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Why Bill Gates wants RiscStation's secrets

By Chris Williams. Published: 16th Nov 2003, 23:00:12 | Permalink | Printable

Redmond will pay anything for RiscStation's crucial breakthrough

Editorial So there I was, sharing a virtual cup of tea with none other than iconbar.com's very own Andrew Poole and whilst nattering about life in general, Andy pointed out that he'd earlier spotted something quite incredible. It involves RiscStation and us guessing just how much they'll be worth once Microsoft starts writing some cheques.

You may recall back to the start of 2003, when Microsoft chairman Bill Gates sent out a memo to all his employees begging them to focus on security. Bill was growing worried that Microsoft products were being seen as insecure and untrustworthy, hence the sudden, rash drive to prove to the world that the software giant does take things like security very seriously. It was almost believable until the summer Blaster RPC worms and other nasties lay siege to Microsoft's Windows operating systesm. As you can imagine, the worldwide IT chaos that ensued dealt an embaressing blow to Bill and Microsoft.

Now before you scramble to post a comment, let me honestly assure you that drobe.co.uk doesn't have a hate complex towards Mr. Gates and we're not caught up in some mindless envy of the billionaire. Granted, just merely considering using his company's operating systems makes us want to inhale razor blades and dine on our own fingers but that's just our smug opinion. After all the recent abuse the mainstream tech press have thrown at him, we think Bill deserves a break and so it's fitting that our friend Andrew should discover a perfect solution for Microsoft.

Bill Gates names RiscStationAnd that solution is RiscStation. RiscStation recently launched their PC laptop range that runs Microsoft WindowsXP and VirtualRiscPC-SE to allow RISC OS 4 to run on Intel x86 hardware. However, despite all the security concerns surrounding WinXP and the armies of email viruses and trojans roving the Internet hunting for vulnerable computers, RiscStation aren't even breaking a sweat and this is why they're Microsoft's knight in shining armour.

RiscStation claim a number of things on their website. They say their machines are 100 percent 'PC virus free'. So does that mean RiscStation are offering a completely virus immune PC running WinXP? Cynically, it could just be that the PC laptop is virus free when you get it, but here's hoping there's no special offer to give under 16-year olds a free goodie bag of destructive, 0-day exploits to play with. RiscStation say their machines are 100 percent 'Email virus' free, another breakthrough for the little hardware dealer assuming the PC laptops are capable of at least downloading email. Fair's fair, RiscStation do state that their products have 'fast boot' times and we acknowledge that WinXP is quite nippy at starting up. Until it gets clogged up with adware. Maybe RiscStation have a way around that.

"Our companyís aim is to promote the use of the RISC OS operating system with its strengths over less reliable disk based alternatives", RiscStation 's website explains in a contradictory manner. WinXP is apparently "less reliable" but it's ok to stuff it on a laptop and flog it to people who've waited two years in the dark for a native portable.

RiscStation adds: "With many companies dissatisfied with the unreliability and exposure to the many viruses targeted certain operating systems RiscStation is promoting the use of RISC OS as a viable alternative."

RiscStation could have all this 'virus fee' stuff guaranteed if they had properly followed through the native portable route but that wasn't to be, it seems. So Bill, name your price. RiscStation have the answer to all your prayers - a faster, safer, virus free WindowsXP system. With their new found wealth, what could RiscStation do? Pay back left over portable deposits? Fund further RISC OS development? Buy us a year supply of pizza? Sounds as inspiring as MicroDigital's "Octber" education page. We just can't wait for the 'promised' RiscStation PC desktop solutions to roll out.



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Another weird/pointless Drobe article......

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 17/11/03 5:50AM
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It should be pointed out that, last time I checked, RiscStations website was quite out of date. The 100% pc virus free comments refered to the original RiscStation and NOT the latest laptop offerings.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 17/11/03 8:17AM
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Yep just checked the last updated date, it was way before the current laptops.

So that makes this a complete non-article!

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 17/11/03 8:34AM
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We're not forcing you to read it.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 17/11/03 9:43AM
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In fact the article does make (indirectly) a very salient point - namely that in the past RISC OS users were affected *only* by RISC OS viruses (pretty rare) - now all emulated RISC OS's will also suffer those *AND* also the gamut of Windows ones.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/11/03 10:40AM
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I think you guys do a brilliant job with drobe, but do I find the humour is starting to become a little bizarre and getting in the way.

