Druck you're wrong. I had cash to spend on upgrading my RiscPC and I wanted new hardware. However since there were two OS's on two hardware choices this meant the choice was OS+Hardware, the two are linked. So I was one of those "punters (that) have been unable to decide which version to stump up their hard earned cash for".
As it turns out I purchased a laptop, installed Linux and re-configured it to look and feel like RISCOS. So both camps have lost out. A damn sight cheaper as well I might add for a machine far faster than the fastest RISCOS box and all the free software you could want.....
I also noticed that RO5 and RO6 have "diverged internally beyond the point where they can be sensibly merged". In other words you will still have a choice of OS(+hardware) unless one camp decides to halt development. Any merging of functionality will help application writers but does absolutely nothing for those wondering which OS+Hardware is the one with a future. The market is too small to support both, one branch will fold. It's just a matter of time.
It's good that they are talking but the end point MUST be one OS that runs on all present hardware. How you get there is up for discussion but dismissing the only logical end point before you start is madness.