New Iyonix computers are shipping with Nvidia FX52 series graphics cards and RISC OS 5.12 fitted as standard. The FX5200 and FX5500 cards are newer than the dinosaur Nvidia GeForce MX 2 that shipped with original Iyonixes, plus they feature dual-head and DVI output capabilities. RISC OS support for these two functions is understood to not yet be fully complete, however. The new cards are also mildly faster than the MX 2 devices, speeding up graphics operations by an estimated 25 to 30 percent.
RISC OS Archive
The developers of RISC OS 5 are prepared to open source 'elements' of the operating system, acccording to a report in Archive magazine today. Castle boss Jack Lillingston reportedly told Archive editor Paul Beverley on-the-record that the company is "very seriously considering making RISC OS open source".
One of the strengths of RISC OS is the ability for people to drag'n'drop objects around the desktop. It's usually hard to describe how well this works, but other operating systems are rapidly catching up. While RISC OS still arguably has the edge, Drobe spoke to a number of professionals who rely on the drag'n'drop in RISC OS.
The new EU legislation that forces manufacturers to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals and materials in their products will affect the Iyonix. The computer's motherboard will require a costly resdesign in order to meet the requirements of the new RoHS rules, especially to meet the low-lead levels in the PCB solder, say contacts close to Castle. Well placed sources say that items manufactured before the July 1 deadline can still be shipped and sold. It is understood that the AdvantageSix A9 range is RoHS compliant. Castle have declined to comment. My take: It's a bird, it's a plane... No, it's the RoHS which Castle could've seen coming since 2003.
Castle director and Tematic boss Peter Wild has said RISC OS must become open source to compete in modern markets. ""Make open source and encourage users to contribute to it, use it and drive its ongoing development. This is the only scenario I can see in which the solution might prosper – short of someone investing a few million quid to fund further development."
So you thought you would find here an impartial, knowledgeable comparison of RISC OS with the more popular and better known operating systems? Think again; I have been so steeped in RISC OS, since even before its appearance two decades ago, were that possible, and I am so ignorant of other operating systems, that I cannot honestly deliver to you a balanced picture. Well, that is the modern usage of apology over with, so let us get on to the older sense. Note: This is the 2nd entry to our Alternative OS Contest which runs through 14th July!
"It's a sight that will stun many users. To run RISC OS on a PDA is something we've been crying out for. Here, RISC OS can be seen running on a PocketPC PDA, with no Microsoft software in sight. The Pocket Loox computer even uses a 520MHz ARM-compatible XScale processor. However, the break through came about after Jan Rinze Peterzon ported the open source RiscPC emulator RPCemu to Windows CE. The screenshots show the standard RISC OS 3.7 desktop running in a 480x640 in 32,000 colour screen mode. Draw can be seen in action, drawing lines in a new document, on the Fujitsu Siemens hand-held device."
"The developer of the ArcEm port to Amiga OS 4 has sent in a video of RISC OS 3 running on his 800MHz Amiga computer. He described the RISC OS 3 desktop as slightly sluggish, although games fare much better in the Archimedes emulator. The video shows Chris briefly using the desktop, fiddling with the Filer and Task Manager, before loading up the familiar Lander demo - including the inevitable crash landing that shortly follows."
The A9home is officially on sale to the public with the first orders expected to ship by next month. The published specification says the A9home is just 168mm by 103mm by53mm (roughly 6" x 4" x 2") in size. Inside its blue aluminum case is a 400MHz Samsung ARM9 processor with a Silicon Motion chipset, a 40GB hard disc, 128MB of SDRAM and 8MB of video RAM. The operating system is 32bit RISC OS Adjust, and the box runs off a 5 volt 20W power supply. It features four USB 1.1 ports, 2 PS/2 sockets, an ethernet network port, and an audio out socket.
The Acorn brand will be used to launch a range of PC laptops at a computer show next week. The lack of connection shown between the new company behind the apparent revival and the Acorn of old is unclear, provoking a furious reaction from a number of RISC OS users. Acorn Computers Ltd, which was incorporated on January 28 this year, will be attending the CTS 2006 event at the NEC in Birmingham while promoting a 'new range of Acorn Notebooks'.
