Home > RISC OS > RISC OS for Raspberry Pi: aiming for a beta release in September RISC OS for Raspberry Pi: aiming for a beta release in September Thom Holwerda 2012-07-13 RISC OS 33 Comments Good news for Raspberry Pi owners (ha!): the RISC OS port is progressing along nicely. So much so, in fact, that a Raspberry Pi-based RISC OS machine is in the works. Stable beta release of RISC OS for the Pi planned for September! About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 33 Comments 2012-07-13 2:54 am uridium I’ve been sampling the alpha test images for this already. It’s pretty nifty. Currently a few screen artifacts when dragging, only managed to crash it once. Seriously, coming along nicely. No sound support yet though. Often they put dumps of the alpha image in this forum/thread: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=1157&sid=cce… Can’t wait! 2012-07-13 5:02 am LaceySnr Thanks for the link â€”Â going to have to give this a spin on the weekend! 2012-07-13 4:36 am Coxy was the best OS ever… but it has had it’s day. Shame, but it’s true. IF only someone would port chocks away to the pc What made me laugh was that this risc os event was held ina church… a very small church. Years a go you could go to wembley, to the exhibition centre… now it seems that a small church or community center will surfice. Always see the same 12 people in attendance too. And I thought attendance at the “big” RISC OS event in wakefield were sad. Poor risc os, someone should take it into the backgarden and shoot it. 2012-07-13 3:44 pm MikeCarter Gee, no one’s acting like RISC OS is competing with other OSs in anyway; Why should it anyway? The OS landscape is different world compared to days gone by. Can’t a man have a hobby? 2012-07-15 10:45 pm bhtooefr I agree that it’s a hobby OS nowadays… but there are crazy people that are convinced that RISC OS will rise again and beat Windows, and that preemptive multitasking is bad because someone saw Vista on a Pentium III, and it sucked. 2012-07-13 8:14 am trevj Give it a whirl at a Raspberry Jam! The interpreted BASIC may not exactly have the best DDE. However, it does allow the effects of minor code modifications to be evaluated almost immediately. Edited 2012-07-13 08:16 UTC 2012-07-13 8:39 am henderson101 It was never ideal, but I do remember using an app called something like Bas2Tex to convert the tokenised BASIC files to plain text for editing in a text editor. I think there was a similar one in reverse, or the same app did the reverse. If someone hasn’t already combined that function with an IDE, I’d be very surprised. Back to the command line… The only weird part with the line editor was the COPY button. You’d press the cursor UP button and the cursor splits, then every time you pressed COPY it copied the char you had the split cursor on. Cumbersome. Not as esoteric as the Oric Atmos though, which used control A and copied in place. Ah, the British computer’s should have ruled the world. Lol! We may not have had snazzy 8bit expand ability like the Apple 2, or hardware sprites like the C64 and Atari, but our stuff worked and we gave you ARM for your mobiles and embedded devices!!! Edited 2012-07-13 08:41 UTC 2012-07-13 8:44 am henderson101 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 2012-07-13 9:50 am cptsalek 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. 2012-07-13 10:30 am The123king Fast != better. ReactOS is faster than XP, but its definatly not bettter 2012-07-13 12:59 pm No it isnt 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. 2012-07-16 1:33 am bhtooefr Except the RISC OS UI really hasn’t changed much at all between RISC OS 2.0 and the latest RISC OS 5.19 in development, so that’s 24 years. The differences have been in skinning, basically, and not only that, but the default skin that 3.5 and later have used, is available as an add-on for 3.1x. Today’s Linux desktop environments, along with Windows, give bigger changes in UI available in the SETTINGS DIALOGS than RISC OS has had in 24 years. 2012-07-18 11:17 pm zima Looking at the screenshot of Arthur ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AcornArthur110desktopsmall.png ), the overall model of RISC OS UI even seems already more or less set at this point? (but of course dropping the obnoxious colour scheme) So that would be 25 years. Either way, basically quarter of a century. 2012-07-13 1:13 pm Dave_K 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. 2012-07-15 4:38 pm zima 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. I don’t know… if that were really the case, wouldn’t ROX Desktop (inspired by and quite close to RISC OS GUI) see more uptake, more enthusiasm about it? (at least among the Commonwealth *nix users, much more likely exposed to RISC OS in the past) Meanwhile, it mostly just languishes. Personally, while I think RISC OS UI is charming in some ways (and I imagine such perceptions could easily be stronger in its heyday, in the early days of GUIs), it’s also a bit awkward and chaotic (chaotic good, I suppose – in the style of those http://www.kyon.pl/img/18666.html comparisons; the individual in this one perhaps fitting better than is usually the case… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Waldemar_Fydrych ). So, I love the cursor function where it shows if “wait for 2nd click in double-click” is still active (I believe that would really ease things for the people I’ve trained in GUI use, over the years). But OTOH its insistence on drag & drop (which, in turn, tends to cause headaches for GUI and mouse novices) was misplaced IMHO, especially in the times of permanently-clogged ball mouses – which, additionally, was usually most severe in public (like, educational…) settings. 