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The Icon Bar: News and features: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave RISC OS

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave RISC OS

Posted by John Hoare on 18:33, 30/11/2006 | ,
Last month, I thought I left RISC OS. After 19 years of using Acorn or Acorn-derived computers, my love affair is no longer. I sit here writing this on my Mac Mini, and very happy I am with it too. My Iyonix lies abandoned - still sitting under the desk here, but not connected. And not actually used for some time. And it's weird - because, in some strange way, I thought I would be using RISC OS forever. In January 2005, I said: "There's people who annoy me on the RISC OS scene, and I still wouldn't think of leaving. The nice people more than cancel it out, and besides - I just couldn't really do without using RISC OS."
So what changed?

I first used an Acorn machine in 1987 (I was six!), when my Dad brought home a brand spanking new BBC Master 128. Cassette-only when we first got it, I spent many happy hours failing to win Seventh Star, learning BBC BASIC, and getting yelled at because the loading music of Ghouls was loud and annoying. Like many of today's RISC OS and ex-RISC OS users, playing around with Acorn's 8-bit machines were what got me interested in computing.
My next computer was in 1995, when I bought a Risc PC 700. I'd been aching for a 32-bit machine since I first read about the Archimedes in Acorn User. Believe it or not, I managed to pay for that machine using my paper round - after school and weekends every day, for two years, for 12 a week. We weren't a rich family - literally paying for it myself was the only way. I fell in love with that machine more than any other computer I've owned, and speak to most RISC OS users, and it's the same - their eyes glint when you mention the Risc PC. Such a beautiful machine.
Why have I given you this reasonably boring potted history? Well, quite apart from me being a self-obsessed arse - to try and paint the kind of person who I was; probably best described as an "interested user". I certainly wasn't a programmer (bar some dodgy RISC OS multitasking stuff that is long-lost on an old hard drive - oooh, a CD player, that's original), but I enjoyed mucking about with various things on the side. And I loved the machines partly for what they were - as well as for what I could do with them.
My homeless IyonixFinally, I finally got an Iyonix in the autumn of 2004. A machine I spent a considerable amount of money on. And yet, last month I finally lost my patience with RISC OS. Why?
At the South-East show in Guildford in 2004, Paul Middleton and Jack Lillingston stood in front of the crowd. They said that ROL and Castle had sorted out their differences, and that RISC OS 4 and RISC OS 5 were going to be merged. That ROL were going to concentrate on developing the desktop aspects of RISC OS, and Castle were going to concentrate on the hardware, and RISC OS for the STB market. Everyone was friends again.
This has not panned out.
Now, I don't know what happened. I have no idea. All I know is that the deal was gone back on. And here's the rub - we've heard nothing official about it at all. Rumours have flown around, but there's been no official statement from either company about what happened. Nothing. Now, as a user, I find it that simply insulting. In fact, I feel I was lied to.
Meanwhile, the forked OS goes on. We still have two competing USB stacks; we still have two HALs, and still we have two completely different 32-bit versions of RISC OS. All that dual effort, wasted. Who knows where we could be now, if all that effort had been put into different things? We'd still be in trouble, no doubt about it, but perhaps not quite so much. I simply don't buy the fact that competition in these circumstances is good. Competition is good when a market is at a certain level. The RISC OS market just isn't at the size where this kind of competition is helpful. If everyone had been working towards one goal, then I think we'd all be a lot better off. As it is, we've had over the past few years a huge duplication of effort. And the result is two versions of the operating system, that are going further and further apart. I can't see how this is helpful to anybody - it's completely pointless.
And the thing that really pushed me over the edge? This piece, in the RISC OS 6 FAQ:
Is there going to be a RISC OS 6 version for the Iyonix?
We have always been committed to providing RISC OS 4 (and now RISC OS 6) on all desktop RISC OS capable machines... The facts are however that our resources are limited, and priority has been given to working with partners who actively want RISC OS Select features on their products.
The thing is, I don't care whose fault all this is. It could be Castle's. It could be ROL's. It could be both. But we have a situation here where the two main companies promoting RISC OS can't work together, when this is desperately what is needed. I find it beyond pathetic. When what's needed is solutions to get RISC OS out of the mess that it's in, all we get is companies leap-frogging version numbers. Playground politics at its finest. It makes me not care whether RISC OS lives or dies - because I don't think the platform deserves to survive if the people in charge can't work together. You can afford that kind of indulgence when a platform is in great shape - or even when it's ticking over - but when you're in dire situation, you need everyone cooperating. There's just no evidence of this at all. And no, "OK, I won't sue you" does not constitute cooperation.
