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Profile for hubersn

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Username: hubersn
Realname: Steffen Huber
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Homepage: http://www.hubersn-software.com/
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On Tanks a lot! Double USB toy driver joy:

A lot easier, since one needs either digging deep into filecore, or a completely new driver structure needs to be written.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 4/9/09 2:06PM
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On ARM-powered computer firm in RISC OS port talks :

I don't know the deep technical details of the silicon involved, but it looks plausible that the PXA168, the Kirkwood series and the Discovery Innovation series use the same or a very similar CPU core - if Marvell calls this core "Sheeva", it would be sensible that we use the same wording and not some arbitrary decision from Linux kernel hackers.

And that vastly different SoCs need significantly different (initialisation) code is not really surprising.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 2/9/09 12:38AM
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On ARM-powered computer firm in RISC OS port talks :

According to official Marvell documentation, both the Kirkwood and the Discovery Innovation series of CPUs contain the Sheeva core.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/9/09 10:00PM
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On ARM-powered computer firm in RISC OS port talks :

Actually, I own both a Cortex and a Sheeva machine, so maybe it is time to run a few benchmarks. One is a 600 MHz Beagleboard, the other a 1.2 GHz Plug.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/9/09 4:15PM
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On ARM-powered computer firm in RISC OS port talks :

Faster CPU, much faster RAM with L2 cache, VFP, digital video output, integrated video decoder. Looks like a good deal to me.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 31/8/09 8:53PM
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On ARM-powered computer firm in RISC OS port talks :

For Castle, the Marvell Kirkwood platform would make a lot more sense. There is ready-made hardware available like the OpenRD platform (rd-client and rd-base), which has the added advantage of being based on ARMv5 instead of being a Cortex platform with its issue regarding non-aligned memory access.

And after all, 1.2 GHz is a lot better than 0.8 GHz ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 31/8/09 11:50AM
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On Dual-head DVI ViewFinder graphics card announced:

Many people have upgraded to the Radeon version, because it offers a lot more features (Dual Head, TV out, DVI).

It would have been a lot better to provide a Radeon driver for RO6 instead of a R128 driver, because upgrading to Radeon is easy and cheap. However, bringing people to accept a big downgrade when they upgrade their OS is a difficult position.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 24/8/09 3:46PM
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On RISCWorld mag back-issues reprinted online for free:

Many articles stated that RISC OS 5 CDFS was unable to read DVDs. That is correct, and a lot of people have repeated this myth.

However, it was always that - a myth. As long as the DVD's logical format is ISO9660, even RISC OS 3.10 can read DVDs. It is just a case of having a compatible CDFSSoft*/drive combination. And that was what Castle did with RO 5.09 (or a similar version, I don't remember precisely): make the CDFSSoftATAPI work better with some drives, and obviously you owned one of those drives that profited from that change.

However, this does not change the fact that RO versions before 5.09 could read DVDs if you used the right drive - e.g. the Lite-On DVD writer that was recommended to be used with CDVDBurn.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/8/09 11:19PM
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On RISCWorld mag back-issues reprinted online for free:

Many people want only one computer, but multiple OSes. It is not unheard of that even die-hard Mac or Linux fans also use Windows for certain tasks.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/8/09 4:00PM
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On Dual-head DVI ViewFinder graphics card announced:

Are there any meaningful benchmarks out there that show the speed advantage of the VPod? I only tried it out briefly and could not detect any meaningful speed difference between my VF-equipped RiscPC and the VPod-equipped machine. Anyway, lack of DVI is a definitive no-no.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/8/09 7:44PM
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On RISCWorld mag back-issues reprinted online for free:

Nobody managed to spell product names as consistently wrong as Dave Holden/RISCWorld - see the CDBurn and CDVDBurn reviews for example...

And it sports those two sentences that have probably cost me most of my CDVDBurn pre-sales support time: "[...]note that standard RISC OS 4 cannot read DVD's (a good reason to upgrade to Select or Adjust). RISC OS 5 on the Iyonix cannot read DVDs either[...]"

Of course, others were happy to spread this myth, without checking the facts :-(

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/8/09 4:18PM
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On Dual-head DVI ViewFinder graphics card announced:

Compared to the vPod, I find John's latest offering extremely non-expensive and surely not over-priced, seeing that the hardware alone will easily cost 30€. And as we all know, software development for a small market is expensive.

The missing RO6 drivers are a problem of course, but have ViewFinder users really "up"graded to RO6? After all, most of the cool ViewFinder features are no longer available there. So I guess it is more of a problem for ROL, who still have not properly documented the ViewFinder driver's state of RO6 on their website.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/8/09 12:30AM
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On Dual-head DVI ViewFinder graphics card announced:

According to John's mailing list posting, the software is not RISC OS Six compatible. It's a Radeon card, and I think this is completely unsupported on RISC OS Six.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 14/8/09 8:09PM
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On RISC OS 5 port hopes for netbook now in production:

Less than £100,000? Per year? Judging by my own very small part of the RISC OS economy, I would be truly astonished if you are not totally and completely underestimating the size of the RISC OS market. Now try to calculate a likely number for the turnover of ROL, VA, R-Comp, CJE, MW-Software...

Overall however, I agree that money will not solve RISC OS' problems. But it helps. Sponsoring part-time developers and sponsoring hardware/software for developers helps accelerating/enabling development.

And that is the key really: we need more stuff that "enables" and motivates developers. Availability of new, fast, cheap hardware is a great enabler, and a great motivation. Availability of a competent toolchain is also a great enabler. And, of course, source availability of the OS.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/8/09 12:03AM
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On RISC OS 5 port hopes for netbook now in production:

In the ROOL repository, there is already a TouchScreen driver written by Thomas Milius. See bsd/RiscOS/Sources/ThirdParty/TMilius/HWSupport/Input/TchScrn/

So it is certainly possible, and a driver template already exists.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/7/09 4:44PM
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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

The forum at the RISC OS Open website is IMHO the ideal place to have such a discussion.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 2/6/09 10:14AM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

GraphDraw, Trace and Snapper (I guess you refer to David Pilling's software) were all 32bitted a long time ago, as well as smbserver. Equasor should have been replaced long ago by Formulix, which also has a free 32bit upgrade.

So it is basically Impression and Tablemate. Hopefully, Tablemate will be 32bitted soon. And Impression is best replaced by Ovation Pro. Which pretty much eliminates the rest of your list.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 31/5/09 8:51PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

I am pretty sure that all EFF software was converted to being 26/32bit neutral quite a long time ago.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/5/09 9:03PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

No, under the new 2004 licence agreement (which ROL have officially said that they signed it), the often-cited exclusiveness is no longer. Hence ROL now pretending (see Aaron's last few postings) that this new licence agreement is now somehow non-binding.

However, if everything that has been said by both parties (and third parties) is actually true, the whole situation is a real mess, and it is not surprising that no party want to actually have it tested in court.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/5/09 11:54AM
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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

For at least one of the USB-VGA chipsets, there is a Linux/X driver available: [link]

Unfortunately, it has a max. resolution of 1280x1024, and I don't have any experience with the performance of such devices - anyone using such a device on their PC?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 14/5/09 4:14PM
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On First screenshot: Beagleboard runs RISC OS 5 desktop:

For the ultimate low cost high speed ARM-based ready to run device, try the PlugComputer - [link] - 99 US$ will buy you a nice Marvell Sheeva 1.2 GHz-based device with 512MB RAM, USB2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet included. For RISC OS usage, you would of course need something to get Video out of it, i.e. one of the USB-to-VGA/DVI dongles...and a driver for it of course...and an OS port to start with...

Anyone up to the challenge? I'm prepared to sponsor hardware for people who want to have a go. The Marvell Sheeva dev board looks really fancy and would make a nice RISC OS target.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 14/5/09 3:23PM
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On Vpod: first pictures of new RiscPC graphics card:

CRTs might be gone, but what about those nice 2560 x 1600 LCDs...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/4/09 12:00AM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

Rob, I'm still trying to understand why you think that a vast amount of work is still needed. Do you agree that, once USB is available, the system is in a workable state? Do you think adding audio support is much work? What would you class as a "maybe not ideal, but it works" state?

Speaking of SD cards, I only ever read the spec of the wear levelling employed by SanDisk, and this is 100% compatible with FileCore. Since they are cheap enough, I can't see a problem telling people "buy SanDisk SD cards instead of the really cheap stuff". With prices currently at 30€ for 16GB for the UltraII cards, it is really cheap enough. If there is really a problem with FileCore on SD, just use DOSFS/Fat32FS as the default FS. Problem solved. Or else, use USB mass storage driver to connect a real HD. Problem also solved.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 27/4/09 5:23PM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:


I think you vastly overestimate the work to be done to get something useful, and underestimate the work already done to get that far.

Implementing the low level USB driver to connect the stack to the hardware is certainly (if the docs are there - and since there is a Linux running, it should not be overly difficult) doable. Having USB running automatically enables keyboard, mouse and mass storage. The video is certainly good enough for basic RISC OS usage. Sound support is completely non-essential, as many A9 and Omega users will happily(?) confirm.

There are obviously a lot of things to be done from the "nice-to-have" department. Having a driver to connect the SD/MMC interface to the SCSISwitcher would enable non-USB mass storage. Using the OpenGL accelerator for video would be nice. And implementing a driver for a USB network device would be very good.

But compared to the work that was apparently needed to port RISC OS to other hardware in the past (initial IYONIX work, A9, RiscStation, Mico, Omega), I am pleasantly surprised what two dedicated individuals can achieve in a comparatively short timeframe.

One of the most important things for the platform (IMHO) is to build up porting knowledge and a driver repository to make RISC OS more easily portable. With the hopefully soon-to-be-available ARM-powered Netbooks, we might have a nice range of RISC OS-capable hardware soon.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/4/09 4:46PM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:


I guess DHCP is the major features that makes RISC OS 5 a real upgrade for RISC OS 4.0x users. The large application memory slot feature might be a big advantage if you are running a 256 MB Risc PC and suffer from DA clamp/high bit DA problems.

I agree however that - at the moment - there is very little real, user-facing advantage for Select/RISC OS Six users. However, people actually paid for an upgrade from 4.39 to RISC OS Six despite the lack of real, user-facing advantages...

I also don't buy the QA argument. The changes people submitted for RO 5 so far are surely of similar quality than ROLs changes after the 4.39 release.

The big advantage RISC OS 5 has is of course its ultimate cheapness. You are not sure if you want to replace your trusted RISC OS 4.02 with RISC OS 5.xx? No problem, it is softloaded, and if it does not work as expected, you always have a safe fallback. Compare that to the 4.39 upgrade which some people had to rip out again because of severe problems.

