This recent news on ROL's progress is very encouraging. The updating of the User Guide is an excellent idea and another reason for people to (re-)subscribe to the scheme. It will also hopefully give Iyonix users a better idea of Select's powerful features over RISC OS 5.
Whilst I agree with much of what you say, I believe it must also be stated that ROL has several ways to keep people pacified in between releases. I certainly understand the position they're in, but that's probably even more reason to keep communication and activity on multiple levels, certainly not just OS development progress.
I believe many avid users of RISC OS have displayed their patience and understanding with them and it's surely not just the various delays and silences that have received criticism. Among others, it is the manner in which they choose to communicate, the state of their website, the seemingly contradicting information presented in the past, the absence of long-term perspective for the end-user, etc. How should one choose to interpret this company's attitude; is it intentional to gain a certain exemption amidst the confusion and defer liability? Or is it simply because they're incompetent in the areas of marketing and public relations? I guess it's both.
This recent news certainly gives me a positive feeling, in that it seems ROL are preparing to come back with a bang. An all-new OS well prepared to take on modern technology and the first real user guide since the days of RISC OS 3! But in all this we shouldn't forget what this company has done, or rather hasn't done, in the past and I do not mean the silence and delays due to the vast developments made. I do believe ROL is on the right track with regards to their OS development, but it's high time they start taking their PR seriously. It need not be expensive and all communities have in common that there are people around willing to do a certain amount of voluntary work. They just need to figure out how to harness the platform's positive spirit.