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Username: AMS
Realname: Annraoi McShane
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

sa110>"You are forgetting that ROL itself is not about putting their branch onto other hardware"

That's them limiting themselves. Acorn isn't around to say "Ahem you're not suppose to do that".

I feel (sadly) that as ROL never had (and I suspect never will) have any in house hardware development skillset and that therefore they won't be in a position to port to new hardware anytime soon.

That leaves *emulation*, which is probably the "path of least resistance" that ROL would follow - and continued support for "fossilware" (i.e., RISC PC)

The contrast with RO5 is an interesting one - you could argue that given that Pace (and then later CTL) because they developed hardware better understood the needs of the OS/Hardware and ultimately produced code that was *easier* to port to new hardware (the BeagleBoard port being an effective proof of this).

I suspect ROL will cater for a proportion of RISC OS users - but will not make meaningful inroads onto new hardware or onto new platforms.

If they wished to do this they'd need to think radically - perhaps even licensing parts (or all) of RO5 from Castle on a commercial basis and modifying RO6/Select to work with it. Or alternatively opening their OS so that similar developments to what is happening on the ROOL branch would occur... the problem is that that would deprive ROL of some income and would represent a risk.

ROL have had some success - but to expand from where they are would require different thinking and possibly doing what for them in the past would appear unthinkable (mind you they did this once before when they embraced Windows and Emulation - so perhaps they make an equivalent leap again - who knows).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/5/09 10:33AM
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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

Very good work (I am surprised at how quickly this has progressed), well done Jeffrey

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/5/09 11:44PM
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On Is there a way out of RISC OS version number hell?:

Posting what appatently is libellous material about people is I would say a "cheap and meaningless shot".

I've read what Imj has had to say.

It suggests no solutions.

It does not provide enough information to tackle the problems in RISC OS (and I freely admit there are some problems and they *do* need to be addressed).

It seems to spew out bile against anyone trying to fix the platform (both ROL and ROOL got a clubbing if I recall correctly).

I am not sure what its purpose is but it doesn't look helpful to me.

Now I've not discounted *anything* Imj has said only pointed out that it isn't constructive.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/5/09 11:24AM
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On Is there a way out of RISC OS version number hell?:

The OS choices you make are up to you of course.

The thing I find interesting is that you single RISC OS out for a beating round the head every time particularly when a bit of good news occurs - but why? What does this acchieve?

You provide critism - but not in enough detail to allow anyone to address it - nor suggested solutions that (if practical) might improve things - even to a level where *you* might be happy enough to return to using RISC OS (or at least not constantly faulting it).

Critism comes in two flavours - constructive and destructive. It sadly appears yours is of the latter category. The very fact you posted something that may well have been *libellous* in a *short* single damning sentence shows that.

How can damaging the reputations of people who are developing the OS advance anything? How can that possibly address your complaint about RISC OS having a "dire lack of worthwhile updates". You can see that if you drive away developers your complaint will become difficult if not impossible to address?

But then maybe your point is not about fixing RISC OS as much as killing it.

Only you can answer that one.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/5/09 10:49AM
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On Is there a way out of RISC OS version number hell?:

imj>For an OS that you have described (to use your *own* words) as "irrelevant" you sure have a lot to say about it don't you!

Sort of raises questions as to how well disposed (or otherwise) you are towards RISC OS (and either ROL or ROOL) and exactly how helpful one could consider *any* of your comments - let alone the alledgely libellous ones.

I always find it interesting when someone rarely posts except when there's good news and then to make a negative contribution as *you* consistently seem to do.

So what's your favourate OS then imj since RISC OS obviously isn't?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/5/09 12:10PM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

sa110>Moving to RO5.xx from 4.02 or 4.39 or 6 is *not* IMHO a downgrade so whatever way I snipped your comment makes no difference.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/4/09 2:35PM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

rjek>Hmm ok that would be a problem.

Is there no way out of this? I'd be reluctant to wave "bye bye" to a very substantial increase in Floating point performance. If that means some *pain* (some old apps not working - and a longer progressive update of the OS to use VFP then I'd say so be it (mind you not everyone would)).

Unless some reasonable technical alternative presents itself that is....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/4/09 1:55PM
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On RISCOS Ltd relaunches riscos.com with new design:

No I don't think I can argue with that ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/4/09 11:37AM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

sa110>Downgrade? Are you *serious*.

The option to run on *new* native hardware, hardware that does video overlays, that can support video decoding *in hardware* (remind me how good does a RISC PC or A9 do that?). Some new Cortex type SOCs even do HD video....

The new options RO5 opens (or potentially offers) outweight the occasional missing "round button" or having thumbnail images in your filer or other such eye candy.

I'd also point out that compared to several other OSes the GUI appearance of *both* versions of RISC OS look very dated. So given that both look stone age the decider should be technical advanages - particularly the ability to run on new more capabile hardware while at the same as offering users of legacy platforms an option to use code on a *single* OS rather than the forked set up we have at the moment. RO5 offers this RO6 does (IMHO) not.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/4/09 11:33AM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

rjek>Yes I take you're point, but there's nothing to stop (for example) when new features (addition of *sound*) implementing *that* using VFP to up it's performance. Likewise there's nothing to stop someone using VFP code to enhance MP3 decoding/encoding.

That's not to say either would be easy - but as we *never* had the option before it's nicer to face a *difficult* task than an *impossible* one.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/4/09 11:27AM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

Full marks to Jeffrey Lee, Uwe Kall and the ROOL lads this is indeed a significant development.

The newer ARM CPUs do offer facilities we could really do with, like fast floating point, added graphics and DSP support - if RO5.xx can be made to support these then we may see RISC OS do stuff that would have appeared a fanciful idea in the past.

The A7000 port of RO5.xx is at one level no less significant, and if it means that the RISC PC could in future be supported then we may even get a common OS across all the legacy native platforms - and available to most RISC OS users.

As the OS is a shared source there's no reason why it can't be even ported to A9Home - which would mean *all* the native ARM based hardware could be covered.

Interesting times indeed!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/4/09 10:37PM
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On RISCOS Ltd relaunches riscos.com with new design:

Rjek>The banner headline "Exclusively developing RISC OS since 1999" is not just trolling but basically wrong and arguably misleading (there was the small matter of RO 5.xx which is still being developed and possibly developed more actively than ROL's flavour by the lads in RISC OS Open & other independant developers and formerly Tematic/Castle).

But that aside I'd be willing to give credit to ROL for listening to their customers and addressing the layout issues of their original site. I'd also be slow to critise - after all when someone makes an effort to improve things simply ticking them off is hardly likely to encourage further improvement is it?

So on balance well done ROL !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/4/09 12:35PM
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On ARM Cortex-A8 port of RISC OS 5: first screenshot:

I profoundly disagree, the hoover comments were mercifully pretty short unlike the rest of the licensing commentary ;-)

Perhaps next time someone could post a thread about licensing and it could be hijacked to discuss the more significant (and positive) issue of getting RISC OS running on more modern ARM hardware.

The only thing better than that is seeing new native hardware running RISC OS - now that would be nice !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/2/09 11:39PM
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On ARM Cortex-A8 port of RISC OS 5: first screenshot:

AW>I suspect we'll see an RO 5.14 release from Castle *first* (after all the Pandora port is a work in progress and therefore something for the future, while the RO5.14 update is just awaiting testing - presumably by Castle - before it becomes available to general users for to "flash" onto their machines).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/2/09 8:42AM
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On ARM Cortex-A8 port of RISC OS 5: first screenshot:

Good news indeed.

It is important that RISC OS be running on the fastest available native hardware and this development is a step in the right direction.

Martin>RISC OS Limited *don't* have anything to do with this. Any negative interference from them would only damage their standing in the RISC OS community and the project would still continue anyway. On that basis I don't believe they will.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/2/09 8:40AM
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On Paul Vigay found dead off Southsea seafront:

This is truly both a shocking and saddening event.

I'd like to extend my condolences to Louie and his family at their time of loss. Paul's passing can't have been easy for them and I hope that they can, in time, recover from this tragic loss.

The measure of the man is alluded to in the responses here and on csa - his helpfulness and commitment contributed in no small way to the life of our platform and to the individual RISC OS users who came into contact with him in however peripheral a way.

He will indeed be missed.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/2/09 4:49PM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

Stoppers>How did what I wrote (quote) "For me personally I don't care if ROL had or hadn't the right to the market" become what you wrote "you don't care about ROL's rights"?

I meant I have no axe to grind regarding ROL's rights, if their rights can be publically verified I'd accept them. Rather than the interpretation you seem to be taking of my words (which seem to suggest I'd ignore their rights which is not the same thing).

I note also you seem to be saying that I condone cheating - I think you better re-read what I wrote. But I'll clarify it for you, just in case, I viewed the RO5.xx/Iyonix as a better bet - it was first and more technically complete than the RO4.xx/MD Omega. It was a technical choice. I had no reason then and have no reason now to believe that either ROL or Castle had somehow "cheated". If MD Omega and RO4.xx had been completed first and had hit all it's bullet point features I'd have made a different choice it, however, didn't and the rest is history.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/12/08 12:03AM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

Stoppers>As you've already made your mind up there probably isn't any point is there.

For me personally I don't care if ROL had or hadn't the right to the market.

There was one moment in which things could have been turned around - and that was Iyonix (the only alternative the MD Omega took too long to arrive and was obsoleted by Iyonix anyway).

There are some here, possibly you included, pleased that Iyonix has gone (whoopeee). The problem is that that leaves us with *no* complete native hardware/software platform to run on and *no* prospect for any new hardware. The stunning short sightedness of this confounds me.

What you and some others are doing is arguing about who has the right to polish the door knobs on the Titanic.

Unlike you I have no "religious" belief in either ROL or Castle. In fact I don't care who's right. The one thing I do care is about the *survival* of the platform. You may have read my commentary as simply being supportive of Castle/Iyonix rather than recognising that I was being pragmatic. If ROL and another had produced an OS and Hardware as good as Iyonix *first* I'd have supported them. As it happened Castle and Iyonix arrived first and I supported them/that instead. It was luck of the draw. Once I had evaluated the prospects of both whichever seemed the more likely to succeed I'd support.

On the other hand you and others seemed more intent on "winning the argument" where the only possibly outcome was RISC OS being an "emulated toy" run on someone elses operating system.

Now that the platform is effectively as dead as the Sinclair Spectrum (another machine that exists in emulation form only) I don't much care in or see much point in debating any of this.

However wins the debate all is lost.

You can grasp that can't you?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/12/08 2:07PM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

Lighten up Stoppers, it's the season of good will and all. Merry Christmas to you.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/12/08 1:08PM
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On Merry Christmas and a happy new year:

Yes I'd go along with that - nice to end the year on one success - the return of Drobe.

Anyway Chris and the lads - well done and happy christmas to you all.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/12/08 11:05PM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

The statement that I'll have turkey tomorrow is not not true if that's the case.

I'd try the ham only that without the dioxins in it it tastes flat...

Anyway one and all I hope you have a merry christmas. And no Stoppers ROL don't have the exclusive license on that one either.... ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/12/08 11:02PM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

Well there *is* that I suppose !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/12/08 11:44PM
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On Voting now open for the Drobe Awards 2008:

druck>As there'd only be one in the running there'd be little point in having a whole category for it would there ? ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/12/08 11:07PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

Stoppers>Ok, let's deal with those.

Neither I nor *you* have any knowledge of *if* ROL did or didn't receive permission off Pace to allow emulation use (rather than strictly interpreting desktop use as meaning RISC PC (say) use). My RO 4 ROMs had a paper slip that said it was *not for emulation use* and I got those off ROL many moons ago.

As I said, emulation is *not* exclusively a desktop use so would *demand* some sort of permission. Was that permission given?

In the light of that it could be argued that if Pace were prepared to allow "wiggle room" for that a quid pro quo would be to allow Iyonix to be released. Bear in mind Tungsten/Iyonix started with Pace - and only later came out as a desktop machine.

The embedded A9 style machines (not the A9Home which *is* a desktop computer) would also require permission - but in this case as Pace had left the field (so to speak) it would require it off *Castle*.

The release of NDA material (bits quoted by affiliates of ROL) would *also* require permission - but in this case off Castle (as they've replaced Pace as the owner of the head license).

The non-acknowledgement by ROL of Castle's ownership of Pace's IPR in RISC OS (in the latest RO 4 ROM images) is I would suggest not condusive to calming things down. I might consider it as an "innocent oversight" but in the current charged atmosphere updating the Splash screen to show Castle's copyright claim might help.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/12/08 10:35PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>Earlier on you were making the defense that ROL were rushed into signing the 2004 agreement and missed something. Surely that could also apply to their 1999 agreement (I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that that agreement was still in effect). Therefore it would be highly dangerous of them to take it to court especially if some niggling detail they missed resulted in their claim being rendered void.

A few things to think about:

If ROL had the "exclusive right" for desktop use of RISC OS (I believe they *had* in 1999) then releasing any ROM image for *emulation* (which they did) would amount to a breech IMHO as (i). An emulator is a program not a desktop machine and (ii). That even if we viewed an emulator as simulating a desktop machine it could be installed on a laptop in which case (again) it would not be a desktop machine (to my knowledge ROL did not discourage such use - in fact the first machine released with emulation and ROL's blessing was the Microdigital Alpha - a PC laptop with VA installed)

Then there's snippets of NDA covered documents being bandied about by persons affilitated to ROL - surely some terms of the 1999 or 2004 agreements would prohibit that (certainly an NDA would - which if broken weaken ROL's claims considerably - IMHO).

ROL when distributing ROM images for emulation include Pace's logo and copyright. Was this (a). With Pace's recent permission and (b). Did it appropriately recognise that Castle had bought Pace out and therefore the copyright should be attributed to Castle. If either (or both) are untrue then some answering is needed.

Anyway I am off to get some of those saugages the lads further down are talking about (sadly they've remove the dioxins from the ones over here - it use to add a little tangyness I used to like.... ;-) ).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/12/08 1:10PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>You do realise whoever loses may have to pay legal costs (as well as possibly damages). Do you think either party could afford this?

Don't be too confident my friend that ROL would win. Contracts are complex beasties and unless ROL were *scrupilous* in following the 1999 and subsequent 2004 one then they could wind up in a whole world of pain....

If it went against Castle - then what? RO5.xx effort stops from ROOL stops - you wind up with stagnation (you'll note for example that the ROL announcement about RO6.xx features got just ONE response on drobe after several days - while this thread has over 100 in the same time). The most dynamic part is the ROOL/RO5.xx effort - kill that off and well that's the whole thing well and truly banjaxed.

As I said before living with the status quo (the ambiguity) would be better.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:56PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>That is *so bogus* an argument that I'd laugh my head off.

A contract (verbal or written) is a contract. It commits you to either doing something or accepting something. In short once you sign it it's legal irrespective of how long you considered it's contents. If (as you now seem to be accepting) that ROL only signed off on it in a rush and failed to appreciate the nuiances then that is their own tough luck.

Besides that whole argument you advance doesn't wash, how can you negotiate something and not read it or be aware of it's implications?

As someone else pointed out by revealing selective snippets from the 1999 agreement (something that's *never* happened before) Aaron (or ROL or both) have arguably broken whatever Non-Disclosure Agreement that was in place (that may well also amount to a breech of contract supposing confidentiality was a part of said document).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 11:15AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>That's way out of order.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:35AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>Pace *owned* RISC OS. They, in effect, replaced Acorn/E14. They had to right to grant or revoke whatever they wanted.

Pace sold what they owned to Castle. Therefore whatever rights *Pace* had then Castle had. Whatever obligations ROL had to Pace they *then* had to Castle once Castle replaced Pace.

Doesn't sound particularly complex to me - or have I missed something ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/12/08 12:23AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

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.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/08 11:11PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

sa110>You would think so wouldn't you!

Thing is this the ROM image ROL sell has proudly emblazened on it the Pace logo (at least the splash screen shown on Drobe does and my RO4.01 rom does). That suggests that Pace had some sorts of rights to the OS (why else would ROL have included it?)

Also you may remember a while back ROL (this predates Iyonix) made available 32bit libraries. These also carried (c). Pace messages - but then (at some point) ROL refused to make them available anymore. To me that would *look* like Pace had made them available and then subsequently ceased doing so. ROL had no choice but to *accept it* and stop distributing them.

Later on Pace (according to THEIR website and a press release made by them and Castle) had sold their head license to Castle.

All of this suggests that in "rights" terms Pace had the lead. We *know* Pace sold their rights to Castle. That would suggest Castle has rights that are in some way "superior" to ROLs (just as Pace had done).

The real issue is how "ambiguous" the license terms were. I think you'd find that if Aaron and ROL had a real proof and no ambiguity about their claim this would have been to court years ago, they haven't which suggests that although they *may* have some rights to some portions of the OS that their rights are not as clear cut or as defensible as they might wish us to believe.

Let's suppose that the court finds against them? What then? You have the most advanced hardware implementation of RISC OS (Iyonix) gone, you'd have ROL unable to sell Select nor VA able to sell their product.

I think sa110 this is one piece of ambiguity that if you want *any part of the platform* to survive is better left ambiguous. I think you'd find taking this to court would be a sign that after all these years of shooting itself in the foot the RISC OS world had chosen to shoot itself in the head.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/08 11:34AM
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On RISC OS 5.14 softloaded on an Iyonix: first screenshot:

I'd agree - well done Adrian.

Being able to do this should make it easier for developers to add and test new features without risking making their machine unbootable.

sa110>As RO5 is a open version of RISC OS this development may benefit *all* RISC OS users not just Iyonix ones - anything that furthers OS development (and being able to softload *does* do that) is IMHO a good thing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/08 11:04AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

flibble/jlavellin>I agree with you both - however I am not sure which shareholders have the most influence on this. Do not assume they all have equal influence. Reluctantly if a broad boycott is required to resolve this then I'd say so be it.

At the same time though a firm message needs to be sent - and the bluff called.

If Aaron/ROL had a leg to stand on Iyonix would not have happened, ROOL source would never have been released, the dispute which seen an ROL licensed product temporarily taken off the market when Castle challenged ROL and their licensees would not have happened.

It's the same old bluff and bluster - it should be ignored. IMHO ROOL should ready their source and release a ROM image as promised then at least the OS has a fighting chance of further development - otherwise things are very bleak. We've lost the prospect of new native hardware let's not lose the option of a vibrant developing OS as well.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/12/08 11:07AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

It all sounds suspiciously convenient that just when a free emulator and OS (ROOL RO 5) that all this starts up.

All stomping on ROOL or RO5 will do is put a near total end to any development of the OS (and given the hardware platform is effectively dead that IMHO would mark the true demise of the OS as well).

If this all goes "legal" all that it'll do is soak up the last bits of available cash to pay lawyers and put a spanner in the development works.

Besides ROL, if it had the documents at hand, could have challenged Castle long ago - they didn't. In fact it was Castle who challenged ROL and for a time production of ROL based products stopped - surely if the documents Aaron claims to have seen were so unambiguous the dispute with Castle would have lasted at most 10 minutes - ROL/Ad6 would have resumed production and Castle would probably have had to apologise.

The point is, I suspect, not as "clear cut" well not to the point of taking legal chances with. I suspect the current situation arises because Aaron or ROL feel that Castle having left the market would be more "relaxed" about extravagant claims being made by ROL and inclined to let these go unchallenged. And then there's the danger of a free RISC OS - nope that could not be tolerated could it ?

Whenever I ask myself why to I bother myself with RISC OS things like this make me more inclined to move my activities elsewhere. I mean what's the point?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/12/08 3:55PM
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On Iyonix range taken off the market:

Having read the comments on the Iyonix mail list - it appears as if a "kite" was being floated alright and that the putative Iyonix II would have a dual core processor. Seems like the issue was would there be a sufficient number of people willing to commit to taking the machine.

So Andrew may well have a point. Hey trying can't harm can it?

Besides RISC OS having being around so long it would be a pity to see it go now wouldn't it - especially if there were some option (no matter how remote) of saving it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/9/08 2:06AM
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On Iyonix range taken off the market:

Nice to see Drobe back, but sorry to see the circumstances of it.

I suppose all good things have to come to an end - and so it is with Iyonix. I can't imagine that this will do a whole lot of good for the platform (even if some will endeavour to find that this dark cloud has some unexpected silver lining). The Iyonix, let's not forget, was the last fully expandible desktop RISC OS computer - with Iyonix (and it's makers) exit from that market this will deminish the chance of a successor.

If Paul Vigay is right and there was an Iyonix II in the wings then the loss would be doubly tragic.

Unfortunately I feel this will further damage enthusiast engagement with the platform (this goes somewhat beyond the loss of the machine itself) and that will likely cause more serious long term damage.

All and all its not been a good day.

All I can do is end by thanking the Tematic Guys, John Ballance, Jack Lillington and all the others at Castle for having launched the Iyonix and supported it's users as ably as they did for so long.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/9/08 11:32PM
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On VirtualRiscPC spotted on Linux:

hubersn>Much as I hate to agree on this Windows has actually won. There are sufficient "lock-ins" to ensure that the only choice people now have to run the maximum number of applications is Windows. Likewise the "hardware" lock-in to x86 equally removes peoples choice of platform. Hopping from arguably an OS in decline (RISC OS) to one that is a Microsoft target like Linux is silly, IMHO.

If you're going to abandon RISC OS go to windows - you'll probably wind up there anyway once the difficiencies of Linux become apparent (that's not to say that Linux is a bad OS but simply that too many content providers and hardware providers supporting Windows and that always means - at best - Linux is playing catch-up more often it can't compete).

Besides even in this example - VARPC was run on a machine that was dual boot (i.e., it contained a full licensed copy of Windows anyway) do you think Mr Gates & Ballmer care if you *actually* use Windows at all or just that a license fee was paid - nope I didn't think so either.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/3/08 10:42AM
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On Google funding offered to NetSurf project:

Indeed - congrats guys on this. The most significant part is that the project has independantly been recognised as having merit. Having Google back it as well is double cause for cheer - it also neatly sidesteps that old chestnut of not having enough RISC OS developers by opening it up to a much bigger community of coders.

Again nicely done lads !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/3/08 2:34AM
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On Icon Technology boss Mike Glover retires:

Mike please accept my best wishes too on your retirement. Your contribution to the RISC OS platform can't be overstated and I can say without fear of contradiction is much appreciated by us all here.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/3/08 12:57AM
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On RISC OS skills database website launches:

rjek>Agreed. Someone having signed up to *either* site does not mean they'd be necessarily willing or able to do any *work* developing stuff on RISC OS. Mind you that's not to say that *discussion* can't be helpful in clarifying problems or even suggesting solutions.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/2/08 10:35PM
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On RISC OS skills database website launches:

Adamr> Perhaps because some of the people with appropriate skills may be able to contribute to developing the OS - the shared source being available from ROOL. I was not saying the sites are the same (they aren't) but that the Connect one counts amongst it's skillbase potential developers who *might* be available to contribute to ROOL's efforts - something perhaps you'd agree with?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/2/08 1:19PM
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On RISC OS skills database website launches:

adamr wrote>"What ROOL skill site?"

None, not that you would have known from my comment (dagnabbit).

To clarify - I would be interested in seeing if those who joined the Connect Skill site have any overlap with those who signed up on ROOL's shared source initiative website (are there people in both, exclusively in one - not in the other).

Hopefully that clears it up (I'll get the hang of English one of these days - honest....)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/2/08 1:06PM
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On RISC OS skills database website launches:

It appears to be a useful initiative as it will allow the range of capability/availability of people with the right skill sets who could then contribute (if they wish) to necessary projects such as the ROOL shared source initiative (it would be interesting if there is an overlap in those who signed up on the new skills site and those who signed up on ROOL's).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/2/08 11:21AM
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On Ditching desktops for portables: The way forward?:

I must admit I don't see how moving to small form factor devices is going to necessarily "fix" the issue. The issue that afflics RISC OS is one that affects *all* platforms other than Windows. Many of the things we *can't* do are either down to lack of information on (or sufficient money to license) proprietary technology and/or lack of developer time (or just plain insuffient numbers of developers) to port these technologies.

This issue will loom large for other platforms too (e.g., Linux and to a lesser extent MacOS) and will probably be the major reason for most users sticking with Windows rather than moving to Linux/MacOS. Not being able to do things - or even having to wait years for a reasonable faximile of a Windows app on open source will put most people off. And if RO were to depend on Linux sourced GPL equivalents of common apps to port over then we'd be waiting longer still.

Anyway ROL proposed a portable device version of RISC OS (RON) and as nothing came of that I'd suggest it would be hardly likely to happen now (I can't see Castle plumping for it and Ad6 probably have their hands full with the A9).

Timephoenix wrote>"IMO the only hope for RISC OS on the desktop is an open-source, non-profit model, powered by individuals that realise there's no profit to be made, but actually care about keeping the platform alive."

Trouble is to have even a remote hope to port technology that people want *will* cost money - unless these enthusiasts are rich we're not going to go anywhere (hey keep buying lottery tickets guys!!!). Acorn, AFAIK, paid half a million for their Java license (and that in 1990's money). So in reality making profit (or at least having the userbase cover the cost) would be necessary.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/1/08 12:00PM
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On Merry Christmas from Drobe:

Indeed I'd echo that - Merry Christmas to you all.

Well now that Turkey Version 1.0 (Service Pack 1) has been consumed... time to once again look at Drobe.

To echo the article congrats to all contributors who make Drobe certainly one of the best sites on the Internet and a good portal for others to get a flavour or things RISC OS. I'd like to pay due credit also to Chris Williams I suspect it takes quite an amount of commitment and time to get Drobe as polished as it is (so Mr Williams in your own good time please take a bow !).

I hope everyone has a happy Christmas and a really good new year.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/12/07 9:00PM
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On A9home DIY laptop: first pictures:

Full marks to Paul Stewart !

It seemed strange that for so long no-one took up the *obvious* area into which to put an A9 (given its size) - namely in a laptop form. While a flight case might be a bit unwieldy - it's a *lot* closer to a laptop than anything extant on the native platform.

Even if Ad6 are unwilling to provide a "portable" themselves perhaps they could facilitate "custom" builders by providing a motherboard only option (much as Castle do for the Iyonix).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/12/07 1:12PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:

dms>My sincerest appologies... (dagnabbit my brain is becoming more like swiss cheese everyday!).

Yes you're right and I got it wrong. I wouldn't mind but after a brief trawl I found *me* asking the question does that mean a JIT (Just in time recompilation of ARM code) would be allowed. If not you *could* emulate an ARM to run RISC OS - just not translate the code to x86 to speed things up (your emulation would be a bit tardy but would work). Don't know if that ever got an answer.

So yes it does seem (I'd agree with your reading of it) that you can emulate ARM and use ROOL source in doing it.

Appologies to all (again...)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/10/07 7:24PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:

druck>Yes if ROL were the *only* option and if they couldn't implement ARM based versions of the OS I'd agree. Fortunately the ROOL option is an alternative. That having been said I'd be saddened to see ROL unable to continue supporting ARM.

jess>Yes if there were *absolutely* no alternative - *BUT* if ROL preferred to use emulation so as to *avoid* developing drivers for low level ARM use they'd be even *less* inclined I'd think to try make all the x86 ones that would be required to get RISC OS running "natively" on x86.

I'd also point out the ROOL license *precludes* use of its sources on *emulated* ARM platforms (which is fair enough it's bad enough one RISC OS developer supporting emulation having *both* support emulation would - in effect - truly mean the end of the RISC OS as a computing platform IMHO).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/10/07 1:15PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:


I am not actually advocating emulation as a route to preserve RISC OS - just trying to see it from ROL's perspective - where emulation (from their view point) may throw up fewer development problems than trying to support the native ARM platform.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/10/07 11:19PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:

sa110>That is because in the *old* days Acorn did all the OS - hardware drivers included. ROL don't (which is what I said earlier).

They may feel confortable about delegating someone else to do the drivers - but this takes the OS development out of their full control. When all the drivers are present and everything works then the OS is complete - not before. The fact that a part of that work has to be done by an organisation *other* than ROL is neither here nor there.

From ROL's perspective having an emulated platform *only* would eliminate *all* the hanging round on others to complete drivers. They could just "ship" the RO product the moment their internal and beta testing had finished.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/07 12:36PM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

sa110>How can Select or RO6 be considered the defacto standard when *it doesn't* run on Iyonix ?

We have a split, there is *no* defacto standard only two related OS'es with a considerable degree of API commonality.

RO5.xx is at least open to all - that will give it traction. You may find *some* of the modules that are not hardware specific may run as is on A9 - some others would require work - but with the source that becomes *feasible*.

The most likely area to see rapid improvement *is* RO5.xx - so be it defacto standard or not it's features will become more desireable. That will either cause (i). ROL to adopt some of these implementing their own "workalikes" (ii). ROL to license from Castle the fed back improvements from RO5.xx and not have to use their own development resources to implement these or (iii). A9 owners with some programming skills to contribute to and take advantages of the improvements on their machines. (i) and (iii) being the most likely.

In any event you'll see improvements. To benefit first you'd be better off on an Iyonix (the source is for *it's* OS and can be used directly), overtime though others can take advantage too. In the absence of one defacto standard that would make RO5.xx the version that sets the standard and sets the pace - not a bad place to be methinks.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/07 12:28PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:

Drivers require the " low level hardware programming capacity" I was referring to. Yes ROL have undoubtedly done much good work on 32bitting and producing a product that is a bit more portable than what they originally received - but if the problem is producing drivers being a difficult and time consuming task then emulation may appear to be an *easier* route as Microsoft (or other hardware vendors) have handled all the driver stuff for you *and* the emulator vendor has produced a product that to all intents and purposes looks, feels and moves like a RISC PC.

I don't doubt that ROL *will* finish the OS for the A9 (as to when who knows) the issue is more would ROL ever take on another ARM native hardware project (in that I'd include porting Select to Iyonix) and I suspect unless someone dumped a suitcase full of cash on their desk I would think not.

It really is down to persuading people to part with money for something that doesn't already exist and then with limited resources trying to implement it. Doing that with "new" hardware requires more resource *up front* - it also can have unseen difficulties and can take a *long time* (Omega and A9 being cases in point). In comparison porting to a "known" platform (like an emulated one) is less "greedy" of these resources and makes it more feasible to satisfy delivery in a reasonable time. A9, unfortunately, was just a tad too different to be easily accomodated. You'll note that updates for RPC's and VARPC are more frequent and take less time to arrive.

As A9 becomes more of a "known" quantity to ROL it'll become like the RPC and VA and get more frequent updates I suspect. Problem is if the quote from Paul Middleton is accurate it very much sounds like they'll never put themselves through all that hassle again - and that the *relative* ease of supporting an emulated ARM environment will win out.

Future native hardware will, therefore, need OS support from elsewhere (i.e., independant developers updating the ROOL/Castle sources) rather than from ROL.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/07 11:51AM
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On South East 2007 show report:

Well the sources are for RO5.1X (Iyonix) - but if the error is coming at the decompression stage then it's happening long before you'd get an error running the code (as the code hadn't been unsqueezed yet). Either the form of compression is different and it needs a different program to "unsqueeze" things or possibly your download was corrupt.

Bear in mind if you're using select if you *could* (and I don't know if you can) use the RO5.1x version of !Paint you'd probably lose the changes introduced by Select - that's of course assuming that ROL haven't changed things so radically in their version of RISC OS that the updated ROOL one won't work on it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/07 11:34AM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

hzn> Agreed the 2GB limit is a problem alright. The issue is *how* do you sensibly get around it? Many APIs assume a 32bit value (in BASIC EXT#, PTR#) - you'd need to modify the way BASIC works and also add to or modify OS calls like OS_GBPB and so on - but in such a way as to preserve backwards compatibility and without introducing "silly" solutions (think of the page+offset scheme that was on the old x86 as an example of how *not* to do things).

I note ADFS/Filecore etc., are included in the next ROOL release - perhaps with these in the open it is time to start discussing *how* to take Filesystems on the RISC OS platform forward and come up with sensible solutions for this.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/10/07 4:42PM
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On South East 2007 show preview:

hzn wrote>"Well, I dare say that I'd be indeed very surprised if any other company starts with native hardware based on ROL's RO6 considering the track record for A9home "

Yes it's unlikely with ROL's offering but let's not forget ROOL/Castle's RO5.xx - so long as ROL don't succeed in "tying up" a sufficient number of developers to "closed" contracts then the option of porting the more open RO5.xx model to other hardware will be available.

and jc wrote>"It was necessary for ROL to be inclusive (old hardware & virtual) and a pity Castle/Iyonix haven't made it easy for their product to be included too."

The sad reality appears to be that ROL *can't* actually build an OS for any platform that *isn't* simply a RISC PC or something emulated to look like a RISC PC. It appears that even with sufficient technical information (a comprehensive published TRM, a CD full of datasheets, a swodge of RO5 source and a site full of API details) that ROL can't seem to deliver an Iyonix Select port. Even with a business partner (Ad6) that is committed to help ROL there seems to be issues getting RO finished for A9Home. As it's not just a Castle/Iyonix issue the problem must lie elsewhere (nice try JC - but no cigar ;-) )

The path of least resistance open to ROL would be a purely emulated one (at the moment the most viable option being VA on Windows - and I don't see that changing anytime soon - I'd view a Linux port a *long* way off).

So *if* Paul is saying emulation is the way to go - yes for a purely software oriented company with little low level hardware programming capacity emulation may be the only route. So long as the emulator vendor can present a platform that *looks* to RO like a RiscPC then ROL will be able to use (without worrying about the low level hardware niceities

Is this a good thing for the platform?, probably not. Any loss of hardware diversity and capacity to support it is, I would argue a bad thing. But at least the ROOL option offers an alternative.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/10/07 4:32PM
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On South East 2007 show report:

Just sorry I can't be there this year - last years was a hoot.


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/10/07 4:03PM
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On ARM reveals new 1GHz multi-core processor:

killermike wrote>"A 1ghz processor will seem very slow by 2010. Particularly on an OS that can't fully take advantage of the multiple cores. By that time, the emulated solutions will be even further ahead"

Part of the motivation of putting multiple cores on the same chip (or at least in the one package) is that *each* does *not* need to be clocked at multi-GHz speeds to acchieve overall reasonable performance (many PC laptops today using CoreDuo's are clocked at 1.6GHz - in the past single core PC's were being clocked in the 3.5->4GHz region). Emulated solutions (in speed terms) don't have much of an advantage and that's not likely to change. If faster single or dual core Intel xScales (c. 1.2GHz) or these ARM9 based multi-cores (c. 1.0GHz) appear they'll improve performance of the native systems by a lot more - I don't frankly see much change in a two year timeframe on x86 performance (other than adding 3 (AMD) or 4 cores (AMD & Intel)) and that *won't* necessarily translate to much emulator speed increase as that is largely clock rate bound which may not change much.

The key issue is we need a new computer based on faster ARM cores (be they quad - in 2 years or dual xScale now). The number of cores is probably less significant than the (a). Clock speed and (b). The Cache size. So a dual Core xScale *now* at 1.2GHz may be a *better* platform than a quad core 1.0GHz ARM9 in 2010.

In either event one version of RISC OS (ROOL's release of RO5.xx) offers an open option for upgrade, Castle/Iyonix have experience of manufacturing whole ARM based computer systems they'd be the logical ones to push this. ROL could do OS development instead - but have a number of mountains to climb (i). Their OS is largely intended to run on machines *identical* to RISC PC's, (ii). Emulated to look like a RISC PC or (iii). Have restricted expansion options [hence requiring less driver/hardware related OS development] e.g., A9Home. For them (ROL) to produce a multicore aware RISC OS would be a challenge for those technical issues thrown up and considering their other vendor and customer committments. On the one hand if they produce an OS that can make native RISC OS run faster than emulated that could hit one of their big licensees. If they abandon their RiscPC base to concentrate on a multicore system then they alienate their subscription customers.

I wouldn't absolutely rule out ROL doing something in the multicore area - but it would be yet one more speculative demand with so many others demanding attention (RO for A9, Select updates etc.,) and that just makes it difficult for them.

It would also mean them trying to persuading a hardware vendor to push into a full computer design with multicore capability. That would not be a typical embedded design (like A9) and might not appeal to Ad6 whose focus is embedded - so who would build such a mytical ROL inspired computer? Short of ROL *themselves* commissioning a new machine I can't see this happening, that having been said I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

If (and it's a big *IF*) RISC OS appears on new hardware it'll more likely to be a derivative of Iyonix running RO5.xx. In either event IMHO something needs to be done *soon* regarding an Iyonix replacement and multicore (even dual ones like Intel were touting - never mind quad quad A9's) may be the ticket.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/10/07 10:35AM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

Jess>That's not true if they didn't have a "retail" version of windows, i.e., if their old machine had an OEM version.

This is covered in an article on [link]

The part related to OEM (the most common version of Windows pre-installed on purchased kit) reads:

"the OEM license that comes with Vista is indeed similar to the Windows XP OEM license in that it forbids any kind of transfer."

The situation is as you described it only for "boxed/Retail" Windows XP/Vista but there may be conditions attached (you may only transfer it once...)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/09/07 8:53PM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

adamr wrote>"I think you're reading too much into some off-hand comments unrelated to the main issue! Also - the Iyonix doesn't have an open source OS."

Yes the comments about Iyonix (and for that matter A9) were "off hand" comments - but guess what if you take them out *what relevance has the whole article to RISC OS* - none !

As to Iyonix having an "open source" OS, true it's shared source - but then again A9's is completely closed (users have *no* access to source).

Regarding the topic at hand (should PC's be distributed without Windows) this is probably too late to make a difference anyway (the world is >90% Windows at this point). All supplying PC's *without* windows will do is save some tech savvy users some money (as they were'nt going to install Windows anyway). For Joe/Josephine Public it would - in effect - make no difference at all.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/09/07 09:18AM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

To quote the article>"His report goes on to say that interoperability and open standards would be encouraged in a more competitive market."

And then it is inferred that Iyonix (the only RISC OS machine with an open source version oif the OS) is the one required to be supplied *without* an OS while A9Home which has a "closed source" version isn't. Beggars belief.

As to the quote that "For the Iyonix, it might well be such that Castle would have to sell it without the OS, especially given that it is being sold as a general purpose computer." So A9 isn't a general purpose computer. Well that'll be news for the people who bought it I guess.

A9 *has* no alternative OS at all. It is *totally closed* and there *is* no competition. Iyonix you have Linux, RO5 and the option (albeit unlikely) of Select. Surely the suggestion of fostering competition would *more* apply to A9 where there is *less* (as in NO) choice of OS.

But eh why let a bit of logic creep in where it isn't required eh ? ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/9/07 1:52PM
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On News in brief:

sa110 wrote>"The disk problems with the A9home would appear to be more do with some errant sotware rather than any actual problem with the OS. "

As David Ruck, the resident expert on things disk filesystem related, hasn't received any of the logs that CJE have collected I don't quite see how anyone can comment (one way or the other) on likely causes or otherwise for this corruption. Errant software - unless it's deliberately mucking up the filesystem - should *not* be able to leave things in such a state that the harddisk looks "unformatted". Additionally if it's errant on A9 it would surely also be so on Iyonix, RISC PC et al and there'd be a flood of errors being reported on those platforms too (haven't heard a peep though...).

Best thing to do is leave this to the experts to sort out (as in time no doubt they will).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/9/07 8:57PM
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On Samsung's 533MHz A9home CPU successor:

markee174>The presumption here is that a new Iyonix *will* happen and that it will do so with no-one willing to buy the existing kit.

Don't quite see how that works if everyone wanting a hypothetical Iyonix II buys A9 or VA as the makers of Iyonix make no money out of such sales.

Also surely having spent 3/4 the price of an Iyonix on an A9 - AW surely would be 3/4s as upset if the new Iyonix were released within a year of his having bought the newly obsoleted A9?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/8/07 10:18PM
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On Samsung's 533MHz A9home CPU successor:

markee174>Not preannouncing something *is* an important consideration Acorn, if my memory serves me right, caused itself no small amount of trouble by "preannouncing" Pheobe - this (virtually) killed RPC sales.

Trouble is *future* developments are funded by *current* sales. If no-one buys so that they have the money to buy the "future" hardware then the current stuff will ultimately fail and future developments won't happen.

The analogy between the A9Home and Iyonix is, however, a weak one. The A9Home has a CPU+Memory on a daughterboard that plugs into the small mainboard. It would be *feasible* to replace that board with an updated one that takes the new CPU and appropriate RAM (assuming both mainboard and CPU use compatible voltages). Also from a software viewpoint how compatible is the new and old Samsung processor? If they're identical then work on completing RO6/Select (or whatever) on A9Home will work with either.... if they're not exactly identical then there may be some software/OS development work *as well as* new hardware design to support the processor. Both will cost (and take time)

The Iyonix IOP80321 is soldered to the mainboard. To replace it with something else would (in effect) require a new mainboard - this is a taller order. But both paths for A9Home (or Iyonix) does involve some hardware development, (probably) some software development and both entail additional costs which will be passed onto the end user.

If Ad6/Simtec *do* provide an updated CPU+RAM board for A9 then it'll cost (as a retrofit) it'll also up the price of any new A9 incorporating it - as someone else pointed out the performance difference with the Iyonix will narrow - but the A9 still won't be as expandible and it's advantage on price will be considerably eroded it may (almost counterintuitively) make it *less* attractive - unless of course Ad6/Simtec can do the upgrade *without* effecting the price. That would be a *big* ask though.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/8/07 5:52PM
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On Early Soundblaster Live Iyonix driver released:

CrazyRisc>"I've turned off the DSP on the PC, and actually listened through headphones, the Iyonix sounds the same."

Unless you listen to the sound *without any colouration* it's virtually impossible to come to a definitive conclusion about what sounds better. Your ear/brain gets used to the colouration and then when presented with something that *isn't* similarly coloured perceives it as "different". Anyone with a "loudness" button on their AMP will know what I mean. Turn it on (at anything other than low volume levels as it's intended) and things get bassey and trebley. After a while your brain gets accustomed to it and it sounds "normal" - turn it *off* at that point and the music becomes "lifeless" lacking base/treble and punch.

The DSP could be shaping the sound - boosting treble/base adding delays and reverb and all sorts of frankly undesireable stuff. Yes it adds something - but something that would better not being there (IMHO). Doing what you've done - a direct A/B comparison with no colouration is the best way of doing it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/8/07 11:06AM
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On Early Soundblaster Live Iyonix driver released:

ksattic wrote>"Yes, I will be attempting to enable S/PDIF. I will test this by recording onto a MiniDisc recorder."

That's great, thanks for the quick reply Simon.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/8/07 11:36PM
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On Early Soundblaster Live Iyonix driver released:

I'd agree with the other contributors - nicely done Simon !

flypig>As David Ruck pointed out apparently it's when you choose samples other than 48KHz there can be problems (dropped samples). 48KHz is ok for "pro" work - in the sense that that's what DAT (Digital Audio Tape) and DVD use. Trouble is to burn to CD requires a sample rate of 44.1KHz. Now you *can* sample at 48KHz and resample it to 44.1KHz in software - but that's a bit more complicated (and takes a little time) when it would be preferable to simply record at 44.1KHz and have the wav file in a form that can directly be burnt.

This card and the software port Simon has done holds out that possibility.

It'll also mean that this will probably give a noticeable improvement in sound recording quality over all other existing RISC OS sound capture solutions - good news indeed.

PS: Will S/PDIF out be supported by this development? (If so I have that "Christmas coming early" feeling coming on....)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/8/07 10:19PM
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On Qercus reviewed but renewed?:

Thanks John for that generous offer it is much appreciated. Rather than put you to any trouble I might be able to "purloin" a copy from my friend for a longer "test drive" as it were. A surface skim showed it to look well produced - a more detailed review might show if the content is up to the same high standard.

I wouldn't call the availability of USB 2 support, or the charge for the upgrade to 5.12 as being unnewsworthy though. It's also the not inconsiderable matter of perception. Drip-drips of upgrades reported give the impression that something is being done - if nothing is reported then potential buyers of Iyonix may believe nothing is happening and that it is somehow less supported than other RISC OS platforms and that would IMHO be unfair.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/7/07 3:00AM
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On Qercus reviewed but renewed?:

hzn> Indeed if one accepted that John's comment that "...noting that Iyonix users had already been informed of the upgrades...", surely that would also apply to Select updates (isn't there a user forum similar to smartgroups for them). In which case to be utterly consistent John would publish *nothing* about either RO5.xx upgrades *NOR* anything about Select either.

I did very recently have an oppertunity to have a *very brief* look at Quercus (a friend of mine is a subscriber) and I must admit it did look good (can't comment on the content as again I only had a brief look). But again I am faced with jc's commentary on newsgroups and it somewhat puts a damper on my subscribing as I am sure it does for others too.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/7/07 1:42PM
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On Qercus reviewed but renewed?:

jc wrote>"are you saying that the Iyonix / RO5 variants were as substantial newswise for non-Iyonix users as the release of the first PRMs since RO3 or the release of RO6"

And are you saying for Iyonix users that the release of RO6 is significant ?

This is silly "quasi-logic" John. Any release of *anything* RISC OS is significant to *somene* who is a RISC OS user. I'd remind you for years you said you wouldn't review the "Omega" until it was complete (and then on a different tact started a symantic argument with me about the meaning of complete with respect to A9 on the newsgroups and then proceeding to recommend to people to consider it [A9]).

RO6, from a Iyonix user's perspective is (largely) irrelevant. Would I like to see you mention it in Quercus - yes!

RO5 (a 32bit version of RISC OS that better supports modern hardware than RO6) doesn't get a mention - as it is (in your opinion) not significant. Yet by the same consistent logic it *should*.

If I were to judge your impartiality based on your contributions on newsgroups I'd be of the opinion that you're not. I would have considered subscribing to Quercus had it not been from some of your comments there. Perhaps the commentary in Quercus is more balanced - but I don't see why I should put any money down and take the chance and I am sure others thing likewise.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/7/07 10:57AM
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On RISC OS Open: One year on:

AW>The primary benefit of the shared source initiative are the users (or potential future users) of RISC OS 5.xx - as such it has nothing to do with RISC OS Ltd. It does, however, open up possibilities for better exploiting and further expanding RISC OS 5.

The other big plus is it gives more developers the option to update/upgrade or experiment upon the *actual* source. That may suggest as yet unthought of options in terms of new features or functionality. It may also mean that RISC OS 5.xx can be adapted to use newer or different hardware.

How much of this can be acchieved is dependant on circumstances and also the ingenuity of the RISC OS developer community - on the whole I'd be optimistic.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/7/07 10:30PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

hzn>The point is with RO5.xx open sourced Iyonix users are *not* strictly dependant on ROL (or Castle - other than their releasing the source to ROOL) in order to improve the OS and add bits. Some of those bits *could* implement User Interface functionality present in Select but absent in RO5. The fact it might be acchieved by grabbing software vectors (on RO5.xx) or using the abstracted kernel features (on Select) matters not a jot. At the end of the day if RO5 has it's current advantages and has an "appearance" similar to Select that would be good enough for most Iyonix users.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/07/07 6:43PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

AW wrote>"but *no comment* as if the even bigger investment in Castle by thousands of RISC OS users over the past 10 years is not their concern and beneath them is downright ignorant and arrogant if true."

Well that's how you're choosing to read it, I would disagree though. Castle paid for and developed the Iyonix and the OS to go with it. Their primary responsibilities are to *their* customers. At no point was it ever mooted by Castle that Select *would ever* run on Iyonix. When I bought my machine (in 2003) - I knew full well that Select would not be available at that time (or possibly ever). I was happy enough to content myself that I was buying and paying for a more capable and expandible platform than anything Select natively runs on (and funnily enough that still hasn't changed).

Iyonix is a fine machine, the OS it uses is being opened - and that offers a much greater scope for development than Select can offer. Yes work is needed on the User Interface front (where Select has an edge) but there's nothing insurmountable here in my humble opinion.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/7/07 7:30PM
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On Archive ed Paul quits magazine:

I must admit I am sorry to see Paul go, it takes a lot of time and commitment to keep promoting the platform as he did with Archive. I'd echo what others have said Archive *is* a quality publication. For all his efforts I wish him to thank him and also wish him well with his future endeavours. It's also reassuring to see Jim Nagel (who kept RISC OS's flag flying on Computer Shopper for many years) take the helm - and to him likewise I wish every success.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/6/07 9:38PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

nevali>That's a tad negative though isn't it?

If the hardware vendors go "kaput" there would be little point in keeping RISC OS going would there? I can rattle off a few "emulated" systems such as CBM64 or Sinclair Spectrum - but really you can't exactly describe them as "alive" when they're just curios to show off to people in order to prove "look how fast my PC is it can emulate xxx"

I also note you say "hardware platforms" - why the plural? I don't distinguish between any specific make of RISC OS hardware. The availability of a "native" platform (whoever makes it) is what counts. That having been said Open Sourcing RO5.xx probably benefits - in the short to mid term - Iyonix users more than A9 ones - simply because it's the OS Iyonix uses. Over time though there is no reason (other than time, effort and man/woman power) to see RO 5.xx appear on the A9 (or on other ARM platform).

