Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Oct 2009 22:24 UTC, submitted by Andrew Duffell
RISC OS With all the good news around Haiku and Amiga/MorphOS, you'd almost forget that other "old" alternative operating system, with most of its following residing in the United Kingdom: RISC OS. This operating system is fighting a predictable problem: a lack of hardware.
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nice
by poundsmack on Thu 29th Oct 2009 22:38 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

I am amazed at the progress so far. I really hope this project gets some new life blood. RiscOS is a fun little system, fast and responsive. the beagle board is a good home for it. Best of luck witht he porting effort, hopefully more dev's will flock to it.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by bhtooefr
by bhtooefr on Thu 29th Oct 2009 23:18 UTC
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

There's definitely more issues than just hardware, but the OS being open sourced will also make it possible for someone outside of RISCOS Ltd. or Castle to help out.

The biggest issues with the OS itself are probably the poor memory protection of low memory, and the fact that the WIMP is cooperative multitasking.

There's been discussions on this (and attempts to improve the situation, too)...

http://www.drobe.co.uk/article.php?id=1327 (Drobe article by Peter Naulls about memory protection)
http://www.riscos.info/index.php/Preemptive_multitasking

Also, the NetSurf (one of the better browsers on the platform) team needs someone to maintain the RISC OS port: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.acorn.announce/browse_threa...

Edited 2009-10-29 23:23 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Nice to see...
by madcrow on Thu 29th Oct 2009 23:23 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

... a classic "alternate" computing platform embracing cheap and easily available hardware like the Beagle Board. I wish people well in their quest and hope that this sets a good example for a certain other classic OS enviroment as to why open source (or at least semi-open source) can provide great benefits for platforms with small but loyal groups of fans.

Reply Score: 2

Nokia N810/N900
by pgquiles on Fri 30th Oct 2009 00:37 UTC
pgquiles
Member since:
2006-07-16

Wouldn't it make more sense to port RiscOS to a "true" hardware platform than to a developer-only hardware platform?

Some Nokia phones and Internet tablets also use a TI OMAP processor. The new N900 (phone, about US $600) uses a TI OMAP3 3430. The old N810 (Internet Tablet, about US $150 or less used, US $200 new) uses a TI OMAP 2420.

I'm not saying RiscOS can make a rebirth as an embedded OS for mobile devices but it's an interesting niche to try.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nokia N810/N900
by bhtooefr on Fri 30th Oct 2009 00:45 UTC in reply to "Nokia N810/N900"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Well, a port to the BeagleBoard should be adaptable to most stuff using the OMAP3530 (or even other OMAP3 SoCs.) The Touch Book shouldn't be a very far leap from the Beagle at all, for example.

And, IIRC, when the port was started, this was the only widely available and cheap board with a Cortex-A8.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nokia N810/N900
by memson on Fri 30th Oct 2009 10:04 UTC in reply to "Nokia N810/N900"
memson Member since:
2006-01-01

The N series IT's are fairly closed and iirc. There are parts of the hardware that are extremely undocumented. Mostly, unless you use LINUX as the base (hence all the LINUX derived Mer, Debian and Android ports) you are SOL.

Reply Score: 2

Let's give it a try
by Andre on Fri 30th Oct 2009 07:35 UTC
Andre
Member since:
2005-07-06

I should give this a try on my beagleboard. I have looked at RISC OS before, but couldn't find hardware for an acceptable price back theb. And yes, I could have used emulation, but I prefer native ;)
So, now I can try it native!

Reply Score: 1

Video acceleration
by torbenm on Fri 30th Oct 2009 08:17 UTC
torbenm
Member since:
2007-04-23

I think a good way to handle this is to target OpenGL. This way, the effort can be re-used when proting RISC OS to another platform -- you just need OpenGL drivers.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Video acceleration
by bhtooefr on Fri 30th Oct 2009 12:54 UTC in reply to "Video acceleration"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Well, those "OpenGL" drivers still need to run on something. You can't just target OpenGL, you need to target hardware, unless there's something running above your OS that translates OpenGL calls to hardware calls.

Now, Genesi (who makes the various Freescale i.MX515-based Efika MX products) does claim that they'll have a firmware layer that abstracts all hardware that they sell away from the OS, so the OS just needs to call their firmware layer with, for example, OpenGL calls, and it'll just work, no matter what the graphics chip inside is, even if the graphics drivers are closed source and NDA-laden.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Video acceleration
by torbenm on Fri 30th Oct 2009 13:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Video acceleration"
torbenm Member since:
2007-04-23

Well, those "OpenGL" drivers still need to run on something. You can't just target OpenGL, you need to target hardware, unless there's something running above your OS that translates OpenGL calls to hardware calls.


Of course. But there is actually a likelyhood that someone else will write OpenGL drivers to new hardware, but very little chance that someone outside the RISC OS developer community will write drivers specifically for RISC OS. So, basically, the idea would ease ports to platforms where OpenGL is alsready available. Furthermore, as the OpenGL drivers improve, RISC OS wil automatically take advantage of the improvements.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Video acceleration
by bhtooefr on Fri 30th Oct 2009 13:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Video acceleration"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

OK, how do you plan to integrate these "OpenGL" drivers into RISC OS?

They're either going to be Windows CE drivers, or Linux drivers.

Either way, they're gonna take a lot of work to run on RISC OS.

Also, they're going to be binary blobs, because all of these mobile graphics cores are horribly NDA-laden. So, now, you're talking about either a partial CE kernel+GDI implementation, or a partial Linux kernel+what looks like X implementation, just to wrap some graphics drivers.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Video acceleration
by torbenm on Mon 2nd Nov 2009 09:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Video acceleration"
torbenm Member since:
2007-04-23

OK, how do you plan to integrate these "OpenGL" drivers into RISC OS?


I was thinking of using OpenGL as part of the hardware abstraction layer, so OpenGL would look as hardware from the OS.

More generally, you could virtualise RISC OS on top of the Linux kernel.

Reply Score: 1

Funny
by mmu_man on Fri 30th Oct 2009 14:25 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30

Yesterday I was watching the Visiobus journal that runs on a RiscOS system: http://www.ctav.fr/presentation/index.asp?rub_code=36&thm_id=22&gpl... and I actually thought it could be interesting to port RiscOS to the gumstix board I have...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Funny
by bhtooefr on Fri 30th Oct 2009 22:34 UTC in reply to "Funny"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

If you've got a Gumstix Overo, it's got a similar SoC to what's on the BeagleBoard, so it should be a fairly straightforward port.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Funny
by mmu_man on Sat 31st Oct 2009 10:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Funny"
mmu_man Member since:
2006-09-30

Yep indeed, and vice-versa, the overo bootloader for Haiku starts in the beagleboard qemu mod.

Reply Score: 2