Julian wrote>"The inherent problems of one specific processor architecture are irrelevant for this discussion. If you don't like x86, choose something else. The very elegant IA64 springs to mind, or if you don't like Intel (you are not using an Iyonix, are you?) you could go for a PowerPC system."
I don't have any specific axe to grind with regards to Intel other than, in my humble opinion, their x86 architecture is appalingly bad. The IA64 (Itanium) I know little about (I think its VLIW), problem is I am not sure what Intel wants to do with it (at one stage I think they dearly would have loved it to surplant the x86 - but (alas) it's lower clock rate (not performance mind you) doomed it to small niche markets). AMD's ascendant x64/Athlon 64/opteron family probably put the last nail in Itanium's coffin (as Intel had to fight back with an x86 chip to compete against AMD's offering)s. I digress.
The point is *not* that you can't abstract an OS to run on any processor - but that given RISC OS's *lack* (relatively) of abstraction that you'd lose a lot in the translation. As over 40% of RISC OS is ARM Assembly language - so an inability to run this code optimally (i.e., Natively) would have a detrimental impact. Bear in mind some of the remaining 60% of RISC OS is written in BBC BASIC - and that would probably be best executed by the native ARM BBC BASIC interpreter (so again a "non-native" processor would be at a disadvantage). You are, of course, correct that for C/C++ (a sizeable amount of RISC OS) would not be so hampered and would be more processor agnostic).
I don't personally believe that ARM will simply withdraw from its niche and allow Intel to roll in with 1-5Watt x86 cores that would be competitive. ARM, IMHO *have* to up their cores performance - or lose market share. That being the case I would like RISC OS to be in a position to take *advantage* of those changes.
As to Linux users being open minded I did not infer they weren't - all I was saying was that their primary interest *IS* Linux - I can't imagine that that would change if they were offered RISC OS. As to the cost of RISC OS that's set by ROL - and the price they charge they charge. If the "hardware production cost" you refer to are Flash RAM (or even CD) they represent a *small* proportion of the price - and consequently I'd not foresee a big drop in price - and without that drop and a viable fast Linux based emulator I can't see enough Linux users opting for RISC OS to such an extent that economies of scale would result in a larger drop in price that might encourage further RISC OS use.