocates have won the day and you can now get RiscPC performance for half the new price of a RiscPC.

The the real competitor to the Iyonix won't be the Omega but VRPC and with the much bigger Windows userbase of RISC OS 'enthusiasts' I feel rather pessimistic about the outcome of the battle. After all that is what it is isn't it.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 26/10/03 1:24PM
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arenaman:

Apparently you could plug a PC on a PCI card into the Iyonix. Won't have the same level of integration as the PC cards on the RiscPC but will still sit in one box. IIRC they are rather expensive compared to a standalong PC.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 26/10/03 1:30PM
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I built a Duron 1.1ghz base unit for around 200 quid - and that was ages ago. Probably cheaper now. If you want windows, it's hardly going to break the bank, whatever option you choose.

Personally, the best option as I see it wold to have RISC OS 5 running more of the ARM hardware that's around - new NetBook please - and VRPC available for Linux and Mac OS X. That's the ultimate flexible scenario.

I'm not sure if Castle have any plans for getting RISC OS 5 onto other complex ARM devices - 'embedded RISC OS' could mean just about anything. Actually, RISC OS 5 for NetBook would be a genuine way to get new users 'Hey, turn your big PDA into a proper desktop-like device'.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 26/10/03 1:31PM
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blahsnr: Actually those RISC OS users who prefer not to use Windows are a large minority, not a small one :-)

"Half the new price of a RiscPC" isn't especially relevant - how many people have bought a brand new Risc PC at full price in the last six months anyway? (Almost all of those buying real RISC OS hardware have been buying the Iyonix).

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 26/10/03 1:49PM
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cynic: if you can only afford 1 machine what are you typing on now? It's not like you have to throw away your RiscPC.

ChiOS type things should be easier to achieve with RISC OS 5.

blahsnr: what if there's also unix based emulators?

PCs are so cheap now I can't see a PC card being worth it.

Is letting ROS4 be used in emulators a good move, or a last ditch attempt to cash in and try to stop everyone buying Iyonixes instead?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/10/03 3:24PM
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RISCOS Ltd messed up big time. They failed to produce 32bit RISC OS and consequently halted hardware development. Castle Technology once again saved the whole works by buying RISC OS off Pace and producing RISC OS 5 and the new IyonixPC.

It is surely no coincidence that RISCOS Ltd are now in bed with VirtualAcorn whom only a few months ago they were claiming were acting illegally and damaging the market.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/80.6.181.15 on 26/10/03 4:28PM
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ROL "failed to produce" ?... maybe you should hush until you find out facts? Facts such as did Castle ever ask ROL to make a 32bit OS? I think we all know the answer to that one. Such as mess. There was no point ROL making RISC OS 32bit without a machine that needed it. As far as I can see, Castle have really "done the dirty" on ROL. Bad karma all round.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 26/10/03 5:05PM
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An embedded RISC OS pci card probably wouldn't have any performance advantage over VRPC on a high end PC.

It might be a lot easier to make it use different PC OSes, but, if the aim is a windows free system, why not fit an Iyonix MB in the PC case?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 26/10/03 6:12PM
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imj: Did Castle ever ask ROL to make a 32bit OS? You know that they didn't? How, pray tell, did you happen by this gem of factual information? Most RISC OS *users*, never mind hardware developers, had been demanding a 32bit RISC OS for a long time.

It seemed ROL wanted paying to do this work then take royalties. That defies normal business sense. ROL should have created the product and then sold it. Would you expect Castle to build a machine and then hope that ROL could be persuaded to produce 32bit RISC OS?

It's a case of supply, demand and competition. There was a demand, ROL failed to supply (over the course of several years) and so Castle stepped in. It has to be said, ROL did have years to do this. It's not as though Castle bought RISC OS a year after Acorn disappeared or anything.

With the hardware and the OS with the same company, there is a more sure future for the platform.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/80.6.181.15 on 26/10/03 7:11PM
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@micheal: "it seemed that ROL wanted paying..."

Spreading these kind of rumours doesnt serve any purpose.

