During my visit to Wakefield I had two separate conversations with members of the senior management of both RISCOS ltd and Castle (It probably is bad netiquette to mention names).
I asked them both about the possibility of and put to them each as appropriate the consumer case for having a converging path between RISCOS Vs 4+5. I Underlined my concerns that there is not much point subscribing to RISCOS ATM if I were to buy a 32bit only machine. Likewise, the case to Castle that they must have sales held back by potential buyers that would not want to loose out on RISCOS select features.
The following points were made : From Castle's side...
Their new copy of !printers has been handed to RISCOS ltd for free distribution from their website. (I understood this is a copyrighted version and not open source.) Castle hope that this is the first of a continued two-way exchange that will lead to a Select version of RISCOS 5 *which they do want*.
From RISCOS ltds's side:...
They also want convergence. When asked about the origins of RISCOS 5, the implication was also made that it reflected features first developed in RISCOS select! (I am still not sure what to make of this but I was left with the belief that at least parts of RISCOS 5 was substantially designed by RISCOS ltd). I was told that RISCOS 5 Select would *not* be released for RISC PCs and that there was no problem with administering several parallel versions of RISCOS!
The above is my opinion and understanding only.
Perhaps the Gold edition marks the ent of RISC PC OS development and that all future development will be 32bit?
So given time, there is hope for the future convergence but personally, I won't be renewing my select subscription until there is an official statement on the subject. What I would do is continue membership of select with a pre-order + deposit for RISC OS 5 Select.
RISC OS ltd should not hold their customers to ransome. A clearer way is to announce the intention of a project and take deposited orders. (returnable if cancelled) That way we all know where we stand.