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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

Jaco: "Normally open source means the source is open to look at."

Nope. Open source means exactly what the Open Source people said it meant - it wasn't a widely used term before they coined it. Whether or not you aim to adhere to the trademark requirements, calling "look but don't touch" stuff and "shared source" stuff "open source" is just deception.

"So open source don't need to be licence free."

Yet more deception here, too. Open source software generally has a licence attached, unless you're thinking of public domain works.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 31/5/09 11:44PM
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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

It's "shared source", not "open source", unless the powers that be have changed their mind about it. It might be interesting to know what the licence compatibility situation is like when people start porting Linux drivers to this platform, too.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/5/09 10:07PM
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On RISCOS Ltd's head licence with E14 leaked:

anonymously leaked to several RISC OS magazines and websites

How 1990s! People use wikileaks for this sort of stuff these days.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/12/08 7:14PM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

We are not playing. We are doing what we were set out to do and keep RISC OS alive for the users and the companies involved in RISC OS for whom RISC OS is their living.

Funny way of doing so, I must say. It does look as if you are indeed "playing", at least from the perspective of anyone in the world beyond RISC OS. In the ten years since the demise of Acorn, RISC OS has languished while other platforms have eaten its lunch in just about every area it had any kind of advantage. The final straw must have been the whole netbook phenomenon: GNU/Linux (or Windows XP if you're wedded to The Man) on a hardware profile that would have been a natural complement to RISC OS back in the day. Oh, and there being a widespread proliferation of interesting ARM-based designs, many available to buy on a per unit basis for reasonable sums of money, and yet RISC OS is the "devil on skis" choice, hypothetically available for such devices if people weren't too busy squabbling and playing gatekeeper with their continually depreciating "intellectual property".

Technically, taking the sum of all the parts, RISC OS was obsolete back in the mid-1990s. RISC OS Ltd. speculated on there being substantial continued interest in the platform, which there may have been, but any acquisition of RISC OS was always going to involve a lot of renovation and improvement to keep the technology relevant. Ten years on, with people still arguing over who owns which bit, I think we can all see the preferred focus of various parties and, with even the most devoted champions of the platform going elsewhere, the final outcome: they think it's all over...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 12/12/08 12:29PM
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On Iyonix range taken off the market:

bluenose: "Still we can dream of another white knight riding in to produce ARM hardware"

There's a ton of ARM hardware being produced right now - the only thing in the way is RISC OS and its portability, although I note that someone has tried to do something about that. Shame the RISC OS "Open" licensing doesn't really help in the matter.

Of course, all this new hardware runs Linux well enough...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 28/9/08 12:12AM
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On Who would want an A9home PDA?:

Stoppers: "Say you could get RO running on a Nokia 810"

That's being very hypothetical: Nokia run Linux on their tablets and yet there's still a lot of proprietary stuff and secrecy around the hardware. In contrast, you'd have a better chance with the Openmoko (FIC) devices, which have small but relatively high resolution screens, or with Gumstix devices plus screens. Indeed, this Simtec device would compete more with the latter.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/4/08 12:12AM
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On VirtualRiscPC spotted on Linux:

Agreed with mripley: Linux has much of the software that RISC OS never managed to acquire satisfactorily and has benefits as a platform over both RISC OS and Windows (it's a genuinely open and free platform). Perhaps there are reasons to run VRPC for some nice software which provides a user experience that no-one has managed to reproduce on other platforms, but it's perverse that the only way to do this is to run the Windows version in WINE when there's really no obstacle to producing a native Linux version. I know that proprietary software forces people to take desperate measures, but it would be better if people tackled the issues head on. Ultimately, this involves making sure that your data is in portable formats, however, but one step at a time...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/3/08 4:08PM
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On A9home DIY laptop: first pictures:

Maybe not laptop material exactly, but...


Of course, the limiting factor is, as always, the portability/availability of RISC OS for anything other than the narrow range of hardware put out by the usual vendors. But then, the vested interests in RISC OS land have shown just how capable/interested they are in applying what large sections of the rest of the business knows to their little patch.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/12/07 3:56PM
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On Could RISC OS teach Linux a trick or two?:

Firstly, shame on the author for parroting the opinions of the pro-software/business/UI-patent lobby. Secondly, the author either fails to join the dots or comes across somewhat fanboyish in order to emphasise his own worldview. Examples...

The author mentions Xerox PARC and then brushes stuff aside which he claims PARC didn't do in order to claim that, "The whole idea of a "desktop" was pretty much invented at Apple in the 1980s..." Obviously, it was too much to look at what the Xerox Star had to offer.

The author is aware of CDE - where a lot of ideas came from for Windows, Mac OS X and KDE (such a surprise there) - and yet claims that, "The ways that most of the Linux GUIs resemble one another - their lowest common denominator - is, pretty much, the Microsoft Windows way of doing things." Hello?! XFCE, which the author mentions, is pretty much an evolution of the CDE concept.

Some selective ignorance is also on display: "when you come to apps like OpenOffice Writer or Calc, the influence is even more plain - in fact, they're nearly identical to MS Office". Again, hello?! Is the author not aware of the history of OpenOffice(.org): it's the open source edition of an application developed in the 1990s by a German company effectively writing a clone of Microsoft Office. Not that OpenOffice is exactly an irreplaceable part of "the Linux desktop" - it's a commercially-driven project with the fingers of Sun, Novell and IBM in the pie.

Eventually, after a few incoherent comments on the article by Inquirer punters, someone points out that patenting "look and feel" might not be cricket. In coming across as a "will they or won't they sue?" lawsuit chaser ("And the Vole is holding all the cards here; the FOSS guys haven't got a leg to stand on."), the article is like bedtime reading for Steve Ballmer. A sprinkling of historical facts makes it better than the work of some industry analyst, but given the inaccuracies mentioned above, a sprinkling of salt is also required. I suppose it functions acceptably as some kind of Wikipedia recommended reading list, however.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 6/11/07 12:14PM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

VirtualAcorn: "Firstly: Whilst RISC OS sources may well have been made available to members of the public, they have not been placed in "the public domain". As far as I am aware all releases of RISC OS source code have been subject to a licence. Publically available does not mean Public Domain. All released sources will of course still be copyright."

Well explained! Perhaps a daily phone call to RISC OS "Open" HQ should be scheduled to repeat this point, in order to bring them beyond an "Acorn User circa 1990" level of understanding around copyright and licensing practices.

sa110: "Storm in a tea cup"

I guess that things aren't looking too good for even the "big fish in a small pond" analogy any more.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/10/07 2:13PM
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On Review: A9home v. Koolu:

jc: "Which RISC OS magazines (if any) are you taliking about?"

For me the RISC OS magazines are all things of the past (in the personal sense), but many of them (at least when it was still more generally Acorn stuff) seemed to have glowing, clichéd reviews of stuff in deference to the advertiser in question whose products they were reviewing, even when the products were rubbish. The usual "if <topic> is your sort of thing then you can't do much worse than <rubbish product>" prose along with five stars out of five or whatever.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/10/07 2:01PM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

riscosopen: "If they'd wanted access to the sources under a non-disclosure agreement in order to get started prior to it all being in the public domain (within the next week), I'm sure Castle would have agreed to that."

All hilarious cloak-and-dagger, back-of-cereal-packet secret codewheel stuff, I'm sure, but are you actually sure you mean "public domain"?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/10/07 12:13PM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

apdl: "You do not have to buy a copy of Windows with a PC."

Yes, this is true: I've bought a PC without Windows, or rather all the different bits and pieces without Windows, and there are places selling complete, "naked" PCs, PCs with Linux, and so on. I can only guess that I wasn't subsidising Microsoft in some way, but in my case this isn't likely: component vendors don't sell stuff with Windows, generally.

One antitrust ruling which did actually seem to have an effect was this one - [link] - which prohibited collusion between Microsoft, Intel and vendors, although I guess the agreement ran out and Microsoft reverted to type. However, most punters don't buy stuff from Novatech (and I know people who wouldn't buy from them again, either), and the mainstream retailers don't let you buy that HP, Acer (or whatever) laptop without the OS: the bundle is a done deal which you can't opt out of. Consequently, Microsoft gets their products shipped to potentially unwilling punters in volume (and as you note, it isn't Microsoft vs. others, sometimes you don't want Microsoft's premium product of the era) and then the intellectually lazy (who can't manage to join the dots) start arguing that no-one wants to choose anything else.

From a completely liberal, free-market perspective, the problem is merely one which can be solved by having a risk-taker stimulating competition for the alternatives and potentially making big sales from the unsatisfied demand for those alternatives, which is what the fuss with Dell was about. However, the "Microsoft is a standard" argument has significant implications: suddenly your government departments, the BBC, public services are insisting that you have Microsoft Windows and Office and can't understand that there's anything else. That's when this moves into the political and regulatory domain.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/09/07 09:50AM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

druck: "Now this is more like it"

Yes, it's a bit like asking UK banks about their penalty charges: no bank wants to say how much it costs to process a cheque because if they did, they'd be stripped bare by angry punters. Likewise, no-one wants to say how much Windows and the usual useless disk-fillers actually cost: the vendors and Microsoft pick arbitrary figures, but a bit of transparency (or some French bloke picking a big refund figure which then sets a precedent) would rain on a few parades, I imagine.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/09/07 00:04AM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

coling: "Surely it is a backward step for users to have to install the operating system however easy that is made?"

Are you telling me that at no point is any buyer of new hardware asked to insert some CD or other to get access to the manual (which isn't the generous paper affair that Acorn used to provide) or to install some extra thing or other?

"Yes there are standard interfaces for devices but they are targeted at windows"

Just because RISC OS support for standard interfaces has been on and off over the years doesn't mean that USB, Firewire, PCI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so on are all Microsoft-driven innovations. I think you have to give Intel the credit for most of that. Compare and contrast these standards with dirty stuff like Winmodems and the like which is what happens when a bunch of chipset manufacturers get together with Microsoft and cook up the kind of thing you think is going on with all the other stuff.

"They are effectively not standard interfaces but windows box interfaces that computers like the mac and iyonix use to keep their costs down."

You have heard of Intel, right?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/9/07 11:43AM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

coling: "Linux has taken advantage of the cheap hardware produced by this relationship but the hardware is only cheap because of microsoft."

Nonsense! Hardware is cheap because of the demand for hardware and high volume cheap manufacturing in the Far East. You can claim that Microsoft drives demand because "they make computing so easy", but that would be quite an incredible thing to claim in the RISC OS scene, given that even platform naysayers like myself are fully aware that RISC OS was usable enough for punters almost twenty years ago, and we all know that driving demand isn't as simple as that, anyway.

Perhaps Windows 3.1 and 95 stimulated demand (alongside the hype) beyond what DOS and Windows 3.1, respectively, previously offered, but I think you'll find that a range of alternatives could have kept the punters just as satisfied. If OS/2 had been dominant, I'm sure you'd be thanking IBM for making hardware cheap instead.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/9/07 11:51PM
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On Sell PCs without Windows urges think tank:

coling: "I can't see how not supplying a computer with and operating system is in in the public interest. Most people with computers couldn't install an operating system, even if it was supplied on a hard disc in another box ready to plug in, so how would it be in their interest?"

From what I've heard, even if you buy a computer with Windows "pre-installed" it doesn't boot straight into a usable Windows desktop - instead, it chugs away for a couple of hours finishing off the install started in the factory. So I doubt somehow that making someone pop in a CD/DVD with the right software and having it copy everything over would be any more hassle than things already are.

"The alternative is to have the ability to specify which OS you want to be supplied with the computer but that would make the computer more expensive."

And *why* is that? Isn't this the whole point of making people unbundle stuff? There's absolutely no pricing transparency at all. You ask not to have an added extra and suddenly the product costs *more*! Sounds like a subsidy is in there somewhere.

"As I see it it's nothing to do with public interest it's to do with linux users being upset at having to pay for windows, they'd rather pay more for a computer than pay microsoft."

It's often worth paying more for a better product, but if the reason for paying more is some kind of penalty for not having chosen Microsoft software, then I think that an investigation is very much in the public interest. What if your Iyonix (or Omega, or whatever) had a £50 levy on it for not running Windows (on top of any price for the OS) because the vendor could have sold you something with Windows on it? I think you'd change your tune.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/9/07 12:47PM
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On RPCEmu author mulls future features:

In my opinion, the various A-series emulators just need to be more usable, more stable and to be written with more than win32 in mind. Thankfully, Mr Naulls has seemingly put in the work to port RPCEmu to Linux, thus saving me the bother of having to tear out the win32 code that's spread around in the sources, but it'd be good if the code could be compiled to produce a minimal program that could just be run from the command line or extended with the appropriate graphical user interface toolkit, or even wrapped for a high-level language like Python. Fancy (or non-fancy) file selection dialogues are easy to add to extensible software, but awkward to remove if the code relies on them in different places, for example.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 2/8/07 12:11PM
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On RPCEmu author mulls future features:

Jon: "As far as I know the RiscPC 710/RISC OS 3.6 was the first Acorn machine to support a CD drive."

No, the first CD-ROM drive was introduced around the time of the A3000, I think. There was some kind of pack you could get, and if I thought hard enough about it, I could probably name the company selling it in association with Acorn, but it's a long time ago now, of course. Perhaps you mean that the RiscPC 710 was the first to ship with a CD-ROM drive by default.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 2/8/07 12:03PM
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On ROX founder: Why I brought RISC OS to Unix:

lproven: "...~250 MS patents seems very likely to me to refer to the many Windows-like controls implemented by the leading Linux desktops"

On the contrary, the Microsoft FUD is centred on Linux (the kernel), not GNU/Linux, KDE, GNOME, or any of the graphical environments.

Meanwhile, people interested in ROX might be interested in XFCE and Xubuntu - at one point there was some overlap between the projects, although I think they've drifted apart of late.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/7/07 4:42PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

Drobe (or the Icon Bar) should really have some kind of betting service where we people can put their money on everyone having more or less the same conversation in two, five, ten years time. The profits could fund development on a Free Software version of RISC OS, perhaps...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/7/07 1:48PM
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On June news in brief:

What I wouldn't mind knowing is whether the Web server is just a welded shut version of the one you get in the Python libraries.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/6/07 12:55PM
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On June news in brief:

I thought I'd seen it all with the "one free search for random punters" offer, but then my trip to 1995 was fully realised when I saw the Web server software on sale for the princely sum of £25 a pop. Still, the Web applications on RISC OS scene is probably crowded with takers for this kind of thing, anyway.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/6/07 12:02PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:


"Now, it's 'i' before 'e' except after... no wait!"