2012-07-16 11:24 am trevj So, I love the cursor function where it shows if “wait for 2nd click in double-click” is still active […] It’s actually more of a pointer, hence the P in WIMP. The cursor is for text input as far as I’m concerned. 2012-07-18 11:05 pm zima Well, here it’s more a case of double translation of the term, to my language (which mostly uses a word practically identical with EN “cursor”), and back… but, I must note that “cursor” is also a recognised usage in EN :p (for example http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/0b1674x8(vs.80).aspx ) 2012-07-13 3:32 pm Coxy 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. Yep, RISC OS was class. The best OS ever… 2012-07-16 10:28 pm henderson101 In 1992, yes. In 2002, not really. In 2012, you are insane. Pretty much as the Amiga nuts are (I was one of those too in the ’90s, though I just played games mainly….) Given that I stopped using RISCOS at 3.7, or whatever point version was on the A7000, it’s horribly dated. Crashy, due to lack of memory protection. Half the legacy apps I used when I was a kid don’t even work anymore because those older machines were 26bit, not 32bit. It was truly horrible and saddening to use. The OS metaphore is not user friendly. What if I don’t want to use drag and drop? I remember it being a total PITA to use on a Floppy only system. I think saying anything other than “unique” is total BS. 2012-07-17 5:35 am theinonen There is always Aemulator that can be used to run those older 26-bit software, but in my opinion all the major RISC OS software has been converted to 32-bit nowdays anyway. In most cases, for example when saving files you can just type the path before the filename instead of dragging and dropping. And seriously A7000 is an old system now and the user experience is not even close to IYONIX or some other newer system. RISC OS has also gone forwards after the 3.7 and I would not even consider anything below the 4.39 version. For me the best parts of RISC OS are the applications. Software like ProCAD+, ArtWorks 2, Compo, Techwriter, Photodesk and many others. For an hobby OS there are still many things you can do with it and do those things very well. Instead of all the negative points and focusing on those things that can not be done, why not focus on those things that can be done? 2012-07-17 10:51 am henderson101 RISCOS hasn’t really changed all that much. What has changed is the underlying hardware. That’s all. Instead of all the negative points and focusing on those things that can not be done, why not focus on those things that can be done? But that wouldn’t be OSRude ^H^H^H^H News, would it? I’ll turn this one around: instead of beating a dead horse, why not buy in to a computer system that can do everything you need? No one is saying it has to be a specific platform. Pick one that does what you need, rather than a subset that is a compromise **. I love BeOS with all my heart, but I’m not about to use ArtPaint over Photoshop just to flagulate myself and be a martyr. And believe me, I compiled ArtPaint from source and *made* it work on the PowerPC architecture – more successfully that the original author (who bungled the way the add-in API linking worked for the Metrowerks PowerPC C++ compiler.) ** And if you *really* believe that is RISCOS, fair play. I hope you can cobble together enough viable software still in 5 years time. 2012-07-16 10:31 pm henderson101 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. 2012-07-13 9:39 am uridium @Coxy Well.. here’s hoping that the sheer number of Rpi punters out there swells that number by making it a nice easy entry level for people to get a taste of it. Personally.. I think AmigaOS is the pinnacle of OS dev and has a special place in my heart. RiscOS is still nice though 2012-07-13 12:56 pm zima An OS still without memory protection (so, in a a way, without proper multitasking – it relies on good behaviour of applications) is a pinnacle of OS development for you?… O_o 2012-07-13 3:41 pm MikeCarter I suppose the positive aspect of it is it forces you to write good code. 2012-07-13 4:15 pm zima But what really happens, what mostly happened: code base becomes more and more unmaintainable, the attention is on trying to avoid nuking the OS while running – and progress grinds to a halt. Nowadays, ~Amiga lives on, tries to remain useful, mostly on ports of PC software (just lagging in version, and in less stable state) 2012-07-15 1:49 am uridium @Zima Seriously dude Get out of the 90’s. That’s when they introduced “Enforcer” .. which if you have a CPU with an mmu eg.. 020+68851 or a non-EC anything later enables mmu protection. Yes, you can run without memory protection. No I don’t think it’s wise and don’t. Yes, I do think that AmigaOS, VMS and OS/400 are the pinnacle of OS dev 2012-07-15 3:19 am zima Seriously dude, those are just best effort kludges (and didn’t make much difference in practice) – Amiga OS still doesn’t have memory protection in any rigorous sense of the term. Snap out of nostalgia, that’s what killed Amiga, what keeps hammering nails into its coffin for almost 2 decades already… (BTW, NT can be seen as quite worthy successor to VMS, on technical level – how market realities forced NT into dubious ~userland practices is another issue; at least perceiving VMS or OS/400 as pinnacle has some merit …but that’s not what you initially claimed) 2012-07-13 10:19 am Arawn Can’t wait to try it on my RasPi, it will be my first encounter with RiscOS. And I’m glad the development of RiscOS is still going, we need alternatives to the common OSes. I just found what it seems a nice ARM platform, reasonably priced and it seemed to me it might be a good fit for RiscOS and similar OSes. The ODROID-X. http://liliputing.com/2012/07/hardkernel-odroid-x-129-android-devel… Very nice platform! Personally can’t wait to have more choice than the standard x86 platforms. 