The RISC OS (IMHO) only has value while it's a real OS running on real hardware - the moment it becomes an "emulated environment" on some Windows based platform it would probably become time to pull the plug... no doubt others will disagree with that (as is their right).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/5/07 7:48PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

lproven wrote>"It's not open source and it's not Free, and that is a great shame. "

Not quite free might be enough though in this instance. I am not going to get into the "ideological" discussion of open source/versus closed commercial other than to say if *whatever* is done helps RISC OS continue and flourish on native hardware then I am all for it.

lproven wrote>"Secondly, Castle doesn't make x86 hardware so would not be in competition with any putative x86 RISC OS vendor. "

Let's think about that shall we. What if someone has a limited budget can afford one machine - one from Castle (ARM Based) and the other from an x86 box shifter that happens to supply "RISC OS on x86" what then? Nope you'll have competition - this *already* happens between them and VARPC - allowing people to simply compile to native x86 much of your OS would tilt the performance away from native towards x86 (to Castle's disadvantage and ours too IMHO).

Remember the point of doing *anything* to liberalise the licensing is *not* to help OSS, nor to help x86 box shifters and it's not some ideological stunt. It has to *benefit* the RISC OS hardware and software platform - that's the measure against which I suggest it should be judged. If it doesn't do that then it IMHO shouldn't be done.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/5/07 5:52PM
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On Top apps in first ROS 5 source release:

Just sorry I can't be at the show to ask the odd question or too. Well fair dues to ROOL and Castle for coming through with this. The selection of released code is larger than I though it would initially be (good....).

rjek>Although it may not have a click through I think you'll find that people are expected to act in accordance with the terms - never mind the legalities of it - not all of the source is out yet and I can't imagine Castle would be prepared to continue releasing stuff if people didn't "play ball" as it were.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/5/07 1:04PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

Nice to see something progressing on this.

Interestingly the license says (and this caused must dispertion of dandruff as I scratched my head - I quote "PROVIDED THAT such work is only intended to be used in conjunction with an embodiment (whether physical or emulated) of one or more versions of the ARM processor architecture"

Does that cover JIT or not? If it does *not* (and though I am not a lawyer this is only a surmise on my part) then it may be possible to "emulate" an ARM processor but not translate the ARM code into x86/PowerPC etc as these would not be an imbodiment of an ARM.

A very wierd and frankly ambiguous turn of phrase. I'd have preferred something unambiguous (one way or another). For the moment, and unless someone can clarify this, it would mean that someone *could* produce an emulator that does not translate (JIT) the ARM code instructions (so you'd be able to run RISC OS albeit slowly) but could not translate the code (making a speed gain) as would be the case with VARPC. So "old" Red Squirrel (sans JIT) would be legit - but VARPC (in part based on Red Squirrel - but using JIT) would not.

If the intent is to prevent emulation from displacing actual ARM based RISC OS Hardware (a strategy I'd agree with) I think it doesn't quite close things down enough. Other than that I am happy enough.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/5/07 12:58PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC beta on sale:

leeshep wrote>"I wonder why VirtualAcorn chose to support the G4 and G5 platforms now that apple has switched to Intel processors"

That's actually *not* their fault. Building an emulator can't be an easy task - and VA had done much work on getting their VRPC to work on the *then* extant PowerPC based Macs - Apple unfortunately switched processors to the x86 before VA for Mac was ready. What you're seeing is the fruit of their original PowerPC development.

Given that many RISC OS users are somewhat resistant to using Windows as the underlying OS to run RISC OS under emulation on - this development from VA's viewpoint probably makes plenty of sense - it may coax a few users over to VA for running RISC OS under what they would see as the less "objectionable" Apple MacOS platform.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/5/07 1:57AM
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On Multi-page ArtWorks 2.7 now available:

Full marks to Martin Wurthner. ArtWorks is probably the most frequently updated products on the RISC OS scene, and not minor updates either but things that *do* measurably add value. Compressed PDF support will be very useful particularly to those users who want to put PDF documents for viewing online. Multipage support is another big step forward.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/5/07 11:48PM
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On ROL ship second Select 4 release:

ROL releasing something (even with the slight website snafu) is still good news.

At last they're concentrating on their paying customers (always a good move IMHO).

As to other issues SA110 wrote>"If ROL are unable to do many of the updates that require specific information from CTL in order to implement, they should concentrate on other extra features that do not require such knowledge from CTL."

What specific information? The source to RO5 will be open, the API is documented, the machine has a published Technical Reference Manual and all the components have datasheets available - what more is there ?????

For Iyonix I suspect a better course is continued development of RO5 - with a bit of wheel reinvention where required ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/5/07 1:20PM
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On App development plans to be hatched at Wakefield:

John Cartmell wrote>"Whilst it's counter-productive to try to force users to upgrade their hardware it's possible to do so if new software works across the board but does more with new hardware."

Agreed. Trying to "close options" off on people is a bit shortsighted (a bit too much stick and not enough carrot). The more positive approach of stating that the software works better on/runs faster on/can do more on "X" rather than legacy kit should move people forward.

The other side of the coin though has this *really* worked? Many people still use RPCs (some haven't even upgraded to the StrongARM). And bear in mind SA gave an x5 improvement in performance (surely enough of an excuse)

The real kicker is that software can be *limited* by the hardware it runs on - and that often means more imaginative/flashey type applications doesn't get written and then people can't see a point in upgrading their hardware (a sort of vicious circle).

I'd agree with you also that there may be many "small" utilities and applications that *could* be resurrected to run on 32bit hardware some as free/shareware others as commercial products.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/04/07 6:03PM
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On App development plans to be hatched at Wakefield:

Stopper wrote>"FF2 Rise2 runs on Windows 98, by the way, I just tried it on an old (400MHz) PC. It let me watch YouTube videos. Does that work on RO yet? Will it ever?"

The plug-in for Firefox to do that is *separate* from FireFox itself (just having Firefox is *not* sufficient you need the relevant plugin too). It's the plugin that provides the support (so whether it runs on Win98/2K or XP is neither here nor there). If the plugin (or protocol used by YouTube) were publically available then it *would* (theoretically) be possible to display video on the more current RISC OS hardware (and possibly the faster versions of the older ones - e.g., StrongARM based ones). Remember YouTube is using a relatively slow connection (compared to DVD) and at probably lower resolution - so is less stressful than decoding DVD.

In *all of this* it is neither a limitation of RISC OS - or even the hardware - just a lacking of either information to produce the plug-ins required or lack of developers to do these. The OS can't be faulted on this surely?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/04/07 4:39PM
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On The houses that RISC OS built:

adamr wrote>"Martin could presumably done it all using BBC Basic for Windows? After all one of the companies is using VRPC to run his program. "

If you're following that logic why bother with RISC OS/BBC BASIC at all - there's lots of other development environments on lots of other platforms (but of course that would even be *more* irrelevant).

If Martin has managed to get RISC OS (the operating system) and native hardware (A9 in this instance) to be purchased to run it all the better. Turnkey solutions often consist of a hardware platform + OS + specialist software the end customer may not know (or more likely less care what it runs on) so long as it "does what it says on the tin".

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/4/07 6:08PM
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On ROOL make 'market map' mouse mats:

sa110 wrote>"It's a shame that other RO companies did not come up with the idea of seeling a mouse mat to bankroll their operations. The profit from such a product must be sustantial."

Perhaps the other guys, given the importance of getting the ROOL project moving, held back to give them a chance?

knutson>Good idea, but then the arguments would start. Either you'd have some people complaining that RISC OS consumables are too pricey or some people would object that *certain* glamour projects are getting money while others are not. The approach ROOL have taken avoids some of this - purchases are optional - and we all know where the money is going so no arguments there either.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/4/07 11:42AM
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On Select low-level emulator in development:

The important thing is that where a common approach can be done on both OS flavours. Even with RISC OS 5 going "open" it is unlkely RO6/Select 4 will - so that means that unless ROL really get their skates on the only way some of the low level Select features will appear under an "open" RISC OS is via efforts such as this. This is a genuinely useful development (well done),

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/4/07 11:31AM
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On Multimedia-friendly 1GHz XScale launched:

lym>"I think we've seen the last native ARM hardware designed to run RISC OS, and the future probably lies in porting an open-source RISC OS to ARM-based mass market products or emulation on PC/Mac hardware."

I hope that pessimistic view doesn't happen - otherwise RISC OS will die.

The Tematic guys (ROOL) have considerable experience (as do Castle with developing new hardware) that would be the most likely scenario. Given also that their flavour of RISC OS is open they can call on a wider developer base to help shoulder the work. For it to succeed though we'd need people to get behind it (that I am not too sure about given the "sniping" in the past - but one can always hope). Bear in mind though this is the sort of hardware Castle and (more importantly) their STB customers would probably go for - so development for STB use (and RISC OS desktop use as a side benefit) might occur.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/4/07 11:23AM
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On Multimedia-friendly 1GHz XScale launched:

Intel has wanted to get x86 into the CE space for quite some time. Manufacturing devices at 45nm is *not* going to be cheap (new fab plants never are). With less capital to recoup the XScale option may prove cheaper to them (and their customers). Additionally I can't imagine a set-top box manufacturer opting for a chip that will be gone in a year (the development time to market could be as long).

You'll probably see this XScale and Penryn (whenever it arrives) co-exist for quite sometime.

Could be a runner for RISC OS too - a nice bonus ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/4/07 2:40AM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

guestx wrote>"Microsoft's? Showing your bias again, AMS! ;)

Nah probably a bad case of cynicism on my part (what with Mt Rainier being in Washington State not that far from Seattle - and home of you know who....).

Steffen wrote>"I stopped worrying about UDF when the 1.50 spec came out which was incredibly complex "

Agreed. But here's the thing, UDF is really only needed if you *want* your disk to be readable directly on any other machine. But for *our* purposes might it be sufficient to use a *different* (less obstuse) filesystem (e.g., son of filecore or the like). Yes it might mean the thing can't be directly read on anything else - but either we can (a). Provide a means to convert it to "vanilla" ISO-9660 with Joillet extensions so others can read it or (b). Make the filesystem specification *publically* available (or even the source if one is in a "giving" mood) and that would mean others could accept and read disks from us.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/2/07 12:18AM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

Full marks Steffen !

DVD-RAM is actually a rather more suitable standard for storing data than either DVD+/-RW (in part because it *can* be written up to 100,000 (divide that by about 100 for the others....)). It also natively supports data error detection and correction (part of the reason DVD-RAM appears slower is that it *verifies* after each write - so that an x5 DVD-RAM appears to run at 2.5x). The others (+/-RW)[*] don't bother - it's up to the implementer to do the leg work.

On PC's it's possible to read/write a DVD-RAM like a removable hard disk - using UDF. Speed wise they'd "feel" faster than a hard disk on a RISC PC - although formatting them takes an age.... Given a proper DVD-RAM filecore there's no reason why using "drag and drop" writing to DVD-RAM would not be possible.

Again well done Steffen !

[*] Actually Microsoft's Mount Rainer format supporting drives does verify (+RW) - if you find one take a photo of it - they're as rare as hens teeth.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/2/07 1:25PM
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On How to port RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC:

Simon wrote>"especially since Marvell of all people own XScale - at least with an Intel badge it had some PR weight."

Not completely true. As it happened Intel *held onto* their ARM Architecture license and still *do* produce new ARM based processors (the dual 1.2GHz core ARM for use in RAID array cards being one). Yep they're called IOP's rather than xScale but we know what they mean (I'd also point out Iyonix uses an IOP albeit the less whizzy 80321). Marvel as I understand it got the "other" xScale brands.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/02/07 1:33PM
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On Programming tools set for price slash:

Nice move Castle/ROOL and a throughly positive gesture.

This should provide encouragement to developers both expert and novice alike - and may well help people get "stuck in" to RISC OS operating system development. Methinks interesting times lie ahead !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/1/07 1:34PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

Rob>Yes an IOP 1.2GHz will *not* give the same performance as 3-4GHz 64bit x86 CPU when running the same task natively. However we're not comparing horses for courses here - an ARM CPU run at 1.2GHz with the larger cache (L2) offers the means of running *natively* ARM RISC OS code that'll outpace an x86 based ARM emulator and probably by a margin too.

Yes I'll also concede that they may cost more than an equivalent x86 set up - but then you're paying for the ability to run RISC OS natively (i.e., at it's most efficient and with no reliance on another OS to run).

As to multiple cores yes RISC OS can't natively use them - but surely some "background" or applications specific tasks can be so done. (Ok you won't get x2 times the performance of a single core version of the same CPU and it may not be as transparent or as flexible - but a gain is a gain so let's pocket it eh ;-) ).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/01/07 11:26PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

nx wrote>"One of the reasons I believe ROOL don't want to open up RISC OS to non-ARM platforms is that ultimately ROOL/Castle know there is no money in the RISC OS desktop market, and subsequently would rather see effort focused on enhancing RISC OS rather than porting to another platform."

That, with respect, sounds a little off target. The more logical reason is their hardware business would die/be damaged if RISC OS was ported to another CPU. I'd also point out that the effort to port to another platform would be expended by *others* (it entails *not much* extra effort on ROOL/Castle's part and that would not deter them surely).

nx wrote>"ROOL/Castle are only interested in the embedded/STB market where there is as of yet, no defined standard OS/platform, and where they have a chance of making some money. "

I haven't actually seen them say this anywhere? In any event Iyonix is *not* an embedded device yet they produced it - and there was mention of a follow up. In actual fact A9 is a more architypal "embedded" device (in as much as it doesn't have any expansion ports proper (no PCI bus)).

There are 1.2GHz ARM processors out now (Intel IOP's) that would do nicely (some even dual core) that would fit the bill. IMHO there'd be little point in moving to "unknown" processors when (finally) there are some compable ARM processors on the scene I would have thought.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/01/07 1:28PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

adrianl wrote>"To make things perfectly clear, I'm talking about running RO (or a RO-compatible OS) unhosted on x86 hardware"

In a doomsday scenario situation perhaps that might be the way to go. If RO ran *without* a Linux/Windows kernel hosting it that might retain some of RO's frugality/efficiency and speed. You would still need some emulation of legacy ARM machine code apps.

My one fear is by promoting RO under x86 (or any non-ARM processor) we'd accellerate the native RO platforms demise - especially sadly since faster ARM's are now available. So I'd still say that for the moment a restriction on non ARM use should be maintained (obviously if things took a nose dive in the future an RO run unhosted on other hardware was the only option for it's continued survival that would option would need to be re-evaluated - but I don't think were anywhere near that point yet).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/1/07 11:40AM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

AW>Agreed. If there is a comprehensive limitation of the OS to ARM (or code compatible processors like xScale) that's fine. While it's Castle's decission - the ban on x86 (or other) porting makes sense - simply making it *easier* to emulate/port RISC OS would I feel damage the RISC OS platform. To people who are already x86 fans or Windows/Apple/Linux devotees I expect that argument won't hold much water but then they've no emotional (or practical) need to see our platform survive and such attitudes should not therefore surprise us. They do what best pleases or suits them (fair enough) but the thing is if we enable porting *we* (the RISC OS users) will IMHO lose out. The others will still have their platform to return to while we will not.

VisitorQ>"A port to a different architecture (x86) would open up access to faster, cheaper, hardware and renew interest in developing support for much needed features like DVD playback."


Surely if you have an x86 machine you'd simply fireup one of the many capable DVD software players that already exist there - why bother with the extra hassle (especially as the DVD player would only work on the x86 RISC OS variant and not the native ARM one). Nope a non-runner I think.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/1/07 12:17AM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

GuestX wrote>"So when Castle talk about protecting their intellectual property, what they mean is stuff which includes other people's code they've also passed off as their own, violating the licence in doing so.

With respect that is to misread the piece - there is (to quote) 2GB of code the fact they are combing it to make sure there *is* no GPL code there is a good thing I would have thought. Additionally you have no way of knowing *when* (if any) GPL code was included was it (a). When Acorn had it (in which case ROL's version may also be "poisoned" in the same way) (b). When Pace had it or (c). When Castle had it.

Anyway overall the release sounds like a good plan and hopefully it will proceed as soon as is practicable.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/1/07 4:45PM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:

Best way to put this thing to bed is to get the contract finalised and the source "out there". If people wish to use it they'll be bound by the contract it's released with. John Cartmell can merrily speculate about what is IPR and what is a CD until the cows come home. I am pretty sure that if legal bods have given the contract a good close examination and give Castle/ROOL the nod to release then the IPR issue is settled.

Companies don't get to release stuff like this unless they're legally advised they're on sound footing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/01/07 02:49AM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:

John Cartmell wrote > "What he didn't mention was the important thing: the Intellectual Property Rights. I've got lots of discs - but only a small proportion contain items to which I also have the IPR."

Let's see Castle bought something off Pace which allowed them to (a). Produce a machine (b). Update the OS (c). Upgrade the Acorn C/C++ tools (d) Allow them to (in conjunction with ROOL) release source to RO 5. That pretty much sounds like they have the IPR.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/01/07 02:14AM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:

While I might agree that the "sounds" of the license is not open (in the sense GPL is), it is *open enough* to allow users to exploit and expand the OS (a good thing). If the IP becomes Castle's - so what - any contributed code will be a small proportion (initially anyway) of the total (and Castle have 100% of the existing code at the moment anyway).

This may not suit some GPL fans - fair enough - but the purpose of this is not to promote a particular OS licensing model but rather to develope and support RISC OS and this ROOL mechanism is a viable way of acchieving that.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/1/07 9:15PM
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On The best of the Microdigital Mico manual:

jc wrote>"No it's not"

Actually given MD's long departure I am pretty sure it is academic (let's say we'll agree to differ on this).

jc wrote>"I'm sure ROL know"

Agreed, but here's the nub, if the number's were appreciable then surely ROL would support those users with updates wouldn't they - afterall they wouldn't ignore a large group of potential customers would they?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/1/07 11:30PM
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On The best of the Microdigital Mico manual:

jc wrote>"MD and some Omega owners were badly misused by elements of the RISC OS Press and the newsgroups. If they want to avoid responding to magazines and newsgroups then I couldn't blame them."

The response to drobe was to an anonmyous survey, I can't think why someone with a "beef" against drobe (or the RISC OS press as a whole) would be deterred from responding to such a survey - it being just a click on a box.

jc wrote>"I'm still not going to discuss actual numbers though."

And why not? It's now of completely academic interest only it can harm no one, in fact if the numbers are *high enough* that may persuade ROL to do Select updates for Omega users as well (a benefit for those people surely).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/1/07 7:40PM
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On The best of the Microdigital Mico manual:

jc>Why would retailers *now* object to the publication given that (i) this is ancient history (ii) MD are unlikely to care. The only facts we have publically is that *very few* people who had Omega's responded to the Drobe survey. That could be interpreted in many ways including but not limited to: (i). There genuinely aren't many (ii). They have an Omega but really don't want to talk about it publically or (iii)Omega users don't read Drobe/use the internet.

Personally I'd prefer to think there were fewer rather than more as it would mean *fewer* people would have been left now with *no support* and no means of updating their machines OS/Firmware. If there were more then I fear the whole Omega debacle apart from taking more potential sales from better/faster hardware (Iyonix) and disimproving it's chances also may have damaged the RISC OS market.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/1/07 12:20PM
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On AmigaOS woes show ROS is not alone:

AW>It wasn't just the OS. The machine had custom hardware to help with graphics (allowed blitting, and 4096 colours) this at a time when most PC's managed 16 colours in highish resolution or 256 in a resolution less than MODE2 on a BBC Model B). The multitasking also seemed pretty effective. It also used a version of the Motorola M68000 (the 68010) that outclassed the 8086 and 286 of its day, it should also be noted that it *predated* the Archimedes. The OS simply reflected those capabilities.

For what it's worth simply copying the Amiga is just as pointless as cogging off the Mac or PC (IMHO), there are improvements that can be made to (say) the RISC OS filer - but it should be pointed out that as it stands it is probably one of the easiest to use/slickest means of moving/copying/deleting files about (and as the Man said - if it "ain't broke don't fix it....").

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/1/07 11:01PM
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On AmigaOS woes show ROS is not alone:

It's not quite the case of "It's worse than that he's dead Jim" - but it does show how RISC OS *might* go if we're not careful. I remember first seeing an Amiga demonstrated on a computer show (on the BBC) and eventually "in the flesh" as it were (nice desktop, more colours than you could shake a stick at, crisp multitasking). If Acorn hadn't brought out the Archimedes when they did I'd probably be an embittered Amiga user cursing his lot instead of being the cheerful Acorn user that I now am ;-)

As to "personality" problems this happens in all of the IT industry, the point is to recognise that winning the argument but leaving your "niche" a wasteland it *not* good.

RISC OS is in a much better state, you have a choice of *physical* hardware to choose from (and cheap second hand kit if you need it), a relatively active development scene, an opensourced (in a fashion) OS on the way and so forth. Still can't help but wish the Amiga guys well, it would be sad to see one of the most innovative platforms cease after all this time.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/1/07 2:41PM
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On Best of 2006 awards results:

rjek wrote>"Simply reordering/tuning/scheduling instructions to optimise for XScale does not render the code unable to execute on other CPUs."

Never said that it did, but the reordering does improve performance more for XScale, I would assume that GCC would optimise by (1). Using XScale only instructions where possible *and* (2). Reorder instructions for best performance on XScale. Therefore there could be merit for initially compiling in this way (it would give *more* performance improvement than simply using XScale only instructions alone).

Besides he's now addressed the issue so why continue complaining about it?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/1/07 11:12AM
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On Best of 2006 awards results:

rjek>Not having the innate talent to read Peter Naulls' mind I am at somewhat a disadvatage in knowing why the initial release was XScale only. It isn't just the case of XScale only instruction optimisations being taken into account (remember GCC wasn't written specifically to compile FF2) therefore the exact effect of compiling for it might not have been known when Peter iniitially did it. Also instruction *scheduling* may have a part to play (having a longer pipeline it's important to cater for this on XScale, Peter may well have chosen to optimise for the best/fastest native ARM solution, not unreasonable I would have thought).

Now he's catered for A9 users too - so what's the problem - please give the guy *credit* he's done lots of useful work for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/12/06 8:37PM
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On Firefox 2 port now Iyonix and A9home friendly:

Nicely done Peter !

Although the use of a "patch" was an acceptible (and imaginitive) solution to the problem - the best option was a proper port that could be run natively on the A9. Peter's port is just that, this brings all modern RISC OS platforms into line (a good thing IMHO).

As to the problem with running on VRPC-Adjust surely that's not a show stopper as Firefox can run *natively* under Windows (upon which VRPC has to run anyway). Can't understand why someone would want to run Firefox slowly under emulation when the native (x86) solution is available...

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/12/06 4:41PM
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On Merry Christmas:

I'd echo the comments of jmb and rjek, Chris does a fantastic job and drobe does no small service in keeping the RISC OS platform going.

So let me add my best wishes and thanks to Chris and Ian and the drobe team of contributors who certainly liven up the scene.

And of course a belated Happy Christmas to all.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/12/06 4:32PM
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On Iyonix software speed boost driver released:

rjek>memcpy(), yes sorry (sheepish grin).

Combination of tiredness and old age creeping up on me methinks.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/12/06 10:19PM
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On Iyonix software speed boost driver released:

Well yes, that's true ;-)

I meant in the context where you *had* to copy it - obviously if you can avoid it so much the better.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/12/06 9:18PM
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On Iyonix software speed boost driver released:

rjek>"being the controller on a RAID card is what the IOP321 is designed to do. Running general purpose code is not what it is designed to do - as such, any possible applications for it will be quite narrow."

But the beauty of it is is it's a freebee. It's something built into the hardware, and if malloc() can be made take advantage of it, or even if some specific apps can use it well that's a good thing isn't it? Usually I am not usually surprised that once someone opens the door to making use of a speed enhancing feature people find ways to exploit it. And getting an x10->x20 memory transfer rate improvement for nothing I can happily accept without too much protestation.... ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/12/06 9:04PM
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On VirtualRiscPC fixed for RISC OS 6:

Goes to prove that trying to emulate one form of hardware on another alien processor and OS is not a simple or errorfree task. The fact VA generally works as well as it does (my comments are based on my experience of VA5000) is nothing short of miraculous.

While I can see how it might be perceived that there *might* be a conflict of interest the more simple/mundane/likely (delete whichever adjective you wish) explanation is the one given in the article. No conspiricy just complexity causing a problem. I bet solving it was a right royal pain in the head to solve too, full marks Aaron.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/06 4:14PM
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On Select chief coder leaves RISCOS Ltd:

I suppose it's when you see all that Justin has contributed in *black and white* that the depth and range of it strikes you. I recall Justin helpfully replying to a programming query I had sometime ago on newsgroups and it's nice to know that someone with that depth of expertise is prepaired to help any old "Joe Public" out as it he did for me on that occasion - and as he also did for others on frequent occasions in the past.

I wish him well with his future plans, with his knowledge and expertise he should go far - and the RISC OS community are all the poorer for his departure.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/12/06 4:01PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

mripley> You started one paragraph in one of your earlier contributions with the words "I have tried to avoid pointing my opinionated finger. But at this stage I will..." so who exactly is just gushing forth with opinion me or you?

The ROMS in my RO4 RPC *do* contain a copyright message composed of parts (c) Risc Os Ltd and (c) Pace. This very site carried the news that Castle had *bought* the head license from Pace ergo whatever *was* (c) Pace became (c) Castle.

They [Castle] also (as ajb points out) brought to completion the 32bitting of RISC OS and the Iyonix and *now* the Open Sourcing of RISC OS which one can say is a positive thing.

Open sourcing means the source (with some strings attached) is available to *all*. We can all both contribute to and benefit from these developments.

Please treat it as a positive development rather than hurling brick bats at it.

mripley wrote>"You are entitled to your opinion which is all your reply is. "

Nope, I stated "First Castle bought the IP of RISC OS from it's owners (Pace)". This is *fact* and even was covered on *this* esteemed site". Unless you dispute that Pace owned the RISC OS IP (in which case what did Acorn/e-14 sell them, what did they sell Castle).

I stated "Second the reason RISC OS (IMHO) is in difficulties is because the OS and Hardware were not owned by one vendor early enough after Acorn's departure.". While that *is* an opinion I believe it to be true. Logically dividing RISC OS and Native Hardware in the way that was done did seem to stymie development. If you wish to argue otherwise feel free to do so and I'll consider such comments on their merits.

I stated "Thirdly there is no difference between the RISC OS market and the PC one. You sell, make money and pay for developments; if you *don't* there ARE no developments and the thing stagnates. "

Surely that's true. Do you think MS or Apple would be in as good shape if their sales were at RISC OS levels?

mripley wrote>"You write like an agitated Iyonix owner."

I think you left a "NA NA" off the end of that ;-).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/12/06 6:44PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

I did read it - and was agreeing with you and citing other considerations :)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/12/06 9:04PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

GuestX>"I think it's unreasonable to have expected much better things from a strengthened (fortified?) Castle."

I think it would have avoided issues like 2 USB stacks and the current "two" OSes. Having the OS and Hardware development separate meant that ROL had its hands tied behind it's back. Castle (and other hardware developers) had to "slot" their requirements into what ROL had scheduled at any given moment in time. In short as a mechanism for developing the RISC OS platform it was limited and restricting. Let's say "fleetness of foot" was not one of the descriptions I'd have attached to it.

GuestX>"Acorn were a much bigger company and were still totally unable to keep up through the further development of their own hardware platform and their own operating system, especially with a reliance on what are now considered to be embedded CPU technologies"

The chose not to - and that's a different issue. Take MicroDigital, Castle or Ad6 *all* have developed new hardware *after* Acorn. All have less resources than Acorn had. Acorn didn't complete a new machine after the StrongARM upgrade - how come? Again they chose not to.

lym>"Open-sourcing wouldn't by itself bring the extra development we need, and I doubt it's the panacea some seem to think."

I don't think anyone is saying that it is. But *something* has to be done. If it means more minds are applied to updating/upgrading or even just *documenting* what RISC OS does and how it does it then that is a good result. My only concern with open sourcing is that some people can get a tad "religious" about it - and indeed you'll see that in animated comments about porting RISC OS to non-native platforms - their interest is *open source* and NOT RISC OS. Then there are others who are keen open source enthusiasts who port software *to* RISC OS - the contrast is quite marked. Which, do you think, benefits the platform more ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/12/06 8:31PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

mripley>"I have tried to avoid pointing my opinionated finger. But at this stage I will. Castle: who clearly attempted to corner the RISC OS market and failed miserably having failed to understand that it is entirely different from the PC market."

Rubbish, and rubbish at a number of levels.

First Castle bought the IP of RISC OS from it's owners (Pace), you know the crowd whose (c) symbol appeared on things like RISC OS Ltd's RO4.0 ROMs that I have in my RPC at home. That surely gives them some rights surely?

Second the reason RISC OS (IMHO) is in difficulties is because the OS and Hardware were *not* owned by one vendor early enough after Acorn's departure. This meant ROL couldn't do things unless hardware vendors "did" something first (e.g., USB). By all rights ROL should have "defined" the interface - they didn't and left it to hardware vendors - hence the *two* USB implementations. If (for example) Castle had had both Hardware and OS at the time we'd have ONE OS and ONE USB stack. The "split" you complained about would *never* have happened.

And what's wrong with cornering the market - it certainly would have avoided your "bete noir" an OS split. More Iyonixs would have sold - we might even have had more OS development of RO5.

Thirdly there is *no* difference between the RISC OS market and the PC one. You sell, make money and pay for developments; if you *don't* there ARE no developments and the thing stagnates.

To do all the things you decried earlier (like run browsers and streaming video and the like) you usually have to *license* expensive IP from big players. You want Java you pay Sun (AFAIK Acorn paid 500K for the earlier version), you want WMA you *pay* Microsoft, you want to display DVD you pay the CSS licensing outfit (30K USD per annum), and MPEG LA some dosh for MP3 and MPEG-2. All that costs money. Additionally you have to develope code to implement these features (that also costs money). As ROL don't have any income other than from selling software to a few people - and Castle sell to other outside customers *as well as* hardware to *us* then they'd be a better bet.

If they (Castle) are now Open Sourcing the OS that's also a good pragmatic move. If *we* want the platform to survive the *we* have to get behind this - and not point fingers or engage in other equally unproductive pursuits.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/12/06 1:55PM
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On ROS Open awaiting licensing wording agreement:

Hopefully it will be sorted soon, I do believe the lads in ROOL and Castle are doing their best to resolve this.

In addition I would hope that the license terms would be such that they would promote further development of RISC OS on the *native* ARM platform - rather than simply opening up so the OS source can be "raided" and used to get RISC OS running on Windows/Linux/Mac OS or whether (be that either by conversion to x86 or by emulation with Windows based ARM emulators such as VARPC).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/11/06 1:03PM
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On Castle directors patch up 'disagreement':

Might have had something to do with the tone (to quote you verbatim "Someone does need to get behind them, then kick them up the arse.")

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/11/06 8:13PM
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On TechWriter to get Word 2k export:

JGZimmerle>You might well be right, but people base their computer software and hardware purchasing decissions in the "now" not in some distant utopian future. The reality is we've all (at some point) seen a Word document - I've never ever received an ODF one.

The alternative is we cede ground to Microsoft and leave punters in the position where to read documents they have to leave the RISC OS platform and use Windows. People here won't complain about lack of ODF support now (as they don't need it now) - they *will* complain if they can't open a word document.

I would agree and suggest that it is important that MS Word import/export *should not* be the sole means of interchange between EW/TW and other platforms, supporting MS Word *now* does not prevent the adoption of a more "open" format at a subsequent time.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/11/06 1:53PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

David Holden wrote>"Whether or not it's sensible to run a browser from within an emulator when that same browser run on the host OS might well be faster/better is another qustion altogether."

What do you mean "might well be faster/better"? It either is or isn't faster. I can't see how, logically, you can arrive at the conclusion that given the same application compiled (into ARM code) that such ARM code can run on an emulator on an x86 *faster* than native x86 code version of the same application.

As to whether it's better or not if the two applications are the same application (Firefox in this instance) it would make diddly squat difference as to if you use ARM under Emulation or x86 one.

A bit of a pointless exercize IMHO.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/11/06 1:32PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

David Holden wrote>"Once again you astound us all with your ability to write the longest possible posts saying absolutely nothing which adds to the points being discussed. May I suggest a new carrer in local government or politics where your talents might be better appreciated."

Hey that's low... really low... a person thinner skinned than myself could get offended by that ;-)

However I'll write to the point then shall I?

(1). Firefox on RPC would be too slow and take up too much memory (2). Firefox on a Microsoft Windows ARM emulator such as Virtual Acorn would be pointless as the native one (x86 Firefox) would be quicker and could take better advantage of the underlying PC platform. (3). Peter hasn't explicitly ruled out an A9Home based version *given enough financial support/interest* (4). I think Peter has made his decision based on technical considerations - and given that he's the one that has to implement this I am happy to leave it in his capable hands.

So I think David we can both agree then that Peter has acted reasonably and that an initial port for Iyonix is quite reasonable - however if you wish to dispense with logic and refuse to accept that then feel free to ;-).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/11/06 4:06PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

Thanks for that Steffen, I was only going by what I had read. Thanks again for the clarification.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/06 5:59PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

and then there's Chris William's well spotted point about WimpSlot, nicely done ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/06 5:34PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

David Holden wrote>"However, if you're developing commercial software then it's silly to limit your potential sales by so doing unless you have a very good reason. "

I suppose that applies to the ROL Foundation DVD that couldn't be accessed on Iyonix too then? Or is it only silly when the software can run on Iyonix but not on anything else?

David Holden wrote>"Possibly the reason for his limiting it to the Iyonix may be because he has doubts about the new version being fast enough to be useable on a RiscPC and wants to avoid dissapointing people. If this is the case, then it might be better if he says so rather than declare it Iyonix only"

If it's anything like the original version of Firefox it would be asking a lot of a RISC PC to handle it (both memory and speedwise), but why rub peoples noses in it by stating it would be too slow for an RPC? I'd also point out that Peter's site specifically says an A9 versions is being *considered* - in effect that the current version is Iyonix only - so perhaps there may be an A9 if sufficient financial support is given to that end.

David Holden wrote>"as has already been pointed out, the Iyonix is not the fastest machine"

I'll not rise to the bait on that one. But if you're alluding to Microsoft Windows based hardware running RISC OS under emulation I fail to see the point of attempting to port for them - in as much as they can well run *natively* x86 based Firefox - which would be faster (by miles) than an emulation run under Virtual Acorn additionally Firefox under Windows can already run plugins the RISC OS port may not be able to - therefore overall the effort of porting Firefox for use under VA would be pointless (IMHO).

The only sensible options for Firefox on RISC OS is either the Iyonix or A9, the RPC (even StrongARM ones) would probably be too slow and not have enough memory. Given that Peter has an Iyonix it represents a good starting point. And if that isn't a good enough reason *he's* the one doing the work - surely he must have some say in the matter?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/06 5:29PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

Malcolm Ripley wrote>"Firefox for one branch of RISC OS is as mad and bad as having two branches of the OS in the first place!"

Peter Naulls *did not* rule out a version for A9 given that there was sufficient monetary interest. Obviously if he *had* an Iyonix but *not* an A9 then the Iyonix is an obvious place to start. As I read the article nothing is ruled out. There may be good *technical* reasons for starting the port on Iyonix too in as much as the video card supports OpenGL so could use the open Flash application referred to in the article.

If you choose to read this as "supporting" one strand of RO/Hardware over another for some sort of petty reasons I believe you're mistaken. Peter seems to generally base what he does on technical considerations.

Malcolm also wrote>"I gave up reading comments on the previous article (ROL calls for Select coders) the stench of hypocrisy, when compared to article comments about Castle open sourcing, was appalling. "

And what has that got to do with FireFox? Or supporting RISC OS?

What ROL are offering and what ROOL are offering ultimately are *different*. That's just a plain matter of fact. ROOL appear to be offering access to the bulk of the OS while ROL are offering a more limited access to "non-core" OS features. If I were to state that where's the offense - it's just stating facts. If someone complains about the "lateness" of Select 4 - yes it may be a bit off-topic (but hey this is drobe ;-) but again it's factually accurate.

How you interpret all of this as meaning it's time to leave RISC OS I just don't know. Usually when people react *emotionally* to things it leads to bad decissions being made. Let yourself cool down man and reconsider. This platform needs every hand it can get - don't quit in haste and then repent at leasure eh ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/11/06 1:46PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

Great news indeed, Peter has made many valuable contributions to the platform in the past and I am glad to see the prospect of this continuing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/11/06 1:15PM
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On ROL calls for Select coders and testers:

I wonder what constitutes "non-core" RISC OS source?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/11/06 5:10PM
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On Punters to vote on TechWriter future:

Martin>"we have a RISC OS port on industry standard hardware already. It is called RedSquirrel/VirtualRPC"

It appears ;) [Meaning it's an emulation - RISC OS hasn't been ported at all]

That nit having being picked - much as I am against emulation - it (actually) would be preferable to simply porting all the good native RISC OS applications over to windows and letting RISC OS die - but then, of course, if the only way RISC OS were to survive was under emulation I don't think I for one would particularly want it. Yes in all of this I am deliberately ignoring MacOS and Linux as targets to port to for the simple and somewhat obvious reason that Windows is on the bulk of hardware and (as if that's not enough) I believe long term DRM and content will be so tied into Windows that *nothing else* (not even MacOS) will have a look in. People wanting to use MacOS X, Linux or RISC OS will have to satisfy themselves that they will simply *not* be able to do everything windows can. Is this fair - nope.

Some may view RISC OS' inability to do certain thing as it "failing them" - but if the playing field is well and truly tilted against you what do you expect.

Martin Wuerthner asked>"Maybe you have some suggestions for these areas?"

Even as a non doomsayer I can come up with a few positive suggestions. The problem, as I see it, is that *content* and web based multimedia is too "locked" into Windows OR to closed proprietary standards. If *we* were to implement a cross platform set of multimedia servers either using "open" or even RISC OS based formats (DrawServer anyone) and provide the *server* side software as open source (or for a nominal but small fee) with free plugins for RISC OS (and other) browsers then that might be a way of levelling things. Yes I know SVG exists (for example) - but Draws simplicity might make it more appropriate as a vector format (it's also pretty compact) - or possible (ahem) even Artworks (which can also be rendered on RISC OS). A "Flash" replacement might include sequences of "Draw" format images with timing, looping, fade and other information interleaved, sound I'll admit is a bit more complex - but you can see where I am going with it.

If these were developed in a way that benefitted *all* platform users it might even encourage supporters from *outside* the RISC OS camp to help with it (as it would benefit them too). If it means putting it under GPL or BSD (or some new fangled license) to do it then so be it. Just my tuppenceworth.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/11/06 4:46PM
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On Punters to vote on TechWriter future:

hEgelia wrote>"I therefore feel the time is now to start porting the remaining professional applications to other alternative platforms, ideally Mac OS X seeing its current market position and resemblance to RISC OS in several ways. Again, some could regard this as heresy, but it would ensure these applications have a larger chance of survival and even flourishment."

And what if, hEgelia, such hypothetical developers look at the massive number of Windows PC's and compare that to the much smaller number of MacOS machines and decide the logical place to port to is Windows? Just because you've become a fan of MacOS X doesn't mean that they'd be swayed and opt to follow your route - they may use common sense and opt for WindowsXP (or Vista) which is where the numbers are.

There is, of course, the other point - that basically PC/Mac users are familiar with the apps they already use and are unlikely to switch in significant numbers to use TW/EW (no matter how good they are). Microsoft took years, for example, to shift WordPerfect users over to MS Word (both by discounts and even by providing Keypress compatibility with WP). If MS found it tough going - I wish you the best of luck switching people from their incumbents choice of WordProcessor to TW/EW/Ovation Pro etc., The only likely outcome I can see from all of this is that the *only* people who'd heard of these RISC OS apps would be RISC OS users and therefore all you'd succeed in doing is moving RISC OS users to MacOS X (or whatever).

Look if you want to move to Mac OSX/WindowsXP/Linux or whatever fine that's your choice - but in your going could you *please* not kill the RISC OS platform that the rest of us want to persist with, please leave us our unique apps thanks.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/11/06 10:19PM
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On HSBC embraces NetSurf and RISC OS:

A nice letter, I can understand the HSBC *not* offering help-desk support (after all how many combinations of OS and Browsers are out there anyway ?). They have, however, accepted RISC OS and a RISC OS browser as "supported" that *is* a good thing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/10/06 1:14PM
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On South East 2006 show report:

Dave Ruck wrote>"you [AMS] may have to do a bit of work on that accent if you want to go unrecognised "

Hey give it a rest man I only said "begorrah" and "to be sure" twice when I was talking with you. I am a devil with clever accents - sure some people even think I come from Dublin's North side ;-).

Clever bit of work also there Chris on the photo, it doesn't look like me at all - as you well know I get continually mistaken for Brad Pitt (whoever he is...).

2307 wrote>"Where did the snippet on Appbasic come from? "

From Joe Taylor himself, he said much the same to me as he did to Chris. Joe is using the Resource file to determine what objects are present in the UI and create a framework of files each representing the actions that happen to that object. The coder then fills in the "blanks" as it were and AppBasic reassembles the whole schebang into a !RunImage you can use.

Being able to quickly get the "skeleton" of a Wimp RISC OS app up and running quickly with minimal effort means programmers can "forget" about the common UI bits and concentrate on the thing they're trying to acchieve. On other platforms (e.g., PC, Linux) languages such as Delphi, Kylix and C# allow you to in a few clicks have the basis User Interface up and running then YOU add the bits that define the functionality of the application.

When I was talking to Joe he said the code doesn't necessarily have to be BASIC it could be C that is output as well - if that comes to pass that will make this development even more interesting and useful.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/10/06 4:34PM
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On South East 2006 show report:

It was a good show, nice also to put some names to faces even.

I've booked in for plastic surgery so you'll all be hard pressed to recognise me when I turn up next year, unless of course the surgery goes horribly wrong in which case I'll be easy to spot.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/06 10:50PM
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On RISC OS South East show this Saturday:

Have arrived, settled into my hotel, and looking forward to what the show has in store (and yes that sounds so geeky as to be unsettling).

Am a bit surprised the RISC OS now is already out (nicely done Louie), I guess a subscription is in order then. Last time I looked at the show site the theatre presentations weren't detailed - but I imagine it'll be the usual suspects - jeez guys you must know how the are by now ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/06 12:06AM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:

jb>If your response is to my comment I am sorry if I misphrased it. I accept fully that Castle own RISC OS, and I was not attempting to imply otherwise.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/10/06 6:36PM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:

To clarify my last post "So in effect Castle have the main RISC OS license (which grants them access to the *OS* source and updated apps/utilities (like later versions of BBC BASIC) and tools like the C/C++ which ROL *don't* have).

SimonC wrote>"Castle don't seem to show the slightest bit of interest in anything non-Iyonix"

Er, yes - because in large part they sell the things ;-) additionally could you imagine the row that would start if they tried to release RO5 for machines that ROL consider theirs... I'd also add your statement is untrue - the C/C++ tools are available to all (not just Iyonix users) and have been updated frequently. Also Castle make documentation publically available as well as !System updates and CallASwi module for download by 26 bit users.

CKH2>"Judging from the moderation scores, there appear to be lots (tens) of disgruntled Iyonix users out there who, admittedly, have received nothing yet from ROL."

As apparently have lots of non-Iyonix users who are Select subscribers who *also* haven't received anything recently from ROL. Hopefully that will change. I am one of those Iyonix users who frankly *doesn't care* whether Select comes to Iyonix - if it happens fine, if it doesn't I am no worse off really - you'll find overtime increasing numbers of us - and we'll be spending on RO5.12, updated C tools (another thing on my shopping list) and updates of the likes of TechWriter/Artworks - and ROL won't get a penny of that income - but then that's their choice isn't it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/10/06 1:53PM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:

Andrew Banks wrote>"Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't ROL have a license to RISC OS 4 and to its further development. "

Yes they have a license to update RISC OS 4, but there are limitations to that license about which no one who knows seems willing to divulge. ROL licensed RISC OS 4 off Acorn/Element-14. e-14 subsequently sold that "head license" to Pace - who had it for a few years - Pace then sold it to Castle. So in effect Castle have the *main* RISC OS license (which grants them access to updated apps/utilities (like later versions of BBC BASIC) and tools like the C/C++ which ROL *don't* have).

Andrew Banks wrote>"Has Castle now licensed ROL for RISC OS 6 ?"

No why would Castle who own the main RISC OS license need to license it off a sublicensee ROL. Besides as RO6 is really a 32bit RO4 and as Castle *already have* a 32bit RISC OS (RO 5) there's no need for them to do so.

Andrew Banks wrote> "The Guildford show this weekend should be very interesting"

The word "humdinger" springs to mind.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/10/06 1:41PM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:

Yesterday's announcement of the publically available free documentation on Select was a good move by ROL.

This on the other hand I can't think of as anything other than "neutral".

How does renaming/rebranding something make it any better/worse? More likely just the same - but with a different splash screen and different message on an "*FX 0"

The article says "It will also be possible to produce A9home and Iyonix builds." But will that *actually* happen. It's a bit like saying "it is possible someday to have world peace", yep in principle sure - but will it happen?

The article said (and I quote) "For years, ROL have privately fumed that Castle's RISC OS 5 is considered wholly superior to their RISC OS 4 because of the version numbering". For the love of Pete, that's mad - utterly butterly bonkers. I refuse to believe ROL think that - people buy hardware based on technical considerations not because of the ordinality of some integer. If for marketing reasons ROL want to call a 32bit RISC OS 4 - RISC OS 6 that's their right - at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what it's called - it's what it *does* that counts.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/10/06 9:47PM
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On ROL publish Select docs for free:

Well what can I say other than *full marks* Mr Middleton & ROL, nicely done.

This will be a major boon to developers seeking to support Select - additionally it is *not* a bad means of advertising ROL's wares.

Yep, a good sensible, pragmatic move that I think will lead to good things.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/10/06 10:03PM
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On RISC OS 5.12 released with price tag:

Gavin>I wasn't actually giving out (there is *no* furore coming from my direction)

Was just trying to find if there was a mechanism for *doing* an update *without* having an internet connected Iyonix. I was just indicating that I was *keen* to be able to use the update and there was a "sale" in it for them.

I've talked to John before at a previous show a few years back and he seemed a helpful and knowledgable chap, so please don't take any of what I wrote previously as *any* form of critism - it *ISN'T*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/10/06 3:29PM
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On RISC OS 5.12 released with price tag:

GavinWraith>"I suppose there must be some Iyonix owners without an internet connection"

Yep I find myself in precisely that position. My Iyonix at home doesn't have even dialup (never mind broadband). I only can access the Internet using PCs elsewhere. It is therefore highly unlikely that I can upgrade unless (a). I can purchase and download the image from a PC or (b). Obtain a copy of the ROM Image at the SE show (just booked my flight today ;-))

Obviously if neither (a) or (b) can happen then I'll be saving myself 69STG or will spend it on something else at the show (I'd much prefer to update the OS from the now fosselized 5.03 my Iyonix labours under).

If to acchieve either I have to supply my machines MAC address/Serial No or proof of purchase I'll be happy to oblige.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/10/06 2:29PM
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On Not enough room for two mags says Qercus ed:

Sawadee>A web page version would also work - but my worry about online magazines is they tend to kill off the original (and call me luddite but I do like the feel and look of paper mags). So if I manage to make it to the show I may just sign up with Louie for a sub... it's been a very longtime since I last held an Acorn oriented magazine - can't wait ;-).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/10/06 8:34PM
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On R-Comp Dad suffers 'major' heart attack:

Sorry to hear about this Andrew, I hope your dad makes a quick and complete recovery.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/10/06 7:04PM
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On RISC OS Open needs your help:

Unix does Unix very well.... would Unix do RISC OS well ? I don't think so.

If I want to use Linux I'd fire up Red Hat 7 on my PC at home - why bother with this RISC OS pretense at all then.

Reading things like the above just get me tired beyond belief. Linux has a place, Windows has a place, is *no one* going to speak up on RISC OS's behalf - or is it just to be treated as another means to coax/cojole or otherwise push the few remaining users onto another platform.

We have feet guys - we're not obliged to shoot them ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/10/06 8:03PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

Stephen Gadd>"If I were RISCOS Ltd I'd be interested in becoming the defacto distribution. "

Why? What exactly *would* ROL bring to the party - they have shown a *complete* disinterest in Iyonix users. Additionally if ROL were to *charge* for any of the source *or* try to close it and include it in Select then they'd have to pay *a license fee* for such use.

I'd be happier leaving it in the capable hands of Castle or ROOL rather than RISC OS Ltd - besides as others have pointed out ROL are *already* obliged to their existing subscribers who have paid for goods yet haven't received them yet.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/10/06 1:40PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

David Pilling wrote>"Huge row the first time ROSL are inspired by something someone adds to RISC OS 5"

If RISC OS Ltd use the *source* as a basis for inclusion of new features into Select then presumably they'll be obliged to *pay* royalties for that use. If they implement their own variant - well then they do and there isn't a whole lot anyone can do about it.