I also think the donate button should get a news item to explain/justify. Us readers don't always apprecaite just how much pizza it takes to make the site work...

There should be a postal "send cheque to" option - I've clicked on the link and it wants lots of details/time to fill in.



 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/11/03 10:43AM
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markee174: Isn't that the point of the "Why donate" button below the paypal icon?

AMS: Indeed.

Col1: It doesn't hurt to have a bit of editorial/humor every now and again does it?

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 17/11/03 10:48AM
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andypoole: of course a bit of editorial/humour never hurts. But at the expense of an individual or a company ?

Now if the article had been about its being really important to keep websites up to date....

AMS: Will running an emulated form of Risc OS increase the likelyhood of virus ? Presumably if you use the PC for email/web browsing then yes you'll be vunerable but what if you only email/browse via VRPC ? What happens then ? (anyone ?)

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 17/11/03 11:30AM
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Some of the viruses attack services which are always running by default on win xp. Not using IE/OE on windows will help, but AFAIR one of the viruses used an RPC service which runs automatically. This means you'd still have to keep up to date on all the patches.

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 17/11/03 11:33AM
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Drobe has done sterling work in the past in promoting and supporting the Risc OS scene but lately it seems to have decended into a malase . Is Drobe suffering from burnout or just trying to go into self destruct?

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 17/11/03 12:47PM
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Col1: It *is* an article on how important it is to keep websites up to date. It's a very subtle message, but undeniably present.

If we bear in mind the past messages from people both here and on the newsgroups (and if memory serves, RiscStation themselves) about how any negative comments about RISC OS posted in any public place will directly damage the market, it seems an entirely appropriate article.

If certain RISC OS companies can't even update their websites annually, or keep them broadly in line with their product ranges they are almost certainly not deserving of any respect on drobe or any other public forum.

 is a RISC OS Userajps on 17/11/03 1:46PM
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I certainly didn't agree with the victimisation of that Axel bloke, but this article is merited: RiscStation's amateur cheerleader-level publicity combined with their apparent failure to deliver the promised goods in a way which effectively contradicts that prior publicity, all whilst seemingly walking a very dubious legal/contractual tightrope, really does invite criticism with or without the sarcasm. And as for the non-updated Web site excuse: what year do you think it is? 1996? The "we only log onto the Internet once a week" era?

Personally, I'd be very disappointed if I'd put down a wad of cash a while back for some kind of unique laptop computer, only to be offered what everyone else seems to be getting these days with little or no differentiation. Perhaps RiscStation should convert those deposits to shares in addition to delivering the goods, or is that Microdigital I'm thinking of now?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/11/03 1:46PM
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Yes it would be useful if they updated the website.

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 17/11/03 4:05PM
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You know, after the press they've been getting recently I'm actually starting to feel a little bit sorry for RiscStation. Who'd have thunk it, eh?

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 17/11/03 5:01PM
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Come on Drobe, this article is pretty pointless - couldn't you put in a separate section from the usual news page?!

 is a RISC OS Userrod on 17/11/03 5:49PM
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Well, I don't know about a seperate section, but it would certainly be nice to tag each article on the front page to give a clear idea what it is. If the article had a little 'humour' logo that people could see before they clicked the link and started reading, I'm sure all these negative comments wouldn't be here.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 17/11/03 6:27PM
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senduran: I feel "Editorial" or "Opinion" would be more appropriate than "Humour". I notice the article itself did indeed have an "Editorial" tag at the start of it, although admittedly there wasn't one on the front page.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/11/03 6:32PM
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All the recent anti-Drobe sentiment has done for me is point out exactly how many stupid, selfish, take-things-at-face-value idiots there are in the RISC OS community. Not that I shouldn't have expected it; you get it everywhere - but I'd hoped that most RISC OS users were a bit cleverer and more intelligent than that.

