Home > RISC OS > RISC OS 4 and 5 to merge RISC OS 4 and 5 to merge Submitted by Andrew Duffell 2004-10-16 RISC OS 25 Comments RISC OS 4 which is produced by RISCOS Ltd, and RISC OS 5 produced by Castle Technology are to merge in a deal announced last night. The Icon Bar has the full story. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 25 Comments 2004-10-16 7:54 pm That’s the first best thing they could do. 2004-10-16 8:11 pm Are there a lot of Brits actually purchasing RISC computers? Just reading the specs off of Castle’s website it seems that although the price does not seem bad, the underlying technology seems old? Is there a lot of legacy software still in use? 2004-10-16 8:34 pm I do not see much market for them anymore ! They were very popular in schools, Almost everyone may have used one if they were at school 5 or more years ago. But now they have been replaced with x86 and a few G3/G4 computers. They lost market because they do not move very quickly making the x86 more usefull. But to be sure the Acorns were the most stable computers that never crash (In my experience) and did not fail/break down very often. And run with out much/any noise and use little power. 2004-10-16 9:06 pm Almost everyone may have used one if they were at school 5 or more years ago. A joke? Our department used Solaris + Sunray, but pretty much everyone else used Windows. 2004-10-16 9:24 pm Yep between 1990 and 1995 in primary/secondary schools. I should of said 10 or more years <-; 2004-10-16 9:58 pm Even in the early 90s they weren’t used in every British school. My local school replaced their BBC Micros with Mac Pluses and I know of some that switched to PCs running Windows 3. I feel sorry for the kids who had to use them, Acorn made far better computers. 2004-10-16 10:13 pm Ah sets off an nostalgic felling. The old adventure games on the BBC micros. If you can solve the word puzzles you can move on to the next level after listening to the 5.25 floppy drive hum for a long time. <-: 2004-10-16 11:24 pm Is there anybody that makes cheaper hardware for this platform that is priced around $500CDN? From my experience with ROX (which is supposed to be inspired by RISC OS) it has in it to be a very interesting environment. If there isn’t cheaper (but still ‘upto date’ in the utility sense of latest RISC OS) hardware then it pretty much spells doom for it in mass market. The other option is to support ROX and assist with applications that are needed. It runs on any X11 system. What I would probably more prefer is another os that is quicker for the desktop (in the BeOS sense) that could have ROX run on it. 2004-10-17 12:48 am For the record, my secondary school was using exclusively Acorn Archimedes computers in the IT suites until I was in Year 10 (so that’d be around about the end of 1999). Also for the record, one of them used to take (quite literally) 90 seconds to register a keypress, which made typing a document somewhat difficult The rest weren’t *that* slow, i.e. they were still at least vaguely useful for basic stuff (word processing and making midi music), but they were certainly showing their age. I doubt there are very many, if any, schools that haven’t made the move to Wintel and/or Mac yet… but it’d be interesting to know whether or not there are any that are still holding out, and if so: why? 2004-10-17 2:12 am Very nice systems If you have to complain about the price then understand this. If you have a fraction of the users of other platforms and you are trying to make custom hardware, theres no way in heck you are going to be able to make cheap hardware if you want it to be anything but crap. Anyways, the platform is *not* gone. it’s still in very active developement and theres still a load of users. As soon as I get my 220 line run to my room I’ll have my risc pc 700 hooked back up 2004-10-17 12:49 pm There is a big UK RISC OS show on saturday, which will see lots of activity and some new lauches. The platform may be in minority usage but its not dead. It may have a lower CPU speed but it still delivers much more usable power for most tasks than most other computers. 2004-10-17 2:10 pm Goblin: What’s this “Yonix” you speak of? “All other niche platform are just…. crap” – like your reasoning then? People have already given good reasons for the platform – you can’t magically dismiss them with a wave of your hand. Jeffrey Drake: A fully specced RiscPC can be had for around the price you mention (or a bit less) – not the newest machine, but still very popular and the one most users have. And really, the “other option” is VirtualRiscPC – an emulator for Windows. ROX doesn’t have too much to do with RISC OS. 2004-10-17 2:54 pm Anyone know where i can download VirtualRPC ? 2004-10-17 3:51 pm Tried using Google? It’s the first link. In any case, you can’t download it – it’s commerical software. But you can download its predecessor, RedSquirrel. 2004-10-17 5:28 pm yeah, I have the older version called virtual acorn a5000. It runs fairly well on my lowend x86 machine. Still can’t beat using a real riscpc though 2004-10-17 9:29 pm For a new user, VirtualRiscPC comes with RiscOS 4.39 – You have to pay for the emulator and also for the OS. RedSquirrel may be free, but where can you get the OS ?? 