“Last month, I thought I left RISC OS. After 19 years of using Acorn or Acorn-derived computers, my love affair is no longer. I sit here writing this on my Mac Mini, and very happy I am with it too. My Iyonix lies abandoned – still sitting under the desk here, but not connected. And not actually used for some time. And it’s weird – because, in some strange way, I thought I would be using RISC OS forever. In January 2005, I said: ‘There’s people who annoy me on the RISC OS scene, and I still wouldn’t think of leaving. The nice people more than cancel it out, and besides – I just couldn’t really do without using RISC OS.’ So what changed?”
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave RISC OS
About The Author
Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda
2006-12-01 1:35 amhelf
ok, how about you f–k off.
author of the article is obviously just another whiny snivelling computer weenie trying to carp his way to acceptance of his viewpoint
2006-12-01 6:19 amprotagonist
It would appear that you have never formed a real attachment to an OS. I feel sorry for you. Sometimes an OS or a system comes along that just seems to fit right in with the way you do things. I can sympathize with the author because I have been there myself.
For me it was BeOS. Anyway, the author was presenting his reasons for finally facing up to the fact that the OS would no longer allow him to do what he needed it to do. There is no reason to be condescending to him.
2006-12-01 6:49 amhelf
well, my comment wasnt about the article, but a previous, now modded down, poster…
I have a ‘real’ attachment to NEXTSTEP…
2006-12-02 4:33 amprotagonist
I stand corrected. Sorry I misunderstood you. I also really liked my old TI 99/4 system. I really liked Assembly on that system and their Extended Basic was also very nice. I know how the author of the article feels. You just don’t want to let go but at some point you have to.
And I am still keeping an eye on Haiku. 🙂
2006-12-02 2:05 pmhelf
Yes, I am watching syllable, haiku and skyos… Maybe one day I’ll be using one of those as my main x86 PC OS
Confronts some of the issues that all alt. OS enthusiasts have to face from time to time.
Be, Inc. broke a lot of hearts.
2006-12-01 3:46 pmbryanv
I would have tried to make love to my PC if it had a proper port at the time.
2006-12-01 9:13 pmDubbayoo
I was one who spent the better part of a year telling all my friends “we’ll all be using BeOS in five years”.
I basically went thru the same things as he did when I gave up my Amiga for BeOS.
The Amiga community was and still seems to be running around in circles as far as shipping the open-source version of AmigaDos they are always talking about – worse for a long time they wanted you to buy expensive custom hardware to do it.
When I moved to the Intel based BeOS it was with the knowledge that if it did not work out that I would still have a choice of a number of diffirent OSes out there that would run on my PC hardware.
Another marker that has matched my Amiga experience but not my BeOS one is the lack of exchange of info between the diffirent developers.
With BeOS/Haiku/Zeta there has been a movement of code between the diffirent OS versions.
RISC OS like the Amiga developers seems to have two camps who refuse to share common code back and fore resulting in a lot of wasted effort. Right now I am using dual monitors on BeOS using a driver that also works in Haiku and Zeta after a recompile on each, the same for my USB. I know my future use of this hardware is supportted.
RISC OS sounds like one camp may have working video drivers and the other working USB drivers – but neither will exchange code and get on with development. Instead each camp re-invents the other’s work.
Edited 2006-12-01 08:00
2006-12-03 10:49 amAmigaRobbo
In many ways the Amiga situtation is worse, two systems running on obscure PPC platforms, Amiga OS4 and MorphOS, neither of which will run on each others hardware, and I don’t know much about Morphos, but there are serious issues with the makers of Amiga OS4 and hardware producers and the holders of the Amiga copyright holders, making the whole thing a bit of a joke, shame as OS4 is really good, but these stupid divisions and politics are just killing the system, even the i386 open source AROS dosn’t seem to be going as well as it should due to a spliting of the groups.
Sigh… Its a sad thing to see, but I’ve had to do some work from home recently and have had to turn on my Windows 2000 based PC just so I can use upto date Word processors, and web browsers that’ll let me into all site, including ‘orrible flash ones.
And you know, Windows, although a bit horrible, if you throw enough hardware at it, does “work”..
