The incredible pagetable.com continues to erupt historical joy with the conversion of "Archimedes Operating System - A User's Guide" to PDF. This 320 page PDF of the book, originally published in 1991 "gives you a real insight into the micro's inner workings. The book is applicable to any model of Archimedes whether running the Arthur or RISC OS Operating Systems."
RISC OS Archive
Earlier this month we reported on RISCOS Ltd possibly undertaking legal action against RISC OS Open Ltd , with the latter being the shared source project started by Castle. This news came down pretty hard on the already small RISC OS community, but it did have a number of positive effects: representatives from both ROL and ROOL were quick to explain that there is absolutely no animosity between the two companies, and that the community has nothing to fear.
And it seems as if another minor, barely-alive operating system will become encumbered by legal bickering between two small companies. The RISC OS scene, which is already a tangled and complicated mess of companies, version number teasing and incompatible versions, might be torn apart even further because RISCOS Ltd might take legal action trying to prevent RISC OS Open Ltd from releasing a RiscPC compatible ROM from the RISC OS 5 shared source project. Should you feel confused, you needn't worry: so does everyone else.
Always wanted to try out RISC OS, but were you set back by the fact that you had to buy a new computer? RISCOS Ltd. has released a very cheap ROM image of RISC OS 4.02 which you can use in a free emulator like RPCemu. At only 5 GBP, this image, dubbed "Virtually Free" by the company, is the easiest way of trying out RISC OS. "RISC OS "Virtually Free" is a fully licensed complete package. It consists of a single 4 MB zip file containing a RISC OS 4.02 ROM image with the !Boot structure and other necessary applications and utilities. It is designed to be unzipped and installed in the emulator itself with most of the work being done from within the host environment." It will be available from RISCOS Ltd.'s sales page starting December 8.
A huge blow to the already small RISC OS market and community: Castle Technology has announced that the Iyonix range of ARM-based RISC OS computers will be taken off the market after 30th September. Support will continue through the Iyonix website, the dealer network, and by email. This leaves Advantage6 as the only manufacturer of RISC OS hardware with its A9Home computer.
"When asked what they most like about RISC OS, many enthusiasts are likely to mention the fluid, slick and intuitive manner with which user and computer interact. In other words, the graphical user interface, or the GUI as the geeks would have us call it. With RISC OS, the GUI encourages all applications to work in a similar way, and to have the same feel. Faced with new RISC OS software, a user already has a good idea of how to drive it and explore."
"RISC OS Open and Castle have today published a new batch of RISC OS source code on the riscosopen.org website for everyone to get their grubby mitts on. This third installment of code comes after the first load of software blueprints were released in May and a second barrage in October, last year. The latest batch includes the messy insides of the RISC OS 5 USB system, various low-level hardware-related modules and a library for applications that use networks and the Internet." There's also a new Firefox release for RISC OS.
"New Year is traditionally a time in which the achievements, surprises and disappointments of the previous year are reflected upon. Often, in spite of the fireworks and wild parties, time is set aside in which to dwell upon one's private thoughts. As 2008 is now underway I've found myself mulling over my involvement with RISC OS. Whether I like it or not, my involvement in the Acorn and RISC OS scene has been a significant part of my life over the past 27 years."
"The Christmas 2007 show, a relatively quiet affair held earlier this weekend in leafy Warwickshire, has been and gone. The main highlight was the appearance of Paul Stewart's home made portable RISC OS machine. Paul has managed to pack an A9home, laptop keyboard, touch pad, flatscreen monitor, a couple of speakers and other bits and pieces into what appears to be a slim flight case. Although he is remaining tight lipped about the project, Paul is set to reveal more details in the new year. It's understood the case has sockets for USB, video-out and ethernet, includes electronics to take power from a battery, and video is supplied to the flatscreen via analogue VGA."
"The two opposing corners of RISC OS have apparently agreed to join forces and jointly coordinate development of the OS. RISCOS Ltd, who produce RISC OS 4 and 6, and RISC OS Open, who are overseeing RISC OS 5 development, promised this week to, effectively, chat to each other over a coffee."