These were my thoughts, as I went through my temper tantrum. I do realise that a lot of people don't feel the forked nature of the OS is a problem. People who know a lot more technically than me think it's fine. What can I say - I disagree with you, for the reasons I give above. And I would point out to people who don't think that it's damaging RISC OS that Paul Middleton and Jack Lillingston think it's a problem - otherwise they wouldn't have attempted what they did in 2004 at Guildford. And yet, whilst I think it's a major problem, it's not actually why I left - at least, not directly.
Because the truth was - I'd already left. Two years ago. I just hadn't quite realised it. The situation I describe above made me angry enough to sever the emotional connection, but in practical terms, I was long gone anyway.
As I said, I bought my Iyonix at the end of 2004, intending to use it as my main machine. Not because I thought it was the most appropriate machine for me to buy, but simply because I wanted to support RISC OS. This was a big mistake - because it's been virtually unused. Oh, I've fired it up a bit to do the odd bit of graphics work, but to all intents and purposes, it was a waste of money. And the reason is simple - computing using RISC OS just got too difficult for me, for what I need to do. Browsing? Slow and frustrating. Getting screengrabs from DVDs? Impossible. Encoding MP3s? You're having a laugh. And much as I dislike Flash sites or Realplayer, would never use them for my own site, and appreciate the licensing and programming issues involved - it doesn't alter the fact that I have to be able to view them in my day-to-day life. My job is writing and developing websites - and whilst graphics are lovely to do on RISC OS, developing the kind of sites I have to do becomes a nightmare. The list goes on and on.
Of course, I do other things - write the odd letter, listen to MP3s, play Angband - all of which could be done on my Iyonix. But what's the point in swapping computers to do these tasks, when my Mac Mini can do them equally as well? Much as I love RISC OS, there has to be a reason for me to use it. I'm a sentimental bastard at the best of times, but I have my limits.
(Incidentally, I certainly don't mean to pour scorn on Peter Naulls' Firefox port, or the Netsurf guys. Both are impressive pieces of work, and both are good solutions for some RISC OS users. But not me, I'm afraid, considering the amount of web browsing I do, and the sites I visit, and the development work I need to do.)
I'm sitting here writing this on my Mac Mini. OS X is fine, but the GUI just isn't as nice as RISC OS. But it can do everything I need it to do, and pretty quickly and easily. And there's just a sense of fun around OS X that I haven't felt for RISC OS in a long time - in both development, and the general community feeling. And using it has become pretty much second nature to me, in a way that Windows never did.
I love RISC OS. I don't think I'll ever fall in love with a computing platform in quite the same way again. But love counts for nothing if you realise that, through no conscious choice, you've hardly used a computer you spent over a thousand pounds on. The only thing I still do on my Iyonix is vector graphics work - and that's only because I don't have the software on my Mac Mini. I may as well just sell my Iyonix and use the money to buy a decent package for OS X. It's almost certainly going on eBay in the next few weeks.
There was a time when I felt proud of my RISC OS machine. I'd show it off at the first opportunity. And there was a time when RISC OS and Acorn's machines were superior to anything else on the market - at least, for what I used them for. Now... I'm afraid my Iyonix just makes me feel vaguely embarrassed. How quickly a computer shuts down starts meaning less when you can't use it for your basic, day-to-day tasks.
How relevant the forked OS issue actually is to the apps situation is up for debate. I think there's a link; I'm sure others will disagree. But in the end, however that debate goes, the inarguable truth is - I've left RISC OS because it no longer does what I need it to do. And the same is true for many, many others.
I don't write this article because I want to cause a flamewar. (I'm sure I will be accused of this, but honestly - I'm not.) I don't write this article so everyone goes "Yeah, he's right. I'm leaving RISC OS immediately." Hell, I don't write this article because I have some vision that it will change things in any way. It clearly won't. I suppose part of the reason I've written it is as a kind of therapy. RISC OS has been part of my life for so long; to let it go is a wrench.
But... I don't know. I just thought, if I've left RISC OS, maybe I should say why. Just slipping away just means the userbase has one less user. In an odd way, I almost feel like I owe it to people to explain. To tell you why I left. Even though I'm of no importance whatsoever - I'm still one less user of RISC OS, and that's a bad thing for everyone left in the RISC OS market, because it's one less person spending money. I'm well aware that some people will simply see me as a whinging bastard who hasn't done much for RISC OS anyway; that's certainly their perogative. I wish I'd contributed more. But a platform can't survive on developers alone - you need the users too.
Of course, I'll still keep an eye on RISC OS land. I'm now a writer for The Icon Bar again, so it'd be a bit difficult for me to avoid it. But it'll be a bit like an old girlfriend, who you hang around on street corners watching, and stalk occasionally, before getting arrested, charged, and given a restraining order. You all know what I mean, yeah?
So, that's my story. Rather predictable, perhaps - but the truth, with no spin attached, and no interests to protect. If you're an ex-RISC OS user, what is it that made you stop using the platform? And if you're still a RISC OS user - what is it that makes you stay?
  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave RISC OS
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Chris Message #95465, posted by Chris at 20:19, 6/12/2006, in reply to message #95462
Posts: 283

