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Simtec comes bearing USB2

By Chris Williams. Published: 10th Dec 2003, 15:57:01 | Permalink | Printable

For a USB1.1 card. Inspired

RISC OS USB logoSimtec Electronics have today released an updated version of their RISC OS USB stack which is available from their website. Simtec advise their USB users to upgrade to the latest stack, namely version 2.01.

Major changes include the addition of USB2 support, 32bit SharedCLibrary compatibility, updates to the developer kit and a host of fixes and updates.

"This release benefits from a large number of improvements from development from the 'embedded' users of the stack", Simtec engineer Vincent Sanders explained in today's announcement.

"Other improvements include RISC OS specific enhancements to module builds to ensure greater compatibility and improvements in printing support."

Simtec do a lot of embedded design work for customers outside of the RISC OS bubble. Essentially, the release of version 2.01 of the stack comes as a result of Simtec funnelling developments, made while performing embedded work, back to our platform. Despite the new USB2 support, the Simtec USB podule card is only fitted with a USB1.1 controller and the Acorn podule bus is too crippled to run at USB2 speeds.

Of course, this makes the USB stack split even more ludicrous when you consider that a legacy RiscPC can have USB2 support with a USB1.1 controller and an Iyonix has USB1.1 support with a USB2 card. Maybe Microdigital will be the real winners, seeing as they're supposedly using the Simtec USB stack for their Omega which could accomodate a suitable USB2 controller or PCI card.


Simtec USB podule website - cards sold through AdvantageSix.

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At least the two USB stacks take genuinely different approaches; one is a SWI interface and the other uses DeviceFS. My own feeling is that Acorn (if they still existed) would have gone the DeviceFS route. Still, it's better than having two conflicting SWI interfaces.

Has anyone considered writing an interface module? It seems to me that converting DeviceFS -> SWIs would be easier than vice-versa. This would enable drivers to use the Simtec API through the Castle API.

 is a RISC OS UserJimbo on 10/12/03 6:30PM
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Yay! The scroll wheel on my mouse works now! :)

Now all I need is someone to let me use the scroll wheel on my IYONIX.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 10/12/03 8:18PM
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but at least the thumb button does menu - which is very groovy

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 10/12/03 8:24PM
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Cool, they've still not removed the bug I told them about.

If you have a USB mouse plugged in, avoid moving the scroll-button (which is difficult because the scroll-button often functions as the menu-button as well). If the scroll-button is moved, you'll have problems closing windows down, like the task display. You'll also find that if you drag the bottom scroll-bar into the centre it will keep snapping to the left.

Before someone blames RISC OS Select, I *have* tried this in 4.02 and still have the same problem.

/me emails support

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 10/12/03 8:29PM
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Oh, ok. So the scroll-button works for some people. :o)

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 10/12/03 8:34PM
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Spank me, please.

I'd not installed the new ROMs properly. It all works fine now. :o)

In fact, the scroll-button works really well in my browsers and stuff.

/me hides in a dark cuboard.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 10/12/03 8:41PM
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Sorry, Flyfot, if we gave you a spanking, all our customers would want one!

Glad to hear you and others are happy with the results. The guys at Simtec put a lot of effort into this release.

 is a RISC OS Userstdevel on 10/12/03 9:01PM
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Excelent - scrollwheel support :) :) (Typical it arrives just when my RPC is set up with only space for my trackball and the scroll mouse is need on another system).

Some questions. 1. What does the usb 2 support provide? More speed - the acorn bus flat out or more potential for other devices? 2. Was the free hub dished out with the unit USB 1 or 2? 3. Is there any prospect of a conversion layer to allow castle stack drivers to be used?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 10/12/03 10:57PM
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Now all we need is the IEE thingy (Firewire - cant remember the number)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 11/12/03 11:13AM
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The IEEE are the standards body which look after firewire (amoungst a lot of other things), not IEE. Off the top of my head it's IEEE 1394, but then you could have just said Firewire in the first place and everyone would have known what you were on about ;)

Of course, I imagine that if your machine would struggle to for USB 2 (up to 480 Mbps IIRC) the same would be true of Firewire (which is 400 Mbps).

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 11/12/03 12:02PM
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IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. See [link]

I review for them. :-)

Cheers Bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 11/12/03 12:14PM
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The 'shoehorn-anything-into-an-RPC' scene should die a death already. Get a 32bit machine, where things like firewire would have some point - particularly if someone makes a DV video app for the Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 11/12/03 3:34PM
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So, what is holding up USB2 support for the Iyonix? I use USB hard discs for backup and transfer between sites, and to be able to do this 40x faster than at present would be extremely useful. I assume that if the hardware is already capable it just needs a new stack.

Cheers, Grahame.

 is a RISC OS UserGrahameP on 11/12/03 3:50PM
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Just a quick note to re-iterate, just because the *stack* has USB2 support the Simtec USB podule is a USB 1.1 Host controller. The original press release didnt emphasise the USB2 support, the major benifits for AUUSB11POD owners are numerous bugfixes and a stack that has had a *LOT* of improvements made under the hood, not to mention some very extensive testing both on RISC OS and other platforms.

This want ment to detract from chris excellent article just to clarify what benifits users should expect from this release.

 is a RISC OS Userkyllikki on 11/12/03 3:59PM
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some of us dont have money to spend on a 32 bit machine!

damn! IEEE I said "I trpple E" in my head - was always hoping it would be fast enuff (in my dreams)

Nice to know USB 2 support is around tho.

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 12/12/03 12:13AM
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No, I understand the 32bit machines are expensive - I've been the first to suggest 1300 quid is too much for the market to take. I really think castle could come with a slimline machine at a cheap price. This is essential for the health of RISC OS 5.

This doesn't alter the fact that shoehorning new tech into old tech for minimal or no advantage is a waste of money.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 12/12/03 9:07AM
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So how is the scroll wheel supposed to work? All I can get it to do is operate as a menu button. I'm assuming it's supposed to work similar to the way STD's mouse mini works.

 is a RISC OS Usermfraser on 28/12/03 9:08AM
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