Of course it's quite subjective: I agree that spending £100+ to effectively turn a PC into a RISC OS box is a lot of money. But, given the amount of time I use it, and the enjoyment I still get from things like ArtWorks, it compares well to new ARM hardware (well, relatively new).
Interesting comments from Aaron. He's obviously much more up on the licensing issue, and the economics, of VirtualAcorn than I am. But if ROOL ever do get a full OS version out as shared-source, I hope that VA at least consider the option of using it. It may not be possible for legal reasons, but it's surely an avenue worth exploring.
If they fail to take it, then perhaps RPCEmu + legally downloadable ROOL RO5 could be explored? Now that *would* get the costs down, if it could be done.