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South West show news

By Chris Williams. Published: 28th Feb 2004, 20:08:46 | Permalink | Printable

RISC OS goings on in the West Country

The RISC OS South West show has been and gone and while we wait for our spies to return to base with their completed show report assignments, here's a concise round up of news that emerged in time for today's event.

Aemulor Pro logoThe Aemulor team have unveiled their 26bit emulator package Aemulor Pro, demonstrating it for the first time at today's show. Over Aemulor, Aemulor Pro supports 26bit sound code and filing systems amongst other goodies. Future versions of Aemulor Pro should hopefully include VIDC emulation and JIT compilation.

Peter Naulls, of the Unix Porting Project has been working with LibSDL port meister Alan Buckley on the ChoX11 library, bringing X11 based software closer to RISC OS - for an example, see the RDesktop port. Peter, a drobe.co.uk editor, demonstrated his work at today's show.

Whilst nursing a stinging hangover, I had the pleasure of speaking to show organiser John Stonier via mobile phone. He admitted he was in a great mood as the show had proven to be a success. The show apparently got off to a slow start, but as the afternoon arrived, the event began to fill with punters - John estimated that around 200 to 300 visitors had been through the doors by about 2pm.

Also, not at all related to this weekend's show but worth a mention anyway: we've been hearing good things about NetSurf recently, such as the drawfile export and fancy website history GUI.


Went to the show? Tell us about it.

Previous: Thermal dye printer driver arrives
Next: South West show aftermath


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Oh cool. RDesktop sounds good. I'll have a look soon.

The new GUI features in NetSurf are really very good. They seem to be making fast progress at the moment. For example, NS renders www.w3.org much, much better than O2 does.

It's all good.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 28/2/04 8:16PM
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Speaking of which I've just updated the screenshot on the NetSurf website.

 is a RISC OS User on 28/2/04 8:17PM
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The RDesktop port is very cool, still too buggy to use ATM (crashes when trying to draw certain windows, like WinAmp, and the text is unreadable half the time), but connected to windows 2003 fine.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 28/2/04 8:18PM
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Went to show, arrived about 14:15, it's a long drive from Surrey. I thought it was very friendly, enought people to keep the exhibitors occupied, but not so many you had to fight through the masses (as at Guildford last year) just to try to buy the latest wotsit.

I shall spend tomorrow installing at playing (sorry, testing) my purchases. Musicman, XAT's !HID, WebWonder. Maybe at last I'll create my own website.

I thouroghly enjoyed my afternoon, BTW the Webbington Hotel is in a spectacular location overlooking the Somerset levels, and would recommend to anyone for next year.

Thank you John and the other organisers.

 is a RISC OS Userchriswhy on 28/2/04 9:14PM
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Apparently the new RISC OS 4.39 ROMs from ROL were not available at the show.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 28/2/04 9:43PM
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Me and my Iyonix areback from the show along with many new goodies to try out :-).

As usual a great day out. John Stonier and his helpers are to be congratulated on for making everyones day a good one.

 is a RISC OS Userron. on 28/2/04 10:51PM
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Netsurf's getting better all the time! My little sister really appreciates the scale view of the pages, and I was showing off the history feature to my RO-bashing friends. All good nifty stuff! Keep up the good work!

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 28/2/04 10:59PM
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That history thing is great, anthough it would be good if you could have the page title displayed below the image. The save as draw is good, because it means that it is possible to print pages properly, as well as them being displayed properly by saving to draw and then printing. O1 and O2 both bork up printing :|

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 28/2/04 11:03PM
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If NS is going to give full CSS and HTML 4 support, then it should use printing style sheets when they're available to dictate how to print. This is a very useful feature because you can hide everything but the content on a page with CSS for printing - it's just a shame there aren't many web sites that use it!

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 29/2/04 6:30AM
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Hmm, good job I saved my work before I tried netsurf - save as drawfile crashed with "too many menus" then the wimp just went into a loop of "illegal window handle" The display looked a bit better though.