I would point out, however, that ROL could see the direction Castle were taking with RO5 and seemed not inclined to "copy" the methodology of any of it (32bit Select still has the WimpSlot restriction and no HAL to name two examples). I don't believe ROL will copy anything - if for no other reason that the currently available material (Paint, Draw etc.,) they've already upgraded. RO 5 is playing catch-up, so it's unlikely that copying any changes would benefit ROL.

Later releases might be more significant (e.g., Kernel, Drivers etc.,) - but all that is likely to do is remove the original excuse ROL used for not releasing Select on Iyonix (lack of information) - but in the meantime RO5 may well have gained similar UI features to Select - in which case the demand from Iyonix users for Select will have dried up.

David Pilling wrote>"Huge row as people are inspired by Select/Adjust to add to RISC OS 5"

Simply copying a method of "doing things" is probably Ok. A complete "rip-off" by reverse engineering big chunks of RO4 Select *would not be*. Anyway ROL had a perfectly legit way of preventing this - *releasing RO Select on Iyonix*. They didn't - and it would be a bit rich if they *now* complain that somebody else might add Select style UI features to RISC OS 5.

As far as ROL is concerned the boat has left without them - that was their chance they missed it - tough.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/10/06 4:58PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

Good positive news, to be welcomed.

This hopefully *will* encourage more development of the RISC OS 5 and it's capabilities (both in supporting new hardware, a new motherboard should CTL produce one, and also in UI elements where it might be argued Select has the edge).

To some extent RISC OS developers now become *stakeholders* in the OS - and that sense may well encourage more substantial developments of the OS and even the platform.

In my humble opinion *good news*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/09/06 5:54PM
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On Intel wheels out 1.2GHz XScale family:

Thing is intel are aiming these things clearly in places where *I/O performance matters* (keeping x8 SATA drives fed and watered is going to require some umph). That being the case these chips are not going to be slouches

All in all good news, hopefully Castle (given their experience with the related IOP321) will be in a position to produce a machine based on one of these CPU's. The performance should be somewhat better than the simple arithmetic of dividing the new CPU clock rate by the old (the faster memory interface and the large L2 cache should see to that).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/9/06 7:45PM
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On Dual-core XScale due soon:

tamias>I for one would be *very happy* to see ARM running "hot", using some juice and putting some pretty good performance out there. For too long the emphasis has been on "low power consumption" and not enough on performance. Moving the goal post towards *higher performance* may mean tolerating higher core temp/power consumption - but if you want *fast* that's what you have to put up with.

Having a large L2 cache, faster main memory controller, and higher clock rate means this processor will perform somewhat faster than a simple divide 800MHz by 600MHz would suggest. Anyways I'd be holding out for the 1.2GHz beauty......

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/9/06 7:17PM
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On September news round up:

dgs>Perhaps I am being unnecessarily obscure (or ham fisted). I was agreeing with Dave Ruck.

dgs wrote>"Druck said that significant processing tasks can be offloaded to the additional core"

Yes and I agreed.

dgs wrote>"Does your reply mean that you don't consider that worthwhile?"

Of course it's worthwhile, I suspect having a 2nd processor present will mean that the inventive developers that are still here will find inventive ways of using this extra capacity. It may be worthwhile that some "standardised" way of interacting with the 2nd processor is instituted. In that way there would be a common API for offloading certain activities to the 2nd CPU and having it "signal" the main CPU when the results of the task were available. That module would be "visible" to the main RISC OS enviroment of CPU 1 and would then trigger the execution, transfer of data to or from, regulate memory use or shared resources of the second processor. CPU2 would have a simplified OS environment and would respond to requests from that other module. It would *not* run a full RISC OS.

I could forsee the any (or all) of the following activities could be performed:

* In memory data processing/indexing/sorting (basically anything that *does not* require access to I/O or require interaction with other tasks) * Precomputing data to be used by the main CPU (it could, for example, create tables of constants for Lookup Table use; do work such as performing Draw matrix transforms, Discrete Cosine transforms). * Offload serial type protocols that require data packaging/unpacking (such as one of the other contributors indicated wrt Ethernet, but why not USB as well).

dgs wrote>"Everyone should understand that the release of a dual core ARM most certainly does not mean that a RISC OS machine could be released to take full advantage of it, or anywhere near. But there's no benefit in being unnecessarily negative either."

If you read one of my earlier contributions you'll find that I said "there is something to be said for using a processor with a large L2 cache, twice the clock speed, support for faster interfaces (like PCI-X/Express) that should give somewhere around x2-x3 times the performance of the Iyonix 80321 even when *only one of the processors is used*. ", I don't read that as negative (nor was it intended to be such). I am saying it's worth doing AS IS. If we get some mileage from the second processor then yep that's better still.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/09/06 6:29PM
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On Scientologists eyed up RISC OS - new claim:

hzn wrote>"As for RISC (Scientology Edition), or in short RISC (SE) - is there any connection to VirtualRPC-SE"

Oh heck.

You're not suppose to say that *pubically*, the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard will come down (or up depending on your perspective) and force you to watch all of "Battlefield Earth" for saying that. Tsk.

Nodoid wrote >"Thank goodness those whack jobs didn't get anywhere near RISC OS. I'd rather have had Microsoft invest than that bunch. And that's saying something!"

Curiously I'd agree on both counts (well at least with Microsoft you *can* leave...). The other effect is that if Scientology *had* gotten RISC OS and that had become public knowledge both our compeditors (Apple/MS) would have had a *field day* with it - and Schools let's face it being responsible institutions (by and large) would be hardly likely to support and use an OS whose source comes streight out of the "Sinister Zone" (tm) which RISC OS linked to Scientology would have been. Additionally you'd probably have found at the annual shows the RISC OS stand with a small "private" area in which the obligatory "personality tests" would have been conducted.

So on the whole if JC is right - we had a narrow escape.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/9/06 5:22PM
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On September news round up:

druck wrote>" we wont be able to use the second core for running RISC OS applications, but there is bound to be significant processing tasks that can be off loaded on to it"

Thanks for that Dave, yes of course I simply meant in relation to RISC OS apps (I knew that's what I meant - but didn't write it that way).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/9/06 10:11PM
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On Scientologists eyed up RISC OS - new claim:

Can see it now - RISC (Scientology Edition). Everytime you boot it - it gives you a "personality test", it (when you shut down) gives you the audit results and explains how inadequate you are and why you should sign up for a Dianetics course.

And even the "help files" would have a certain spin to them.... what could have been eh ? ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/9/06 8:08PM
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On September news round up:

Carefully reading Chris' article one *might* note that the ATX board spoken of was mentioned as having "a PCI Express socket, a PCI-X socket, two serial ports, two gigabit ethernet ports, CompactFlash expansion slot, and a JTAG programmer", that's *not* the fare of a typical PDA.

As to getting it to work much of the groundwork (HAL, RO5/32bit) already exists. The processor is pretty much like the 80321 (albeit with two cores, extra cache etc.,). If it is simply used as a *single* processor CPU then chances are the *existing* RISC OS 5 will work.

Yes we *won't* be able to use the 2nd CPU on the die because of RISC OS limitations - but there *is* something to be said for using a processor with a large L2 cache, twice the clock speed, support for faster interfaces (like PCI-X/Express) that should give somewhere around x2-x3 times the performance of the Iyonix 80321 even when *only one of the processors is used*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/9/06 6:24PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

Dan Moloney wrote >"The Atari ST was booting a GUI from ROM before the Archimedes"

I never actually said that the Archimedes was the *first ever* to boot a GUI, actually I was comparing it to the *PC* as only that platform would probably be deemed by JWoody as "influential" whereas Acorn (and Atari and everyone other than a select few) were "uninfluential" and therefore unimportant.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/09/06 9:49PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

JWoody>I forgot to mention that if you *actually look* at the patents ARM claim some of them are pretty fundemental to how the ARM processor works (for example swapping registers on mode changes). As this existed *also* when ARM was originally designed and released (1985) but the patent was only applied for much later (and in ARM's name) would suggest that Acorn simply didn't have a "culture" of patenting things.

ARM does, and many of its patents *do* appear to involve pretty fundemental aspects to the ARM processor that even existed at the time the processor was originally released - so the suggestion that Acorn had *only* 8 patents and ARM had over a 1,000 is misleading - and that's even not bearing in mind the inherent lack of value of using patents as a measure in the first place that others have pointed out.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/06 9:48PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

So how innovative really are (say) Microsoft ?

Let's look at their amazing MS-DOS it was another Seattle startup that penned it (they called it Q-DOS and I must tip my hat to them they were honest - QDOS meaning Quick and Dirty Operating System). In an unfortunate turn of faith MS claimed they had an OS when they had none, bought that pile of manure and sold it to IBM (can't fault them for having nerve can you ?).

As to MS BASIC, well BASIC predated Gates and Allen's (it having originated in Dartmouth college in the US in (AFAIK) 1964 courtesy of Kemeny and Kurtz). On the fly disk compression (aka DriveSpace) was actually predated by Stac Electronic's Stacker compression system (MS lost a court case over that one). They also got a slap over trying to use Borland's IDE style in Visual Studio (which is why I can move buttons round on a Delphi Form and have the IDE attributes update (or change the attributes and have the button move) - can't do that in VS anymore.

We've already established that Apple (for all their patents) basically flogged a "reinterpretation" of Xeroc PARC's windowing interface. And of course the iPod (which saved Apple's bacon as it were) has more than a passing resemblance to how the Creative Zen (and its kind) work doesn't it.

It all begs the question if these companies with paracitic leanings can "acquire" technology from a wide variety of US firms why would they stop at purloining ones from Acorn (or any number of non-US firms ?). The most benign interpretation is that uncharacteristically they did indeed ignore what Acorn did and so deprived their users for over a decade of advantages like scalable anti-aliased fonts (I remember seeing Aldus Pagemaker on an Macintosh - frightful it was, go below 10 pt and it "greeked" everything), drag and drop, an OS that can boot from *ROM*, a fast uncluttered UI, the ability to change screen resolution *without* having to reboot and so forth.

Yes the American's are so far ahead of the rest of the world, really, look at all those patents they must mean something ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/06 8:16PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

JWoody wrote>"The most influencial magazine in the 1980's about personal computing was without doubt BYTE magazine. I cannot remember ever reading any article about the BBC micro, BBC Basic, Econet, Archimedes, RISC OS or anything major about Acorn in BYTE. "

How about these then ->


Discusses amongst other things Acorn's Galileo (sadly I don't think it ever was released - but Byte *did* cover it).

and of course


An article which discusses RISC OS in some depth.

There were earlier articles (including ones describing the Archimedes) but sadly their on-line archive only goes back as far as 1999. The point is that American companies rarely give credit for where technology originates (the Jet engine and Jet airplane being another *American* invention of course).

Yes you're right IBM's John Cocke *did* propose the concept and Henessey and Sutherland in the states also did substantial work on it - but guess what Acorn and ARM does figure in there as it *predates* IBM's first desktop RISC computer (the PC RT which IBM didn't really seriously market and the 801 which was a "design concept"), the Archimedes *did* at very modest clock rates (between 4 and 8MHz) substantially trounce conventional PC's of the day (it even outperformed IBM's fastest 386 of it's day by a factor of 2 according to PCW magazine).

Just because people don't give credit for some idea's to their originators doesn't mean they haven't taken notice and haven't been inspired - that's the funny thing about computing one thing generally leads to another....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/09/06 9:37PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

James>I wasn't envisoning using RO4 Kernel modules *at all*, just using the higher level stuff - and keeping the RO5 Kernel and *its* hardware modules.

If RO4 *higher level* modules (things like the Draw module) *demand* that an RO4 Kernel be present then that's daft isn't it ? Such high level modules should make *no* assumptions about lower level or kernel stuff and should access all OS functionality via SWI's in the normal way. Those SWI's being of course *documented*.

I don't see why to use *Select* you need to dump lower level stuff from RO5 (e.g., the Kernel) in order to use *much* of the Select functionality which appears to be UI enhancements (things that *should not* be accessing lower level stuff at all - except via defined SWI's).

It appears to me that ROL are making their life unnecessarily difficult, they should simply take what *can* be readily ported to RO5 (surely *something* must work, eh?) and make that available as a UI upgrade (a bit like Microsofts' Plus packs on some versions of windows). That way ROL make some money (good) while not fashioning a stick to beat themselves with (as would be the case if they tried to re-write the whole OS or shoehorn RO5 hardware modules onto RO4 Select's kernel.

What's more people would *expect* it not to have full Select functionality - so that would make the task less difficult - yet give RO5 users a UI "spruce up" - a good thing surely ? What do you think ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/09/06 7:33PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

Chris wrote>"As is pointed out time and again, a patchwork quilt of RISC OS 4 modules over a OS 5 base is not going to lend itself towards a quality product."

Sounds absurd to me - you can't on the one hand claim running RO4 modules over RO5 is bad yet running RO5 modules over RO4 is good - or have I missed something ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/09/06 11:58PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

Chris wrote >Ok, but "ROL have no way of knowing how the CTL nVIDIA or USB modules work with other OS-level components. That's what ROL mean when they talk about differences internally".

But the point of adstracting the hardware away is *you don't need to know*. If what you say was true PCITv couldn't be done could it? It accesses the Iyonix's innards yet (I presume) has no particular "inside" information on RO5 (nor would it need any other than that which is publically documented anyway). Why can't ROL do the same?

I think part of the problem is that ROL wants to replace *all* of RO5 and yet make use of the existing drivers.... It would make *more* sense to port some of the higher level RO Select features across (giving UI enhancements say) accept that the "Utility Module" and key modules will still be RO5's and that the Select modules will have to satisfy themselves with the same level of access as say PCItv has.

It may be more stable (for that read *safer*) to leave as much of RO5 in place as possible and modify the modules ROL *do* have control over (the ones they wrote) and modify them to coexist with the RO5 system. To do otherwise, I believe, creates interdependancies and problems that will create a big mess I fear. A

If ROL *want* to do a full replacement of RO5 with Select then yes you're right they'd need drivers - but guess what ROL *claim* to write operating systems - so let them. And if that means writing drivers - fine so be it. When you buy Windows (for example) it's chock full of drivers - all written by guess who (yep Microsoft). Why should ROL be able to avoid doing what MS and CTL have done ?

In short ROL should either *produce a FULL Select for Iyonix with THEIR OWN DRIVERS* and dispense with RO5 fully OR accept the presence of RO5 and just add UI enhancements and modules that do not expect (not don't use or rely on) low level hardware features. Given that ROL already claim "hardware independance" for their Select that *should* be relatively easy shouldn't it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/09/06 8:56PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

torbenm wrote>"I doubt ARM would have survived long without being separated from Acorn, Few companies would use a processor whose fate rest with a competitor."

That's why you don't try to get a compeditor to buy into it (as Acorn did). You find Consumer Electronics outfits and get *them* interested, you pick areas where performance are important (e.g., video decoding, audio processing, realtime systems etc.,) and target your chip there. The fact Acorn is building desktop computers would not in the least bit worry them - as Acorn and they are in *different domains*.

Unfortunately Acorn chose Apple. A compeditor. Who said "thank you very much" and proceeded to (I would suggest) steer the ARM in the "low power/non-desktop" area. Eventually resulting in Acorn having no viable supply of suitable "desktop" quality chips - exit Acorn as an Apple compeditor.

I know a lot of people think Microsoft succeeded because they "licensed" their OS to others, but in actual fact it was *IBM* that granted Microsoft the "non-exclusive" deal that allowed MS to sell MS-DOS to others while also selling PC-DOS to IBM. In the end who was the winner - IBM who facilitated Microsoft or Microsoft ?

Simply "sharing" technology does *not* necessarily make you a winner - it's *how* you share it and *who* you share it with. IBM picked bad (and are now effectively out of the PC business), Acorn picked bad and they're also out of the computer business.

When it came to technology Acorn were (IMHO) really innovative and creative. Their business skills, however, well that's another story....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/09/06 9:29PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

moss>You'll probably find that the "float" of ARM was to soothe Apple's worries about using a chip from a compeditor (it also meant Apple could influence future developments of that chip - who knows the more cynical might think they'd use the oppertunity to steer ARM development away from the desktop market and leave Acorn floundering). As for Xemplar it was set up with an Apple man at the head (used to be a big wig in Apple's Cork (Ireland) operation) - who knows maybe it was a way to "steer" some educational institutions towards Apple rather than Acorn.

I'd be interested in what Richard Hallas discovers about that phase in Acorn's history.

From my slightly jaundiced perspective Apple generally do what benefits apple, taking the ARM out of Acorn's control and having a direct sales route into Acorn's main customer base was a real coup for Apple - and an enormous own goal for Acorn. Yet another case of Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory methinks.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 7/9/06 8:55PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

Richard best of luck with your research and I, like others here, will happily look forward to its publication and wish you every success.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised that Hermann Hauser would support you in this, which suggests that he still as a "soft spot" for the Acorn scene and what it meant to people here.

It is sad to reflect that perhaps Acorn should have made better use of "self-publicity" when it would have counted.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/9/06 8:17PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

James> Oh and by the way as the original HAL for Iyonix was based on GPL code the source *is* available, so that's pretty much an invalid excuse as well. Castle have also documented (I refer to their web site and the Iyonix TRM) enough of the hardware so that if ROL had a mind to do it that they could implement *even* hardware support for the Iyonix.

Doddle may be an overstatement - but to infer that it is *impossible* to implement Select on Iyonix is just as much an overstatement considering the lame excuses often trotted out by ROL to suggest as much (IMHO).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 06/09/06 8:03PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

Julian>I agree completely. Which of course shows how *bogus* the value of trying to link the outcome of one (probably ROL's *only*) foray into Open Source Software. And (arguably) as it has helped with GimpPrint I'd consider it a success too.

James>Well yes - but - I think my point was for all the effort ROL claim to have made it hasn't lead to an RO Select release for Iyonix. No doubt ROL will put that down to insufficient interest by punters (surely that's a function of *how much confidence people have in ROL* and that can't be high considering the ever lengthening delay between Select releases) and someone (other than ROL) having to do the difficult legwork of implementing the hardware dependant bits.

At every point ROL can argue it's someone else's fault. Which I think it the point of such spin, the truth (however) may lie elsewhere.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 06/09/06 7:59PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

In the article was the following *gem*>"Paul revealed that in May 2002, a number of engineers left Pace but continued to provide contracted support of RISC OS to the corporation while developing the Iyonix product for Castle. Paul said the differences between RISC OS 5 and 4 were already noticeable back then, and now the two operating systems are now very different internally. We understand that RISC OS 4 has become particularly modularised with the introduction of its hardware independence, and the way in which the components communicate with each other is significantly different between RISC OS 5 and 4."

Ok so RO4 Select is more hardware independent. Then it should be a doddle to port to the Iyonix shouldn't it !

Unless of course hardware independance has nothing to do with portability to other hardware (non-sequitur and all that that is).

Also the OSes being "very different internally" is irrelevant - when I call OS_WriteC it works because at the API level *both* OSes are the same - if they weren't code for each one would *not* run on the other (or on earlier platforms either). I don't give 1 or 2 hoots *how* either party implement OS_WriteC (or any of the myriad other SWI's) other than they are documented at the API level. That really is *all* that is required.

The other point that had me gagging was the !Printers herring of the long wavelength (i.e., RED) variety. ROL could *not* open source *all* of !Printers because they *had not the right to do so*. They *could* (and did) release the bit *they* had rights to (the UI/Front end). The failure of one "partial" OSS release can hardly be used to verify or refute the applicability of a "wholesale" Open Sourcing (or substantial OSS release of RISC OS).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 05/09/06 8:28PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

JWoody>Actually the memory interface is DDR2 (not DDR unlike the original IOP321), the L2 cache is 512KB (there was *no* L2 cache on the original IOP321). Additionally the 342 supports PCI express. So when comparing clock with clock you're not comparing like with like as to some degree the processor architecture (well at the very least it's memory and I/O capabilities) have changed. David Ruck's suggestion of 3x would consequently not appear an unreasonable one.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/09/06 6:21PM
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On RISC OS 4 caught on Mac OS X:

Wuerthner>Martin, yes indeed you're right, and I should have remembered that as many years ago I used to use VA5000.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/8/06 11:00PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

Jwoody>Ok point taken, as to the graphics perhaps there are computational tasks that might be "speeded up" by having a dedicated processor dedicated to them (like Fontcache filling, computing transforms for Draw (or for Draw strokes, bezier curve computation and so on). As I understand it a lot of the functionality of the GPU in the nVidia card is subject to NDA and may not be readily available to RO developers like Castle - it may be possible to ship some of the load to the second 342 processor - and yes I know this would require some changes to the Draw/Font modules - but if the 2nd processor is doing nothing else and if the task can be "split" in such a way that this approach is viable then why not ?

If the whole proposition is a "non-runner" we'd still be gaining a single processor perhaps x3 times faster than the existing Iyonix one so that in itself may be enough of a reason for a switch anyway and yet leave the possibility (even if remote) for further enhancements that can use the 2nd processor in some fashion.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/08/06 8:18PM
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On RISC OS 4 caught on Mac OS X:

Jess>"Is there anyway a VA5000 could be released (either free or very cheap) as a stopgap and a demo?"

I refer you to Graham Barnes reply (above). It's not a matter of having "a version" of VA to run on the Mac but to have a "commercial grade" application available to run thereon. I am sure if Graham and Aaron had the situation where VA5000 could run acceptibly on the Mac then the VARPC variant would be just as easily (and probably more sensibly) deployed on the Mac.

bluenose>I am not a big fan of emulation of RISC OS on other platforms (the image of nails and coffins keep popping into my head when I think about it....). But if you're going to allow it I am of two minds as to whether allowing something like "VA5000" (with presumably RO3.1) out there. I always thought the 77 objects per directory limit in that version of the OS was (at the very least) embarrassing - I would *not* want other platform users to think that RO was slow (emulators are) and surprising limited in the number of files they support per directory.

If the great and the good decided that RO could be "resurrected" by releasing RO on another platform (under emulation) - and the logic they used for doing this was convincing (I don't think it is though) - then I'd say release a *good* version of RO for demo not one from the time of Babbage and steam computers and 77 file limits etc., .....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/8/06 8:03PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

JGZimmerle>Microsoft are worth better than 46Billion USD they can throw money at projects, they have 1,000s of programmers, they have a (almost) a monopoly of the OS, document formats and certain applications. And you want RISC OS Ltd and Castle to compete while one of those (ROL) are giving RO customers the oppertunity to freely try out Windows.... have I missed something here ?

When's the last time MS allowed people to try out Mac OS X? Would they do that do you think? Would it be a clever thing for them to do?

They're worth 46 Billion because they don't do stupid things like that. Getting your OS emulated on another platform puts it at risk. There is *always* the lure of the new.

Windows has access to some technologies that are inherently closed and unavailable on RISC OS, some of this technology (e.g., Windows Media) would require a very costly license from MS (which MS may not even give) or other 3rd party vendors (e.g., CSS licenses for DVD replay, various streaming technologies etc.,) who charge equally large license fees). It follows that RO could not ever compete, because the "playing field" is not a fair one.

The pertinent question to ask is how many of the 3,000 VARPC licensees *still* purchase and use RISC OS hardware and software. I'd wager very few (given the relative lack of VARPC users who responded in the drobe poll of RISC OS users some ways back). It's not whether this is necessarily an indicator that Windows is better - but rather that once people are convinced that a VARPC machine is a RISC OS machine the battle is lost - then after a while why bother firing up VARPC to start TechWriter to write a letter when I can just fire up MS Word and do it that way ....

In either event ROL's initial instincts to *not* support emulation (when VA5000 first appeared) was the *right one* IMHO, the subsequent change of heart (when MD's Alpha PC portable with VARPC was released) was IMHO the wrong one.

If people want to leave RO fine let them, I don't see why we should encourage them or make it any easier - I can't see MS or Apple encouraging their users to do likewise - nor would they - because to do so is monumentally *STUPID*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/8/06 7:32PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Andrew Flegg>It all depends on what your specific needs and wishes are. If you a keen fan of Windows (or Linux) then having RO features on these might well be all you need.

Andrew Flegg wrote>"RISC OS is an OS. It's a tool. It's not some idol to be placed on a pedestal and worshipped."

Yes but then neither are Linux or Windows.

So why should we welcome porting RO to either of those ?

Andrew Flegg wrote>"If these can be ported to another system, with more stability; better hardware compatibility and greater room for growth, why should I care? "

Well I am not sure that that would happen or if it did that any of the above would be true. Yes Linux is more stable than Windows (and RO), but I am not sure it offers greater hardware compatibility (Windows tends to do this - as much of the newer hardware technology is "closed" and not always available in any reasonable timeframe on Linux). Given that I am not particularly keen on going down the windows route that would leave me stymied.

What I am driving at is the notion that it is preferable to have the maximum possible control of the platform and OS we operate on. If we simply port bits of RO to Linux (or windows) we hand the responsibility for the OS to others who may not have the interests of RO users at heart.

The radical thing that needs to happen is that RISC OS users should get behind *their* platform, support its hardware manufacturers and stick with it. In our small little pond we have some influence - the same can't be said in the much larger Linux (or Windows) pool.

My own opinion is if I couldn't use RISC OS on native hardware, I'd move completely over to Windows and leave RO behind. This is *not* an indorsement of Windows but rather a recognition that MS has (IMHO) and will in future target Linux and will ultimately defeat it. I don't want to move from one OS failure immediately to another that will be killed at some future date - it makes more sense to admit defeat in that circumstance and opt (much as I would hate to do this) for the envitable winner, Windows (you can't even imagine how much I galls me to say that!).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/08/06 7:08PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

nx>"I cannot see anyone making a native RO box within the next 24 months. "

I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that, but you can never tell it could be sooner. As I said elsewhere if the manufacturer *just* coded for *one* of the processors (in other words take the 1.2GHz clock, large L2 Cache, DDR2 support etc.,) and take that *as is* you'd get a pretty sizeable improvement in performance. Over time RO could be changed to, if not doing some form of multiprocessing, at least having the second CPU "help" doing time consuming tasks (Multimedia, disk I/O; some graphics stuff etc.,).

One of the links went to an article that suggested that the processor could use *different* OS'es in both processors (how about RISC OS *and* ARM Linux ?). That might also be a sales point and might appeal to both Linux fans and RISC OS users too.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/08/06 6:26PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Gad zukes I should learn to write dagnabitt.....

The line "Yes if you're a big fan of that other OS and don't (ultimately) care what happens to RISC OS that might make sense - but for us RISC OS adherents it sounds very much like appealing. "

Should end on.. but for us RISC OS adherents it sounds very much *less* appealing.

You can all stop blinking and rubbing your eyes now ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/08/06 6:14PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

David Boddie wrote >"Ironically, the GPL, while wrongly perceived to be an anti-commercial license by many people, might be more appropriate than other more permissive licenses, such as the modified (or new) BSD license, simply because it doesn't allow the code to be forked then closed."

If RO [source] were forked and then closed that might not be a particularly good thing, in such a circumstance yes perhaps GPL would be better. Thing is arriving at a situation where the future of RISC OS is assured and that it continues to run on native hardware (as this gives best compatibility and performance IMHO) is I believe the best outcome. If that were by using GPL, BSD, some bespoke license or even just remaining closed so be it.

David Boddie wrote>"In the end, I'd be more interested in seeing the source to various applications so that I could figure out their file formats and convert my data to open formats, rather than looking at the WIMP source, for example, and trying to figure out how I could get RISC OS applications running on another system using a compatibility layer. "

I can understand that, but you do see how that might give some people a bad case of jitters. The phrase "get RISC OS applications running on another system using a compatibility layer" - how does that help RISC OS ? Does it simply give another OS the ability to run RISC OS programs (in a fashion) and further weaken RISC OS ?

Yes if you're a big fan of that other OS and don't (ultimately) care what happens to RISC OS that might make sense - but for us RISC OS adherents it sounds very much like appealing.

David Ruck wrote>"If you have the source you can feed it in to a cross assembler and have that spit out code for any other architecture."

Perhaps I was a little rash - but ok I'll accept that.

David Ruck wrote >"With a couple of passes you can even optimise the nasty 2 operand register poor x86 junk resulting from our beautiful ARM instructions, although going straight to the slightly less crap x86/64 would be a better idea"

Still though it is difficult to hold back the tears isn't it !!!!!

If your speed estimates are even close to being right (and given your expertise I'd be prepared to accept them on face value) then that would allow RISC OS "on" x86 to be a possibility, trouble is what OS would it run on Windows/Linux or would it in fact be "stand alone" (but that would need a lot of work surely). Thing is it all sounds like a recipe where the coffin has another nail hammered in..... is that *really* where we want to go ?

Just because something is technically feasible does not make it the right thing does it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/08/06 6:11PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

David Boddie>Actually, please don't get me wrong, I make *no* criticism of Linux or the GPL. In fact Linux has acchieved a quite substantial degree of development in the face of Windows - which is no mean feat. My comments are more of the nature of how to sustain RISC OS on ARM and advance it as far as *we* can. I am not sure that the GPL route will do this, given where RISC OS is at and who its userbase and likely commercial customers are.

It, in a sense, is the difference between selecting the right strategy to suit RISC OS and that of picking a strategy and hoping it works for RISC OS.

Julian wrote>"I just don't see why Castle should limit RISC OS' development by restraining it to a single processor type."

Let's see. The bulk of RISC OS is written in densely written ARM Assembler (a specific processor), the effort to recode it to either another Architecture (x86 ?) or even to a High Level Language (C/C++) so as to gain portability would be - to be frank - a complete waste of what limited resources are available.

Additionally the only *real* advantage RISC OS has is (IMHO) the fact of this close, frugal, efficient "closeness" of the OS and CPU. Yes it makes the OS tied to one processor (that is a weakness I'll concede) but at the same time gives you the massive gain of performance that allows what should be a treakle slow processor (600MHz) in many instances gives a responsiveness of CPUs clocked much quicker. And there are faster ARM's in the wings (see the other article on Drobe about the new IOP from Intel)

To simply "port for the sake of porting" is absurd, if people want portability they'd be better advised taking an existing portable OS (e.g., Linux) and using that to it to *its* fullest extent on commodity hardware (e.g., x86) rather than trying to batter RISC OS into a space it doesn't really suit or belong in. RISC OS is RISC OS, it is close to the ARM and runs optimally on it.

Andrew Flegg asked >"I'd be very interested to know what you think RISC OS' competition is, and what they could/would "cherry pick" from it."

Any of the applications (e.g., Draw, BBC BASIC), the range of fileformats and utilities that come with RISC OS. The antialiasing system. Core technologies within RISC OS that are optimised for ARM (IRQ/FIQ handlers, Arithmetic functions).

RISC OS's competition is basically any OS that can draw away RISC OS's users. That would definitionally be Windows, Linux and possibly Mac OS X.

It's difficult for RISC OS to exist and keep its userbase I don't see how letting the whole world have free and unfettered access to the RO source will help RISC OS, especially given that many of the potential developers who might wish to use the OS under (say) GPL terms might be more inclined to simply use any useful RO features in their favoured OS rather than necessarily helping RO itself (- that again is *not* a critism of those developers they'd be entitled to do this under a GPL style license).

But guess what my interest in *the survival of RISC OS*. If someone can show me how opening RO to GPL use can actually *save* RISC OS (and not simply transfer features to another OS with no benefit to RO) then I'd enthusiastically support it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/08/06 10:35PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

Again good news.

With a larger 512KB cache and 1MB of on chip RAM (not to mention higher clock speed) I could forsee the performance being better than x3 times the Iyonix CPU's performance. As to using the second processor I am sure that some tasks could be "offloaded" to it. Even if that were *not* the case - just having *one* CPU at 1.2GHz with that extra cache would still make it worthwhile doing.

Not so bad for a family of chips some pundits pronounced as dead is it ? :-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/8/06 4:17PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

markee174>Well yes both companies *do* have a different business model.

But here's the thing, to develop an OS you *must* document it (otherwise your own developers' don't have anything to work off). Therefore documentation *always* costs. ROL *used* to sell the PRMs for around 30 Quid (if I remember correctly), surely they could do so again and simply "tag on" the Select documentation and make some of the money back.

As I argued before documentation on the net acts as an "advertisement" showing off what you've done and what extra functionality your OS provides. Otherwise who knows really what Select does (I've never used it - how difficult *would it* be to program). I don't know and can't find out - other than by buying it. In the case of Iyonix I can read in gory details all about the extensions to FileCore, changes to Unicode support and so on - at least I have some notion before I buy. You get the feeling off the Castle site that they *want* you to know how it works and what it does, while the ROL site gives you some bullet point features but no detail on the API which from a programmers perspective would be interesting and more likely to encourage interest and (even) a sale.

ROL need *positive* publicity and some good will - surely making their documentation available either freely (on the net) or for a nominal charge (like they did with the PRM CD) would be a realitively low cost way of getting such positive publicity?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/8/06 6:31PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

David Ruck wrote>"If there is the opportunity to take RISC OS forward in ways which wont happen without open access to the source, and all we can do is bitch about the type of licence, then its time to walk away."

I very much agree with this. I think it is also significant that many of the people critical of the license choice would be fans of Linux. [I'd qualify that by saying there is *nothing* wrong with this - and Linux is a fine Operating system]. The problem is we're discussing the survival of *RISC OS*, last time I checked Linux wasn't on the endangered species list...

That being the case the license chosen should (a). Bolster RISC OS (b). Not aid the competition (c). Protect and where possible enhance the existing RISC OS hardware and software manufacturers. I don't believe this is best acchieved by a GPL style license. The license used, I would argue, should prevent re-use of RISC OS source in non-RISC OS operating systems (to prevent "cherry picking") and should prevent use of RISC OS under emulation/translation on other platforms. The commercial aspects of the license are Castle's business, its *their* software so ultimately it's their choice as to what they do with it - surely ?

And no Julian simply having an ARM on your computer's southbridge doesn't mean it's "ok" to develope and run RISC OS on an x86 (besides not all Southbridge have ARM's and most PC owners wouldn't be able to tell so could not be certain they'd complied with the license). The license therefore should (IMHO) explicitly state that RISC OS can only be used by a *native* ARM processor and that the emulation of or translation of ARMCode to x86 or other binary for execution on a non-native processor is expressly forbidden.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/08/06 6:08PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

tamias wrote>"People who want to support ROL as essentially a charity venture, to donate funds for the good of the platform as a whole."

That may be the laudible intention but the trouble is it *fails* surely? Something that can seriously p***es off subscribers who pay and get nothing within the period of a subscription is *bad* for the platform.

It could be argued that the delays have damaged ROL's credibility and may have moved people *off* the platform, it will have prompted others to not resubscribe (I refer you to David Ruck above) and then (to cap it all) ROL have provided an OS to emulator products that have lured (I would argue) a fair proportion of RO users away to Windows.

Sensible things like opening providing documentation freely (online) or for a nominal charge (on CD) would engender some good will at relatively little development cost or financial expense - and even this ROL have not seen the wisdom of doing.

Again I ask if *Castle* can do this - why can't ROL ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/8/06 5:34PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Julian> Thanks for your considered reply.

You wrote "I don't support the Iyonix, because it does not offer enough processing power."

But at one time both Iyonix and Omega *co-existed* yet you supported Omega - yet Omega's CPU is slower and its FPGA was largely used to implement a "RiscPC" like environment rather than any sort of processing acceleration. The Omega when I seen it did not seem to run rings round the Iyonix so for all the difference the FPGA made it seem (other than easing the design) it seemed to acchieve little.

I can't imagine MD would have been too keen on people "reprogramming" the FPGA (given the disasters that users might inflict on themselves...). The small FPGA on the Iyonix is reprogrammable - but dedicated to machine functions - I only mentioned it as having an FPGA does *not* mean extra performance - that in fact it's an indicator of nothing in particular.

I'd agree with you that performance of native ARM RISC OS machines *need* to improve. If that were to happen then using OSS code (as it stands - unoptimised for RISC OS) would become more feasible - and also the second option of more native RISC OS might become more attractive to developers.

The key thing is that newer hardware comes - and perhaps open sourcing RISC OS *might* encourage others who have not considered writing for RISC OS to do so. But as with much else here it's all speculation....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/08/06 6:48PM
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On New Iyonixes shipping with Nvidia FX52 cards:

Need to correct myself I do.

According to the article one component (an Ethernet chips) is non compliant, so a redesign of that part of the motherboard is required. Should read more carefully in future, appologies all. Normal service is now resumed.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/8/06 5:53PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

API information helps programmers appreciate *what* ROL is offering. Hide those API's and the programmers have less information to base a purchasing decission on. Think of the API documentation as a sort of clever "advertisement".

Yes there *is* logic to the proposition that without Select a programmer would have no way to *test* the software - but Castle provide their API information to all (including *non-Iyonix* owners). In that way programmers are aware of and can allow for differences between OS versions. Yes before release they'd need to either test code themselves (on an Iyo) or pass it to someone who has one - and guess what this method does seem to work. So why can't it be made work for Select?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/8/06 5:31PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Julian wrote>"The reason I supported the Omega, was that in its finished state it would have offered a hell lot more processing power than any standard PC workstation (through the use of user-programmable FPGA-space)"

As it was never finished that would be a safe bet wouldn't it ? ;)

As to a hell of a lot of processing power the *actual* Omega out there in processing terms is not much better than a RISC PC (other than faster memory access and disk access). The Iyonix would have more processing power (and it too has an FPGA - albeit a simple one) - so why not support it?

Julian wrote>"The only way we can hope to get back to a state where RISC OS might be considered a fully-featured desktop/workstation computing platform, is by utilising the vast amount of open-source code out there and stick RISC OS frontends on it"

While I would have sympathy with that viewpoint it doesn't really address the glaring problem inherent in this. Most OSS code is pure C or C++ it is often written to be portable (in other words *not* optimised for any particular platform). The end result of this is the more complex OSS code when converted for the RISC OS environment is (sad to say) bloated and slow. While Firefox is a good advertisement of what *can* be acchieved it, subjectively, it appears slower to me than say Origano 2 (which itself is pretty slow even on an Iyonix).

The fastest, most useable applications on RISC OS tend to be a mix of C or BASIC and ARM Assembler. OSS from the Linux or BSD camps won't be that - it'll usually be pure C/C++ and designed for machines that run somewhat faster processors, have more RAM and less resource constraints.

Given the choice would you prefer to run Firefox on a RISC OS machine or a PC ? In short side by side people would (I believe) opt for running such Open Source code on a PC running Windows or Linux over a RISC OS machine running the same app.

The best solutions IMHO are either (a). Faster RISC OS machines that would allow "slow complex" code like that to be run effectively or (b). More "native" RISC OS application development - that makes use of OSS where possible but is optimised for ARM RISC OS use where required.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/08/06 5:21PM
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On New Iyonixes shipping with Nvidia FX52 cards:

Good news then on a number of fronts. It's understantable that RO5.XX upgrades are now chargeable items as support for newer Video cards and USB 2 (with Isosynch ????) are in the offing. Also purchasers know that the upgrades exist before they buy (rather than subscribe in advance as is the Select model).

As to the RoHS stuff the original article was a classic red-herring, the components used are available in RoHS compliant variants, the motherboard need not be redesigned *at all*, all it requires is Lead free "thinning" and the use of RoHS compliant components.

martin>No redesign is required.... if you use RoHS compliant, pin compatible parts, and a motherboard that simply uses an appropriate substrate (a complaint one) and no lead in its construct then the whole thing would work like the Iyonix but be RoHS compliant (other than upping the PCB version number no other changes should be required). That having been said it would be *nice* if we could get an uprated machine.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/8/06 4:59PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

JDC>Yep, it's to a large extent all speculation - just (to a large extent) like the article.

JWCR>Indeed I agree with you on many of your points. The thing is RISC OS runs *best* on ARM, no emulation required etc. I'd also caution that open sourcing RISC OS has *no implication* for the availability (or otherwise) of Castle's hardware. The OS and the Hardware are *separate issues*. In fact if open sourced it may be possible for Castle to better leverage the hardware designs that they have. In fact they *could* have a bit of a renaissance (selling the motherboard and access to the source to "enthusiast" developers). This (and sales of the C/C++ tools) and "minor" license royalty charges may be enough to keep the development going. Be sure that if Castle *do* open source RO - they *still* have to make money somewhere (consultancy and hardware) that being the case I'd suspect *more* hardware development will happen *not* less.

And before our Linux inclined friends pipe up - I'll add the comment that Open Source (in it's fullest sense) could have RISC OS running (under a free emulator or after some form of "translation") on Windows. Think of it as a free alternative to Virtual Acorn. Open sourcing RISC OS may just move more people to Windows.... (personally after the Native on Arm option, the next most favourable option would be Linux - but there is *no* guarantee of that).

If RISC OS were open sourced I'd suggest that it use its own specific license (there is precidence for this in things like the Mozilla License). The license could explictly forbid the reuse of the source in other OS'es (to stop "cherry picking"), restrict use to ARM or compatible hardware - but otherwise leave people free to contribute and obtain source.

Julian>Come on man, you used to be a big supporter of Omega and *now* rather than fall in behind the most advanced remaining RISC OS compatible machine (Iyonix) you'd rather support moving us all to Linux and x86 - is it *really* that difficult to encourage people to support native hardware even if it happens to be from Castle ? Really ?

Anyway I don't know why everyone is getting so worked up about a largely speculation based article. All or none of the above may occur, we've seen all the horror stories already (e.g., Iyonix CPU out of production, EU bans Iyonix, Castle ate my hamster) so just take it all with a pinch of salt - wait and see.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/08/06 4:56PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

JDC>In my humble opinion probably the only part of the article that *isn't* speculation is the part where the Archive article is quoted as saying that Castle is *considering* open sourcing RO.

And that is still no more or less than *considering*. It *may* or *may not* happen.

If one were to assume that Castle *were* to open source RISC OS (and remember it's RISC OS 5 - they don't have full source for Select as parts of that are ROL's baby) your assertion that RO5 development would cease is no less speculative than the whole article.

If RO5 were open sourced programmers would be free to add to it User Interface features that parallel those in Select (without using Select Sources either). The end result would be a more portable/modern RISC OS that users could use *instead of select* and yet not lose the Select UI features yet gain all of RO5's advantages. Programmers could enhance CDFS and other bits and pieces... in short rather than having a limited development resource there would be a rather broad one supporting RO5.

The question then would be what of ROL and Select ? Indeed......

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/08/06 7:27PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Andrew> Ok, so (somehow) Drobe have inferred that Castle *didn't* pay Tematic staff their due, yet you as one of said staff have just confirmed that "to the best of your knowledge" Tematic was shut down in an entirely honourable fashion.

Ok, so Drobe seem to have got it wrong.

Ah but then it is an article about Castle, that explains it ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/08/06 6:39PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

flypig > No problem !

Markee wrote >"I thought the article implied RO Open might get access to ther source code in lieu of backpay."

The article does indeed imply that that's the case, but is that substantiated anywhere independantly, and surely if Castle feel obliged to "open source" RO as a means of "paying" RISC OS Open/Tematic former employees then what PW (or his shares) says doesn't matter a jot does it? Which brings me back to my original question about the whole shares/open sourcing mallarkey.

nx wrote >"If PW did convice Castle to Open source while he had his shares, then there would be no incentive for RO Open to buy the shares after the event - why bother"

Indeed, which was the whole point of my line of argument. Buying/not buying the shares has (IMHO) *no* effect if the current article is correct. In fact in one prior Drobe article it appeared as if one of the RO Open participants wasn't even aware of PW putting his shares up for sale when they started their little endeavour.

I quote - When asked if there was any connection between Pattotek [Peter Wild's company] selling off its Castle stake and the appearance of RISC OS Open, Steve [Revill] added: "I don't know what the rumours are but I only learned about the proposed sale of shares by Pete Wild on Thursday July 6. I can't really think of any way that this will affect what RISC OS Open is planning."

[extract from Drobe article [link]]

Safest thing to do for the moment (IMHO) is to wait and see what Castle decide, speculation gives me indigestion ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/08/06 8:03PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

flypig>Man it's all speculation isn't it anyway. PW seemed to be keen on OpenSourcing RO, yet was trying to sell his shares which would remove his ability to influence that decision surely. It was also hinted (I believe) on Drobe that RO Open might be buying the shares. Surely the best way for PW to influence Castle's deliberations surely would be to do so *while he held onto the shares*, once sold his influence would be zero. If on the other hand he was actively promoting Open Sourcing RISC OS then this had got us no further than having Castle "consider" doing so, I can't believe anyone else purchasing the shares would do any better.

And in the end, in any event, Castle could *still* decide to say "nope we're fine with things as they are", 25% of shares don't outvote 75% of shares last time I checked.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/08/06 10:31PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

Mark/Vince>You're right what was I thinking of... and there I was worried about winning the lottery interfering with my social schedule, I deserve to be criticised. I'll make appropriate arrangements forthwidth :-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/08/06 10:23PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

VinceH>Actually I deliberately put off winning the lottery for three weeks....

As to my original point it still stands, considering something doesn't mean it will happen. My point about why changing the ownership of 25% of Castle's voting shares should make a difference also stands. I mean Peter Wild has written at some length as to *why* it would be a good idea to open source RISC OS, he has the 25% of the shares - surely if that *means* anything then he'd have recommended that (and had that outcome already). Simply handing that 25% to someone else I don't believe will make any difference. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

nx wrote>"Now that Castle have effectively got rid of all their hardware and software engineers I reckon the same thing is going to happen all over again. We'll have another variant of RO."

Have they, or is that just another Drobe "look the Iyonix CPU is out of production", "the EU has banned the Iyonix" type rubbish is it?

If that were true then it would mean no more new native hardware to run RISC OS. Might as well shrug my shoulders and content myself with writing C# code on windows as effectively RISC OS would be dead. When RISC OS becomes something you emulate on a PC (and only on a PC) then I see little point in continuing with it. Feel free to disagree, I'll refer you to Monty Python's dead parrott sketch which adequate would sum up that situation if it were to occur ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/08/06 9:38PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

I remain to be convinced *any* of this is going to happen.

We have Peter Wild originally suggesting that RO be open sourced, the inference being that if *his* shares were bought that somehow Castle would be "persuaded" to open source RISC OS. Point is he had *plenty* of oppertunity to make Castle see the "wisdom" of that course while *he* held the shares yet RO5 is still *closed*, so how come? Was it (i). He couldn't persuade them (ii). 25% just don't cut it ? Either being the case I don't see why changing the ownership of 25% of the voting stock and handing it to RO Open will make much difference. I asked this question before and NO ONE bothered to answer.

As to the central contention that Castle are "considering" opensourcing it - well I am considering winning the Lottery - but that doesn't mean it's going to happen ;-). No company with any nouse would *not* consider all its options - this does not necessarily translate into any considered course being taken though.

If (and this is a conjecture) RISC OS were to be open sourced - then I'd suspect some parts would be open while others would be "binary only* (as others have suggested). Regarding the nature of the license it doesn't need to be (and probably shouldn't be) GPL. Possibly LGPL or perhaps even a license "concocted" for the RISC OS release (and this could be open enough to allow code sharing and development without damaging RO's commercial prospects (e.g., restricting use to native ARM hardware (no emulation), non-porting to other OS'es and so on - all measures to prevent any useful bits being stripped from RO by "oppertunists" who'd take without giving back to the platform).

That all being said I still think there are elements of Drobian speculation at work - and would be more comfortable hearing the outcome of Castle's consideration from the horse's mouth (as it were). In short let's all wait and see what happens.

As for ROL, I think Nelson of the Simpsons says it best "Ha, Ha...."

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/08/06 7:45PM
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On Keystroke and Blinds released for free:

Sorry to see Stuart shutting down Quantum - but I wish him well for the future and thank him for the nice gesture.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/8/06 9:41PM
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On Iyonix banned by new EU green law:

Well it turns out that the CPU is available in an RoHS compliant version (so that's one show stopper out of the way ([link]) - and enter 80321 to get the info).

If the same is true of the other support chips (I suspect it probably is) then all that may be required is to use leadfree solder and (perhaps) use a different substrate in the PCB (assuming that is not currently compliant - and it may well already *be* compliant). No complex re-design may be required at all.

All in all another one of those "Iyonix CPU is going out of production" [Scream sound effect] stories when it's probably more likely a case of "nothing to see here, move along".

Can't personally imagine Castle sitting on their collective backsides and letting themselves go out of business because they didn't read the EU RoHS requirements.... but still if it makes you happy to think that they have - who am I to rain on your parade ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/8/06 1:41PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

A more general question (maybe someone can explain this to me....)

Peter Wild has 30% of Castle's voting stock... He has stated he's in favour of open sourcing RISC OS.


Now if this is such a good idea, and if that 30% of voting stock has such influence why hasn't he [Peter Wild] recommended it to (and persuaded) Castle to do it *already*. If he couldn't or can't - why should these shares if bought by (say) RISC OS Open or any other user group succeed where he failed ?

Just a thought.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/07/06 1:30PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

GuestX>Thanks for that URL. By the way I wasn't actually making any comment about Peter Bondar's "concept" rather pointing out that the userbase didn't like the notion of having RISC OS reduced to running on a card incide an Apple PowerPC machine.

