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Profile for lproven

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Username: lproven
Realname: Liam Proven
About me:Occupation: Journalist and computer consultant. Real life: Biologist, biker, SF fan, skeptic. Read the homepage. It's more informative than this.
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Comments posted:41 (show all)
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Recent comments

On Paul Vigay found dead off Southsea seafront:

This is terribly sad news. Not having dropped in to Drobe for a week or so, I thought the Orpheus story was some sort of hoax or joke at first, before reading more and discovering the horrible truth.

My condolences to his family & loved ones. I'd only met Paul a few times, but I'd known him online for many years, from my first forays into comp.sys.acorn, I suspect approaching 2 decades ago. He was just 3yr older than me, too. I am stunned.

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 3/3/09 1:30PM
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On Ditching desktops for portables: The way forward?:

I think the original article is bang on. If there is any real reason to buy a RISC OS computer in 2008, it would be as a super-lightweight, low-resource, cool & silent laptop. That's the only remaining niche for general-purpose ARM computers. I'd buy one.

The problems of Flash/Real/Quicktime etc. playback are real, but soluble. I'm typing on a Linux machine & I have full media playback, including Quicktime. I have an official Flash client, but there is a Free one too, and Free video codecs are widespread and high quality. The Unix Porting Project could have been RISC OS' salvation here, but it didn't attract enough interest or support. Instead, developers are wasting their time on multiple MSN clients and so on.

However, the opportunity is past, now, I think. The OLPC project's XO-1 "$100 laptop" shows that X86 has effectively moved into and taken over the low-power high-efficiency niche. Meanwhile, in the commercial arena, there's Asus' EEE PC, a £200 laptop with an Intel ultra-low-voltage Celeron in it. Solid-state storage - Xandros Linux booting from a 2GB Flash drive. Onboard USB2, 802.11G WLAN, Fast Ethernet, 56K modem. What more do you need?

It's a complete, low-power, cool-running, near-totally solid-state PC, it's cheap and small and light. It's derived from the Intel Classmate PC, Intel's effort to kill off the AMD-powered OLPC. And it's completely Microsoft-free, immune from viruses and spyware, yet entirely file and content compatible.

The Acorn RISC machines succeeded because they were fast, powerful, simple and cheap. Their successor models didn't succeed: they only sold in paltry numbers to fans.

Now, they're slow, limited, woefully underpowered and horribly expensive. The OS has a pleasantly clean GUI and some small fast apps, but it's not very stable or reliable and it is extremely feature-poor. The user interface of Mac OS X is much more polished and powerful, both attractive and pleasant to use, and it too has a wealth of simple, elegant, powerful apps.

I'm afraid the RISC OS producers squandered their chance, wasting their time arguing and fighting. Castle seems to have done the best it could do with limited resources; I'm impressed with its efforts. RISC OS Ltd has just spent years on tweaking and fiddling and squabbling with Castle and Pace, as far as I can see.

It's a common problem. The Amiga world did the exact same thing; arguably, so did the BSD world, fragmenting into FreeBSD and OpenBSD and NetBSD and DragonflyBSD, while the Linux and GNU people just mucked in and got on with it. Of course, on Linux, there's the fighting between KDE and GNOME. It seems to be human nature to contest for limited resources.

The GPL helps, though. It is what has prevented Linux fragmenting, when BSD's license almost encourages it.

I note that ROOL is not actually Free or open source and is not GPL. I therefore don't see much chance for it, either.

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 7/1/08 5:34PM
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On Could RISC OS teach Linux a trick or two?:

@jc:

That's a take on it that I've not seen before, and not a pretty one! 8¬(

I don't think copying NeXTstep is ethically questionable, since NeXT got bought and abandoned its own GUI by turning its OS into a sort-of copy of a simpler, easier but perhaps less powerful one, Apple's Mac OS.

ROX is, in a way, a copy of RISC OS, yes, but even judging from my talk about ROX at ROUGOL a year or so back, it's not hugely interesting to RISC OS users: [Rueful :¬) ]

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 30/11/07 12:35PM
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On Could RISC OS teach Linux a trick or two?:

@guestx:

Thanks for the comments. Obviously, I don't agree with most of them, but I'll address just a few points:

- I'm well aware of the Xerox Star and of the origins of StarOffice, thanks. Have you actually looked at its GUI? It bears less resemblance to any modern one than there is between, say, RISC OS and Mac OS X. OpenOffice may just be an MS Office clone, but the important points are: [1] MS specifically identified it as infringing. [2] It's the only major Free office suite for Linux; AbiWord/Gnumeric or KOffice don't really qualify or compare yet. They're much smaller, simpler and less mature. [3] OpenOffice gives a Linux desktop round-trip MS Office file compatibility. This is a very important tick in the features list; in fact, it's a crucial one.

- Xfce did indeed start as a clone of CDE but it's diverged far from it now and is now very GNOME like in, for example, its Xubuntu incarnation. E.g., see this article: [link]

It's hardly taking the MS position. I'm a well-documented anti-MS advocate and advocate of Free software; that article was researched, written and submitted on an Ubuntu machine, the same one I'm using now. It's my main computer.

However, MS has a very strong case. Look & Feel suits have been won by major companies before and they could be again. Far too many people are attacking me for saying this than actually trying to understand my arguments and address them. My hope was to promote a bit of self-examination by the Free software community, so it could make some changes to reduce the risk of MS actually taking legal action.

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 30/11/07 12:29PM
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On Could RISC OS teach Linux a trick or two?:

Since Drobe is letting me comment once again - Chris, thanks for this! A very pleasant surprise! :¬)

 is a RISC OS Userlproven on 30/11/07 12:18PM
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