"Whereas MAC OS and LINUX are still essentially built ontop of a 1970s architecture...."
That's like saying my moms cooking is terrible, because she started out in the 1970's...
"Fundamentally, most users are more interested in what it does, what software it has and how fast it is as Windows has shown time and time again."
Exactly. That's why there are so many RISC OS users around.
The trouble is, what it can do is severely limited by its architecture, especially true nowadays. Windows has shown nothing, whereas Microsoft has shown to be brilliant at manipulating ignorant sheeple, getting into trouble for it and managing to repeat that cycle.
I know some people that know some people who don't like computers. They don't like them, because they don't like PC's. They don't like PC's, because they don't like Windows. They don't like Windows, because they don't like to feel like an idiot.
"If you want a RISC OS style experience built ontop of Unix, go and support ROX. If you want RISCOS to continue to evolve, support the efforts of RISCOS Ltd or ROOL. If you want an OS written from scratch look at BEOS/Haiku. If you want to switch to something else, switch."
What a cheap shot. So because I care for the future of RISC OS, I should go out and support something resembling it?
Why do you think these project were created in the first place? One hint; it's not because the developers involved believed RISC OS could evolve to meet their goals.
Why was Haiku written? Not only to recreate BeOS, but also to improve on its original design by avoiding some of the same limitations.
"Realistically, RISCOS is never going to see a total rewrite which would break all the applications (the main reason a lot of people still use it). Far more important (IMHO) is making the architecture more portable so it can run on new, more powerful ARM devices which have the power for handling streaming audio and so forth."
Not totally rewriting RISC OS itself, merely recreating its GUI to work on top of a Unix-like back-end. Quite the difference. Obviously this will break compatibility with applications, but that's always been the case beginning with Arthur on ARM2 and up until RISC OS 6 on ARM9.
A realistic solution is to embed a virtual machine into the new OS. This means running existing apps transparently inside a virtual RiscPC machine, which blends brilliantly with the new RISC iX (for lack of a better name). For a feel of how this could work, take a look at the Classic Environment in Mac OS X.
You might like to consider the possibility that ARM won't be particularly suitable for desktop class computers in the future. Have you seen what Intel has been doing? I'm sorry to say, but I'm afraid ARM seems more and more to be a dead-end for (the future of) RISC OS.
"We can have a long technical argument about this but its really going to boil down to semantics. Things like a Mach kernel, support for openGL and Posix compliance are definite advances but at its heart it would still be an evolution of the original PDP OS. Even if you are Microsoft or Intel, attempts to break with the past totally and create something all new have never been a success."
There is no need for a long technical argument, because the facts are clear for those not closing their eyes to them. If you choose to continue this debate, you will only see what we've seen until now.
What do you think Windows NT was about and Microsoft are considering for Windows 7? Where do you think Intel is moving to? Is Mac OS X not a success? It all depends, but it never can be a success if the possibility is condemned before even attempted.
Perhaps the obstructions involved are not of a technical or even practical nature.
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