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 29/2/04 11:14AM
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Just for the benefit of Drobe (and druck & pv's satnav, which seemed confused too), Webbington is in Somerset. Governmentally, it's probably in North Somerset, but it is very definitely not in Devon.

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 29/2/04 11:48AM
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Surely it should be "RISC OS goings on in Somerset", not Devon? </pedantic>

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 29/2/04 11:55AM
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Well finally got the Iyonix up and running again :rolleyes:

Big shout to the orginisers for making our entry and egress so smooth :-D

Hero of the day award goes to Mr. Ballance for spending the entire day doing "the fix" on 16odd Iyonixes

He was certainly slightly cross eyed by the end ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 29/2/04 12:56PM
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john: this has been reported to the mailing list. The same happened to me earlier. :|

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 29/2/04 1:52PM
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So if someone make a bugged product, then spends a day fixing it, they're heroes? Hmm.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 29/2/04 2:37PM
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Better than not fixing the bug at all. Nice for them to realise the mistake and do something about it. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for them to "forget" about the bug. Gee, such a sceptical hard way off looking at things!

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 29/2/04 2:52PM
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Surely there's a world of difference between a company praising itself and a customer reporting that a company has recognised a problem and gone to a lot of trouble to fix it. Good customer service deserves recognition...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 29/2/04 2:54PM
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Another typically constructive comment eh ?

And I suppose you're full of praise then for companies in the RISC OS market that are helping to damage the platform by getting people to switch to Windows XP (which as we all know is COMPLETELY BUGFREE).

I have an Iyonix which has *not* had the fix done and I can honestly say that for the things I do with it there are very few issues. The issue seems to be between two PCI components when run in 64/32bit mode - these things do happen (and I am pretty sure that Castle don't make either component), the fix (if I understand it correctly) simply tells one of the components NOT to start in 64bit mode). Designers of machines can only work off the published datasheets - if it tells you something should work and it doesn't is the engineer working from the datasheet wrong ?

Point is Castle *have* fixed the fault for those who required a fix and at no charge. And I'd remind you Acorn had several service fixes that they used to apply to RISC PC's and even going as far back as the Beeb. Can't quite recall if you critised those with the same vehemence though.

Lighten up man the chip on your shoulder is showing....



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/2/04 3:06PM
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You read me wrong, fellow. The point I'm making is that CTL/JWB is no hero for fixing their broken machines. Certainly, as you point out, Acorn were not either. I'm not criticising Castle for producing machines with minor faults. I'm not criticising them for fixing it. It's the fact that calling them "heroes" for doing so is just stupid. There's no chip on my shoulder about this -- but it's quite amusing to see people trying to make out that Castle are gods all of a sudden. It does. however, seem that /you/ have some axe to grind over VirtualAcorn for some reason -- would you prefer folk to give up with RISC OS altogether, rather than use an emulated platform which works so very well?

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 29/2/04 4:24PM
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Of course you have an axe to grind.

The point is John spent an entire day fixing them.

How many machines have ever been released that had no problems and were compatible with everything?

Castle brought us Xscale, 32 bit RISC OS, PCI, USB, none VIDClike graphics system.

Would many people still have hope for RISC OS without all this?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 29/2/04 4:55PM
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But the machine isn't broken, it (from my reading of things) is a case of two (supposidly) compatible PCI bridges - parts over which Castle have no control - simply not working correctly if started in 64 bit mode.

Castle have endeavoured to create a work-around for this involving a board modification. No doubt future versions of the motherboard will have the change included. I did not use the term "heroes", John Ballance and Castle are simply discharging their obligation to their customers by altering the motherboard to ensure greater stability.

Imj I am sure you're a keen supporter of the platform - but I am also sure you can see that logically, longterm, sidling up to Microsoft puts OUR OS - RISC OS at risk. MS is not averse to supporting minority users (look at Words support for WordPerfect users) - but then you have to ask the question what happened to Wordperfect ?