David Boddie>Indeed I wasn't saying there weren't Database or other OSS apps available on *other* platforms (such as Linux, BSD etc.,) but rather that simply having OSS didn't necessarily mean that they'd be ported to RISC OS. Biggies (like Firefox) brought to RISC OS are rarities (unfortunately) - and I don't believe open sourcing the OS will change that - why should it ? Other OSS software (or software released with Source on ROS) does occur but usually it is the product of small groups or sole developers who *would* have produced it on RISC OS irrespective of RISC OS's open or closed status.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/07/06 1:26PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

Andrew Flegg wrote >"who's going to design and build the hardware to house such an ARM for a desktop computer likely to sell in the hundreds"

No one.

But here's the thing, the ARM based hardware can be "dual" tasked - to act as both a desktop product and as another dedicated product (e.g., NAS controller, Set top box or whatever). To extent that's already happened (with the Iyonix and A9Home). It's a matter of *keeping it happening*.

ARM hardware is *thankfully* improving - can have VFP (Vector Floating Point), can have larger secondary cache, can even have cache coherency (bus snooping). And finally even ARM is discussing migration to smaller geometries (65nm and below). All of this means considerable performance improvements *even* if the clock rates remained the same (and yes they're to increase too).

Will anyone build a box with hoards of "interlopers" whose interest seems more to promote "Linux" and "The GPL" than to support RISC OS ? I'll quickly qualify that by saying I have used Linux (even have it on one of my boxes at home) - and nothing against it - but simply suggesting that RISC OS can be "saved" by getting it to run on Linux is no more a realistic prospect than putting it on Windows.

David Boddie wrote >"The rampant denial about the advantages of open source development in the RISC OS world."

Where ? OSS can be used for apps (like Firefox) and other applications at the moment. So how come there's no open Database products, open DVD ripper/decoders. If the number of OSS apps for RISC OS can be counted on the fingers of one hand - then why oh why should Opening RISC OS change things ? The reality is (IMHO) that the problem is a shortage of developers. Yes opening RISC OS may encourage some "non" RISC OS developers to port some RO features into Linux (say) - but I can't say that that would translate as a sudden upsurge in improvements of the native platform or RISC OS itself - but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/07/06 7:08PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

Julian>Yes I have noted that you have *not* suggested that we don't use the ARM. Your suggestions would, however, mean that the concept of a desktop ARM based computer running RISC OS natively would cease (IMHO), which I think would be a bad thing.

SimonC>"whilst it's on the hardware it's currently on it won't ever be able to compete"

Yes - but the solution is not to say let's decamp to an x86 based Linux box that either emulates (or better still) runs an x86 binary (translation) of the ARM RISC OS code. Thing is that there are *faster* ARM's on the way, with large caches, higher clockrates and smaller geometries (all which boost performance). ARM *has* to up their game - now, IMHO, is *not* the time to leave.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/07/06 6:58PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

Julian>I believe it was Peter Bondar who originally suggested putting a StrongARM on a PCI card and fitting it to a PowerPC (which I suppose if Acorn were sidling up to Apple at the time might make sense to them). It was, however, resoundly rejected by the user base. I'd also remind you that apple have gotten out of the PowerPC business so if we *had* followed that path we'd have been right properly stuck (also the RPC, Iyonix, Omega and A9 would never have happened....).

Now you're suggesting the same approach....

The *best* option is to keep RISC OS running on ARM (I'd point out that Arm have now announced support for 65nm and 18nm processes - this would represent a substantial speed up). Now is *not* the time to jump ship.

As to many of the suggestions made here to "open source" RISC OS inevitably "Linux" is presented as part of the solution. Now I don't have an issue with Linux (I have my own RH Linux machine at home) - but I don't want to see Linux get more users at the expense of RISC OS - which is what a lot of the suggestions here seem to amount to.

Besides (as David Ruck pointed out) "they [RISC OS users] do care about is having RISC OS applications that allow them to do the same thing with a computer as they see everyone else doing". Point is that Intel and Microsoft and the MPAA/RIAA seem to be pushing DRM that (effectively) would prevent anything *other than* Windows from using HD-DVD or other (modern) multimedia. That means whether you'd use Linux or RISC OS you're in the same boat - eventually you just simply *won't* be able to view Videos or play music on anything other than a Microsoft OS box.

So does an "open RISC OS" need Linux or would it work just as happily on top of Windows ? If the options of doing modern Multimedia requires WINDOWS what do you think the likely outcome is going to be....

A closed source RISC OS might be able to *license* the DRM technology (a more likely outcome than Linux getting it I would have thought) - and with faster ARM hardware on the way it may also become a technically possible outcome (remember MS are trying to get into the Consumer Electronics (CE) market - it might be possible to classify RISC OS machines in those terms especially in the embedded CPU space). It *might* be possible to use MS DRM *within* a RISC OS environment running on faster native ARM hardware.

Yes I do know DRM is evil - but when people click on a video and it won't play they will simply buy a platform that *can* run it - and before long that may just be Windows. Pushing for ROS running on Linux might simply result in RISC OS running on Windows - an option I for one would certainly not be keen on.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/07/06 1:46PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

JDC & Julian>But guys it may be better to support one architecture really well than support several *badly*. The most successful OS vendor in the World (Microsoft) once offered NT on several platforms (MIPS/ARC; DEC Alpha as well as traditional x86), eventually they dropped the whole notion and NT's successors (2000 and XP) are x86 only.

Not many OS'es these days have as much of their Kernel and supporting layers written in Assembler as RISC OS does. The reason why RISC OS is *in any way* as responsive at embarrasingly low clock rates as it is is *precisely* for that reason. As Jan Rinse points out there *are* more capable ARM's out there than there were - and more on the way. Now is *not* the time to dissapate all the effort in supporting a diverse range of non-ARM CPU's when more suitable hardware is arriving.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/07/06 4:04PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

adrianl wrote>"The speed loss you anticipate from converting to a high level language is far from obvious to me."

There surely would be some, if (say) 1 in 5 instructions were branches to call support functions in the compiled code - if there wasn't much "inlining" and so forth surely there'd be some hit. After all why would anyone *willingly* welcome the suffering of coding in Assembler when a *high level* language with equivalent performance is available.

I accept your point about instruction ordering and compiler optimisations for specific pipeline architectures. And given newer ARM's such as Cortex this is likely to be even more important in future.

adrianl wrote>"Whilst there may not be enough developers out there to make dramatic improvements to RISC OS, were it ever open sourced, they are still a superset of the developers that have tried to work on it commercially over the past few years, many of whom have been forced to depart."

That also I would agree with.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/07/06 7:35PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

John Cartmell wrote>"I find it amusing that those who have been critical of VA now seem to be positive about an Open RISC OS that would inevitably dump ARM processors. "

No there is nothing inevitable about "open sourcing" RISC OS causing it to be "ported" to other processors (although having it open sourced would *increase* the chance of that). David Ruck was positing how hypothetically ARM code *could* be re-coded for another architecture. Given his creation of the excellent Armalyser I think he'd be ideally positioned to comment on the theoretical possibilities of such a venture. I don't believe he was suggesting that it *should* be done but rather how it *might* be done.

JC also wrote>"It's possible that RISC OS could play an important role in the future - but that's less likely if it's taken over by those intent only on getting it to run on 'standard' hardware. "

That is *RICH* coming from you..... You coined the phrase "Hybrid computer" and waxed quite lyrical about VA running on machines that are *precisely that* 'standard hardward'. So remind me again how is that different from what the others are suggesting...... I'd also point out that the processors suggested by others *did not* only specify x86 - Peter Wild (for example) suggested Mips - an honourable and well known RISC processor.

I'd also caution you that VA means (in effect) embracing MS-Windows and becoming dependant on Microsoft - porting to non-x86 or even x86 (sans windows) would *not* involve that. That having been said I can't find much enthusiasm for the notion of RISC OS being moved off ARM - it's what it runs best on and is where (IMHO) it should remain.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/07/06 7:24PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

GuestX>Actually I was quite impressed by Peter Wild's contribution - however I wouldn't necessarily agree that the solution is simply GPLing the whole kit and kaboodle.

Amongst other things he wrote "RISC OS’s biggest plus is also its Achilles heel - it only runs on ARM (obviously). With 70% of the OS kernel being hand optimised ARM assembler it has an enormous performance benefit in its core functionality over compiled OSs such as Linux, VXWorks or Nucleos"

We *lose* big plus the moment we code in a high level language so that the applications and OS can be run on a processor other than ARM. It probably also isn't really necessary as later ARM's (such as the Cortex) may well offer significant speed boosts.

While I respect Linux developers their interest is *Linux* not *RISC OS* so why should they chip into help ? That leaves the RISC OS developers - but are there enough to make this viable ?

If RISC OS was opened sourced (in the GPL sense) what you'd probably find is any useful bits of RISC OS would be "converted" and dropped into Linux - and all that would happen is you'd have a more enhanced Linux taking more of the embedded/handheld device share of the market in competition with "open" RISC OS which would slowly die.

If you asked me what *could* be done. Well I'd say that the developers of the OS (e.g., Castle/ROL) should provide a stimulus for development by identifying areas where the OS could be enhanced - and granting experienced developers access to source for specific upgrades. If the changes are accepted the OS vendor "rewards" to the developer (money+acknowledgement/discounts on the vendors products etc.,). This work could be organised in a collaborative manner by small groups with team leaders appointed by the vendor (in effect this leverages the developers they have - acchieving more than they could with the current limited numbers of internal staff). Another approach would be to launch "competitions" for developers to produce OS enhancements (again with access provided to source where required under conditions of non-disclosure).

This sort of approach may take some of the better aspects of the "open source" style of development - without endangering the future of RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/07/06 9:27PM
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On Castle USB to get audio, video support:

jamesp>That's quite true - an ingenious solution too.

I must complement you on your site discussing the USB API ([link]) very informative it is too.

Making a module implement DeviceFS and calling down to the Simtec stack would definately provide the programmer with a coherent single API interface (at the the expense of some lost speed). Any USB device supported in that way would then have the virtue of running on Castle Iyonix/RPC USB Podule/A9Home/Simtec Podule. Probably as close to a single USB API as we're likely to get that can run on all platforms.

It would *not* however provide additional functionality not afforded by the Simtec stack itself (it wouldn't magically add Isosynchronous transfers or USB 2 if the underlying stack didn't know how to do this). But at least it *might* allow the task of supporting USB devices in a crossplatform manner that little bit easier.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/7/06 8:47PM
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On Castle USB to get audio, video support:

fylfot>Think about it logically for a sec. We currently have *two* USB stacks. One of those stacks (the DeviceFS/Castle one) is getting Isosynchronous transfer support added. Nothing else has changed - no extra fragmentation (isosync is *part* of the USB standard so should already have some representation in both stacks- even if the actual functionality was not implemented).

In response to hzn I was suggesting that we standardise on the stack that has the most capabilities (and I'd consider Isosync a *biggie*). That stack would be the Castle/DeviceFS one - if it were adopted by *all* vendors then we'd have *less* fragmentation. I am not sure how acchievable that is (are there commercial/business/licensing or technical issues that would prevent Castle's USB stack being deployed on an A9) but the suggestion I made is, I feel, more likely to yield the best overall results. Certainly more so than trying to implement an overarching abstraction layer that accomodates the existing two stacks - or going back to square one and coming up with a single unified (but different) third USB stack model.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/7/06 7:50PM
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On Castle USB to get audio, video support:

hzn>Support the USB stack that has the most applications then - that would the DeviceFS/Castle one. Besides the Castle one offers USB2 while the Simtec one doesn't (though to be fair this is a hardware limitation).

Isosynchronous support is one of those *must have* features (and full marks to John Ballance and associates on that). I would query though how practical it would be for (video) on the slow podule bus of the RISC PC - it should work better on the Iyonix. Should be the encouragement I need now is to upgrade beyond 5.03 and get the USB 2.......

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/7/06 1:24PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

Whether Firefox/Netsurf prove (or disprove) the usefulness of "open source" is neither here nor there.

As to the substantial point of open sourcing the OS is that *really* a runner? The number of developers here in RISC OSland is somewhat limited - so the scope for large "community based" initiatives are limited. There is also the question of co-ordination (if we can't get a coherent approach with just *two* variants of RISC OS what of 3, 4 or 5 versions or subversions as different developers find new ways to produce a "re-invented wheel with unique features").

You'd have some slow OS improvement - and absolutely or almost no Application development (and who wants an OS without a decent WP/Browser/<insert your desired application type here>;).

As to the argument that telcos require an "open source OS" is - if you don't mind me saying it - misleading. You'd probably find that they'd be happy enough with an OS that adheres to "open file formats/open comms protocol use" and where the source is kept in escrow so that (if) the OS vendor goes belly up that the telcos aren't left twisting in the wind.

As to the argument about getting RO running on different platforms most of these are *not* manufactured by Castle/Ad6 or anyone with a *real link* with the RISC OS community. Many come with PalmOS or WindowsCE (which you pay for even if you *do* replace them with ROS) and that means that the limited hardware spend people have will be "spread out" to encompass companies that have *no* need/wish to support ROS users. It would effectively *kill* the desktop RO machine market - I'd consider that a very bad thing.

RO5 already is sufficiently hardware abstracted that it could support newer ARM chipsets - it would be best to stick with and develope that rather than dissapate so much energy advocating an approach that would (IMHO) lead to further fragmentation, waste of effort and with the potential loss of the desktop RISC OS hardware sector.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/7/06 1:19PM
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On Ex-Pace staff back RISC OS Open Ltd:

nx wrote>"one thing I have noticed with the Acorn Emulation market is the lack of developers. No one outside our little harccore userbase seems to give two hoots about Acorn / RISC OS which is a real shame."

It lacks developers because RISC OS lacks developers - and whether it's emulated or not that makes little difference. Additionally emulation is somewhat the "mark of death" for a platform - and who would seriously want to write for a dead platform?

Gulli wrote>"It's quite amusing to see that people still think that PDAs are what can save RISC OS"

I agree, I don't think now is the time (3 or 4 years back *maybe*). Additionally the various PDA's have different hardware capabilities and this means they may not fit well with the "structure" of RISC OS (a la ROL) - RO5 might fair better - but still there's the question of *who* would do the coding and how long would it take and could the cost be justified.

RISC OS needs new hardware - trouble is some people seem set on *never* taking hardware from one source (presumably for religious reasons ;) ) and the other hardware vendor seems intent on producing slightly enhanced embedded controllers that can be made "sort of" work like a desktop machine but are somewhat limited.

If that situation were to persist then there'd be no new RISC OS hardware - which would be rather a pity as ARM finally seem to be getting their act together and designing significantly faster chips (e.g., CORTEX) that do a limited form of superscalar, larger caches, have FPU and on int measures are about x10 times faster than StrongARM.

Without *new hardware* then many people will simply *not* persist with the platform - why should they if emulation is the only alternative. If faced with that many would opt for cutting out the middleman (VARPC) and just use Windows *directly*.

As to whether new hardware will happen - who knows - thing is if people don't buy off the existing vendors why *would those* vendors put money up to do it ?

Gulli>Yes there are some things Windows can do that RISC OS can't - but you'll find that some of that is because of Licensing and/or proprietary technology issues (this will increasingly effect Linux in future so a short hop skip and jump to Linux is *not* a solution). MS have cleverly tied up the market and (largely) locked in their users with closed proprietary formats - follow that to its logical conclusion and there is only *one* choice (Windows).

If people want independance from Windows then they *have to accept* that there will *always* be somethings their platform can't do (hardware/OS deficiencies *not* withstanding) and that applies to RISC OS and Linux (though in the case of the latter to a lesser extent). Is that fair or right - no - but who said the world was fair ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/07/06 1:28PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

not_ginger_matt>What makes you think I am upset at *any* of this? In fact I already said (and I'll say it for the *fourth time*) I see nothing wrong in principle with AIF checking.

You wrote "All you're doing is whining at people who actually understand the problems" I don't recall whining (unless you consider my *agreeing* that AIF checking may be useful) to amount to that.

Yes I'll concede I am not particularly pushed about getting Select (but would never have ruled it out) - if it makes you any happier though I'll quite gladly admit with your attitude and insulting behaviour I find little reason in continuing with *any* variant of RISC OS.

Subtract one from the list of RISC OS users then guys.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/7/06 1:44PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

not_ginger_matt wrote>" You [AMS] are assuming that OEM customers want to run 100% of their own code all the time."

How so? It was Ad6 that pointed out that some of their OEM customers required that additional checking be performed - and Ad6 had ROL implement this. I can't say if that means the OEM customers will *always* use only their own code or not.

not_ginger_matt wrote>"If I write a module and don't specify it as 32-bit then it won't run on Select-32 or RISC OS 5. And yet if I package it as an application you think it should? To me that doesn't make Select-32 look deficient, it makes RISC OS 5 look plain stupid. "

Modules are in effect operating system extensions, they have access to a lot of low level stuff - module checking therefore *does* make sense. An application doesn't have that access - but that is not to say that checking it's 32bit status is not a good thing - and if AIF checking is a way of acchieving this *fine* (not having an AIF however *does not* mean an application is *not* 32bit ready). I would caution that the reality is a lot of code out their *doesn't* have AIF headers and never will. Given Paul Stewarts consiliatory article elsewhere it is rather saddening to hear you describe "RISC OS 5 looking plain stupid". I don't recall making such a remark about RO Select and I'd also point out that I have already (twice on this thread) said I had no problem in principle with AIF checking.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/7/06 7:27PM
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On Why so much infighting?:

hEgelia>"In my opinion by far most RO users left wish both streams to re-unite, either literally or functionally."

Actually I am in the *not particularly bothered* camp. It either happens or it doesn't. RO5 does what I need - so having or not having Select is really *not* an issue for me. And that (I hasten to add) is not to denegrate or minimalise ROL's work - its just a personal view with which others can/may disagree.

I'd be mightly upset if in getting "Select features" I lost RO5 functionality - if offered that choice I'd opt for RO5 even if the UI is a little less polished.

Hegelia wrote >"To return to topic, infighting in this market is pointless"

Indeed - but here's the point it isn't actually a matter of "live and let live" but rather RO 5 must die. There is an agenda for some who see RO 5 (and even its users) as a "problem" and that it needs to be killed off. And that unification means (basically) Select is the remaining OS. For me live and let live means *precisely* the opposite - that there *are* two strands of RISC OS - that they address different needs - and that *both* have their own validity.

If Paul's article means that - then I am all for it.

Additionally although there are *two* strands - guess what - given the common heritage there is enough useful work that can be done that *benefits both*. If ROL could see their way to making the Select API documentation freely available that might help keep it such that those common developments can continue.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/7/06 7:55PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

not_ginger_matt wrote >" Having a opt-in/out system for OEM customers/desktop systems wouldn't make the developers address the current deficiencies. "

What that their programs don't always have AIF headers?

I would point out that I did *not* object to the AIF checking in principle, I did suggest it should be *off* by default for desktop users. My reasons for this are multiple:

(1). When a new machine is introduced simply introducing a check that actively *prevents* code from running (code that may well be 32bit compliant and run on the Iyonix (e.g., ABC compiler)) simply creates the impression that the machine running the check (in this case *only* the A9) look deficient ... when in actual fact it would not be.

(2). Much of the code (as stated in the article) is no longer actively being developed - in effect this means it will *never* be made AIF compliant - short of simply bunging any old AIF on at the start (and that simply means programs that are just as likely to "stiff" the machine can pass the "AIF Test" with flying colours - and bring everything crashing down as if there'd been no AIF checking present).

not_ginger_matt wrote>"I personally think AIF checking is a great step forwards"

In what way ? It can be circumvented by just prepending any old AIF header to any old random bit of flakey code. An improvement - yes - but a "great leap forward" only if one is not particularly demanding :)

I'd, however, fully agree with you that its introduction was somewhat unprofessional (especially so shortly after being surprised that A9 needed a 32bit SCL.....).

I'd also agree (and have said it myself before) that Select's API needs to be documented even so that developers that *don't/can't* switch to Select can at least have at least a *chance* to support their customers who do. If Castle can do it with their version of RISC OS there's no reason why ROL can't.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/7/06 6:56PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

With respect Chris it's a *bit much* you critising David Ruck suggesting that "Dave is furious at the delays in the deadline sleep-walking Select 4" and inferring that this is his *major* reason for objecting to AIF checking. I (and many others here) can spot an ad hominem attack when they see it. Also the suggestion that Alan Glover is likewise against AIF for anything other than practical reasons is IMHO poor form on your part.

You could just try to justify the need for AIF checking *in its own right* without kicking the teeth in of people who put in their time supporting the platform - after all how likely would it be that anyone would take RISC OS seriously when there are no developers left using it? If you want to get to that sorry state of play - keep up with editorials like this one.

As it happens I don't have a particular problem with AIF checking - but believe that it should be an "opt in" rather than "opt out" - although certain hardware suppliers (e.g., Ad 6) might choose to opt for the "always on by default" for their OEM customers - why should that be something that has to be imposed on the ordinary user is the question.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/7/06 6:45PM
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On Intel flogs Xscale business to telecoms firm:

Probably the two most pertinent quotes from the joint Intel/Marvell press release is:

"After the close of the transaction, Intel intends to continue manufacturing products currently sold by this business for handheld devices and embedded applications, and to manufacture products that are being designed into upcoming devices. This arrangement is expected to continue while Marvell arranges other manufacturing resources. Intel and Marvell do not anticipate disruptions in the supply of these products due to this planned sale."

The last sentence says it all.

A little confusing is the statement "This planned sale does not impact the ability of other Intel businesses in the networking and storage market segments to continue to use ARM*-based, Intel XScale® processors. Those Intel businesses will be able to continue licensing chip designs directly from ARM Holdings PLC and modifying the designs for their needs."

That might suggest that some ARM/xScale processors *may still be used* by Intel *after* the sale - and that further development may be possible on these.

Either the first/second or both statements could be taken to indicate that there is *no problem* regarding use of the IOP321 in Iyonix or its continued availability - contrary to what two previous drobe stories indicated.

If you want it from the "horses mouth" as it were the relevant link is [link]

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/7/06 6:17PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

Druck>Spot on (and thanks for the link).

Yes our impressions of the situation have been vindicated.

Real pity that the story was portrayed here *twice* by drobe in a rather apocalyptic manner - just gets people worried when the facts actually don't justify such "lurid" commentary.

Still it probably makes for better headlines than "Nothing to see here, move along " :)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/6/06 7:35PM
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On Who are RISC OS Open Ltd?:

JGZimmerle>Yes they can open source the bits they completely wrote - but if you were a Select subsciber would you be *happy* at everyone getting for free stuff you *paid for* ????

Additionally by "significantly altered" how much is that *exactly* 10%, 20%, 60%, 95% or does *any presence* of covered code still entitle the copyright owner (Castle) to a final say if *any* of the covered code is included. I'd remind you of the "partial" release of Printer code by ROL a ways back - but not all the code was released (presumably for such copyright reasons).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/6/06 8:35PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

Further to above on the Marvell site (I quote)

"After the close of the transaction, Intel intends to continue manufacturing products currently sold by this business for handheld devices and embedded applications, and to manufacture products that are being designed into upcoming devices. This arrangement is expected to continue while Marvell arranges other manufacturing resources. Intel and Marvell do not anticipate disruptions in the supply of these products due to this planned sale. "

(reference to link is [link]!468540434?releaseID=581)

The gubbins were sold to Marvell for some 600Million USD.

So as I originally said *nothing to worry about*

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/6/06 7:37PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

Apparently Intel have *just* sold the division that makes PDA chips (presumably including xScale) to an outfit called Marvell (nothing to do with the Fantastic 4 I hope ;).

Details that exist are on [link]

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/6/06 7:30PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

Will>Yes sometimes my typing doesn't go where I want....

When I wrote>"So in effect you're saying that ROL have completely re-written RISC OS and that none of the code from versions licensed to them at all?"

What I *meant* to write was "So you (will) in effect are saying that ROL have re-written *all* of RISC OS and *none* of the code from previously licensed versions are used in it."

I therefore should be able to apply Armulator to any part of it and find *nothing* from the old ROM there.

GuestX>Yes again appologies - so long as code is written without reference to the licensed source then there is no reason for anyone to pay the IP owner any license fee. But I don't think that that can be shown for Select 4 can it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/06/06 8:22PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

Will wrote>"RISC OS Ltd's business sense is very much in line with Acorn's. "

A rather worrying turn of phrase.... it was after all Acorn who pulled the plug on the platform on black Thursday and many believe left their customers in the lurch.

But maybe you meant something else ? :)

will wrote>"Obviously previous Select releases have contained licensed code."

So your read on things seems to be that there were *some* licensed code in Select's *before* 4 but not Select 4 itself.....

So in effect you're saying that ROL have *completely* re-written RISC OS and that *none* of the code from versions licensed to them at all? And they did this between Select 3 (which from your comment *did* contain licensed code) and Select 4 (not released yet - but alledgely a subset of which runs on the A9Home). So in effect ROL with one or two programmers in a year did what Acorn/Pace/Tematic and Castle failed to do since 1999 with dozens of people?

You do realise *even* if that were true *any* ancilliary data and programs used (e.g., BBC BASIC, and all the icons, helpfiles,) would *also* be subject to license. Additionally if what you said were true *anyone* could implement RISC OS without having to pay a license to *anyone* - this would also apply to Castle who could simply implement all of the Select features without paying ROL a penny.

If you ask me it's what your saying is all *totally absurd* - and I've checked it *isn't* April 1st ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/06/06 6:59PM
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On USB ethernet driver in development:

A very useful development indeed, well done James.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/6/06 3:50PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

guestx wrote>"So, even if Castle actually are the owners of the RISC OS code, they are tied to some kind of exclusive licensing arrangement with Pace?"

If I recall correctly (and I am quite happy to accept correction if I am wrong) the license was sold to Castle with "strings attached", I believe that Castle *still* have obligations to Pace (e.g., supporting the version of RO Castle provide Pace and not open sourcing it). Whether this makes sense or not (at one level) is beside the point - in that if the only way Castle had to obtain the license was to do that - I am sure they had little choice but to agree.

Will>To my knowledge RISC OS source is in the hundreds of megabytes of source (and a fair proportion of that ARM assembler). Other than making it 32bit compatible (basically changing the way flags/PSR is used) ROL would have left most of the code untouched - to do otherwise would have made the task *impossible* given the small number of people they had working on it.

I am not denying that ROL *have* added functionality, have "tidied things" and improved the UI - but that is a *long way* from a claim that they re-wrote the whole OS. Also I'd point out it would be relatively easy to check by analysing code from say (3.7) and comparing it to Select 4 and I'd be very surprised if more than a few percent of the code has changed.

Bear in mind Pace had the full source in 1999 and it took them (and subsequently Tematic/Castle) both with large teams until 2002 to produce a 32bit clean OS - on the other hand you expect us to believe that a very small team in ROL managed to re-write the whole OS in *one year*.

Part of RISC OS's problem is that because much of it is assembler it is *difficult* to maintain (on the other hand it makes it relatively fast so that's a two edged sword). It is not within the whim of *anyone*, RISC OS Ltd included, to simply junk the whole thing and start over - if the OS ROL offer contains the original RISC OS code (trust me it *must*) in addition to new code contributed by ROL then ROL still have an obligation under their RO license to the head license owner.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/6/06 3:18PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

Will>With respect.

ROL licensed *RISC OS* from *Pace*. Castle bought Pace's head license. Therefore whatever obligations ROL had to Pace - ROL now have to Castle.

It is *my* understanding from what was published at the time that you are correct that Castle can't (as a condition of purchasing the head license from Pace) GPL the RO5 source - however as *much* of Select is *still* just plain old RISC OS - yes the one Castle own the license for - then the same obligation extends to ROL. That's precisely why I suspect guestx suggested that people buy out Castle's rather than ROL's license as Castle's license is the *main* one.

As to Select 4 yes any parts of it that don't exist in RISC OS are indeed ROL's intellectual property - but given that these run on good old RISC OS (which ROL still have to license) the license terms still exist. I'd point to ROL's partial open sourcing of the Printing system - but they were unable to release *all* of the Printing source for that very reason. They could only release the bit's they made - not the bits that already existed and which they need to license off Pace (now Castle).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/6/06 5:19PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

JGZimmerle>"@AMS: Castel have already stated, that they are willing to sell RISC OS if an interested party turns up. But who ever owns the RISC OS head licence, they can not close down ROL or revoke ROL's licence, because ROL paid a substantial licence fee for it."

What reliable source have you got for that ? Has Castle issued a public statement/press release to that effect?

Even if Castle were to have stated that they would sell the head-license and that they *did* your second point doesn't follow.

Just having "paid a substantial license fee" *does not* guarantee that the licensee [ROL] couldn't lose their license. This *has* happened before to other companies. For example one scenario might be the buyer simply *pays* ROL back their original money - points to some termination clause in the contract and says "bye bye best of luck". Or if they're less *nice* about it they might just tell ROL you breached clause X, Y or Z now get lost....

In any event the *uncertainty* about the intent of a purchaser of the head license might be enough to encourage people to leave (I'd probably be one of them).

Change isn't always good - and at the moment RO is unstable enough without wishing such a change I would have thought!

Besides as ROL seem to be slipping further and further behind schedule it may be more likely that it is they that sell their added value IP back to Castle - now wouldn't that be ironic ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/6/06 9:14PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

hEgelia wrote>"If 32 bit RO4.4x can replace RO5..."

Given the problems ROL are having getting Select 4 running on machines it is more familiar with (like RPC and A9Home) I would not be particularly optimistic about Select appearing anytime soon. To be honest UI changes are less important to me than what the hardware does/can be made to do (in short I'd not opt for Select if I lost *any* of the current functionality of my Iyonix).

As to ROL extracting "drivers" from RO5 to use - this suggests that the drivers and Select would be compatible (given the delay so far who knows....). What if Castle reasonably says "those drivers are for use with the RO5 kernel *only*......

As to Castle selling its RO IPR I sincerely doubt that - and if they did there is no guarantee that a hypothetical buyer (with deep pockets) wouldn't *close down* ROL to avoid competition.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/6/06 2:02PM
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On Euro 2006 show report:

Keyboard short cuts to files on the filer is a commendable idea.

One minor correction Select does *not* offer SATA (Serial ATA a serial rather than parallel bus for hard disks- which requires special hardware and offers potential speed increases) - but rather SMART - an access and performance monitoring system built into the modern disk drives. If the drive starts taking too long accessing sector(s) [indicative of an error or impeding failure] then SMART will show this up.

If RO Select offers a *warning* on impending drive failure that would be a useful feature, of course this should really not be necessary as we all keep backups don't we :)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/6/06 1:50PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

highlandcattle wrote> "they [INTEL] are starting their own line of low-powerconsuming processors based on their x86 line"

Indeed and this potentially represents a threat to *all* ARM based systems. ARM simply have to up the performance (speed) of their processors if they are to stand any chance of holding their market share.

Jwoody>If INTEL are intent on getting rid of a less profitable division then they will. You should factor in that a great many companies have products totally dependant on what are (in effect) INTEL "proprietary" variants of ARM - the companies that use them can't simply "second source" a PXA270 or whatever (as Intel don't allow second source). This means that any organisation that "snaps" up the xScale/Comms/ARM division from Intel will have a somewhat captive audience (the old addage about it being easier to keep an existing customer rather than get a new one applies). And then there's the intellectual property too.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see - particularly as Intel really hasn't officially commented yet.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/6/06 8:37PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

Jwoody>Thanks for the offer of the OBE .... I am impressed that drobe attracts such influential people ;-).

Take a gander at the machines that use Intel's PXA's and xScale chips and you'll find a vertiable "who's who". The division is making an adequate turnover (250Million pa is not to be sneezed at) and if Intel don't get too greedy I am pretty sure they'll find a buyer.

Intel having an architecture license is a biggy - unlike many other players they're not just restricted to ARM7TDMI or 9 or whatever - they can build *any* and can where they want *add* facilities and change the processor pipeline. Having that freedom to exploit ARM - and having the extensive order book that they have may be enough to garner a sale - I would suspect from one of the more communications oriented companies.

OliverB>I don't believe that Castle would sell it. If they did the next owner may not be as relaxed about RISC OS Limited pottering around and selling the OS in the background. So in the interest of both parties it's probably better that Castle hang onto it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/6/06 1:52PM
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On Select subs asked to renew despite no Select 4:

timephoenix wrote>"Assuming that ROL had to pay hefty legal fees during the OS licensing saga, I'm sure that it does. That money could have been spent on hiring an extra programmer, for example."

I think you've missed my point. ROL made promises *after* that was all over - they *would* have known and *should* have made more accurate predictions about time/duration for project completion given whatever constraints they had *at that time*.

How long can the "legal issues" of 2004 be used as an excuse for delay. Surely ROL *now* should be in a position to assert schedules for release given that if they *haven't* allowed for their actual income and ability to hire staff at this stage in the process - so long after the legal issues - would be to suggest a studied stupidity which I don't think they'd be guilty of !!!!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/6/06 1:28PM
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On Select subs asked to renew despite no Select 4:

highlandcattle>Actually that's already happened - remember ROL's endorsement of VARPC - that in effect requires Windows to run RISC OS.

I am pleased to see that Drobe has *once again* used the "legal issues" of the past to suggest that that was the cause of delay. That happened *2 years ago* and ROL promised certain things to be done *after* that date when they *would have known* how much money they had and what impact legal costs would have had. Using that old excuse is lame - really....

ROL have (for their own reasons) reprioritised their developments to suit the A9Home - with the knock on effect on *every other* RO Select subscriber has had to wait. The legal mechanations of 2004 had *nothing* to do with this - and once again RO Select subscribers have taken a hit on the chin.

*THAT* is a large cause of the delay. As it happens in that context the delay is understandable (though for users of older machines a little unfair - given that they've paid in advance and *others* who haven't have seen the benefits).

If this sort of thing continues (e.g., Massive Delay, Issue lists of "Promised features, Subscription Request, further delay) then ROL's credibility will become as good as MicroDigital's - but hopefully that sort of thing won't happen.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/6/06 4:11PM
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On Intel looks for XScale business buyer:

Good news, I spotted comments on this elsewhere. Really this actually a better outcome that previous news on Drobe would have suggested.

Of course we seen this all before when Digital Equipment Corporation sold its production facility (making DEC Alpha and StrongARM processors) to Intel (as part of a court settlement Intel *lost* as it happened....). Intel then proceeded to replace (after several years) the StrongARM with xScale and the IOP range (of which Iyonix's 80321 is one).

This is merely history repeating itself - and if Intel's ARM Architectural license is up for grabs too then the purchaser may have *considerably more freedom* to expand and improve on the performance on the xScale chip range. Overall I'd be optimistic.

In the interim Intel will run the division *as is* until the find a buyer - contrary to the news piece above Intel are *trying to sell the division as a going concern* - so again nothing to panic about.

What has RISC OS'es owner Castle got to do with "selling off the operating system if the price is right" got to do with this story ? RO5 is well positioned to be adapted to support *whatever* new chips the new xScale owner decides to produce. In fact this news may make it more likely for faster newer chips to arise - ie., *not* the best time to jump ship I would have thought.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/6/06 3:56PM
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On Developers divided over RISC OS 4 code checking:

sa110>I aim to please.

And I'd appreciate you keeping quiet about my moonlighting as a comedian, ta ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/6/06 8:18PM
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On Don't rely on Drobe, says R-Comp:

Actually drobe *do* list software updates (their Software Summary type articles) that appear from time to time. If drobe simply reprinted *every* software vendors releases verbatim drobe would make for rather dull reading. I'd expect to see *some* comment on Andrew's release (R-Comp aren't exactly a "nobody" on the RISC OS scene) - that having been said whether it warrants a full page (like this one) is an editorial decission.

Still it makes you wonder why an alledgely "snooty" remark on one site gets a whole page on Drobe - just because it contains an arguably negative reference to drobe. A little less navel gazing is called for guys, ye do a good job - but responding to every remark like that creates a "hostage to fortune" - now any vendor intent on getting publicity on drobe will just rub Drobe's corporate noses in it on some other site first and be guaranteed a full page here.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/6/06 7:00PM
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On Developers divided over RISC OS 4 code checking:

tribbles2>"Which would you prefer - safe operation, or potentially dangerous?"

Personally I'd prefer *safe* - but guess what when people find that a fair proportion of their legacy code *won't* work because of an AIF check (where such software worked for many years before) - and that that software is no longer updated (and therefore will *NEVER* run with such checking) then people may wish to disable such checking.

Short answer ROL own Select but *PEOPLE* own their computers. And a computer that can't run the software you need is *useless*. It would (IMHO) be prudent for ROL to make the check one that is an *opt in* for users (that is users must *explicitly enable it*). Bearing in mind that the USER is then responsible if things DO explode. It could even be stated as such.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/6/06 1:30PM
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On Developers divided over RISC OS 4 code checking:

jc>But the suggestion was that the document suggesting AIF checking was 10 years old...... therefore in that time frame.

And 26bit code can be run under Aemulor (even on the A9) but can it run if it doesn't have an AIF header ?

Jc wrote >"What you are arguing for is a continuation of the situation where software appears to run OK but may cause problems with other software"

No, but then I wasn't arguing people butcher their !Run files to remove checks for the appropriate 32bit SCL then was I ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/6/06 6:02PM
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On Developers divided over RISC OS 4 code checking:

A number of points:

SimonC>"Cutting loose old baggage is almost certainly necessary for survival"

This will no doubt cheer up the (roughly) 50% of RISC OS users who rely on code that is from legacy source and/or unsupported that lack AIF headers.

jc wrote >"to make it [AIF Checking] worthwhile software writers do have to take the hint and make their programs adhere to the standards"

And when the software writers left in 1998 and their code is still in use what then? Are wheels to be reinvented? are the current (small) number of developers left expected to make up for the failures of the past 10 years - is this even *fair*?

I am pleased to note ROL allow the option to disable the AIF checking (a wise move) and I am sure it's fairly trivial for RO users to disable this feature if they find it adversely affects the software they need to use.

While I can see some merit in what ROL propose - simply (by default) disallowing the execution of legacy code that lacks the relevant AIF header is likely to create problems for A9 users (initially) and then other Select 4 subscribers in due course. As I suggested elsewhere the *default* action should be NOT to check - if people want to (or if a hardware manufacturer needs it for OEM clients - as is the case in Ad6) then it can be defaulted on.

Besides code that lack's an AIF is *not* broken. Anyone with a A7000, RPC (RO4.OX or earlier) or Iyonix (assuming the code is 32bit clean) can run it. Only A9 and Select 4 users *can't (by Default)*.

Please allow me to put it bluntly *Why would anyone spend a wodge of cash to ensure many of the programs they use can't work any more*. ROL please leave the default checking to OFF - have people opt IN if they want to check AIF headers..... Ad6 for your OEM clients have the default ON then you're needs are met WITHOUT impacting the ordinary RISC OS user in the street.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/6/06 5:22PM
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On Sir Robin leaves ARM:

highlandcattle wrote > "Haha Matsus***a can't be spelled."

But they're also known as Panasonic.... maybe that would help (additionally it's a tad more pronounceable).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/6/06 8:10PM
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On Sir Robin leaves ARM:

bucksboy>Yes ARM don't fabricate chips - but they *do* set the "road map" for the chips that are produced. They *do* determine the instruction set, pipeline characteristics and so forth. If you look at ARM's road map you'll find often they don't really try to push the performance envelope (though I'd be more critical of them in the past).

Only relatively recently has ARM announced that larger L2 caches would be allowed - something that I'd argue they should have done some time ago. The Cortex also has some features that may lend itself to higher performance - but bear in mind it's ARM that put down the blueprint *first* then the vendors implement the real chips.

Bear in mind as well that ARM has a good relationship with many vendors I am pretty sure that they *could* have sample hardware produced to illustrate a point (for example the 5 core NEC/ARM design). Yes the talents brought by the Silicon founderies is important - but many of these companies have extensive experience designing complex and fast processing and I/O hardware so why not take advantage of that ?

Ultimately ARM's survival in the face of the competition I expect Intel to mount will not permit them to sit on their laurels. At one end you'd have lower power consumption but now increasingly fast microcontrollers from outfits like MicroChip and at the other end fast yet reduced power consumption x86's from Intel. Simply hoping that ARM can find a "niche" that fits between those two IMHO isn't an option.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/5/06 7:26PM
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On RISC OS found on Pocket PC PDA:

While I applaud Jan's efforts (no mean feat getting the emulator ported) this really is *not* the same as having RISC OS running native on a PDA. In spite of what the article says ("no Microsoft software in sight") yes there is none obviously visible - yet you'd see nothing at all *without it* and the emulator that runs on it.

As a means of showing the practicality of running RISC OS on PDA's it's good (and from the photos the RO desktop looks quite clear and clean). Speed wise I'd imagine it would be pretty slow (are there any benchmarks available?).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/5/06 4:30PM
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On Sir Robin leaves ARM:

Actually all things considered Robin Saxby did rather well. The ARM did succeed rather spectacularly - and the fact the shares in ARM rose in value so high considering their rather modest income never ceased to amaze me - I can only put this down to the spin (and salesmanship and deal making of Saxby).

As to ARM being responsible for Acorn's breakup that's I suspect a tad unkind. Acorn broke up primarily because of it's *management* they never really valued properly what they had (nor their customer base) and simply chose the "path of least resistance" and closed down and cash-in rather than compete. If they had done more *sooner* then the sad withdrawl of Acorn might never have happened - to simply lumber the blame on ARM for this is to somewhat miss the point.

Are their lessons in this for ARM, yes. If ARM does *not* respond to Intel's low power x86 initatives then ARM (IMHO) will go the way of Acorn. ARM *need* to get higher performance chips out there now that perform no less well in power consumption performance than a low power consumption x86 if they don't then their are in peril. Time will tell.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/5/06 3:14PM
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On Microdigital boss turns makeover gardener:

nijinsky/highlandcattle>Spot on guys.

The point is that is there any point in pursuing the guy like this ? Everyone has to live and if Dave wishes to restart as (apparently) he's done that's fine by me and I wish him well.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/5/06 1:51PM
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On RISC OS 3 caught running on Amiga hardware:

timephoenix wrote "Personally I would like to see RO5 die off, not because I dislike Castle, but I think it has less marketable features than RO4. Sure, there's stuff you can't do on RO4 you can on RO5, but at least it looks nicer and there'd be one OS on all machines. "

Well thanks for wanting to take away *MY CHOICE* to use the OS of my choice.

As to looking nice - yes if that's *ALL* that matters then why not just give WindowsXP a RISC OS theme and have done with it.

Your choice is Style or function - and I'd choose function every time. Having a "rounded" button to me appears somewhat less important than being able to do fast UDMA disk transfers and the like. But unlike you I'd not wish to limit *YOUR* choice - so persist with RO4 if you wish...

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/5/06 1:42PM
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On RISC OS 3 caught running on Amiga hardware:

thegman wrote>"I was just thinking that ROL need to make a compelling reason to buy Select on Iyonix, and making it the only way to get Cineroma would probably ensure a lot of Iyonix users get Select"

So in short you're saying without Cineroma a lot of Iyonix users would have no compelling reason for Iyonix users to get Select ?

The *sad* part in that statement is the virtual admission that Select offers *little* and would need a 3rd party app *deliberately limited to run on it alone* in order to make Select "compelling". You'll find that the biggest impediment to Select on Iyonix is it's non-existance.

As to whether either one other or both streams should survive - its probably of lesser consequence than if applications developed on either can run on *both*. The only thing by right that should prevent any given bit of software from working are the *hardware limitations* of the particular RISC OS machine it runs on - not some deliberate "nobbling" of the software to exclude a specfic group of RISC OS users.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/5/06 1:37PM
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On RISC OS 3 caught running on Amiga hardware:

thegman>From an FAQ I located about Cineroma ([link]) the following is copied:


Q. Will Cineroma run on an Iyonix ?

A. Yes.


Q. Does Cineroma use any features of the Iyonix ?

A. Indeed it does. It supports hardware overlays with the GeForce 2 (which means free scaling - with filtering - and free format conversion). Also there is some XScale specific code to speed parts up. "

So why does it have to be ROL to license and sell it, surely it would make just as much sense for Castle to make such a deal and distribute it exclusively ? Surely if you're prepared to accept an "exclusive license" situation wrt to distributing Cineroma from ROL then it should be just as welcome from Castle - or perhaps should we just let the author get on with it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/5/06 5:24PM
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On RISC OS 3 caught running on Amiga hardware:

The idea of promoting RISC OS using video download indeed has quite some merit. Probably would opt for something other than the RO3 desktop to start with, but RO4.XX or 5.XX showing various activities (drag/dropping files, using draw, sample apps etc.,) would at least get the notion out there that there *is* an alternative and that it works.

And before anyone out there thinks that using video out there on the net is a fanciful way of doing RO promotion do bear in mind that often things *do* sell *precisely* because of this net based "word of mouth" as it were.

More on topic yes it's another emulator, at least as Amiga is not a widely available platform (not even in production ?) it is unlikely to "draw away" RISC OS users in the same way VA running on Windows might.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/5/06 5:02PM
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On Unofficial A9home mailing list opened:

CKH2>I'd not consider a machine that is still *beta* (that is not having been updated to the release version) as a completely accurate guide to what may or may not be wrong with the hardware/OS of the *release version*.

Therefore any comments you'd make might have less relevance than comments from users who are using the release hardware, assuming of course the NDA business is "cancelled" when the machine was released and you're free to comment.

As a general query is the non-volatile RAM in the A9Home actually a CMOS (Battery backed) or NVRAM of the flash variety ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/5/06 1:06PM
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On Wakefield 2006 show report:

Richard Wilson wrote>"Selling software to 100% of the RISC OS market at £100 would bring less income (4,000 * £100 = £400,000) than selling to 1% of the Windows market"

Right. So you're no doubt speaking from experience then selling to 1% of the Windows market as you do ;).

If it were as easy as that *everyone* would be doing it - and how many 1%'s do you get into 100 - not many. The reality is although the Windows market *is* very big the areas that are left that are *exploitable* are few and far between. Anything common has already been done (often many times). That leaves the *less common* and that often represents a *lot* less than 1% of that big market. At one end of the scale you'll be competing against competent shareware/opensourcers who can do *exceptional* code and at the other end you have market leaders who cache is their name (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe et al). So how *would* a solitary PC programmer capture 1% - probably not for long or if they did the elephant known as Microsoft would sit on and squash them pretty quick (pop quiz: What have Digital Research, Stac Electronics, Micropro (Word Star), Ashton Tate (dBase) to name a few got in common....)

If the choice is big fish in small pond that is of no interest to Microsoft or being a small fish in a big pond that Microsoft consider there own I'd opt for the small pond.

(*) DR, Stac, MicroPro, Ashton Tate were competent companies that ultimately lost out to MS even though they had innovative products that once had far more than 1% of market share. So if you fancy your odds tilting at the Windmill that is Microsoft - be my guest.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/06 7:02PM
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On Acorn is a legendary brand says new Acorn:

druck>I suspect the computer press are not *in the least bit taken in* by any of this. Let's face it the computer press (for the most part) has been very symphatetic to the sale of windows based machines. As these Acorn (!) machines are windows based too they'll be quite happy to parrot any line they're given (after all the OS license all winds up in BillG's pocket - and thats something the computer press for the most part don't seem to mind).

Personally I believe that although *legally* they may be in the right one must query the moral legitimacy of this "new" Acorn. If the purpose is to associate unrelated computer products (and peoples memories of these) with PC's then that is IMHO dishonest. That having been said is it any more dishonest than saying VRPC running on a PC make that a "hybrid computer" - when in actual fact all it is is still a PC ?

I think this is one of those things that's going to run and run ;(

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/5/06 6:59PM
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On Wakefield 2006 live news:

JohnB wrote>"I know that she [Pheobe] was nearly completed at the time that Acorn was broken up - but what happened to her after that ? What were the barriers that prevented the buying of the rights to the design and then completing and releasing the finished product"

The workstation division, responsible for Phoebe, the Risc PC, STB's etc., was sold to Pace - AFAIK for 200K GBP by Element-14 (the ghost of Acorn's past). Much of phoebe was lost - in the sense that multiple VIDC's and the like never made it into a production machine. Some other elements (e.g., PCI) did. To my knowledge some prototypes were made (I even seen one on TV once - the flourescent yellow case is quite distinctive). I suspect as Pace had the rights to the design some elements of it made it into their STB's and some may have been reused in the Iyonix - which was developed by ex-Pace engineers (under the Tematic company name) for Castle.

Sadly a case of "what might have been..."

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/5/06 4:32PM
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On Acorn brand name in PC laptop launch:

Jc>"Acorn didn't run out of money to continue its core work..."

Precisely, Acorn *could* have kept going. Yes it might have needed to sell more ARM shares or the like and it would have needed to (dare I say it) market their products a bit better. They instead decided to cancel Phoebe *just* before the start of the new school year and then (if I recall correctly) took an age to decide what they were doing with the remaining bits - in a moment of inspired madness they made a deal with ROL (but didn't give them the rights to the hardware only to sublicense by way of Pace), allowed Castle to produce RPC's from remaining stock (but didn't give them the OS either).... if you ask me I looked liked they wanted it the platform to *die*.