2006-12-03 3:58 pmEarl Colby pottinger
And this is something I never understood about the open source Amiga.
I have all the reference manuals that were released for the Amiga and there is a wealth of information on the internals – infact far more information than the BeBook releases about BeOS.
The x86 CPUs were starting to top 100MHz when the Amiga went out of production (and the fastest production CPU was only about 50 MHz from Commodore), there should have been no problem duplicating the Amiga OS to run on an x86 machine. Of course one would lose many of the unique features of Amiga’s hardware, but it really is the software features I miss even in BeOS/Haiku. And the software could have been done. The AROS did alot of it themselves. Instead we see the Amiga community breaking up into competing groups.
I guess this is why the Haiku project has such fixed goals, every other BeOS replacement project tried to improve BeOS during the rewrite and all of them have fallen by the way-side.
Both RISC OS and the Amiga groups should have concentrated on just getting the basic code working on basic hardware. If extra hardware is wanted it should be a plug in card rather than a custom motherboard that run little else.
I used RISCOS a lot as school and at home around the age of 16 – 18. I din’t like it, it was way too quirky. It doesn’t seem like an awful lot has changed. It’s just gone the way of the AMIGA. The graphics look more hightly detailed, but the underlying OS is still as flawed as it ever was.
People seem to tout the whole drag/drop thing as being good. I found it incredibly annoying, especially when saving documents.
Maybe I’m getting old, but I just have bad memories about it.
2006-12-01 11:56 amRISCOSMike
Flawed? What are you talking about, what is flawed?, this OS is one of the most stable around
Edited 2006-12-01 11:57
2006-12-01 4:11 pmhelf
‘eh, any old app can take it down. It doesnt do preemptive multitasking, just cooperative. Something the AmigaOS and later Atari OSes support… On less powerful hardware…
Edited 2006-12-01 16:13
2006-12-01 4:29 pmBluenoseJake
Stable != no flaws
I had similar experiences with OS/2 Warp from IBM.
I’ve loved it. I used to show it to my friends saying stuff like “See ? You can format a disk, print a document and play majong at the SAME TIME!”.
But there where so little application and finding drivers was impossible.
So one day I abandoned it… so sad, switched to windows95 (well now I am an happy mac user.. but this is another story).
Edited 2006-12-01 10:25
I was a RISC OS fan. I was both a user and a programmer. I thought that the GUI was fantastic, and enjoyed writing applications for it.
I’ve not been an active RISC OS user though for over a decade now. Why did I leave? Well, I wanted to write programs for the Apple Newton, and to do that I needed a Mac.
I was attracted to the Newton because it had an ARM chip inside it. I thought that my ARM coding skills would come in handy, although as it goes the Newton OS hides application programmers from hardware details.
On getting my Mac, I quickly converted to the Mac completely, and soon found that my old Archimedes was not getting used at all.
There were a few things I missed about RISC OS. I didn’t like the fact that all the windows belonging to an application on Mac OS lived together in the window stack. Initially I also didn’t like the fact that I could only type into the top-most window. I missed the pop-up menus, but found using the menu bar just fine. The biggest thing I missed though was not having a back button on windows.
I also found that writing applications for the Newton was *much* easier than RISC OS, and so much more fun.
These days I miss nothing. I quickly got used to the Mac’s quirks. (I even appreciated only being able to type in the top-most window – typing in a window that you can’t see isn’t a smart thing.) When Mac OS X came along most of the things I missed about RISC OS were addressed. The final thing I missed, the lack of a back button, was addressed when Apple added in Exposé.
Chocks Away (and Extra Missions)
The Ram Disc
!Elite (for the Archimedes, best ever version)
Ask most people what RISC OS (or an Archimedes) is and there will probably say it’s those crappy computers we were forced to use at school when the IT department finally upgraded the BBC micros.
Acorns mistake was targeting the education market and ignoring the business market. Who needs to learn in school how to use RISC OS, !Impressions and !Paint when businesses use Windows, Word and Photoshop? Generations of children grew up learning how to use something they would never use out of school because no one outside of school had one… except the computer geeks like me!
