Your first paragraph is exactly what I'm saying about development problems and the branch is currently stifling development. There are two paths nobody knows which way things will go but if the Omega/Xscale becomes reality then its choice between 20% Iyonix/RO5 or 71%/Omega/Select. You could develop both for a short while but the paths will diverge as time goes on and it will not be cost effective to support the 20% side. If the Omega/Xscale becomes a reality then it is not "wallowing in the past" as you put it but would actually be more advanced than Iyonix/RO5. It also allows for a cleaner upgrade path for those at the fork and a cost effective upgrade path for those already treading down it.
What evidence do I have that emulation users would return to native hardware ? Well I don't it's based on the discussions and defense of emulation that have been bandied about the various newsgroups. There are more voices saying it will promote a migration to RISCOS with the inevitable uptake of hardware than those that say it won't. Just for the record I was always one of those who argued the latter, like yourself, but am willing to concede to the majority opinion. Again this is one of those wait and see moments. However it would not matter if the RISCOS fork was rejoined.
Just for record I'm at the RO4 branch and waiting for :
A) Select on Iyonix in which case I'd be an Iyonix owner by Xmas at the latest.
B) Omega is complete with an Xscale in which case I'd be an Omega owner by Xmas.
C) Select/Omega branch dies a death in which case I'd be an Iyonix owner whenever.
D) Plans to merge the OS's in which case I'd purchase Select for my RiscPC and then whatever Xscale hardware has the rejoined OS when it appears.
The reason for choice B over Iyonix/RO5 is that the market potential is 71% versus 20%. Now if people migrate over to Iyonix such that it becomes 50:50 then change choice B to an Iyonix since as has been said before Castle seem to be more professional. The problem is there are an awful lot of "personalities" and prejudices flying around to really know who is professional and who isn't.
Stephen : if you want to comment about it being a silly discussion then say so without preceding your statement by contributing to the "silly discussion". That's just hypocritical. Unless you are saying that one side of the discussion is silly in which case that's just plain nasty. Everyone is entitled to their opinion aren't they ?