Well, for one thing, I'm delighted ROL has learnt their lesson and now puts regular updates on [link]
There are two PDF's there detailing Select 4 in terms not too technical. Excellent, though strange I hadn't noticed the earlier updates before...
Exactly the same here, the subscription ran out on 4.37, so I never got the final Select 3 release. Although I'm content with RO4.37, apparently 4.39 contains a lot of bugfixes. I'm sure your idea has been considered by ROL in the past, though it wouldn't provide them a certain amount of financial leverage, ie. it would mean they would have to get on with it, instead of just asking for a renewal. In the case of Select 4, it would have meant they hadn't received any subscribers' funding for at least two years! Still, I agree wholeheartedly and it would make the choice of subscribing a whole lot easier, since I'd have a sort of guarantee a complete OS upgrade would eventually land on my doormat instead of a nice letter saying they want more money whilst another system is directly benefitting from my subscription.
I'm not saying the move to 32-bit shouldn't have been undertaken, but that ROL should've been upfront with subscribers of their intention instead of letting them find out the hard way. Sadly, that could have meant they wouldn't have been able to collect sufficient funding for the project.
"While I agree that the decision to focus on Adjust32 rather than Select is harsh on Select subscribers given the payment format, it would have been ridiculous for ROL to go another year developing for twelve year old machines (or presumably several years, had RO5 made it on to the A9)."
At one time, directly or indirectly as a result of the legal rambling, Castle and ROL came to an agreement to merge RO4 and 5. Since ROL had written all their 'Select-enhanced' modules for RO4 in 32 bit clean code, perhaps they could've been inserted into RO5 neatly at that stage. In my opinion, the merger should have gone ahead. RISC OS 4.39 (Adjust) would have been the final release of RO4, and also for the dated RiscPC's. ROL would then have renamed themselves accordingly, moved in cosy and neatly with Castle and Tematic and continue to work together on RO5, with Tematic doing the hardware level support, ROL doing the bells & whistles and other UI funtionality enhancements.
"The question is will ROL be able to keep their customers happy given the risk they took?"
That is indeed the question. Well, for a large part it will depend on Select 4. I must say, it has some pretty nice features, though some (like the monitor support) only suitable for Viewfinder RPC's and A9home's. I reckon it will be a logical upgrade for A9home users, though I'm not so sure if old RiscPC subscribers still feel so supportive.