Remember: the Drobe team owe you NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING. If they want to publish a news story simply featuring a picture of a big poo, that is there perogative. You should all be thanking them for their hard work, not whining like five year olds.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 17/11/03 8:20PM
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(Not that either of the contentious articles are anything like a big poo, of course - they actually make very good points, and are something interesting to read at a time of slow RISC OS news. But, hey, why not take it all at face value, or complain about it being "weird"? There isn't any point actually thinking about the articles at all, surely, and seeing what point they are making...)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 17/11/03 8:25PM
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I'd just like to add that I appreciate everyone's opinion on any article, whether you love them or hate them. I also really appreciate it when people stand up for us, however I also fully understand when you think we're evil. As Mr. Bush would say, "Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing".

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 17/11/03 8:49PM
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Man, I should probably try and cut down on my rants.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 17/11/03 9:14PM
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moss: I think you made a very valid point there. Drobe (and indeed other portals) do what they do out of their own interests. They don't have to write articles for their website, They do so because they want to and they enjoy doing so. Nobody is forcing you to read or like what they write. Winging about articles that somebody took their own time to write seems rather silly to me. If anything, it would put people off writing other articles if all that people do is winge about them in the article's comments section.

I'm ranting now, so I'll shut up.


 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 17/11/03 9:24PM
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I just love the way that all the comments about how pointless the article is, have been modded down.

If people are going to abuse the modding system like that, it's kinda pointless, or at least let us see who did it (as if we didn't know)!

Drobe usually does such a good job, but lately it's looking like there's no news, so they're just making up rubbish.

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 17/11/03 10:32PM
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How is the article rubish. Its sayinh (in a rather humorus) way that Riscstation has pretty much done a huge backflip on previous policy regarding their computers.

 is a RISC OS UserFedorenko on 17/11/03 11:07PM
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moss: slightly controversial, but in the same way they they can write any stuff, we can equally whine about it as we like. That's the great thing about drobe - anyone can say anything (within reason) and even better it seems that the editors understand and is causes lots of nice discussion, i.e. they don't get in a big huff and say everyone should worship for their hard work. The amount of activity on drobe lately has been fantastic, dare I say, keep up the "interesting" articles ;) That's what would make me inclined to donate, assuming of course I had positive money (student ;)

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 18/11/03 12:33AM
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Let me just state that, in general, I like the job that Drobe do. I usuallyl log on every day to keep up with whats happening in the Risc OS world and find it very useful. But if this particular article about the importance of keeping websites up to date then why just pick on RiscStation ? There are plenty of other companies out there whose websites could probably do with an overhaul. And before the comments flood in sometimes there are damn good reasons why a website is so out of date. Almost all the companies involved in Risc OS are very small and hardly have the resources to necessary to update as often as they would like.

In reply to Fedorenko: RiscStation weren't the first to do a 'backflip' as you put in with regards virus free computers and they probably won't be the last ones either with almost every dealer now offering a pc or a laptop with VRPC on it.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 18/11/03 8:32AM
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"But if this particular article about the importance of keeping websites up to date then why just pick on RiscStation ?"

We're aware of other RISC OS websites that are out of date or in a dilapidated state. RS' website, however, is particularly article worthy due to the sharp u-turn in company product policy. Plus, RS have promised a product and not delivered, which isn't something we can condone.

"sometimes there are damn good reasons why a website is so out of date. Almost all the companies involved in RISC OS are very small and hardly have the resources to necessary to update as often as they would like."

I can see your reasoning but I strongly believe that excuse is thoroughly unacceptable. It doesn't take long to update a website once a month. Usergroups aside, the Internet is what's keeping the RISC OS community together, imho. Not updating a website and not communicating effectively with customers is inexcusable.

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 18/11/03 9:20AM
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Actually, I'd just like to apologise for my rant - I still stand by the main point of it (i.e. Drobe have done nothing wrong, and people should be a bit more open and understanding about the way Drobe writes), but I was unfair in the way I put it. The accusation that just because people don't agree with me, they're idiots, was particuarly stupid. Sorry.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 18/11/03 5:08PM
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That's "their" :tongue:

I must admit that I don't usually find the humour on this site that amusing myself, but this article does make a vaild point. Tsk (and draw your own conclusions about where that "tsk" was directed :) )

 is a RISC OS UserMENTAT on 24/11/03 4:10PM
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