Does it run RISC OS 4.03 or Select 3i3/4 or 4.39 or Adjust or Adjust32 or 6.02?
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Simon Wilson Message #95466, posted by ksattic at 20:24, 6/12/2006, in reply to message #95462
Finally, an avatar!

Posts: 1288
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Jason Togneri Message #95470, posted by filecore at 20:58, 6/12/2006, in reply to message #95466

Posts: 3867
I would guess Virtual Risc PC Second Edition, then Strong Arm, TLA I have no idea of, then Etc.
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John Hoare Message #95471, posted by moss at 21:05, 6/12/2006, in reply to message #95462

Posts: 9346
Andrew Rawnsley:

or in the article, the comment about not being able to make MP3s.
The article doesn't actually say that. What it says, in reference to making them, is "you're having a laugh" - which I interpreted as a reference to how long it can take to encode an MP3 compared with doing it on other platforms.
This is absolutely correct, yes.

Reading it back, perhaps I should have made it clearer, though.
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VinceH Message #95478, posted by VincceH at 21:57, 6/12/2006, in reply to message #95470
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1583
I would guess Virtual Risc PC Second Edition, then Strong Arm, TLA I have no idea of, then Etc.
More or less; I've actually got the top end version (VirtualRPC-AdjustSA) - iirc the top end version prior to its release was SE (Second Edition) where the word Adjust fits in.

So I like to call it VRPCSESATLAETC which stands for: Virtual RiscPC (VRPC) Second Edition (SE) StrongARM (SA) Three Letter Abbreviation* (TLA) Etcetera (ETC).

*TLA being generally used on this internet thingy to refer to abbreviations of any length.
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GuestX Message #95492, posted by guestx at 12:00, 7/12/2006, in reply to message #94959
Posts: 102
I have to say that my experiences start off similarly, although I've taken a different path. I started out using an Electron, learning BASIC and assembly language programming (not particularly well), moving up to an Archimedes and learning more assembly language, all the time trying to write games in BASIC, then in 6502 and ARM assembly language (mostly unsuccessfully) and desktop applications (fairly unsuccessfully).

My first doubts about RISC OS surfaced when I started university and got exposure to UNIX environments, other programming languages, and had proper programming tuition. Certainly the UNIX desktops of the day were no match for RISC OS in terms of usability, and I attempted to use my C/C++ knowledge to write proper desktop frameworks for RISC OS, possibly hindered somewhat by the hardware I had.