Edited 2006-12-01 11:47
2006-12-01 12:30 pmsteve_s
Personally I was never a !Draw fan, mostly because I’m not into drawing things. I did like ArtWorks (although I rarely used it) and the good news there is that Xara (the follow on) has now been open-sourced at http://www.xaraxtreme.org/
I’d forgotten about Chocks Away. That was indeed a pretty cool game.
The RAM disc – whilst I often had one configured I’d rarely use it. Older versions of Mac OS had one. I don’t really see the point these days.
As for !Elite – IMHO it’s now been surpassed by Oolite.
I’m not sure that Acorn made a mistake by targeting education and ignoring business. They tried to target business with the Acorn Business Computer and failed miserably. There also was never a compelling reason for businesses to opt for Acorn – it was more expensive and incompatible.
The argument however that learning RISC OS in school when business uses Windows is, I believe, poor. When I started secondary (high) school WordStar was the standard business word processor, and we had it on our network of RM 480Zs. By the time I left school WordPerfect had taken over. A while after I left university Word took the crown. Whilst I had been taught WordStar I didn’t have too much trouble adapting to WordPerfect or Word.
When I was using Mac OS X full time I still missed the GUI and “feel” of RISC OS. That’s why my personal machine is now a Iyonix Aria and my g/f has the 2Ghz G4 Powermac (Powerlogix upgrade).
I can sympathise with the points that were made but feel the opposite. I was also frustrated with the lack of visible cooperation between RISC OS Ltd and Castle.
However it is clear that their business interests don’t overlap in such a way that there’s an easy-fit solution. I certainly can’t think of a solution that makes business sense for both parties.
Also our situation is improving with the news of a port of Firefox 2 and work on Gnash.
I had an A3000 and later an A5000…
I left em because of Mac (MacOS 9.0 ..) anyway, ONE program I missing is the !ZAP text editor.. I wish to see a version of it on other platforms…
2006-12-01 2:50 pmsteve_s
!Zap was pretty good, but I must admit I was never a fan.
On Mac OS X I’ve been using TextWrangler – free, based on BBEdit… More recently I’ve been trying out TextMate – it’s very good, and am even considering paying the €39 license fee.
A good article, well written and clearly laying down the reasons why the author had left RISC OS. Having followed the forking saga of RISC OS for a while, I must say that I don’t blame him.
I’m surprised at the two derogatory comments at the start of the thread. OK, not surprised given the current state of OSNews, but saddened. If you can’t understand why somebody feels a wrench leaving an OS, then you have never been part of a community built around an OS. Acorn had it. Sinclair had it. Commodore, Atari, etc. Apple, BSD and Linux nowadays. Even Windows, although that is so pervasive that it’s harder to feel a sense of community. You’re not just leaving the OS, you are leaving the people, the community, your memories and maybe childhood to some extent: “it was so much fun back then, things were new, exciting”… It’s hard leaving something that you were immersed in, believed in.
For me it was Sinclair QDOS, although I still have my QL and run an emulator under Windows and OSX. I even wrote a commercially released game for it way back in 1988. I made almost £100 towards my university beer fund! But the IT world moves on, and I only boot it up from time to time to play around for an hour or so. I love the fact that it is still being actively developed and supported by freeware and commercial vendors though. Who would have thought it? Must… boot.. up… QL… now… to… play… Psion Chess. Can’t resist!
Currently I am debating whether or not to upgrade to eCS 2.0 from 1.2R when it comes out, or to put that money towards a new iMac or MBP with Leopard. I’m leaning towards the latter. OS X is my new found love in the OS world, although Windows earns me my money (developer).
Getting back to RISC OS. The author is a clear wake-up call to ROL and Castle to sort things out. The market is too small for this sort of churlishness. Sort things out or go out of business. I would have thought it would have been a clear-cut decision.
Edit: added missing word.
Edited 2006-12-01 14:51
2006-12-01 9:22 pmIsolationist
You brought it all back to me with the Sinclair QL, what fond memories I have. I remember having 16K EPPROM that had a desktop like environment called ICE, with ICE paint … Would be good if OSNews covered home computer emulators.
Wow: nice article… Such an article in the Amiga “world” would simply appear as flameware and be ignored. Good thing you did it…
And we SHALL AGAIN brethren! Haiku will come to and free us!
And who cares? Wtf is this p0rn for nerds?