No one group with an interest in maintaining the OS and Hardware had the rights to both... and either that was (IMHO) a sign of breathtaking stupidity or alternatively one of the cleavest ways of killing a platform without making it look too obvious that that was what was done. Please pick your choice ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/05/06 7:45PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

JohnB>Far from it I never called Dave Holden a liar, he's done a great deal for the platform.

Chris> Sorry about the keyboard mate! I do like the link (brings me back it does...;).

I guess I should lighten up a bit eh? The A9 deserves a fair wind anyway and I (again) wish Ad9 and CJE well with it - after all they're not responsible for any inaccuracies written by others.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/05/06 7:24PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

Mike>And when I wrote "I would even consider one [A9] myself where SIZE was the only criterion" what does that indicate.

I am not a "pro Iyonix guy" who doesn't like the A9. The A9 is grand for what it does and if people are aware of what it does.

I am more an "anti-lies" guy. And to be truthful I'd have wished CJE and Ad6 well and said no more if it weren't for several articles and comments here that seemed to suggest that Iyonix was in trouble because (a). It's processor was being discontinued (this by the way is only a "rumour" and may take years even if true) then (b). That Castle had moved again (even hints of various problems) and (c). That Castle's lawyers spent more time on the OS than developers. All things which people like yourself let past without comment.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:58PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

Sorry that was address to Dave not Herbert (sorry....)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:37PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

Sorry my last comments were addressed at Dave NOT nico....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:35PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

So the A9 is burning DVD+RW's then? And running at USB2 speeds? And it can take 1GB of RAM and it has 3 Harddisks and is massively expandible. Or am I mistaking what you're saying. Or is it just smaller.... and YES that could be a clincher in some cases (I would even consider one myself where SIZE was the only criterion).

The reason I commented on the A9 at all was the *absolutely continual* negative messages put out here and elsewhere about Iyonix (e.g., it has no CPU anymore, Castle have moved (eek), they only have lawyers working on their OS).

For God sake Dave get real, get the lies stopped and I'll stop telling the truth about the A9 Ok ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:34PM
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On Acorn brand name in PC laptop launch:

jc wrote>"I'm glad you agree with what I said regarding the present happenings. The rest is simply well-debated and agree-to-differ territory where I know I'm right and I'm sure you know you are too!"

Couldn't have put it better myself, John.

My original concern at the time of the VRPC launch was that some marketing was a bit "vague" as to exactly what processor was used in VRPC machines (to the point where one announcement only mentioned one processor by name "StrongARM" (to be fair to the company involved they subsequently amended their advertisment to include a reference to the actual x86 CPU used). In that light any "fuzziness" or confusion could cause people to mistakenly think that when they bought an VRPC machine that they were buying an ARM machine that somehow magically could run Windows (when in fact it was the reverse). For that reason your phrase "hybrid computer" was somewhat akin to a red rag to a bull (yes I do know bulls are colour blind !!!!!)).

My natural state is to be a pedant and "hybrid computer" was an unfortunate turn of phrase that meant something different from what I think you intended or implied.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:28PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

boblobaw quoted me as saying >"AMS wrote:Jc that's the sort of thing I am talking about and matt's not the first and won't be the last either."

Then he wrote: (or even the cut down version on the A9 doesn't or can't do)

Well the *reality* of things (the reference I quoted was someone saying that "Castle's Lawyers spent more time over their OS" an unverifiable, certainly untrue statement. If boblobaw you want a reality check when I say there are things the Iyonix can do that the A9 can't consider the following:

Fact - The A9 has 1/2 the RAM of the Iyonix and *can't* be expanded (the Iyonix when maximally expanded has 1GB some 8 times that of the A9. Is that me being negative or just stating a fact - note I am *not* saying things you *can't* verify for yourself.

Fact - The A9 *can't* write CD or DVD media (it has *only* the option of a USB connection to such external devices - hence the added costs of these devices.

Fact - The A9 only uses USB1.1 so that it's only means of expansion (USB) is limited to archaic speeds (Iyonix uses faster USB 2).

Fact - The A9 can only take one hard disk internally. The Iyonix can take up to three (with the fourth IDE connector available for a CD/DVD class optical read/write device.

Fact - The A9 can't take multiple video cards (or indeed any expansion cards at all). Iyonix supports up to 4 PCI expansion cards. Expansion cards that work with Iyonix include Video Capture and ancilliary video cards to allow for multiple screens.

Fact - The OS on the A9 can't handle memory spaces as large as the Iyonix (Iyonix does not need DA's).

These things, just so you can tell the difference, are called FACTS they are verifiable. Whether CTL has lawyers spending more time over their OS than developers I can't verify and neither can the person who originally suggested this. When I say that Iyonix CAN do things A9 *CAN'T* I mean PRECISELY THAT (and the short list above shows this). If you want to read FACTS (essentially neutral things) as negative that's your choice - but denying reality is silly and is a waste of everyones time.

All of the above being said the A9 is *smaller* than the Iyonix and that in some instance may swing it in the A9's favours. See if you can spot the last time a proponent of the A9 said something nice about Iyonix.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/06 5:17PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

jc>Agreed, choice is a good thing - and actually I do wish Ad6 and CJE well with this.

The only thing disturbing my calm interior is the tendancy for some to throw "brick bats" (as the guys across the pond would say...) at Iyonix. Both machines deserve support (but you'll sadly find a considerable amount of what could be validily described as FUD being spread about Iyonix at the moment), yet glaring deficiencies in the A9 are ignored.

not_ginger_matt>So not having a means of reading or writing data from/to optical disks is not a necessity for you. Grand - if that floats your boat save the 200 (or so) GBP and forgo it and opt for an A9.

The speed assertions regarding VA and a Dell laptop would require verification - for example doing what ? And if you went that route and proved that case then surely the A9 would be even slower still....

not_ginger_matt wrote>"making RISC OS 5 look like it's not had the attention of anyone other than CTL's lawyers"

Jc that's the sort of thing I am talking about and matt's not the first and won't be the last either. I'd argue that RO5 is quite a good OS and it does things that Select (or even the cut down version on the A9 doesn't or can't do).

not_ginger_matt wrote>"If you just look at the price of any RISC OS machine based on it's spec it's impossible to justify it against mainstream alternatives."

That's conveniently ignoring that software, support, AV and other issues *COST* a lot more on those alternatives. The cost of the computer *ISN'T* just the cost of the box.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 6:01PM
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On Intel to shed XScale chips:

Jwoody wrote>"I thought the article said that IOP333 would be the last i.e. Both IOP321 and IOP333 would go. So I don't see Castle upgrading to another Intel produced processor they will have to look else where."

Yes that's true. But the inferrence was that IOP321 would be going *first*. Intel in the past usually issued a message to the effect that a particular component not be used in "future designs", meaning that it will continue to be available for a while but will at some point go out of production. Unfortunately the article seems to point to unsubstantiated rumours (yes they could be true - but the timescale could be a year or years plus any residual stock held by distributors). Yes I also agree it would be *prudent* for Castle to design for a non-Intel alternative.

Jwoody wrote>"Personally I think its time that RISC OS looked to a different processor other than ARM. Like I have said before I would like to see VRPC enhanced so that the system part of SWI's were running as native x86 code."

The JIT end of VRPC helps to an extent, but to wholesale translate to x86 would be a major pain - expensive and (arguably) not the best use of resources.

I would not disagree with you on the characterisation of what Acorn did - not so much a case of nails in coffins as bullets in feet I think ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 5:37PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

Stoppers>I specified that a person using an A9Home as their sole machine didn't I. Such a person *would absolutely NEED* a CD-R or other optical drive. So in that instance the difference between the A9 and Iyonix Aria Cube is only around 100 GBP.

Stoppers>"Has anyone actually used the Gigabit Ethernet on the Iyonix as such? I don't see it being particularly common in the PC world"

Yes the Iyonix has a better Interconnect than the A9Home and many PC's - but some PC's do now (and will in future have) Gigabit interconnection. Call it future proofing Iyonix has it A9 doesn't.

Each person has individual needs and that may mean in some circumstances the A9 may represent a better choice than the Iyonix - but in reality in *most* instances on the grounds of modernity, expansion capability and (yes) just being able to DO things the Iyonix is the better choice.

Tweety>"But there again the A9 is new and the Iyonix is old with a processor which is soon to be out of production"

In the trade that's called FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt). Regularly on Drobe just before a show an article showing how (a). Someone thinks the Iyonix is crap (b). That Castle have moved (gasp they're on the virge of bankrupcy) or (c). The Iyonix's CPU has gone out of production. Still its in the realm of FUD.

Now Intel being Intel and their distribution channel will have *years* worth of IOP321's in stock (you can still get StrongARM's and they went out of production 2 years ago). That gives Castle *plenty* of time to introduce an newer Iyonix and (unfortunately for A9) a much faster one.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 4:33PM
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On Intel to shed XScale chips:

tweety>If Castle have to change their CPU (and if this article is right ultimately they will have to) and if people *know* this then it may affect sales of both Iyonix and A9 computers. This sort of thing happened before when Acorn let slip that Phoebe was on the way - sales of the RISC PC collapsed. If there were a reasonable expectation that Castle were going to upgrade the IOP321 to 333 OR were switching to an ARM from another source then that could effect sales of RISC OS machines in the interim (A9 included).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 4:14PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

fylfot>Check your prices man.

The Iyonix Aria cube with twice the RAM, twice the harddisk, a built in CD-RW drive (yes it writes as well as reads unlike the A9's), has a faster processor and *can* be expanded unlike the A9 costs 799 (includes vat) as against the A9Home (with optical drive) that cost 698 - how is that a difference of 200 GBP????

Yes if you drop the optical drive from the A9 it is cheaper again - but how do you load software? (Are all software distributors going to put software on Pen Drives just to suit A9 users (and what of their price?)). Will you need to have a second machine to act as a network linked CD just for your A9?

Yes the argument on size is the clincher for A9, but PRICE Isn't - which was my key point which you effectively ignored. For a person wanting to use an A9 realistically as their *sole* machine they'll need an optical drive - then the A9 most certainly would *NOT* be as attractive an option as the Iyonix cube.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 3:22PM
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On Acorn brand name in PC laptop launch:

jc>While I would agree with you that it is *wrong* for one company to use the logo/name of another to help sell an independant unrelated product it is a bit much that you'd be in the vanguard of this protest when in the past you have *well blurred* the line between what is and isn't a RISC PC. I mean *you* incorrectly used the phrase "hybrid computer" for describing PC's that run software that allows the emulation of a RISC PC on an unrelated Windows PC or laptop.

Would you object as strongly to "Acorn Computers" (the new one that is) if it ran VRPC and RISC OS Select something or other? Nah there's a thought.

I await your double back sumersault with interest ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 3:15PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

not_ginger_matt>The actual price 604GBP (which excludes an optical drive), means that you'd need to spend an extra 94GBP (a total of 698) - I mean you *will* want at some stage to load software from CD won't you that being the case (unless you have a network) you're going to have to view 698 as the price "entry point" for A9?

While I applaud Ad6 and CJE for managing to bring the A9 to market the asking price is less than 100 pounds off that of an entry level Iyonix which has twice the RAM, HDD capacity, has an inbuilt CD-RW that can *burn* stuff to disk (unlike the A9 which can't) and a networking capability x10 times faster. I suspect if A9 really wants to make a splash then the price is going to have to come down some - otherwise it simply won't make economic sense when compared to the Iyonix Aria Cube.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 2:17PM
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On Intel to shed XScale chips:

As is the tradition in these things parts availability dries up slowly so there is no major concern here, there is more than enough time for Castle to do some redesign the CPU part of the MB to support either later Intel chips or perhaps even CPU's with ARM11 support.

Trouble is this could represent a problem for A9Home as much (or more than) for Castle - as Castle will to some extent be expected to being an alternative design to use newer ARM parts. This may mean people will hold back from purchasing anything (A9 included) until they see what developments arise from the Castle camp.

In actual fact in the medium term this may actually *prompt* further development - not a bad thing all in all.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/5/06 2:08PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

apdl wrote>However, for the benefit of others please remember we're not just talking about a "normal" piece of software but also a complete commercial operating system with many add-ons and extensions and lots of other (licensed) 3rd party software and IPR, so it's a lot more complicated than simply working out how to do it with some sort of hardware dongle.

While on the surface that *might* appear true in practice it isn't is it ? As I *keep* writing VA system are *not* the native platform, the "OS" (so called) is simply data used by the VRPC emulator to present the RISC OS "experience" on a non-native (x86) platform. If VA's activation system works then ONLY legit VRPC systems can be run - and they're the *only ones* that could benefit from having the RISC OS data and 3rd party "software".

Point is if you prevent VRPC from running (e.g., if it doesn't have a legit dongle) then ANY and ALL other software supplied with it (including RISC OS) would be useless to a PC user. Simply being able to copy it would acchieve the person copying it nothing as VRPC (copied) would still *not* run without the license key. Having a single "strangle hold" over execution of the emulator controls the use of ALL the software used in the emulated environment.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/5/06 6:52PM
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On Wakefield 2006 theatre preview:

Mike>And the Iyonix Aria Cube isn't?

The price of the A9Home (from Ad6's brochure when you add vat and the price of an external optical drive (you'll need this to install anything it has no floppy)) comes to £680.04, the Iyonix Aria cube which *also* has a card reader, a faster processor, twice as much hard disk, a network interface up to 10 times faster, USB 2 etc.,) and a CD writer comes to £799 (a difference of 119 Quid not exactly earth shattering that). You can retain the option of adding more RAM, a second HDD, you can even burn CD-RW's on the Aria (you can't do that any of that on the A9Home).

Mind you back in my studenting days (so long ago I can only *vaguely* remember them (ahhhhh)) even 119 quid might have tilted the balance in favour of the cheaper box. But I'd always urge you to think carefully about not just what you want to do *now* but what you want to do in the *future* with your computer and on that count the Iyonix might be a better choice as it's less limiting.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/04/06 7:34PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

guest-x> "Cheerleader-happy RISC OS scene" - thank god no one in Linux-land behaves like that eh ;-)

On a more serious note (ahem), if Richard wishes to use a product for which he has paid he should abide by the license terms and do the product activation (after all he already has done this at least once unbeknownst to himself when he bought the laptop whose Windows XP is intrincally tied to it - yep another form of product activation).

If he has *not* used the product then he should get a refund from VA.

The sad part is given the *small* size of the RISC OS market techniques like product activation are used precisely because even a single or at most a few products used without paying represents a loss that hampers the software producers (to MS it wouldn't really matter as they're worth billions). Personally I am not in favour of product activation - but I believe software vendors should take into account individuals ability to pay and thus reduce the temptation for individuals to "purloin" software by either discounting to pensioners, unemployed, students etc., Getting *some* money is better than getting *no* money - and (in addition) it creates a lot better feeling towards the vendor than schemes that create such a negative response as product activation.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/4/06 7:09PM
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On Wakefield 2006 theatre preview:

SimonC>I haven't heard the sound of the A9 (but then I haven't even seen an A9Home - and not being able to make it to the show (drats) won't either).

Computers generally (I include PC's, Iyonixes and in all probability A9 as well) generally *don't* give the best sound quality. It is usually desireable to use a D/A outside the PC/Computer case to do the conversion (this cuts down on RFI/Interference also onboard computer D/A's are not exactly top-drawer in the performance sense). I use a PC with an S/PDIF output (optical out) to drive a Hi-Fi Amp - in those circumstances the sound is excellent (the sound eminating from the D/A output in the PC directly in contrast is at best described as "adequate"). Can't honestly comment on the Iyonix sound - as I usually listen to CD's on it from the CD Drive headphone socket (bypasses the sound system - and this is usually the *best* way to listen to CD's on ANY computer).

Computers are computers they don't generally do sound to "audiophile" standards, nor should they be expected to do so. If you demand such things then you need a computer with an S/PDIF connection to a good hi-fi amp. Sadly no-one has yet produced the small/simple interface required to connect the Iyonix Motherboard S/PDIF sound header to the outside world (ho hum!).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/4/06 5:59PM
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On Wakefield 2006 theatre preview:

Sawadee>The Aemulor on A9 is not quite the same - as Martin pointed out the Aemulor that runs on the A9Home lacks the xScale optimisations that would add to the speed (additionally the A9's ARM9 is clocked slower than the Iyonix's IOP321/xScale CPU).

Of course such considerations are only really of importance in running "legacy" code, 32bit code on both platforms would perform probably closer than the simple clock rate difference would suggest (as ever though we'll need to see definitive benchmarks to determine how much difference and what sort of software best uses both platforms).

Mike>Please remember the A9Home is not the only show in town - the Iyonix (cube being the nearest in price and size to the A9) appears compeditively priced and can do some things the A9 can't (won't). If size is you primary requirement (or you simply must have Select features) then the A9 would be preferable - for everything else the Iyonix (IMHO) is the better choice.

Pity I can't make it to the show - sounds like it'll be a doozer ....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/4/06 1:09PM
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On ROL release C99 SCL to A9home users:

hEgelia>Indeed you appear to be correct, that article you linked to *would appear* to indicate that Castle were willing to license the SCL, that being the case one can only speculate as to why that didn't happen. It would have made sense to use the Castle one (in that it *is* known to work on a 32bit machine and has done for some time (the Iyonix)) whereas whatever ROL offer at this point is bound to have a whiff of "beta" about it (I expect it'll settle in - but then why make life more complicate than it needs to be eh?).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/4/06 5:58PM
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On ROL release C99 SCL to A9home users:

ROL's production of a 32bit Shared CLib for the A9Home is a useful development, and should be welcomed. Its a pity that they could not have come to some arrangement with Castle to obtain the standard 32bit SCL - but given that they didn't/coundn't this solution is a fair alternative.

I am a little puzzled though by the comment about WimpSlot size limitations not being lifted in order to maintain compatibility with RPC variants of RISC OS. Surely any applications will either be 32bit clean (in which case the RPC WimpSlot limitation need not apply - on the Iyonix it doesn't), or the code is 26bit - in which case it *can't run* in which case incompatibilities with Wimpslot size are the least of its problems - alternatively A9 users could use Aemulor which would allow the old code to run (and AFAIK) also limits the WimpSlot to the same as the RPC (a limitation that should *only* be in effect while required - ie., when Aemulor/26bit only code runs).

Why put limits in where none are required (especially when there's a solution at hand - Aemulor)?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/4/06 6:27PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Thanks Ian (if you can read that then all is well....)

If its any help my previous postings were from MS IE (sorry) and Firefox (both on Windows XP as I do not have internet access from home from my RISC OS box). My NT postings originated from two different locations (different IP addresses and servers).

Again thanks for your efforts.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/04/06 1:57PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/04/06 5:43PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/04/06 1:26PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Julian wrote>"The inherent problems of one specific processor architecture are irrelevant for this discussion. If you don't like x86, choose something else. The very elegant IA64 springs to mind, or if you don't like Intel (you are not using an Iyonix, are you?) you could go for a PowerPC system."

I don't have any specific axe to grind with regards to Intel other than, in my humble opinion, their x86 architecture is appalingly bad. The IA64 (Itanium) I know little about (I think its VLIW), problem is I am not sure what Intel wants to do with it (at one stage I think they dearly would have loved it to surplant the x86 - but (alas) it's lower clock rate (not performance mind you) doomed it to small niche markets). AMD's ascendant x64/Athlon 64/opteron family probably put the last nail in Itanium's coffin (as Intel had to fight back with an x86 chip to compete against AMD's offering)s. I digress.

The point is *not* that you can't abstract an OS to run on any processor - but that given RISC OS's *lack* (relatively) of abstraction that you'd lose a lot in the translation. As over 40% of RISC OS is ARM Assembly language - so an inability to run this code optimally (i.e., Natively) would have a detrimental impact. Bear in mind some of the remaining 60% of RISC OS is written in BBC BASIC - and that would probably be best executed by the native ARM BBC BASIC interpreter (so again a "non-native" processor would be at a disadvantage). You are, of course, correct that for C/C++ (a sizeable amount of RISC OS) would not be so hampered and would be more processor agnostic).

I don't personally believe that ARM will simply withdraw from its niche and allow Intel to roll in with 1-5Watt x86 cores that would be competitive. ARM, IMHO *have* to up their cores performance - or lose market share. That being the case I would like RISC OS to be in a position to take *advantage* of those changes.

As to Linux users being open minded I did not infer they weren't - all I was saying was that their primary interest *IS* Linux - I can't imagine that that would change if they were offered RISC OS. As to the cost of RISC OS that's set by ROL - and the price they charge they charge. If the "hardware production cost" you refer to are Flash RAM (or even CD) they represent a *small* proportion of the price - and consequently I'd not foresee a big drop in price - and without that drop and a viable fast Linux based emulator I can't see enough Linux users opting for RISC OS to such an extent that economies of scale would result in a larger drop in price that might encourage further RISC OS use.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/04/06 6:11PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Stoppers wrote >"You, I think, are looking for RO(D)L or Castle to become a major player in the OS market with a return to the days when ARM processors were the most powerful desktop processors in the world. I think that's very unlikely to ever happen, especially the former. "

If that's the impression I gave I appologise. ARM is *not* going to be the fastest processor in the world again. It won't outrun an x86 or PPC. But - and this *IS* the kicker, the one thing it does *better* than any other processor is it runs RISC OS *quicker*. So you're perfectly right for compressing mega gigabyte JPEGs or something the ARM sucks, but not all ARM's do to the same degree and (in their favour) they happen to be darned good at running our favourite OS.

Julian wrote>"And the best reason to move to a Linux-as-HAL approach is to widen the user base. Many people are prepared to spend up to about 100 EUR on a Linux distribution, because they can easily install it on their existing hardware. I think a similar offer would be possible with RISC OS. The one thing we really need, is user-base growth. For the last couple of years, the userbase has been shrinking. If we allow this to continue, the platform will die."

Ahem Julian. Let's get real here shall we. Linux users *only* love one OS, Linux. You're *NOT* (IMHO) going to get droves of Linux users moving over to use RISC OS. At best they'd use RISC OS on Linux to show how "superior" Linux is and then go back to using "The GIMP" or whatever. You'll have one sale and then no more (bye bye Select subscription scheme) - besides I can't see ROL parting with RISC OS for less than they do for VA can you (and if they did would VA be eternally grateful - I doubt it).

The best way of keeping the userbase is to *assert* that RISC OS is an alternative independent platform that does not rely on hardware and software over which we have *no* control. Then build from that, when Apple finally goes x86 there'll only be one platform left not reliant on x86 - and that's our own ARM/RISC OS. Having choice is a good thing - and sometimes a that can become a selling point in itself (a slogan suggests itself "Dare to be different").

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/04/06 3:33PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Jonix wrote>"Ultimately that is a rather short-sighted approach. Who cares if your GUI (the bit you actually interact with) runs on ARM, x86, fork-potato processor II etc?"

When I read things like this I just get tired. I CARE.

GUI=Graphical User Interface. RISC OS is *not* this - it is much more - it is a *full* operating system, it presents a consistent (programmers) interface to its various elements and allows any programmers work to interact with the underlying system in a consistent manner. A GUI (on the other hand) is merely "packing". Yes from your viewpoint if all that matters is that the windows are a particular colour, the buttons a particular shape, that you can drag and drop things and that is the sum total of all that matters to you - fine (but then why not just use ROX or Windows XP - it can drag and drop too you know ;) ).

As to the processor, do I *really* need to explain this? OK fair enough. RISC OS is predominantly ARM code - that is it runs most efficiently when it is run on *native* hardware. It also means you're avoiding additional layers of abstraction that may add to the possibility of errors (bugs, hardware incompatibilities etc.,). Yes an x86 is *faster* (when running x86 code), but is it as fast running ARM code under emulation (NO), is it guaranteed to *always* behave like the original ARM hardware (NO, emulation is an *approximation* of the underlying hardware and no matter *how good* cannot be unconditionally guaranteed to always behave as the original). Even if (and its a *BIG* if) it were so guaranteed what happens when the underlying x86 OS changes and introduces incompatibilities, or if there are "viral" problems.

Jonix it's horses for courses - if you want to use Linux and if you don't give a fig about the problems enherent with the x86 architecture *fine* but please *do* bear in mind what is best for Linux/Windows et al may not be best for RISC OS or its users.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/04/06 3:21PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Stoppers wrote>"Any alternative system for running RISC OS (or RISC OS-like) programs would be capable of moving back to any ARM processors that become available in the future (I don't think anyone is recommending swapping a reliance on ARM for a reliance on x86). "

Sorry to say but that's one pig that just won't fly ;-). I can't but admire the sentiment behind that thought - but the reality is *what* RISC OS hardware manufacturer is going to risk their financial future when the user base is busily moving the x86/x64 and Linux ?

I note Apple apparently are to produce software to allow Windows XP to run on their Intel x86 based machines (can't help but smile at that thought, considering they probably went to great lengths to ensure you *couldn't* run MacOS X x86 binaries on a normal Intel Windows XP PC already...).

I digress, the point is that some people here seem to think that Linux (or things based on Linux) do the following (a). Promote world peace (b). Solve family problems (c). Are better at running RISC OS than native ARM processors. Guys Linux has lots of things going for it - but it is *JUST ANOTHER OPERATING SYSTEM*, just like RISC OS is, just like BSD Unixes (or unixes more generally) or Windows or Next Step or whatever.

Every problem does not get resolved by running Linux - the thing is that *I WANT* RISC OS running on ARM hardware full stop. I *have* a linux box and a windows box I simply *don't need* or *want* one of them parroting my Iyonix (my Iyonix does Iyonix better anyway). If a faster ARM based machine arrived I'd be queuing up for it - I just can't find the same enthusiam (i.e., I could not be bothered) to try getting RISC OS running over some sort of Linux core on x86.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 06/04/06 1:32PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

Julian>Yes a 64 bit chip even using a bit of a kludge of a command set like x86 is faster than an ARM. But you're not really comparing like-with-like here. The Windows OS is *very* much more top heavy than RISC OS and add to that the load of running AV software and the various services Windows tends to demand and you'll find the multi-GHZ clock doesn't quite yield the size of difference - and for certain things may even appear less responsive.

Yes you can cite FP being a bit down on the ARM/RISC OS and maybe disk write caching (a hazardous activity that appears to make the PC perform better) - but for running RISC OS programs a native platform is *still* best. As I said elsewhere Intel is beginning to encroach on ARM's territory - I can't see ARM simply retricting themselves to "microcontroller" level processors and letting Intel walk off with the richer pickings. And remember it isn't just ARM in this - their licensees have put IP into the ARM family - Intel (on the other hand) doesn't even allow second sourcing - so if Intel wins then Freescale/Texas/Sanyo/NEC et al will be the losers). So on the whole I'd be more optimistic about newer/faster ARM's coming along.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 04/04/06 1:38PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

SimonC>As for the VA customers apparently vanishing, have you any evidence at all that they have been coaxed over because of it?

Yes, VA outsold Iyonix (VA has claimed they've sold 3,000 copies I strongly suspect that Castle haven't quite managed that), yet Iyonix users outnumbered those in the Drobe survey who claimed to use VA. Hence VA users seemed to respond less frequently than Iyonix users either (a). Because they weren't interested (e.g., at the level of replying) or (b). had left the platform. You can take your pick of which but either I would argue would *not* be good for the RISC OS platform (the latter obviously more so...).

SimonC>If they've bought VA, then found Windows better, surely that's RISC OS's and the hardware's fault for not being good enough?

You could extend that argument to Linux as well. But the trouble is there are a variety of reasons for people using Windows - not least are (a). Closed proprietary formats unavailable on other platforms (or incompletely implemented on these) (b). Use of DRM that is specifically intended to work only on Windows. Both (a) and (b) are - it could be argued - levers used by Microsoft to "beat" all comers - by having rigid control of these standards and DRM and denying these to other platforms *all* other platforms appear to be "inadequate". If such formats and DRM algorithms (ignoring the rights and wrongs of the latter for the moment) were available on other platforms it would "level" up the playing field. VA was a "thin end of the wedge" to soften the blow of moving to Windows - once there the propretary lock ins and inconvience of having to convert between RO and Windows systems would do the rest. This is *not* the fault of the RISC OS platform - but rather the brilliant skill of Microsoft. Any platform (RISC OS and Linux included) have a tough fight on their hands when dealing with Windows... and in RISC OS's case this is not helped by making it an "emulated" extension to the Windows platform.

IMHO if RISC OS simply becomes an "emulation" running on Windows and Linux then I believe I'd have little interest in continuing to use it, just in the same way as I've long lost interest in using the BBC emulator on my RISC OS machine.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 02/04/06 7:10PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

I meant to say "happy *with* the MSWord Windows XP experience.

Yes another "doh" moment.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/04/06 2:29PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

SimonC>But what do you mean by "low speed". Emulated RISC OS is *still* slower than RISC OS on (say) an Iyonix and probably the A9 as well (except in the area of disk write-caching and an area in the interest of security I would happily see native RISC OS beaten on - if you get my drift ;-) ).

As to keeping RISC OS alive - that spurious argument was used with respect to Virtual Acorn and all it did was effectively move a significant number of their 3000 customers onto the PC (I mean in the drobe survey *very few* of those 3000 chose to reply - so one is left with the inexcapable conclusion that they were happy without MS Word and the Windows XP experience ;( ).

All a Linux RISC OS emulator will do is coax those few holdouts that would not contenence emulation of RISC OS under Windows to opt for RISC OS emulation under Linux. In either event it means the death of the RISC OS as part of a stand-alone hardware platform - something to be regretted.

As to Julian's point - no the ARM1020 is passe we now have ARM11 (!). Your presumption is that ARM will simply lie down an do nothing and simply let Intel swing in and swipe all of ARM's licensees. That simply *won't* happen (IMHO) it will mean that ARM may have to promote and may even have to discount some of their licensing costs on the higher end processors - that is what will make them shift. Simply hoping that Intel won't someday simply encroach on the cash cow that is ARM7 and "rob" ARM of cash is not an option. The days of ARM keeping a "low profile" and hoping that Intel would simply ignore them is long gone - I seriously believe ARM will raise their game (I certainly hope so).

As to the other point - yes producing a new ARM based system *is* expensive - but some of the expense is down to working out the likely number of purchasers - having yet *another* emulator *does not* help in this (if anything it makes producing a new machine a more dodgy proposition). So the best option for RISC OS is *no* emulation (on Windows or Linux) and support for Iyonix (or a successor) or when its completed A9 (or preferably an "A10" with the things that A9 lacks added).

Simply relying on the interest of Linux fans or the "goodwill" of Microsoft is *not* IMHO a means of securing the future of RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/04/06 2:28PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

To be completely consistent a Linux emulator is just as unwelcome as a Windows one (except for the fact at least with the Linux one you avoid getting into the clutches of Microsoft). The same arguments apply to it - it will (IMHO) damage the hardware development end of RISC OS, it will *weaken* the platform as a whole and it may (unlike VARPC) be more appealing to the RISC OS "holdouts" who wouldn't contenance using RO under emulation while the only option of windows was available.

The irony I can see in the current discussion is that ARM themselves *will have to* up their chip performance simply because Intel *is* targetting newer x86 designs at the "low power consumption" niche where ARM had seen as its own. ARM have no where to run and hide and I believe when faced with that they'll raise their game.

ARM have announced larger caches (c. 2MByte), have started looking at other architectural enhancements (e.g., superscalar) and (wait for it) faster clock rates. If ARM *does* improve its hardware (or well it's licensees do) and there is *no* RISC OS base to take advantage of it (because of emulation) then we'll all be the worse off for it (IMHO).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/03/06 1:37PM
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On Unix Porting Project issues refunds:

When it was extant I was quite happy to support the porting project and am sorry to see it go. I'd happily extend my sincerest thanks to Peter for his valiant effort in not only the Porting project per se but also Firefox.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/3/06 1:29PM
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On RiscPC emulator ported to Linux:

SimonC>According to VA some 3,000 people licensed VA (this was reported here in the past) - when Drobe conducted a poll of users a relatively small number of those 3,000 responded. Do I really have to join the dots here ? *If* VA kept some people using RISC OS for a while it only did so temporarily and I strongly suspect these are now fully paid up Windows only users.

Emulation makes it a more risky proposition for hardware developers to produce *native* (that is ARM based non-windows dependant machines) primarily because the manufacters can't easily gauge how many likely purchasers they're going to get and may be less likely to risk it when faced by a compeditor who has much lower development costs - and hence one who has a lesser risk.

As to assertions that Emulators are *faster* than native - for the most part that is groundless, where VA *has* a speed advantage (disk access) this is largely due to Windows caching writes in RAM. And I don't know about you I'd much rather have my data safely tucked away on my HD rather than floating in some volatile fashion in RAM (even if the former is slower).

As to the dubious "faster cheaper" argument for PC's emulating RISC OS first off [and my appologies for reshashing this] PC's have higher running costs (power, AV updates, maintainance time), faster is arguable (and if you're a "fan" of VA chances are any comments I make you'll ignore anyway), finally emulation is just that - an *approximation* of real hardware. This means you can't be *absolutely* certain that it's performance will exactly match with real RISC OS/ARM hardware in any event.

Besides I'd argue it the other way, if there were no RISC OS native hardware I'd see no real point in emulating it under Windows (or Linux for that matter). Once the only way of running RISC OS is under emulation then it's arguably no more a "live" platform than an emulated Sinclair Spectrum..... and Linux and Windows based apps do enough to be useful without resorting to the "fiction" of running a RISC OS app under emulation.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/03/06 4:29PM
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On RiscPC emulator ported to Linux:

RISC OS emulated on a PC running windows *or* linux in my humble opinion has the potential to *damage* the native RISC OS market. I've said this regarding VA several times - and the same thing applies to RISC OS emulation under Linux.

The *only* differences between the two IMHO are (i). The Linux option does *not* put you at the mercy of Microsoft (ii). Linux as an OS is arguably more stable and less prone to "security" issues than Windows and (iii). The cohort of users likely to use ROS on Linux emulation are likely to be the sort of people who'd have stuck with RISC OS rather than used RISC OS emulated on Windows - but who would happily accept RISC OS running on a Linux based emulator if that were available.

In short I believe the *larger* damage was done by VA - and that some loss to Linux will occur from this new development - but not likely involve as many people, unfortunately it may well be those who are more technically capable and who are therefore more likely to make meaningful contributions to our platform - their loss I feel would be regrettable.

Whether all of this amounts to "another nail in the coffin" or a potential for broadening RISC OS availability to other users outside the traditional market remains to be seen.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/03/06 3:05PM
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On BBC Micro ARM7 co-processor available:

Full marks to Robert, an ingenious project indeed.

Around 1Million BBC Model B's (and variants) were sold (and a smaller number of Master, Master Compacts etc.,). I could envisage a market for people who *have* an old Model B and want to delve into ARM development while still having a full keyboard, screen, storage and so on (the sort of things more expensive development boards often lack).

Hope you have every success with this Robert - well done!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 8/3/06 1:35PM
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On Select subscribers offered fig leaf:

sa110>"Paul has clearly explained how Select will appear on the Iyonix."

To quote Mr Middleton from the article > "Whilst we are not taking full Select 32 subscriptions, we do welcome Select renewals from existing subscribers and from new subscribers, as long as they understand that their subscriptions are going towards general development and that we do not at present offer any guarantees to produce a fully working version of Select for Iyonix at present."

Seems that that *doesn't quite gel* with sa110's interpretation, it sounds more like a case of "how Select *might* appear on Iyonix" rather than a case of *will* appear....

To be fair to Paul Middleton he's being upfront about it - and this should be welcomed as it is much fairer than having people's hopes raised only to be dashed later.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/3/06 8:02PM
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On Euro show planned for June:

I'd echo that, well done ROL for keeping the RISC OS flag flying (as it were) more generally in Europe.

The big danger (as always) for RISC OS (and the platform as a whole) was that it would degenerate into a "south of England" thing and be largely unknown elsewhere. The world is *out there* and RISC OS needs to be in it - and if ROL are an agent for getting RISC OS out an about in it full marks to them.

Also RISC OS is *not* just for "education" - it should be seen to be a more general platform (and if the participants in such shows manage to impart message that then it would be a job well done IMHO).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/3/06 5:05PM
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On South West 2006 round up:

Problem is that at different times ROL seems to say different things at different times (hence rmac's comment I suspect). Losing nVidia/Geminous support while gaining "round" icons (or whatever) seems a bit over the top. If bluenose is correct and support for a different manufacturers video card is required this would entail an Iyonix user paying (a) for a limited subset of Select features (b). Taking out and replacing their nVidia card (c). Paying for a *new* Video card (d). losing Geminous support [and does anyone know if PCITv would still work?].

Frankly Iyonix Select doesn't sound like it's worth the effort ;(

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/2/06 1:36PM
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On News in brief:

Chris wrote>"Castle recently sneaked out a quick note about its GraphicsV API. The text describes Castle's approach to abstracting its video drivers from the RISC OS 5 kernel, allowing the innards to remain ignorant of exactly how the display works just as long as the driver module sorts it all out. Expect the RISC OS 4 graphics abstraction API to be different."

When ROL get around to this yes, but in what ways will it differ from Castle's who knows? After all Castle do *publically publish* their API's but ROL don't(*). Pity really all this sort of stuff makes it difficult to support the various flavours of RISC OS that are extent.

(*) ROL generally only make API details available to Select subscribers

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/2/06 7:06PM
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On Searching for duplicates:

I seriously doubt Amazon's "A9" will even notice A9Home. The products are radically different and Advantage Six don't share a common (or similar) URL to Amazon's "A9". Additionally no one is going to buy an A9Home thinking "that's that Amazon thing - must have it....".

So Paul "relax" I don't think this is likely to be any sort of issue for either party - Ad6 is *obviously* not trying to trade based on a perceived similarity to anything Amazon do.

Any issues A9Home may/might have will have nothing to do with its name I suspect.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/2/06 1:42PM
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On ROL open share investment to all:

mripley>"To AMS, good luck with Microsoft you'll need it since it's a pile of kack."

I know it is and would not use it more than that which it is necessary. Thing is if ROL *did* acquire the headlicense for RISC OS then I am afraid I would view RISC OS on a road to oblivion and in *that* circumstance I would be pressured into opt for Windows.

I really can't see a whole lot of difference in running RISC OS under emulation on Windows or cutting out the middle man (as it were) and using Windows directly.

That having been said I would much rather see RISC OS being developed (even if it means the current split continues). I am *actually* happy enough with RO5. Yes there are some Select features that would be nice - but not at the expense of what RO5 already offers.

Regarding the share issue it's a matter of what confidence people have in ROL (and judging from comments here this confidence is lacking). Can ROL recover the situation - sure - but it'll mean they'll have to mend bridges and start delivering - the success or failure of this share issue depends on this I think.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/2/06 1:37PM
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On ROL open share investment to all:

md0u80c9>I don't mean access to source - I mean access to the APIs.

Yes Microsoft *don't* give access to all APIs - but they do document *some* (the common ones). Whereas the *only* way to get any of the Select APIs is to subscribe. I can just hop onto [link] and get information on the .NET framework class library and so on. Now if I wanted to get something remotely equivalent on Select from RISC OS where would I get any such information for free?

Yes MS aren't completely open - but then apparently ROL aren't open at all. See the difference ;)

I really can't believe I am defending Microsoft ;-(, must need more roughage in my diet.......

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/2/06 5:11PM
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On ROL open share investment to all:

SimonC>I must agree with you on this. ROL is quite apparently in no rush to produce Select for Iyonix. This is indicative of the sort of "support" we'd expect if ROL ever did buy out the head license.

If ROL spend the big wodge of cash they might have after a share sell off on buying the head RISC OS license then they'd probably have little change for anything else (e.g., development) - you'd simply wind up with customers waiting even longer for stuff that's already overdue because no extra developer resources would be available.

nijinsky>Interesting speculation. But here's the thing if you believe that ROL can't do "complementary technologies" outside the "desktop market" without having the head license then that would suggest that Castle were right in objecting to the "embedded RISC OS" development when that big legal wrangle came up last year.

As an Iyonix user I can honestly say I'd strongly suspect that *if* ROL bought out the head license I as an Iyonix user would be ignored by ROL while A9Home, RISC PC and Omega users get all the support (past history would strongly suggest this). If that ever happened I must say I would not bother anymore with RISC OS (I am *not* stupid if ROL got complete control of it then RISC OS would IMHO die sooner rather than later) - and Windows has improved enough that I could shrug my shoulders and say well I have to use it in work I might as well use it more at home as well.... fault Microsoft for what you will but they *do* publically publish their API's and in a fashion do support their customers.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/2/06 2:30PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

I am implying nothing I was just asking a question. It's a means of trying to find out what no-one seems to explain explicitly. There are lots of contradictions in the current situation and I was trying to get some sense of what are the bounds to RISC OS licensing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/01/06 8:17PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

Aaron> Perhaps you'd care to enlighten us as to how you got RISC OS 3.1 licensed for the VA-5000 product, I remember RISC OS Ltd quite loudly complaining about this at the time. Would that suggest some sort of limitation on ROL's ability to license products to a specific version? And if not then surely you'd agree they had valid reason for complaint when you acquired RO3.1 for use in VA5000?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/01/06 3:13PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

bluenose>"Castle state they maybe willing to sale RISCOS IPR if the price is right "

Read carefully what nijinsky wrote above. If Castle did sell the IPR it could do so to *any* organisation (they *don't* have to sell to ROL, and perhaps the next owner will require more onerous terms from ROL). Personally I hope they *don't* sell it off - they've updated RO5 several times - and have been very open with their documentation (have a look at ROL Select for a contrast to that).

Let's suppose Castle simply did stop making machines and sold the IPR to ROL (and it took say the next 2 years worth of Select subscriptions to pay for it). What then? You'd have the A9Home as your top end machine (not a particularly appealing prospect eh?). Development would grind to a halt (2 years worth of Select subscriptions remember spent *only* on a license- so ROL in that case won't be employing anyone to do development for quite a while).

The more appealing alternative is that Ad6 license whatever they need to license off Castle... ROL's Select still trundles on picking up a subscription here or there (with the money raised going on development rather than buying out the head license)... and Castle have a little more money that may induce them to improve on the Iyonix or even (gasp) develope a new machine.

Or people could just be silly - hound Castle out of the market, have ROL use up all its money "buying a license" and have Ad6 selling a very limited machine to a declining market in which that machine is the last RISC OS one there'll ever be.....

I can't believe people would be that stupid!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/1/06 8:27PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

I find the notion of Castle selling on the IPR (if the price was right) somewhat alarming [if that's an exact quote]. Big outfits (like MS) could easily buy the IPR with some "small change" and then "park it" - or for that matter increase license fees to such an extent that no-one in the current market could possibly afford it (e.g., 500K+ per year). And (unlike Castle) such a company *doesn't need* the good will of existing customers so could quite happily *sue* RISC OS Ltd., Ad6, Virtual Acorn or *anyone else* out of existance once the IPR was sold on.

As to the notion of the A9 being "competition" for the Iyonix, get real. It's almost completely non-expandable, slower and less capable. Also it is not that much cheaper than a base Iyonix Aria Cube. Castle may well be just exercizing their rights wrt that which they *do* own undesputedly (the 32bit SCL) - I also point out that at no point did John Ballance say they would *not* license it (sure if their prepared to sell the whole shebang if the price were right - licensing the 32bit SCL would not be such a problem (given the right price of course)).

If Ad6/ROL don't have the savvy to license that which they must in order to release their product then they really can't blame anyone else can they?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/1/06 2:02PM
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On RISC OS features in plain english:

Good article with considerable care and attention paid to RO4.XX and Select features.

I remain to be convinced that Select is the way forward - RO5 *works* and I see nothing in the above articles that would prompt me to want to sign up for it. As to two forks - surely if *everyone* doesn't keep their Select subscriptions up to date there will be a "plethora" of forks (one for each different Select variant various people dropped out at)?

RO5 has additional features (as mentioned by Dave Ruck) and, to be honest, it does what I need in the way I need it. It also works and is available *now*. Additionally I am not convinced I won't lose functionality if I were to purchase Select and it were to simply "trample" over large portions of RO5. Given the relatively low priority ROL seem to give to Iyonix I personally would be happier sticking with Castle. At least RO5 has an open published API and free updates - surely it represents a better path forward than Select for Iyonix users?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/1/06 1:43PM
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On 2006 predictions:

Should have read that more carefully it runs two separate processors ;(

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/01/06 6:21PM
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On 2006 predictions:

further to that> Time for me to take my foot out of my mouth. The article on [link] gives details of a device that sports an Intel xScale processor and a VIA (x86 compatible) processor - it can run WinCE (as in PDA's) and XP. The xScale is a lowly 400MHz model (but hey no worse than what the A9Home's). Now if the xScale side could be persuaded to run RISC OS eh ? ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/01/06 6:19PM
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On 2006 predictions:

Theo>But surely it's x86 processors doing the virtualisation, therefore all you'd be doing is *still* running a RISC OS emulation - on a virtual x86 processor dedicated to running Windows while a different x86 runs Linux?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/01/06 6:14PM
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On 2006 predictions:

GuestX>To my knowledge Castle have complied with the GPL by releasing the source to the HAL, I certainly have not seen any further complaints on that front. To be sure it would have been better,IMHO, if they had either *not* used that code at all or failing that if they had published the HAL source at the outset. Mistakes like this sadly do happen.

Regarding using RISC OS apps on Linux (or Windows - seen that the most effective RISC OS emulator runs on Windows) surely the point is that RISC OS would simply become a "layer" fully dependant on another OS. How happy would you be running Linux under emulation on top of Windows Vista?

While I have nothing against Linux (I even have an old Red Hat setup on an old PC at home) my purpose is *not* to promote Linux but RISC OS (I figure Linux doesn't need the help - it has enough already;)). I still consider the optimal option for RISC OS to be running on native hardware - anything else puts it at risk as it puts its future in the hands of others whose primary interests don't necessarily coincide with those of RISC OS users.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/01/06 5:05PM
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On 2006 predictions:

thesnark>"The RISC OS 4 kernel has been divested of much baggage that arguably doesn't belong in a kernel; e.g. the OS_Convert SWIs. This is something that I applaud. Does it not count as restructuring?"

Yes it is a form of restructuring and no it is not really that significant. OS_Convert SWI's may not logically have a place in the Kernel - but moving them elsewhere *does not* make the OS more portable. Having a hardware abstraction layer and the quite considerable changes made in RO5 *does* IMHO.

thesnark>"Dynamic areas are only unsuitable for the 32 bit memory map when there are no sensible limits set on the amount of address space claimed. "

My understanding was that if you use *any* DA's then you limited the available memory for all applications - if you *don't* use DA's then the available memory (for a 32bit app) is almost all the available free memory (which on an Iyonix is quite a bit more than 16MB)

thesnark>"It would be fallacious to suggest that the HAL in RISC OS 5 removes the need for device drivers to be written for new hardware"

No one said that! The point is having a Hardware Abstraction Layer is that it presents a coherent/consistent interface for driver and OS code. It doesn't mean *no drivers* it means easier to implement drivers with no required changes to the kernel - a thing Select lacks.

cmj said >"If RISC OS 5 is 'the better OS', as druck suggests, they why did STD pay RISCOS Ltd to convert Select to the A9"

Would it have to do with Castle being in competition with STD - but RISC OS Ltd., not being? Or is that a bit obvious ;)

cmj said>"I know nothing about the Castle HAL, but I will point out that RISC OS 5 currently only runs on one platform. The Castle Iyonix."

And how many platforms does the 32bit version of Select run (sort of) on? Answer one - the A9.

Castle *do* have versions of RO5 running on embedded products (which another contributor has pointed out).

Md0u80c9 said>"Do you mean the HAL that was developed by breaching the GPL, and failing to acknowledge its original authors?"

The HAL is *not* part of the OS. But that having been said Castle *did* subsequently comply with the GPL by making the source code for the HAL available.

thegman said>"RO5 might be the 'better' OS from a technical point of view, to be honest, I really wouldn't know, but Select is a great deal more appealing from a 'give me the nicest version of RISC OS' point of view."

The only thing that matters *is* the technical point of view IMHO. After all having "round buttons" and alpha blends while *nice* is all a little pointless if you want to add a third HDD drive (and can't) or want to use more than 128MB of RAM or use USB 2. But hey it's your money and you have to make the choices that suit you.

Painting a mini RED like a Ferrari doesn't make it a Ferrari does it ;)

JGZimmerle>"I don't believe that Ad6 would choose RO4.4x over RO5 for the features that are nice for desktop users. Their main business comes from customers in the embedded market. If RO5 would have such enormous technical advantages over RO4.4x as some people claim, that would have taken priority over the desktop features."