However, all of this only gets you so far. RISC OS was still developer unfriendly: mistakes in code could take the machine down or make it hang or lock up (and we all know that C/C++ aren't forgiving when it comes to making mistakes), the operating system architecture was and still is poor (cooperative multitasking, no proper virtual memory, kernel modules for libraries) and the support for developing applications was barebones to say the least (if you're lucky there'd be some C "veneer" on top of the bare SWIs). People like to talk up some of the tools, and Zap may be a wonderful editor by RISC OS standards but it was surpassed at least ten years ago by programs on other platforms.

Ultimately, I wanted more of the convenience of UNIX environments along with their robustness. At one point I considered getting an old Acorn UNIX machine just for some combination of the UNIX experience with Acorn/ARM hardware, but by the time I was in the market for a new computer, GNU/Linux had become the obvious choice. Indeed, just as the BBC micro and Electron had been the vehicles which encouraged a generation of programmers, GNU/Linux has become their true successor.

Of course, some people like to think about the old days, the joys of BBC BASIC and writing to the metal, believing their legacy to still be the state of the art, but despite the isolation from the metal that modern operating systems provide (although emulators and OS internals development can give you back that control, too) the languages and environments of even ten years ago surpassed the likes of BBC BASIC quite comfortably. Once I realised that, I never looked back.

There are some things I missed, though (and still miss occasionally): applications like Draw and Impression (when it wasn't crashing). The role of Draw has mostly been filled by tools like Inkscape, despite overcomplexity in the user interface, and I don't really care about Impression in the era of the Web. I wouldn't even run RISC OS virtualised or emulated for those applications, though - instead, people should carry their legacy forward by developing new applications which retain the best aspects of the old ones. No-one should want to run a revamped Impression any more: they should be wanting to run software with modern foundations which shows off what Impression did best, rather than what it did worst, rather too often on occasions, which was to crash.

And that leads me once again to the only sensible course of action to those wanting the legacy to continue: to adopt the ideas that made the platform special and to apply those to software on other platforms. Then, the legacy lives on, not in some irrelevant but pristine altar to "if only Acorn had done this..." nostalgia, but in a way that truly influences and improves the experiences of all those computer users who recognise what the rest of the computing world has to offer, too.
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Nathan Message #95727, posted by Wrath at 23:49, 12/12/2006, in reply to message #95492
Posts: 154
Just happened to check TIB after a long absence just to see what was going on.

Many people know why I left the RO scene. It wasn't an easy decision but like John, looking back, I had already decided in the previous 6 months. I was absolutely peed off with the antics of ROL and Castle. They were so intent on getting one over on each other and making money in the short-term without looking at the long-term plan.

I discussed it with colleagues and realised that, I too, felt embarrassed at having a computer with RISC OS as it didn't have any big novel features left compared to PC land. One-by-one I saw decent people leave the scene, and then I joined them.

Owain and me don't really like thinking about the "RISC OS days" as it's mentally quite painful. We were enjoying ourselves, had our fans, liked dealing with the likes of Acorn and then it turned sour. I spelled out the problems to ROL themselves with no reply. I *really* enjoyed that period apart from the pointless few who scoured csa.misc waiting for a grammatical error (of which I've already made a few).

In a way I feel ashamed to say that since adopting Windows, I have not yearned to use RO. Seems weird because I hated Windows and never wanted to use it but I did convert/defect. I then got a job fixing them, progressed to solving difficult IT issues and it has helped my career with leaps and bounds.

It is a great pity. I *do* blame Paul Middleton and Jack Lillingstone. Both have caused the downfall of our beloved platform. There isn't much left now, noone will plough the billions in to make it a fighting force and it will just dwindle.

My 2 RPCs haven't been switched on in years and for that I feel guilty. So John, I understand and agree with your post.

A toast to the good years....cheers.
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David J. Ruck Message #96287, posted by druck at 11:41, 27/12/2006, in reply to message #95727
Posts: 8
I don't normally have anything non RISC OS in the house, but over Christmas I've borrowed an OQO ultra mobile PC from the office to web browser wirelessly instead of getting out of bed.