I also cannot see the validity of the "burden for developers" argument. Currently, the biggest burden for developers is the rather expensive and sometimes incompatible RISC OS Six branch of the OS. A free RISC OS 5 variant for RISC OS 3.7 users would actually reduce the developer's burden.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/4/09 2:03PM
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On RISC OS 5 pictured running on ARM Cortex-A8 kit:

This is really an impressive milestone in RISC OS history. And it shows how well-designed the HAL in RISC OS 5 is. So now we have covered the lower end of the market, how about tackling the Intel IQ81342 dev board...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 25/4/09 3:46PM
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On RISC OS 6 in pictures:

Compared to the various major new features in Select 1 (DHCP, Joliet in CDFS, Multi User Boot), Select 2 (mouse wheel support, CMYK sprites, Image File Renderer) and Select 3 (global text Cut&Paste, filer keyboard control, alpha sprites, filter thumbnailing with the IFR, ZeroConf networking, trashcan), progress seems to be very slow. HALing and 32bitting the OS was certainly a lot of work, but why the many RiscPC and emulator RISC OS owning people had to pay for it, I don't know. Having read through all the available material regarding RISC OS Six, I am still not sure which major feature was added between Select 3/Adjust and the latest 6.12 (Select 5) apart from upping the version number. ROLs website is really a bad joke.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/4/09 3:48PM
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On RISC OS 6 in pictures:

ROL lost a lot of hardware on their way - the various ARM7500 machines (Mico, RiscStation) as well as the Omega and various ViewFinder RiscPC variants. Kinetic users also had many problems. And now also the A9. It's a shame. I understand the complexity of handling different hardware variants, but does it really help our market if RISC OS Six only runs on most Risc PCs and emulator solutions?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/4/09 1:03PM
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On Will Wakefield 2009 see a new graphics card for RISC OS?:

Of all Risc PC upgrades, I think the ViewFinder was (after the StrongARM) the upgrade which boosted my productivity most. And it is the upgrade that have me the least problems, which really is a miracle considering the way it needs to be connected to RISC OS. My thanks and respect to John Kortink who made it possible.

So if someone is going to release a new update for the Risc PC, a ViewFinder-like podule would be probably the best idea. If it is a good idea however, I don't know.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 7/4/09 10:21AM
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On 'Drobe should be accurately researched':

Did I miss the announcement that Aaron is no longer a ROL director?

I guess one of his most recent and important consultancy work was the new creative reading of the licencing stuff ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/4/09 9:59PM
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On Will Wakefield 2009 see a new graphics card for RISC OS?:

I had various problems with the predecessors of the UniPod, namely Simtec IDE, Net100 and the USB podule.

The IDE podule gave various hard-to-trackdown, nearly random problems with CD writer ATAPI access, while it worked fine (albeit quite slow compared to a RapIDE or a Blitz) for harddiscs.

The Net100 was just generally (but seldomly) unstable - no such instabilities were encountered with either the Castle 100MBit products or the classic EtherH/EtherB/EtherM.

The USB podule was one of the early prototypes, so it is perhaps not really fair to mention the multiple problems I had - curiously, it worked much better (and faster!) with Thomas Milius' USB stack than with the later-developed Simtec USB stack.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/4/09 10:53AM
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On Classic Archimedes technical bible republished online:

The obvious alternative choice would be Ghostscript/GView.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 29/1/09 7:12PM
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On Go-faster stripes for PC-format media access app:

ninja: the fastest USB1.1 I have ever seen (raw transfers without FS overhead, hand-tuned driver) was 800 KB/s. Never underestimate USB protocol overheads and latency.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/1/09 11:01AM
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On A guide to overclocking Kinetic and StrongARM CPU cards:

I thought the Kinetic used a 64bit SODIMM with SDRAM and not DDR-RAM? Anyway, 66 MHz/64bit is the maximum the SA110 can do - if you want more to reduce memory latency, you would need additional logic on the card.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 9/1/09 2:28PM
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On GCC 4.1.1 port first release available:

It is really great that we finally have capable compiler technology available for RISC OS (even if the most important language, Ada, ist still not working properly). My thanks are going to the GCCSDK team. Great work.

On the other hand, it is also sad that it had to happen via a "hobbyist" approach. I think it was one of Acorn's biggest mistakes (and we all know that this is a rather tough competition!) to concentrate on their ageing Norcroft compiler technology, especially when it became clear that proper C++ will not happen. An engineer dedicated to "GCC on RISC OS" could have made a big difference.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 29/12/08 10:33AM
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On New RISC OS ownership claim may derail ROOL RiscPC ROM release:

Note the complete absence of an even slightly plausible story line from ROL.

People from Acorn/e14/Pace have said before that it is a laughable suggestion that the licence of ROL would include anything more than a licence to develop and sell RISC OS 4. Paul Middleton has repeatedly strengthened that claim when asked about other possibilities for ROL to make money (like sublicencing RO, selling it in a non-ROM form, selling it with an emulator).

So either PM is a liar, or he is completely incompetent (because he missed vital degrees of freedom in ROLs licence), or perhaps most likely Aaron is just making things up.

BTW, Aaron also said that the ROL's RISC OS licence does not give them any kind of exclusivity - at least this is it what he told me when questioning the legality of VirtualA5000 with its bundled RO3.1. Now it seems the story has changed again.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 10/12/08 1:48PM
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On Upgrade to RISC OS 4 for twenty quid:

Jess, Aaron explicitly said "exclusively owned". I don't think this is to be misunderstood.

It is amusing to imagine that for every e14/Pace/Tematic/Castle-financed commit to RO source repository, the copyright (i.e. ownership) has been automatically assigned to ROL. As I said, I would love to read a licence that tries to achieve this.

Not to forget the portions of RISC OS that were never owned by Acorn, but are now - according to Aaron - owned by ROL.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 7/12/08 7:34PM
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On Upgrade to RISC OS 4 for twenty quid:

If ROL was half as creative with their products than they are in interpreting their licence, we would be a lot better off now.

Especially the "RISC OS 5 is based on RISC OS 4 and therefore also owned by ROL" is so far from the truth that I wonder what credibility is left for Aaron, Dave and Paul. The history is well known, has repeatedly been published on Usenet by various ex-Acorn, ex-e14 and ex-Pace staff, and you can actually see it from the public CVS ROOL has provided to us.

It is however true that for a certain amount of time, ROL was obliged to give improvements back to the head licence owner, which was e-14, then Pace and now Castle. That this clause should now be responsible for a claim that *everything* in RISC OS is now owned by ROL is very amusing. I would love to read a licence agreement that tries to achieve this.

At least it never gets boring wrt RO licencing.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 7/12/08 1:14PM
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On Upgrade to RISC OS 4 for twenty quid:

There are many positive things about this upgrade. The availability as a softload with an easy way back to your original version is good - after all, people still using 3.5/3.6/3.7 probably do so because of compatibility issues, and forcing a ROM change won't make them happy.

I am also happy with the pricing. 20/30 GBP is a sensible price, and might motivate people to upgrade. Developers can now start assuming RO4 as the base level if necessary.

But I wonder what happened to the "only allowed to distribute as ROM" restriction in their licence which RO Ltd. always talked about.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 5/12/08 12:58PM
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On EeePCs and RPCEmu at ROUGOL:

Stoppers, you are mistaken. It explicitly allows emulator usage. It disallows "non-ARM-ports" however, but emulated ARMs are fine.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/11/08 9:18PM
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On New driver to read and write large USB storage devices:

The "no frontend" bit is quite misleading if you are not aware of the ins and outs of RISC OS filing system stuff.

In the case of any FS, the RISC OS Filer is your frontend when dealing with files and directories. However, typically all FSes also give you a "drive icon" to get to the root of your medium.

Jeffs FS does not do this and therefore relies on the command line to open the root filer window. And also lets you work out for yourself which of your "drives" has which number to get the command line syntax right.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/11/08 10:51AM
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On Iyonix range taken off the market:

I also believe that the idea of native hardware running RISC OS is dead. The reason is simple: there is no ARM processor on the market to give RISC OS the speed it needs (the IYO2-planned IOP342 is surely much much faster than the IOP321, but compared to x86 world, it would not really catch up) to compete with x86 world.

The idea of using a ready-made ARM machine and port RISC OS to it is interesting, but in practice of little value - RISC OS lacks most of the software interesting for portable use, and the ARM-powered machines are mostly small PDA types. In the future, I see x86 processors everywhere where RISC OS would make sense - Intel's Atom is IMHO destined to take a large segment of ARMs previous market because it is a lot faster and nearly as power-saving.

So we should (IMHO of course) concentrate on emulation and using x86 hardware/software to provide a stable, fast and cheap "hardware" platform. To make this happen in a sensible way, we really need a fully open-sourced RO5. Go, ROOL!

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 01/10/08 2:25PM
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On Wakefield 2008 show photos:


that looks excellent to me! Can't wait for the Big Drobe Comeback...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 09/07/08 3:22PM
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On Animation and typing applications really released:

Andrew: you obviously started too early with your work, being able to finish it between Thursday and Friday instead of the more usual Friday and Saturday ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 25/4/08 2:03PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC leaves beta:

stevek: I think you misunderstood. The RISC OS 4 ROMs were of course bought and properly paid for. RO Ltd. just think that it is illegal to use it in this specific context, for whatever reasons. They were not able to offer an alternative product they could sell.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/4/08 10:34PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC leaves beta:

rjek: under German law at least, the software is the licence is the "item". Its usage can't be arbitrarily restricted. Resale cannot be denied. The "licence to use" cannot be denied. The kind of hardware it is executed on cannot be defined. The customer has certain rights that no "licence" can take away. This includes e.g. making backups, reverse engineering the software to ensure compatibility and runnability etc.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 9:36PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC leaves beta:

arawnsley: "Using RO4+ ROM images on RPCemu is, I think, pretty much a blatent licence infingement, but hey, this is the RISC OS market - noone can afford to get litigious!!!"

Using a RISC OS 4 (or RISC OS Adjust or whatever) that was properly bought and is not used in another context is of course perfectly legal on any machine - including RPCemu.

Concerning Windows OEM licences: Microsoft's view of things have been tested in court (at least in Germany), and Microsoft lost. As a result, it is perfectly legal to resell OEM licences, and it is perfectly legal to do whatever the user wants after he has bought it (bundled or unbundled), including running it on a VM. I suspect the same rules also apply to RO4 bundled with V-RPC.