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/05/07 12:14AM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

druck: "isn't it time you found something else to do"

Perhaps, speaking as one armchair quarterback to a bunch of other armchair quarterbacks, in an attempt to save them a bit of time in anticipation that they one day summon up the motivation to embark on their project to bring the best of RISC OS to some other operating system (in a way that hasn't already been done, considering things like emulators, ROX, the influence of other ex-RISC OS people on mainstream desktop projects, and abandoned efforts like Riscose) only to realise that it was several years down the pan with the crowning achievement of getting Impression Junior working in some kind of virtual machine, having danced around inbred licensing restrictions, with complaints from ungrateful punters that "it's not RISC OS, though, is it?". Think of it as a public service.

jamesp: "As JB said, they can always become more liberal later if it suits them"

Until that day I guess there's not a great deal to see, then.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/5/07 3:33PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

druck: "RISC OS is more of a community than a commercial enterprise these days"

So when will we start to see the owners of the code (or part-owners, or whatever) acting as members of a community, rather than treating everyone as punters or willing fanboys? Sure, Castle and RISC OS Ltd. put up lots of cash to prevent Microsoft seizing control of RISC OS back in the day, but if they want anyone to take any interest, they'd be better off shunting that particular mistake to the back of their corporate minds and adopting a real open source licence.

druck: "People are already willing to donate vast amounts of their time and energy in application development, and the Castle licence allows them to put some of that effort in to improving the OS."

I guess that the few people still developing applications for RISC OS have a profitable niche that is still worth exploiting, but even those people aren't likely to work for Castle for free unless it's to fix some showstopper that impacts their own revenue stream. And if one sees "vast amounts of time and energy" in connection with anything RISC OS, I don't think words exist to describe what goes on in connection to other platforms.

druck: "Its only fair that the owner of the licence can still peruse the limited commercial avenues that are open to the platform, and after all spinoffs such work continues to provide us with native hardware, so we gain as well."

It's unfair to pursue an innocent typing mistake, I know, but given the amount of innovation going on in the wider ARM-based scene, *perusing* commercial avenues is what Castle and friends are mostly left doing. There's a lot of ARM-powered stuff out there, and as any reader of Drobe will know by now, the limitation on using it with RISC OS is, well, RISC OS.

druck: "A migration to x86 hardware is possible, first by complete emulation running over a host OS as we have now, but then gradually moving parts of the code over to the native architecture, forming an abstracted virtual machine to allow it run along side other OSs, and eventually supporting x86 application binaries for currently developed code (legacy code remaining under emulation of course). It would be a lot of work, and we'd have to decide if it was worth it, largely determined on whether application development can fore fill users needs."

Once upon a time I thought this kind of thing would be useful or nice. Then I thought it would be just cool: my old environment integrated with my new one. Now, I really wonder why anyone would bother. Things like Impression had a nice user interface back in the day (when it wasn't crashing), but aside from my disinterest in desktop publishing (so 1990s!), probably every other aspect of the software is archaic. Ultimately, you're left with a few applications that would be better off rewritten - something that might take "a lot of work", but it'd be time and effort better spent.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/5/07 11:57AM
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On The return of the 8bit-era: creating a 'neo-micro':

torbenm, the OLPC doesn't have a crank handle - I bet they really regret doing that particular mock-up - and I'd imagine that the choice of x86 came down to a number of fairly relevant factors, particularly related to being able to acquire control of the hardware platform and having a big company offer concrete support: yes, AMD actually plays along with various open source communities from time to time.

As for the Linux aspect, and in the context of the 512K remark in the article, perhaps Linux is the path of least resistance because it does run in fairly low memory environments (albeit not likely as low as 512K) and is widely deployed and open (again, extremely important in a project like this). And stuff like LinuxBIOS can provide booting to a lightweight desktop using 2MB of ROM and no hard disk, apparently. That's your neo-micro right there!

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/4/07 8:32PM
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On New user guide for RISC OS 6 as release nears:


The RISC OS module system was a nice idea. Shame about the kernel-space limitations and general likelihood of stiffing the machine, though.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/04/07 12:46AM
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On New user guide for RISC OS 6 as release nears:


 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/04/07 12:45AM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

markee174: "So if you don't like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (who are both all-pervausive in their platforms), that rather narrows the platform field...."

That might be the case, yes. Some people don't get on with Torvalds, Stallman, and so on, although these two can hardly be considered all-pervasive in their realm, particularly since you don't need to brush up against them on a daily basis. Meanwhile, judging by some people's behaviour, Steve Jobs presumably visits you personally in your sleep and Bill Gates probably degrades your dream quality because your synapses aren't certified for the right kind of DRM...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 06/04/07 11:14PM
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On Could NetSurf 2.0 support JavaScript?:

And as an encore: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/4/07 12:03PM
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On Could NetSurf 2.0 support JavaScript?:

Immaculate, I'd say: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/4/07 11:39AM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

markee174: "Judging which platform to use on the basis of personalities (and perceived views based on comments on Internet sites) seems rather bizarre as all platforms have their share of arguments and characters you might disagree with."

Yes, but many platforms have much larger communities. For example, you can happily find your niche and ignore lots of other people in the wider Linux community. Don't like the GNOME people? Hang out with the KDE people or the XFCE people or the GNUStep people instead! Or have nothing to do with any of them and find your own like-minded group.

Meanwhile in the RISC OS scene, if you don't get on with a particular goldfish in the bowl you can be sure they'll be in full view again in less than the obligatory seven seconds. And one of the platform's most serious problems is that no-one seems to have the motivation to change the water any more, either.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 28/03/07 2:32PM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

rjek: "However, what he's said basically boils down to if anybody he considers unworthy demands the patches, he'll give them the patches, and then walk away from the project."

If that's true then we really are in "Royston Vasey" territory. Everyone who acquired the software has the right to the source code, and whilst Mr Naulls can walk away from the project if he likes, he is obliged to supply that source code regardless of whether the requester is "elite" enough or not to understand it.

As for the MPL, after reading parts of it I can't see how people can complain about the readability of the GPL. At least the GPL doesn't start Capitalizing different Nouns and other random Concepts as if It were Translated from German very Badly. Get on the GPLv3 bandwagon already, you dinosaurs!

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 22/03/07 3:19PM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

It's just so "Royston Vasey" that most of the contributors to this thread focus on criticising Mr Naulls because he disapproves of random hacks and workarounds to keep the free stuff flowing to the fickle punters. Sure, if it were me, I'd welcome even misguided attempts to remedy faults in any software or documentation I'd released, although I'd want people to publish genuinely useful and factual information. That said, if I were making RISC OS software available only to see other people's contributions top out at rituals and lucky charms from a community who largely doesn't aspire to be anything more than a bunch of tinkerers, even though they may pretend to be so much more, I think I'd blow my lid at some point, too.

As for the financial aspect, I guess it's another lesson for all those people who throw money in every direction and complain afterwards. If you suspect you're not getting value for money then you know who to talk to. I imagine, however, that most of the complainants haven't stumped up any cash at all and just want to use the financial element to vaguely suggest wrongdoing. I suggest that those people either properly make their case or keep their dubious accusations to themselves.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/3/07 2:18PM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

AMS: "Actually Microsoft's Mount Rainer format"

Microsoft's? Showing your bias again, AMS! ;-)

Actually, I wondered whether someone would mention Mount Rainier. Apparently, various drives support it, but people making operating systems don't seem to be interested: there are some tools for Linux for formatting the discs but no-one seems to be interested in making them work portably, so they stay outside all the distros, even though the kernel support has supposedly been present for years. At some point I'll dig out a CD-RW disc and see if it all works on my supposedly CD-MRW-capable drive.

But getting round to my point, since Mount Rainier is based on UDF, and since DVD filesystems are supposedly UDF (for typical computing applications), can't DVD+/-RW discs be handled like hard disks, too? In other words, do you really need DVD-RAM stuff for such trickery?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/2/07 5:20PM
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On How to port RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC:

druck: "absolute rot"

What? The bit about having the freedom on other platforms to choose where you go with your data, or the bit about RISC OS's multiple "owners", issues with getting binaries to work on newer versions of the operating system, and the fact that many people are actually confronted with a mess caused by binary-only abandonware?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/02/07 2:03PM
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On Thunderbird 'demo' port released:

em2ac: "I use TB on XP, and it's a dream, but lacks stuff like calendar support"

Isn't that what Sunbird is for? I'm sure Mr Naulls will get to that eventually if he's working his way around the Mozilla codebase, but perhaps a donation is the only way to set his course promptly in that direction.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 2/2/07 12:37PM
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On How to port RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC:

druck: "but it isn't"

There are two different "owners" (more like licensees as far as we know) scrambling around on different branches of a proprietary codebase, developing their own APIs, playing leapfrogging version numbers, with people running different vintages of both of them (although probably a lot more running different versions spawned by RISC OS Ltd., due to people bailing out when they didn't get their updates), and that isn't fragmented? At least with Linux there's a thorough understanding of how all the parts fit together, you can freely combine them, limited only by compatibility issues between tightly bound components. And here's the crucial thing: on Linux you almost always have some obvious migration options if you start to disagree with where your distro is going, whereas the RISC OS scene seems to rely on continual good luck that people will still be able to open their applications to get at their data if they move over to another flavour of the operating system. And people wonder why Select never came out for the Iyonix, let alone why RISC OS 5 (or perhaps they'll call it RISC OS 7) will ever make it onto the Risc PC.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/02/07 11:50AM
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On How to port RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC:

nijinsky: "The strength of RISC OS (IMHO) these days is not as a desktop computer but as a convenience device. TV/email/web (including skype)."

I'd accept that there's a lot of potential for devices rather than the "... PC" where Bill Gates is frequently on hand to fill in the dots, visionary style, only to be proven wrong time and time again. But can RISC OS really compete in this sphere? The hardware constraints for things like Web-on-TV boxes, PVRs, personal e-mailers and so on aren't nearly as harsh as for things like high volume mobile telephones (where RISC OS supposedly has a big advantage with regard to memory usage, but would probably need a lot of work to make it robust enough, thus eliminating it from that sector), and the flexibility of solutions like Linux seems to make them somewhat more attractive for device makers, even if some of them don't quite understand the licensing obligations (which are really fairly mild unless you're a clueless "we must keep everything ultra top-secret!" corporate freeloader). Indeed, the ready availability of software for platforms like Linux arguably permits device makers to concentrate on differentiating or improving their hardware, and the task of getting Skype on that hardware (if that were deemed important or acceptable) would be more strategic than technical. Moreover, they would probably be able to look more closely at some of the human factors issues that seem to get otherwise ignored when pushing stuff out to market.

In any case, if RISC OS does have a future in the device market, what we may not see (in contrast to Linux) is the continuity in the community where people doing desktop stuff might consider turning their attentions to embedded stuff, and vice versa, leveraging what they already know in the field which is unfamiliar to them. RISC OS is already quite a fragmented thing, and I can't see the embedded and desktop branches constituting a single meaningful platform over the longer term. And perhaps the fate of BeOS has lessons for us there as well.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 01/02/07 5:08PM
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On Thunderbird 'demo' port released:

mripley: "Doesn't this set those alarm bells ringing again. Riscos development currently consists of retro fitting software."

Well, the masters of RISC OS should have thought about decent development environments and an operating system that doesn't eagerly stiff itself, starting about fifteen years ago, but at least hearing the alarm bells about ten years ago. Then you'd have the vibrant development community in place to produce stuff like Firefox and Thunderbird, rather than having to port it from platforms where the developer experience isn't about handing over cash for every last part of the toolchain and documentation or pretending that you have to be some kind of official developer to get access to "insider knowledge".

And it's somewhat telling, but hardly surprising, that some of the more innovative "native" stuff like Netsurf seems to be driven by developments in cross-compilation technology. It makes you wonder whether the effort is really worth it to generate code on one machine to run on another machine costing probably twice as much and running about ten times slower, available through limited channels, running a proprietary operating system from one of two companies, neither of which know (or seem ready to let on) precisely what the legal boundaries are to their software portfolio and associated contractual limitations, whose technology would be stuck in a pothole on any sensible operating system roadmap.

Those alarm bells must be deafening by now.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 1/2/07 11:37AM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

JGZimmerle: "Are you just trolling or have you simply not read our (jess' and mine) posts on this topic?"

Yes I have read them, but aside from drag-saving, where's the usability advantage? Have you not used a modern UNIX desktop which supports WebDAV or FTP-over-SSH? It seems to me that the only supposedly significant benefit being mentioned is the need to use text editors on RISC OS because anything more sophisticated for Web page authoring doesn't exist, and that this forces you to write HTML by hand. Sure, I've manually uploaded and downloaded things on Linux recently, but (1) you don't actually need to use command line tools any more, and (2) which desktop are you actually running on your Linux computers if you think that manual uploading/downloading is the state of the art? Even Windows has had Web Folders since Windows 2000, and I suppose Mac OS X has similar stuff, too.


druck: "Please keep to the topic of the article"

Oh, that was how Castle and RISC OS "Open" don't understand how these other platforms have managed to more or less retake the usability high ground from RISC OS - some because the owners of those platforms have lots of cash and monopolistic tendencies, and for others because genuinely open development is the norm on those platforms. Instead we hear about various Far East customers and Castle's inability to understand dual-licensing.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/01/07 6:03PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

And the Mac or PC aren't any good for e-mail and Web design? What does the RiscPC have that the others don't? A decent e-mail program and a decent text editor?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/01/07 00:15AM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

jess: "But I think my point that a (networked) combination of a RiscPC and a Mac (or PC), is better than a Mac, PC or Iyonix alone, stands."

And what was the RiscPC for, again?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/01/07 6:51PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

Grrr... see *you*, nt!

JGZimmerle wrote, "RISC OS wins because of the many tools available wich [sic] are perfectly "integrated" by the WIMP."

Care to expand on that? HTML editors which just give you nicely coloured plain text with buttons for headings and so on (which is all I've seen for RISC OS) are somewhat old hat and were only "the thing" in about 1995 on other platforms. For a lot of the Web stuff I've done, I've needed to know how the CSS I've written will actually turn out, and regardless of how you write the HTML, this demands a browser that can support recent CSS specifications. So I'd say that RISC OS loses because of the browser situation, although since Firefox is apparently getting there on the Iyonix and presumably builds out of the Mozilla development tree, it's conceivable that one day there'll be a port of Mozilla Composer/Nvu/KompoZer - an application which has come along quite far even in the last few months. Then you might even have a decent browser and something which lets you enter text into a page without having to hit a preview button ten times a minute.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/01/07 2:28PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

thegman: "I think killermike is quite right, it's probably just as easy, if not easier just to rewrite the entire OS, or build it on top of an existing kernel. Of course this has not happened yet, although there is no technical or legal obstacles. It would take a group of very good programmers a long time, yes, but there are many examples of os-rewriting success."