Now the thing doesn't work too badly for web browsing, Firefox 2 runs at a decent speed (faster than the Iyonix version) even on batteries where the things Cruso is only operating at 300MHz (still gets almost too hot to hold), but is severely let down by the slowness of XP. Lanuching applications takes an age (leading to accidental multiple lauches), and even opening new windows on apps such as Genini is far too slow - and thats on mains when its doing 1GHz, frying fingers and making a noise like a power drill.

I've had a few nights web browsing, but I've also had to spend an evening working out why the internal speeker just stopped working, another trying to turn cleartype back on after that just stopped working, an another trying to get Google Earth to work but it wouldn't. The only thing its been able to do that I couldn't on RISC OS is waste another evening viewing crap videos on youtube.

The moral of the story, is if you want something doing without having to fix the machine first or get distracted by crap, or frustrated by manky excuse for an OS, its quicker to get out of bed and use RISC OS.
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Courteaux Stefan Message #98975, posted by Stefan at 16:11, 22/2/2007, in reply to message #96287
Posts: 1
Hi, this is the first time I write something here, in fact I subscribed to the forums in order to be able to reply to this!

I'm only 19 years old so I guess it's a bit unusual that I have some kind of sentiment for RISC OS. Hey, I'm supposed to be playing the latest gorefest games on my new windows Vista PC that drains 650 Watts.

But that 's just not me.

When I was little, I used to play games on my dad's BBC micro computer but at a certain moment it was time to buy a new computer (a little less than ten years ago or something). I live in Belgium and I remember going with him on the trip to Germany in order to buy a shiny new Strong arm risc pc. He also bought a new, at the time, large screen and a printer.

When we came home and everything was set up, I was deeply amazed. Everything was so 'wow', no pc (windows ofcourse) I had seen up to that point came close to the awesomeness of that new computer. It was inexplicably fast and god, it did everything i could imagine.

When I was twelve, I was happily drawing away in Artworks and writing text in Publisher. Ooh and the computer came with a movie of a rocket launch. It was all so awesome for me and I learned A LOT about computers. More than I could have ever learned using Windoze.

I happily used the computer for many years but at a certain point it could no longer do what I either needed to do for school or what I wanted to do for fun. In 2004 we bought a new, casual PC, with windows. I was happy that I could do all the things I wanted to do but one year and several reformats later I was really getting sick of it.

For a moment I thought about just plain ignoring computers, but I can't, because I love them.

Luckily enough I discovered Ubuntu Linux about a year ago and I have had great times with it. Just as RISC OS, or perhaps even more, it gives you the option to really learn about what's happening. And also, your computer is yours, and it does what you ask + it has everything you need : plays/encodes/transcodes every media file, has perfect replacement for M$ office, has gcc, firefox ,....

I will never, ever go back to windows, but RISC OS,... I will never forget all the great times I've had with RISC OS. It's amazing on both the hardware and software level. Had things gone differently on the developer front, RISC OS could have still been 'my' OS.

Luckily enough, my father is stubborn like a mule, or perhaps, several mules combined into one uber-mule would be more appropriate. He still uses RISC OS to this day for all his home computing (work demands windows laptop) and every time I go downstairs I can see the Risc pc sitting there, still running, still being used as if it was 1998.

Aah, that was long, but I had to say it !

Oh, and if you want to play games, buy a wii.
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Mike Chapman Message #99117, posted by MikeC at 01:09, 25/2/2007, in reply to message #98975
Posts: 1
I too have just registered to add my tuppence worth of experience.

My affair with Acorns started in 1988 when I sold my Speccy to my brother and bought £3000+ of A440 ("world's fastest desktop computer").

Years of investment in hardware upgrades earned me about £400 trade-in on an RiscPC 600 from Beebug.

I continued buying apps, games and upgrades for my beloved machine even though a career in Wintel support was paying for it. By 2000, I was surfing the web and doing my accounts and playing MP3s from Napster when my girlfriend and I decided to set up home. She had plans to set up a software training business so persuaded me that we needed a PC (nasty little P3-800 running Windows Me). Now my monitor and modem were being timeshared between my computer and hers.

Two years later and we moved out of our flat for pastures new. Of course I'd been anal enough to have kept the original packaging for everything so it all got nicely boxed up for the trip.