Moral: if you sell something, you can't arbitrarily restrict its usage.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 8:21PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC leaves beta:

arawnsley: just compare V-RPC with Windows XP running inside a VMWare virtual machine. See the difference?

Anyway, I am now mostly using Tom Walker's excellent RPCemu which does not have many of the obstructive limitations of V-RPC.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/4/08 11:23AM
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On Blu-ray disc burn breakthrough:

Thank you all for your creativity ;-)

Just calling it Burn is an idea I like very much. However, I think for the time being it will just keep its old name. I don't intend to sell the Blu-Ray-capable upgrade anyway, since I don't want to force users into paying for stuff they don't use - and I guess the number of users wanting to invest in a Blu-Ray writer will be very low. However, I will introduce a donation scheme for new features so that users can voluntarily donate for the new features they find valuable.

Much easier than changing the app's name whenever a new feature is introduced ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/4/08 10:57AM
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On VirtualRiscPC spotted on Linux:

mripley: yes, the mobile and low energy demands are indeed changing. But IMHO this will not result in ARMs catching up with x86 speed, but in x86 variants catching up with ARMs wrt. low energy demands. See Intel's new Atom. IMHO, ARM's better architecture won't be able to compensate the much better fabrication technology Intel (and AMD) is able to throw at the problem.

I don't see Linux succeeding in any major way in the market where RISC OS once was a viable solution (desktop). It is surely usable if you want to arbitrarily limit what you want to do - reminds me of RISC OS. And I can't see Microsoft losing market share in any meaningful way. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of niches where Linux is great, and I have multiple boxes running Linux at home (dBox2, Freecom NAS/Router, Ubuntu box for CVS, Codebeamer and Tomcat, VDR box). But I don't use them at all for the things I use RISC OS and Windows. In my mind, Linux and Windows are orthogonal, and most users' profile matches a lot better with Windows.

Apple is a whole different story. They sell mediocre products at premium prices because they are perceived as "cool" and "premium". I don't think we should try and repeat that.

Concerning WINE, I have followed its development for many years now, and I don't agree that it is "improving" and "catching up" with the state of Windows. In fact, compared to around 1999, the gap is widening.

So what does this mean for RISC OS? We have to "free" it from the ARM platform. The only meaningful way to do this is to use emulation - the apps we all use and love won't get rewritten, and it would be silly to try. The same goes for large parts of RISC OS. What we need is a powerful "Acorn-style hardware" emulator (partly already available - VRPC and RPCemu) and a lot of extensions that allow usage of parts of the host system (partly already available - see HostFS and networking in VRPC and RPCemu, the ATAPI extensions for VRPC).

In other words: the ARM code will act like Java's bytecode, and the host OS will act as the hardware abstraction layer. The opinions I hold of the virtues of Windows, Linux, MacOS or different processors are not really important, because the concept just works everywhere.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 2/4/08 6:05PM
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On VirtualRiscPC spotted on Linux:

"You might like to consider the possibility that ARM won't be particularly suitable for desktop class computers in the future."

I nominate this as the understatement of the decade. From both the user's and the developer's point of view the serious lack of speed (CPU, memory, I/O) is the most serious problem RISC OS faces since 15 years. While many of the comments above focus on the (lack of) architecture of RISC OS, it is not the biggest problem. Not by far. The world's best OS architecture running on an IYONIX would not be able to satisfy today's users needs when it comes to e.g. multimedia and browsing experience.

I would argue that today, no other cpu architecture than x86 can satisfy the user's desire for high performance and low price. And no other OS than Windows has the universal support for all those proprietory things - hardware drivers, codecs etc. The often mentioned "one true way into the future" of implementing RISC OS' GUI with Linux as a base would solve only very few problems.

So IMHO the only long-term chance for RISC OS to survive is to use Windows as an abstraction layer. VRPC and RPCemu are the first logical step in that direction, and the ROOL project is essential for this.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/3/08 11:43PM
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On RISC OS camps to discuss future development:

coling: I see no reason why the RO5 Castle Commercial Licence would be in any way not acceptable to ROL. There are a lot of reasons why ROL does not want to take advantage of this licence - the RO5 code base has sufficiently diverged from the ROL one that "porting" all of Select to RO5 is difficult and time consuming, effectively duplicating effort for not much gain (from the ROL viewpoint).

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/11/07 4:02PM
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On Building a RISC OS laptop out of Lego:

caliston2: ...not only volume, but also no RISC OS licence costs.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/11/07 9:02PM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

thesnark: yes, unfortunately RO Ltd. decided to not support the IYONIX, so for a significant share of RISC OS users, much of the time invested in the RO Ltd. branch could be described as "wasted". The same can be said of the Castle branch wrt RPC/A7000/VRPC/A9 users.

This is sad, but we are living with this kind of divergence for many years now. With the RISC OS Open initiative, at least the community itself has a chance to bridge the gap. The involved companies have already shown that they won't.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/10/07 2:05PM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

sa110: I expect much of the development on the RISC OS Open source to be runnable on other RISC OS versions than RO 5.

Until there is a RO 5 version for the old RPC architecture, the only way forward for the whole platform is to go the same way as Acorn did when they released the Nested Wimp, Castle when they released the 32bit SharedCLib and RO Ltd. when they released the Toolbox modules.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/10/07 1:41PM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

thesnark: I think the past has clearly shown that neither RO Ltd. nor Castle really have the development resources to take RISC OS forward. And both have no intention to make many of their developments available to the other party (and therefore to the whole RISC OS userbase).

I think it is highly unlikely that both branches of RISC OS will merge. Therefore, I see the RISC OS Open source soon becoming the de facto standard for all RISC OS users, since this will be the RISC OS branch which allows OS development for all users. In the long run, it will help to prevent future incompatibilities and future wheel reinvention.

I believe this is the only way forward for RISC OS. The only way to bridge the gap between the currently existing branches. The only way to attract new users.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/10/07 1:08AM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:

rmac: I am not so sure if tackling the disc size problem at the native access end is our best bet. As Druck said, we would need to replace Filecore for 1 TB HDs anyway, and then there are the hardware limitations (UDMA limit on IYONIX, no UDMA on A9 and Omega, PIO0 on RiscPC). For IYONIX and Omega, this would be theoretically solvable by writing a driver for one of the S-ATA PCI controllers, but it would be difficult to be able to boot from such a disc.

Maybe the best idea would be to leave the native HD access as it is and focus on NAS technology. We already have a very competent and fast NFS client, what we need is an optimized IP stack and an updated SMB client. With the IYONIX' gigabit networking, transfer rates of 40 MB/s should be possible, so it's in the same ballpark than native UDMA.

Of course, extending Fileswitch to handle files > 2GB would be necessary in any case.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/10/07 11:37AM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

Unavailability of facts and a proper announcement has never ever stopped a discussion ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/10/07 02:11AM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

riscosopen: Steve, I agree with you that such licences do exist (full transfer of IP and copyright). However, I am very sure that such a licence would never be signed in this particular case, since it would defeat the very point of providing an updated PS driver for RISC OS. If you reread what Martin has written over the years about this project, this is very clear.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/10/07 2:35PM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

riscosopen: I think you are seriously confused wrt licencing and copyright. If Martin and John are producing new code, they have the copyright and can add that code free of any limitations to both the ROL and the open version of the software. What they probably (depending on the contract they had to sign to get access to the ROL sources) couldn't do is transfering existing code from the ROL to the open version. However, since both versions should be more or less equal, that wouldn't be sensible anyway.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/10/07 9:56AM
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On PostScript overhaul project reports progress:

Martin always made it very clear that the resulting work would be available to all RISC OS users - this is the only sensible way of doing it, so I am sure it will be done that way.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 15/10/07 7:12PM
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On ARM reveals new 1GHz multi-core processor:

Seems to be off-topic week in RISC OS land (see csa.apps for the worst example so far), so I'll just continue with that theme - after all, I don't remember a peak oil discussion on Drobe ;-)

"Life after the oil crash" is just another peak oil/doomsday site that can be found all over the 'net. As with all peak oilers I have met (and discussed) so far, they don't understand the basic things of the most important topics: substitutability, production technology and market mechanisms. However, they are excellent in understanding how to build up straw men. And - apart from promoting their doomsday literature - they also like to quote the "peak oil heroes", Campbell and Simmons. Both are predicting peak oil since the 80s, and both were proven wrong time and again by that ugly thing called reality.

The most important thing to understand why peak oil won't be an issue is production technology. Thanks to BTL and CTL, it is (at today's oil price!) possible to substitute oil with biomass and coal. The reason why this is not happening yet is a sure signal that the current oil price is considered to be vastly inflated by investors. And I guess they are mostly right.

Oil is used today for two major applications: heating and transportation. In Germany, heating is responsible for around 45% of oil consumption, transportation for around 50% and all the rest (mostly chemical industry) for 5%. If we experience a major price rise, we can easily substitute the heating part by other means (electricity (heat pumps), solar-thermal, natural gas, district heating). We already produce 5% of our oil consumption from biomass, so that'll cater for the chemical industry and agricultural stuff. The transportation part is the most difficult, but there is enough technology in the pipeline that will become viable once the oil is expensive enough (natural gas, much fuel consumption reduction technology (plug-in hybrids, lightweight construction), fuel cells), and of course reducing our mileage is always easily possible.

Anyway, even if peak oil would happen tomorrow, it wouldn't help RISC OS significantly - there are equally power-efficient processors in x86 land available (e.g. AMD Geode and VIA Eden), and there are more powerful OSes available for ARM. So there it is again, the niche problem...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 08/10/07 6:13PM
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On Java and RISC OS:

lproven: only very few things in OpenOffice actually need Java (see OpenOffice FAQ), the rest is a big heap of C/C++.

However, the important question remains. How much time and effort would it take to bring it to a usable state? Even on the multi-GHz x86 platform, people describe many Java applications as "sluggish". Now think about a minimal Java port using ChoX11 and remember how the Firefox port "feels" on the fastest RISC OS hardware we have. Now extrapolate and think about Eclipse...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 23/9/07 11:09AM
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On Java and RISC OS:

Actually, getting Eclipse running would perhaps be the only possibility of getting a proper IDE on RISC OS. And it runs OK-ish with a heap size of 400 MB, so 512 MB would be enough for most uses.

However, I guess most people (including me) just use their PC for development and compilation anyway...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/9/07 11:14AM
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On Java and RISC OS:

BTW, I think the article is a bit confusing regarding the versioning of Java. This is not a surprise, since Java versioning itself is extremely confusing!