2004-10-17 9:54 pm DO a google search for ‘Risc OS 3.11’ you will find that version after awhile.. granted its a pretty old version but it lets you see how the Risc OS was back in ~1991 Makes several other Gui’d OSes of that time period look primitive 2004-10-17 11:13 pm Well… Using Risco OS 3.11 would be a blast from the past. Not the best way to understand what is so «hot» about Risc OS. Still, 99$ is a lot of money for VirtualRiscPC, just for the fun of playing with the OS… 2004-10-17 11:32 pm Most of Ontario’s (Canada’s largest province) public schools have QNX2-based 80186 computers since 1983. You heard it right — QNX2 80186 computers with track balls and a centralized hard drive server. http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=971 QNX basically got out of the desktop market by late 80’s (when they started working on QNX4 which is their first attempt on an embedded OS). 2004-10-18 1:02 pm Almost everyone may have used one if they were at school 5 or more years ago. A joke? Our department used Solaris + Sunray, but pretty much everyone else used Windows Not a joke. In the UK, “school” means an educational establishment for children up to the age of 16-18 (depending on the school). I think you mistook Aaron for meaning “school” as in “university”. Universities here tend to run the usual suspects – Windows & Unix. Some even have Novell in the mix. When I started at university, the computer centre had a room of Macs. By the time I left, the Macs had been phased out, and the Suns were due to follow. After going from Novell Netware 3 to 4, I think the whole university network is now based on NT. 2004-10-18 1:32 pm I’m not sure what the target market is these days, but the “audience” is really current Risc OS users. As with the Amiga, it is very much a niche market and almost impossible to expand. It’s a vicious circle of a small userbase making cheap hardware a financial impossibility. High prices prevent new uptake so the userbase remains small… In the case of Risc OS, the main strength is also its weakness, in a way. It is very closely tied to the ARM architecture, and those processors have certain advantages over AMD & Intel x86 processors. The disadvantage is that, unlike Linux, you can’t install Risc OS on a typical PC. Running Risc OS on an emulator gives you an idea of why there is still a userbase, but there’s nothing that would make you think “Wow! I’ll ditch Windows and buy an Iyonix.” 2004-10-18 1:34 pm We used many version of Acorns, the old Beige ones with Grey / White keys then upgraded to the new White ones with Green Keys with built in 31/2″ floppy absolutely fantastic machines. My high school, which my brother goes to, still uses the old BBC Micro model B for certain applications mainly controlling laithe machines in metal work and electronics learning logic writing programs to control led’s to make traffic light systems and the such. I beleive a lot of schools still use these Acrons / BBC Micro’s becuase they are built to last and surprisingly they are upgradable, the BBC’s were dual processor, yeah only 2mhz but still dual processor is impressive! 2004-10-18 1:56 pm I still use my 202MHz StrongARM 10 year old RiscPC running RISC OS 4 Select at home whilst by day I’m a Microsoft cert’d IT engineer dealing with NT/2000/XP machines. I just love RISC OS’s no fuss interface, it has amazingly fast GUI windows for a 202 MHz processor. It doesn’t expect you to wait whilst it builds it’s menus like XP does. It’s just so damn easy to use and doesn’t confuse or annoy me like Windows XP. 🙂 I love the way you install software on it. You drag the application directory from the CD or floppy folder to *anywhere* on the harddrive and that’s it! You’ve run out of room on the drive? Just drag and move the application folders to a different drive. No special software required to move your apps like Windows. To uninstall, you delete the directory. Nuff said. Ok, I’d like a faster model for processing graphics and the Iyonix pc looks nice and quick being 4x faster. But at over 1200 quid I can’t justify it to my wife. 😉 2004-10-18 3:46 pm While ROX (http://rox.sf.net) does have a similar GUI to RISC OS, it doesn’t run existing RISC OS applications without an emulator (http://arcem.sourceforge.net/ etc), which is what most current RISC OS users need. The ones who just want the RISC OS interface (DnD saving, application directories, filer-centric, BBC BASIC etc) have likely already switched. 2004-10-18 6:10 pm Just ignore “goblin” – he’s a troll that flames any mention of Syllable, SkyOS, Amiga, BeOS, Risc OS, Linux, BSDs… he trolls on sites like Osnews to get attention. It’s good news that there’s co-operation between RISCOS Ltd. and Castle. I’ve seen that there has been confusion over the differences between Risc OS 4 & 5, 32-bit and 26-bit (someone on this site expressed surprise and derision that Risc OS 4 was 16-bit!). With such a small market, it makes no sense to have competition and/or a lack of co-operation in the development of Risc OS.