I never got my RPC out again except to check for signs of damage and it's now been four years since the old friend was fired up. I don't expect the AA batteries it was supplied with still work, so it's presumed dead...

I'll never part with the RPC for nostalgic reasons, but I'm writing this on a 3-yr old Dell P4-3GHz with more RAM and disk than an 80's home user could dream of and rarely think about the old times. Today is the first time in many months I've visited any Acorn sites and it saddened me deeply as I caught up with the news and comments.

There were many opportunities over the years which were missed. The community (it definitely had that feel to it when I was a regular show visitor) never really recovered from the Acorn closure, but things could and should have worked out better than they did. I take my tiny slice of blame for slipping away, but it's clear to me that most of the problems were caused by businesses losing sight of the users' needs and not by users giving up on the platform. Eventually there's nothing left to buy that can't be found cheaper and easier elsewhere and this thread shows the results.

I'm off to cry myself to sleep. In the morning I'll think about digging the old friend out of the attic (and probably decide to leave it there a bit longer).
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Allan Dawes Message #99153, posted by CrazyRisc at 22:27, 25/2/2007, in reply to message #99117
Posts: 9
I started out using my brothers BBC B back in the late 80's, during the weekends when he got back from collage, though it was mainly to play games on. I was bought an A3010 more or less as soon as it was launched, with only 2MB of RAM. As the times changed, and my High School changed from Acorn to PC's, my A3010 got used less and less. Finally in Nov 97, I got a P120, with all the grate delights of the time, and continued to use and upgrade as it became worth while.

Although I use Windows XP on a State of the art PC, It also became a staging platform for me to get back into Risc OS - buying SA Risc PC's (My brother included, although he already bought one back in 97 from new), we now have a rather good collection of Acorn's finest. Then at the Wakefield show of 2006, I blew over a grand on an Iyonix, and am very happy I did. For browsing, It makes my PC look slow, as it has beaten it to the website 8 out of 10 times.

I can never do without Risc OS. It brings sanity to an insain world of PC's which crash, or do something that Microsoft have no idea about.

Yes I do agree that Risc OS is like playing with lego these days, with Castle and ROL persuing their seperate ways, but I think Risc OS is on the verge of a major rebirth. About the only thing Risc OS can't do better is Video multimedia and hardware demanding games, but both of these can be overcome if people stopped playing with lego and started playing with technology. Risc OS can catch up, so long as the hardware catches up. It must be said, can you record TV or watch DVD's on the fly on a P120? You'll find there is much to be gained from serious developments in hardware, but the Risc OS community must be on hand to develope the software to take andvantage of this.

I hate Windows for being unreliable, for crashing when you click on something, for providing Dual head display, and then out the blue losing a display and not be able to recover it, for making the electic meter spin faster than the fans that cool it, and for performing swap files till the harddrive fails, but we seem to have let this become common place.
I do like Risc OS. It's the first OS I used, and though all the differences, I have to go out of my way to make it crash. It also gives off next to no heat, so therefore no fans, and no noise. Also unlike PC's, Risc Tech seems to last forever, and best of all - IT DOES WHAT I TELL IT, NOT WHAT WINDOWS THINKS IT SHOULDN'T BE DOING.
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Adam Lloyd Message #100717, posted by adamlloyd at 20:19, 24/3/2007, in reply to message #99153
Posts: 155
hmmm an Acorn busking ei? Is that leagal?
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Dave Braine Message #101777, posted by MightyGem at 03:55, 27/4/2007, in reply to message #99153
Posts: 52
A similar story here. I bought my first Acorn(A3000) back in 91, when my son started to use them at school. I moved on through an A3010 to a second hand RiscPC 600 that I upgraded in stages with 4.02, a bigger HD, more RAM and StrongArm. However, I was becoming more frustrated by it's limitations, especially with printing, USB and browsing. As for wanting to edit videos from my new camcorder...!

I could have gone to an Iyonix, but it would have been much the same and expensivee.

I'd been tempted to the dark side by all those Dell adverts for some time, but really didn't want to get into the world of viruses and all the interminable updates, especially on dial-up. I happened on to Apple's website, just over a year ago, found their Mini and haven't looked back(my daughter's since bought a MacBook and I've just bough another Mini to use as a music centre).