Yes, but let's look at those examples. There are various BeOS rewrites and BeOS-inspired projects, mostly because the community regarded it as abandoned (despite some commercial continuation of the product), valued various parts of the architecture (which is a lot better than RISC OS), and saw that alternative platforms might not offer solutions that could be considered competitive, although faster hardware and improved alternatives have eroded its advantages. There are some AmigaOS-related projects, undertaken for mostly the same reasons, but arguably with less justification. Even Windows has at least one imitator.

But for all these projects, one major thing they seem to have in common is the stream of applications ported from GNU/Linux or other platforms, as the developers attempt to show that their project has real-world value. The original BeOS had its differentiating features and applications, as did the AmigaOS, but those applications - even if available on the successor platforms - seem not to be compelling, nor are those platforms seemingly producing innovative alternatives to things like Mozilla.

So even if RISC OS got reimplemented, what would the benefits really be? In a sane world, you'd end up with something like "GNU/FreeROS", where the "FreeROS" makes up very little that couldn't be done by Linux or other Free Software operating system solutions.

The problem facing the average Drobe regular is that a continuation of today's RISC OS isn't any better than the first cut of "FreeROS" - a relatively stagnant development scene with aging applications and poor architectural choices - but I suppose the latter would at least be open enough for people to improve, integrate, and have it compete and collaborate widely with other systems, rather than be saddled with a artificially constrained corporate roadmap.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/01/07 9:31PM
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On Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007:

Sounds like a bunch of people who don't get dual licensing despite there being a number of companies doing it rather successfully. Anyway, here's an interesting bit:

"He is on the look out for GPL-licensed code, which would also need to be removed"

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.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/1/07 3:37PM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:

simo: "I would buy a MacMini to put Linux on because I want Apple-quality hardware that's small and cheap"

You set your sights too low, simo. I would want better quality hardware than that.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/1/07 4:53PM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:

Paul Beverley: "The open source licence"

Cluebolt required! Not even in their most deranged moments would the Open Source Initialive approve the shared source licence suggested for RISC OS "Open".

"Rather, as third parties improve RISC OS, they are obliged by the licence to publish details of those improvements and they then become part of RISC OS, i.e. they are then owned by Castle - i.e. it increases their pool of intellectual property."

Do they assign their copyright to Castle? Otherwise, Castle merely have the right to privileged licensing terms under the dubious licence - they don't own those changes at all. Still, in other parts of Royston Vasey I'm sure everything that isn't shrinkwrapped or proprietary software is "PD", so Mr Beverley is clearly on the road to enlightenment, even if he has a way to go.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/1/07 4:52PM
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On AmigaOS woes show ROS is not alone:

AMS: "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)."

Like the fairly decent graphical capabilities of the Archimedes, the chipset-specific nature of those capabilities eventually set the alarm bells ringing. Indeed, the Amiga scene was even worse off than the pre-VIDC20 Acorn scene: the initially impressive "planar graphics" capabilities at the heart of Amiga games and demos soon proved to be quite an obstacle to those seeking to implement newer trends in games such as texture mapping, and the baggage of that early hardware probably caused subsequent backwards compatible chipset updates to go nowhere for a very long time. Of course, even the RISC PC's VIDC20 only helped the Acorn platform to match the industry's pace in graphics capabilities for a short while, and with the introduction of 3D acceleration the once-scorned commodity graphics card business ended up having the last laugh.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 8/1/07 4:53PM
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On AmigaOS woes show ROS is not alone:

AW: "Why was Amiga OS innovative? What can current RISC OS developers learn from it?"

It was a fairly efficient pre-emptive multitasking operating system, supposedly based on (or inspired by) TRIPOS. Unfortunately, it didn't have memory protection, as far as I recall, and the graphical user interface didn't look too great, despite various interesting automation/scripting facilities which may have been the inspiration for the parts of Computer Concepts' Impulse which were introduced to RISC OS in the early days of Impression.

Efficient pre-emptive multitasking wasn't a unique thing at that time, however. OS 9 had been around for a while, for example, and was apparently available on the Cumana 68000 second processor for the BBC Micro (according to various reviews at the time).

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 7/1/07 7:18PM
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On The best of the Microdigital Mico manual:

Glowing reviews despite glaring quality issues? It was only a matter of time before Acorn User got a mention.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 7/1/07 7:11PM
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On Select chief coder leaves RISCOS Ltd:

Well at least people working on Debian who don't like the state of affairs can go and make their own distro using the exact same code, just like the gNewSense people did (albeit with Ubuntu, but it's close enough to be considered the same thing). That said, the OSNews story is very much what I'd expect from that news source: find some random person's opinion, blow it up to the level of international diplomacy, try and stir up an argument. Still, a bit of a change from Apple fanboyism and hanging on Steve Jobs' every word.

Meanwhile much of Mr Fletcher's work may well be locked up in RISC OS Ltd's possession where not even the inadequate exposure of a shared source initiative will uncover some of the finer stuff. I'd regard that kind of engagement with regret if I were ever in a similar position.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/12/06 2:37PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

Interesting Xara-related reading, there: do a half-hearted "opening" of your code, fail to get any interest because of licensing issues, see no extra developers wanting to do your legwork. If RISC OS "Open" fails to get interest by replicating this strategy, I'm sure we'll hear the complaints about indifferent open source developers. This is the "I told you so", posted up front, that I hope we won't need to revisit.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/12/06 9:46PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

I think it's unreasonable to have expected much better things from a strengthened (fortified?) Castle. 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. There were approaches which could have lightened the burden: standardise on commodity hardware (which happened to an extent with the introduction of PCI slots); adopt other software technologies (even if ARM Linux hadn't been considered acceptable, there was always NetBSD and various other operating systems). The only benefit that I can see for Castle and company as they slog along on the old Acorn path is the proliferation of ARM-based systems, mostly for the embedded market, which means that they don't have to bankroll the whole hardware design process themselves if they don't want to.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/12/06 3:13PM
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On Could open source RISC OS bring back users?:

JGZimmerle: "To be fair, all new functionality of RO5 could be incorporated into RO6, when RO5 is shared sourced."

Are you sure the licences are even compatible?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/12/06 10:11PM
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On ROS Open awaiting licensing wording agreement:

chrisevans: "I remember Mach I don't think they ever? talked about a 4MB upgrade for the A300."

It's time to scan those old magazines, if someone hasn't done so already.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/12/06 3:06PM
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On ROS Open awaiting licensing wording agreement:

Acorn were masters of vapourware, especially in their final years. Take Galileo, for instance: something which merited a Byte article (high vapourware rating already) and never amounted to anything, despite readily available operating systems like Nemesis which seemed to do most of what supposedly made Galileo interesting. One can argue till the cattle come home (pun intended) about whether the existence of some hardware or software in a lab makes it vapourware, but if the failure of some corporate love-in makes the product unobtainable for legal reasons, isn't it vapourware as far as most practical purposes are concerned? The tree may fall over in the woods, but that doesn't suddenly make everyone a lumberjack.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 29/11/06 5:24PM
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On R-Comp email software to fight spam:

This is surely where an optimised Python implementation would be good: you could run the excellent SpamBayes, as opposed to the less than impressive Bogofilter. Alternatively, a C language port of SpamBayes would be a reasonable solution - there must be some doing the rounds. Agreed with druck, though: rule-based systems are archaic and are a chore to maintain, whereas well-trained Bayesian filters manage to produce hardly any false positives or false negatives, with only a handful of "unsures" as the next futile spamming strategy fails to beat the filter.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/11/06 10:40AM
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On Drobe writer in nuke protest arrest:

"I am fully for maintaining this community's independent development deterrent, either via extending the life of Select or a new delivery platform. Like it or not, its one of the few things that keeps us on the side table of operating systems development, and thanks to the anathema of the current custodians, that usually makes the platform a better place." - Royston Narrows Q.C.

(With apologies to druck for repurposing his comment to bring the debate back into true Drobe territory.)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/11/06 1:43PM
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On Punters to vote on TechWriter future:

ajb: "Of cause companies and developers will do what is best for themselves."

Well, RISC OS isn't exactly some extravagant rich man's club where the users' nostalgic indulgences can be bankrolled indefinitely. Of course companies will make the jump when they realise that their business plan, unviable on RISC OS due to a combination of market size and the backward state of the platform technology, might actually pay off elsewhere. I recall the makers of Vantage being told that their application might go down quite well on GNU/Linux/UNIX, despite the usual stories of reluctant spenders on those platforms, but they just weren't interested in aiming high and wide; if they had, Vantage users might still have some level of support, even if it were just occasional fixes and the ability to get the install media replaced. Instead the RISC OS platform got its exclusive copy-protected killer app in one final, sealed-shut binary-drop - hardly a victory for the users, but I'm sure some cheerleaders thought it to be still worth bragging about.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/11/06 12:20AM
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On NetSurf users hit by HSBC account freeze:

druck: "HSBC technical department have already acknowledged it is due to their systems"

Time to contact the banking ombudsman/regulator, perhaps, especially if you're out of pocket because of their swift but less than smart reaction.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/10/06 11:54AM
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On South East 2006 show report:

bucksboy: "However, the RISC OS market does contain commercial companies that are selling hardware and software for profit; my point was, and is, that if these companies wish to be able to carry on selling computers to people like me, or software to run on those computers, the browser issue should be right at the top of their agendas. Seemingly, it's not."

It's not, arguably because the RISC OS desktop market isn't their primary concern: it's just a testing ground for technology that goes into their other projects. And unless those other projects demand modern Web browsers and all the rest, they aren't going to see the need for such things. Why is RISC OS being released as shared source? To benefit the community? Nope: it's either to bulk up the development effort on something they don't want to spend too much time on themselves, or it's to keep the remaining punters interested in running their reference designs. If it were to benefit the community, it'd be genuinely open source software so that people can have a shot at porting the code to the latest XScale wonderboard, rather than waiting for some paying project to nudge Castle or RISC OS Ltd into looking into the matter.

I would have thought that the economics of the RISC OS scene would have been laid bare for everyone's inspection over the last few years, but it would seem that a number of people still have the early 1990s corporate fan club mindset. These days, and especially in a scene like this one, if you want great things to happen it might be best to do them yourself.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/10/06 2:32PM
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On RISC OS Open needs your help:

mrchocky: "I watch Linux development very closely, and I'm certain that's not the case."

Indeed. Relicensing Linux might now be conceivable (thanks to the auditing which followed the SCO charade), but isn't a particularly likely event. Comments from prominent kernel developers have mostly been posturing and/or misrepresentation of the actual GPL 3 content, but I doubt that they're diverting anyone's time away from technical matters.

mrchocky: "GPL might well be an excellent choice for parts RISC OS. But note that I was very careful in my wording and said "GPL-compatible"."

Moreover, a dual-licensing arrangement where the GPL is offered alongside the "proprietary licence for paranoid companies" would present a superior solution to that proposed. Nobody is really suggesting that the GPL would placate those paranoid companies, so stating the situation as the GPL alone vs. the RISC OS "Open" combo (as druck does above) really adds no insight to the discussion. All I stated in the comments to the original article was that for the stated aims of RISC OS "Open", the GPL would be superior to their "in due course" licence for the reasons given by mrchocky in that same comment thread (and alluded to above).

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 6/10/06 4:16PM
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On RISC OS Open needs your help:

Super digest follows...

DavidPilling: "I agree, with RISC OS on top of a unix kernel it could be a serious contender. Or to put it more correctly without doing that it is not a serious contender."

Wise words indeed.

AMS: "would Unix do RISC OS well ? I don't think so."

Mac OS X does classic Mac nicely enough, so there's a notable precedent that you're ignoring.

sa110: "Why all this talk about porting RO to another platform. One of the main problem,in my opinion, is the lack of software development in general."

The two things aren't entirely independent. Having the machine lock solid because some kernel module (erm, relocatable module) dips into the OS workspace or some hardware register really undermines any attempt at a reasonable development environment.

simo: "I'm not sure what made RISC OS great anymore, a few killer apps from ComputerConcepts (now surpassed by Scribus, Xara etc.)"

I'm not vouching for Scribus, and Draw still does some things more elegantly than Inkscape, although that's mainly due to the inability of developers to maintain usability whilst adding features, but there isn't any part of the RISC OS experience I can think of that isn't surpassed by something like KDE plus GNU/Linux. Back in 1994, RISC OS could have taught the UNIX desktop scene a few tricks; now the influence is definitively reversed.

JGZimmerle: "This basically means, that if an identifiable section of source code also works without the GPLed parts, then it is considered a "separate work" and the GPL does not automatically apply to it."

This is why large parts of KDE, including derived works based on KDE code, can be distributed under the LGPL, although a complete, functional KDE distribution would most likely be licensed under the GPL due to the underlying library licences.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 6/10/06 3:18PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

VinceH: "You are condemning them based on what you think might be the case."

No, I'm questioning them on the basis of what they've said. As mrchocky pointed out, rolling your own licence which will be GPL-incompatible, based on what has already been stated about it, raises important questions about their expectations and motivations.

We obviously await the full text, but given that a "free of charge" non-commercial stipulation is obviously central to the licence - one wouldn't prominently and repeatedly mention things like this if they're just minor details yet to be thrashed out - we know straight away that there will be serious incompatibilities with open source and Free Software licences - it's even admitted in the FAQ that "the shared source RISC OS project is not open source for the simple reason that it makes a distinction between people who want to use or access the RISC OS sources for non-commercial purposes and those who want to use them for commercial purposes".

So, what are we left to expect? Possibly the only remaining thing of interest is the reasoning behind it all.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 04/10/06 10:46PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

VinceH: "With respect, I think it's probably been thought through to a greater depth that you believe, most likely by all the relevant people involved with ROOL and Castle, along with legal bods who understand this sort of thing."

Well, this is the peanut gallery, and if the "relevant people" can't even muster a decent defence of their mythical shared source licence to us, then I think you put too much faith in those "legal bods" who, it would seem, clearly have to work a bit harder to "understand this sort of thing" if they think that yet another incompatible pseudo-open licence will somehow catalyze massive public interest in their investment.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 04/10/06 8:24PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

riscosopen: "Why didn't we select the GPL?"