"Being able to run RISC OS on Mac OS X would probably be the highlight of 2006 for many of the users who have picked up a Mac to sit alongside their RISC OS machines. When VirtualRiscPC for Mac OS X will arrive is best left to VirtualAcorn, although what we've discovered here might be the next best thing. Riding the coat tails of Apple's switch to using Intel processors, it's now possible to run Microsoft Windows applications on the shiny Mac OS X desktop - and this includes VirtualRiscPC."
"On this day ten years ago, the first prototype StrongARM processor card was powered up by Acorn engineers. The experimental kit managed to run at a cool 228MHz, running software nearly six times faster than the 40MHz ARM710 processors used in RiscPCs at the time. The card, which drew one watt of power, would later go on sale in September 1996."
"Of the 344 functions in the Castle Shared C Library, Graham Shaw has so far managed to implement 200 in his alternative module. A hundred of those have been fully tested, and this is after six weeks of development. By Graham's reckoning, his target is to recreate the official SCL's 48 base functions, 185 C library functions, and 111 functions related to 64bit support, the C99 standard and other bits and pieces. The module is an open source affair, but will allow applications to use it without repercussions, such as requiring proprietary program authors to reveal their own source code. Developers can, it's expected, choose to use their own choice of 'stubs' library, as provided by the Castle C/C++ compiler kit, RISCOS Ltd's StubsG or with the GCCSDK."
Freely available RiscPC hardware emulator RPCEmu has been ported to Linux. Author Tom Walker released his program under an open source licence to Peter Naulls, who then crafted a Linux version and added in HostFS support from ArcEm - enabling RPCEmu to access files stored by the host operating system. RPCEmu, originally built for Windows users, is distributed with its source code included for other programmers to tweak and experiment with.
The ultimate accessory for 8 bit Acorn users, an ARM7 co-processor, is now available to order. Robert Sprowson's ingenious project to produce a second processor sees a 64MHz ARM7TDMI from OKI running alongside a BBC Master's dinosaur 6502 CPU. The box of tricks uses an Altera FPGA as digital glue to bind together the second processor, 16M of RAM, 512K of Flash ROM, and optional serial port and EEPROM chip. The ARM7 chip includes a 8K cache, and the kit took over six months to develop.
Following rumour and speculation over the future of RISC OS 4, RISCOS Ltd's managing director today poured scorn on 'every rumour and piece of misinformation that comes up on the Internet'. In a frank email he told Select subscribers today: "Some people have a habit of starting rumours that can upset many other people's views of how the market is progressing. Negative rumours, especially when they are unfounded, can have a tremendous effect on the market, so please treat anything you hear or read with caution unless it is fully verified."
Christmas last year saw RISCOS Ltd embark on a road show tour of the UK to bring one day shows to Manchester, London, and Birmingham. The fun continues with the RISC OS Roadshow going Dutch at the Hotel Mercure in Nieuwegein, Netherlands. The date is Saturday 17th June, 10:00-17:00 local time.
A new version of RISC OS 5 is today available via Castle's Internet based update distribution software. RISC OS 5.11 contains bug fixes to the Iyonix's ethernet networking driver, EtherK, to address a fault with stalling connections - as seen occasionally in ShareFS. The USB stack has been tweaked to support USB radio projects and similar software. The RISC OS Flash ROM image was also built using optimisations included in the latest publically available version of the Norcroft C/C++ compiler, as sold by Castle. RISC OS 5.11 is a stable release, unlike its earlier cousin 5.10, which saw the introduction of improved Nvidia card handling during the start up of the computer.
"Although vinyl threatens every other year to be the new hip in-thing with all the cool kids on the streets, there's still a wealth of age old audio joy locked away in collections of deteriorating records littering lofts and cupboards everywhere. Chris Johnson talks us through how he preserves his LPs onto CD using RISC OS."
RISCOS Ltd. detailed that "the full launch of the A9 computer, and then Select 4, are currently targetted for around May this year", perhaps at the Wakefield show, "and once completed attention can be focussed on the Iyonix." They will also issue new shares to fund the development of RISC OS 4.