Usually, it is best to use the "internal" numbering which is what the JVM itself reports. A quick overview (J2SE only - adding J2EE to the equation makes things incredibly complicated!) including some comments on usage:

1.0.2 - first usable Java - this is what Acorn's Java originally implemented ("Riscafe"). Not used anymore.

1.1.x - this was integrated into Netscape and Internet Explorer and therefore used for a long time in applets. The first implementation of Swing was based on 1.1.x and was distributed as a seperate package. Only seldomly used nowadays.

1.2.x - called "The Java 2 platform" by Sun. Acorn's new Java was planned to be a 1.2.x implementation, but was only nearly finished. Swing is included.

1.3.x - Sun started using the "Hotspot JVM" with this release, a dynamically-recompiling JVM

1.4.x - this is in some way important since 1.4.2 is the first Java where Swing uses "native peers" to draw its elements, to be able to mimik Windows XP Look&Feel. Additionally, assertions were added to the language. This is IMHO still the most-used version and the baseline spec for many targets (later JREs can be used of course to run such 1.4.x compatible software)

1.5.x - now the confusion starts...Sun calls this "Java 5". For the first time, interesting language elements were added like generics, type-safe enumerations and autoboxing. The Sun JVM introduces Class Data Sharing to reduce memory footprint and startup times (two sore points for Java Desktop usage)

1.6.x - consequently called "Java 6". The first version to look sensibly on the Vista Aero GUI

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/9/07 1:05PM
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On Java and RISC OS:

Considering the whole IT landscape, I don't agree with Rob at all. In corporate environments, Java is extremely popular on the client side, including applets for rich web-based stuff. Many new clients seem to be using the Eclipse RCP. A lot of clients using J2EE stuff on AppServers are written in Java.

However, this is exactly the market where RISC OS is non-existent. So if we narrow our view down to "Current RISC OS", I agree with Rob. A readily available Java for RISC OS, no matter how good it is, would add very little new functionality for the average RISC OS user. There are a few cool Java applications around (like ProjectX and Eclipse of course), but nothing "essential" for RISC OS users.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/9/07 12:43PM
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On Java and RISC OS:

Since my daytime job is entirely Java-based, I always keep an eye on possible solutions with a potential of getting RISC-OS-ifyed.

The problem of getting Java onto RISC OS is really a three-tier problem:

1) We need a Java Virtual Machine. There are quite a few of them around, and some even have been ported to ARM platforms. SableVM and Kaffe are the obvious candidates. The OpenJDK project talked about porting the Sun Hotspot JVM onto ARM, this would be the best solution, since for client-side code, the Hotspot JVM is generally regarded to be the fastest.

2) We need an implementation of the "native connectors" for the rest of the Java code. Typical areas are AWT, Java2D, Audio, File system, Networking, Printing, process/thread management (intertwined with JVM) etc. - apart from Sun's OpenJDK efforts, there is the GNU Classpath project which aims at a portable solution for different platforms and a complete clean-room reimplementation of the Java API.

3) We need a distribution of the packaged JVM, native code and Java code.

The final problem: an "unofficial" port can't be called "Java" at all, since only Sun can give you a licence to use the name. However, there is currently quite a bit of work done to open up this process (google TCK if you are interested).

So, a minimal solution would be to port SableVM along with the X11 GNU Classpath stuff (with the help of ChoX11) - on other platforms, this is good enough to run Eclipse, so already far beyond an "experimental" state. Then we'll probably find out that everything is horribly slow - for a usable Java environment, I would guess that a lot of work optimizing both the JVM and the graphical libraries would be needed.

Finally, a "proper" solution would require a RISC OS-native AWT implementation, an SWT implementation and a RISC OS Look&Feel for Swing.

To sum it up: it's a lot of work. IMHO - beyond the "minimal solution" which mostly builds on the excellent work done by the GCCSDK developers - much more work than the RISC OS community can realistically do. To get everything into a usable state, it would need a dedicated team and quite a lot of time - think of NetSurf and then add even more.

I'm not sure if it's worth it. Personally, I think this kind of manpower would be more useful if dedicated to projects like NetSurf, GCCSDK/UPP or the Open Source RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/9/07 11:13AM
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On Samsung's 533MHz A9home CPU successor:

The article is a slightly bit misleading: it says "USB 2 provided as standard", however it is only a USB 2 Device that is provided, the USB Host is still 1.1, so no real progress when thinking about using it in a new A9-type computer.

However, an increase in clock speed is surely welcomed.

Looking at the Samsung roadmap however it all strikes me as "too little, too late" concerning the RISC OS desktop market. I wonder why they cancelled their Halla/Sorak projects - they initially promised a 3 GHz ARM10 in 2004...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/8/07 3:54PM
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On Early Soundblaster Live Iyonix driver released:

I have seen variants called SB0100 which are also 3.3V compatible and are also described as having an "EMU-10K1" processor. Any idea if those will also work?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 07/08/07 4:40PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

Rob: since Select is softloading anyway, there is no need for it to go "on the metal" at all - just like the Linux port available, RISC OS 5 will have set up everything nicely. Apart from that, the IYONIX does not use "magic hardware" anywhere, just bog-standard stuff.

It is of course not sensible to replace the whole RISC OS 5 stuff with the typical "Select softloading mechanism" which just replaces the whole OS. You'd have to reinvent a lot of stuff that works just fine (USB drivers, nVidia drivers, IDE/ATAPI stuff). I guess the way much of the Select extensions were done is pretty much incompatible with the idea of softloading only a few parts of it over another RISC OS version. Which is just too bad for RISCOS Ltd. in the current situation.

Anyway, there is still a lot of Select stuff which should be portable in a modular way to extend RISC OS 5 with minimal changes - the whole ImageFile* architecture and with it !Paint, the thumbnailing filer, CDFS, networking stack, alpha channel and CMYK sprites... problematic things would surely include the window manager changes (round buttons) and perhaps the system-wide cut&paste&drag of textfield content.

I am quite sure that the money from 130 additional Select subscribers would be more than enough for the work needed to provide such an "IYONIX Select". So we end up with the same conclusion as always: RO Ltd. could do it, but they don't want to do it. For whatever reasons.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/7/07 2:59PM
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On Who wants LaTeX export in TechWriter?:

Last time I have used LaTeX was in 1998 for my diploma thesis. It did not use much of LaTeX, basically only the chapter/section structures, the odd formula, some EPS graphics and BibTeX for the literature references. For such a scenario, I could imagine a rather slick TechWriter export feature - but there are so many different LaTeX packages around that expand the capabilities significantly, so I guess it would be quite difficult to tackle import/export in a "generic" way.

Judging a LaTeX import/export feature from a commercial point of view, I guess it could only be successful if you generate new users from other systems (especially Linux), which means you really need a zero-cost emulation environment to be competitive - nowadays, I just can't imagine anyone buying a complete RISC OS system just to use one application!

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 9/7/07 12:53PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

I think that porting RISC OS to another platform is - in the forseeable future - a silly thing to do. It only solves one of the basic RISC OS problems (price and speed of the hardware platform), and creates a few new problems. Running RISC OS on another platform via emulation however is very sensible, since it is capable of solving every RISC OS problem without creating new ones. Maybe Castle and ROOL also see this and just want to make sure that no effort is wasted in such a direction - after all, they have explicitly mentioned "emulation" as being allowed.

The picture I have in mind is a host OS as the "virtual machine" which provides the hardware abstraction, and RISC OS running on it.

There is so much to do in every part of RISC OS - let's just start the work instead of endlessly discussing the fine details of the licence. We have now the chance to improve major components of RISC OS for the benefit of all users out there.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/5/07 12:42PM
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On Castle reveal shared source licence:

Generally (if I have understood the legalese correctly) I think that the licence is a lot more liberal than expected by many of us.

The problems will start as soon as someone is trying to misunderstand the part "reasonably be considered an independent and separate work".

At first sight, I'm quite happy with it. Only the "ARM clause" seems to be a bit strange. I'm not sure what the legal status of e.g. an ARM JIT would be.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/5/07 11:34PM
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On ROL ship second Select 4 release:

I have not followed Select development too closely after my subscription ended (I wanted to resubscribe once the IYONIX is supported - still waiting for that...), so correct me if I'm wrong.

In 2002, we got Select 1 with major new features like DHCP, Joliet-capable CDFS and Multi-user boot. Also in 2002 (followed by a bug-fix release in 2003), Select 2 was released with major new features like CMYK sprites, new !Paint, the ImageFileRenderer/Converter system and mouse wheel support. In 2003 (followed by a bug fix release in 2004), Select 3 was released with major new features like Cut&Paste for writable icons, alpha-channel sprites, the thumbnailing filer and round buttons.

And now, in 2007, the major new feature that is announced is...multimedia keyboard support? Obviously the 32bitting and hardware abstraction work was time-consuming, but after all, the majority of paying users does not gain much from it (and Mico/RiscStation/Omega-owning subscribers have gained an incompatible new version from it), and it has been said that the work was being paid by Ad6 for the A9home. So what has been paid by the subscribers between 2004 and 2007? Or was there a subscription extension that I have not heard of?

Hopefully the new release signals a "new beginning" for RISCOS Ltd. and their customers.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/5/07 3:42PM
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On File sharing Bit Torrent client ported to RISC OS:

CDVDBurn's support for >2GB files is rather simple, transforming a file into a directory with n 2GB parts whenever necessary, and back if no longer necessary. To use it comfortably, there is only an Ada lib available at the moment ;-)

Judging by my experiences, fixing the OS is indeed a much much better plan.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/3/07 9:38PM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

Andrew: I don't think a customer relationship qualifies for the term "community".

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/03/07 5:35PM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:

There is just one golden rule to stay happy in any given community: ignore the idiot(s). Works fine for me. Sometimes, you discuss things with idiots. Just forget their comments after a short while and continue to be happy. No problem really.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/03/07 3:53PM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

I have just uploaded the beta version of CDVDBurn with DVD-RAM support enabled to the hubersn Software website. It is provided via the usual "Upgrader" mechanism - check the CDVDBurn docs if you have forgotten how to upgrade (it has been a long time...)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/2/07 1:08AM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

hEgelia: the one extremely interesting thing happening in the Cino project (at least for my usage ;-)) was the UDMAing of ATAPI access in ADFS. Unfortunately, Adrian seems to have spent a lot of time creating the DVDFS (duplicating what CDROMFS already provides) and the MPEG2 decoding stuff (too slow for full speed playback) which is - now that development seems to have stopped - basically a lost cause. I really hope Adrian will be here in a minute and correct me...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/2/07 7:01PM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

guestx: Since we don't have UDF support (limited read support available via CDROMFS), it is a bit theoretical to talk about MtRainier usage, and to be honest the whole "incremental writing" stuff since the first CD-R is a bit of a mess, and firmware competence is - erm - varying. The problems in incremental writing are always the last that get fixed, since only few users seem to be interested.