Futhermore i suggest you catch up some reading about the role tematic has played in the development of RO5 and the Iyonix.....

 is a RISC OS Useranon/212.120.90.22 on 26/10/03 7:40PM
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Tematic is contracted by Castle to do development work. What's your point? Castle owns RISC OS, Castle is having RISC OS developed. ROL have a licence to develop RO4, and have never developed in-house or had contractors develop a 32bit OS. Castle is doing the business, ROL has missed the boat. It's straight-forward business realities. Doesn't matter who does what work for Castle - the end result is that Castle is providing new products and developing the OS (and I mean 32bitting, adjusting it to new hardware etc, not adding the ability to have graduated backdrops).

 is a RISC OS Useranon/80.6.181.15 on 26/10/03 7:58PM
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Come on folks, what is it with the obsession with not using Windows? I used to have that, when I was comparing a SA-RPC to a P166/Win95!

OK, so Windows has virus/security issues, but RISC OS relies on security by obscurity and probably has more viruses per user!

My Win2K Pro box is certainly more stable than RO4 (XP Pro is about the same) and why do people think an ARM board in a PC is a lesser evil than VirtualRPC - just because it's hardware?

Personally, I doubt if I would even use RISC OS anymore if it weren't for RedSquirrel, and then it's only for testing RO apps I write, and testing websites on basic browsers. The 2 SA-RPC's are gathering dust, whilst I use my Win2K Pro laptop for surfing/music, my 2 XP Pro boxes for DVD burning, games, emulation and photo-retouching, and the Linux box for firewall/programming.

I guess I've got to the point that Computer Concepts got to a few years back - I can develop C/C++/C#/Java apps in 30 seconds on Win/Lin (using Kylix, SharpDevelop, C++Builder, JBuilder, VisualStudio....) that would take 3 days to write on RISC OS.

Has anyone else noticed that most of the new software these days for RISC OS is basically just apps to provide functionality that Windows has had BUILT IN for years (like printer/USB drivers, IM clients, web browsers....)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 26/10/03 8:11PM
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Simon> Is that an offer to write some apps to bring RISC OS 'up to date' with 'features' found in other operating systems?

 is a RISC OS Userg0tai on 26/10/03 8:33PM
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imj: The original stated aims of RISCOS Ltd were quite clear about the purposes of the company. So Michael's facts seem entirely reasonable to me.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 26/10/03 9:33PM
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g0tai: >Is that an offer to write some apps to bring RISC OS 'up to date' with 'features' found in other operating systems?

Is that an offer to provide comparable development tools?

 is a RISC OS Userdavidb on 26/10/03 10:00PM
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Does it run PCEmulator fast enough to run Windows 3.0, since I use that for all my.... *grins*

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 27/10/03 00:10AM
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simo: "I guess I've got to the point that Computer Concepts got to a few years back - I can develop C/C++/C#/Java apps in 30 seconds on Win/Lin (using Kylix, SharpDevelop, C++Builder, JBuilder, VisualStudio....) that would take 3 days to write on RISC OS."

Does "hello world" really take three days to write on RISC OS? ;-)

But you have a solid point. Back in the glory days of Computer Concepts, especially after their utterances on how going down to the metal was the way to go, it was arguably excusable to have lacklustre C++ support on RISC OS - after all, C++ had a long way to go in terms of maturity at that time. But when Acorn didn't really rise to the challenge of providing decent libraries for C (and later C++), and continuously failed to address the problems of their microcomputer era operating system, most developers with any experience of other platforms realised that their time was more productively spent elsewhere.

If only the UNIX porting project had been started eight years ago (or more) by Acorn themselves.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/10/03 09:55AM
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In reply to mavhc

Actually I've got two RPCs and have no intention of throwing either of them out so long as they carry on working!

I meant, of course, that I can really afford only one *new* machine. Given that I need a portable I have no option butto buy a WintelPC and run VirtualRPC on it. If a portable Iyonix appeared then I'd certainly buy that and put together a cheap Windows box for home.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 27/10/03 1:21PM
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AFAIK ROL has done a lot of 32-bitting, but only in the parts of the OS wich they worked on anyway. So it is not true that they have already failed to fulfill this goal, it is work in progress. And they did have programmers working in-house at one point.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 07/11/03 12:01AM
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