I managed to sell my RiscPc on ebay for a £100(to a certain Mr fwibbler - hope it's OK), and found a goodhome for my 3 years worth of Archieve magazines. I finally ended my association with Riscos when I took my 3010 down the tip(couldn't even GIVE that away) along with an Acorn monitor.

What do I miss? A menu button, a back icon, !Draw, being a member of an exclusive club. What don't I miss? Having to make do.
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John Hoare Message #103533, posted by moss at 00:51, 16/7/2007, in reply to message #101777

Posts: 9346

RISCOS Ltd is pushing ahead with development for the VirtualRiscPC and A9home platforms after bagging its 1,000th Select subscriber. ROL admitted it is making slow progress with the Iyonix Select port, claiming a "lack of interest from Castle" - but its developers are full-steam ahead with A9home and VRPC work.
Fuck all has changed, then, I see. Sigh.

I don't know why it bugs me so much any more - I'm long gone from the RISC OS scene in any meaningful way (although I still keep up with what's happening), and there's nothing I could do about it in any case. But bug me it does.

EDIT: Just read the rest of the article.

Jesus *Christ*.

[Edited by moss at 13:34, 16/7/2007]
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Andrew Message #103537, posted by andrew at 20:33, 16/7/2007, in reply to message #103533
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I think you've probably summed up a lot of peoples' thoughts there.
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Jason Togneri Message #103597, posted by filecore at 12:21, 23/7/2007, in reply to message #103537

Posts: 3867
Incidentally, talking about platforms that had a lot of promise... a little old now (it's from last month already), but worth reading anyway.
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Ian Cook Message #103600, posted by ilcook at 19:56, 23/7/2007, in reply to message #103597
trainResident idiot
Posts: 1068
Incidentally, talking about platforms that had a lot of promise... a little old now (it's from last month already), but worth reading anyway.
Whats more it used a decent processor. grin
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Peter Howkins Message #103601, posted by flibble at 20:37, 23/7/2007, in reply to message #103597

Posts: 862
Incidentally, talking about platforms that had a lot of promise... a little old now (it's from last month already), but worth reading anyway.
EPOC never went away, it's just called Symbian now.
The Nokia communicator range is suprisingly similar to old Series 5, except with colour screens, lots more apps and more storage and memory.

I thought it was a bit of a silly article to start off with, it seems to have completely forgotten what happened after the Series 5 for the sake of nostalgic hyperbole.
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Simon Wilson Message #103602, posted by ksattic at 20:46, 23/7/2007, in reply to message #103601
Finally, an avatar!

Posts: 1288
I got my Series 5 in the week of its release, and I still use it today. Works great. In that time I have had a Compaq iPaq and a HP Jornada, both of which have been utterly crap.
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Charlie Message #105356, posted by Charlie at 21:47, 20/11/2007, in reply to message #103602
Posts: 95
Most interesting article.
I left things RiscOS for pretty much for the same reasons years ago after having 'started' with an Atom - I never quite got round to selling my v. early RPC600 though it spent most of the last few years in its box.

Why am I back?
It's a retro-hobby now with some pleasant memories attached. Oh, and it's an occasionally useful computer!

It's funny how many RPC's are being snapped-up on eBay these days - very likely people coming from a similar position as me.

It's important to see what this means:
New users - yes, good. But this will drive up the price of old hardware and very few of these 'new' users will be interested in paying for software/developments unless they are 'must-haves'.

The point?
This hails the end of RiscOS as a viable platform - It's the retro-nerds now. The platform needs to die gracefully.
Maybe pull together and grab the new users with both hands to show them what they've been missing. (Forked-OS?? Hardware & software vendors. Better coordinated web resources)

Take a look @ the Amiga-scene for what may sadly happen:
Lack of effective + joined-up commercial leadership has robbed the platform of its future while at the same time is messing it up for the retro-hobbyists.