Thanks for updating your site. However, the answer doesn't really address the dual-licensing issue (the choice of GPL or closed source) since it compares the GPL to closed source licences, whereas it should be standing up for the shared source "in due course" licence instead. We already know that paranoid device developers don't want to release their sources even, in some cases, when they've used GPL-licensed code. The answer doesn't address licence incompatibility or show that the "in due course" licence gives any particular benefits that outweigh the major downside of not being able to combine the code with GPL-licensed works.

As for the notion of relocatable modules, couldn't Castle just state, as the copyright holder, that they do not consider relocatable modules to be derived works of the operating system? I'm sure Castle managed to persuade various other copyright holders using a similar interpretation of the GPL when they squeaked through the alleged HAL "GPL violation" case. This time they actually have the authority to make that particular call, however.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 03/10/06 11:21PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

adh1003: "The reason why a royalty is payable for commercial RISC OS [Open] users is partly because those users can keep their code or modifications to core RISC OS private. They pay for what amounts to exclusivity. It's about control in a way, as you said - but not Castle's control, as you indicated; I believe it's actually there to grant more control to the user of the code."

So what would be the problem with a choice of the GPL or some closed source licence? That someone could still sell GPL-licensed code and Castle wouldn't see any of that money?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/10/06 7:15PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

steelpillow: "You could be right about the GPL vs. Castle license."

That's certainly something which could really torpedo any larger scale development. If you can't combine LGPL/GPL-licensed code with the "in due course" licence of RISC OS "Open", then everyone will be looking around for permissively licensed code or writing stuff from scratch.

steelpillow: "The GPL2 vs. GPL3 issue is shaping up to further muddy the waters - GPL3 is very much about preventing hardware lockdown (Tivoisation) of software in embedded systems, and so is pretty much designed to be incompatible with licenses like Castle's. If the Linux community stick with GPL2, as seems likely, the applications communities (especially for hardware drivers) may do so too and the GPL3-specific problems may not in practice matter to us."

The GPL in its current form already affects the announced developments, as mrchocky pointed out. What the GPL 3 seeks to achieve is the continued guarantee of the various rights described in its predecessor, doing so by explicitly forbidding any violation of the spirit of the licence either by technical means or by the use of other legal instruments to distort the application of copyright law.

Think of the GPL 3 as the GPL 2 without the loopholes. Unlike the vocal Linux kernel developer minority who don't seem to understand this, I predict that the GPL 3 will be immensely successful, not least because it will incorporate compatibility with various Apache licences and other open source licences which are currently technically incompatible with the FSF licences.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 01/10/06 4:29PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

adh1003: "IMHO, it will be entirely possible to build a box using open RISC OS components and sell it. You would have to pay a unit royalty to Castle, but that would be your one and only notable restriction."

It's worth noting here that the one and only notable restriction, whilst it may sound like "just a few quid on the retail price" to some people, is less a financial restriction and more one of control. One major difference between some GPL+proprietary dual-licensing scheme and this one is that in the case of a proprietary licence being denied to a vendor, any released software must become perpetually non-commercial; thus downstream recipients of such code have to be careful not to profit from providing the code to others.

steelpillow: "This shared source license looks at first glance very similar to the kind of thing that MySQL, KDE and so on do, I'm not sure why some people think it is different."

It is different because even permissive open source licences do not distinguish between different fields of endeavour. And even the GPL focuses on the social contract aspect of keeping the source available to everyone, not on insisting on non-commercial usage, but that's because the FSF isn't about preventing people from making money: it's about preventing people from exploiting end-users by withholding the sources.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/09/06 11:09PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

adrianl: "I was thinking of products that are purely software."

Well, it's possible to sell GPL-licensed code, of course, as well as to provide paid support and services for such code whether obtained for free or otherwise. And there are real people out there who seem to have made such business models work. Meanwhile...

druck: "ROL now has the ideal opportunity to licence some already written code and get out a release to Select customers, however I suspect the reluctance they have shown in the past to paying licence fees will mean that miss this boat too."

The problem with this scheme is that companies like RISC OS Ltd. will see that they're automatically lower in the hierarchy than Castle, and since they'll want to keep the end product closed source, they may well avoid developing anything that passes revenues upwards in that hierarchy. Even if they want to sell stuff whilst giving away the source, they still have to pay Castle something.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/9/06 5:24PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

adrianl: "I'd argue that since GPL in /practice/ if not in letter prevents the code being used in commercial products"

I guess all those Linux-based devices are purely imaginary, then.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/9/06 3:04PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

I guess the strict definition of open source is about, well, open source. However, the dual licensing thing just adds another dimension - it doesn't take an existing dimension away. That something is available under a closed source licence doesn't mean that the same thing, licensed under an open source licence, is suddenly not open source for all those people who have received the software under the terms of such a licence. Indeed, commercial agreements often run in parallel to the availability of software as open source and do not compromise that in any way, and I'd be surprised to see any open source definition expanded to cover what is effectively a business strategy.

Anyway, the "shared source" licensing of RISC OS "Open" seems like an odd combination of GPL-like distribution terms with a commercial exploitation restriction. It'll be interesting to see what effect that restriction has, and whether the GPL won't ultimately prove to be a better choice.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/9/06 12:35AM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

"Open sourcing RISC OS won't help ROL says ROL" - that's the real breaking news here.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/9/06 5:38PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

AMS: "If people want to leave RO fine let them, I don't see why we should encourage them or make it any easier"

Rewind to the late 1980s and recall Acorn's insistence that people would want to emulate PC software. Fast-forward to the early 1990s when Acorn wasted a huge amount of effort on co-processor boards. People will always turn to the Dark Side, but the best approach for RISC OS Ltd and friends is to encourage software development and to have people make nice things for the platform which might tempt people back, not to lock them into aging/discontinued hardware and to pretend that nothing else exists.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/8/06 9:09PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

PeteWild: "Open Source licensing of RISC OS would almost certainly be under a bespoke licence with appropriate terms for use, charges and feedback of sources."

Then it won't be open source. Not even Microsoft labels such licences as open source, and any pretense that such licences are open source will be met with ridicule and, in a slightly different world, a trademark infringement lawsuit: the OSI probably haven't asserted their rights aggressively enough to get misusers of the term (in the manner suggested) into immediate trouble, but such misusers would be courting distaste if not danger at the very least.

"a. Minimal royalty for personal use"


"b. Per unit Royalty structure for commercial use"


"c. Feedback of sources in such a way that it can be re-licensed by Castle (i.e assignment of ownership of Derivative works to Castle)"

Actually, you could get away with asking contributors to license their code in different ways, but since the community is apparently just there for donkey work, you want them to give you their work for whatever future purpose. Suggested licence name: Fanboy Special Helper Source Licence.

"d. Prohibition of use in certain areas, e.g. Only for use on ARM processor hardware, certain excluded/controlled application areas."


To sum up: not anywhere close to open source; even some Microsoft shared source licences are more open than the above.

JGZimmerle: "I don't see point (c) as such a big problem, as long as Castle has to publish any changes they make to the open-source-components as well. IIRC that is what MySQL AB does."

Companies like MySQL probably either pay for contributions that they want to offer commercially (under a proprietary licence) or they rewrite the functionality in-house. Way before the OSI, there were licences in circulation (perhaps more like permissions statements, actually) which requested or demanded modifications to be made available to the author, but this is actually incompatible with even "strong licences" like the GPL - possibly contrary to popular belief. Even if (a), (b) and (d) were dropped and such a clause were introduced in favour of (c), people would still shun the project... and deservedly so.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/08/06 11:44PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

AMS: "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 motivation presumably being the desire to establish a community where independent developers are not equal to the corporate developers, perhaps.

"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."

Previous "shared source" initiatives of which you write have generally not been very successful, mostly because potential developers have seen through the pretense and have noticed that they're being invited to do work for some company where they not only get no reward for their own work, but they also have retain no control over their own work, either. Most people either for business or for ideological reasons would rather spend their time on genuine open source projects, understandably.

jess: "All the commentls about open source imply that RISC OS would be made into some sort of freeware."

The term "freeware" belongs in the 1980s. Most of the comments about open source from people who know what they're talking about are precisely about "open source", not some kind of ill-defined "no money involved" hand-waving exercise.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/08/06 7:38PM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

I agree with flibble here: people in the RISC OS scene (with a relatively low level of awareness in such matters compared to other communities) seem to think "open source" has some vague meaning related to seeing the sources, when in fact the term is precisely defined in terms of various fairly well-established guarantees. Certainly, you can sell open source software - indeed, you can sell GPL-licensed software as long as you uphold the terms of the licence - but the notion of people paying Castle on a per-use basis shows an element of ignorance that would suggest that Castle merely want to offer the code under some kind of "shared source" agreement. If that's the way all this goes, we'll see a "shared source" licence which is actually less free than some of Microsoft's licences.

But seeing as the "few pence" per use will go towards some kind of central repository maintainer (I guess we'll see elements of current revision control trends appear in the RISC OS scene in about 2015), it looks like Castle isn't in a position to procrastinate forever on this: if the RISC OS Open people are still owed salary and Castle still needs to raise small sums which are presumably not being levied on some point of principle, my guess is that the RISC OS Open people have a stronger hand than most people previously believed. RISC OS may end up as a genuine open source project whether Castle like it or not.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/08/06 11:05PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

stewart: "GPL software can never be part of a larger solution that is not entirely GPL licenced (basically speaking anyway, and the LGPL isn't as "lesser" as some people would have you believe either). You may believe that this is a good thing. I think it's crazy."

Aside from various differing interpretations of things like linking and derived works, the LGPL merely requires you to propagate the rights to the covered source (that you as a developer enjoyed) onto the end-users, whether you think they'll be interested or not. If you don't think they'll be interested, and there isn't enough space on that 800K E-format ADFS floppy, then a promise to supply the source is all that's required - it doesn't even have to be your own application's source if you've been paying attention. Some people think that this is all so much overhead, which makes you wonder how they actually run any kind of business whatsoever given the relative simplicity of such matters compared to other logistical challenges in the realm of commerce.

With regard to whether you believe the matter to be crazy or not, I don't see why having access to the source code (or the right to such access without bizarre or unethical contracts between the parties concerned) is a bad thing. The majority of users on the RISC OS platform (past *and* present, just to bump the numbers up to make the point) have most likely been bitten by a lack of access to data stored in dodgy, binary, proprietary formats and controlled by discontinued proprietary software. If preventing the continual disempowerment of end-users is crazy then unlock the door to the padded cell and show me inside, where I'll surely be able to make conversation with more forward-looking executives than those the RISC OS scene has managed to produce.

stewart: "I'm sure some of the biggest open source nutters would like to extend the GPL's invasiveness to include such systems, though!"

The issue of retaining control (or more accurately, the means of control) of your information, where you've possibly delegated that control to some opaque Web 2.0 business, may not be directly addressed by GPLv3, even though many have argued for it based on various existing open source licences that do address this issue, but that doesn't mean that authors shouldn't be able to indicate in a standard way that their work should not be used to operate businesses which see such transparency as a matter of occasional discretion.

Anyway, if you don't like the Free Software family of licences, just don't use them. But with that, how about dropping the contentious terms and derogatory remarks?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/08/06 7:38PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

AMS: "I believe it was Peter Bondar who originally suggested putting a StrongARM on a PCI card"

Have a look on Simtec's product pages for exactly that kind of product. In fact, look here:


How about a bunch of StrongARMs on a PCI card? Don't confuse Bondar's incoherent missives for the remarks of a visionary, though.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 29/07/06 7:15PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

markee174: "Why is GPL an inappropriate license? It means any developments stay GPL, out in the open on a level playing field. BSD would mean the code could disappear into other commercial products."

People shouting the loudest about the "freeness" of BSD are typically those who would like people to give them stuff but not to give anything away themselves; you can call it the freeloader aspect of free if you want.

SimonC: "I'd say that's a perfectly good reason for saying that GPL is an inapproriate language. It'll put some people off."

Yes, all that ideological rhetoric has really kept the big names like IBM away from Linux.

SimonC: "Personally I think things should either be completely open and free, or closed. The GPL is neither."

The GPL keeps software completely open from the author right the way through to the end-user. Any pretense that permissive licences encourage openness surely collapses under scrutiny as the first freeloading commercial entity sucks the source into their internal version control system, and spits out binaries to their end-users thereafter.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 29/07/06 7:11PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

gdshaw: "Debian is rather different, as it does not require the release of source code, and I see no technical reason why it is necessarily unsuitable for proprietary software."

You mean the Debian packaging system here, I take it, given that the Debian organisation is all about making source and binaries available together in a convenient fashion in order to honour various Free Software licence requirements. It's certainly true that various closed source vendors use .deb files to make their wares available, though.

timephoenix: "Personally, I see the best situation being an open source RO with the GUI remaining closed source. The GUI is one of the main reasons (if not #1) people are still using RISC OS, so to me it seems silly to allow other platforms to steal our main advantage."

An Apple-inspired approach? But why would people be so interested in hacking on a severely limited portion of the operating system code when the desktop is what it's all about? The main advantage is not exactly the desktop's set of features (many of which are available elsewhere in more competitive forms, anyway) but the efficiency these features have on low-end hardware. It's hard for people to "steal" the frugality of the RISC OS desktop. and they'd probably not be so interested in doing so, either, given their desire to work in high-level languages and their lack of interest in adapting an existing desktop environment for systems without a hard disk or with less than, say, 128MB RAM. But people may be interested in porting RISC OS to other architectures in order to apply that frugality to other kinds of systems - it'd still be RISC OS, albeit on Intel or PowerPC, and with the copyright heritage remaining intact. It would be a meaningless exercise to try and encourage people to port RISC OS without the desktop, mostly because you wouldn't get most of the benefits of the system in the resulting code (who wants to run something like MOS in console mode on amd64?), and partly because people can probably find more exciting embedded systems projects to work on instead.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 29/07/06 6:57PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

JanRinze: "One of the biggest blocking issues in the development of RISC OS seems to me that there are plent ARM based platforms with up to date hardware but noone can use it in conjunction with RISC OS."

So true! It's all very well people name-dropping new ARM variants if none of them will ever get used with RISC OS. What you'd most likely see with an open source RISC OS is increased activity around the portability of the operating system - that's a classic activity in many open source communities which would increase the potential for wider usage of the operating system, even if portability to other architectures wasn't immediately addressed. After all, the Linux kernel was initially considered to be non-portable (or not suited to portability), but now it runs on more stuff than most people care to think about. With more attention on RISC OS from outside the commercial actors of today, there'd at least be a chance of a similar phenomenon.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 23/07/06 4:02PM
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On ROS must open up to survive says Wild:

AMS: "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."

