sa110 wrote>"there would be nothing stopping ROL from releasing their own feature pack for RISC OS which would sit on top of a standard ROM image"
Indeed, I even suggested that as an option for them with respect to Iyonix and RO5. (It would have allowed them to get sales from customers they would otherwise *not* be able to directly support - or at least not without considerable added expense). Sadly this was *not* followed up on.
The best outcome IMHO is that things continue as they are (as unsatisfactory as that might seem). So ROOL would be free to release truly "free" RISC OS 5 for other platforms and ROL could do likewise (albeit charging a nominal fee). That way both "flavours" would be available and people could make their own choice.