2012-07-13 1:05 pm zima If you can’t wait for your first encounter with RISC OS in general (RasPi or not), your PC works too (via emulation – all required in the comments of the above article about RPi of Thom http://www.osnews.com/thread?520050 ) But don’t have too high hopes, it’s not really an alternative to more modern operating systems – that said, it is quite charming and fun to try out. 2012-07-13 10:04 pm KLU9 Now all I need to do is buy a deceased BBC B micro, a 14″ CRT telly, oh and a Raspberry Pi. And then I can get back to playing Elite and Government, and making my own LAN-delivered Teletext pages for mates to read (you know, like we used to do before all that that “World Wide Web” and iFriendFaceSter stuff you young whippersnappers have been raised on eventually came along). 10 PRINT YAY! 20 GOTO 1985 Edited 2012-07-13 22:05 UTC 2012-07-17 11:00 am sa_scott Interesting points about RISC OS. I always found it an enjoyable experience. Drag and drop was never a problem for me. Being able to drag and drop between applications could be a real boon. Despite the mass of resources that Adobe has, it can be real painful using Photoshop and Illustrator together in the way you could between !Draw and !Paint. Ages could be spent integrating Adobe files, without some careful planning, with for example, fonts and DPI settings. Don’t get me wrong, Adobe software is a world away from Acorn’s applications in the design community. The quality of work one can produce is awe inspiring. But for me, and its a point raised in professional reviews of their software, their interfaces do take time to digest. !Paint and !Draw are very raw in comparison, but – combined with drag and drop – that simplicity enabled and empowered its users, whether they were schoolchildren or adults, to create work quickly and efficiently. I had Artworks and Impression Publisher, which worked pretty nicely together. Artworks has gone from strength to strength under the stewardship of Martin Wuerthner. RISC OS has fallen behind in terms of the usability features that now come as standard in modern OSes. And now we have touchscreens, which is an area I don’t believe RISC OS has support for yet. For a ROM based operating system, RISC OS did a lot in the confines of its 4mb (or thereabouts?) footprint, which is a mere fraction of the codebase used by modern OSes. And before the advent of SSD, patience could be sorely tested by the startup times of Windows or Mac OS. RISC OS start up time can be measured in seconds. Perhaps its a lousy comparison, but Ruby on Rails was built upon Ruby, a language devised oevr 20 years ago. Python has been around a long time. My perception over the past couple of years is that these two languages have had a resurgence in usage. Perhaps the same can be said about RISC OS – an OS that may not threaten the big boys, but can certainly find a significant niche in this day and age, and more so on the Raspberry Pi. RISC OS on the Pi would be great. My five year old son wants to use computers, but on a Windows machine, it’s so easy for things to get screwed up. Such computers combined with preschool kids is surely asking for trouble. An embattled (and rattled) parent can do without the grief of a an abused computer. A Raspi can be switched off and reset without hassle. RISC OS was much harder to break in the classroom, surely the most demanding of computer environments! I wish RISC OS all the best for the future 🙂 2012-07-20 11:53 pm zima Drag and drop is also quite extensively supported in more contemporary operating systems, you know… One can easily do many file operations with it in Windows, and at the very least dragging of files to applications works universally. Thing is, hardly anybody does it. Perhaps it’s just not such a good idea, with mouse – requires few highly coordinated separate actions which, if accidentally interrupted (“dropping” the icon while moving it, for example), give unpredictable results (who knows where it was dropped this time) And if you really want it, there are less complex Windows gfx applications than those from Adobe. Yeah, Ruby or Python are a lousy comparison – 2 decades ago they were in their cradle, not really practical but with concepts aiming for the future, and steadily expanding from there (not “resurgence”). RISC OS was in its prime time, with tech and approaches of the (then!) distant past, and declining. The approaches which gave RISC OS its relative niceness (in its time), or snappiness, also meant it never did that much, and they severely limited its progress. Yeah, it was “much harder to break in the classroom” being contained in read-only ROM – which, again, limited the possibilities. And is something a limited account on modern OS does just as well… (but do you really want to, in educational setting? Perhaps it’s better to allow for breakage, and in the worst case just restoring working state from image) RISC OS has its place – as nostalgic toy or a hobby OS.