The nice thing about DVD-RAM is its automatic defect management. The software is always presented a continuously writable array of sectors, and the drive in cooperation with the medium does the hard work to map out physically damaged sectors - therefore, even direct filecore or whatever FS usage is feasible. DVD+RW does not provide this, and you have to worry about its "16 sectors always written at once" behaviour and its "no more than 1000 writes on every 16 sector block" problem - UDF therefore tries to spread its writes over the whole surface, constantly moving around its directory data etc. DVD-RW is even more complicated due to its limited "direct overwrite" capability - just read the MMC5 standard to get an idea about it. Its complexity however is easily surpassed by BluRay...

I stopped worrying about UDF when the 1.50 spec came out which was incredibly complex - writing an UDF for RISC OS from scratch seems to be an impossible thing given the limited developer time available. The only sensible approach would be to port the Linux UDF stuff. Any takers?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/2/07 6:45PM
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On CDVDBurn to support DVD-RAM:

The phrase "harddisc-like DVD writing" is a bit misleading. I have not implemented a filecore filing system for DVD-RAM, but have added a specific writing method inside CDVDBurn for DVD-RAM writing just like DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW before. So your written DVD-RAM will be read by standard CDFS and contains whatever CD/DVD format you chose for your image (usually ISO9660+Joliet).

If someone wants to implement a filecore fs for DVD-RAM, please contact me - writing to DVD-RAM is really (comparatively) easy, the only stumbling block would be the 2048 bytes/sector size which is not supported natively by filecore.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/2/07 12:19PM
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On Thunderbird 'demo' port released:

It is certainly a good thing that we finally have a free IMAP-capable solution available (I say that without actually checking if the current port really does IMAP...).

And I think that, for serious usage, the ChoX11 lib is still a long way off before being a real alternative for "native" RISC OS software - Thunderbird is a lot more "UI" reliant than Firefox, so its "non-nativeness" will always be more obvious to the average user.

Of course I don't know precisely what state ChoX11 is in, and I don't know how much "RISC OS nativeness" can be added at the layer it operates.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 31/1/07 4:32PM
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On Best of 2006 awards results:

I have not used Firefox much on my IYONIX, but at first glance, its perceived "slowness" does not come from the processing requirements of modern HTML/CSS/JavaScript parsing/layouting/executing stuff. In fact, I think that this part would be fast enough on a StrongARM Risc PC.

However, the user interface part is - probably because of the way ChoX11 works (or better: has to work) - non-responsive. As we all know, non-responsiveness of the user interface is perceived as "slowness". Plain drawing speed on the screen is not too bad and certainly not the problem.

So overall I would suspect that the parsing/layouting/drawing part would run OK-ish on a StrongARM Risc PC - after all, there are people who used Webster XL on an ARM610. But without optimizations in the user interface part (e.g. keyboard entry, scrollbar handling, dialogue operation, font rendering), there is really no point in providing a Risc PC port.

I guess Peter's first priority is ensuring correct operation above fast operation of ChoX11, and I agree with this priority. It remains to be seen how much optimization can be done on the ChoX11 layer - I am not really qualified to comment on this.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 02/01/07 3:26PM
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On Castle directors patch up 'disagreement':

ROOL stated before that they needed to finalize the licence details first before anything else could happen. So Aaron's rather unfriendly words have changes precisely nothing at all, since they now have provoked an answer which tells us what we already know: that the licence details need to be finalized first.

I find it very amusing that, two months after the initial announcement, people already complain about slowness. After all, no promise was made for the date of the first part of the source release. And everything which takes less than a year from announcement to release is rather fast in RISC OS world. See Vantage, Omega, Select...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/11/06 11:27AM
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On RISC OS 6 Select 4 preview released:

John: at the moment, it looks like the old Select customers who haven't received anything other than slight bugfixing since September 2003 are now only getting a "preview" which is not really usable on some previously supported platforms (Omega, VirtualRPC, Viewfinder-RPC) as well as everyone-thought-to-be-supported-platforms (A9). Three years of subscription money for nothing is a bit expensive IMHO. Plenty of reasons to bash RO Ltd. for.

The 32bitting, hardware abstracting, modularizing etc. is surely a good idea, but you can't keep your customers happy with these things, especially since the first three Select releases arrived in a timely manner and with user-visible progress.

The only fair thing for RO Ltd. to do would be to extend all subscriptions renewed after Sept. 2003 until the next Select release. Giving access to a "preview" is just not good enough. Financially, this should be possible since RO Ltd. told us that Ad6 paid for the things that brought Select 3 up to RISC OS Six.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 27/11/06 2:47PM
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On TechWriter to get Word 2k export:

JGZimmerle: AFAIK, there is no ODF import/export for anything else than Word2007 available yet, and even that looks highly experimental. Microsoft have apparently promised to provide the ODF import/export free of charge for all Word versions, but they have promised stuff like that before and failed to deliver.

I remember many attempts of the past to get to a generic import/export format, and they all failed for various reasons. As far as I can see, for a minority platform like RISC OS, the scarce development resources should be put into something that is usable *now* and not something that might be usable in a year or two. Fact is that future Word versions will still be able to import/export Word2000 format, so it looks like a good idea to implement better support for native Word format. I am also fairly sure that the improvement from Word95/75 to Word2000 format is perhaps 50 times easier than implementing something rather complicated as ODF.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 27/11/06 10:46AM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

Bryan: I was able to read DVDs on the IYONIX with very early versions of the OS, possibly even 5.00. At the time of the release of the Foundation DVD, the IYONIX could certainly read DVDs. The same is true for RISC OS 3.7 and RISC OS 4.0x by the way, something which was also deemed impossible in the RO Ltd. Foundation DVD press release.

I made it clear to RO Ltd. as soon as their announcement was made that it was untrue - after all, statements like this would do potential harm to my business. Indeed, I spent considerable time explaining the truth to confused users. Thank you RO Ltd. for making the life of a software developer even more difficult.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 19/11/06 2:09PM
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On Firefox 2 will be Iyonix-only:

AMS: The Foundation DVD works fine on the IYONIX as long as you have a compatible DVD drive (and you can make it to work even with an incompatible DVD drive if you have CDVDBurn). Even after being told, RO Ltd. continued their misleading advertising for reasons only known to PM. I made the facts very clear when Chris asked me at Wakefield 2005, but I don't think the truth about this issue was never published on Drobe.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/11/06 5:51PM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:

And, for the fourth year, they are telling IYONIX users the following: "We are still planning on producing a version of RISC OS Select for Iyonix users. Iyonix users may contribute to the development of RISC OS Six by renewing their Select subscriptions. New Iyonix users who wish to join the Select scheme will have to pay the same initial subscription prices as those listed above for other users. "

Or, slightly paraphrased in my own words: "Give us your money, but we won't promise you get something for it." The only sensible advice for IYONIX users is to cancel their subscription as soon as possible.

And I guess those whose subscription ran out during June 2005 and July 2006 will be delighted to hear that they will be able to download a pre-release version for their subscription fee - the rest of their money presumably went into financing the A9 version of RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/10/06 7:24PM
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On ROL publish Select docs for free:

Very good news. Better late than never. And perhaps the only reliable source when it comes to customers deciding whether Select is worthwhile or not - after all, ROLs feature lists are useless for new customers.

Hopefully the clear structure of the "PRM" part of ROLs website will be used as a model for the rest of the Select stuff on the website (including the dead links).

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/10/06 1:49PM
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On RISC OS 5 source code release revealed:

Peter: of course someone has thought about the emulation situation, as you can find out when reading all those well-thought-out comments by developers.

Oh btw, thank you Chris for leaving out a significant part of my statement without even indicating it. Is that the standard of journalism we can expect from Drobe nowadays?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 04/10/06 3:42PM
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On Intel wheels out 1.2GHz XScale family:

I don't think that the PCI graphics inside the current IYONIX is a problem. I don't think that a slower-than-the-fastest-PC PCIex graphics inside a hypothetical IYONIX II would be a problem.

But I am sure that a doubling in clock speed, much faster RAM access and (for the first time in ARM history, at least as I remember it) a comparatively large L2 cache would give us a large performance boost comparable to the ARM2 -> ARM3, ARM710 -> StrongARM and the StrongARM -> Iyonix upgrade.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/9/06 2:41PM
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On Intel wheels out 1.2GHz XScale family:

I don't think that the PCI graphics inside the current IYONIX is a problem. I don't think that a slower-than-the-fastest-PC PCIex graphics inside a hypothetical IYONIX II would be a problem.

But I am sure that a doubling in clock speed, much faster RAM access and (for the first time in ARM history, at least as I remember it) a comparatively large L2 cache would give us a large performance boost comparable to the ARM2 -> ARM3, ARM710 -> SA and the SA -> Iyonix upgrade.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 28/9/06 2:39PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

I'm not sure why we are still discussing IYONIX Select. The last Select newsletter made this IMHO very clear. It said the same as PM has said since the release of the IYONIX: ROL will not commit to producing IYONIX Select. But everyone should subscribe to Select of course because this is the only chance of ever getting IYONIX Select.

In other words: give us your money, but don't expect to receive anything for it. Just the same as the last few years of Select.

I was a big fan of Select when it was announced: sensible ideas, good release schedule, value for money. Unfortunately, since the release of Select 3, there is nothing left of those qualities. The implementation of Adjust32 for the A9 with the help of the money from the Select subscribers was just the final nail in the coffin.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/09/06 10:19PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

The reason that burning a DVD takes 80 minutes on an IYONIX is that CD devices are talked to via PIO mode 0. If this was upgraded to UDMA33, we would be on par with x86 PC performance. Remember the massive performance boost when HD access was UDMA'ed back in 2003?


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 23/8/06 2:15PM
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On CinoDVD project paused:

Don't bother with DVDFS - we already have a DVD filing system (confusingly called CDROMFS) which would just need to bypass the bloody CDFS driver stuff for better device compatibility. Ian, do you hear me ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/8/06 10:34AM
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On Castle considering open sourcing RISC OS:

The unanswered question for me is the following: it might well be that relicencing of parts of RISC OS is not easy or even not allowed (I heard much the same from a variety of people). But is there a need to relicence? The real question is whether there is a restriction on the group of people allowed to see and change the source. One could think of various "pseudo open source" arrangements like Castle operating a CVS server, people who want to have access have to apply and are given the status of a Castle employee.