We can only surmise why Ad6 chose RO4 over 5. I would imagine that the decission was probably taken on practical and financial rather than technical considerations; I might suggest a few reasons (this is *just* speculation - but are considerably more likely reasons that the ones you cite):

1. ROL asked for less money? 2. Castle wouldn't sell the RO5 to Ad6 as they are direct compeditors in the embedded market (why give a compeditor your only advantage eh?) 3. Castle may have wanted to honour the original agreement made by Pace with ROL to allow ROL to develope RO4 for desktop use and may not have wanted to raise something that might raise "legal" issues. If Castle *had* sold RO5 *direct* to Ad6 that would have put them in direct competition with ROL in a desktop product that ROL might reasonably have expected to provide an OS for. 4. After the last legal problems perhaps Ad6 didn't want/couldn't to deal with Castle (or visa versa)

As to your other point - no. RO4 other than round buttons and alpha-blend sprites has not real technical advantages over RO5 (RO4's advantages are at the "Appearence" and "User Interface" level - not in any of the underlying areas that count IMHO). RO5 runs on more expandible, faster and more advanced hardware than anything RO4 runs on.

Yes I do like UI bells and whistles too - but it needs to be built on a sound modern OS too - doesn't it?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/01/06 3:39PM
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On 2006 predictions:

hzn>It's taken ROL perhaps 2+ years to get their 32bit OS to work to the extent it does on the A9.

If you're right in thinking that it is (to quote you) "no surprise to think that they [ROL] plan to load their full OS and use just the odd hardware driver module from the RISC OS 5 ROM" I for one would be horrified. ROL's OS knows *nothing* of Iyonix! The Iyonix is *so* different from the RPC or A9Home that to do what you appear to suggest would take ROL a year or two.... Also Castle's drivers and modules are written to work on the Iyonix with its HAL and kernel - how do you think they'd react to an RO4 derived 32bit kernel then (just look at the "fun" regarding the 32bit SCL issues on the A9 to see how a relatively small change can cause *real* problems for the principals and users respectively).

You correctly point out that "The problem perhaps arising is if things like Aemulor, Geminus etc. will run with Select on RISC OS 5.". I'd agree - but if there were such issues one would have to seriously question the value of using Select on the Iyonix in the first place.

The *logical* approach is for ROL to modify their Select modules (after all they have the sources to these) and get them to work with the underlying OS (RO5) whose API is well documented. The other issue (which no one has really tackled) is that if ROL don't do hardware - and therefore are unlikely to *add value* to any existing or new hardware features on Iyonix - and if Castle have to try to get complex low level code to work with any new hardware but working also with an OS they don't control I would think we'd wind up seeing real problems (e.g., delays and bugs with one side blaming the other - can't wait for that (not....)).

For all those reasons I seriously hope that ROL will consider *softloading* their Select modules on top of a *full* RO5 OS - as IMHO I believe it to be the least likely to cause end users (or even ROL themselves) problems.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/1/06 7:24PM
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On 2006 predictions:

Chris>"How ROL will softload their RISC OS 4 kernel and keep the RISC OS 5 device drivers is still on the drawing board."

I suspect they won't implement it in the way the above sentence suggests. The only workable way would probably be to leave RO5 largely in place (kernel, drivers etc.,) and have new Select modules softloaded that provide the "extended" functionality - but still using RO5 for all the other stuff. Some of the Select extensions may be amenable to that - others might need a bit of "work".

That all having been said - has ROL confirmed that they are satisfied that the required "100" commitments have been made? If your suggestion that ROL are still at the "drawing board" stage for something as fundemental as softloading on RO5 then I wouldn't be optimistic about seeing RO5 Select anytime soon.

The other relevant point is I don't think *any* RO5 users would want to lose any of the advantages it provides just in order to softload Select - I certainly know I wouldn't

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/1/06 8:16PM
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On Best of 2005 awards voting open:

Gunnlaugur>Yes you're right - you're describing (colourfully) what you consider Peter's behaviour to be. While I wouldn't characterise his behaviour in that way - all I'd say is he is publically complaining over a slight he perceives to have suffered. He is IMHO quite entitled to do that. I'd also add it *does* seem a bit "odd" that his name was not included in the awards.

If porting Firefox and doing sterling work on GCCSDK is not enough to get someone into the nominees list just exactly what herculean task *IS* sufficient to do so then?

As I said before Awards are the most effective way of sowing division and creating arguments (we've had enough of those this year IMHO). If Awards are to be *ever* done again then they had better start with an open and fair nomination process - otherwise we'll face this sort of rubbish again in 2006.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/01/06 4:56PM
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On Best of 2005 awards results:

Happy New Year to all.

RichardHallas> I agree completely. The choices *did* seem somewhat whimsical, I'd also consider Geminus probably the most ingenious product (in that it is *not* just caching sprites - but also allowing *multiple* PCI video cards in the Iyonix to allow ultrawide desktops over several physical screens - and also the use of either Portrait or Landscape display).

As to Martin's award are there *any* limits to the guy? A well deserved win I'd say.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/1/06 4:38PM
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On Best of 2005 awards voting open:

While it is sad to see such spats (really), I think it reinforces my general feeling of disquiet at such "awards". They give scope for insult/injury and general unfairness and can only cause disruption of the sort seen here. If there'd been either (a). No award or (b). If the nominations had been more "transparent" then some of these issues could have been avoided.

I don't know why Peter was excluded from this list (there may well have been other notable omissions as well worthy of comment), point is that I think Peter *does* have a fair reason for feeling slighted. Granted hollering about it publically may not be the best way of handling it - but then the nomination list in which his name was *excluded* was just as public.

I can't believe it is beyond the wit of the people running Drobe to come up with a *fair* and *transparent* nomination process - at least then whatever is the outcome all involved can feel at least they were given a *fair* chance. That notwidthstanding I do believe awards create more problems than they solve..... perhaps this current situation is all the evidence needed to prove that point.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/12/05 7:24PM
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On Merry Christmas:

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all. Thanks and appreciation also to Chris, Ian and the drobe contributors who liven up our year with insightful commentary on the RISC OS scene. I wish you all the very best of success in 2006.

Now where did I put that mince pie ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/12/05 12:32PM
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On Castle confirms move to Tematic office:

Virtual Acorn> So what ? I fail to see the significance, the registered office does *not* have to be at the corporate mailing address surely.

Point is their business continues, albeit restructured. The Tematic guys are still available to do further contract work for CTL - so what's the problem?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/12/05 6:54PM
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On Ad6 hatches plan to see A9home take off:

Ad6 may be onto something there.... fit a tail rotor, hmm.... a cunning plan ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/12/05 7:59PM
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On Geminus graphics acceleration launched:

Good news that Geminus acceleration will be available on the Iyonix then. The nVidia is capable of a turn of speed and if code is available to make better use of it then all the better.

highlandcattle>"I don't get t how can it work on the A9 it has no Gforce2 inside???"

Short answer - it *won't*, well not in the same way. Caching the bitmaps (even with A9's more limited graphics capabilities) may bring some useful speed improved - if nowhere near as much as with the Iyonix's nVidia. That having been said an improvement is, well, an improvement.

The cache I would think in the case of the A9 would simply be memory space taken out of it's main RAM - whereas on the Iyonix it's on the video card (so you won't be losing precious main RAM just for "caching" bitmaps on the Iyonix).

The take home point is "Geminus" is not a *single* thing - it's different things on different platforms. It's overall effect will be to improve speeds on whatever hardware it runs on.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/12/05 7:57PM
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On Castle move to Cambridge rumoured:

SimonC>" Is Select that much better than RO5 that it's the whole deciding factor in whether or not you buy a new machine?"

I wouldn't think so - but that's up to the purchaser. Some seem quite happy to do without a proper modern RISC OS computer in order to wait for select - so best people to ask is them !

cynic>"The present form factor of the A9 need not be the only one. I imagine that once the machine is out of beta and on general sale we might well see other, more expandable, cases marketed by someone."

True. But changing the case won't allow it to take 4 IDE devices (the motherboard doesn't support it, you might squeeze in a slave device on it's primary IDE - but that's it). It won't make the A9 do USB 2. It won't allow it to take more than 128MB of RAM. It also does not have any on board expansion bus. The only *plus* side is that you *would* be able to fit a 3.5inch HDD - these are generally faster than the smaller laptop type drives that the A9 currently uses. The downside is you'd lose the only advantage the A9 has - it's small size.

If Ad6 wished to take on Iyonix they'd have to do a whole board redesign and then it wouldn't be the A9 anymore would it? They may get around to this eventually but - please - give the guys a chance to get one model out the door first eh ?

billball> To be fair to Drobe, Chris has put up another page which seems to describe the situation in a fair manner without the needless "commentary" from a compeditor of castle's - so as such the second piece does address your concerns.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/12/05 7:09PM
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On Castle move to Cambridge rumoured:

jc>Funny you left out that other machine you once much promoted (the Omega) ;)

The Iyonix contrary to what you seem to infer is *still* needed as the A9 can't be exactly described as a "desktop" computer can it? Quite apart from its somewhat "beta" state (the problems you are aware of such as the SCL issue). And the A9's *very limited* expansion capabilities (e.g., no internal expansion, one internal IDE device, slow USB 1.1, no ability to handle multiple monitors, can't burn C/DVD's).

A9 has it's niche as a small computing device - and in embedded environments (once it is commercially released) it should excel at that. As a desktop computer sadly it does not (and cannot) pass muster (IMHO). Simply "wishing" the Iyonix will go away - if that's what you're at - is quite unhelpful.

As a more general comment I think it's rather ironic that the above article (which quotes a compeditor of castle saying that he "hopes they weather the storm" - sowing seeds of doubt eh ?) preceeds an update that quite comprehensively calls into question a previous "Castle rubbishing" article from drobe. Hope we don't have to wait too long for the inevitable "update" clarifying the current article.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 4/12/05 6:18PM
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On Could A9 be a digital oasis in a desert of PCs and Macs?:

JDC>"Does anyone actually know which market AD6 are pitching this to? Because it seems to me many of the criticisms or apparent limitations can't really be substantiated without know what its meant for. "

The limitations either exist or they don't.

If the machine is *not* pitched as a "desktop" computer then the limitations are understandable and explicit. To my knowledge the A9Home is derived from devices aimed at embedded and microcontroller type use. It has been extended by ROL/Simtec/Ad6 to include some "desktop user" friendly features - but it still owes much of its heritage to it's embedded/microcontroller origins.

The trouble is it appears that comparisons are being made between the A9Home and Iyonix (a desktop computer) and that is what opens up the examination of A9 as a desktop computer. This is not something Stuart Tyrell has invited (fair enough) but others have.

If A9Home is viewed as a desktop computer then it has some deficiencies. If its taken to be something "new" a very small, standalone computer then that's fine - it does what it does and people accept it for what it is - rather than lumbering it with unreasonable expectations that might lead to future dissapointment.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/11/05 7:31PM
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On Could A9 be a digital oasis in a desert of PCs and Macs?:

hEgelia> "Will it [USB speed] matter much to users, certainly considering RISC OS' typical filesizes, excluding media files ofcourse?

But that exclusion, media files, are *precisely* the sort of things USB speed *is* required for. Especially in a machine *whose only form of expansion* is USB - such as in the case of the A9.

hEgelia> "the Iyonix cannot fully handle theoretical USB2 speeds".

But is that more than the A9Home can manage? Yes much more. So why pay almost as much for less then ?

hEgelia>"well, from what I heard from a A9home user, it runs many applications faster than an Iyonix does"

Yes and all computer owners have machines faster than everyone elses ;). No, seriously that one will only be addressed when independtly verifiable benchmarks are available. When they are, and when A9 is finalised (not in beta) then we'll be able to judge.

IMHO A9 has no *technical* advantage over Iyonix. It has some *aesthetic* ones in that it is small and therefore might be the proper fit (if you pardon the pun) for certain applications, that might well be a good enough reason to choose the A9 over Iyonix. To feel the need to "justify" the A9 in some technical sense as being superior to the Iyonix is IMHO to completly miss the point.

If, however, you feel the need here you go:

Iyonix can have 1024MB of RAM (A9 can *only* use 128MB and is non-expandible) Iyonix's 80321 Processor (a more advanced XScale) is clocked 50% faster than the A9's ARM920 derivative. Iyonix can have 4 IDE devices - A9 can have 1 Iyonix can do something approaching USB 2 speeds A9 can't Iyonix can accept up to 2 extra expansion cards (e.g., TV card or extra monitor card or other PCI cards driver software permitting) Iyonix can burn CD's and DVD's (A9 currently can't - and when it does it will be slower (USB 1 not USB 2)). Iyonix has Gigabit ethernet (10/100/1000Mb) while A9 only has (10/100) To gain all those advantages only costs you 119 ukp.

So my advice is argue A9's *actual* advantages - its small size/appearence, rather than just either slagging off Iyonix or just pretending it doesn't exist.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/11/05 7:20PM
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On All third parties welcome at roadshow says ROL:

A welcome decission by ROL on this, which IMHO third parties *should* take them up on.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 20/11/05 1:26PM
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On RISC OS Christmas roadshow details finalised:

Chris> Ahem, sorry for getting my facts wrong on this one - yes indeed you did indeed mention that Iyonix was ahead of VRPC. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

Regarding the RO Roadshow it might be helpful if ROL *did* include as many vendors as possible (including Castle and Spellings) - after all the more capabilities of RO shown to the punters the greater likelyhood of sales (maybe even RO reaching that magic 100 Iyonix Select commitments).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/05 1:57PM
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On RISC OS Christmas roadshow details finalised:

Chris said>"Your favouritism towards CTL leaves my head spinning."

With respect Chris one or two articles back you had a headline which stated that VARPC had moved ahead of Iyonix. Yet in your own (Drobe) survey you did *not* have banner headlines announcing that Iyonix had edged ahead of VARPC.

What's that phrase again something to do with "pot" "kettle" and "black" ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/05 8:46AM
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On Archive usage survey: VRPC edges past Iyonix:

Peter> Yes you're quite right and I do apologise to you and Chris (I had misread the original passage yes it does indeed just refer to Apps rather than the OS). Lack of sleep and overwork does it every time....

Chris>See above, apologies and all that.

Regarding VA specifically it does seem unusual that a relatively large proportion of RPC and Iyonix users seem to respond yet VA users don't seem to. Yes I take your point that some VA are older than others or perhaps you mean the 3000 might include the same people upgrading through several generations of VA - but even if that were all true VA seems somewhat under-represented (or else its users have to a large degree departed the scene).

Chris said "the 32bit work and the Iyonix abstraction layer came from the RISC OS 5 they acquired from Pace" and the 26 bit stuff ROL got to make RO4 from was from Acorn so ? In actual fact both descriptions are a bit unfair to both Castle and ROL as *both* have progressed both works since they got their mits on them. Besides if Castle *hadn't* bought Pace out would we have ever had the Iyonix - or would we all now be using VA or waiting for as yet to be delivered Omegas... don't sound that appealing does it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/11/05 7:39PM
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On Archive usage survey: VRPC edges past Iyonix:

SimonC>Well we *do* know that 90% of them *did not* reply to either survey - how does that grab you. If they were ardently interested in RISC OS I would have expected there to be a somewhat higher level of response. A larger proportion of Iyonix and RPC users did (A9 was too new to figure in the Archive survey)

The possible explanation for a relative pausity of VA users in the surveys are:

1// They Don't subscribe to Archive so could not participate in that survey 2// They by a vast majority don't answer surveys on-line for Drobe 3// They use the PC and don't really bother at all/or much with RISC OS. 4// They gave up on computers as a bad idea and won't touch one ever again....

On the balance of probability and given the low level of response the most likely one is 3.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/11/05 2:00PM
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On Archive usage survey: VRPC edges past Iyonix:

Chris said>"The process of 32bitting software turned out to be pretty trivial, which did Castle a lot of favours,"

So how come it took ROL so long then?

And I'd point out that they Castle also implemented the HAL, had the C++ compiler 32bitted (which by the way also helped ROL I would have thought). Implemented USB2 (something A9 will *never have*).

Please Chris give the Castle bashing a break.... please!

As to the substance of the article VRPC has more users than Iyonix according to the Archive survey. Well here's a thought if you add ALL the VRPC users from the Drobe Survey and the Archive survey they amount to around 10% of the claimed 3,000 VA sales. So where did the other 90% go? May I suggest the PC? (I await the usual counter claims that VA won't damage the RISC OS market (yawn......)).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/11/05 1:38PM
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On ROL plots December roadshow:

Select subscriptions ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/10/05 7:16PM
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On South East 2005 show report:

nx said>"I would not be surprised that given Castle's lack of core OS development that RO4(32) will replace the core OS in the Iyonix eventually. "

Depends on what you mean by "lack of OS development". I'd argue that RO5 *has* added support for new hardware features that are *not* available to ROL's flavour of RISC OS (and that's even taking the A9 into account). ROL tend *not* to develope software themselves that is "hardware" oriented I'd be very surprised if their 32bit RO would surplant the RO5 in the Iyonix as that machine is *very different* from the RISC PC.

If (and it's a big *if*) ROL do produce Select for Iyonix it'll probably be a softload and use the underlying RO5 modules for accessing the hardware (which is probably the most sensible way of doing it given the current constraints).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/10/05 7:09PM
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On ARM7 co-processor developed for Beeb and Master computers:

DS1> The value IMHO lies in the fact that ARM development systems are usually *expensive* and having a means of experimenting with an ARM in a familiar environment at low cost might prove quite useful indeed.

There's, of course, also the "wow" factor ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/10/05 1:33PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

kd>"[MW] stop with the fud. on the xara mailing list its been confirmed that the linux port has no assembler in "

And Martin Wurthner said "I have the suspicion that they [XARA] may keep their hand-crafted assembler rendering engine to themselves". KD what you've said verifies that that is indeed the case so why the disagreement ?

As to performance bearing in mind the general inefficiencies of Windows and how much performance is "sapped" by running AV software etc., perhaps it's the case that the x86 assembler available under windows gives Xara the oppertunity to be compeditive against a Linux version of it which lacks the x86 assembler part.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/10/05 1:44PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

sa110>"Yes, the A9home is not a finished computer. However you cannot put it in the same stable as the Omega"

I was more referring to the fact that Julian frequently waxed lyrically about the Omega, now he does the same about the A9 even going so far as to suggest that it *is* complete because (as he puts it) it is "probably" derived from a linux box. It is not complete (as you've agreed), which is fair enough, that and Julian's support for it would seem to be the only similarity between it and Omega - I was not suggesting any other link.

jc>"ROL are not selling RISC OS computers; they don't sell any hardware. "

I meant to say "support", it's Advantage6's role to sell them. Sadly for a company producing an "Operating System" ROL seems to have little interest in or knowledge of the underlying hardware - a fact which resulted in them (for example) sitting on the sidelines rather than proactively specificing an API for USB (hence the two Simtec/Castle that subsequently arose). To be fair to ROL this hardwarephobia is very probably the result of the way Acorn split the OS from the hardware end when the left the RISC OS scene, but it is something ROL should IMHO address.

jc>"The A9 has not yet been releaesd as a retail machine and those that have bought a pre-release version know of its current limitations.It's still at least as 'complete' as some other computers on retail sale! "

With respect John that's utter rubbish. How can a machine have "current limitations" and still be as "complete" as others on retail sale when the A9 lacks UDMA (which Iyonix has), when the A9 can't even manage anything like USB2 (A9 is limited to USB1) or do sound.

I am confident A9 will be completed - but this sort of arrant nonsense you state for fact just devalues your position and makes *any* assertions you make - even when valid - carry less weight.

jc> "Software developers should care. They need to be sure that all their software is available for use on all modern RISC OS machines."

Why should then when things are made as difficult as possible by ROL *not* ensuring Select runs on Iyonix (which the bulk of developers use). John so how can a developer with an Iyonix support Select users when Select can't run on Iyonix and when the documentation isn't even available to them (unless of course they take out a Select subscription they can't use). It all seems to create an obsticle and added cost for developers wishing to support Select - and that should be the *last* thing ROL should be trying to do IMHO.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/10/05 1:47PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

JGZimmerle said>"Yes you have missed something: The A9 is hardly an untried or uncompleted computer. It is probably based on one of the hardware designs that Simtec developed, so it most likely is very well tested under Linux."

Julian please..., ROL are *not* selling a Linux computer they're selling a RISC OS one. Additionally in article [link] it was stated (and I quote) ""The system [A9Home] currently has no sound output, although it's understood that it's gradually beginning to work, the hard disc access speed is approximately 16MB/s without DMA (according to Ad6)".

Does that sound complete to you? If I remember correctly you were also a big proponent of the notion that Omega was a complete and wellformed computer too. How did ArmTwister and your 1GHz xScale work out then ?

JGZimmerle said> "And Advantage6 are a customer of ROL as well, and probably a much more important one than 100 Iyonix users."

Or any number of RISC OS users considering the RPC users who are still waiting on Select upgrades.

JGZimmerle said> "They [ROL] have said quite clearly, that they never cashed in any of the IyonixSelect subscriptions.

Yes I will accept that.

JGZimmerle said > And if Iyonix users subscribed to the 26bit Select, to support the ongoing development, that is a fine move, but IIRC there never was a firm commitment by ROL to make IyonixSelect."

AMS tears hair out. So WHY did they subscribe - are you suggesting some form of mass deliusion, congential stupidity, what !!!?

The point is ROL never seemed to commit unreservedly to *anything* regarding Iyonix, they "hint" at things. IIRC there were hints that they might (yes I said might) produce an Iyonix Select *if* people kept up their Select subscriptions - which some *actually did*.

Their latest "commitment" is itself conditional (on 100 Iyonix Select subscribers being found - I even think they used the phrase "new subscribers" - yet another bit of "fuzziness"). It's this sort of uncertainty that makes the whole thing (to me at least and perhaps others too) appear doubious.

And that uncertainty is the biggest obsticle to getting those 100 subscribers I would have thought.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/10/05 10:45PM
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On How productive are you on RISC OS?:

SimonC> Agreed.

Part of the problem includes some of the more "respected" PC applications like Microsoft Word. The thing is so blinking reconfigurable that it is *very hard* to ensure that *all settings* are consistent between users. When exchanging documents this can cause no end of pain.

To be fair to Microsoft they have improved things somewhat in certain areas - but sometimes they miss the wood for the trees. When figuring how to use a application out takes longer than the task it purports to solve then there is something wrong with the apps design IMHO.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/10/05 8:23PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

DS1> Yes of course. What sense would there be in ROL:

a.) Producing Select for the two most *widely* used RISC OS platforms (RPC and Iyonix)

b.) Why would ROL ever want to port to the two most mature/stable/complete RISC OS hardware platforms - where there are less "hardware" unknowns to deal with.

c.) Why would ROL ever want to please their paying customers (mostly RPC and some Iyonix users) by providing them what they paid for

When ROL could just as easily develop Select for an untried, uncompleted computer with a virtually non-existant userbase AND in the process annoying their loyal customers by NOT providing software that these people in good faith had paid for (see David Ruck's comments above).

Have I missed anything ? Nope.

Now do you see why Iyonix users have a "problem" deciding whether to pledge to take Select or not ?

Perhaps just sticking to good old RO5.XX is the best option at least with that you know where you stand.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/10/05 8:13PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

moss> Ok.

But IMHO it should not be a *blank cheque*.

If 100 Iyonix Select pledges are made ROL should immediately indicate that Select will be made available for Iyonix and it should take priority over *other* activities (I would be seriously miffed if I paid money for Select on Iyonix and found out that all it did was fund A9Home's completion).

The best way of acchieving this I feel is for ROL to publically state

1.// A specific completion date for Iyonix Select and contractually agreed that if *they* fail to meet that completion date - for any reason - that any Iyonix Select subscribers that require it get a full refund.

2.// They should list which features will be available in Iyonix Select (it may not necessarily be the exact same as Select on RPC but they should state what will be available and where differences will exist).

3.// That they confirm they will not release A9Home with a completed 32bit OS *before* Iyonix Select.

If they fail in making definitive, public commitments confirming the above we should simply consider anything they offer as being probably not a serious effort and not worth considering by us.

Speaking personally I would consider the above as the *minimum* I would require before I'd purchase Select. To make things "easier" than that is to simply invite Iyonix Select subscribers to be taken advantage of.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/10/05 9:49PM
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On Personalised special offers for non-Select and Adjust users:

nico>"your last paragraph is contradicting the one above. By individual talks they try to sell more copies and that's your a), and a) means more people know about b)."

No. Why do the two have to be linked *at all*. More people are likely to *write* for your platform if more people *know* about how to use it. More end users are likely to upgrade to your platform if more developers write for it. Consider free API documentation as *free publicity* - it helps sell your OS/Platform. It also helps programmers develope for it - which further builds demand for it.

There's nothing to stop ROL having a free (but limited) API documentation set - with a more detailed one available as a charged for purchase.

Yes the PRM's do cost (I got the PRM disk off ROL funnily enough and a printed set from CJE later) both don't cost as much as Select - and the Iyonix (for example) already has it's API documented and available to all on the Castle (www.iyonix.com) website - thus encouraging development for Iyonix *even among programmers who don't have one*. ROL IMHO don't do that so lose out on potential converts.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/10/05 9:26PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

flypig said "but it seems strange to say that it's up to ROL to convice us"

Well they *do*. I am not one to simply chuck money at someone for something that may (or may not) become available. I am simply applying my own viability criteria to ROL. If I pay will they deliver? Given the frequent "changes" of ROL's stated position about Select on Iyonix this has caused uncertainty - and that in a large part may be causing part of the problem they see in getting a sufficient number of Iyonix subscribers to make it worth their while. Several people *have* paid under the understanding that ROL *would* port to Iyonix - yet ROL haven't.

The other thing is that ROL had *no* problem producing versions for Omega (a now dead platform with a limited number of users) and for use on PC emulators. Where was the finely honed cost benefit analysis in that - surely the Omega one was a big mistake (I'd argue the second one was too - but for different reasons)

What makes 100 commitments a major milestone anyway? What happens if fewer than 100 A9s sell will ROL just say "oops sorry guys there aren't enough purchasers to ensure that it is worth our while completing the OS....". This sort of uncertainty damages their chances surely.

It's ROL that have set (and changed) the criteria for Iyonix Select so it is *they* that have to do the convincing. As of now I for one (and I suspect others too) would want to *see* a working Iyonix Select before making any sort of commitment. I can happily sit on RO5.XX forever - if ROL want me to move to Select then *they* better start walking the walk and talking the talk.

flypig said "The whole point of a pledge like this, then, is surely to prove publicly to ROL that there is enough interest?". Why should we ? Did Omega users? Did A9Home users? Did VARPC users? Business involves risk, ROL took that risk on three previous occasions - so why is it such a problem this one more time?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/10/05 8:53PM
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On Personalised special offers for non-Select and Adjust users:

Hang on a moment. If there is "differential" pricing I can see that as potentially irritating for end users and may infact be counterproductive. What if User A says to User B "Oh, I got my Select for 50" - "Whatttt!!! I paid 100, da*n ROL I'll never buy off them again...."

Then there's the notion that programmers will use Select features and give "error messages" to users telling them Select is required (now for users whose machines *can* be upgraded this will be mildly irritating - but for users whose machines can't be (e.g., Iyonix) it'll make them see red!). Whipping the end user to hop through ROL defined upgrade "hoops" is very Microsoftesque and IMHO illbecomes this platform.

As jmb pointed out there's the lack of documentation (an impediment to developers) then there's the lack of ubiquity (how many people have select - obviously not that many if ROL has the time to talk to people *individually*). This whole tact I am sad to say looks incompletely thought through and has an almost pathetic despiration about it.

The leading RO version is 3.7, followed by 4.0X and 5.XX that's what developers are aiming at. If RO wants them to aim at Select - then Select needs to get (a). More commonly used (b). More publically documented and (c). available on the platforms developers use rather than the ones ROL *wants* them to use.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/10/05 5:52PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

While Phil Mellor's efforts must be applauded it still doesn't get around the problem that *in the past* ROL has stated that it would produce a Select for Iyonix if Iyonix users kept up their subscriptions (it subsequently became 100 *new* Select Subscribers).

Having seen the goalpost move several times I'd be very reluctant to subscribe in advance of a Select release for Iyonix. There is also "wriggle room" for ROL in that some of the 41 who've pledged to ROL directly may *also* have done so on Phil's list (the number of unique pledgees may be much closer to 41 than 100).

Let's not put the cart before the horse here - it's up to ROL to *convince us* to subscribe rather than for us to convince *them* to produce. We can always continue using RO5.XX if they can't bring themselves to produce some sort of Select add-ons for Iyonix - if they want our money it's up to *them* to make the effort and meet us half-way if they can't do that well then just how useful would a subscription prove in terms of getting ROL to commit to supporting the Iyonix anyway?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 9/10/05 2:44PM
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On Iyonix Select demand barely double digits, says ROL:

jc said > "We could have had a 32-bit version of RISC OS earlier but ROL didn't have a hardware partner until Ad6 came along. RiscStation, Castle (and others) failed to do what was needed"

Don't you think that's a tad unfair and isn't even a proper excuse. I mean ROL if they wanted to 32bit things they *could have* and even tested it on RISC PC's with StrongARM's a machine for which *they* had full documentation and for which they subsequently wrote RO4.02. In fact in 1999 they said they were planning to 32bit RISC OS (then many years passed).

Regarding Select for Iyonix there is more than *ample* documentation about the hardware (sure I even have a TRM at home, and full specs on CD) that and the documentation on the Iyonix website is all *anyone* would need to produce software (or even an OS port) for that platform. Sure Peter Naulls ported Linux to it, Simon Wilson implemented an OpenGL and PCITv system and Adrian Lees has Geminus working on it. It seems that these guys seem to have enough information to even do low level hardwarsey stuff - so why can't ROL ?

If the will was there Select would be done and dusted. And judging from comments of people who've seen elements of it running on Iyonix one has to wonder why not ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/9/05 1:52PM
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On ROL cuts deal with Omega users:

Chris said > "As you're determined to make the OS split into a conflict,."

I am *not* attempting to make it into a conflict at all (and I don't propose saying any more about it). In fact if you looked carefully at what I actually said it amounted to "Iyonix users should not subscribe to Select as it gets them nothing but should rather support developers who support the Iyonix platform", surely on the basis of commonsense that would even be something you'd agree with? I suggested Castle should re-activate the Merlin project *only* as it was apparent that (for whatever reason) ROL either did not want or was not in a position to support Iyonix users.

Douglas> Did you see any of the wishlist that was up for Merlin when the site was up? Most amounted to people asking for this or that Select feature (and in many instances asking for Select itself).

I'd also point out a number of Iyonix purchasers *did* pay their subscriptions in the hope (hinted at by ROL) that if they did that Select for Iyonix might appear - so to say ROL received *no funding* is inaccurate.

I'll actually also state here that I wish ROL well with their work on the RiscPC, Omega update and their work on the A9Home too, can't get more unconfrontational than that I think.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/09/05 7:37PM
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On ROL cuts deal with Omega users:

diomus> So we're back to the old argument of "is having round buttons more important than a fast harddisk".

I could rise to the bait but I won't.

UDMA, nVidia, USB yes they're all hardware. But they all do require drivers - and these had to be written. They also are updated - as are other OS modules RO5.XX has gone through 10 upgrades since it was launched with various enhancements and bugfixes. Other than USB2 *all other changes* have been free of charge.

So for your typical Iyonix user changes have happened and most are free.

For your Iyonix user who was encouraged by ROL's hints of future availability of Select if they subscribed to the Select scheme what did they get ?

Well nothing.

You could say Castle did something for nothing while ROL did nothing for something.

As to the sterling work of Simon Wilson, Adrian Lees and others YES these are not Castle but it is interesting that they chose to support Iyonix. Why has Iyonix got such programmer support ? Could it be the widely available (free) Documentation (on www.iyonix.com) would have helped. Would I be right in saying Castle provided this. And is there equivalent free documentation of Select API's from ROL, Nope you do have to take out a subscription before you can access it.

Then there's the hardware differences, development on RO5 has been skewed towards hardware support simply because Iyonix has so much more capable and wide hardware options that are not available on the RiscPC or A9. If those platforms had the same range of hardware then perhaps more of ROL's time would be tied up with that.

I also regard as somewhat funny your comments such as:

"Other than USB and UDMA drivers, what else have Castle done for desktop RISC OS since late 2002?"

Which you then answer with

" I suppose there's the programming tools they released. They've done a load of new cases."

The programming tools are *vital* to developing the desktop I would have thought. As to the load of new cases most accomodate at least two optical drives (though one drops the internal FDD). How does this compare with the breadth and utility of the A9Home's case for example.

If A9Home ever gets to write DVD's (currently it can't) it'll have to use its much slower USB1.1 bus - which won't get anywhere *near* the performance of the Iyonix's USB2 (and will fall far short of the UDMA internal system which Iyonix can currently use for writing DVD's). But as you say Chris - it's easy to pick holes in peoples work.

As ROL seem prepared to take money off Iyonix users yet only appear to provide support to A9Home, Omega and RiscPC users it would appear to me in that circumstance it would not be wise IMHO for Iyonix users to maintain such subscriptions given that to date the only people to benefit has been everyone else *other than* Iyonix users. I'll say it again maybe it's time Castle's Merlin made a comeback - if that's by subscription for existing Iyonix users and as a free upgrade to new users that might make more sense than the "Select will arrive someday" nonesence that currently abounds.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/9/05 6:08PM
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On ROL cuts deal with Omega users:

emac2 said > "If Adjust is anything to go on...I would be interesed in purchasing an A9, and the immense task of 32 Bitting will be slow (and needed before iyonix users get a look in) "

And the A9 having a 32bit only processor will need the same work won't it? From the OS conversion viewpoint both 32bit conversion for A9 or Iyonix would be equally easy - or hard depending on how optimistic/pessimistic you are.

nx> RO5 looks tame, eh? Ok it doesn't have Round buttons (like that matters) but does UDMA (A9 doesn't), USB2 (no other native RISC OS Platform does), supports multiple screens (up to three of them at different resolutions and orientations), has support for OpenGL (with hardware acceleration provided by the nVidia card) and can support larger hard disks and can write DVD's. Yes tame is fine if it does all those other things instead.....

Grek1> I'd agree with you, up to a point.

The problem is that ROL from time to time raise hopes that Select for Iyonix *might* appear - then go and produce a version for Omega and PC emulators. Then later ROL then hint that Select for Iyonix *might* appear and they produce a version for a machine that is very much a "beta" (the A9). I just wonder how often does this have to happen before people realise what's going on.

If you take out a subscription for Select at the moment chances are the only people to benefit are A9, Omega and RiscPC users (in that order). For an Iyonix user's perspective it's just like throwing money away - it also rewards those who've taken money in the past and (IMHO) gave nothing back to the Iyonix users who *did* pay subscriptions on the basis of a future release of Select for Iyonix.

So how can the "desired" behaviour be induced in ROL - by Iyonix users paying their subscription again ? No - it hasn't worked to date - perhaps the alternative of NOT paying ROL might work better. Alternatively perhaps Castle can be prevailed upon to restart their "Merlin" project- after all it does seem Castle have a tendency to promise and then deliver - this might ultimately be a more viable option than interminably waiting on ROL.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/9/05 3:59PM
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On ROL cuts deal with Omega users:

nx said >"Lots of users/people seem to think that they know ROL has used Select subscribers money to fund the development of the A9. It is quite possible that advantage6 have funded ROL for their time and effort. Lets give ROL the benefit of doubt shall we?"

But... it was ROL who said that they might produce Select for Iyonix and said so more than once. Some Iyonix users *did* take out or keep up subscriptions - so what did *they* get for the money they spent - where *did* their money go ?

nx said > "Also, many people seem to think that ROL should bend over backwards to develop Select for Iyonix. Users knew when they purchased their Iyonix that the OS was developed by Castle - Not ROL. So why should they expect ROL spend a lot of their effort on supporting another companies OS when they already have many thousands of users of RO 4.xx to support first? "

Yes I bought an Iyonix - I knew it did not have any immediate prospect of it at that time (or possibly *ever*) running select. I have *no* problem with that and at this stage am not pushed about it - but here's the rub *some* Iyonix users *did* keep up or take out Select subscriptions because at some point ROL hinted that that would be a Select ported to the Iyonix.

If ROL then or now had *no* intention of supporting Iyonix - fine they should have said that. If it was the case that technical reasons prevented it fine - they could say that too. Point is they *did not* - that's where the problem lies. From time to time ROL "hint" that they might support Iyonix then change their minds or put it lower on their list of priorities. That's (IMHO) is what is causing the problem - if peoples' expectations are raised then dashed that's what causes problems.

At this point the best thing I would suggest Iyonix users could do is buy software from vendors who support Iyonix and avoid those that don't. At least then the money that's spend *will* benefit that platform rather than money spend on Select Subscriptions that *don't*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/9/05 1:25PM
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On ROL cuts deal with Omega users:

markee174> ROL seems to have the interests of Omega users (yes that up and coming platform), A9 users (more than the 6 who voted in the recent poll I hope) and RISC PC users at heart. Iyonix with it's large existing userbase doesn't seem to rate.

My advice is simple, RO 5.10 is out, it costs nothing and has the neat feature of actually running on an Iyonix.

Now what you do with your money is your business, but if it were me I'd save the money until ROL see sense, or use the money saved to buy software from companies that *do* support Iyonix users. Eventually ROL may get the message and wise up (I hope) if they don't RO 5.XX is good enough (and getting progressively better.....).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/9/05 7:48PM
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On Software news:

Adrian> Ultimate Debugger sounds very much like a "must have" for ARM coders. I'd say it should also save me tearing out what little of my hair I have left.... a not exactly unimportant consideration ;)

It even uses its own Window manager that uses nVidia acceleration code from Geminus, captures trace info from xScale, and the joy of not having code crashes that loses all state information - yep this should be a major timesaver.

Another nice one Mr Lees !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/9/05 7:14PM
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On Hifi buffs told Iyonix audio is good enough:

In general PC sound quality is poor. The AC97 chip (AC97 *anything*) is simply a standard set by Microsoft and is the standard used by most PC's. I generally listen to music on my Iyonix by listening to the output from the CD-ROM's output socket - so can't honestly say I've heard any problem but then as this does by pass the Iyonix sound system that's not really a surprise.

It would be relatively simply to add a TOSLINK (S/PDIF) optical connector to the expansion port on the Iyonix (an idea I've being toying with) - in theory this *should* give the best quality sound - and at the least expense (the Optical Transmitter has absolutely no electrical connection to the Digital To Analogue converter you've attached to (typically a Hi-Fi) so no "noise"/RFI should get across).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/9/05 8:17PM
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On Is this the widest RISC OS desktop yet?:

Yep I seen Geminus at the last South East Show in Guildford and found both Adrian and Neil very helpful and willing to talk about their developments. At that stage they *only* had two screens running. Adrian prophetically said that you *could* add more than one extra PCI Video card (and now here it is).

Given the OpenGL port (and now multiple video cards) these represent very interesting developments on the RISC OS graphics development front.

Nice one lads - continue the good work !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/9/05 8:18PM
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On Software news:

Aww Chris the South East Show is worth going to even without the hype ;)

If you look at the diagram you'll see the reference to A3 and A9 (the A3 not being a computer - but a *road*). I'd imagine something similar is going on with the Iyonix and the I2. Although I wouldn't mind been proven wrong ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/8/05 8:42PM
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On Survey: Iyonix use leads VirtualRPC:

adamr> Don't know *how* many new ones there were (best ask Ian or Chris I guess, or you could check the Internet Archive sites (waybackmachine and all that)). But the side panel shows currently there are 422 active accounts. If the "% of drobe readers" in the stats is based on this you should be able to work out how many occurrances of use there were for each platform (i.e., it would give John Cartmell the *absolute* figures he wanted).

For example : with 422 users and 42.4% using an Iyonix that works out at an even 179.928 Iyonix users (yes I was on a diet hence the 0.928 and yes it's going fine ;).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/8/05 8:38PM
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On Survey: Iyonix use leads VirtualRPC:

jc>"Somehow AMS seems to want it both ways claiming the survey shows A yet denying that it can show B"

No, not in the least (read CAREFULLY what I wrote). The survey is self-selecting in as much as *those who continue to use RISC OS* (and *read Drobe*) have computer use as breakdown in the survey. Therefore of those who *have responded* a significant number have said they use Iyonix - and more so than have all other platforms (except RISC PC). That means what I said *is valid* in that context. Also as the people who read Drobe (and respond to such surveys) are likely to buy new RISC OS products (i.e., they're still interested) - and as a fair proportion of those use Iyonix - that would suggest there is a *significant* number of potential Select buyers there.

As to point B (Damage or otherwise caused by VA to RISC OS hardware sales) this would require a knowledge of how many of the 3000 purchasers of VA products *no longer use* RISC OS (and therefore are unlikely to respond to the survey). In short *we can't know*.

It really isn't that complicated is it ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/8/05 1:08PM
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On Survey: Iyonix use leads VirtualRPC:

VirtualAcorn said>"it also seems to show that VirtualAcorn does not have a siginificant impact on sales of real hardware".

I am afraid there is insufficient information in the Survey to allow a conclusion one way or the other, as the survey is somewhat self-selecting.

For the most part *only* people who continue to use and take an active interest in RISC OS read Drobe. If there was a substantial *exodus* of RISC OS users to Windows (perhaps after being coaxed onto it by VA) then not all of those users I would expect to actually read or participate in the survey. All the survey shows is continuing RISC OS users some of whom use VARPC. Those who *had* used VARPC and left RISC OS would not be counted.

Saying VA did no harm to hardware sales because *fewer* of the continuing RISC OS users use it than use native hardware is probably a bit simplistic. The real question is how many used VA and left and would they have left anyway or not (and that my friends is a very tough question).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/8/05 7:11PM
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On Survey: Iyonix use leads VirtualRPC:

Well at least the survey blows out of the water *any* notion that there are insufficient number of Iyonix users to justify ROL porting Select to it (if you add VRPC (laptop & PC) + A9Home (yes early days I know)) these "Select" equipped machines are outnumbered by nearly 2 to 1 by Iyonix users. Can ROL *really* ignore a potential market nearly twice the size it currently has ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/8/05 5:45PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

Mavhc> As much as I'd like to believe ROL made 180000 I doubt they got that much. Many of the copies sold may have been VA5000 - which as it was based on RO3.1 which *magically* became available (from where we know not) - and about which ROL objected - I doubt from the noise at the time that ROL got a penny from that version.

The later versions of VA (VARPC-SE and so on) *did* include ligit ROL Licensed version of RISC OS so *would* have contributed towards ROL's balance sheet. It would be helpful to know what *proportion* of the VA users used VA5000 compared to those using the later (ROL licensed) variants - perhaps the much vaunted Drobe survey will reveal all (drum roll - cue Chris Williams (opens envelope) and the winner is.... ;) )

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/08/05 7:12PM
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On The Intel XScale conundrum:

I think we've all forgotten one important player in this haven't we ?


Intel may figure that "low power" x86 may suit MS more than ARM and may be pitching in that direction to keep MS happy.

As far as relatively low power consumption x86 devices go these already exist (Geode for one and Crusoe for another). Intel simply moving into that space won't necessarily guarantee them a *win* they *will* have competition - also (as David Ruck said) Intel has still plenty of markets to sell xScale (so is not going to drop that chip) so much of the posturing goijng on may just be them trying to please MS or just trying to leverage some of their IP in areas they previously ignored.

x86 entering the ARM niche may well force ARM to "turn up the performance" - which from our view point may not be a bad thing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/8/05 6:58PM
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On Firefox pledgers hold onto their cash:

It's really sad to see when someone has put in so much effort *in advance* of payment that people won't pay up. It's not as if Peter asked for a whole lot upfront (in fact nothing other than a pledge). Yet people have been quite happy to pay considerably more for stuff that hasn't arrived - go figure that !

Hopefully people will see sense and do the right thing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/8/05 8:59PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

Skypilot said >"So in these cases VA has kept them using RISC OS when they could easily have gone over completely to another OS - and now they might well be buying new real Acorn hardware. If this is the case, and I suspect there is something in it, then VA will have helped sales of realAcorn by keeping them in the game. "

That's a bit like saying all the people waiting for the Omega to appear kept people running RISC OS - so therefore Omega was a good thing. While (perhaps) in a few instances that was the case in the long run damage occurred (the long overdue Omega, loss of confidence and eventually MD enticing ROL to have a release for VARPC on the MD Alpha - which I would argue further damaged "real" RISC OS hardware sales).

I've had a good long think about all of this and *perhaps* things are *not* as bad as I thought. Perhaps the "lower" VARPC-SE price is down to the fact that with the lower priced Iyonix (and soon to follow the A9Home retail version) available people were doing the maths and saying - "the PC/VARPC option is *not* the cheaper option anymore" and that there *are* in fact "real" ARM hardware alternatives - in short VA is having to lower their price to compete against a resurgent ARM hardware platform. If that were the motivation I'd be somewhat less worried.

Trapper said > "The emulated operating system is only "vulnerable" in the hands of foolish Windows users. "

Yes quite, but remember many people who buy VARPC may *not* have used windows before (they are RISC OS users in the main). They may not know that the average time for an unprotected Windows PC to become infected on the internet is 20 minutes, they may not realise you need *broadband* to ensure that you *can* download Windows and/or AV patches *quickly enough* to ensure your machine is protected *before* the viruses strike.

Simply using VARPC on Windows does not somehow render them immune to viruses or the need to maintain the Windows patch level currency or AV updates. People using VARPC *ARE* windows users and must forget the RISC OS world - if you want to run RISC OS under Windows you have to do so under *WINDOWS* rules.

adamr said > "I don't understand your point. Surely if using MSOffice is best for some individual user then that's what they should do, by definition?"

I did *not* say they couldn't nor did I indicate that Word was preferable for anything. What I meant was that people would in time get used to Windows and through sheer convenience just load and run the available Windows apps rather than loading VARPC (delay) loading techwriter (or whatever further delay), access file from HostPC etc.,. Windows takes long enough to boot without adding the VARPC delay. Over time RISC OS usage would drop - if you like VARPC is a means to allow RISC OS users to get used to windows - a sort of stepping stone to become a Windows user. Microsoft did such a thing for WordPerfect users - they provided key stroke compatibility in Word so that WP users could get used to and finally switch to Word - which is of course what they did.

This infers *nothing* about the appropriateness or otherwise of Windows Software over RISC OS software - all it says is that people like convenience - if you can do something with one or two fewer mouse clicks and fewer delays people will generally opt for the more convenient. I am not *blaming them* for that either - its just a natural consequence of trying to graft one OS on top of another - generally the base OS (Windows in this case) is the one that will be used and whatever apps are associated with that.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/8/05 12:05PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

adamr>"it [VARPC] could have increased hardware sales by tempting ex-users back into the market. "

A singularly inefficient way of doing it. Yep, you buy a PC with Windows XP to buy a further piece of software (VARPC) to run RISC OS for you and then you're so overcome with joy you buy an Iyonix ? Is this really likely ? Really ?

I would suspect a person with an old chugging RPC sees VARPC running on a cheap PC - it's faster than their old box - the package costs less than an Iyonix - YIPPEE they buy the PC. Technically I suppose they're still using RISC OS - but the only new hardware bought was a PC. Then at some point they say - nah, why boot VARPC at all - save the time - just run Word/Excel/Powerpoint - game set and match Microsoft.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/8/05 9:54PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

demondb>"It seems short sighted to insist the everyone should buy native hardware."

In fact I am *insisting* on *nothing*. I am simply stating the obvious - IMHO VARPC damages the sale of *REAL* RISC OS hardware. It's then down to people to decide if putting Microsoft in charge of RISC OS's future is a good idea. At least with *actual* RISC OS hardware about that risk is limited - if RISC OS hardware dissapears then you *are* dependant fully on Virtual Acorn and Microsoft for RISC OS's future.

demondb> "What I meant earlier when I said it was a matter of which OS it runs on, should have read which computer it runs on, because as we all know, Windows runs on a multitude of different PC's. "

And that matters because ? If at the end of the day Windows (on all those different PC's) can't run VARPC you're stuffed - be it a Dell, an Acer, a Siemens-Nixdorf, be it based on a P-IV/AMD64/Semperon etc., makes no difference if Windows just *won't* run VARPC. Or if Windows changes in such a way that it is *uneconomic* for Virtual Acorn to update VARPC to keep it running on newer PC hardware. Yes I know that is conjecture and may not necessarily happen - but a multitude of PC hardware running ONE OS (Windows) is still just running ONE OS (Windows) and leaves you dependant on Microsoft and having different badges on the PC Box or a different brand of PC processor does *not* get around that.

Ask the former users of DR-DOS they know all about this sort of thing ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/8/05 9:32PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

ninja> "If by 'vulnerable' you mean vulnerable to worms, viruses and the likes.."

Yes, there is that. It then boils down to if the risk is worth the benefits percieved by the user. As I am a naturally cautious sort I prefer not to take the risk - naturally though not all people take that view. If people wish to use VARPC then I suggest that they *must* take it upon themselves to ensure that their machines have their PC Antivirus updated regularly - and Windows updates done as well - so that the risks are as low as can be acchieved.

ninja > "VRPC has made the use of RISC OS less vulnerable to the whims of a few select companies, while making it more vulnerable to worms and viruses."