I guess you didn't read the article, then, or didn't get what Mr Wild was trying to say: in order to really make his investment worthwhile, RISC OS has to look beyond a few flavours of ARM-based equipment. Of course, Castle and friends can keep slogging away in a part of the business whose size relative to the total market is probably diminishing, with an operating system that doesn't cover all the hardware options for customer projects, thus ruling it out as a common platform (which is where Linux comes in, by the way) where the customer and their partners can bring the same (or related) expertise to bear in all projects throughout all the different niches and sectors in which they operate.

Want to do a cell phone using an ARM chipset and a GPS unit using a MIPS chipset? Need RISC OS and something else for the MIPS stuff? The ARM chipsets don't cut it for the GPS stuff? Perhaps we can find something else that actually does both ARM and MIPS.

If RISC OS were open source, you'd firstly get some pretty qualified people looking at it, some of them perhaps re-motivated to give it a second look. And you can hardly criticise open source project management techniques in the light of the way the RISC OS scene has been going over the past few years: the captain and the admiral arm-wrestling for a meagre haul of treasure on the main deck while the ship's wheel turns all by itself.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/07/06 8:20PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

AMS: "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"

Will: "What on earth are you talking about?"

Quite! Why can't anyone implement "Select features" without paying ROL, as long as they don't lift the code straight out of Select? We're not living in an EU commissioner's "intellectual property" fantasy just yet.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/06/06 8:04PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

AMS: "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""

The "license"? Who actually owns the code? If it's Pace then Castle is in only a marginally better position than RISC OS. If it's Castle then they must have agreed to some pretty stupid exclusive licensing agreements with Pace to not be able to exercise other licensing rights as the owner of the work.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/6/06 6:22PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

Will!: "Because the under the terms of Pace's license from Castle, open sourcing RO5 would require Pace's permission."

AMS: "Castle can't (as a condition of purchasing the head license from Pace) GPL the RO5 source"

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? Insert obligatory comment about business sense in the RISC OS scene.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/6/06 6:12PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

Why doesn't everyone who would have subscribed put their cash into a fund to buy RISC OS from Castle? Then they could make it available under the GPL, potentially realising any value the software has - indeed, potentially generating value as people start to do interesting things with it.

Meanwhile, RISC OS Ltd. could continue with their proprietary branch of the operating system, just as the various prior agreements permit. Castle could also have some kind of special licensing arrangement.

But I suppose with the major players still living in the world of 1980s microcomputing, we can't expect something as sensible as the above to ever materialise until they're all in liquidation.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/6/06 2:55PM
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On ROS app could scupper encryption law:

For a Linux implementation of a filesystem with plausible deniability features, see: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 23/5/06 6:08PM
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On Acorn is a legendary brand says new Acorn:

druck: "the cheapest nastiest Windows laptops that have ever fallen off the back of a lorry"

Nice Acorn logo on the lid, though. ;-) Seriously: read the remark about the Commodore brand again. If they've secured the trademark, there's nothing legally wrong with what they're doing.

And if ACL are "cheapening the name" of the old Acorn, then perhaps everyone who bid big bucks on hazily-defined limited rights to RISC OS should take a hard look at their own past to see when the cheapening began, ie. when they failed to pony up the cash to secure the rights themselves.

Anyway, old Acorn's reputation wasn't entirely spotless. If the RISC OS market had something compelling to sell to the world, it wouldn't be so hung up on a brand name it abandoned years ago. Perhaps that's the real story here.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/5/06 12:15PM
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On A9home on sale from CJE Micros:

Well, 600 quid really seems too much, regardless of how much the cheapest Iyonix is. Hopefully, future developments will be somewhat more competitive with the wider industry.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 07/05/06 4:35PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

sascott: "This is where trial versions would usually come in, so you can have a good idea of whether it does work. A shame then that VA can't provide one. It could still function, but time out after 15 minutes or something?"

And then, upon returning any full product for a refund, you'd have to sign a declaration saying that you'd deleted the trial version, too, since I imagine it could be cracked in a similar fashion.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 03/05/06 4:01PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

Wakeman: "So their are pirate copies in circulation. So the RISC OS market does have software theft and copyrigt theft."

We've almost got content industry jargon bingo with the above quote. Copyright theft? Software theft? Pirate? Has Mr Torrens stolen the soul of the software, too?

sascott: "It's normal practice to consult the EULA before installing the software. If you're not happy with the terms of use of the EULA, you return the product in it's original packaging, unopened."

flibble: "So if the EULA is in the box or on the CD itself, how do you return the box unopened?"

What the man said! Of course, we've seen almost everything on the EULA front from Microsoft already: can't read the EULA without opening everything up (or even installing the stuff), can't get a refund because it's all part of a special under-the-table bundle, can't criticise Microsoft with their own products... All this EULA stuff is like a bad trip back to the early 1990s, really.

Perhaps Mr Torrens just has to sign that declaration, if it'll get him his money back, and just move on from this sorry tale.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/05/06 12:11AM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

JohnCollins: "If Mr Torrens hadn't kept a copy of the software, why was he asking to crack it?"

His original post was contradictory about whether he had the software or not:

"...I am left having paid for VA and not having it working (no unlock code)."


"However - I now have the right (which could almost cerainly be justified in court) to crack the software myself (except I have returned the CD etc to VA)."

He then goes on to inquire about suitable tools, although that in itself doesn't say anything specific about him having the software or not. I haven't trawled that much of the thread to discover the latest, mostly because it involves wading through the usual off-topic comp.sys.acorn.* drivel.

Sadly, even previously-legitimate activities related to reverse engineering and fair use are now no longer permitted by law, so Mr Torrens' "right [...] to crack the software" may be more curtailed than he imagines.

Even if he has seen an element of sense and deleted any copies he may have, in order to resolve various ambiguities (is having an unusable copy of a program the same as having a usable one?), what recourse does he have? In this kind of licensing regime, companies can just refuse to accept returns or to give refunds, claiming that the goods cannot or have not been returned. How does that jive with consumer law?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 01/05/06 9:36PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

Wakeman: "Since he had failed to return the CD which was the property of VA not Mr Torren's anymore."

How does that square with this quote, then...?

VA: "It's quite clear from his posting that, although he has indeed finally returned the product, he has kept a copy of it."

How do they know he has a copy of it? I know Mr Torrens acted in a somewhat ill-advised fashion by advertising his desire to crack the protection, but how can Mr Timbrell be certain? Does he want an audit?

Wakeman: "To all the comments about we don't need copy protection, I will say two things, one I would before we did not need it, but clearly we do, becuase there are pirates in the RISC OS scene."

What you're supposedly describing is copyright infringement, not piracy. But anyway, what the diminishing RISC OS scene needs is people to actually invest in software that they subsequently have a stake in (think Firefox but more collective) rather than paying out licence fees to unimaginative outfits who then mess everyone around with their dated copy-protection schemes, only to see everything stop working when said outfits retire, give up or go under.

VA: "He has been told repeatedly that we don't want him as a customer. He has been offered a refund repeatedly, but has declined, so there isn't much more I can do."

Yes, why not just sit on the fence and enjoy the BSA-funded legislation that lets you escape various long-established norms of trading?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 1/5/06 4:31PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

JohnCollins: "OK, then explain your understanding of the relationship between copyright and licencing. as I am so inept at grasping the concept."

I don't have to justify or explain to you any aspect of what I've written, but with regard to the licensing of software, the licence obviously dictates the terms under which that software may be used or redistributed, noting that a lot of software doesn't rely on dubious technical mechanisms to "enforce" various restrictions in the licence. However, it should be noted that some commercial licences contain terms that are legally unenforceable or which can be overturned by applying appropriate law. As I wrote, Mr Torrens would be well advised to look into which rights the law guarantees him, regardless of what the licence says, especially as VA currently have his money.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 1/5/06 12:25AM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

AMS: "thank god no one in Linux-land behaves like that eh ;-)"

This isn't about Linux: it's about what the average punter should or shouldn't have to put up with. Some people love their corporate role models so much that they put up with anything (in the Apple scene this can mean getting sued by Apple, for example). Given various cautionary tales on this side of the fence, you'd expect the RISC OS scene to have grown up, too.

JohnCollins: "As, like the rest of us, you don't actually know the full story. IMHO you obviously have a grudge against VA or the company. I find your comments stupid and childish!"

I only know what I've read in this case, but if that's an adequate reflection of the facts then I stand by what I've written. I don't have a grudge against VA, but like any business they should expect criticism of their practices where these may conflict with fundamental consumer rights. You may find my remarks stupid and childish, but you're the one apparently standing in the playground, given the level of critique coming from your direction.

"Mr Torrens and some of yourselves obviously have no respect or understanding as to why software is protected or why it comes with licence conditions. VA are not the only ones to do it."

Well, I'm fully aware of the relationship between copyright and licensing, since such issues are largely a constant throughout the open and proprietary software universes. What your simplistic rhetoric ("Free use of VA, is that what you want?") fails to address is that by refusing to refund Mr Torrens on mere suspicion, VA may well be acting dubiously at best, unethically in the eyes of the casual observer, and possibly illegally in the light of consumer law.

But anyway, I wouldn't have touched software with such draconian protections in the first place. When the RISC OS scene finally consists of just two people - one developer and one user - I'm sure the same old tired, short-term-thinking reward systems will still rule the day.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/4/06 11:11PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

Anti-piracy? What? Parrots, buried treasure and the seven seas, or just a stupidly misused term for people talking up some class of alleged copyright infringement in an attempt to lobby for the pollution of the criminal courts with questionable civil misdemeanour cases.

Anyway, I can't see how people still put up with this kind of intrusive "copy protection" nonsense, even in the cheerleader-happy RISC OS scene. Impression dongles, Vantage and its defunct corporate sponsor, users left high and dry: people would do better to sponsor non-proprietary alternatives to VRPC rather than be messed around by such 1980s-style software dinosaur attitudes.

And as for the refund, perhaps Mr Torrens' credit card company's influence can be brought to bear on VA given that he's been charged for a product that he can't actually use and apparently doesn't have. Perhaps VA want the police to raid Mr Torrens' home/business, BSA-style, in order to "safeguard their intellectual property" - if so, let there be heaped a steaming pile of shame on them, with Mr Torrens' credit card company slowly rubbing it in all over.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 30/4/06 5:33PM
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On Bluetooth support for A9home mulled:

Surely a USB dongle would do the job nicely for those desperate to have Bluetooth, rather than messing around revising chipsets. Open source drivers are widely available for such dongles, too.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 5/4/06 12:49AM
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On Thank Acorn for embedded tech growth says Oregan exec:

Spriteman: "Apple were vulnerable in the same way any company with a major reliance on one market is vulnerable."

Apple is a business strategy textbook in itself, but they were dominant in US education and had large slices of the desktop publishing and design markets. Acorn, meanwhile, were merely pushing machines on an increasingly sceptical primary and secondary education sector (whilst other parties tried their best for a while to cultivate niches in desktop publishing). Had Acorn made a proper attempt at getting into workstations and higher education (amongst other areas), things could have been different, but a lot of their credibility was gone by the time the Risc PC came out.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/3/06 4:47PM
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On Thank Acorn for embedded tech growth says Oregan exec:

Perhaps if you consider marketing as more than just advertising, bringing in wider business strategies, then it may be absolutely true that bad marketing brought about Acorn's eventual demise. By milking the education market for as long as possible without seriously going for those markets which themselves influence educational equipment purchasing, Acorn ended up having very little either technically or socially to persuade people to switch from Wintel and Mac. And had they not fired all their UNIX people as a sacrifice to an increasingly dated microcomputer operating system, perhaps they'd still be around today.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/3/06 4:37PM
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On RiscPC emulator ported to Linux:

drjones69: "As to why would someone want a RISC OS emulator on Linux, no software worth using you say? Allow to me to suggest a couple of apps and perhaps you can demonstrate what I could use under linux instead..."

Well, let's see. Ovation Pro is an interesting case because the Scribus team seem to be regularly scoring own goals, messing around with the interface (going back to ancient Quark/Pagemaker-style story editing), and generally not coming through very quickly. Meanwhile, Inkscape (and other tools) are coming along to at least rival ArtWorks; Photodesk is arguably surpassed by a bunch of Linux applications; TechWriter may be nice, but my sources suggest that it isn't up to it for certain kinds of documents and that the now-mature LyX is a much better choice.

As for text editing, I don't think anything on RISC OS touches the range of tools available on UNIX-like systems. Draw was a classic application that provided a good compromise between ease-of-use and features, and I do miss it on Linux, but then stuff like OpenOffice's drawing application can be pretty good replacements.

But there are a number of differences between the RISC OS apps and those on Linux: most of the RISC OS ones are commercial, and the underlying GUI libraries and frameworks on X11-based platforms are moving forward all the time. Yes, RISC OS had good solutions for some of the problems only now being standardised on other platforms, but that's another big difference: widespread, free (in all senses) standardisation. None of that makes it a great idea to run old apps in an emulator forever. Perhaps MW and DP should join forces after all...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/3/06 3:17PM
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On RiscPC emulator ported to Linux:

bucksboy: "VRPC is relatively mature"

Well, ArcEm predates VRPC by a long time - the original copyright statement gives 1995 as the earliest date. The difference is that VRPC uses various proprietary (but not particularly novel) techniques to speed up the emulated system.

As to whether you get a fast emulated system, the most significant question is this: why would you want one? Sure, there were some nice applications available for RISC OS in their day, but the people with the expertise to make a nice, open, fast emulator/virtualiser are more likely to be spending their time/effort on much more useful stuff than extending the lifespan of old, proprietary software. Here, "useful stuff" typically means "applications for contemporary platforms", as seen with Jonathan Marten's DrawView developments, for example.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/3/06 4:26PM
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On RiscPC emulator ported to Linux:

Well, a quick and dirty port of rpcemu involves ripping out the win32 stuff, just as it does with Arculator, but I guess that rpcemu needs RISC OS 3.7 or later, given the register dump I get when running it. Comparing Arculator with ArcEm in terms of CPU usage and usability, ArcEm still reigns supreme, though.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/3/06 12:25PM
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On BBC Micro ARM7 co-processor available:

SimonC: "Hmm, there's a thought. Could an emulator be written for this board to run native Beeb stuff rather faster than it's supposed to go?"

I like your thinking! :-) But you'd surely only want to emulate the processor, and then you'd still have to send I/O and screen calls over to the BBC micro itself, possibly causing serious bottlenecks.

A BBC virtualisation solution running on a second processor system? It's so devious that you just have to get working on it! Once you've got your Beeb working again, of course. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/3/06 4:14PM
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On RISC OS emu ported to games console:

What about virtualisation, or will the arm26 vs. arm32 differences cause problems? How about virtualisation where the virtualiser switches mode to handle arm26 instructions? Does the ARM9 support that? So many questions!

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/2/06 12:04PM
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On South West 2006 theatre talks:

"At the start of each new year these presentations from the major RISC OS players seem to set a tone that resonates throughout the rest of the year, and 2006 was no exception."

Although this year's presentations wither in comparison to next year's, when Castle announce their new time machine. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 22/2/06 4:54PM
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On RISC OS fan in legal hot water over spoof website:

ninja: "For example, I don't know off the top of my head of a supermarket that doesn't sell Windows PCs. Should I boycott all supermarkets?"

Well, alright, singling out a narrow part of a supermarket's business and then boycotting it because of objections to the supermarket's stocking policy in that one area does seem a bit extreme, and I guess if you desperately wanted some consumer electronics, you could always buy it at Dixons and try and forget that they have a stupid stocking policy for computers as you hand over that credit card.

But at some point you have to draw the line and say that there are plenty of places other than Dixons (and other retailers/brands) that sell computers without Windows pre-installed and that you'll take your business elsewhere. This is a lot more effective than pretending that installing something over the top of Windows (with Dixons a few hundred quid up in revenue) is somehow raising it to The Man when it's perhaps more akin to covering up a raised finger: a defiant secondary school level gesture, indeed.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/2/06 5:43PM
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On RISC OS fan in legal hot water over spoof website:

And with regard to getting Microsoft investigated for something - a course of action usually reserved for miffed lobbying-intensive competitors like Apple, Sun, Netscape and Real Networks - I don't see why aggrieved punters don't take "market action" rather than expect some government bureaucracy to file some kind of "beware of the leopard" report on the subject. If Tarquin is so disappointed that he can't buy an Iyonix in Dixons... well, perhaps that's unrealistic - rewind a bit... if Tarquin is so disappointed that it's all Windows (and perhaps a bit of Mac) in Dixons, he should make a point of not spending any money there. For all I know, the most vocal anti-Microsoft types go in, vent about how unfair it all is, and then go and buy an iPod or a plasma TV or something - hardly issuing swift justice to the retail offender.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/2/06 4:26PM
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On RISC OS fan in legal hot water over spoof website:

Copying the OFT's own material wasn't a great idea if the activist in question wanted to avoid a convenient way of getting shut down, but I don't see any problem with parodying the OFT's site at all.

Next time, though, I'd recommend going for the European Commission - surely any UKIP candidate knows that is is they who wear the trousers in matters of competition legislation.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/2/06 11:39AM
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On Ovation Pro on Windows overtakes RISC OS original:

Well, we don't need to speculate too much about what might have happened had DP released OP on Windows much earlier. Consider Computer Concepts: they did ArtWorks for Windows (sort of), had to do a distribution deal to get the attention (which sort of worked, although I imagine Corel really wanted everyone to buy CorelDraw instead), did quite well after the Corel deal expired (or when Corel screwed up, whichever came first), have done nicely since. They aren't Microsoft, but they've kept the manor house.

Perhaps DP has his eye on a manor house...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/1/06 3:24PM
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On Delving inside a RiscPC emulator:

All this Apple strategy speculation and suddenly it's as if this is OSNews (where such pointless activities are a celebrated pastime amongst the idle, but insight-free fashion-accessory worshippers).

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/1/06 1:41AM
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On Delving inside a RiscPC emulator:

I'm sure they had Project Vulcan on the drawing board at ART, given the amount of Peter Bondar hyped vapourware doing the rumour circuit.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 25/1/06 2:14PM
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On Delving inside a RiscPC emulator:

A source version of what? Arculator and RPCemu are available as source releases - that's the whole point of this article! With some effort, they could probably be run on Linux, although I don't see them bettering ArcEm (also available as source) just yet.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/1/06 2:37AM
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On RISCOS.org joins pixel ad bandwagon:

Unusually, I agree with druck again! The original concept was a ridiculous hype vehicle that entertained punters with short attention spans, gold diggers, and lazy journalists, thus netting the one trick pony behind it a fair score. There's no basis for extrapolating business genius from the exercise or for considering it a viable revenue generating model.

Of course, "business genius" in modern Britain is all about laying employees off and cashing out, anyway - other concepts beloved of our journalist chums.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/1/06 7:47PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

What's with the down-moderation of various comments here? Yes, there's a Mexican stand-off between the players in the RISC OS scene, with all that bitterness below the surface. Perhaps if RISC OS users stopped behaving like mere consumers and started demanding some responsibility from their corporate overlords, there wouldn't be the permanent uncertainty and stagnation in the scene.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/1/06 5:22PM
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On 2006 predictions:

With respect to the amount of work required, I'd argue that a bit of effort on the Linux build system is a lot less effort than developing some virtualisation technology or hacking up some WINE-based solution. If VA really didn't want to dirty their hands, I'm sure there's someone out there with the experience who'd do the job for a reasonable rate.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 11/01/06 01:11AM
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On 2006 predictions:

Acknowledging but skipping over md0u80c9's valid point about the dubious processes which went on in the development of the RISC OS 5 HAL (I don't buy the excuse that the hardware abstraction layer just inits some stuff before the kernel takes over, since that sounds a lot more like a BIOS than an HAL, and one wonders what kind of "bare metal" the kernel works against if that's the case), it should be clear by now that the future of RISC OS as any modern desktop environment lies in virtualisation, emulation, or just plain substitution of the popular applications with functional equivalents on other platforms. One can buy decent enough hardware that runs Linux for less than all of the touted RISC OS machines, and if RISC OS and its applications weren't so lacking in developer interest, we'd be running the best bits on Linux by now anyway. Anyway, let the denial continue - it makes for some kind of entertainment, I suppose.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 08/01/06 4:05PM
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On 2006 predictions:

cmj: "Linux is a moving target, and one that's moving fast."

I don't doubt that there are library versioning issues, but large numbers of people don't seem to have problems releasing software for GNU/Linux even in binary form, although I'd accept that many probably make packages for the distributions they actually use rather than a generic package that is intended to work on anything.

However, things like the LSB should give some kind of isolation from lower-level library evolution.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 5/1/06 2:49PM
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On RiscPCs were fab, says Wordwise author:

Appropriate that I read this article listening to "Country House" by Blur. Or perhaps highly inappropriate. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/12/05 4:15PM
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On From little Acorns to Linux PDA gadgets:

Yes, but he does seem to have done good Linux-related work, and whilst it is inaccurate to claim that RISC OS doesn't have memory protection (and I don't quite understand what the accessing registers has to do with that either), the fact is that most versions of RISC OS lack memory protection in certain important respects.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/11/05 10:45PM
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On Unix Porting Project to ditch name:

Sawadee: "Is anyone running RO4 with under 64Mb RAM?"

By the way, how easy is it to get memory for Risc PCs and later hardware? When upgrading a 2000/1 era PC last year, the trendiest hardware vendors didn't sell the necessary modules, although a quick order to Dabs Direct resulted in a reasonably priced upgrade. Can one cheaply bang in, say, 256 or 512MB into a Risc PC these days? Is the memory conservatism of RISC OS still a relevant economic argument on that kind of hardware?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/11/05 1:39PM
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On Taking OS features for granted:

druck: "So you might as well make the most of it or go elsewhere."

Indeed. What you've said does much to make the point that bringing RISC OS right up to date is not a viable activity (where virtual memory and pre-emptive multitasking are more than "tick list features"). One alternative is to run RISC OS applications in other environments (either system emulators or lightweight virtual machines), but then one has to ask how interesting it really is to deploy aging, often abandoned software alongside its contemporary rivals.

Some RISC OS applications were great, but going elsewhere, unlocking the proprietary formats and taking the important stuff with you (all that document data) is a pragmatic approach that shouldn't be underrated.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 2/11/05 3:53PM
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On Taking OS features for granted:

jwoody does have a point, despite being marked down by the fanboys. AmigaOS had pre-emptive multitasking for years but lacked other useful operating system features. Meanwhile, RISC OS has been plodding along on a microcomputer-era compromise architecture for almost twenty years. Bigging up the RAM disk is like parking a decrepit rusting vehicle next to its modern counterpart and bragging about the furry dice.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 1/11/05 11:34PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

markee174: "Xara own the current code but once they get other contributions, they will only be able to use them in a GPL release unless they get the contributor to assign them the rights as MySQL does."

True. So they either have to do that in order to retain the possibility of doing a proprietary commercial version, or accept that it's totally open from now on.

"Does Sun actually make a profit on StarOffice, or is it just a spoiler to try and cause Microsoft trouble."

Well, unlocking the billions that get spent on Microsoft Office is more than just causing trouble. Even if everyone else gets to share a fraction of that money, it's a decent strategy.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/10/05 6:02PM
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On Should RISC OS be open sourced?:

steelpillow: "He could for example stipulate that they may not resell copies (as per the GPL), or that if they resell copies they owe him a license fee (as per the LGPL)."

These are nonsense interpretations of those licences - it's perfectly acceptable to sell GPL-licensed software, and there's no payment obligation when distributing software licensed under the LGPL.

Since those licences mostly address source code availability - the "free as in speech" factor - I suggest you read the explanatory materials on the GNU Web site instead of perpetuating unhelpful myths on the subject.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/10/05 7:19PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

markee174: "They can make money where they can sell additional value above and beyond the free product."

They meaning Xara?

"Beyond a printed manual, where is the added value on a product like Xara/Artrworks?"

Well, as is noted on the Xara Web site, there are a few proprietary things that they can't release under the GPL. Just like Sun sells StarOffice - a proprietary edition of OpenOffice.org with "unopenable" extras - it's very likely that Xara could sell a similar edition of their software. They can do this because they own all of the code right now and can license it any way they choose.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/10/05 5:22PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

wuerthne: "I seriously doubt you can make any money from a GPLed end-user application under Windows (nor under Linux for that matter)."

Having *met* people who make money from "GPLed end-user application[s]", I'm inclined to disagree.

"It is trivial to distribute (as opposed to organising and distributing the whole of Linux and all its applications, which is where the money is made in the Linux world) and the little support it needs can be provided by the community."

It is true that developing and distributing GPL-licensed software does open you up to competition in the area of packaging, non-domain-specific fixes and distribution, and that for smaller and more widely understood applications the risk is much greater.

However, I was principally taking exception to the ridiculous sweeping statement that virtually likened GPL-licensed software to software patents or NDAs - something you'd expect Steve Ballmer to come out with (although not entirely unexpected in a forum with a high proprietary software worship factor, I must say). It was either that sentiment or that the contributor in question believes your software development practices to be somewhat sloppy - something I don't believe myself, I should add.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/10/05 3:14PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

druck: "Typical unthinking GPL zealot response, well done."

A typical mud-slinging remark in response to a proper critique of the original FUD-slinging statement. Both that statement and your perception that "donationware" schemes are the only basis for funding products which are licensed under the GPL reveal, as I noted, a lack of understanding or experience in such matters on your part.

Sure, MW might not want to "go near the Xara source", but since that's a business decision he alone must take, I'm not about to overgeneralise that in order to take some kind of cheap, uninformed shot at a software licence that would seem to suit Xara and other companies just fine.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 13/10/05 10:22PM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

druck: "I'd prefer if MW didn't go near the Xara source when its opened, as its GPL and he needs to eat."

It may be beyond your imagination/experience, but there are businesses making money producing GPL-licensed software. In fact, given the general technical hands-off nature of most of the RISC OS scene these days, perhaps one could run such a business providing RISC OS applications. If people are willing to put down a wad of cash for a zero updates per year proprietary software subscription, perhaps they'd be inclined to put their money into something where they actually get the sources and some measure of control, rather than "pretend big company" press releases and roadmaps.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 13/10/05 4:38PM
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On Hifi buffs told Iyonix audio is good enough:

About PCI for the RISC OS platform: I think it's fair to say that its intended introduction in the Risc PC 2, back in 1998, was probably two years too late. Even back then the number of people interested in doing their own stuff (either with original hardware or with commodity equipment) was dropping below a certain "market vibrancy" threshold.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/9/05 12:41AM
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On Iyonix 3D graphics driver released :

flypig: "In my opinion RISC OS has been crying out for an OpenGL port for far too long."

A cursory examination of the IyonixMesa Web page reveals that an OpenGL port has been around for ages, albeit without hardware acceleration support, perhaps because there wasn't a stack of suitable hardware to support back in 2001.

If there's an "at long last" moment here, it's the availability of support for the highly-proprietary graphics hardware of the Iyonix (and the fact that the Iyonix includes something which does 3D acceleration).

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 4/9/05 6:21PM
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On Firefox pledgers hold onto their cash:

As an impartial observer, but one who has been studying the feedback about Firefox on RISC OS, it seems that Mr Naulls has delivered what he promised. That people knowing fully the terms of making a pledge now refuse to do so merely confirms the continued presence of that well-established cheerleader/freeloader dual-faceted mindset rampant within the RISC OS community.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 22/8/05 11:50PM
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On NetBSD found on actual toaster:

"You would think that pentiums would toast the bread..."

Meanwhile, ten years on...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 13/8/05 3:05PM
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On Software news:

On the subject of cameraphones, those which support OBEX transfers via serial, IR or Bluetooth (or even other mechanisms) could be supported under RISC OS by a port of something like obexftp (and openobex), although I guess you'd have to start with the device drivers first. ;-) This method isn't going to show you live footage from the 'phone, if that's what was meant by "showing the images".

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/7/05 9:45PM
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On MicroDigital sought by bailiffs:

"When the Omega project was first unveiled and in the months thereafter, I found it quite promising, innovative (the soft-pc idea) and exciting"

Various concepts connected with the Omega did sound exciting, albeit from a nostalgia perspective: the supposed dual processor design was reminiscent of the Risc PC and/or the BBC second processor architectures. However, its arguably better to not get too fancy when putting out computer hardware.

In the era of the BBC micro, bolting extra processors onto one's "terminal" was a reasonable way of getting access to more computing power, so the second processor concept was fairly interesting. In the era of the Risc PC, having multiple processors could also have been a reasonable way of getting more computing power under the hood.

Unfortunately, the Omega saga is reminiscent of Acorn: nearly all effort on multiprocessor capabilities the Risc PC went into making the "closet PC owner" PC card capabilities, sacrificing simplicity for something that had decreasing relevance. Acorn should have done a solution and dropped identical CPUs into the slots.

