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The Icon Bar: News and features: RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi
 

RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:52, 6/5/2017 | , ,
 


 
As ROOL had hinted in the run-up to the show, Wakefield 2017 saw the long-awaited release of RC15.
 
RC15 (RC stands for release candidate) was the official release of RISC OS to run on the Raspberry Pi 3. All the issues found in RC14 have been fixed and this version is now considered stable and reliable to run. RC14 was actually fairly good but several 3rd party applications (which are shipped with RISC OS) did not. There are actually a lot of changes in RC15 (it is an ePic release) which you can read on the changelog.
 
It is still RISC OS 5.23 (so officially no new features) but it has needed a lot of changes to make it run on the latest version of the Raspberry Pi. The hardware used has changed significantly in this new model and this required some updates to the code to make it work correctly. In particular, it uses a different ARM chip (Cortex-A53) which no longer allows some 'old' ways of doing things. This does not effect BASIC code, and C code needs a recompile. ARM code is more messy as it needs to be updated if it still uses these old methods. Otherwise the software will crash. And much RISC OS software is still written in ARM assembly code. We have been playing this catch-up game for many years (remember moving to 32bit for the same reason).
 
The release is important because it once again means RISC OS can run on the whole range of Raspberry Pi machines.
 
Setting up RISC OS on the RaspberryPi 3 is a bit of an anti-climax... I plugged the SD card in, switched on and it all booted straight into the RISC OS desktop. It even autamatically setup my a network connection for me. A quick screen resolution change, and I was up and running....
 
RISC OS is available for the Raspberry Pi in 3 ways:-
1. You can download the SD card image and copy it onto your own SSD card for free from ROOL.
2. You can buy an SD card already setup from the ROOL store.
3. You can buy an SD card containing both RISC OS and all the software on the Nut Pi together on an extra large, superfast SD card from the ROOL store.
 
RISC OS does not really make much use of the extra features so it is not worth upgrading to a Raspberry Pi 3 for a faster RISC OS experience. Where you will see a real benefit is in running other Operating Systems (which can make use of the 64bit chip and multi-threading). This is the first Raspberry Pi which I feel runs Raspbian (the office Linux release) well enough for my personal real, everyday usage. I actually have my Raspberry Pi 3 mostly setup as a Linux machine to use as a web browser (it now includes Chrome) and run Open Office (easily accessed from my RISC OS machines using VNC).
 
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing phenomenon and it is great to see our favourite OS available for all the versions and providing a really cheap entry point for RISC OS and a whole new generation with the chance to try RISC OS.
 
ROOL official announcement
 
Raspberry Pi website
 


 
  RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi
  hubersn (23:20 6/5/2017)
  markee174 (10:32 7/5/2017)
    hubersn (20:14 14/5/2017)
      Bucksboy (12:42 9/8/2017)
 
Steffen Huber Message #124079, posted by hubersn at 23:20, 6/5/2017
Member
Posts: 69
You are writing really strange things here.

It is still RISC OS 5.23 (so officially no new features)
RC15 is based on 5.23, while RC14 was based on 5.21. And features are constantly added to 5.23. E.g. the EDID feature is now part of RC15.

Maybe you are confusing RISC OS version numbering with something else?

and C code needs a recompile.
Generally, only code built with GCC and linked against UnixLib needs recompilation.

RISC OS does not really make much use of the extra features so it is not worth upgrading to a Raspberry Pi 3 for a faster RISC OS experience.
Even if RISC OS is currently only able to use one core and still runs in 32bit mode (which is probably what you mean by "use of the extra features"), the RPi 3 is a lot faster than RPi 2 and more so compared to RPi 1.

If you can cope with the backwards compatibility issues, it is absolutely worth the upgrade. In fact, speed is probably the only reason to upgrade.
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Mark Stephens Message #124080, posted by markee174 at 10:32, 7/5/2017, in reply to message #124079
Member
Posts: 27
I was trying to write the article from a general, non-technical stance. Thank-you for adding additional technical details to clarify.
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Steffen Huber Message #124084, posted by hubersn at 20:14, 14/5/2017, in reply to message #124080
Member
Posts: 69
I was trying to write the article from a general, non-technical stance.
It won't help non-technical people to understand the facts if what you write is in part either misleading or wrong.

In short: RC15 is not based on the same RISC OS version as RC14. The RISC OS version numbering scheme does not mean "no new features" while staying on the same version number. Only specific C code needs a recompile for RPi 3. And the RPi 3 gives you a much faster RISC OS experience compared to RPi 2, despite not using some of the new features of the SoC. I don't think that you can make the case that any of these things would have make it more difficult to understand for non-techies.

Reporting the facts correctly does not make things more complicated, neither for the technical nor the non-technical people.
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George Greenfield Message #124129, posted by Bucksboy at 12:42, 9/8/2017, in reply to message #124084
Member
Posts: 62
And the RPi 3 gives you a much faster RISC OS experience compared to RPi 2, despite not using some of the new features of the SoC.
I fully agree. I've had a 3 for a couple of weeks, running RC15 as did the preceding Pi2, and would say that in general use, as the benchmarks imply, it is 50-150% faster than the Pi2. I have also been pleasantly surprised by the lack of compatibility issues, which I did think beforehand would be a problem. Running under ARMv7 Fast mode, AemulorPro runs exactly as before, ditto Artworks, Techwriter, Variations, MessengerPro, OvationPro, DrawPrint, CloudFS, LanMan98, DPingScan, ChangeFSI, SparkFS, NetSurf, Otter etc etc. About the only failure I've had concerns my elderly LaserWriter 1100 printer, which no longer responds to !Printers v.1.85 (tried the 1.86 beta but no luck there either). So if anyone reading this has hesitated to go for a Pi3 on account of compatibility issues, I urge you to take the plunge.

[Edited by Bucksboy at 13:43, 9/8/2017]
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The Icon Bar: News and features: RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi