Indeed, RISCOS Ltd has made substantial progress both visible and invisible, but I believe nobody can argue that they've behaved rather irresponsibly at times. In this regard most attention seems to go towards the Select for Iyonix mess, but I think their worst behaviour appeared in the post RO4.39/Adjust period. Particularly when selling useless subscriptions to Risc PC users, when it actually financed development of 32-bit RISC OS Adjust. I think they've actually ensured the future of their company over the backs of unwitting Risc PC users due to their closed PR attitude. Speaking of which, their public image and marketing just suck and it doesn't show promise of change.
It may well be that RISC OS 6 is superior in most respects, but ironically it's not even available for the A9home, which I believe was the catalyst for its inception. In fact, up until now it only runs natively on ancient hardware. Which is why it will fail to attract the use ROL needs to survive.
As has been published on Drobe, RISC OS 5 is now running on the latest generation of ARM technology. The door to the forthcoming line of ARM based Netbook hardware has been opened. It's too bad for ROL, but this counts pretty heavily.
I know I could run RISC OS 6 in the commercial Virtual RiscPC emulator on a modern laptop, but why the hell would I want to run the arguably best version of RISC OS on an emulation of ancient hardware on top of Windows or Mac OS X? No, it's just cooler and possibly cheaper to be able to run RISC OS 5 directly on modern hardware, no strings attached..
In the end, the shared source nature of RISC OS 5 made it possible to get it to run on the Beagleboard and, by extension, opens it up to Netbook hardware. This just might give it the edge over ROL's plans for RISC OS 6.