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So, it was a good show ... sorry to rain on the parade

Yes heartening that those who went found the atmosphere friendly and helpful - that is one of the great pluses of the platform - when it's not sniping and and descending into abuse or worse on the newsgroups .

I didn't go (for the first time in 14 or 15 years!), mainly because of a heavy cold. But if I had decided to make the drive from north London to Guildford, what actually would it have been for? The presentations revealed nothing new in terms of announcements or even any new information on how the ROL/ROOL developments are actually going to work. In terms of new product, the only significant things were Uniscan (to help you to make even more use of the PC) and Risc Os Now ... a brave effort which everybody wishes well. But how does that help the most pressing problem of the platform - certainly of the much-maligned "ordinary user".

I'm sure improvements through ROL/ROOL of the operating system are much needed. But people don't buy computers for the operating system (at least if it doesn't include web browser, media player etc). They buy it to do things - with applications programs. And all the OS, compiler, porting projects and other programming tools don't in the end seem to be delivering more of what sells computers - those applications. And of course the most important of all - a competent browser.

It seems to me that the best thing that could have happened at Guildford is that everyone who still earns a living - or part of a living - from Risc Os had taken a couple of hours off to talk to each other about a browser strategy. And then agreed to stop their own development work for two months to all work together to deliver it, whether it's an acceptable Firefox 6, Netsurf with Javascript, or Oregano 3. (I, as would other users, would be willing to pre-buy, donate, whatever).

The user base is still shrinking - mainly because people can't do what is now the most basic function on a computer. Plenty of "ordinary users" have said this before - usually to be abused for their "ignorance" about what they want to use a computer for.

A case in point. I use an Iyonix almost exclusively at home (while working on a Mac at work and maintaining several PCs for the household). More than half of what I do at home is on the web. My kids occasionally use the Iyonix to pick up hotmail or browse - until if freezes, crashes (not generally that long), at which point they shrug and wonder why I use a Mickey Mouse machine. If I can't get it on FF5 (however inelegantly) - I go to Iyonix Linux. But even that is no longer being developed (it would be lovely to have Debian Sarge).

If there were a fully working browser, I would be able to justify buying a new RO machine for the household - and I might even buy an A9 for portability. As is is, instead of buying two more machines - and all the related software for them - I am currently wondering if it is worth bothering to continue with the Iyonix. A possible net loss of one, instead of a net gain of two. I can't be the only user making these calculations. (And forget about new users).

Much has been made of the RO4 (sorry 6) / RO5 split. I suspect, as several programmers have said, this makes little difference in practice. On the other hand the split of resources in browser development really is crippling the market (in my opinion).

Sorry, but here is one user who up to now has continued to spend money on the platform who is very close to the tipping point ...

(PS many thanks to all those who do still work hard to keep the platform going ... it's much appreciated, even if, at present, it seems like a losing battle ...)

 is a RISC OS Usernw on 24/10/06 00:55AM
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