Also, licencing could be the same as it is now, with vastly reduced prices. As Jack put it: "a small royalty". I doubt that the licencing restrictions on most of RISC OS would preclude an arrangement like this.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 15/8/06 11:20AM
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On Ex-Pace staff back RISC OS Open Ltd:

Richard: since the "speed gap" has widened ever since the days of the ARM3, I have very little hope for a true ARM-based high power solution. We had two phases of "catch up", namely the StrongARM and the XScale, but overall we have been losing ground all the way since 1992. And you don't even have to talk about floating point performance. And it's not only CPU power, but also I/O power.

Emulation is our only way out of this misery. Current VirtualRPC versions on available, cheap PC hardware already outperform the IYONIX in nearly all areas, and judging by past performance, it is very unlikely that we will ever see a new ARM CPU that could even start to close this gap.

Emulation has also the advantage of relieving us from fighting the hardware. The underlying OS does all the hard stuff already, so we can dedicate our sparse resources to OS and application development. How long have RISC OS users dreamt of being able to use any old printer or scanner or USB device with their machine? With emulation, this scenario is possible with a minimal amount of work. Think about all the developer hours spent to get the IYONIX working with the USB card and the graphics card. The time spent to get many of the printers, scanners and USB sticks to work. This is time that would have been better spent in OS and app development.

To me, emulation could do for RISC OS what the PC card did for the Risc PC - you choose to use RISC OS for what it's best at, and have a fallback available for the things that RISC OS has no software. For many non-interactive processes (think e.g. MPEG2 encoding), RISC OS could be used to control the underlying PC to do the number crunching. We would end up with a kind of hybrid computing solution that would keep the good things and throw out the expensive, unreliable and slow things.

Note: this is the analysis for the classic "desktop market" only. It is vastly different for the PDA and embedded market, which I could envision as niche markets where RISC OS and ARM solutions could still be successful in its current state.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 12/07/06 2:08PM
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On Ex-Pace staff back RISC OS Open Ltd:

Josh: don't worry too much. The tested drives work just fine with the recommended media (DVD+R and DVD+RW). I am trying to add sensible DVD-R support and trying to improve compatibility with DVD-RW. And I am constantly failing.

But even with the working media types +R and +RW, it is still highly frustrating having to wait for 80 minutes for one DVD.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 12/07/06 11:31AM
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On Ex-Pace staff back RISC OS Open Ltd:

RichardHallas: overall, I agree with most of what you said. But remember: the things that you described as "high end applications" are bog-standard stuff on other systems. So the "new, modern software" you demand needs either a lot more developers than RISC OS ever had in the past, or it needs at least the same hardware performance as the competition to be able to take advantage of ported software.

While ChoX11 is IMHO a brilliant idea and well-engineered, it can't be the sole solution for our problems, even if it would be "perfect" and accompanied by RISC OS layers of other graphics toolkits. Imagine a world where we would be able to port all open source software by just starting a compile, and the result would fit perfectly into the RISC OS application world. Would it help gaining new users? Very unlikely, because those apps would run a lot slower than on the competing machines, which are also less expensive.

Without significantly faster hardware, we have lost the battle for the new, modern software before we even start to write the first line of code. Sure, we could do a lot with the current hardware. But this is nowhere near enough to win new users.

Sorry to sound so pessimistic. I have just wasted more hours testing CDVDBurn just to find out that the IYONIX DVD writing speed is much too slow for current drives and media. And to solve this problem, it would only need a bit of software, not a completely new machine - but it hasn't happened in the last four years. This is part of the reason why I nowadays think that going down the "pure emulation route" would be very benefical - at least, we would automatically profit from much of the hard work and parts of the hardware progress done outside the RISC OS community. That's a lot more than the progress we got since the launch of the IYONIX. Both the hardware and the software gap are widening fast.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/7/06 5:23PM
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On Ex-Pace staff back RISC OS Open Ltd:

Besides OS and application development we also desperately need hardware development. The IYONIX was great in 2002, but all we got up to 2006 is the A9home which is not really a step forward if we talk about horse power.

Maybe emulation is really the way to go in absence of any significant new (fast) ARM CPU. It has the potential to save significant development time because we don't have to fight the hardware (which consumes large amounts of development time - see USB, mass storage, graphics card, printers, scanners, CD/DVD drivers...).


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 10/7/06 5:40PM
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On RISC OS 3 caught running on Amiga hardware:

Cineroma is heavily based on open source codecs, so I am not sure if it would be compatible in any way with an "exclusive licence". Apart from that, the idea that payment from RO Ltd. could allow anyone working in the "real world software development market" doing RISC OS work is ludicrous. If they had 1000 Select subscribers, their yearly subscribtion fees would not even pay for one man year of development.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/5/06 9:55AM
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On VirtualAcorn expand emulator range:

I really hope that those "arrangements" are not the same than the ones Cerilica made for Vantage.

Apart from the usage protection employed by VRPC, I am very happy with the product, and it is certainly nice to see it progressing.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/5/06 8:41AM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

Tony: yes, VA are open about the fact that there is a copy protection mechanism and that activation is needed. However, they are not open about the fact that minor reconfiguration of your machine needs recativation, and that they don't guarantee any kind of turnaround time for activation key supply.

I can only hope that competition from the open source software side (aka RPCEmu) will let them see the light.

Alex: changing the MAC address of a networking card that is only allowed to enter an intranet when its MAC address is correct is surely a non-working solution.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/4/06 6:53PM
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On Dispute over 'intrusive' VRPC copy protection:

The worst thing about the V-RPC copy protection is that it relies on the MAC addresses of the various networking devices connected to your PC. If you have say a laptop and add a PCMCIA networking card to it, V-RPC will refuse to run with the same unlock code.

I had exactly that problem on a customer's site some time ago. Late in the evening, we encountered a problem which I already had a solution for under RISC OS. However, to be able to connect to the customer's intranet, we also needed a special networking card which was the very reason why V-RPC would refuse to start.

The new unlock code came two days later, when we already solved the problem using a different, more lengthy approach. The resulting loss of money for the two companies involved would have paid for rather a lot of copies of V-RPC.

The lesson to be learned is that if you have a turnaround time for unlocking the software you have sold of more than a few minutes, then allow the app to run un-unlocked for your worst-case turnaround time. Even Microsoft understood that with WinXP product activation, even though I am sure that they could guarantee faster turnaround times. It is a matter of respect for your customer.

The other lesson is: never rely on any piece of software to be available when you need it if it employs an unlock code scheme.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/4/06 12:00PM
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On RiscPC emulator for Linux lands:

arenaman: if you want to blame someone for the near-death of native hardware, blame it on the guys who failed to deliver any kind of ARM processor that is much faster than what the IYONIX uses. According to the old MPF presentation from Samsung, we should have a 3 GHz ARM10 variant by now - where is it?

Castle did a fine job creating (or taking over) the basics for not-prohibitively-expensive hardware development - a hardware abstracted OS. Unfortunately, the only thing they have not abstracted away is the ARM processor.

Since the delivery of the StrongARM, the gap between x86 based processors and ARM processors has been widening. I don't think that it is very likely that ARM processors will catch up again. Therefore, the emulation idea is inherently sensible. Whether selling an OS for an emulator is generating enough money to keep on developing the OS - I'm not sure. It would at least reduce the cost of development significantly, since the many man hours spent into fine-tuning graphic card drivers and USB stuff could be saved.

The only real problem I see is that going completely emulated will suddenly shift the goalposts for software developers significantly. Certain "classes" of software will no longer be sellable into the RISC OS market. It remains to be seen whether this will pose a problem.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 29/3/06 10:45AM
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On Select subscribers offered fig leaf:

The article is now quite different than it was when I commented on it (including a headline change!), and there is no indication of that change and when it happened. Is that the new Drobe style?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/3/06 5:05PM
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On Select subscribers offered fig leaf:

I am not sure why Paul tries to name the simple fact that there was no new code released to Select subscribers since mid 2004 as "rumour" and "misinformation". Looks a lot like another round of cheap excuses, which we continue to see wrt IYONIX Select.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/3/06 12:36PM
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On New USB radio driver developed:

Fuzzy: Yes, there are indeed TV receivers available with USB. One of them is the Plextor PX-TV402U (aka ConvertX PVR), which is able to convert analog audio/video into various MPEG variants ready for VCD, SVCD and DVD as well as a DivX variant.

Driver source for Linux is available. If someone wants to have a go, I would be interested in sponsoring the development.

Unfortunately, there is no variant available with a DVB receiver.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/2/06 1:09PM
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On Copying vinyl to CDs:

hEgelia: it is sensible to use a high quality A/D for sampling any kind of audio signal, and it is very likely that the A/D inside the CD recorder is a lot better than any old AC97 chipset (remember the 48kHz/44.1kHz resampling problem?). After you've got in in CD format, you can still rip it on your computer and do anything you like.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 13/2/06 3:48PM
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On Ovation Pro on Windows overtakes RISC OS original:

highlandcattle: I guess we are talking about "David Pilling's software" and not exclusively about OvationPro. In the article, David himself refers to Spark as one possible product he could have done quite early on in the history of MacOS and Windows.

Seeing how much money is generated today by tools like WinZip, I am inclined to agree with him. Other obvious candidates include I****M*****, ArcFax, Ovation and Hearsay.

Unfortunately, the Drobe Article has missed the IMHO most important part of David's analysis of cross plattform work: there are a lot of things that are quite easy on RISC OS, but hard on Windows. There are also a lot of things that are quite easy on Windows, but hard on RISC OS. If you develop your software on both systems, you have to do all the hard stuff on both systems. I can understand that this is a highly frustrating thing.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 27/1/06 3:21PM
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On PCI serial port card driver available:

Usage of a PCI networking card with the same chipset as the one on board (Intel PRO/1000) is also possible IIRC.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 24/1/06 9:46AM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

Chris, I don't think it is very likely that RO Ltd. got their market range extended between June 2003 (when I talked to PM) and July 2003 (when Castle bought RISC OS from Pace).

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/01/06 7:06PM
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On Castle rattles licensing sabre at 32bit RISC OS 4:

I think it was the RISCOS Expo 2003 when I spoke to Paul Middleton about their RISC OS licencing, because I was very surprised when the MicroDigital Alpha was launched - after all, it was only an "emulated system", and RO Ltd. always refused to licence RISC OS for emulators.