What has happened (IMHO) is that the VARPC product has encouraged people who for 10 years or more would *not* have touched Windows with a barge pole to buy it. I am not convinced that all of these people would have switched if the *great and the good* here had not promoted this. In some cases it wasn't even clear from adverts *what* people were buying - a friend of mine even rang me to tell me that he was thinking about buying one of the new "RISC OS machines".... I pointed out it was a PC running a RISC OS emulator (something which from the advert was not apparent). He decided not to buy (he instead updated some of his apps on his RISC PC).

On the contrary I have *no* problem with the VirtualAcorn operation - they are blatantly honest about what they're at (have a look at their site). I might disagree with their assessment of the effect of their product on the viability of the RISC OS platform - but they have otherwise been quite open, so I *don't* have an axe to grind with them at all.

My abiding interest is in the survival of RISC OS as both an OS and a hardware platform (be that with Castle and/or with Microdigital). I strongly feel that simply using VARPC as a means to "sugar coat" people unwittingly moving over to Windows while they think they're buying a RISC OS machine is, in my humble opinion, dishonest.

If people want and choose and know they're buying into WindowsXP is one thing (let them I say), but if they think they're buying a RISC OS machine and they're not I most certainly have a problem with that.

Kind regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/2/04 5:00PM
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Oh for god's sake...


Mr Ballance did "the fix" *all on his own*

He did 16odd iyonixes

now in my book doing that amount of SMD rework including stripping the iyonixes down is a *big* task

All I was saying is that John probably had the hardest day of any of the exhibitors at the show & I was giving him congratulations in public.

btw will people please get a little grip on reality?

Please remeber that *none* of the companies left in the RISC OS market are large - can we please be a little realistic in our expectations?

If MS can have a security breach in XP that took 6months for them to fix - a minor issue that affects *some* Iyonixes is pretty good going eh?

If you are in any doubt about Iyonix - just buy one... :bowdown:

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 29/2/04 5:30PM
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AMS: M$ & minorities - Wordperfect wasn't a minority at the release of win 95. One of the things that killed it was that the windows version mysteriously didn't work properly with windows 95 (I wonder why). Another thing was that word 95 worked very smoothly in a mixed W95 WP environment. Funnily enough Word 97 didn't seem to.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 29/2/04 6:46PM
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None of the companies left in the RISC OS market is large. This is probably one factor for the good service...

They are interested in small customers and attracting our business. I'm impressed that Castle put considerable resources into desktop products and attending shows when they could just focus on trying to lure larger commercial customers.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 29/2/04 8:00PM
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Just for clarification :- Although Castle are obliged to see that the fix is done for customers that request it - it is nice (and much appreciated) that John Ballance put in so much effort to get it done (I can't imaging fixing 16 machines while under time constraints on a day one would normally expect to have off is much fun).


Quite, MS does its own things and that often has consequences for others - which is yet another *very good* reason for opting for RISC OS on ARM rather than RISC OS under emulation.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/3/04 1:25PM
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Though one way of protecting VA/RPC would be if a simple Linux distro were produced which contained just enough to install, configure and run VA/RPC.

The question is whether it would run under a free distributable install of WINE.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 1/3/04 11:02PM
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Actually, the idea of a minimal Linux, just enough to boot VRPC, is a bl**dy good one. It worked well for Amithlon, an Amiga-emulator-on-a-bootable-CD. Very nifty.

WINE has come a long way of late - this could work, and using a special distro like Morphix, it could be fairly easy to build onto a bootable CD, too. Installation is just a matter of copying the image onto a suitable partition; very simple.

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 3/3/04 8:28PM
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If you could make a compact bootable ISO, I could probably find webspace for it.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 4/3/04 12:20PM
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Well, one snag is that for real efficiency, it'd help massively if VRPC was a native Linux app. VRPC on WINE on Linux is an emulator on an emulator on an OS - does not sound like a recipe for peak efficiency to me.

But I'll get ahold of a rather more current copy of RedSquirrel than the one I have and give it a try, just to see... It'll be a long way from an ISO just yet, though!

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 8/3/04 3:45AM
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