So it then boils down to which does the greater damage ? I'd also point out that Virtual Acorn are (like ROL, Castle, Ad6 et al) just another company and will no doubt be looking out for *their* interests while these coincide with that of the RISC OS using public *grand* if they should ever differ then potentially we're all stuffed. I fear the natural outcome (suggested by demondb) that eventually RISC OS hardware would cease and then rather than having our eggs in two baskets (that of ROL/Ad6 and Castle) it would be in one basket (VA/Microsoft).

VRPC for all it's potentially for having RISC OS running on disparate platforms has failed to cause this meaningfully to materialise - and even if it did now with the Mac going to go x86 one can only wonder what effect that would have on VARPC trying to run on a hardware platform that effectively ceased to exist - unless of course emulating ARM on an emulated PowerPC running on an x86 sounds like a sensible proposal to you ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/8/05 8:52PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

demondb said >"VARPC certainly has a home, and I cannot understand people who say it is robbing RISC OS hardware manufacturers of sales. "

You can't extrapolate from your case and suggest that VARPC has had *no* effect on native hardware sales. If (as the numbers suggest) more copies of VARPC/VA have sold than *actual* hardware there *must* have been some people who would have opted for VARPC over actual RISC OS hardware - particularly given the "spin" put on by some (I stress *not* by Virtual Acorn themselves) such as describing machines running VARPC as being "hybrid computers" - when in actual fact what was being discussed was a plain ordinary PC running VARPC on top of Windows.

ninja> Yes *if* VARPC *is* ported to another operating system then yes RISC OS won't be dependant alone on Windows. I would suspect though that while money can be made hawking VARPC on Windows then that's where it's going to stay. Do bear in mind no matter *what* OS VARPC moves to it makes *RISC OS* dependant on THAT OS and VARPC - RISC OS becomes *dependant* and therefore I would argue *vulnerable*.

demondb said >"VARPC is, if anything, widening RISC OS use in the world. I can see a day when RISC OS hardware ceases, and we all go the way of the PC, it's just a question of which OS you run on it."

So how many people use VARPC who never used RISC OS on actual RISC OS hardware then ? I'd suggest very few in short it's shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic time....

I would agree that I can see a day too when RISC OS hardware ceases, and VARPC may well have helped in its own way to acchieve that, thing is what makes you think once we get to that point that you'll have a *choice* over which OS you use ?

Currently Intel/Microsoft/Phoenix (of the BIOS fame) are drawing up a next generation BIOS - given the credentials of the first two organisations there I'd be unwilling to wager that they'd be too keen on allowing people free choice over what OS they use.... and if you think Apple are any better what's this about Digital Rights Management (DRM) being built into the x86 version ?????

Nah, our best hope is to keep improving the ARM hardware and keeping RISC OS running "for real" rather than pushing it into a space where ultimately it will not survive.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/8/05 8:04PM
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On VirtualAcorn boasts 3000 users:

Given the current Worm problem striking Windows - the operating system Virtual Acorn/VARPC uses- the timing of this announcement probably could have been better - IMHO.

But be that as it may, yes VA/VARPC is an impressive piece of software. I'll hold up my hands and say I (did) buy a copy of VA5000 (but not until after an RO4 purchase), and both done at a time when Imago vs Omega was going on and it was not clear how the hardware front would resolve itself. I also had to use a PC to work on files from work - so I felt if I was being railroaded into buying a Windows license I might as well have some RISC OS stuff run on it too).

Now that RISC OS *has* viable alternatives available in the form of a mature platform in the form of Iyonix which is now my preferred platform (or the soon to arrive A9) I would find it more difficult to make the same justification - especially considering that the 98SE that is on that *old* PC would need to be upgraded to Windows XP just in order to run VARPC - and let's face it I don't want to pay Bill Gates any more money to run RISC OS - thank you very much ;)

The real question is the VARPC success at the expense of killing the RISC OS hardware platform and tying our future use to that of Windows - and that only time will tell

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/8/05 6:59PM
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On 'Community' newsgroup proposed for RISC OS users:

Why not something simple like alt.comp.sys.riscos (the alt at the start differentiates it from the more formal csa hierarchy)?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 8/8/05 6:53PM
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On 'Community' newsgroup proposed for RISC OS users:

A good idea indeed. I do like the sound of alt.riscos.community and it will allow more general wide-ranging discussions (without the usual ritual decapitations that occur at the moment when some poor unfortunate strays off topic).

Having read many articles on the csa hierarchy and the iyonix smartgroups I've come to the conclusion that there are a great many knowledgable people in the RISC OS community, now having a way for them all to talk in an unconstrained manner should throw up interesting and though provoking contributions - I must admit I am looking forward to it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 6/8/05 1:29PM
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On ROL tells Select users: A9 takes priority:

Thing is ROL seems to *persistently* position Iyonix at the bottom of their pile of things to do. They have (for example) openly supported the Omega, when MD needed it they even supported RISC OS under Windows (MD's Alpha PC Laptop being the first to receive ROL's RISC OS version for use under emulation), and now that the A9 is in the wings it's the A9 that gets support.

Is it just me or does this amount to a *pattern* ? It may or may not be pointless stalling - but it *is* consistenty done whatever way you look at it.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/08/05 7:02PM
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On ROL tells Select users: A9 takes priority:

fylfot> The exact quote given on Drobe from ROL was "The plan at present is to simply continue to take pledges for Select for Iyonix and when we are in a position to proceed, we will ask to convert those pledges into real cash."

This does *not* infer that the payment was due on *completion* but rather that ROL might require payment when *they* were ready to proceed. Or else maybe I've misinterpreted what they meant. But in either event Select 4 (26bit customers) and any putative Iyonix Select subscribers would *both* have to wait in either event - the only question is would they have to pay while they waited.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/8/05 10:58PM
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On The RISC OS File Repository opens:

Mr Hawkins sir this is a *very impressive development*, congratulations on a job well done.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/8/05 10:43PM
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On ROL tells Select users: A9 takes priority:

While I can understand ROL's need to "target" resources (they ain't IBM or anything...) I would imagine existing 26bit customers are probably not particularly thrilled at this news (especially if they're not upgrading to the A9).

It also reinforces the skeptism some had regarding a 32bit Iyonix Select (I am sure some are even pleased they *hadn't* put down cash for Select given what now appears to have transpired). One might even suspect if *more* Iyonix owners had subscribed we'd still be seeing the above announcement - and then there'd be a predictable round of recriminations.

Perhaps this is a "push" to get A9 out before too many sales are lost to Castle's x400 - or perhaps it's all just what's said on the tin - who knows ? ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/8/05 10:41PM
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On Castle introduces Iyonix cube:

simo> So what ? The Iyonix is *not* effected by *any* of this (the IOP321 is *not* being discontinued). Intel also shelved an ARM processor called the StrongARM some years back - what's the relevance.

I'd also point out that StrongARM although out of production can *still* be purchased (from warehouse stores rather than off Intel's own production line as it were).

Intel makes such announcements so that manufacturers have a *timely oppertunity* to switch to new processors. The same would occur for the IOP-321 (if/when) it is retired, and that isn't the subject of this announcement and is not going to happen for quite some time.

So I am afraid that the A9 is not going to find itself compeditorless just yet (thanks to the lower cost/slimmer Aria it's going to have a *more* serious compeditor), and when the 80321 passes away there is the even more jucey 80332 waiting in the wings and Castle will have more than enough time to get ready for that when the time eventually comes.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 2/8/05 7:05PM
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On RiScript 5.0 released:

Nice site indeed and congrats to Jeroen and Roeland on completing Riscript. Better check into how to set up a paypal account then ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/8/05 6:28PM
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On Castle introduces Iyonix cube:

This is good news indeed as it means that people will be in a position to upgrade to an Iyonix with the least amount of "financial" pain.

It also means that the A9 won't be the only small form factor RISC OS machine. Ok, the Aria Cube is bigger than the A9 - but then it *does* have an expansion slot, a faster processor, twice the RAM and a built in CD-RW drive whilst the A9 does not. Pricewise given the Aria Cube's spec it looks like good value.

Also the fact it is using the existing Iyonix motherboard means that it's not as if it's a new and untried product.

Castle needed an answer to the A9 - and this seems to be it, and arguable a good repost it is too.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/8/05 6:17PM
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On MicroDigital incommunicado:

Peter> I know you're right, but I was kind of hoping that some sort of appeal might provoke MD into being at least forthcoming to the extent of at least making the relevant infortmation available (in effect making more feasible what you're suggesting). And yes it is probably highly unlikely to happen but I thought I give it a shot anyway (in the mode of nothing ventured nothing gained....)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/7/05 12:25PM
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On MicroDigital incommunicado:

I kind of figured that Omega could be programmed through a JTAG interface (in fact I vaguely recall some article that mentioned that early Omegas demoed needed a PC to "program" the FPGAs prior to startup which I presumed at the time was via JTAG).

My original concern about the "reflashing" was *not* about the practicalities (e.g., could you use JTAG) but rather the availability of the appropriate image data in order to do it and as Ian you've confirmed they [MD] have not supplied you with the required data. The other issue is some FPGA's have a "Security" feature that prevents them from being read - if that's the case for Omega then either (a). MD have to provide the data (b). Someone who already *has* the data is prepared to share it.

It should not fall to MD's own customers to fix the computer or require the public spirited efforts of Peter Naulls - it's *MD's* responsibility. They should, IMHO, put structures in place so that they're customers are adequately supported.

The most relevant reference to USB work being done (or not) for the Omega was one I found from drobe [link] were in April 2004 Simtec denied doing any work on Omega inspite of MD apparently suggesting that they were. I don't know if that changed later - or if Stuart Tyrell was "roped into it" as it were (the clear inference from the article was that Simtec thought MD were implementing their own USB stack). Unless Stuart has committed publically to do it for them then I'd be sceptical about the likelihood of it happening.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/7/05 5:16PM
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On MicroDigital incommunicado:

Additionally I can't imagine Stuart Tyrell wanting to give Omega owners a reason *not* to buy the A9. As to XScale development the version they probably would have used (given when it was originally announced) would have been the 80200 which by this stage is *very old hat*. Also simply replacing the StrongARM with an XScale (of that vintage or a newer one) would require a substantial board re-design - and that would not benefit existing owners.

Besides the raison d'etre of ArmTwister no longer exists - you *can* run 32bit and 26bit code on the one machine (as in Iyonix) and RISC OS has been 32bitted also by ROL so again no need. Besides with ArmTwister was never fully explained *how* you'd have a StrongARM and xScale interact in a way that both code would run without horrendous performance hits (I certainly can't remember any *clear* explanation and that inspite of queries from David Ruck and others).

The best one can hope for is that *enough* information will become available to allow Omega users to have their machines maintained or (if as happens in the case of EasyKees) that a "reflash" option will be available to revive their machines. Currently Omega owners are in a state of limbo - which is not a good situation - and I hope MD can be prevailed upon to help in at least leaving some sort of structure in place such that existing Omega owners *can* be supported (and if that means making information open then so be it).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/7/05 1:12PM
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On Acorn User rock on sale:

Just out of scientific curiousity - what's the "best before" date on that stick ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/7/05 3:11PM
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On Fears over Omega refund saga:

Oddly there were good reasons to be wary from the very start.

The "announcement" at Epson in 2000 (Posters only with no person to answer questions).

Here's an exchange between Rich and me on Iconbar back in late *2000* :

rich (message #1904 - posted at 09:41, 30/11/2000; see [link]) "I gave MD a gentle prod and they say their answers are "almost finished". So, depending on how much they can give away, the answers might be just around the corner..."

ams (part of message #1905 - posted at 15:31, 3/12/2000) "But it is somewhat worrying that they themselves have not yet given definitive answers to simple questions. In order for the machine to be available in December then (at least) a prototype should have been seen outside their offices by some independant third party. Bear in mind the photo on their web site seems to an Omega displaying an ROS desktop, surely if that's the case why not let someone else see the machine in action ?"

As it happens I actually don't believe it was MD's intent to defraud anyone. I do believe they *genuinely* intended to provide a new RISC OS machine. But that having been said I do not believe for one minute that a machine *existed* in anything approaching a demonstratable state in 2000 when deposits were being taken. I figure that they probably thought getting enough money to pay for the development (or its completion) was the way to go, and that's what they did. Thing is it appears that the development was more complex and took longer than expected. In short the intention was good - but the implementation got a bit unstuck.

I believe great damage was done both to purchasers and to other RISC OS companies and to the credibility of the platform as a whole on foot of this.

Chris Williams, Ian Chamberlain and Paul Beverley deserve full credit for pursuing this story rather than as some have done and turned a blind eye.

There is no need for people to "give up" on buying RISC OS products. A little more caution is required that is all; perhaps the simple rule of thumb to be applied is *don't* take things on face value, *only* buy machines that are complete [and if not complete wait until they are, or buy a different one that *is complete*], and if someone is unprepared to show you (or independent observers) their wares - **don't buy**.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/7/05 5:13PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

Jaco> Just to clarify, no USB is is *not* upwards compatible, it is *backwards* compatible in that a newer controller/device can "fall back" to the slower speed and still talk to an older device (at the older device's speed). The USB2 device slows from 480Mbps to 12Mbps (USB1.1) to suit the *older* device - in this case the A9Home.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/07/05 9:56PM
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On A9home form factor tempts DIY projects:

Revin Kevin> It might well be - but I suspect it would cost somewhat more. Additionally if it's something that is done "to order" it may not have all the functionality of an A9Home (it may not need all the RISC OS modules - or hard disk or whatever). I don't know the spec of the A9loc - but if it is a wall/bulkhead mounted panel it may not necessarily be as convenient (or cheap) as an A9Home.

But perhaps there's a middle ground - perhaps Ad6 can be persuaded to make the software component of that unit available as an upgrade and allow the user to source their own GPS ? (chances are the data format used is NMEA in which case more or less any GPS unit could be used).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/7/05 7:47PM
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On A9home form factor tempts DIY projects:

Indeed in the abscence of a RISC OS laptop the A9Home would probably make quite a good GPS/Satnav unit.

GPS modules are widely available and even hand held units (with serial port) are available that could be pressed into such use with A9Home. Garmin (and other makes) in addition to proprietary data sequences can be persuaded to spit out NMEA code (basically fairly easy to read ASCII) the task of generating routes, waypoints and maps on the A9 would then be a programming task. The data rates from the units are pretty low (AFAIK 9600 bps, with the co-ordinates updated at approximately 1 second intervals, no need for USB 2 here folks !!!!).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/7/05 7:08PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

You'd probably need to order more than a couple of thousand - and you'd be probably waiting a while. It (judging from Peter's contribution) is a *hardware* issue. The board simply does *not* contain a USB2 compatible controller. To replace it would mean a substantial board redesign (there is *no* other option as the A9 has *no* means to allow an external USB2 card to be fitted). The board and OS would need to be updated and then the thing tested and then after any further revisions a new board complete with USB 2 would be issued. I *can't* see that happening with the current design.

It isn't Ad6 and Simtec being awkward - it's just that technically and economically having taken this project so far it would not be possible to change it over so late in the day into a USB2 based unit. It would probably make more sense (if the A9Home is successful) to follow up with an A10 (or something) in a year or twos time with the A9's shortcomings addressed.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/07/05 6:56PM
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On MicroDigital sought by bailiffs:

One would hope that MD will do what they can to address the situation.

If MD cannot continue in business perhaps they can do things that help ameliorate the losses of their customers (perhaps their Intellectual Property (IP) has value that could be realised and moneys paid to their creditors/customers ? perhaps they have stock that could be sold etc.,).

Yes I agree that it would be sad to see a company leave the RISC OS market - but one distinctly gets the feeling that the whole Omega affair wasn't exactly a picnic for the platform; the apparent "imminent" release of Omega (hinted at around *3 years prior to launch*) probably resulted in:

(1). The demise of the Millipede Imago (2). Reductions in sales from companies that had *actual* RISC OS hardware out there (I speak of RiscStation and Castle) (3). Probably had people "save" for the Omega at the expense of reduced spending on software (hitting developers) (4). Prompted RISC OS Ltd to officially endorse Windows based RISC OS emulation on the MD-Alpha - A Microsoft Windows based laptop.

I'd argue all of those were negative, the losses Omega generated weren't just limited to the depositors who lost out, for whom one must have symphathy, but also the other vendors who were trying to keep RISC OS running on real ARM hardware who no doubt suffered too.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/07/05 7:51PM
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On GCCSDK team trumpets module support:

Good news indeed. Full congratulations to both Peter Naulls and the GCCSDK team for a job well done.

I feel a download coming on ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/7/05 12:58PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

Michael> You're friend is probably using a PC where *everything* takes a lot of RAM to run (for example the Microsoft .NET Framework weighs in at some 22MB - and that *isn't even the OS*). On RISC OS you can get a lot of apps (even some of the heaver ports such as GCC *and* Firefox) running happily with 128MB as well as the usual suspects like !Draw, !Paint et al. On a PC the basic OS and .NET framework will leave you with short change of your 128MB (and things will slow somewhat when you try run Office etc). So *we* are the ones who should be ones who should be saying "are you serious 512MB of RAM why would I ever need that ?"

The virtue of RISC OS is you *don't*, on the whole, need to use anything like 128MB to be productive. I suspect the only time you'd broach that is with large scanned images for printing and the like.

Yes having *more* RAM is better - but is *not as necessary* as it would be on a PC.

The USB issue is the more serious one, it is rather unfortunate that having decided to limit the machine to USB only expansion that the USB chosen was 1.1 and not 2. It *will* have knock on effects for those wishing to burn CD's, if that capability becomes available, particularly with longer burn times than PC's or Iyonixs or - if it's possible at all - painfully long burn times of DVD data disks. It'll also rule out having fast external hard disk storage (you can have it - but it *won't* be fast). I've used USB2 external drives on PC's and you *really* wouldn't know they're not a normal internal UDMA/IDE drive from a speed perspective - sadly at USB1.1 the difference would be all too noticeable. Still I'd rather not be critical of Ad6/Simtec they *have* managed to create a worthy, compact RISC OS box that has more "hits" than "misses".

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/07/05 7:53PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

sa110 said > "The USB 1.1 is adequate for most things, even CD burning. "

Yes, except CDVDBurn to my knowledge doesn't support USB for burning (quite undestandable given the relatively small number of RISC OS users with RISC OS machines with USB).

As of *now* A9Home can only read not write CDs (never mind the speed), that might change if the good Mr Huber can be persuaded to add USB burning support - although I doubt if the IDE using DVD writing community would be much impressed if his valuable time was taken away on something that would be of no benefit to them ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/7/05 7:06PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

JGZimmerle>"You would expect limited expandability from such a machine. And in contrast to the Iyonix, the CPU is upgradable. "

and Jaco>"Theoretically you could upgrade the Iyonix CPU (With CPUs on a PCI card but there's no support)...however you can not replace the CPU of an Iyonix as that is soldered to the board. "

Notionally you can upgrade the A9Home's CPU and RAM, I'd point out currently the version supplied is the fastest available. There may also be limitations on the level of upgrade that might (even theoretically) be possible - for example does the CPU card offer a 32bit or 64bit databus (if not 64 it either won't support xScale or will require further glue logic and a performance hit). There's also the *cost* factor, if the cost of the add on is such that the machine becomes as expensive as an Iyonix you'd be wiser buying an Iyonix !

Also in some instances (as Jaco said) some upgrades are theoretical and remain so (the much vaunted 1GHz xScale that fits to the Omega springs to mind ;).

Yes the Iyonix is limited in that the CPU can't be upgraded, neither is the A9 upgradable at the moment (and the available upgrades may not lift it above the Iyonix in performance terms in any case). In it's favour the Iyonix has genuinely useful features like *currently* being able to take 1GB of RAM (8 times that of the A9) and being able to host 4 IDE devices and have more add on's than you can shake a stick at. So in applauding the acchievement that is the A9 let's not go knocking the Iyonix it still is the "gold standard" of RISC OS computers....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/06/05 6:42PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

lostamarble> Yes, I took them for IDE but you're right they 50pin rather than 44 (oops!), so your conclusions are not unreasonable.

I'd also agree that it would be a step backwards if the hardware is all "external" to the computer - but then the A9 is not a traditional computer given that it's origin is not a desktop but rather the embedded device market. For the cost concious or people who must squeeze as much of a computer into the smallest possible space it should do nicely, as a desktop it is probably more limited though - but who says that that should be the only paradigm that RISC OS should be aimed at ?

jms> The Processor/memory module has NAND Flash RAM (according to the Simtec site) so the OS (or a part of it) is probably stored there.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/6/05 6:37PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

Chris> Thanks for the clarification/update.

Yep with the processor on the RAM module simply swapping the module is *not* an option and the machine will *not* boot. Effectively it means that the A9 can *only* be upgraded if Simtec/Ad6 provide an upgraded processor card that contains more RAM and the obligatory ARM9 processor. Interestingly it may leave open the possibility for future processor upgrades.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/6/05 4:10PM
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On Castle USB stack tweaked for beta update:

jc>"There is more than just coverage (and reliability)

Indeed, there's also speed in that the Castle Stack implements USB2. I'd agree its nice to be able to add new "unknown" devices - but the reality is if the vendor (in this case Castle) is prepared to support and update their stack it's less of a problem.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/6/05 3:15PM
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On Delving inside an A9home:

sa110>Wrote the picture confirms the memory and HDD can be changed.

The latter almost certainly yes, but the former may take a little further checking, the article does say "The A9home owner said he tried to swap the amount of memory fitted to 256M although the machine then allegedly failed to boot". This could either be because the RAM he used wasn't exactly the right spec or perhaps the OS is set to only use 128MB or perhaps there isn't a full set of tracks to the RAM DIMM module socket.

The photograph is rather interesting, looks like Simtec toyed with the idea of supplying 2 full IDE sockets (they are the two unpopulated ones lower centre of the board). If those *had* been filled and useable the A9 would have made a proper desktop computer. I am (of course) assuming that the IDE tracks run to the empty socket holes. Pity, it means people need to use USB for any extra storage (at a speed cost) and a loss of functionality (CD/DVDBURN does not *currently* support writing on USB).

Nonetheless an impressive looking board (hard to credit that so much can be squished into such a small place).

jc> Perhaps if Ad6 had chosen to "publish" official photos no-one would have been tempted to open one up voiding their warranty? Can't understand why they didn't - it's not as if someone could "reverse engineer" one from the photo. Being a hardware geek I am always keen on seeing the innards - leaving the motherboard a mystery just encourages people to open 'em up - as in this case.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/6/05 3:08PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

JC> "[AMS] your appreciation of the ease of accommodating someone else's work compared with working with a clean slate seems to be lacking the experience of experience. "

Three words, object orientation, polymorphism, inheritance.

They don't exist on a clean slate.

And I'd point out ROL aren't buffoons who can't find their backside with a flashtorch - they are *well* versed in updating others code (otherwise where did RO4 come from or indeed Select itself). Please give credit where credit is due, yes a novice programmer might *not* find a working machine, with a working OS and a very deep pile of documentation helpful (they'd be even more at sea when confronted with a machine which has no OS or bootloader or anything (as A9 probably started)) - I can't imagine ROL using novice programmers can you ?

No there is certainly enough information, documentation and working hardware in an Iyonix to allow ROL to get on with it - and the proof is in the amount of Select they *already* have running on Iyonix (apparently without co-operation if what you and Chris say is true). Castle *have* provided all that is required and I still don't know what more they can do (other than perhaps hand over all the RO5 source to ROL - if your inference about "a clean slate" is true then what benefit to ROL would that RO5 source be anyway ? ;).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/06/05 7:45PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

jc>Wrote "Clearly Castle made it very difficult for ROL to work with them and their hardware whilst Ad6 have done the opposite."

How do you figure that John ?

Like by providing a Technical Reference manual that details all major salient features of the Iyonix, includes a CD containing PDF's of all datasheets for components, the T13 docs, a PDF version of the circuit diagram, a full bill of materials and a comprehensive hardware description ?

Updated versions of the C Developer suite supporting 32bit (who knows this might even have been used to build the A9's OS !), updated PRM's and also RO5 specific online resources on the www.iyonix.com developer pages.

Produced an updated 32bit Shared C-Library and CallASwi module for all (surely *they* count as examples of being "co-operative").

Finally (unlike the A9) the Iyonix comes with a 32bit OS that you can "poke" and see how it reacts. Even though the Iyonix is more complex than an A9 there is enough information available to allow people to do what they need to do (sure Linux was ported to the Iyonix so obviously there are sources of information about Iyonix *outside* Castle as well). Also remember ROL started with *nothing* on the A9 they had to do the *whole thing*, Iyonix in comparison should be easy (well easier than developing the A9) given the available information and an already functional OS.

Maybe John you don't fully appreciate how much of a "leg-up" the above are, an OS developer would be *very* pleased to have them.

Perhaps John you could define what "co-operation" from Castle ROL still need to complete Select for Iyonix because based on the wide range of software tools and documentation available for Iyonix I fail to see what else (of practical consequence) could be needed to complete an OS for that machine.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/06/05 8:23PM
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On Firefox first beta published:

I guess I'll just add my congratulations to Peter as well, sterling work indeed. Can't wait to give Firefox on RISC OS a try !!!!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/06/05 1:14PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

jc> You wrote "you [AMS] don't seem to appreciate the work required or the fact that a version of Select was seen working on an Iyonix at Wakefield."

Perhaps you didn't read paragraph 4 of my second last contribution which contained the following:"ROL have valiantly put Select on the PC, on the A9, the A6, Riscube and so forth - but not a peep (*until recently*) on the Iyonix.".

Yes I am aware there was a version of Select present in Wakefield. I am *very* aware that a lot of work is required, but probably less than that required to get the A9 up and running (remember the Iyonix has an OS you can *poke* and get answers from the A9 was initially a board with nada/zip/zilch (more likely a very minimal monitor/BIOS) on it so ROL would have needed to do *a lot more work*). I'd also point out that some Iyonix owners *did* put subscriptions in over the last two years under the understanding that they'd get Select on Iyonix - so how come their needs are ignored in favour of the A9 - doesn't their money count too ?

You reject the notion that there is a *campaign* on, but there obviously is. Your dismissal is based on the notion of lack of common purpose (or as you put it: "There can't really be one single purpose. As individuals and companies we're all likely to have our own purpose & agenda."). You also clearly identified your purpose which you said that "unless the market has a range of products at a range of prices to suit people, you won't have the software writers receiving any income at all and we'll all be gone. You do need a range.".

So let's consider this then. Each sale of an Iyonix is one potential fewer sale of Select/A9/VARPC. So (using your self-identified purpose) you might feel obliged to talk up A9 or VARPC and talk down Iyonix (in order to ensure that *all* the business get some support).

It may just involve over-enthusing about one product while ignoring another that is as good or better. For example your support for Headturner, I don't recall your being so enthused about Geminus on the Iyonix a year ago, if you look at [link] you'll find John you made *no* comment at all yet you made seven comments on Headturner on Drobe less than a year later. The fact is that all Headturner is give you is one screen rotated through an angle while Geminous gives you *two* screens at different resolutions and orientations if required - yet that didn't merit a comment by you on Drobe). And no I don't read Quercus so if you covered both - nice - but how come only headturner warrants a mention from you here then ?

All I can say is your behaviour is quite consistent with your stated objectives.

The only way to show there is *no* campaign is to treat *all* vendors of RISC OS products equally. Hopefully this can happen, it would *really be nice*.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/06/05 3:21PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

I accept Richard that *you* did not intend the FRU to be used as a means of RISC OS 5 bashing, but that is what it *was* used for.

Chris (in article [link]) helpfully starts with a headline "Foundation DVD leaves ROS 5 behind". The very first sentence reads "Foundation RISC User magazine's new DVD-ROM release has highlighted the gap in features between RISC OS 4 and 5". Many people would read just that article and best take from it that *either* you can't read FRU on an Iyonix or can't do so without needing some 3rd party software - whereas with Select it's easy.

Clearly the FRU DVD edition *was* used to bash RO5, I believe you have unwittingly being dragged into this - but that's how it was used will you at least concede that ?

I accept completely your impartiality and my original comments did not accuse you of anything improper and clearly you *can't* be held responsible for the "propaganda" use others may have made of the product at the time.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 19/06/05 2:03PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

hexa0503> "freedom of speech"

Look anyone can quite freely talk about and disagree with whoever they want. The point is is there *a purpose* for this article at this time. Ask what purpose does it serve? what agenda is at the back of all this? To simply assume people have the 17th of June marked off in their diary as the "Let's remind people about the RISC OS dispute day" is probably a tad nieve.

Once you start asking the right questions then things begin to make sense, obvious patterns emerge, the DVD that ROL produced that plays on Select but specifically not on Iyonix (as mentioned in Drobe here by Chris). The "sniping" from the sidelines at CTL/Iyonix and (now apparently) Iyonix users who are (wait for it) the cause of the OS "fork" (what in the name of God is Select but a fork in the OS and how come no one appears to be at fault for that ?).

And then we have Jc (Hi) asking us about the origins of RO5. Yet another tact eh? Here's the rub John, it [RO5] *works* it works on the fastest RISC OS platform (A9 not widthstanding), on a more expandible machine, it is *regularly updated* and because it works and because it works on native hardware and because it works on the fastest RISC OS Machine guess what I DON'T CARE WHERE IT CAME FROM. And I bet you most of the people who spent 1200+ quid on one don't care either.

Then there's Select, a scheme where Iyonix users *have* paid money in under the understanding (apparently mistaken) that ROL would port Select to Iyonix. ROL have valiantly put Select on the PC, on the A9, the A6, Riscube and so forth - but not a peep (until recently) on the Iyonix. And, guess what, the by now well and truly pi**ed off Iyonix users haven't signed up. That's a sign of intelligence that is.

The sort of public villification of Castle, Iyonix users and their hardware is playing badly guess you guys should stop slagging people off and "spinning" things as this does *not* win arguments or win minds - logic, reason and integrity does - it's not too late to start.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/6/05 1:37PM
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On The RISC OS dispute: 12 months on:

sa110> Yes you're right.

So a rehash we have, fine. In the piece Chris says that sources close to ROL said " that few people with Iyonix computers have actually signed up to the 32bit Select scheme". Dead right, RISC OS 5 works fine, it is regularly updated (usually for free) and it was designed *specifically* for the hardware I bought. Additionally those who paid for Select Subscriptions on the strength of suggestions that ROL would eventually port Select to Iyonix have obviously decided (reasonably) to see the thing finished *first* (again quite reasonable).

The antics that have gone on (and that are still apparent from this article and some of the comments) shows that one fundemental truth has *not* been appreciated - and that is that *irrespective* of how much *cooperation* ROL get off Castle that ultimately its the *customers* who will determine how many copies of Select will sell (and after this particular rehash you can take me out of the *wait and see* column and put me in the *never buy* column) - and if this keeps up I might not find myself alone.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/6/05 8:20PM
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On Portrait monitor support for A9home:

jc>"what happens if you implement a resolution greater than the pixels available?"

You can't (the monitor will object if you try to use a scanning frequency higher than it can support [Think of Scotty saying "Capn ye canna break the lawwss of Fisicks"]). If it *could* be run as if to display a higher resolution image you'd run up against the Nyquist Sampling Theorim, you'd get aliasing (fringe effects called moire fringes caused by trying to display too complex an image with too few sample points (pixels)), the only solution - use a low pass filter to remove the higher frequency components - the end result is you get an image that fits your monitor but has been heavily filtered so that it is blurrier than the equivalent would be on a monitor that *did* support the resolution you requested (in short what's the point).

As someone else said best get a monitor that supports the resolution you intend to use.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/06/05 8:31PM
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On News in brief:

I may be in a minority - but I think RO5 works well enough anyway. And my spending on Select would simply divert my limited resources from supporting companies/developers that *are* willing to support Iyonix (e.g., Icon Technology, MW, Castle et al).

Select may well be a "nice to have" on Iyonix but (guess what), the Iyonix does all I *need* it to do, if ROL wanted to get me to even consider spending my money on their wares they'd have to do their port to Iyonix *first*.

Additionally I must admit that I am somewhat more wary now than before, ROL tend to do things to exclude people (DVD-ROM that when they were launched were said not to play on Iyonix . . . .) and documentation that is only available to subscribers (contrast that with RO5 who details are open to all on www.iyonix.com, you don't even have to buy an Iyonix). ROL need to convince people .... and putting arbitrary limits and conditionality and fudge in just doesn't cut it - sorry !!!!

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/6/05 3:24PM
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On Castle cooks up another Iyonix special offer:

Ok, I stand corrected.

Still the Iyonix offer does give you half a gig of RAM, an expensive case in which to stick extra drives, a faster xScale. But as with everything in life there are compromises. The gap is still *big* on the price front - but not as *bad* as it was and you're still getting a hell of a machine for 999 GBP (IMHO).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/06/05 7:24PM
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On ROL surveys Select32 interest:

Realist > Whoa there man !

Ok, so ROL's version of RISC OS doesn't have a HAL, doesn't have UDMA support, nor Gigabyte network support, lacks some of the USB facilities of RO5, can't handle PCI the list goes on and on. And you say Castle "stole" it from ROL. The version Castle have is a variant of 3.8 that was used by both Pace (who at the time OWNED RISC OS) and ROL (ROL's version later became RO4.XX and Pace's (later Castle's) became 5.0X).

ROL since 1999 have managed to produce a version of RISC that (apart from maybe CYMK sprites, round buttons and gradient backdrops) has changed little and is only fractionally closer to 32bit than it was then (when ROL committed themselves to produce a 32bit RISC OS). Pace (repeat PACE) owned RISC OS (lock stock and barell) and sold their rights to Castle - LIVE WITH IT and move on.

I am no lawyer but what you've written sounds very much like slander, perhaps next time you can publish your actual name so you can stand over your words eh ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/11/04 8:08PM
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On ROL surveys Select32 interest:

A case of wait and see. RO5 is (actually) fine enough and does what I need. If Castle were to continue to upgrade it, as they have, that would be fine enough for me. I can understand that that might not suit everyone - but then that's what this consultative process is all about, namely to find out what people want.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/11/04 7:28PM
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On South East show report:

Nicely done Graeme !

Thanks for the clarification

Regards Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 01/11/04 1:01PM
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On South East show report:

Theoretically you could run it under Wine (on Linux) - which allows many Windows programs to run under Linux - without requiring Windows. If that's how Messrs Barnes and Timbrell have done it then it'll have all the features of the Windows version - as it's basically *the windows version*.

I've not used Wine so can't comment on how much (if any) performance hit there is from using Wine rather than real Windows. Again I am assuming that VA is being run under Wine and that all that's happened is that it has been tweaked to install easier under Wine/Linux. Probably better wait until the lads officially announce something (I may be wrong and they may have taken the bull by the horns and done a full port to Linux - although I very much doubt this - maintaining two different versions of the code for two hugely different platforms is likely not to be the most appealing of prospects).

As to VA on Linux being a pleasant surprise - why ? The only advantage is buyers won't be lining Bill Gates pockets more - the downside is it represents another threat to the existance and viability of *real* RISC OS hardware and I for one fail to see why that would be a good thing....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/10/04 2:21PM
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On 32bit Adjust on ARM9 breakthrough:

S Williams > I'd not dispute that for one minute !!!!

We're in a position that A9 can *viably* exist on the existing 32 bit software base precisely because of the efforts of Castle, the (often underappreciated) efforts of developers and those who've stuck with the ARM RISC OS platform and supported it through thick and thin.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/10/04 7:46PM
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On 32bit Adjust on ARM9 breakthrough:

The non-26bit compatibility of the A9 would probably not matter much to OEM's who will probably use it for applications where the ability to run *old* RISC OS software is probably not significant to them. Being able to develope *new* 32bit apps (probably specific to that OEM's intended use for the A9) would probably be sufficient.

If the A9 is eventually released (in some form) as a RISC OS portable or desktop machine then it's going to be even more reliant on purely 32bit software than the Iyonix. Given the amount of 32bit software out there now though this is probably less of a problem than it once was.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/10/04 6:54PM
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On Cross platform development:

Hi Peter,

Actually there was a smiley in there when I mentioned the size of the C compilers (it was me being tongue-in-cheek really, I do know the difference between compile and runtime !). As to the SharedCLib if I mentioned that I'd slightly weaken my case slightly wouldn't I ?

Just me as usual valiantly attempting to defend the indefensible - par for the course I would have thought ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 02/10/04 3:43PM
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On Cross platform development:

nunfetishist> But BBC BASIC does handle the assembler BASIC intermixing rather elegantly (you can basically use most BASIC statements from *within* the assembler code at compile time). Now in saying that I am not denegrating (nor would I seek to do so) GCC.

As to the BBC BASIC module sizes they're pretty modest, if you were downloading a BASIC app for an Acorn machine you could presume that the module is present on the recipient's machine - so all that is transferred is *very* compact sourcecode. Sending a C executable down the line to someone is likely to be bigger and take longer. If you send the source Ok it won't be so bad but the recipient will have to have an install of GCC or Norcroft to compile it (and trust me they *do* take up a lot more room than BBC BASIC ;).

True the size of GCC/Norcroft is irrelevant at runtime - but if you're distributing an app by internet then the size of the downloaded app does matter and BBC BASIC *does* have an advantage there.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 02/10/04 3:14PM
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On Iyonix price slash offer, yawns stifled:


PC hardware is *dirt* cheap if you're prepared not to go for "known brands" and lower spec parts. Given the fact that PC's are so mass produced and that PC vendors *don't* have to singularly fund the development of the OS as well means that PC's if anything are probably massively overpriced (I figure if a PC (given the numbers produced) costs more than a good Microwave or Video recorder they're probably overpriced).

You also ignore the cost of the OS and the maintaining of the OS. Windows XP Pro (full edition for a PC without windows) will set most mere mortals back more than the cost of a low end PC (granted you *might* qualify for OEM or Upgrade deals - but these though less expensive still amount to an appreciable amount of the total cost). Also if you go the OEM route (if you can) you're on your own (no support). Add to that applications which, let's face it, Microsoft get the cream. You can buy two low end PC's for the price of MS Office (Full - again without compeditive discounts). So for someone starting off who want's to go legit and buy the software they may well jack up the price of the overall package quite a bit. The cost certainly won't be too far from that of an Iyonix (where at least you're not at Microsoft's whims).

Once you've got your WinXP/Office and obligatory Anti-virus package involved, what with time wasted on-line downloading critical patches and all the rest (assuming your time *actually* is worth something) then the cost of the Windows/PC route is one that is not reflected in the hardware price alone - after all when you buy an Iyonix you get the OS as well - not just a collection of parts.

Kind Regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/09/04 8:24PM
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On STD defends A5 concept:

Rob> Thanks for the clarification on MIPS.

In some applications power is *not* an issue (the new xScale referred to by Drobe hits 10 Watts dissapation - so can't exactly be described as frugal) in those scenarios ARM *is* up against PPC and probably MIPs as well. I don't think ARM can really sit around admiring how well it's done and become complacent - and they do seem to be trying to up their performance (about time). None of these ARM's may be "targetted" at the desktop, but if (at the end of the day) RISC OS can better exploit the enhanced performance who would mind ;)

Thanks again and regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/08/04 7:20PM
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On STD mulls WinXP PDA:

Appologies to Stuart Tyrell, there was *no* reference to the unit ever being released in ARM format (contrary to what one of the other posters said - and my response to that was consequently incorrect). The website is quite clear on that



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/07/04 2:48PM
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On MicroDigital tout big RAM for Omega:

arawnsley>"Artworks 2, the suposedly killer app for Iynoix was timed (by the usergroup) to be 20% slower on Iyonix when loading the standard example files (eg. the Smarties excample)"

That could very well be the case and Andrew I have no reason to doubt that assertion. But it is one single application and not everyone will inevitably agree on what constitutes a *killer app*. It simply highlights that an emulator may have advantages (speed wise) over an ARM native machine, and of course the contrary will also be true in other areas.

If PC speeds keep increasing then (at some point) VARPC may well equal Iyonix (I don't think Castle would/should wait around that long though !).

Hope you get well soon.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/07/04 5:40PM
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On STD Temporary Closure:

Michael> Almost all, the A75 does rely on a variant of Select

That having been said it's funny (by that I mean curious rather than humerous) that all the current "drama" started with STD announcing they were withdrawing the A75 and A6 - on this very site. Now a transcript of the Castle news conference is released and *suddently* STD close shop for 7 days (and that gets announced too).

People around here are playing hardball (to use an Americanism), things should not *all* be taken on face values. Castle *have* offered a legit solution that addresses the concerns of licensees such as Stuart Tyrell - because of the history and problems currently going on this may not be the most convenient solution - but at least it is an option that should not be dismissed by anyone out of hand.

Kind Regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 06/07/04 7:13PM
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On RISC OS 5 modernisation to cost millions:

heds> Of course if Castle *never* try enter this market we won't know how they would succeed (or not) would we ?

I'd also point out that they start with a headstart over their competition - they have an effective and competent OS in the mits (with full source), they have seasoned developers (both working for them and externally) and a user base who provide feedback (through their Merlin/Iyonix smartgroups and other forum) - Palm/Netgear/Sigma et al *don't* have that breath of ARM experience and backup.

No Castle are in a good position - RISC OS as an OS model may be more "comfortable" with some potential clients out there who might be wary of GPL, and may have concerns about going the WinCE route given Microsofts "history" - these two aspects could (and should) be exploited to RISC OS's benefit.

In any case we won't know until this avenue is tried - so why not go for it ?



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 26/06/04 2:20PM
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On RISC OS 5 modernisation to cost millions:


In Windows those sort of things are customisable (our sys admin *always* disabled fading menus on the Win2K boxes at work, and you'd have a hard time spotting the WinXP machines at a glance as he's selected the windows "Classic" style). Sometimes the customisation can get a bit much (it takes a while to get to that one feature that drives you nuts so you can disable it.... now that's time well spent isn't it ;)

Thanks for the link and regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/06/04 8:31PM
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On RISC OS 5 modernisation to cost millions:

Michael > Yes OS subscription is not a sane way of doing it - as it fragments the market even more than would normally occur.

As to the transparent windows, fading menus, and so on getting Windows it's sales - I must respectively disagree. Microsoft could use blank, shade of dog manure backgrounds and buttons shaped like the steps to Hades itself and it would sell.

They have a monopoly, people buy windows because they feel they have no choice - that all their friends use it and that anything they email or receive can (for some reason) only work on a PC.

You'll find to persuade people to change to *anything* else is an uphill struggle in part because most people don't know there are alternatives. Even relatively well "known" alternatives like Apple and Linux find it difficult (I had someone the other day inform me with great solemnity of how *difficult* Linux was to install on a PC, or so they were told, not so with modern distro's like Red Hat). Myths abound and everyone can see PC's with Windows - they don't get to see or try the alternatives and it's that which makes the difference and the forboding sense of lack of choice is the other - not the shape of buttons or the colour of Windows.

We need to get RISC OS "out there" and if it does appear in PDA's I suggest that Castle market it as a RISC OS "Lite" or something just in case they simply associate RISC OS with toy computers or something equally distressing. Better still put it on a good looking Laptop and I and many others will happly queue up to get one - and not mind about the shape of the icon buttons either !



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/06/04 7:10PM
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On RISC OS 5 modernisation to cost millions:

John McCulloch> I'd imagine RO5 was produced more to avoid running out of a compeditive processor to run RISC OS on - rather than any effort to avoid paying royalties !

I would agree, however, that initially ROL did us all a big service by saving RISC OS from destruction. At the earliest oppertunity I upgraded from RO3.7 to 4 and never looked back. ROL acchieved a lot with (let's face it) little resources. They (and Paul Middleton) deserve full credit for this.

As to Castle getting things "cheap" could you tell me who Castle got Kinetic off ? You've also missed a USB board for the RISC PC, a 100 BaseT NIC was in there somewhere too, and (although no doubt some of the work on Iyonix was done in Pace - who brought Iyonix to the market though ?).

Give credit where credit is due ROL did an effective job of saving the RISC OS operating system - Castle too have got RISC OS Out of it's biggest bind - the inability to be natively run on 32bit modern ARM architectures, don't damn Castle for it - because it's the only way of the hole RISC OS was in....



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/06/04 10:15PM
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On Expo show whisperings:

mrtd>"There are too many people about, myself included, who will not buy Microsoft products at any price. "

Does that include the Windows you need in order to run Virtual Acorn ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/06/04 10:19AM
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On Discussion and Negotiation:

Rob> You said " And in contrast, VRPC has bought in many sales for ROL that *WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED OTHERWISE* I wouldn't be surprised if VRPC sales outnumbered real hardware"

Glad to see you're Happy about that !) Have I mistakenly dropped into a Windows PC fan site or something ; )

To be serious for a moment financial success does not always benefit this platform (remember Acorn pulling the plug back in 1999 they made a pile of money - saved some tax for their shareholders and left their loyal customers high and dry with Pheobe cancelled and no arrangement for a clean handover to another owner). No one would call that a red letter day, a triumph for RISC OS, and neither should people view lots of VA sales as any less damaging - profitable for some YES damaging for the future of the platform arguably YES as well.

Oddly with all the invective bouncing around here it's important to remember ROL and Paul Middleton did save the platform from destruction then, hopefully he and they will realise that an accomodation for to save the platform is once again required... I am hopeful that they can rise to the challenge. The alternative is to try to defend the right to sell software that moves people over to Windows I can't believe Paul or ROL really want to do that do they ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/06/04 7:49PM
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On Discussion and Negotiation:

Martin Dixon >

IMHO the *only* thing RISC OS Ltd did that was wrong was to give permission to ship RO4 with emulators (and not only that Select too (their crown jewels)). It may have made short term commercial sense but (IMHO) longer term it spells trouble for the platform.

It would be a pity if the ARM hardware component to RISC OS was lost just when ARM seems to be making positive noises about improving performance (e.g., 2MB high speed caches and so forth). If *we* value the independance of RISC OS then it *must* exist on its own hardware, VARPC does *nothing* to help this.

I would be *nice* if some accomodation could be reached between ROL and Castle, I am not so sure an accomodation that kept Emulation in the market place would be a good idea.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/06/04 1:39PM
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On STD suspends A75, A6 range:


No. They are ARM, ARM don't manufacture *any* chips (as you know), Cirrus Logic, Plessey, DEC/Intel all make ARM some are called ARM710, others StrongARM - they are STILL ARM processors because they're licensed from ARM (StrongARM is ARM Architecture V4 for example).

XScale is also licensed by ARM to intel (as ARM Architecture Version 5TE), so would also fall under such a license



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/06/04 10:08AM
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On STD suspends A75, A6 range:

Ian> But at one stage ROL (now this is from memory so feel free to correct me if I am wrong) stated that RISC OS 4 could only be used with ARM hardware (the inference being that it was a condition put down by Pace). Now if that *were* the case then it would have continued to be the case when Castle bought the rights to RISC OS off Pace.

In that instance it would be the use of RISC OS on non-ARM hardware that would constitute the problem (not ROL's selling of RISC OS which would be perfectly valid on ARM based hardware). Mind you the real puzzle is the A75 (which you pointed to yourself), maybe I am getting old but I don't see how that violates it. Unless (perhaps) if one part of the license is broken then perhaps the license has been revoked (and ROL would then lose the right to sell diddly squat). But I am proud to say I am not a lawyer (and no I don't do psychic healing or tarot cards either) so don't take any of my mumblings as having any legal weight - I sure don't ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/06/04 8:01PM
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On Cino and Castle hype new ADFS:

In reply to >

I know CSS is Content Scrambling System (I was however referring to the decoder hence my mention of Content Scrambling System Decoder). Specifically I was wondering if the deCSS part would be a stand alone Relocatable Module (as deCSS is somewhat warm to the touch ;) and is covered by the GPL I'd expect that is what would happen).

If Cino uses a licensed CSS decoder the bully for them (in which case it would be - as you say - part of the application).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/04 6:42PM
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On Wakefield photos and gossip:

Mark >

Yep !

I am sorry I didn't go (dag nabbit)

Some really positive news there, by all accounts. I still worry about the increasing amount of emulation (but then I *am* a natural worrier), Iconbar have a poll that showed A6 considerably outsold the Iyonix Panther (but then maybe other Iyonices shifted better than that and weren't included as the option seemed to be just for the Panther ?).

I think I'll stick with the platform for a while longer - the potential for 50,000 new RISC OS sales, new ADFS functionality, USB 2 (hopefully shortly) and so on - yep I think I can grin again.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/04 2:02PM
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On Wakefield photos and gossip:

Julian >

If ROL are exhibiting an "out of date" Omega whose responsibility is that ?

If MD wish to make a good impression of their hardware they should either (a). Turn up with working up to date kit themselves or (b). Ensure that anyone/organisation that turns up at shows like Wakefield are *using* stable up to date kit.

If MD don't do this then there's is little reason for people not commenting that Omega isn't working because (let's face it) if all that people see of Omega are flaky unsupported examples then surely why should they conclude that there *is* anything better --- *seeing really is believing*

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/04 1:30PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:

Peter/Guest X > Yes assembler takes longer to develop in (I knew that). The languages people choose to develope in is largely one of personal choice anyway.

