David Boddie>Actually, please don't get me wrong, I make *no* criticism of Linux or the GPL. In fact Linux has acchieved a quite substantial degree of development in the face of Windows - which is no mean feat. My comments are more of the nature of how to sustain RISC OS on ARM and advance it as far as *we* can. I am not sure that the GPL route will do this, given where RISC OS is at and who its userbase and likely commercial customers are.
It, in a sense, is the difference between selecting the right strategy to suit RISC OS and that of picking a strategy and hoping it works for RISC OS.
Julian wrote>"I just don't see why Castle should limit RISC OS' development by restraining it to a single processor type."
Let's see. The bulk of RISC OS is written in densely written ARM Assembler (a specific processor), the effort to recode it to either another Architecture (x86 ?) or even to a High Level Language (C/C++) so as to gain portability would be - to be frank - a complete waste of what limited resources are available.
Additionally the only *real* advantage RISC OS has is (IMHO) the fact of this close, frugal, efficient "closeness" of the OS and CPU. Yes it makes the OS tied to one processor (that is a weakness I'll concede) but at the same time gives you the massive gain of performance that allows what should be a treakle slow processor (600MHz) in many instances gives a responsiveness of CPUs clocked much quicker. And there are faster ARM's in the wings (see the other article on Drobe about the new IOP from Intel)
To simply "port for the sake of porting" is absurd, if people want portability they'd be better advised taking an existing portable OS (e.g., Linux) and using that to it to *its* fullest extent on commodity hardware (e.g., x86) rather than trying to batter RISC OS into a space it doesn't really suit or belong in. RISC OS is RISC OS, it is close to the ARM and runs optimally on it.
Andrew Flegg asked >"I'd be very interested to know what you think RISC OS' competition is, and what they could/would "cherry pick" from it."
Any of the applications (e.g., Draw, BBC BASIC), the range of fileformats and utilities that come with RISC OS. The antialiasing system. Core technologies within RISC OS that are optimised for ARM (IRQ/FIQ handlers, Arithmetic functions).
RISC OS's competition is basically any OS that can draw away RISC OS's users. That would definitionally be Windows, Linux and possibly Mac OS X.
It's difficult for RISC OS to exist and keep its userbase I don't see how letting the whole world have free and unfettered access to the RO source will help RISC OS, especially given that many of the potential developers who might wish to use the OS under (say) GPL terms might be more inclined to simply use any useful RO features in their favoured OS rather than necessarily helping RO itself (- that again is *not* a critism of those developers they'd be entitled to do this under a GPL style license).
But guess what my interest in *the survival of RISC OS*. If someone can show me how opening RO to GPL use can actually *save* RISC OS (and not simply transfer features to another OS with no benefit to RO) then I'd enthusiastically support it.