He explained very precisely the restrictions of RISCOS Ltd.'s RISC OS licence. One of those restrictions was that it was only allowed to licence RISC OS for a complete hardware package - like the RiscStation, the Mico and the A7000(+)/RiscPC machines before. There was no restriction concerning the hardware itself. So licencing RISC OS for the Alpha laptops was within the rights granted by their RISC OS licence, but there could never be a general "software only" licence for use with emulators.

Another important restriction PM told me about was that every hardware manufacturer wanting a RISC OS licence needed an official approval for their hardware. PM said that it was necessary that Pace authorised every piece of hardware before it could be sold with a RISC OS licence. This was independantly verified when talking to David Atkins (for the Mico) and Roy Heslop (for the RiscStation).

If RISCOS Ltd.'s licence hasn't changed since then (and I haven't heard any rumour (yet) that it has), it looks like Paul Middleton himself confirmed that John Ballance was 100% correct in his Usenet posting. In 2003.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/1/06 6:18PM
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On Remote desktop apps compared:

IIRC, R-Comp used Simon Truss' VNC and a slightly enhanced version of eQ R&D's RDP client.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 12/1/06 12:10PM
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On PC card software released under GPL:

CJE: it is bz2 compressed. SparkFS does not support this. You can download a command line based compressor/decompressor from Peter's Unix Porting Project.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 3/11/05 1:18PM
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On Taking OS features for granted:

druck: I think VFP is both single and double precision (ARM say so on their website), however I am not sure what exactly is implemented in hardware and what in software.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 03/11/05 1:06PM
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On Performance boosting disc cache developed:

Let's replace CDFS first before thinking about cacheing it...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/10/05 10:25AM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

They have not finished the Linux port and already know how fast it will be? Impressive.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 14/10/05 2:05PM
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On Castle ponder GeForce 4 graphics upgrade:

I hope Castle are considering alternative options like using advanced GeForce FX5500 cards which feature dual screen possibilities, TV out and DVI capability - I'm sure Adrian would like to implement Geminus on such a beast. Or switching to ATI cards, which apparently have a lot more documentation available.

My favourite option would of course be a new IYONIX based on the IOP333 with PCI Express ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 20/9/05 1:11AM
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On Castle push BASIC compiler:

MoAco: I'm fairly sure that you asked Jack, not Paul ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/9/05 9:53AM
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On The Intel XScale conundrum:

lproven: I am not sure if an IYONIX for 800 UKP now is a significantly less compelling offer than an IYONIX for 1300 UKP in 2003.

In 2002, Samsung announced that it has a 1,2 GHz ARM10 variant "nearly ready". Did this make the IYONIX a less compelling offer? No, because it turned out that Samsung just released a lot of hot air instead of an ARM that could actually be bought.

The Intel announcement is very similar: they talk about a 1,2 GHz XScale variant (which might - independant of the clock speed - not be too suitable for a desktop computer like the IYONIX anyway - after all, it won't have a lot of RAM bandwidth, neither will it nicely integrate something essential like PCI), but also say that the first offering will be sub-1 GHz.

Look at the A9. It features a 400 MHz Samsung ARM9 variant. Why doesn't it use the often-announced 533 MHz variant Samsung were regularly promoting? Because it is not available.

At the moment (and probably for the next 6 months at least), the only suitable processor for an IYONIX-type computer is the IOP333. However, from a marketing point of view, the "jump" from 600 MHz to 800 MHz is just not enough, even though from a technical point of view it is probable that it would offer a significantly better performance.

Unfortunately, the performance gap between available ARM variants and x86 processors seems to widen all the time. Which is bad news for the future of RISC OS on the desktop and dedicated hardware development.

Even more unfortunate is that the future of high performance ARM computing might be a multicore architecture, which doesn't exactly suit the way RISC OS is structured at the moment.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 26/8/05 1:53PM
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On News in brief:

There is currently no hardware MPEG2 decoding DVB card available that fits into an IYONIX - they are all 5V only PCI cards. Pricing shouldn't be the problem, they cost around 160-180 EUR in Germany.

The "logical choice" atm would be the Pinnacle PCTV Sat, because it is based on the well-known BT878 and has open source drivers available - however, no hardware decoding available here, so we would need a fast software MPEG decoder. KinoAmp, with the recent work by Thomas Milius to use XScale-specific DMA transfers, might be fast enough for 12,5 fps.

However, I understand that UK users would like to have DVB-T instead...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 1/8/05 12:35PM
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On GCCSDK team trumpets module support:

Chris: saying "narrowing the gap" says that one product is more advanced than the other. For nearly all complex pieces of software, it is very unusual that one has a superset of capabilities of the other. Unsurprisingly, when comparing GCC with Norcroft, this is also not the case.

This is not a matter of personal opinion. It is not in any way arguable. The gap analogy is just wrong and misleading. What is written in the article is not equivalent to the StrongED vs. Zap situation.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/7/05 2:51PM
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On GCCSDK team trumpets module support:

Chris: I can think of one rather big problem with the article: saying "GCCSDK is a C/C++ compiler package for RISC OS" is wrong, misleading and incomplete. I'm also rather unhappy with the "narrowing the gap" phrase. I'm also not sure if it is sensible to ever ask a software developer if a piece of software is "tested enough".

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 11/7/05 1:12PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

DVI to analogue: for home cinema stuff, there are now real converters that are able to create a true analogue VGA signal from a DVI digital signal (even when it is HDCP protected) - works up to 1080p (1920x1080 pixels) apparently. Not sure how flexible they are wrt other signals (i.e. not standard NTSC/PAL/HDTV resolutions and refresh rates).

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/7/05 2:33PM
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On No plans to change USB 1.1 in A9home:

C(DV)DBurn and USB: in theory, C(DV)DBurn already containes "USB" support, as long as the USB stack already contains a default implementation for the mass storage/transparent SCSI USB protocol in the way of providing standard SCSI SWIs. Castle's USB stack implements mass storage support in that way. There is also a generic SCSI module for the Simtec stack to do the same IIRC.

In practice however, I was not able to use an Iomega USB CD writer with either stack. I have not really analysed the problem yet, it might be something simple.

Implementing specific USB support is of course possible, and I did some groundwork quite some time ago, but my speed experiments were not very promising - it looked like you wouldn't be able to do a 4 speed Audio CD write, so I put it on hold. Now that a machine is on the market which will only ever have a CD/DVD connected via USB, the picture changes of course.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 6/7/05 9:47AM
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On Firefox first beta published:

I don't think that the UPP and all the related projects make RISC OS less interesting to developers - not at all. The UPP and the work done on UnixLib and GCC mean that RISC OS developers can tap into the wealth of libraries available for other platforms, and this helps a lot to avoid reinventing the wheel. I hope that David McEwen also proves this with his Cineroma work.

Just look at the NetSurf project. I don't think we would have a usable browser already without being able to simply port libxml, libjpeg, libmng, libcurl, openssl...it is much less frustrating for a developer if they can just reuse the very same libraries they can use on other platforms.

The most important thing that makes RISC OS less attractive to developers is the comparatively weak processing power available, since this means that many projects are just not sensible to undertake. Unfortunately, looking at the past progress of Intel, Samsung and ARM, this is very unlikely to change.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/6/05 10:12AM
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On "Vast majority" of ROS 4 now 32bit:


for the very last time: RO5 is not RO3.7. Not even remotely. Not from a technical point of view. Not from a user's point of view. If anything, it is very similar to an advanced version of RISC OS 4. Think of RO4.02 with Unicode support, DHCP, USB2.0, LanManFS with long filenames, large WimpSlots and FAT32 support.

In contrast, RO4.39 is not similar to an advanced RO5, because it has a few additional features, but also lacks a few (IMHO very important) features.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/04/05 09:47AM
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On ROL to launch Adjust on CD:

RISC OS plain CDFS was always able to read DVD-ROMs as long as they are in ISO9660 format. Usually, they aren't (or use an ISO9660/UDF bridge format that CDFS can't handle), so it would have been incorrect to label RISC OS as "DVD reading capable".

If you need DVD reading capability, you don't have to wait for DVDFS/Cino either. Just buy CDROMFS and be happy.

BTW, I am very interested if the size of the DVD is less than 2 GB ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/02/05 12:08AM
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On Midlands 2004 show report:

nunfetishist: I thought I had the latest incarnation of the PIIX inside my Asus P2B-S. The information available from the Intel developer website hints at the same state of play. Did another company buy the PIIX technology from Intel, or have they just missed to update their website? Or does perhaps your MIPS development board provide all the nice features like ATA-133 from a different chip?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 07/12/04 5:39PM
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On Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence:


I for one believe that Castle really bought RISC OS from Pace because I have read a press release from Pace. Maybe you should do the same and come back to reality afterwards.

But perhaps you are into conspiracy theories and believe that Castle have hacked the Pace webserver to place their own announcement there, without Pace even knowing...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/06/04 2:23PM
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On Omega XScale support in 2004?:

Really? 1 GB DDR266 DIMMs seem to be on sale all over Germany - Infineon, Kingston, Corsair...around 270 EUR. Why shouldn't those work?

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/05/04 9:33PM
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On GCC 3.3.3pre1 released:

Both my Omega and my IYONIX have the very same ALi M1535+ southbridge inside. ALi says that the M1535+ only supports ATA100.

There are, however, M1535D+ southbridges where the very latest revision apparently supports ATA133. However, neither my Omega nor my IYONIX have one.

Anyway, it is a non-issue. ATA100 and ATA133 are very similar in their performance characteristics, the differences are usually not detectable. And many modern drives only support ATA100 anyway - Hitachi/IBM, Seagate and WD. ATA133 seems to be a Maxtor thing. I guess we will see Serial ATA taking over instead of ATA133 getting a standard thing.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 23/03/04 2:22PM
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On Omega MIDI, ethernet progress:


the only FUD I can see in this thread was the mentioning of apparent IYONIX LanManFS problems and hard-to-find PCI graphics cards.

In the meantime, users are still waiting for MicroDigital to catch up with their promises made in 2000 like the Lynx Internet software, 1 GHz XScale, Ethernet, graphics acceleration, PCI SCSI, availability of other bundled software...

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/03/04 1:06PM
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On Omega MIDI, ethernet progress:

@Julian Yes, the available PCI graphics cards are not "state of the art" when looking at them from a PC gamer's point of view - nobody said so. However, for the overwhelming majority of things the cards are "good enough", and they are - contrary to what you said before - still widely and cheaply available.

In any case, they are still vastly superior to any solution that MicroDigital ever pretended to come up with "real soon now".

Why do you think the Matrox MMS cards are "outdated"? They have unique features, and are therefore priced accordingly. If you want something cheap, go for a G450 Millenium.

