RISC OS 5 Pictured Running on ARM Cortex-A8 Kit

Drobe has scored evidence that Jeffrey Lee, with help from Uwe Kall and ROOL staff, have managed to port RISC OS 5 to the Beagleboard, a board with a 600Mhz Cortex A8 ARM processor and 256MB of RAM. Drobe has a photo of RISC OS 5 booting into a command prompt.

The operating system is able to drive a monitor through DVI and can talk with the rest of the world through a serial port. Lee explained that his next move is to get USB up and running for keyboard and mouse support.

This port makes a few things clear. First of all, it means that RISC OS 5 can be ported using the code of the RISC OS Open project without a massive team of engineers to back it up. It also means that RISC OS 5 can run on the Cortex A8 family of ARM processors, which will be the type of processors found in the upcoming avalanche of ARM-powered netbooks.

Lee told Drobe:

Regarding the status of the port, the kernel and critical HAL components (such as the interrupts, timers and serial IO) are the only real things that are working apart from the video code.

Once all the hardware drivers are working there’ll still be plenty of work to do to improve their functionality, and to update the kernel and other software to make use of the new CPU features – the most notable features are likely to be the VFPU and an API to allow use of the spare hardware YUV overlay.

Let’s hope that the fruit of this labour will allow us to run RISC OS on cheap ARM devices, such as the upcoming netbooks, because like the Amiga, RISC OS is too intriguing a platform to just lay there unused, only experienced through stories on OSNews.


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