I wasn't advocating six divergent branches of RISC OS, though I agree that it would be a waste of time for lots of people if that happened. A roadmap and tight control of the development process may well be beneficial, but they don't seem to be an obvious part of the current development model, either.
I just can't see the current players making RISC OS open source, anyway. Despite the advantages (both in terms of developer effort and user morale) that opening a central repository for the source code would have, it would probably take a leap of faith on the part of the current maintainer(s) and a lot of convincing before it could happen. Add to that all the feuding and in-fighting and it looks even less likely.
Maybe some corporate entity will eventually come along in the next five years and throw resources at the OS. Perhaps desktop users will eventually see these benefits. It gets less and less credible to persuade people to stick with the platform based on how well it's doing in embedded markets. Convincing developers to write desktop applications based on that is even more of a long shot - and applications are what people really need.
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