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Thom, remember : dreams and nostalgia are never as good as we remember or hope. The RISCOS is pretty crappy by today's standards. This is coming from a hardcore user that also owned hardware and did a lot of coding in BASIC for it in his school days. Edited 2012-07-13 08:45 UTC
What is the reasoning behind your statement?
And what are "todays standards"?
RISC OS surely has its downsides, especially on a technology level (Filesystems, media handling, modules and module handling), but things are (slowly) improving here.
If I compare the current RISC OS alpha image to every available Linux image (yes, even those with armhf) I can't help to notice that RISC OS is the fastest OS on the Pi.
I tend to question the sanity behind "todays standards". No offense ment here, I sold my RISC PC for a 486 to run Linux on back in the days. But the development of Linux and Open Source went into the wrong direction years ago.
Modern GUIs such as Gnome and KDE become more and more bloated with every new release, which is even true for XFCE -- and it was invented to counter bloat in the first place w/o adding any real benefit or usability.
So, steadily the requirements increased, leaving behind older Hardware, requiring regular updates.
Dependencies are a mess nowadays, just try to setup a clean system from source w/o dbus, libsmbfs etc.
Lets not forget the users -- not us tech savvy folks who know the command line by heart -- but those people who turn on their computer to just get their things done. They don't understand why their desktop changes after an update, they expect their GUI to remain as it is, because they're happy with it.
They don't need a new theme every once in a while, or menus moving around at seemingly random (Firefox, for example).
That being said RISC OS is the userfriendliest OS I've ever seen, because Acorn was probably the first company to define binding style guides (with Apple taking a close second place). The WIMPs features are implemented consistently throughout the entire system (drag and drop, the use of the mouse, menus).
RISC OS applications open windows that give most of their space to contents (e.g. data the user wants to edit), presenting their functionality by pressing middle mouse button.
For me, RISC OS still has one of the best GUIs ever invented, and it certainly has its uses. That's why I fell in love with RaspPi, and I hope that RISC OS development and user base will gain some momentum now.
Fast != better.
ReactOS is faster than XP, but its definatly not bettter
You say people turn on their computers to "get things done", yet complain that features that enable getting things done are "bloat". dbus is tiny and enables processes to talk to each other. Would it be better for each application to implement it on its own? Of course not. Apps depend on it because they need it, just like applications written for RISC OS depend on features of the RISC OS. The only reason why you don't experience dependencies as a "mess" there is only because you don't attempt to rip out core OS features of a closed-source OS.
As for UIs changing between releases, that happened with RISC OS as well. If you don't want change, don't change. But you can't really use RISC OS as your primary platform today.
I'd agree with you that RISC OS has a fantastic user interface. When it was released it was far ahead of its time, making Mac OS and Windows look hopelessly primitive in comparison. In my opinion it's still much more elegant and productive than Windows, Mac OS X, or any Linux GUI.
Having said that, the underlying OS really is showing its age. It was decent enough back when it was competing with Mac System 7 and Windows 3.1, and it's certainly lightning fast, but we're no longer using computers with 25Mhz CPUs and 1Mb RAM. It's usable, in the same way that Windows 98 or Mac OS 9 are still usable, but it's very much an OS of the past, not the future.
LINUX desktop is a can of worms. Best not travel that one.
But RISCOS is dated and shows its age. Seriously. I liked it at the time. Hell, I liked NextSTEP attge time, actually preferred it. But times change.