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Profile for adh1003

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Username: adh1003
Realname: Andrew Hodgkinson
About me:Acorn for 3 years, Pace/Acorn for another 3 until they turned off the lights, TTPCom for a bit doing telephone things, Frontier Silicon for a bit doing DAB, New Zealand for a bit doing much fun stuff, then Tematic for a few months until they turned off the lights. Someone suggested there was a pattern in this to me the other day, but I don't see it myself.
Homepage: http://pond.org.uk/
Comments posted:46 (show all)

Recent comments

On NetSurf on RISC OS faces axe:

If only I had the time! I've been following the thread and it'd be great to get involved but there is no point committing to anything at present. All I would do is let people down. That's not a "no forever" but it's a "no for now".

As for incriminating photos - the picture of me dressed head to foot in camo gear in front of a too-tall Risc PC at Acorn World many years ago is about as bad is it gets. Since it was distributed in full colour horror-o-vision on the front of Archimedes World, it's hard to imagine anything worse. And yes, I've seen some of the more recent show photos; no contest so far :D

 is a RISC OS Useradh1003 on 20/8/09 4:45PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

To what extent can Aemulor bridge the gap (slow or otherwise)?

 is a RISC OS Useradh1003 on 26/5/09 6:08PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

"And so reads the epitaph of RISC OS"

...a decade ago. Since then it hasn't really had any significant commercial viability IMHO so it long since became a hobbyist OS and if anything, this is more or less proved by the very small scale operations of the likes of Castle and ROL. As such, it can potentially actually move along in directions which a commercial company might not have taken because of commercial pressures.

Whether there are enough people left in the community with the skills, time and willpower to make any of those changes remains to be seen, though we've certainly seen a big surge in interest at ROOL since we started making real ROMs. But even a "big surge" doesn't get you all that far since it's all relative to the level of active developer interest beforehand, which was broadly speaking "almost nothing" (unsurprisingly).

There are still one or two killer applications around - ArtWorks being an obvious example - but finding anything unique is difficult these days, unsurprisingly, while finding missing stuff is easy. I do worry that a lot of the directions people want to take the OS are being considered because they want to make porting easy, but if all you want to do is port applications from Linux, you may as well just go and use Linux instead! You'll have cheap, powerful hardware available and a wide range of distro choices. Some of ROL's developments seem more aimed at making life a bit easier for the applications programmer and that seems to me to be a more astute direction to take.

I always found that using Windows was just awful in comparison to RISC OS and - now, I know I'm going to ruffle feathers here but I'll say it anyway - Linux GUI environments just seem to be a bit of a bad joke. Bad experiences with Mac OS System 7 through 9 along with its very poor and buggy initial implementation as OS X had meant I dismissed and ignored Macs for many years, but once OS X reached v10.4 (Tiger) it became an architecturally complete, interesting and viable alternative which I'm very happy with as an ex-RISC OS user. While it has its fair share of faults, so does RISC OS. I just don't use my Risc PC or Iyonix for anything other than hobby development or ROOL work anymore.

I still wish operating systems routinely came with a "send to back" button and an option to avoid forcing a window to the front of the stack when focused! At least on Linux, RISC OS and OS X you can scroll windows which aren't frontmost (unlike on Windows) and on Linux and OS X you can move windows even when the application is busy or using blocking modal dialogue boxes (unlike Windows and RISC OS).

So where do I think this leaves RISC OS? For fun; for a hobby; for those few applications you have which you still really like. And ultimately, given a free OS from ROOL and a free emulator in the form of RPCEmu, what's so bad about that?

 is a RISC OS Useradh1003 on 26/5/09 11:18AM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

What exactly are you trying to argue anyway? A 32-bit OS is pointless, so ROOL should stop?

Whatever you are trying to argue, you surely cannot be saying that RISC OS needs more support when you're sat there with hardware which is around two decades old and insisting that there is no need to upgrade any of it.

 is a RISC OS Useradh1003 on 26/5/09 10:08AM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

I assume you're not familiar with the DBxxx series IPTV set-top boxes, with features in the later products like standard definition H.264 decode in hardware. There had multiple ARM cores which were used where possible, e.g. a core was used to independently run a specially modified internet stack. These are of course obsolete products today, since IPTV moves quickly, but bits of information can be found online if you dig around. The DB210 and 220 came first (note the dates in the URLs - this isn't the earliest possible reference on Pace's site, but it's the first I tried after mid-2004, when Pace doesn't list these products at all):

[link] [link] [link]

The IP215 is called an IP215 rather than DB215 because Pace kept changing their minds about naming things :-) - you'll notice from their earlier products page that they call them "digital broadband media" devices, but later, explicitly refer to them as IPTV boxes and rename the whole RISC OS based range:

[link] [link]

The earlier dated-based link shows the beginnings of the "IP" series naming. As a side-note, the IP4xx and (not listed) IP5xx series were somewhat ill-fated Linux-based designs using some rather unusual hardware. This was the last product I (or anyone else, I guess!) worked on at Pace Cambridge, with a few people kept on for a short while to support the products from a tiny office in Cambourne (IIRC).

Despite the similar names, the older MPEG 2 series differed quite a lot from the later H.264 boxes. Although the ARM architecture therein was compatible with 32-bit RISC OS, the rest of the chipset - for audio, video, infra-red and so-on - bore little resemblance to the likes of the ARM 7500FE-based DSL 4000.

ROOL brought along a couple of these STBs to Wakefield 2007, ROOL's first ever show:


Now, you will note that these products were appearing on the Pace site during 2005. I worked for Castle at the time and helped write some of the software inside them. I even went to IBC and demonstrated the products. Since Castle bought RISC OS from Pace in 2003 - according to press releases on both Castle's web site and Pace's web site - surely you can accept that the OS in these 2005 products was, indeed, "Castle" RISC OS?

[link] [link] [link]

There is surely no such thing as a "Pace branch" versus "Castle developed RISC OS 5". There is just Castle's RISC OS which was purchased from Pace. I don't see how there can possibly be any confusion or ambiguity here.

 is a RISC OS Useradh1003 on 23/5/09 3:51PM
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