RISC OS Archive

RISC OS goes open source with Apache 2.0 license

RISC OS Open Ltd (ROOL) are hugely proud to announce that we will be working with RISC OS Developments (ROD), following their recent acquisition of the RISC OS intellectual property through the purchase of Castle Technology Ltd (Castle), in the next phase of the mission to reinvigorate the RISC OS market.

ROD will be working alongside community maintainers ROOL to republish the source code to this popular niche operating system under the Apache 2.0 License, in a move aimed at removing existing barriers to entry for developers from the open source community and enabling free-of-charge use in commercial products for the first time in RISC OS's history.

Great news for the RISC OS community, and I hope this ensures RISC OS will remain available to play and hack with for years and years to come.

Under the microscope: Aemulor

After the release of the Iyonix PC in 2002, RISC OS started moving from 26-bit architecture towards 32-bit. Nowadays all modern RISC OS machines are 32-bit, but an awful lot of older applications are still not compatible with modern 32-bit RISC OS.

Aemulor, originally a commercial application but now free to download, is a software emulator that allows RISC OS applications which were written for a 26-bit ARM systems to be used on more recent CPUs that provide only 32-bit addressing modes. RISC OS itself is unaware that there is anything unusual about the 26-bit applications that are running under Aemulor, to RISC OS they appear as normal applications - they appear on the icon bar and can communicate fully with other 26 or 32-bit applications.

I've bought a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ just for RISC OS, so hopefully, I can start posting more about this old but venerable operating system in the future. Any tips or interesting things for me to investigate are welcome.

RISC OS 5.24 released

RISC OS 5.24 has been released.

The headline features see previously neglected areas of RISC OS dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, with JPEG support, monitor EDID support, handling of larger hard drives, and the network stack being upgraded. The bounty system is delivering some really worthwhile enhancements into the software. USB and network stack improvements are a massive undertaking, and ROOL broke each into several stages to make them more manageable.

There are also some genuine improvements to user features such as clipboard improvements and new features in Paint. Lots of applications have received little tweaks such as unicode and fancy fonts in Chars, improved dialogs in Printers, tweaks to HForm, DosFS, Maestro, more secure LanmanFS which can connect to Windows 8 and 10, etc.

RISC OS 5.24 is freely available for Raspberry Pi machines.

RISC OS 5.22 stable released

RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) are pleased to announce the much anticipated latest stable RISC OS release, it incorporates a massive 454 changes for the Tungsten platform (used in the IYONIX pc from Castle Technology), 484 changes for the OMAP3 platform (used in the ARMini from RComp), and 423 changes for the IOMD platform used in the Acorn Risc PC/A7000/A7000+.

For the first time the stable release includes the OMAP4 port, a Cortex-A9 processor used in the PandaRO from CJE Micros and ARMiniX from RComp.

Still going strong.

The design behind RISC OS 4 and 6

The lead developer of a niche ARM-powered OS has written a string of in-depth articles on the design, implementation and testing of a commercial operating system. Justin Fletcher was the architect of versions of 4 and 6 of RISC OS, the ARM processor's original operating system. Although his pieces will be best appreciated by RISC OS and Acorn users old and new, the series is a fantastic insight into operating system design: check out his build system for compiling code into ROM images, the abstraction of video graphics from a legacy 1980s-era kernel, converting images on the fly, testing and debugging, executing applications and plenty more. Justin has written tens of thousands of words and will be publishing new pieces daily online and in Android and iOS-friendly formats.

RISC OS Pi released

"RISC OS Open are very pleased to announce the official release of RISC OS for the Raspberry Pi, 'RISC OS Pi'. This is a watershed moment for RISC OS and represents the culmination of many months of hard work from a whole community of developers, testers and other contributors. It also means the Raspberry Pi can now boast support for the quick, compact, original ARM-based operating system." This is absolutely fantastic news. I'm going to try this on my Pi later this week.

Raspberry Pi To Embrace RISC OS

Sometimes, on a rather boring and run-of-the-mill Monday, I get news in the submission queue which just puts a gigantic smile on my face. We've talked about the Raspberry Pi before on OSNews, and other than reporting that everything's on track for a Christmas launch, it has also been announced that the Raspberry Pi will be able to run... RISC OS. A British educational ARM board running RISC OS? We have come full circle. And I couldn't be happier. Update: Theo Markettos emailed me with two corrections - Markettos isn't actually a representative of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and the quoted bits are transcribed, they're not Markettos' literal words. Thanks for clearing that up!

Retro RISC OS Games Into the 21st Century

Since the opening up of the RISC OS source code, developers have been experimenting with the OS on modern ARM hardware. Recently, work has progressed on porting some vintage Acorn games to other platforms, including iOS and Windows. Paradise Games has released an iOS port of Inferno, and TBA Software has rendered BHP in OpenGL on Windows. TBA has also ported its TBAFS filing system to ARMv7 hardware and is investigating its TAG games engine and the modernisation of BBC BASIC. The Icon Bar has further details.

Drobe Closes Its Doors After Ten Years

Drobe.co.uk, the premier RISC OS news website, today announced that it has entered archive mode and will no longer function as a news reporting source. The site was founded by Peter Price in 1999 and editorship was taken over by journalist Chris Williams in 2001. Chris first broke the sad news on Monday morning via usenet: "Drobe's RISC OS news service, which launched in October 1999, will sadly cease from Monday. Running the site has been so much fun over the years and the experience has been very rewarding - from the investigative pieces and tabloid tomfoolery to the libel writ threats and meeting up with users after shows. However, all good things must come to an end - if you'll forgive the cliche - and it's time to formally move on."

Talks of RISC OS Porting to ARM Cortex-A8

"US-based company Genesi, which builds ARM Cortex-powered appliances that could be compatible with the RISC OS Open Beagleboard work, is said to be in talks with RISC OS companies over a possible port of the OS to its products. It's hoped ROS 5 could be made to run on the lightweight EFIKA MX Open Client, which sports a 800MHz Cortex-A8 processor, 3D graphics hardware, 512M RAM, wifi networking and more. Genesi analyst Matt Sealey said: 'RISC OS is really popular in the UK and the last dedicated RISC OS box - the Iyonix - has been discontinued for six months. We are currently questioning the relevant companies in the UK, including Castle, about collaboration and marketing efforts, and the support they'd need to make it a reality.'"

RISC OS 6 in Pictures

"RISCOS Ltd gets fired at from all sides, it seems. There are those who have RISC OS 5 and are fed up with RISCOS Ltd saying: "Yes, we want to do RISC OS Select on Iyonix, but..." Then there are those who have subscribed to ROL's Select scheme, but the features they want have not been implemented or they are frustrated by a lack of progress. It is fair to say ROL has made a large number of improvements to the OS over the years and many of these are 'under the hood' that are not always immediately obvious to users. There have been a few obvious user-facing improvements since the release of RISC OS 6, as part of Select 5, so let's take a look at these."