Meanwhile, Microdigital should have just gone with one of the increasing numbers of ARM evaluation boards, put the product out there, waited a bit, discovered clearly superior CPUs and boards, put another product out, and so on. ARM stuff isn't exactly a niche any more, and with all that market activity, the best way to deliver better performance is to go along with that market, not try and offer some overcomplicated future-proof solution that will have CPU and system bus frequencies way below its competitors when/if the upgrades start coming.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/07/05 5:40PM
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On Fears over Omega refund saga:

"However now that the MD website has disappeared it is all a bit of a moot point."

Not true: you *can* relive the exciting story in fast-forward by going to the Internet Archive and starting from February 1st 2001. The signal cuts out on October 22nd 2004.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 19/7/05 10:46AM
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On Fears over Omega refund saga:

Wasn't that Mach Technology? Lots of nice looking software and hardware and a nice advert in the magazines of the day. They did produce some things, but nothing like the range of products advertised, apparently.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 18/7/05 12:43AM
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On GCCSDK team trumpets module support:

Sounds more like the classic producer vs. consumer press-release-driven punditry of the Acorn User era rather than what I'd imagine Heat magazine to be like.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 9/7/05 9:57PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

Having used USB CD burners a fair amount, it does surprise me that only USB 1.1 is supported on the A9home. With USB 2 added to some 1997 era PC hardware, I could get 24x burning done fairly reliably (32x was more risky, 40x on such slow hardware wasn't practical). I did try burning with USB 1.x on slightly newer hardware, but doing anything better than 4x seemed somewhat foolish. Is USB 1.x even supported on modern CD/DVD burners?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 6/7/05 4:03PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

sa110: "Why people are obsessed with watching a full length DVD movie on their computer is beyond my comprehension."

If you have your computer as some kind of "media PC" - ie. recording and playing television programmes and DVDs - it wouldn't exactly be an obsession to watch movies on/using it. The profile of the A9home probably fits right in to the whole "media PC" thing - a small unintrusive unit that doesn't make much noise, generate much heat, or consume much power. One wonders why the RISC OS hardware vendors aren't (as far as we know) making a bigger play for that end of the market. Even Acorn and Pace gave it a shot, albeit tying their devices in with sometimes doomed services rather than letting the customer work out what kind of cool stuff can be done with them.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 5/7/05 5:11PM
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On Anti-software patent groups urge SMEs for support:

"Because it's been corrupted shows that the fundamental idea is bad? What nonsense!"

But we aren't in a position to point at high (and not particularly relevant) ideals whilst people get sued out of business.

"At the end of the day I can't see how it can be anything other than fair for the originator of a good idea to be the one who gets the reward for it"

The problem is that in computing - a ideas-intensive discipline - there's a lot of contention over those new and magic ideas that some lazy/ignorant/overworked/pressured (delete according to viewpoint) patent clerk thinks is worth dignifying with a monopoly. Thus, several people can independently come up with a "good idea" but only one will be able to get the "reward" (whilst charging the others who'd justifiably feel pretty unfairly treated).

You'd think that with jobs being transported to India/China, the politicians would want to improve the efficiency of the economy rather than introducing a huge legal overhead. Extending patentability in this way is truly an archaic solution borrowed from an outdated economic rule-book, perhaps valid in a time when knowledge was hoarded, but now lazily misapplied to a discipline where the cross-pollenation of ideas is what moves everything forward.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 3/7/05 7:59PM
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On Anti-software patent groups urge SMEs for support:

"The fact that some ludicrous patents have been granted to certain companies in certain countries isn't proof that the idea is bad"

Yes it is! It shows that patents mix very badly with disciplines which are built on pure ideas. The argument that "other disciplines have patents so you'll have to get used to it" and the leading question "what is the fundamental difference between a hardware and a software solution?" make the flawed assumption that the patent model is both fair and universally applicable - something that (if you're going to debate patents in general) isn't going to get much agreement from a large part of the third world.

Rather than have an unjust model foisted on software developers because "there might be something in this patenting business", perhaps we should be advocating the removal of patent controls on other disciplines - disallowing various kinds of hardware patents could be an interesting start.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 26/6/05 10:06AM
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On Anti-software patent groups urge SMEs for support:

What useful purpose do software patents serve? How in practice is innovation rewarded and encouraged by people having artificial monopolies on ideas and mathematics? The "let's be pragmatic and advocate reform" position is somewhat naive in the face of various lobbying interests who will tell you that they'll consider reform but only after pushing through their pet legislation. And the "surely this rewards small and innovative companies" position (also known as the "perhaps I can make a buck or two with my nifty ideas" position) is naive in the extreme. If software patents had been recognised in 1978, Acorn wouldn't have survived as far as 1988, let alone 1998. And Acorn did have a nifty idea or two.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/6/05 2:11PM
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On Expo 2005 show report:

Given the size of the A9home and the RISCbox, and considering the difference in heat output between Intel/AMD and ARM CPUs, it's a surprise that people haven't done more small form factor stuff with their kit.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 20/6/05 1:01PM
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On A9home emerges in beta form:

Indeed, as the man Naulls says, Web pages are no longer just small chunks of text blasted liberally to the screen with the occasional inline graphic - even the smallest of pages are subject to some pretty involved layout constraints that would tax those 1.2 GHz ARM CPUs that lurk perpetually over the horizon. While your Web browser of choice "thinks about" how that layout is going to happen (see the CSS specifications for an idea about what goes on) you and other processes might want to be doing other things, and unless the Web browser developers have been so kind as to go totally event-driven with their code (side note: I wonder if coroutines ever made an appearance in any RISC OS programming environment) you can forget the low-latency world of the desktop clock and icon bar "funnies".

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 24/05/05 12:58AM
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On Iyonix price slash offer, yawns stifled:

simo: "I almost today got pulled into a conversation along the lines of "new G5 iMac is only $1249, and you'd actually have a hard time getting an [AMD64/P4EE) PC to compete for that money"."

Well, P4EE is effectively Intel's way of creaming off the most gullible from the rich plus stupid/overenthusiastic end of the market. Meanwhile, although it may be hard to get an Opteron machine for $1249 all in (I'm not sure about that, however), there seems to be plenty of Athlon 64 kit available for way below that price (eg. [link]). But then I don't tend to entertain Apple fanboy enthusiasm myself, so I doubt I'd have been dragged into that conversation either.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 07/09/04 1:45PM
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On STD defends A5 concept:

flypig: "There are situations in which you need to recompile the Linux kernel to install suitable drivers. That would be laughable under RISC OS where you'd just install a new module."

True. That's the downside of various monolithic architecture aspects of the Linux kernel, motivated in part by the "ideological freedom" of being able to recompile one's kernel - something I've only done once or twice, and something I generally avoid. That said, much of the time, provided that the necessary support is already there in the kernel, it's a question of compiling a new module and loading it; if your distribution vendor is keeping up, they may even have done all that work for you.

thesnark: "I honestly don't understand why you are making such a big deal about some RISC OS applications requiring relocatable modules to handle aspects of the GUI."

Because it's a big risk for reliability. Just as most sane people should try and write user-space programs in Linux unless they want (often without justification, possibly not even getting it anyway) "top shelf" performance, it seems ridiculous that you need the equivalent of a kernel module to provide shared library facilities to RISC OS applications.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 05/08/04 1:28PM
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On STD defends A5 concept:

Sawadee: "My RiscPC 600 ('94) with RO4 should be realistcally compared to Windows '98 or even less."

It quite possibly should, but then RO4 is pretty much the functional cutting-edge of RISC OS technology. Even with faster hardware, you're effectively saying that the best of RISC OS is comparable to a six year old operating system running on hardware with six year old "mainstream performance". For people looking to buy new kit today, that isn't a great advert, is it? People aren't forced to travel back in time to buy computers, are they?

mrtd: "Yes, I agree, most of those thigs are not possible on Iyonix either, but some are very Windoes specific things that have equivalents on RISC OS, a bit like saying I can't write relocatable modules under Windows."

Well, you can write kernel modules under Linux, which is a fairly similar thing, but then you'd only want to if you were writing device drivers or filesystems. That's another thing which makes RISC OS software development somewhat laughable: imagine insisting that a Linux application required a handful of kernel modules to be installed before doing run-of-the-mill GUI stuff.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 05/08/04 12:46AM
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On STD Temporary Closure:

One wonders whether STD and friends couldn't just keep selling their RISC OS 4-based stuff. In the SCO vs. the world business, it was said that even if SCO went after everyone using Linux, those users could just tell SCO that they'd licensed Linux in good faith from whoever they'd bought/downloaded it from. Unless STD and RISC OS Ltd. were nodding and winking conspicuously to each other whilst signing their agreements, STD could probably claim (in my non-legal opinion) that they were distributing RISC OS 4 in good faith, and that it is RISC OS Ltd. who is liable.

Perhaps Castle need that 8m to roll the lawyers out on top of a company they partly own.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 07/07/04 5:50PM
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On RISC OS 5 modernisation to cost millions:

Smiler: "I'm 16 - everyone at school wants mobile phones with cameras to show off - the fact the pictures produced are useless (bar one or two very new phones starting to have 2 megapixel cameras) doesn't mean anything to them. This is a major market - under 20s. I think I know what people of my age like!"

And surely those 2MP camera 'phones are only currently available in Japan for 3G networks, although I'm sure nothing is unobtainable for the average BMW-driving under-20 these days. But you are on to something there: by the time the buyer has realised that the shiny device doesn't pass muster, I'm sure they're already planning the next purchase.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 22/06/04 4:11PM
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On Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence:

It's hardly a battle of the titans, though, is it? If both companies were in the same neck of the woods, however, perhaps local news would mention it between talking dog stories.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/06/04 4:48PM
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On Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence:

dgs: "That'd be why Windows 3.11 was so popular, presumably."

Amongst other reasons, yes. Not everyone in the computing universe was reading Acorn User at the time, you know.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/06/04 3:06PM
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On Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence:

dgs: "The spirit of RISC OS always was running the OS on native hardware, preferably plus BBC BASIC."

Really? I thought people bought computers for the user experience, whether the desktop is nice to use, whether the computer seems fast (as Acorn computers once were), whether there are some nice applications available for those computers (Impression was pretty nice for its time). But I see now that it's all about sentimental attachment to a programming language that was already primitive upon its introduction, running on expensive and/or elusive hardware. I guess that explains the increasing obscurity of the platform better than any black helicopter conspiracy involving Stan Boland and RISC OS Ltd.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/06/04 12:52AM
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On Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence:

jcmcculloch: "I smell the end of the RISC OS market, I would be very surprised if the non-Castle camp, particularly the VA camp dont just go mainstream Windows."

Well, with Castle and "friends" playing spin the bottle, perhaps a number of people would do well to wake up to the alternatives, rather than insisting on the highly-nostalgic pure-ARM, pure-RISC OS solution. Believe in the spirit of RISC OS rather than the increasingly contested and depreciating "intellectual property", as it were.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/06/04 6:34PM
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On STD suspends A75, A6 range:

The SCO cases (SCO vs. IBM, Novell, Red Hat, etc.) revolve around just about anything SCO believe they can make a buck out of. However, it is a matter of dispute whether SCO have the right to terminate licences to the disputed "intellectual property" - I believe it goes back to the time when Novell acquired it from AT&T, and whether the rights (or a number of them) were subsequently transferable. Anyway, the details with regard to Castle and RISC OS Ltd. will presumably emerge to enlighten us soon enough.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/06/04 5:55PM
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On STD suspends A75, A6 range:

AMS: "Bearing in mind that Castle later acquired the whole shebang from Pace (the then OS owner) then Castle would be interchangable with Pace in the license that ROL had."

Yes, and I bet various SCO people were thinking the very same kind of thing up until very recently, too.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/06/04 3:14PM
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On VirtualRiscPC upgrades to Adjust:

AMS: "The end result of this is RISC OS was written for the ARM and this leads to performance and other gains."

Would those "gains" include longer development times, with software that is harder to maintain and is less reliable - remember Impression 1.x? Writing in assembly language is admittedly nice on the ARM, but that was only really necessary in the microcomputer age when people didn't really have enough memory or conveniently available disk space to use high-level language tools and environments, and where such environments probably had run-time libraries that used up too much space for many applications.

There are certainly areas where one does need to increase performance and thus use cruder languages than would otherwise be employed, where the low-level language in many cases is actually C rather than assembly language, but choosing to write a whole application in such a language is often a poor tradeoff.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/05/04 10:38AM
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On 1000th Drobe article published :

fylfot: "Some of the inactive RISC OS news sites do more harm than good. They portray a market that is stale and slow moving when in fact, as Drobe proves, there is a lot of very positive things going on."

When you've just had your platform compared to the Amiga, perhaps those stale portayals aren't entirely misleading.

Snig: "I like the 6th form geeky humour!"

And American teen movies, too? Perhaps the market might be more invigorated if it grew up from sixth form squabbles (Drobe vs. Microdigital, RISC OS Ltd. vs. Castle, Drobe vs. Castle, etc.) as well.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 03/05/04 10:48AM
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On Adjust in hands of users:

"RISC OS Adjust is a far cry from its MOS heritage"

More like a near whimper than a far cry, I think.

JessFranco: "Yeah, at least make VRPC work on Linux! That way you could at least have a slim Linux installation suffient to run RISC OS and avoid M$."

There's so much activity around small and/or bootable Linux distributions that everyone's only waiting for one thing...

JessFranco: "Now, if VRPC was being used as a tool to make a more portable RISC OS, module by module, this would be good thing. I doubt anyone is doing this though."

I suppose that ArcEm might be a better start if only to avoid the obstacles of trying to attempt such work with 100% proprietary software.

mrchocky: "Iyonix can't realistically be made cheaper and still have a viable product, and there's virtually nothing you can remove from the Iyonix and still have a sensible computer."

That may be the case, but I still think that Castle and Microdigital could learn a bit from Simtec, in terms of producing reasonably priced stuff and (in the latter case) actually delivering it.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/04/04 12:28AM
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On NetBook Missing In Action:

imj: "If you don't give a donkey about using a modern OS, continue to use your A3000/BBC/ZX81/PDP11 whatever does it for you."

Or RISC OS on your Iyonix. ;-) (Read that in the context of the previous paragraph.)

But AppleTalk support? Is that there to make time-travel missions back to the early 1990s more bearable, or what?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 09/03/04 5:31PM
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On Castle, RISCOS Ltd., FinnyBank theatre report:

mrtd: "Having never used a VRPC machine I am probably talking rubbish, but I suspect that even on a 3GHz PC, VRPC will feel slower than an Iyonix. My 2GHz PC running Win 2K at work certainly is less snappy in response to the user than the Iyonix and RO5. So assuming that Windows needs a factor of 10 advantage in processor speed to achieve the same responsiveness as RO..."