Peter> Ok, I'll try be specific. IMHO Emulation will *kill* the RISC OS platform (can't make it *any* plainer than that can I). By the way thanks for being so restrained.

David> Yes the PC is catching up, but with the next version of Windows it (and any emulated RISC PC will slow down again) - so VARPC overtaking the RISC OS platform is not an *immediate* problem - although if CTL and MD rest on their laurels it may someday be.

There are other reasons for opting for real hardware over emulated - it is better characterised, is less likely to change with emulator/Windows updates and is more likely to be more compatible. Its not the case of me arguing for expensive and slow. If I did not think the RISC OS hardware platform (such as Iyonix) is *better* than emulation I'd keep my mouth shut. One thing for certain if people *don't* buy REAL RISC OS hardware then further improved machines will *not* appear.

Now as this has carried on long enough (and I am feeling uncomfortably outnumbered) I think I'll shut up (I wouldn't want anyone accusing me of commenting on everything ;) )

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/04 1:21PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


Thing is the the Intel rep said they *could*, thing is Intel isn't the only player in the ARM fabrication market and *not* all ARM apps are as power sensitive. The IOP321 (80321) used in the Iyonix was *not* aimed specifically at phone or hand held devices - I could envision Intel (over time) uprating their flavour of ARM (even if not targetting it at hand held devices). Samsung have/had the Halla at 1.2GHz (what ever happened to that anyone ????)

Another thing to bear in mind is other players are starting to move into ARM's "space" as it were, for example IBM's PowerPC has versions that are being "downsized" to become power compedative. ARM may (in the longer term) have no choice but to uprate their processors performance (otherwise their compeditors may offer *better* performance in the ARM target market and ARM *will* lose out). Also later hand held devices offering realtime video will *demand* higher performance and I wouldn't rule out multiple-core ARM processors or higher clock/caches to cope.

The horse isn't quite dead ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/05/04 4:41PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:

Ian> Well yes many of the mainstream apps would be less efficient than they would be if they were ARM coded - *BUT* they call the OS that isn't all coded in a HLL as well - so if someone chooses to release an app in ARM code it's not going to find its performance zapped by the OS is it ?

The performance you get is *optimised* on RISC OS - if you choose to go for speed the OS isn't really going to stand in the way as it itself is running (for the most part) pretty optimised ARMCode.

In windows (by contrast) you have no choice - even if you did code in x86 (ugh) everytime you called the OS you'd be hit (as the OS is coded in a HLL)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/05/04 4:09PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


You said "I can understand your viewpoint with respect to avoiding Windows, but what's so great about ARMs? They're well-suited to, um, mobile phones and maybe even laptops, sure. But why the sentimental attachment to them for running RISC OS on your desktop? I consider it a hinderance rather than a benefit. "

Let's look at each shall we:

ARM's instruction set is *very nice* the x86 instruction set is a pigs breakfast in comparison. This has a number of consequences (i) it was possible to code much of RISC OS in ARM code (this meant *more speed* than if it had been done purely in a high level language (ii) it meant the code was more compact than if it had been done in a High Level language (so sat in the small ARM cache *better* than larger HLL code would have done.

The end result of this is RISC OS was written for the ARM and this leads to performance and other gains. On the Windows front almost *all* code is written in a high level language (Visual C++ for example) this generates oddles of x86 code which is inefficient bloated and slow. The PC compensates somewhat by having processors clocked much faster than the ARM.

That having being said for GUI use the Iyonix is probably as good (or better) than a high end PC even though the PC may be clocked 5 or 6 times faster. [This is in part because much of the RISC OS core is efficient handcoded ARM machine code designed by people who designed the ARM, whereas Windows XP is almost all C++ big, bloated and highly inefficient].

As to where ARM is pitched (mobile phones, laptops) have a think for a moment - it's pitched where it is *not* because it can't perform better but because ARM seen a niche (sure one Intel Exec even said it would be possible to upclock an xScale to 3GHz or more). Where ARM is is *not* for technical but for sales/marketing reasons - NOT technical ones.

An ARM with as big a cache and as high a clock rate would perform quite close to that of a PC (other than for floating point), thing is it would not be running at 1 Watt power levels and so would not be targettable at a market where they sell 100's of million of units a year rather than a few thousand. I'd point out that ARM chips now outsell Pentiums - so perhaps ARM have a point to this strategy.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/05/04 3:52PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


They do differ from ARM2's, and they have larger caches than ARM 3. StrongARM was "re-designed" by DEC (the STM/LDM instructions being unrolled for example) - but at the Machine Code level they *are* compatible. They do not *emulate* an ARM in that they *do not* execute code in a non-native Machine Code instruction set to acchieve the functionality they do.

Yes they are not identical to the original ARM, but then Acorn changed RISC OS (3.7) to support them - no emulation just evolution I am afraid.

As to " why not buy two Windows PCs? One to run VA on, the other to run Windows on full time. It'll still be cheaper than buying a 'real' RISC OS box. "

Have you got share in Microsoft or something - how many copies of Windows do you want people to run anyway ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/05/04 2:38PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


The xScale runs ARM code (just like a StrongARM does). It does include *additional* instructions (like CLZ), but it (other than the obvious change in how flags are handled and how R15 has had the PSR "moved out") is very close as makes no difference. Yes the hardware has changed (I am not disputing that) but the Instruction set architecture is very nearly identical.

Other than using binary the X86 has nothing in common with the ARM instruction set. It relies completely on an x86 based ARM interpreter (VA) to do a conversion so that the behaviour of the ARM can be "mimicked" by a PC.

"Yes, it's ARM7500 based. But then you can buy a RAID card from LSI with an IOP321 on it. Doesn't make it even slightly similar to an Iyonix."

Not quite the same is it ? The ARM7500 has an IOMD and VIDC built in - from a hardware viewpoint its almost as if you got a RISC PC and scrunged it up into a single chip - that's why it was used in the set top boxes using a RISC OS derived OS. So my point stands.

"Microsoft's licencing scheme means that you can run older versions of Windows using a current licence. (For example, if you own a WinXP Pro licence, you're allowed to run Win2000, WinNT 4, WinNT3.5 or Windows 9x instead.)"

But heres the rub - how many people are going to *bother* to set up dual partitions just so they can run RISC OS under emulation (if it ever becomes necessary you'll probably find VA users saying *Words good enough and I can't be bothered to repartition the harddisk and re-install an old windows just to run RISC OS*.

"Out of interest, do you have another agenda here?"

Yes, obviously. I want RISC OS running on real ARM hardware and not reliant on Windows for (IMHO) good strategic reasons - oh well maybe I wasn't making myself clear enough .... ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/05/04 4:09PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


"As fylfot pointed out, things like the RiscStation, Omega and Iyonix are pretty damned different from anything Acorn ever made"

And even *at that* they're still closer to the original design and are more likely to be compatible than something that "simulates" a PC on varying Windows/PC combinations. That is unless you consider an AthlonXP or P-IV only trivially different from an ARM or something ;)

Iyonix has a HAL and a RISC OS designed specifically to run on that hardware, its compatibility with 32bit code is good. On the 26bit code department, yes as you know it needs a form of emulation - this is a weakness - but overtime 32bit code will predominate that problem will not be so pronounced.

Isn't the RiscStation largely an ARM7500 based box (effectively an A7000), I like hyperbole as much as the next guy but pleaaaassseee ;)

2. "All software has bugs, and anyway, it's extremely unlikely that these bugs would overlap."

They don't have to, the overall stability and performance is based on the sum of all the bugs surely.

If Windows crashes it takes VA and your RISC OS down. If VA crashes it takes your RISCOS Down. If RISC OS crashes well it crashes.....

3. Agreed. If you don't upgrade your windows your safe enough.

I never said this was a current problem but one that *might* occur in the future.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/04 7:42PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:


I can think of a few:

(1). Guaranteed compatibility with real Acorn style hardware (Virtual Acorn is a sophisticated emulation (in fact probably one of the best emulators around)) but *cannot* be guaranteed in all circumstances to behave identically to Acorn style hardware.

(2). You're running RISC OS (which has some bugs), on an emulator (which has bugs) on top of Windows (which has lots of bugs) is this a good thing or am I missing something ?

(3). No one can tell what directions Windows will be taken (and *if* VA will be able to keep up) Microsoft are committed to ".NET" and dropping a whole raft of WinAPI's. If *any* of this impacts on VA I can't imagine Bill Gates and his chums dropping everything to sort to problem out *just* so that VA can run.

That having been said at the moment (and sadly probably forever) Acorn users are going to be face to going to Windows for portables - which when you consider the power efficency of the ARM is a real pity...

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/05/04 1:54PM
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On Omega MIDI, ethernet progress:


You make a number of points, which I am sorry that I have to take issue with :

You said "MD have developed their own RISC OS compatible chipset, which can be used with any ARM processor with very little modifications. So we are not dependant upon Intel or another chipset maker to provide us with a chipset wich gives the features and performance required for desktop computer."

That is *not* true. They said they were going to design ASIC's (a chipset) but then opted for programmable logic (FPGA), so rather than being dependant on Intel they are dependant on Xilinx instead. I'd also point out that although yes you could attach any ARM, only 26 bit enabled ones would work with the current OS - so your choice of processor is somewhat more limited than you infer.

You said "The important thing is the Northbridge. Once ROL has added support for different graphics cards to RISC OS, MD could add an AGP port to their Northbridge. I can't see Intel adding an AGP port to their IOP range, because these are designed for things like storage controllers and network equipment."

Tell me this, if MD reprogram their current Northbridge on their existing PCB so it can handle AGP signalling - how are you *actually* going to attach the AGP card (as there is NO socket for it on the Omega Motherboard). In effect if AGP *ever* appeared on Omega the motherboard would have to be substantially revised - existing users would still be stuck with Lightening and still unable to take AGP cards.....

The IOP range may well need to support faster PCI implementations (PCI-Express) in future, as after all they're I/O controllers, no doubt graphics cards will eventually appear that can use that bus format - but all that is for the future - I can assure you that the existing GeForce card does the business and is as good as it needs to be on Iyonix.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/03/04 7:09PM
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On RiscPC production cease rumoured:


Yes I agree fully with you, it's a bit of a waste having a faster processor over a slower I/O and Memory bus. But at least with the Acorn approach people were *not* forced to upgrade ever 12-18 months (as commonly happens in the PC world). Kinetic partially addressed the memory bandwidth problem (by using SDRAM rather than the onboard - older/slower DRAM on the motherboard, albeit at the expense of losing I/O DMA).

Ok the performance improvement of the processor didn't fully get realised, but given that Phoebe didn't happen it was probably the best that could be expected (the important point is that the design at the outset allowed an acceptible (if not ideal) half-way house to be realised - again credit to the original designers I would have thought !).

Thanks and regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/11/03 2:06PM
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On RiscPC production cease rumoured:

In many ways the RISC PC was innovative (ultra expandable case, heterogenous processor support, fast dual ported video RAM as well as main RAM and so in) - perhaps in many respects it was ahead of it's time. I will be sorry to see it go, but I imagine a great many will still remain in use. The availability of cheap second user machines may even mean some people will find them a fairly inexpensive means of dabbling in RISC OS and RISC processors.

No PC's of its day (1994) were anywhere near as expandable as the RISC PC, I'd also point out that over it's lifetime the clock rate increased from (the old 30MHz ARM610) ending up at 300MHz (Kinetic) all *without* changing the motherboard (it would be like taking a P4 board today with a 2.4GHz CPU and upgrading it to 24GHz without changing the motherboard (two words spring to mind "Fat" and "Chance").

Nope the designers of the RPC should take a bow, the longitivity of their design says a lot about how fairsighted they were.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/11/03 12:39AM
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On VirtualRiscPC network upgrade pulled:

Sorry Guys if that sounds all a bit negative (and it probably is) I am sorry.....



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/11/03 7:12PM
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On VirtualRiscPC network upgrade pulled:


As I am not British the origin of the ARM, or RISC OS is utterly moot and has no influence on me. Hey I use Delphi and like it (and that's from the US).

Java runs on a virtual machine and no one (that I know of) calls it an "OS".

The native PC hardware does not run RISC OS as it's OS (which you've already conceded). I'd also point out that the PC can continue to run Windows even if the RISC OS emulated by the VARPC crashes - the converse is *not* true. Emulation is the faith of dead platforms like the Spectrum and the Commodore 64, if saying RISC OS is still an operating system on a PC even it only runs on a sophisticated emulator (aka virtual machine) makes you happy fine - who am I to argue !



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 03/11/03 6:53PM
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On VirtualRiscPC network upgrade pulled:

From my limited dealings with Stuart Tyrell he does seem to be an honest sort of guy, so I do not believe he would purposefully misrepresent benchmarks. I don't believe anyone suggesting that he is being less than honest is being fair.

That notwidthstanding I would point out that there were only a few benchmarks run and that (therefore) they do *not* present a complete picture. Stuart has said that he timed them by stopwatch (which any time I've ever tried it would suggest an error of +/- 0.2 to 0.3 seconds). As some of the benchmarks presented complete fairly quickly and in some instances (scale for example) the difference between the Iyonix and VRPC is less than that error it would not be possible to define which machine is faster (other than they are close).

The number and types of benchmarking were limited, so one should not (I humbly suggest) put too much emphasis on them. With a more complete set of benchmarks run I am confident that the situation won't be a case of a walkover for the A6 - again that will await the requisite benchmarks being run.

Oh and Bob technically RISC OS run under emulation is *not* an OS when run on an x86 under windows. VRPC is a windows application (its the only bit that "runs" on windows), the "RISC OS" is data used by VPRC to do its work. If you like (IMHO) RISC OS on VRPC is much like what a WORD DOCUMENT is to WORD - just DATA. The fact the user believes it behaves that it *is* an OS is simply testimony to how *good* a job Grahame Barnes did, the reality however is that RISC OS on the PC is just data interpreted by VRPC.

Kind regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 02/11/03 4:32PM
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On Iyonix DVD video playback is here:

Congrats Neil on Cino (I am really impressed !!!).

Just a side question about the audio, if I understand it correctly you're downmixing the DD (AC-3) to Stereo (presumably just PCM output from the Iyonix SPDIF out (if it has one ?)). Would it be possible for you to provide a user selectable setting to enable or disable direct output of the AC-3 (or potentially DTS) stream so an external device could do the 5.1 output ? I think that might be a neat addition, and it would mean that if someone already had a Dolby Digital decoder they would not need to fit a second sound card to the Iyonix (although if required I think most of us wouldn't mind another card if it enabled a full DVD experience to be produced on Iyonix.

Again I am very impressed by your news and wish the best with Cino.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/10/03 6:30PM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

Well at least the did get italised in the past ?

Very curious.....


Annraoi (looking around in a nervous manner).....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/10/03 7:06PM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

>Rich Cheng

Ah those cleaver guys at Drobe have done their stuff in a most clever manner.... to do a reply use the Greater Than sign (>;) give the name of the poster *et voila*. Also if you put an asterisk either side of words they get *italicised*.

Of the two options Iyonix (inspite of its price) is still appealing, in purchasing it you're at least helping to keep the hardware scene going and of course get a very fast RISC OS machine in the process.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/10/03 7:05PM
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On R-Comp offers RISC OS emulation solution:

nijinsky> "If Emmulators are bad for software I cant see it. I bought datapower because of VA5000. In addition, why does RISC OS HAVE to run on ARM?"

Bully for you. But the point is if you want to run VARPC-SE you'd be buying WindowsXP as well.

There are a number of reasons for running RISC OS on actual ARM hardware:

(1). It's guaranteed to be compatible (2). It's the fastest means of running RISC OS software (3). It is not dependant on a "foreign" OS to boot and run successfully *first* (now I take you're point that the base OS does not need to be Windows - but as the ONLY OS VARPC runs on *is* Windows then that's your *only* choice). (4). No OS is perfect (not even RISC OS), but if you put RISC OS (with its bugs) on top of WindowsXP (and it's bugs) then the composite will be less reliable than either separately. When things are simpler there is *less* to go wrong.

and finally

VARPC is an emulation, it is a sophisticated package but it is still *only* an approximation of how a real RISC PC will perform. This means it can diverge from the real thing and that no matter how talented and skilled Graham Barnes is there is still going to be some deviation in the behaviour from that of a "real" RISC PC.

Please don't sell pigs in pokes here emulators are selling WindowsXP to Acorn users and that has been (and will be) their main success......



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 13/10/03 6:58PM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

mavhc >

MD are selling clones too (the Alpha).

Although I take your point, Iyonix has a considerable advantage in speed and compatibility over the Windows/VARPC thing, MD has a much lesser speed advantage so it is in a more "dodgy" position - it's also not helped by the fact it costs more than the Iyonix.

I suspect MD took a calculated risk on Alpha helping to fund Omega's final bells and whistle additions while (in their view hopefully) not damaging potential Omega sales. The fact that a lot of other WindowsXP distributors (VA/R-Comp and Advantage-Six/STD) are now selling complete kit too probably doesn't help MD.

As I said a while back emulation *will* destroy the RISC OS platform (OS+Hardware).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/10/03 1:40PM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

I suspect

1. It depends - if they moved to Windows they might ? If they've become Linux converts probably not (Windows just doesn't seem to instill the same enthusiasm).

2. I bought a copy of VA5000 many moons ago and it's used on my *second* computer (a PC).

3. A gap in the market guys.....

I am not sure that the point about not buying it instead of an Iyonix is true. Yes in speed and usefulness terms it lags far behind an Iyonix, but in price terms (sadly) Iyonix makes a stick to beat itself with - and yes I don't think Castle can do much about this - paying for hardware/software development costs money (simply dumping VARPC-SE on any old PC vanilla clone doesn't cost anywhere near as much - hence the price difference).

Ultimately all this will do is kill the RISC OS platform, and to those fans of WindowsXP/Emulation what Microsoft giveth Microsoft can taketh away - will all this stuff still work on Longhorn ? All this stuff does is dupe more people into buying Windows (with it's constant patching and upgrading every 12-18 months) - and it should be seen as such.

I find myself actually thinking (for the first time ever) why waste time with RISC OS when it is blatantly apparent that some "big wheels" here seem intent on forcing us down the emulation on XP path. If they have their way it'll only run on WindowsXP/PC's and at that point I'll be saying bye bye.....

There are other things in life apart from computing, and some of them also don't involve lining Bill Gate's pockets.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/10/03 6:34PM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:


Regarding the RAM, the MD website says they're using 133MHz SDRAM, while Iyonix uses 200MHz DDR-SDRAM (it is called 200MHz because it uses both rising and falling clocks to access memory, the clock is 100MHz but both edges are used hence the 200 figure).

I'd disagree with your basic comment about MD RAM being faster than Iyonix RAM (in PC's where DDR and SDRAM were compared yes the performance improvement wasn't 2 to 1 as the RAM types would suggest, it was much less than this - but that having been said DDR RAM is still on average FASTER than SDRAM).

I'd also point out that the StrongARM makes poorer use of the available bandwidth as it's bus speed is 66MHz while the xScale (IOP321) has a 100MHz bus speed.

As to fitting an IOP331 to an omega board (if that is what the latest claim is) I just don't see *how* you could do that without (effectively) redesigning the motherboard. The IOP331 has it's own memory controller (replacing the Omega Northbridge), has it's own PCI bridge and probably a whole rake of additional control and data lines the xScale MD designed the motherboard for did not have.

The best MD could do with the existing design would be some sort of "Kinetic" style card with DDR RAM on the processor board along with the processor and some "glue" logic. This would mean the I/O performance would be similar to (or worse than) the existing design - the processor performance would be better. How this would make any sense (as others have pointed out) when MD are already committed to an xScale processor, for which the motherboard and ArmTwister were designed for, is beyond me.

Get the xScale out at 1GHz and that will probably still do the trick guys, any extra bits IOP331 does provide the Omega motherboard couldn't cope with anyway (e.g., the motherboard PCI sockets for one are 32bit not 64 so couldn't support the full 133MHz/64Bit PCI-X of 331 anyway). DDR RAM Being the other...



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/09/03 4:12PM
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David> I know you like accusing me of misreading things (yep I must be some sort of cretinous idiot), but could you please explain to me how I misunderstood the following:

I quote from the Pace press announcement (issued in June 2003 and quoted on the Pace Web site) it says "Castle Technology Ltd today announced the purchase of the RISC OS technology from Pace Micro Technology plc. The transaction involves the payment of an undisclosed cash sum, ongoing technical support for Pace's existing products and the grant of a licence back to Pace for intellectual property rights"

Ignoring what Select is or isn't and who owns or doesn't own it, could you *please* tell me what *you* think the above means ?

Now consider the following (from the RISC OS Ltd., Annual Report (2000), page 6 under the section headed - Activities) which reads:

"RISCOS Ltd is primarily involved in the development of RISC OS Operating system for ARM processor based personal computers, which it licensed from Element-14 in March 1999. That license has now been acquired by Pace Microtechnology plc to whom RISC OS Ltd pays a royalty for each copy of RISC OS sold directly to end users or licensed to Authorised Manufacturing Sub-licensees"

What reasonable conclusions could be drawn from the above statement, in your opinion ?

Does the first one (from Pace) imply that Castle acquired the RISC OS license from Pace, does the second (from RISC OS Ltd) imply that Pace acquired the license of RISC OS and that ROL paid Pace a license fee for each copy of RISC OS sold ?

Now *if* Pace has sold it's IPR to Castle, and if RISC OS Ltd originally paid Pace then surely now it [ROL] must pay Castle ? Or am I really a cretinous idiot (*)



(*) Don't feel obliged to answer that last bit if you don't want ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/09/03 9:08PM
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Peter > Funnily enough it WOULD do that !

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/09/03 10:21AM
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David > You said (quote) "..CTL didn't buy Pace. However, I wasn't aware that it would have been necessary for them to do so to get Pace's shares in ROL."

You raised a point where CTL might have gotten Pace's shares in ROL in a means other than by purchasing Pace. I only asked you if *you* were saying that that took place, if you hadn't written it I wouldn't have asked (and it was a question not a statement - no case of 1 and 1 and getting 11).

To my best recollection ROL did list shareholders in at least one previous annual report. Presumably if CTL have gained some shares in ROL since it will show up in the next Annual Report (unless that's one of the bits that will be abbeviated out).

Thanks for your help.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/03 7:33PM
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David> So (just to fully muddy up the water here) are you saying that CTL did get Pace's shares in ROL ?

Do CTL receive royalty payments from ROL in any event for their continued sales of RISC OS to AMS ?



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/03 6:49PM
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Surreal isn't it ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/03 6:32PM
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imj> A thing traditionally used to kill people in Cluedo, and no I don't play it in case you're wondering ! Agatha Christie usually goes for that sort of stuff too....

Candles are formed usually as sticks (a candle is composed usually of beeswax with a wick made of wound string). You light the exposed wick and as the wick burns the wax melts, revealing more wick allowing it to burn (the wax slows down the burning prolonging the burning). The Candlestick holder is a metal implement used to hold a candlestick (so described).

And yes I do have electricity so I don't use 'em any more either ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/03 6:31PM
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Peter > Thanks for that I stand corrected, Select as you say is fully ROL's.

Still irrespective of how well written or clear your article is there is a lot of "ambiguous" (or contradictory) noises coming from the key players.

Even the copyright on Select lists Pace as the copyright holder with some elements (c) RISC OS Ltd., yet Pace sold the IP to Castle and was granted an IP license back from Castle. What did Castle buy ? What did Pace sell ? What rights to the OS do ROL have other than the select parts. Agatha Christie has nothing on this stuff.....


Annraoi (BTW: It was the Butler in the kitchen with the candlestick holder).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 14/09/03 6:11PM
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On Alpha, VirtualRiscPC revisited:

Rick> I know you're trying to be constructive, but unfortunately MD have already said too much of the wrong things.

Just have a look at the Google cache of the Newsdesk articles that MD actually put up (it's them in their own words). A lot of it was either down to "over-optimism" on their part about schedules and what they'd acchieve or (some less charatible types) might say were downright lies.

Have a look see how closely MD predictions match with reality. MD still say that Omega is "the most powerful RISC OS computer yet built" - wrong it isn't, they also say it's the first "softcomputer" - what was Imago then ?

MD's credibility is *very poor*, if they want to have people to believe them they *HAVE* to allow third parties review their hardware.

I'll be buying a new RISC OS computer this month or next, I (at the moment) can't take the Omega seriously. I believe Chris said MD is not attending the Guildford show (like probably the biggest of the year), so I won't even get to try one. Given MD's past history I simply *can't* trust them, MD really need drobe or Iconbar or Acorn user or someone other than MD or their agents to review it.

If they don't I will consider the Omega a closed issue not worthy of any further attentions, as I think will many others.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 31/08/03 2:25PM
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On Alpha, VirtualRiscPC revisited:

Rick> "i actually know people who own a Omega at this very moment"

Perhaps you could get these people to comment on their Omegas, ok it may not qualify as a review by an independant magazine - but at least we'd hear something.

As to Omega users having stopped reading Drobe, there are other forums for them to air their views (Iconbar, the csa newsgroups) yet *still* we hear little or nothing.

I've never used an Omega (all the show's I've attended seem to have been missed by MD), so I can't go and try one, I also can't read reviews of complete hardware (because MD won't co-operate) and now apparently MD Omega owners *don't* talk either. So I have *nothing* to base a purchase decission on.....

I can't ever recall an instance where hardware was sold by hiding it, never releasing it for review and where it's users won't admit to having one (never mind commenting on it).

This is all far to weird....



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/08/03 8:46PM
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On Alpha, VirtualRiscPC revisited:

RDenk> "...comments are no reports from omega users complaining /reporting negative about the Omega/ Omega helpdesk"

Odd, you're right there seem to be no Omega users there alright.

Isn't it remarkable that for a machine that is (supposidly) in production since May that there aren't swarms of Omega users here pointing out how great it is ?

Perhaps there are fewer Omega users/machines shipped than we thought, or perhaps the users don't really want to comment one way or the other (curious that isn't it ?).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 29/08/03 7:01PM
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On Alpha, VirtualRiscPC revisited:

Quoting Rick "There is no way that MD or ROL will approve a stand-alone version of it [VARPC]".

Now exactly what does MD have anything to do with whether VARPC is available stand or lone or not ? I mean Virtual Acorn bring their emulator, ROL bring RISC OS Version 4.02 (under license from Castle), so what does MD actually do ?

Ok, they provide a laptop PC, but *any* laptop would do, and the company (with respect) whose permission for distribution is required is CASTLE *not* MD. If Castle chose to they *could* authorise ROL/VA to sell the emulator to end users directly *without* a laptop.

From my point of view I am *not* in favour of RISC OS being emulated on a compeditor's (Windows), but if it has to happen I'd consider a software only VA/RISC OS 4 bundle a less damaging option (as some people may already have a PC laptop and buying VARPC by itself will not cause another PC to be sold). The less the package costs (preferably by unbundling it from the PC) the more money the purchaser will have left to spend (hopefully) on RISC OS software.

Still any form of emulation puts at risk any development of a native (ARM based) RO portable (this, sadly, does not seem to bother MD/VA or ROL which I find rather sad).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/08/03 7:10PM
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On Shipping Omega first impressions:

Considering Chris's comment that MD aren't even turning up at the October RISC OS show (like only the *biggest* RISC OS show of the year) one has to wonder what MD are playing at.

I suspect the odds of MD releasing an Omega (or even authorising a distributor to release one) for review is probably quite slim. This is rather sad - because if Omega is *actually* nearly complete surely they'd have something to show and something people would want to see.

Not satisfying this demand from potential users and other interested parties is (IMHO) damaging Omega. Nothing the press (or people) could say could damage Omega *more* than this carry on.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/08/03 8:32PM
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On Oregano 2 welcomes new master Oregano UK Ltd.:

Hey Moss I wasn't trying to make you feel silly. I am as genuinely surprised as you are that the documentation is freely available (nice to see a big multinational software company *prepared* to allow open use of their standards).

I only looked because someone elsewhere mentioned they were available (which piqued my curiosity).

Kind Regards


 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/08/03 5:07PM
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On Oregano 2 welcomes new master Oregano UK Ltd.:

God bless Google: Two links you can try (if you wish) are the following:

download.macromedia.com/pub/flash/ flash_file_format_specification.pdf



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 09/08/03 4:53PM
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On Future ARM based processors for RISC OS?:

AJW> ARM set targets that Intel and Samsung have both exceeded (ARM's roadmap document were mentioning 650-1GHz parts by "Q4 2004", that's over a year off and Samsung and Intel have hit that mark *now*).

I'd love to see someone subtantially up the cache and up the clock rate (even if the Power performance suffers). ARM's are no longer "just" used in handheld devices, firewalls and other comms gear do use them. Obviously in such circumstances power consumption should be/is of less concern (and hence why not have a large cache, why not clock the beastie a bit quicker). If as a bi-product we wind up with a processor that can substantially improve on what we have at the moment - fine.....



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 28/07/03 6:18PM
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On PCI for the masses:

Hi Julian,

Agreed, SRAM based FPGA's do allow for dynamic modification (without even a re-boot). And like you suggest I've seen information about various uses for FPGA application specific acceleration (it is a useful approach IMHO).

My reason for preferring Antifuse over SRAM was for different reasons - yes they are more restrictive, but they once programmed (outside the machine) can't be corrupted (and so should be reliable than SRAM units). I was considering FPGA's as a cheaper alternative for limited runs (where an ASIC would be just too darned expensive) and was not even considering the FPGA as a means of making the machine hardware "reconfigurable".

There is no reason why a computer could not have both types, the antifuse for bits that must be available from power on (and be uncorruptable) and SRAM for non-critical uses where configuration failure or corruption would not crash the machine.

Actually there is always some argument going on somewhere about Single Event Upsets (SEU's) the SRAM proponents (such as Xilinx) say they rarely happen (about once every 170 years (*)- but do bear in mind that's only an ESTIMATE) while Antifuse proponents suggest that their technology is less prone to such events.



(*) As FPGA's haven't be around for that long it has to be a statistical estimate - and as they say there's lies damn lies and statistics.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/07/03 1:16PM
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On PCI for the masses:

Hi Garry,

Sure I know you weren't bad mouthing FPGA's ;)

I have my doubts about rolling upgrades, if they were relatively minor and the machine was 99% complete that would be fine.... I am not so sure I'd be as tolerant if the machine was only 60% done.

As no-one has a clear ideas how much has to be done to get Omega completed I'd be loathe to suggest writing MD a "blank cheque" on rolling upgrades.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/07/03 7:41PM
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On PCI for the masses:

Hi Garry,

There is nothing inherently wrong with using FPGA's. Especially if you're doing a product for release into a limited (or unpredictable) market. FPGA's though more expensive than custom/ASIC circuits don't have the same set-up charge & minimum order quantities that ASIC's have - so in that sense the choice of FPGA made sense.

I'd probably have gone with Antifuse components (like QuickLogic's) rather than SRAM based reprogrammable units (in that Antifuse ones are "instant on" and don't need configuration ROM's like SRAM FPGA's do).

This would (however) mean the FPGA would behave very similarly to an ASIC (and once programmed could not be altered). The whole point of using FPGA's should *not* be just to allow half finished computers to be shipped and then "retrofitted" by a reprogramming job - but rather to allow manufacturers to produce short runs with limited risk and lower cost. If the system proves a success they should then be able to switch to full ASIC's which still have some speed benefit over FPGA parts (and once you start shipping machines in larger numbers ASICs finally *do* make economic sense).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/07/03 1:11PM
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On PCI for the masses:

Julian > No I am going by old pictures, so perhaps this has changed, but Omega only seems to have 32bit PCI sockets. If that is the case reprogramming the FPGA although it may allow for 66MHz operation it still *wont* support 64bit operation as PHYSICALLY there is nothing to plug the 64bit card into (ie., no 64bit socket)!

You'd need to redesign the PCB to support 64bit signals, fit 64bit sockets and *then* program the FPGA's to support it - or have I missed something ????



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 21/07/03 5:38PM
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On Comments on the Microdigital Alpha:

Graeme thanks for that clarification, VA is definately the best emulator I've ever used (I wish you continued success with it)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/07/03 7:28PM
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On Comments on the Microdigital Alpha:

Sad to see yet more money going to Microsoft but I suspect that VARPC won't be coming to Linux anytime soon (if ever).

A lot of the development appears to have been done in Microsoft Visual C using MFC and DirectX, thus suggesting it would not be too easy to get the thing ported to Linux (MS are not renound for the portability of their developer products).

Best chance of a Linux Acorn emulator would be if someone/people wrote one from the ground up.

Perhaps it would allow our Linux friends to realise what they've been missing all these years ;)



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 18/07/03 7:05PM
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On Comments on the Microdigital Alpha:

timephoenix > MD Probably (IMHO) sold the Alpha as a means of raising money (since their Omega wasn't selling at the time). It's also a pretty easy way of raising money. Bear in mind that the vast majority of the cost of the laptop goes to the laptop manufacturer, Microsoft and THEN to MD, VA and ROL.

NeilWB> I wouldn't worry about the PC running VARPC overtaking the Iyonix for quite some time. The next issue of windows will be using ".NET" which will slow the PC down a bit, and also the PC clock would have to be around the 6GHz mark before even current Windows PC's would get a look in.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/07/03 09:06AM
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On On with the show:

I am not sure a name change is needed for the Desktop product. I'd make a point, however, of distinguishing between the "desktop" and "embedded" versions of RISC OS.

If people think the OS is used for controlling washing machines then they will assume that's all it's good for (and I think that sort of self-inflicted damage is best avoided).

Yes, by all means mention RISC OS but clearly indicate that the embedded version is a "subset", if people like what it does then they can upgrade to the "big" version the rest of us use ;) for those tasks where it is appropriate.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 08/07/03 6:54PM
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On Castle buys RISC OS from Pace:

TIB are carrying an initial reaction/holding statement from Paul Middleton (ROL Managing Director), seems quite positive to me.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 05/07/03 3:16PM
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On Castle buys RISC OS from Pace:

Nope, the big one - Windows Versus RISC OS

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 04/07/03 8:24PM
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On Castle buys RISC OS from Pace:

I am surprised at Imj's call to (basically) abandon RISC OS just because Castle has the license for it.... this sounds more like a vendetta rather than something based on technical considerations.

The reality is that Select does appear to have some neat features, but then so does RO5, not least of which being it can run on much faster hardware. Features wise it is no worse than RO4.02 (which I am fully happy with by the way), and in some places it adds a few nice bells and whistles.

And to those people who thought the Iyonix was *too expensive* perhaps part of the price was to pay for the RISC OS license - now that that is fully back in the hands of people committed to this market things may well start looking up.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 04/07/03 7:14PM
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On Partis brandishes mass storage drivers:

Let's not forget that RISC OS also has sub-pixel anti-aliasing too.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 07/06/03 1:16PM
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On Price Comparisons:

Castle made neuron boards (based on the ARM7500FPE] they also has a StrongARM one in the works, so an xScale one is not beyond reason. The at the same time made RISC PC's, developed the Kinetic SA board and ultimately the Iyonix. So *why* should them selling yet more development boards represent a problem to the RISC OS market ?

Windows can be found in many unexpected places (I even recall seeing a hard disk recorder/mixer that had a "blue screen of death" that clearly identified it as NT - in normal use it would have appeared to be a piece of music recording gear). Point is those uses have *not* damaged Windows, and neither would Castle selling large quantities of simple xScale boards. If anything the economy of scale might kick in and help them *either* lower the price of Iyonix - or help fund further development of RISC OS - in either event what's the problem.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 30/05/03 3:11PM
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On Eureka unmasks Omega:

Julian: Appologies I've re-read you original posting which included the following "Can the Iyonix play full-motion widescreen DVD resolution MPEGs at full speed? The Omega will soon, with it's hardware-accelerated DCD/iDCD and the FPA. "

That actually on a second readthrough is *not* a commitment on MD's behalf to be able to play DVD at all !!!

If it's just a matter of playing *DVD resolution MPEG's* that's a different kettle of monkeys althogether (all that's required is an MPEG license).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/05/03 5:44PM
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On Eureka unmasks Omega:

@Julian: The big problem with using DVD is that you have to obtain licenses for the various bits you use. And these licenses can be steep (have a look at the DVD forum site - and that'll get your eyes watering I tell's ya).

Your shopping basket would include:

Book 1 from DVD Forum (requires NDA signature, and $5,000 payment).

Licensing the formats you intend to use (you'll need DVD-ROM and DVD-Video - at $10,000 a piece a total of $20000 (you're allowed deduct the initial $5,000 from that though).

You then need to license CSS (The content Scrambling System) a single $10,000 payment

You need to license MPEG2 from MPEG LA (the cost doesn't appear too bad and it's per unit sold).

You then need to license Dolby Digital (I think it's something small $0.26 per channel (per unit sold)). But you then need to have your product (a DVD enabled Omega) reviewed by Dolby engineers before they'll allow you to license (and sell) the product - that I suspect will be pretty pricey.

A nice round figure (all in) would be somewhere around the $30000-35000 mark (it could be a bit higher but probably won't be much lower). And of course you have to come up with the money "up front".

So how will MD pay for all this, not having sold any Omega's yet ? And if Castle haven't gone this route but *have* been selling machines I fail to see how MD can afford to.

Nope there is no legal way to do it without spending a hell of a lot of money I don't think MD has.

But hey if some error in the above reasoning can be shown, or if MD have proof they signed the NDA with the DVD forum I am prepared to accept your remarks as accurate.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/05/03 1:23PM
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On Business and RISC OS:

Martin: I am sure that Castle would probably offer some sort of discount if you went to them with a proposal to ask for 120 Iyonix's ! (ask them you never know). Whether it would make up the difference in price full I wouldn't know, that's down to you and them....

As to VA RPC that currently is only available on the Microdigital Alpha box (which price wise is not that much cheaper than Iyonix - and still is dearer than your hypothetical PC white boxes). In performance terms it would certainly be slower than your existing Kinetics (in effect from an RO performance viewpoint you'd be *worse off* than you are at the moment).

The final part is that if you opt for PC's they *do* cost less to buy, but there is an often unmeasured *cost of ownership* (in which PC's can fair badly, particularly when running Windows - which no doubt those white boxes would).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 23/05/03 1:44PM
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On Select takes aim at ROMs:

takki> I believe you misinterpreted my comment

AMS: You say "I personally don't think ROL will [develop their products for the Iyonix], if for no other reason than they've made that Alpha deal with MD/VA". You have a problem with a company providing software to more than one hardware company, or what?

On the contrary I have *absolutely no problem* with ROL providing software to *anyone* they choose. My comment was more of the nature that I suspect that having made a deal with MD and VA that ROL might be less inclined to provide the same software to Castle (for fear of affecting the deal).

May I suggest to people not to be too hard on Paul Middleton, some of the stuff written in this thread seems not only well over the top but also somewhat unproductive (IMHO).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/05/03 6:57PM
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On Wakefield show news:

Andrew Sidwell>What "vital" features would you like to see in Select that aren't there already, that can be implemented in software?

Support for greater hardware independance built into the OS, support for 32bit only processors. These two steps would have enabled the use of RISC OS on a *far wider* hardware base than is currently the case.

The very fact Select 3 now has to use a PC/Windows and an emulator to get "portable" quite nicely illustrates that need.

Simply making a "text icon" round, square, oblong or shaped like a banana (or whatever) won't.

That having being said I would *not* want people going away thinking that I consider Select as either pointless or of little merit - it has represented the most continuous effort towards updating the OS that we've so far seen (and should be applauded for that). The issue, though, is that with the (probable) eventual unavailability of native hardware where do you go ? to the PC ??? hope that Omega arrives and addresses the issue ? (what if it is further delayed or does not arrive ?).

An alternate approach is for people to buy current hardware that does support a version of RISC OS that *does* use current ARM hardware (the Iyonix). If enough people do you'll probably find that either (a). ROL will adapt Select to work on it or (b). Castle will implement some "Select" like features in due course.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/05/03 1:36PM
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On Wakefield show news:

NeilWB> ...only Castle having a suitable version of RISC OS (TTBOMK), unfortunatly no-one has made such a product.

And therein lies the problem. ROL are now in a position of either being forced to allow ROS to run on PC (a stupendously bad move - it'll positively encourage people to leave the platform) or to wait on the only other player in town to have a machine that can support their 26bit only OS (namely Microdigital).

All that will happen (and I'll go along with Neil on this) that Castle will basically enhance ROS overtime so that the non-availability of Select on Iyonix will be utterly irrelevant.

The key thing Castle have done is to get the key (vital) technologies working (UDMA is now done for example - which is far more important than the shape of text icons) - and then in due course they'll probably "dolly" other things up (to do it the other way round would be plain silly).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/05/03 7:04PM
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On Wakefield show news:

Thing is though, people are *more* willing to try alternate technologies in laptops (look at the Apple powerbooks for example, I am pretty sure some people who use them wouldn't touch a desktop mac with a bargepole and opt for a PC - yet would still use the Mac portable).

Castle now (for the first time) have a more "portable" version of RISC OS, it is *less* of a problem to get it ported onto new ARM based hardware (less so than trying to shoehorn RO4.XX on I would say).

The issue is the economics of it, and with a PC based RO laptop now out there it probably does make a native RO portable less likely - which is a real pity as PC portables have pretty short battery lives and a xScale/RO portable may be just the sort of lower power consumption solution to fit the bill.

I suspect many people would like a portable RO/ARM based machine in preference to a RO/PC based one, I'd reluctantly agree Jess the likelyhood of that (RO/ARM) portable happening is now much lessened - more's the pity.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/05/03 4:04PM
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On Wakefield show news:

What this emulation business means is that (effectively) the concept of an RO laptop running on ARM7500 hardware is *dead* (afterall the ARM7500 solution would be slower).

It also opens the possibility that MD *could* (*if* Omega proved impossible to release) offer to provide a similar set up on a desktop PC (running a high end x86 core like a 3GHz P4 or and AMD Athlon Barton of about the same ilk).

I am not saying that this will happen - but it becomes slightly more likely if a laptop PC running WindowsXP becomes the next RISC PC portable and that people quietly accept this.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 11/05/03 3:26PM
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On Wakefield show news:

> Interesting how well ViewFinder works, then, isn't it?

Good point.

In effect John Kortink has written code to (I assume) intercepts normal OS Video calls and then "re-route" them to the card. Point is that this though well implemented is a bit of a "bodge". It would be better (cleaner) for the OS to handle the hardware abstraction itself as then it wouldn't have to start off steps to use the VIDC and have them "intercepted" by yet more code to re-direct it to a foreign card.

I'd imagine JK would have a lot of work to rejig it to work with a different video card (or if ROL changed RISC OS in anything other than a trivial way).

MD obviously took the view that *if* the hardware looked exactly like a VIDC then no real change to the OS would be required (which is a fair enough approach and if done correctly could have speed benefits). VF coded round some of the RISC OS limitations (but this task would have been easier had the OS allowed it in an easier manner, such as by using a HAL as Iyonix RISC OS 5 does).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 6:11PM
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On Wakefield show news:

oh and when I said "crappy" I was only being sarcastic ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 5:50PM
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On Wakefield show news:

>MD still won't explain why they didn't just put a PC graphics card in there.

Because RISC OS (Select) has no Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) and is bound tightly to the VIDC controller in the RISC PC. The Omega implements a VIDC like system in a programmable logic chip - so that it "looks" to RISC OS (Select) like the original VIDC so it can still work.

The reason Castle could use a PC graphics card was because the used a "crappy" old RISC OS but one that has Hardware abstraction.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 5:47PM
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On Wakefield show news:

Sorry IMJ don't have an Iyonix (yet). So my argument is *not* based on me having to justify a purchase.

The reality of the "kit" that's available is that VA on a typical PC runs slower than RISC OS on a "real" SA or Kinetic RPC (except for harddisk access). There is faster alternative available (the Iyonix).

The appearance of Iyonix has had a few tangleable benefits even for users of other Acorn style machines (for example the Update C/C++ tools, updated 32bit library, modules to support some Iyonix features on non-Iyonix machines, the pop-up printer system - on Iyonix now coming to RPC soon).

Another point is a lot of code has been 32bitted, I know being a convinced Omega supporter you may not see the benefit in this - but there is.... let me expand, if you run 26bit code on an xScale (whenever that arrives) on the Omega (whenever that arrives) you'll have some sort of performance hit as the 26bit code has to go through ArmTwister - now if a lot of code is 32bitted - then it can run OPTIMALLY on the xScale on an Omega (so Omega users will benefit *because* of Iyonix).

The downside for Omega users is the "better than Iyonix" version of RISC OS is still just 26bit - and will ALL have to pass through ArmTwister (if an xScale is fitted). You'll have (depending on how MD implement it) either (a). the OS running at the speed of a 306MHz SA chip rather than a 1GHz xScale OR (b). at some performance faster than that but less than a flat out 1GHz xScale.

In short without a 32bit OS your Omega will *never* reach it's full speed potential.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 5:28PM
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On Wakefield show news:

Point is that what IMJ wants is to compare an emulated machine (from 1992) with I/O hardware from 2001-2 and count it as a fair test.

I say bring it on compare a 2002 Iyonix against your VA running on 2002 PC hardware - that's a fairer test and one that the PC/VA combination *will* lose.

Besides I don't see how it's consistent to argue the promotion of RISC OS by encouraging people to buy a Windows PC running VA on Windows - that's a hell of a lot of money going into markets other than the RISC OS one.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 5:04PM
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On Wakefield show news:

>So hang on. You want to test the graphics, cos I've already told you that's slower, but you don't want to test the disk cos you know that's much faster?

Not quite.

The thing is the point about RISC OS is the GUI (hence graphical). So it's the thing that will largely impact on the user experience.

My point about the harddisk not being a fair test is because it is *not* a speed advantage introduced by the emulator (or even the Athlon CPU for that matter) but rather the UDMA (unemulated) hardware.

If you level the ground completely you'd wind up comparing an Iyonix (which has UDMA), runs RISC OS and has real ARM hardware and it would trounce all over the emulated RPC (just as it does with the real one).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 4:54PM
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On Wakefield show news:

Run a task and time it (don't simply rely on !Sick to give a report).

Tasks that are *not* good ones are disk access based ones as the emulator uses windows native system (and UDMA to access it). A real RiscPC (unlike Iyonix) lacks UDMA so the test would NOT be a fair one.

Screen update tasks like full screen scrolling a large number of numbers - recording the time taken for the *exact* same BASIC V program at exactly the *same* resolution and colour depth on a real SA-RPC and an emulated one.

You could also try arithmetic operations on both (this stuff is all just off the top of my head so add your own).



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 4:36PM
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On Wakefield show news:

>I'll dig out !SICK and do some figures for you. As I said earlier, RedSquig is faster on my Athlon 2100 than a real RiscPC, so your "lot" is already here.

A RiscPC, with a StrongARM ? I think not. Besides measure speed with !Sick on an emulated computer may not yield accurate results (as it depends on how Sick times things and how accurate the "clock" is when emulated). If for example if Windows is running background tasks will the "clock" count that in or not ? You'd be better off with a stopwatch timing REAL tasks doing something.

>As for USB api... uh, well how could they a) second-guess that folks are suddenly going to produce their own USB APIs without talking to ROL and b) produce any sane API based on no knowledge of how USB hardware would be implemented on a RiscPC. I think you're being just a touch silly now.


The implementation is independant of the API. Which is why we have essentially similar USB hardware but completely different API's.

ROL should simply have laid down a "standard" and put it up to others to implement USB in whatever way they like but ensure the API followed that as described by ROL. As to information USB is well known with it's own Special Interest Group and commercial implementers freely providing information (e.g., Microsoft and various Linux implementers).

Alternatively ROL could have "invited" interested parties to discuss an API that could be arrived by agreement (much as Microsoft did when setting up CDMRW/Mt Rainier). Either way ROL had to be proactive and they were not.

If all else failed ROL could "invite" proposed standards from companies and then "annoint" one as the approved standard. [They already control the admin of filetypes and the like, this is the same authoritive control but in a different area]

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 4:29PM
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On Wakefield show news:

The PC will have to get a *lot* faster before RISC OS will run quicker on emulation (VA) on a PC. I've used VA on my Athlon 1.2GHz and it runs relatively quickly (although not at SA speed).

Not taken into account are changes in Windows may impact on the functionality and/or speed of emulators (Longhorn will cut the Windows API from 76000 or so calls to 8000, and will add more .NET stuff and Palladium (Hardware Security/DRM) - so I don't think it's a "safe" option long term.

ROL was founded in 1999 and one of it's stated objectives was to produce a 32bit RISC OS. This has *not* happened. The fact this did not happen is *not* Castle's fault. ROL (for example) as "owners" of the OS could have published a USB API instead both Simtec and Castle did (whose fault is that ?).

It just looks as if some people want to kill off the Iyonix and leave a 26bit only OS running under either PC emulation or (possibly) on an Omega whenever that finally arrives.

Some choice eh ?

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/05/03 2:20PM
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On Castle unleash Iyonix UDMA100:

Don't know. But it must be pretty crammed because Castle had to add a little extra code to support the keypress on start up configuration behaviour of the RISC PC - and could'nt without compressing some of the ROM and eliminating some stuff.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/04/03 3:51PM
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