And speaking of "outdated": you surely saw the PCI Matrox Parhelia HR256? 3840x2400 anyone?

To sum it up: relying on PCI for graphic cards is not ideal, but good and cheap. Relying on hot air is braindead.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/03/04 6:15PM
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On Omega MIDI, ethernet progress:

Don't mix up PCI-X with PCI Express - sounds similar, but is totally different.

And the IYONIX does not have a PCI-X slot, only 64bit 66 MHz PCI (PCI-X is 133 MHz). Which was a sensible design decision, because it is very unlikely that a PCI-X-IYONIX use case will ever appear.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/03/04 5:59PM
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On Omega MIDI, ethernet progress:

Why would MD want to add an AGP port? After all, their "Lightning+" is surely the best thing since sliced bread? And what would be a possible timescale for both RO Ltd. and MicroDigital coming up with a solution? 3 years? At the moment, the chipset solution that is available from MicroDigital, which took 4 years to develop, is severely underpowered compared to "off the shelf" components available and used elsewhere. I see no reason why this should change in the future.

Anyway, I agree that it is very unlikely that anyone provides us with an ARM chipset along with an AGP port. However, it is important to know that the PC market is moving away from AGP anyway, and its successor PCI Express looks to be very interesting to the Intel side of the ARM market - after all, there are already Intel PCI bridges available for PCI Express -> PCI-X and PCI bridging available, so I consider it very likely that future XScale I/O processors come with PCI Express.

The reason why the IYONIX pc is still comparatively expensive to a PC is down to the lack of a large production run and the size of the market. It is not down to component cost. Is the comparatively low price of the IYONIX pc down to component cost of the Omega?

And speaking of PCI graphic cards, it is actually still very easy to obtain them for very low prices. Matrox (Millenium G450), nVidia (GeForce 2 and 4) and ATI (Radeon 7500, 9200) will be happy to provide you with anything you might want. I am not sure why you think that they are either expensive or hard to obtain - even your average box shifter still sells them.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/03/04 3:45PM
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On MicroDigital owners club sees light of day:

Hi Rick,

the solid evidence is that there is no releasable Ethernet card/driver combination *at the moment* for the Omega. I know, I have ordered one. I was promised delivery by MD UK several times. You can ask my dealer if you want how often MD UK promised it to him. To the general customer, the "solid evidence" is clear: no Ethernet available. You can order one, but you can't get one.

I know that MDE are a lot more trustworthy than MD UK, so they don't promise delivery dates, which is a good thing. However, this does not speed up things. And the fact that Mico owners still wait for their promised Ethernet cards is not a good sign at all.

About the usergroup: I have asked MDE for registration. I cite from their answer: "For the moment the usergroup is still not finished completely we allowed only a couple of users access to do final testing." Sounds a lot like "a few selected users have access" instead of "most have access, apart from you", don't you think so? And don't you think that, having an email from MDE with a clear statement concerning the state of the usergroup, is a lot more evidence and a lot less speculation than you implied?

Actually, I don't care whether the Omega is a "project" computer or whatever. I just demand delivery of the things promised. Like all the bundled applications. Like working USB including a Simtec(-compatible) stack. A working XScale option. A SCSI card. An Ethernet card. Simple, isn't it? On every show I had the chance to either visit one of David Atkins' presentations or talked to him, I got the impression that everything was "nearly ready". Obviously a very wrong impression, and it is very important to tell potential customers the truth about MD's track record of delivering promised things. Like USB for the Mico. You remember?

The fact that, after owning the Omega for several months, the only visible step forward is a slightly updated FPGA image might be called "progress", but with that speed of development we will wait another three years for all the promised options.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/12/03 9:52PM
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On MicroDigital owners club sees light of day:

Three important things to note:

1.) Ethernet is apparently worked on, and probably Julian and Rick have prerelease versions of it. However, the generall Omega-using public does not have access to Ethernet at the moment, despite several promises being made by MD for end of August, September, October, November...so it is still serial port ppp for us.

2.) The Omega Owner's club and the usergroup stuff is *not* finished and therefore not accessible to most Omega users like me (according to MDE who said they couldn't register me yet).

3.) Firmware Rel. 14 is slightly faster than Rel. 12, but still manages to perform slower on my PackDir benchmark (see [link] for a benchmark description and the numbers for Rel. 12 - numbers for Rel. 14 coming soon) than the good old Risc PC.

Nothing in sight yet concerning USB, XScale upgrade, SCSI card or whatever has been promised in 2000.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/12/03 5:25PM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:

I know, the comment was aimed at the general public of course ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/09/03 4:41PM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:

Hi Dave,

you are of course correct, but using DDR400 would give roughly the same latency as the mythical SDR200 RAM, and even with the IOP331's restriction to 266 MHz, it would give superior throughput.

The work to redesign the motherboard is indeed considerable, but the possible return (e.g. providing PCI Express for the very latest graphic cards, saving the standard PCI bridge, getting significantly more RAM bandwidth, over 30% higher clock speed) may be enough to warrant it.

But this is of course a long way to go, so buy your IYONIX pc now.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 30/09/03 12:44AM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:

An XScale cache line is 32 bytes. Taking a simplistic view on memory access, let us compare the things that are available *now* (PC133 vs. DDR200).

- first access: DDR200 is 25% slower - subsequent accesses: PC133 is 34% slower

Now think about the access pattern to find out which RAM is faster.

I now had a look at the Samsung semiconductor website. It is true that there once were single SDRAM chips that are capable of delivering up to 325 MHz - however, they only exist today as part number suffixes, not as real chips. The fastest they now seem to have, and only in the 64 MBit range (which means you would need 32 chips for a single 256 MB SDRAM DIMM), are 250 MHz/CL4, so hardly earth shattering compared to the readily available DDR400-500 parts.

Anyway, MicroDigital would have to produce their own DIMMs. We can only guess what those DIMMs would cost, if even mass-produced PC150 DIMMs are double the price of PC133. I am not sure if anyone would be prepared to pay for this, just because the wrong technology was used. If we ever learned a lesson, it is to take advantage of the cheap parts available from the PC market. After all, we don't still use Bus mouses and Acorn style keyboards because the technology was so much better.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 23/09/03 10:59AM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:

Julian, you don't have answered my question: where can I buy that 200 MHz SDR-SDRAM from? I know that there once were PC150 DIMMs available for our beloved overclockers, but looking at the websites of companies like Kingston and Infineon, I only see PC133 being available - no sign of the mythical PC200 anywhere. And PC150 is nearly double the price of PC133, while e.g. DDR400 is only slightly more expensive than DDR266.

And indeed, my SparkFS benchmark has proven the bandwidth problem in current Omegas - 15% performance gain when reducing my screenmode to 640x480@16 colours. Or do you have another explanation for that speed difference?

You are also confused by memory access on modern CPUs and their consequences for RAM access patterns. Even if I request only a single byte from memory, a whole cache line is filled, resulting in a burst access. While "200 MHz" DDR takes the same time for the first access cycle than 100 MHz SDR, it is two times as fast for subsequent access cycles to satisfy the cache line fill access.

You know, there *are* reasons why PCs use DDR in favour of SDR these days.

Anyway, if MD really are currently wasting their time implementing buffers and caches for yet-to-be-released processor cards, it is a big shame - their customers are waiting for much more important stuff, which e.g. was promised for "end of August" (networking).

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 22/09/03 1:51PM
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On New 800MHz XScale powered processor available:

So, where can I get this 200 MHz SDR-SDRAM? In typical PC shops (which also means: cheap enough to buy), the fastest SDRAM fitting the RAM sockets inside the Omega is PC133, which is exactly the 133 MHz SDRAM which *already* causes bandwidth problems and the "non-VRAM Risc PC" type effect on processing speed.

The PC market has decided to go for DDR-RAM. The Omega's RAM socket is incompatible to this type of RAM, no matter how often you reprogram the FPGA.

The current Omega has to use simple SDRAM, which is generally only available as 133 MHz types. Which means that it is a dead end concerning upping the bandwidth. Which means that the proposed XScale upgrade is not as fast as it could be unless you use your Omega at 640x480 in two colours.

As to your comment wrt relative speeds between SDR and DDR RAM - you are correct that latency is higher on "200 MHz DDR" compared to the mythical "200 MHz SDR" version, but the burst transfer rate is exactly the same. Since both the StrongARM and the XScales use burst transfers to fill their cache lines, I can't forsee a big performance gain for the SDR variant.

Anyway, MicroDigital, after finally delivering a computer 3 years after announcing that it is ready, should concentrate on comparably simple things likegetting networking and USB out, perhaps along with the XScale upgrade, instead of wasting time on caching and buffering techniques.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/09/03 5:02PM
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On Watch TV on your Iyonix:

OK, the information I gave previously was wrong. I have just found an offer on eBay for a Studio PCTV Rave which is an universal card.

The old miro cards seem to be 5V only.

So, we now have the following cards available with BT8xx chips where universal 3,3V/5V versions exist:

Pinnacle PCTV Rave Pinnacle Studio PCTV Rave Pinnacle PCTV Pro Pinnacle Studio PCTV Pro Zoltrix/Z-Cyber Genie TV

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 08/07/03 4:36PM
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On Castle buys RISC OS from Pace:

My post wasn't intended to be negative towards the news - in fact, I consider the new situation with the OS freed from a company that lost interest in it (Pace) to be very good news, and seeing it in the hands of the only serious player in the market is *very* good news. Well done, Castle.

However, Ian has repeatedly posted things like "questionable hands", "outdated version of the OS", "sell their own dubious crappy cut of the OS", "it offers nothing over Select", "back to RISC OS 3.7 status just for a bit of extra speed", "stupid 32bit issues" etc. about Castle, RISC OS 5 and the Iyonix. He never even bothered to qualify his (clearly dubious) statements - things like *that* are negative.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 05/07/03 01:27AM
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On Castle buys RISC OS from Pace:

Ah, Ian is still around to spread his usual FUD. Nice to see - not.

In the meantime, I am happily using the RISC OS version of Iyonix and generally find it to be a lot better than Select on my Risc PC (and surely plain old RO4). The icon set is a lot nicer, too.

RISC OS 5 is the way forward, not adding senseless optical gimmicks like Select did while buggering up essential features at the same time (see Select 2 ShareFS bug festival). The only essential Select feature, DHCP, is included in RISC OS 5 anyway. Together with the large WimpSlot feature, large Filecore, Unicode font manager and proper ATAPI abstraction as well as well-working USB support for a lot of devices, there is a lot more useful stuff in RISC OS 5 than in any version of Select.


 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 04/07/03 5:39PM
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