A flurry of RISC OS news today all crammed up into one item. There is a story on Java and RISC OS, a semi-announcement to a new source code release of RISC OS 5 by ROOL, and the Faraday medal for the man who designed the BBC Micro and ARM architecture - Professor Steve Furber. In addition, there is a piece on last week's news about the think tank Globalisation Institute's advice. The head of the organisation (who is a former RISC OS magazine journalist) seems to think unbundling RISC OS from the Iyonix is a possibility. Interestingly, the reports excludes Macintosh computers from unbundling. Update: The Intel Mac VirtualRiscPC beta has gone on sale.
The RISC OS On Linux project has released the first alpha-quality version of their live CD. "A first attempt at a Live CD has been uploaded here (169MB download, a bzipped iso), the space has been kindly donated by Ned Abell. This CD should boot into a desktop with Tux on the right and disc icons for /home/rolf and /tmp, on the left of the Iconbar. In /home/rolf are three apps that should work immediately, !Terminal, !Viewer and !Vim. !NetSurf needs a little help to run, as does Inkscape, which has no application directory yet." ROLF is a user space layer above the Linux Kernel, providing a superset of the RISC OS look and feel on Linux.
An ambitious initiative to eventually run RISC OS desktop software on Linux-powered PCs took a step closer to reality this month. Issues with the user interface code have been addressed, and a bootable CD is being prepared to demonstrate the system's abilities. The aim of the RISC OS Look and Feel project is to enable native RISC OS applications and Linux programs to run within a familiar looking desktop on modern hardware - allowing users' favourite software to run on systems that can also play DVDs, browse the latest web content, play games and use the latest gadgets. Developer Simon Willcocks said he is ready to produce a 'live CD' that includes basic components, including an iconbar, a filer, a terminal emulator, an image viewer, an MP3 player, NetSurf, Inkscape, and so on.
The aim of ROX has always been to combine the best features of RISC OS with those of traditional Unix desktops, including Linux. Here, Dr Leonard, the creator and visionary behind the ROX desktop, answers questions on ROX, how RISC OS inspired him, what he thinks about the current state of the OS, and what the future holds for his desktop.
"It occurred to me this week that RISC OS Open is one year old this month. I checked by searching back through the news archives. Yes, there it is: the first proper mention of ROOL popped up on July 9 2006. That was an exciting moment. Unexpected too. Castle had taken the brave decision to begin the release of the RISC OS source code. ROOL, a new company founded by five experienced RISC OS enthusiasts, was the vehicle through which RISC OS source code would be made available to those who could handle it."
An effort by users to produce a charity that will support future RISC OS software development is beginning to take shape. Using a mailing list to coordinate the project, a group of punters eventually hope to create a website that will allow people to offer cash and skills to developers.
The first batch of the RISC OS 5 source code has been released today for free download, hours before the start of the Wakefield 2007 show. The upload comes after Castle revealed its shared source licence. The first set of components released by RISC OS Open and Castle comprises of major applications and modules that form part of the backbone of the operating system. These include utility CloseUp; desktop applications Paint, Draw and Edit; the RISC OS Filer and Pinboard; CDFS, various CD device drivers and CDFS Filer; the MessageTrans and BASIC modules; and Browse fetchers. The software is written in a mix of BASIC, C and ARM assembler.
Castle and RISC OS Open have revealed the details of their 'shared source' licence - which is hoped to encourage coders to download and improve the ARM-based operating system. The wording of the licence has drawn mixed reactions, and the first batch of RISC OS source code is expected to be released tomorrow.
VirtualAcorn today announced it was releasing a version of its RiscPC emulator for Apple PowerPC machines as part of a new beta testing scheme. According to their website, the publisher will release 'a limited number of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA products suitable for use on G4 and G5 PowerPC Apple Macintosh computers'.
"Paul Middleton just emailed to let us know that RISC OS SelectInfo 4 Issue 2 is now available to download to any RISC OS Select subscriber who renewed their subscription on or after January 1st 2006. In the PR, Paul Middleton says: "Select 4 and its underlying RISC OS Six technology represents over 10 man years of development which has taken RISC OS 4 from its 26 bit version to its new fully 32 bit neutral source version.""