I'm not sure whether you're hinting that having Windows underneath VRPC will significantly slow VRPC down, but one thing that I'm surprised the "hybrid" vendors haven't investigated (in conjunction with VirtualAcorn, obviously) is the porting of the application to OpenDOS or something like that. It sounds ridiculous, but I'd imagine that most PC vendors still support DOS variants in various ways, if only for diagnostic purposes. However, I can imagine that driver availability for DOS variants could be a problem.

The usage of a GNU/Linux distribution with direct framebuffer access is certainly another way to cut out any such overhead and avoid Windows licensing, and some of the Shuttle boxes that seem to be in use as "hybrids" do have fairly decent Linux support. But then VRPC's dependence on Microsoft APIs would need to be cut.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 05/03/04 12:00AM
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On Castle, RISCOS Ltd., FinnyBank theatre report:

mrtd: ""Does it look pretty?", and "How easy is software development?" are a lot further down the list for most users. I suggest that things like "what sort of multitasking does it have", and "does it have proper drag and drop" are even lower down the list."

As you admit later on, those factors have an indirect effect on the decision-making process. Moreover, as developers, these are factors that Acorn's successors have exclusive control over - they can't as easily influence the market at large or which friends you choose to keep. ;-)

mrtd: "1. A love of innovation and elegant technology 2. Dislike of Microsoft/big business/monoplies 3. Grew up with Acorn, like RISC OS, (possibly tried Windows and didn't like it). 4. A desire to be different."

(1) Whilst some new developments are making RISC OS machines more attractive, I'd hardly consider the RISC OS scene a hotbed of innovation. (2) I dislike Microsoft, too, but somewhere along the line you'll have to buy something produced by some big company. (3) RISC OS was nice in its time, but it's good to see what else is out there. (4) Computing platform is one of many lifestyle choices available to the modern individual. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 04/03/04 5:53PM
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On Castle, RISCOS Ltd., FinnyBank theatre report:

dgs: "In both cases, the users concerned were moving for reasons of features, support and supportability, not underlying technical aspects of the operating system concerned."

I did say "a crucial reason" rather than "the crucial reason", but agreed: if you have an operating system based on DOS which then has a ton of support libraries for doing GUIs, threading and the like, then the availability of such stuff, no matter how nastily it's done, overcomes the limitations of the underlying platform; this makes the platform easier for people to develop for and delivers a potentially better user experience as more and nicer stuff is made for the platform. I bet Netscape 1.x and successors could have run on RISC OS, too, had there been library support to make the porting bearable.

Another factor is price, availability and hardware support - moving off NeXT or RISC OS hardware onto something moderately inexpensive almost always involved generic Intel-based PC kit, and until Microsoft made the big push into the "consumer market" with their NT-based operating systems, there wasn't that much available kit for that market running NT. That said, NT4 and successors have been available on laptops for years, but I suppose the "consumer market" demanded pretty icons rather than the improved stability that those operating systems offered.

markee174: "Apple had to abandon its update to Mac OS 9 (Rhapsody) and effectively put the MAC OS on top of NextSteps Darwin core."

A pragmatic business decision and, for once, a sensible one from Steve Jobs (disregarding the confusion around Rhapsody, which was derived from NeXTStep as well - you're thinking of Copland which probably deserves a vapourware status comparable to Galileo). I still don't get the claim that "nothing has really changed", though, when all evidence suggests that everything apart from RISC OS has.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 04/03/04 11:50AM
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On VirtualRPC to be laptop friendlier:

Ignoring mrchocky's evasions, I can report that six/seven year old hardware runs ArcEm fairly sluggishly without any graphics acceleration, although if you're used to pre-Risc PC hardware and desktop applications then it probably isn't an excruciating experience. I'd imagine that you'd need a very fast processor indeed to get ArcEm running at Iyonix speeds. ;-)

As for putting Linux at the bottom of the software stack for an emulator-in-a-box solution, remember that you wouldn't need to have a full desktop environment, and if ArcEm ran on SDL (which I don't recall whether it can or not), then I suppose you wouldn't even need XFree86. What Linux and XFree86 would give you, however, would be the hardware support necessary to avoid the situation that the RISC OS scene currently finds itself in. Given the mere repackaging of Shuttle systems which is going on, and the amount of memory that you're going to be getting as standard, I don't see any real motivation for throwing out something like KDE in order to save 10-15% of your RAM for the emulator, however.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/01/04 11:00PM
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On Again with the laptops:

No idea if anyone is still reading, but one thing frequently mentioned about the laptop situation is the inability to source cases. However, one wonders how these people manage it: [link]

Unlike other Linux laptop vendors who may give their products new names, but who also identify the original model as being a Sony Vaio or IBM Thinkpad (and so on), these people seem to be building their own. Come to think of it, there are lots of minor vendors in Britain who sell laptops. So is it just a case (yes, pun intended) of those vendors buying complete systems from Taiwan and slapping their name on it, or is it something that the RISC OS manufacturers could have worked with?

Having seen what I'd call "third-tier" vendor laptops, it's tempting to think that some British vendors actually do assemble their own, because I think the Taiwanese original equipment manufacturers would be embarrassed if they found that they'd produced the badly-made models concerned.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/12/03 3:19PM
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On Iyonix celebrates champagne first birthday:

dgs: "Actually I think the graphics cards fitted do vary in at least some respects."

So do the disks and the amount of on-board RAM, but some more notable technological momentum would have been nice. Otherwise, people start to think that it'll be another five years before they get some exciting new kit to try out; A6 and Alpha notwithstanding. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/12/03 5:42PM
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On Iyonix celebrates champagne first birthday:

"...no less than a 600MHz XScale with NVidia powered graphics and a fresh new architecture. A year on..."

Yes, a year on and it's still a 600MHz XScale with the same graphics card. So much for Moore's Law...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 02/12/03 2:54PM
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On Please Stop the Madness:

iamnotamused: "I guess sarcasm bites."

I think you need to distinguish between sarcasm and unwarranted public humiliation of an individual. For various reasons, it would even have been in bad taste had Axel been a fictional character.

Now the RiscStation article was a more appropriate use of sarcasm, and it would be good to see more of that (and fewer cheap shots because you either don't agree with someone's opinion or can't be bothered to have a proper debate about what they're trying to say).

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 21/11/03 11:44AM
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On Try our PC laptops says RiscStation:

WineX? Isn't that a proprietary fork of WINE? What's wrong with these VirtualAcorn people anyway - can't they write stuff for non-proprietary APIs?

The user experience would be so much better if VirtualWhatever ran on an open toolkit rather than through some translation layer which tracks a perpetually moving target (the Win32 APIs) whilst providing users with a bizarre interface to their own system - fancy a virtual C drive, Linux users? And surely the benefit of WINE and its derivatives only kicks in when you don't have the source, unless your company is called Corel, of course.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/11/03 5:09PM
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On VirtualRiscPC network upgrade pulled:

AMS: "Oh and Bob technically RISC OS run under emulation is not an OS when run on an x86 under windows."

Yes it is! It's an operating system for that virtual machine.

AMS: "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."

And? Windows is just data to the Intel/AMD CPU. There's no magic pixie dust added by elves on Michael Dell's/Bill Gates's secret Arctic production line.

AMS: "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."

I can imagine that IBM are so upset having Linux running in multiple virtual machines on their mainframes. I bet their engineers find it hard to sleep at night.

As far as I can see, for most of the platform die-hards this emulation issue isn't about the viability of the platform - it's just a "test of faith" to let them define who their "friends" are. If you're not running on "British built and proud" (cue carnival images, dancers, outrageously camp behaviour?) then it would seem that you just can't be part of the gang.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 03/11/03 12:26AM
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On VirtualRiscPC network upgrade pulled:

JessFranco: "Sure some people would go for the 'cool factor' of having a real ARM computer, the silent operation, the instant boot times and the feeling that they're supporting the company that really got 32bit RISC OS out there."

It's quite possible that Castle can play the role of an Apple-like outfit, selling "luxury" versions of the mainstream stuff, although they'd have to make their cases a bit nicer. :-) And it'd be amusing to consider things like the A6 as being the norm rather than the exception.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 31/10/03 1:19PM
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On Network happy VirtualRiscPC shipping:

simo: "I guess I've got to the point that Computer Concepts got to a few years back - I can develop C/C++/C#/Java apps in 30 seconds on Win/Lin (using Kylix, SharpDevelop, C++Builder, JBuilder, VisualStudio....) that would take 3 days to write on RISC OS."

Does "hello world" really take three days to write on RISC OS? ;-)

But you have a solid point. Back in the glory days of Computer Concepts, especially after their utterances on how going down to the metal was the way to go, it was arguably excusable to have lacklustre C++ support on RISC OS - after all, C++ had a long way to go in terms of maturity at that time. But when Acorn didn't really rise to the challenge of providing decent libraries for C (and later C++), and continuously failed to address the problems of their microcomputer era operating system, most developers with any experience of other platforms realised that their time was more productively spent elsewhere.

If only the UNIX porting project had been started eight years ago (or more) by Acorn themselves.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 27/10/03 09:55AM
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On R-Comp offers RISC OS emulation solution:

Yes, that offer did run for a long time. I suppose that for "only" 99, it was worth having around to run the occasional application, but for the intended full price, I'm not so sure.

As for the double slot architecture, there's a range of possibilities when it comes to bus sharing. However, mixing two completely incompatible processor families, choosing possibly one of the most mediocre Intel-compatible processors available (just because it wasn't made by Intel) and then spending lots of time and money on gluing them together all seems a bit misdirected, especially when they could have used their ARM expertise on a multiprocessing ARM solution and possibly turned more heads in their direction.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/10/03 1:21PM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

I wonder what kind of "top notch RISC OS performance" you'd get on one of those dual Opteron machines running ArcEm on Linux...

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/10/03 1:20PM
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On R-Comp offers RISC OS emulation solution:

Well, Spriteman, the rule about waving the metaphorical todger (eg. PC capabilities on minor platforms) about is that it only impresses people if those people are actually looking. In other words, Acorn went to a lot of effort for little effect with their PC card add-ons, whereas they could have impressed more people if they'd kept things relatively simple and said, "Here's a Risc PC with two ARMs in it." They could have dropped the "open bus" complexity and concentrated on the SMP issues with two identical processors directly. I believe the A540 had two slots for processor modules, even, so it was a shame that Acorn got sidetracked.

Of course, people are going to say, "ARMs aren't good at SMP." But then I'd recommend such people to read that last paragraph again properly and also to consider the fact that ARMs and 486s probably aren't designed to share the same bus either.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 15/10/03 1:19PM
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On R-Comp offers RISC OS emulation solution:

It's amusing how upset people get about running RISC OS alongside Windows in one of these "emulator machines" when Acorn were doing exactly the same thing from the very start of the RISC OS era, albeit with the hardware situation turned on its head.

It's particularly amusing that some of those people then blame RComp and friends for trying to kill the RISC OS scene when Acorn themselves, by wasting a fair amount of time/money on bizarre hardware to have Windows running alongside RISC OS, pretty much did the groundwork for killing their own platform by diverting that time/money away from more important projects.

So, as we finally see products which deliver on Acorn's obsessions (that they must provide PC compatibility even though it would have been better for users to buy a PC), I think many people now realise how ridiculous those obsessions were. The difference between then and now is that there really is no choice in how it's all done - x86-compatible hardware is in the metaphorical driving seat and some people can't accept that reality.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 14/10/03 1:00PM
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On R-Comp offers RISC OS emulation solution:

The PowerPC initiative was supposedly founded by IBM, Motorola and Apple, although Apple's involvement presumably got no deeper than making the tea in strategy meetings. They still get their name printed on the fancy stationery, however.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 13/10/03 10:47AM
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On AdvantageSix launches new VirtualRPC based PC :

Josh Eilken: "Why not PC emulation on native ARM hardware? Software emulation would be too slow, but perhaps PC cards or a design similar to the RPC (open processor bus to accomodate x86 proccesor on top of ARM processor). A setup like this might be expensive to buy, but would offer an alternative to buying a Wintel box."

This idea of hardware emulation in the same box is a waste of time, firstly because software emulators are now good enough, and secondly because the RiscPC demonstrated that messing around with exotic hardware technologies is a great way of wasting resources on something people (zealots excluded) don't really care that much about.

Back in 1994, Acorn demonstrated the RiscPC and said that multiprocessing with 4 ARMs in a box was a possibility. They then wasted a load of time and money on getting a 486SX running alongside the ARM in order to claim some kind of pointless bragging right. Had they kept to a simpler script, they could have given everyone useful multiprocessing and a better operating system, rather than d!cking around and scrapping every operating system project that wasn't the dated-even-at-that-time RISC OS.

"I guess there are technical reasons why Castle & Co. haven't really tried to sell this."

Yes, but there are also some sound economic and strategic reasons, too. See above.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 10/10/03 1:13PM
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On X-Ample touts 32bit Impression:

ksattic: "I've got Impression Style and Publisher and have never noticed the tabling feature."

It's more like glorified tabs with line drawing hacked into the style system. Minimal effort for, well, minimal effect.

Meanwhile, the Windows demo of Ovation Pro was impressive in certain respects - irregular frame shapes, etc. - but he's going to need to improve the user interface substantially. And, yes, that means following the platform user interface guidelines rather than foisting some kind of RISC OS look-and-feel onto the hapless users.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 06/10/03 2:49PM
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On Comments on the Microdigital Alpha:

Dougal summarised my point well enough, I think. I wasn't suggesting that the user booted up into KDE (or something like that) and then chose a menu option to start VA. Instead, the idea would be that the Linux kernel and various user-space things would start up, and then VA would run on whatever graphical subsystem one had in mind - it needn't even be XFree86, provided a port had been done to a graphics toolkit that supported other display "targets".

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 18/07/03 3:15PM
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On Comments on the Microdigital Alpha:

AMS makes an interesting point about how efficient it is to buy an Alpha when supporting the RISC OS marketplace. However, on the issues of emulators being substandard imitations of "the real thing", it's fair to say that what matters most is the user experience and not the box on or under the desk. Ultimately, people may end up running their applications under emulation because that gives them the best performance for the money, but that doesn't devalue the experience or disqualify the platform just because the experience no longer demands a special bunch of chips in a box made by some small British company (cue picture of Union Jack being raised/lowered).

Of course, the worry about people's exposure to Windows could easily be calmed by working on a Linux version of Red Squirrel/VirtualAcorn or using other Linux-supported emulators and providing a bootable CD environment with various install to disk options. You could even put a nice RISC OS logo on the CD and the average punter might never know the real story.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/07/03 3:56PM
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