Decision time!! (pull together or let go)

[Edited by Charlie at 22:08, 20/11/2007]
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Andrew Message #105358, posted by andrew at 22:09, 20/11/2007, in reply to message #105356
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Or try to focus on the positive aspects - there seems to be more recognition of this (as people have reprimanded me for not doing). The Iyonix is still a very impressive machine and by all counts far faster than the highest spec RiscPC. The A9 has some potential as well.
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alban Message #105599, posted by alban at 20:15, 8/12/2007, in reply to message #105356
Posts: 2
I agree as an ex archimedes owning returnee in 2007 - I am gobsmacked by the cost of new hardware for this platform but very grateful that it exists so I can snap up a three or four year old 'bargain' for slightly more than the cost of a brand new dell laptop.
It is always an additional challenge to find that the file system is password locked.

As a platform RISCOS could be in far worse shape -
After all there are no souped up Sinclair QL compatible systems running at 600Mhz with PCI and USB support.
And it has taken the Haiku team around five years to get their complete reinvention of BEOS to start working again - although they probably have a very bright future.
The Amiga saga is too sad to discuss.

What is the appeal? It is a fun platform to use and program, it is a UK designed technology. It is environmentally friendly smile
It works well enough to use at home for most desktop tasks.

I think Castle are doing a very good thing by open sourcing the OS - that way it may survive on the desktop well into the future without any massive commercial investment.
I suspect that massive commercial investment would have killed the platform anyway.

I think that the RISCOS development tools and manuals should also be a free download for non commercial use.
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Jason Togneri Message #105601, posted by filecore at 21:32, 8/12/2007, in reply to message #105599

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I think that the RISCOS development tools and manuals should also be a free download for non commercial use.
I don't know what the situation on those stands like, but I have some images of the RO3 floppies and application disks that I could easily make available if wanted.
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John Hoare Message #107163, posted by moss at 04:51, 26/4/2008, in reply to message #95462

Posts: 9346

"...as we hope to
make some Select features available to Iyonix users during 2008"
The phrase "Way too little, much too fucking late" springs to mind.
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Chris Message #107167, posted by Chris at 11:39, 26/4/2008, in reply to message #107163
Posts: 283
The phrase "Way too little, much too fucking late" springs to mind.
smile Yes, with RISC OS that feeling's pretty common.

Being a congenital idiot, I'm actually quite optimistic at the moment. My VRPC is very fast, and using ArtWorks is a dream. There are even times these days when I use NetSurf on RISC OS rather than Firefox on Windows (although obviously there's a lot the latter can do the former can't). If a free R05 is released for use with a free RPCEmu, it would be nice to think that some developers might come back to dabble. Who knows? RISC OS might still have a future as a nice, niche, emulated OS.

I'll get my coat...
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Hugh Message #108665, posted by Hughus at 20:48, 3/11/2008, in reply to message #95462
AA refugee
Posts: 36
This is incredibly sad reading. I loved my arc, it was by far computer I've got along best with. After that died we couldn't afford another risc os machine so went down the path of windows. Now I use Ubuntu but I'm still dreaming of buying a new risc os machine some day. Until then there's always emulation

[Edited by Hughus at 20:49, 3/11/2008]
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Edward Rogers Message #108669, posted by Monty at 17:40, 4/11/2008, in reply to message #108665
Posts: 154
Not so sad any more. The death of Iyonix seems to have been almost a good thing for the platform. Getting it back into a position of some strength via the original hardware root was always going to be a near impossibly difficult job. Now, though, we can except its not to be and concentrate on the open source release coming up. This can be emulated on or ported to various more mainstream machines. You might not have to buy a new risc os machine.
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Jason Togneri Message #108670, posted by filecore at 18:19, 4/11/2008, in reply to message #108669

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Now, though, we can expect its not to be and concentrate on the open source release coming up. This can be emulated on or ported to various more mainstream machines. You might not have to buy a new risc os machine.
Given the fractious nature of the RISC OS scene in recent years, I have my doubts that it'll ever be released as open source, and as far as emulation goes, I don't see any real demand to prompt any commercially-driven advancement over VA5K/VRPC (VIyonix, anyone? Really?). I'm not discounting amateur* work but the whole modern RISC OS professional* scene seems to be rooted in deeply-held emnities and wars which ought to have been long forgotten, but aren't. If they would just surrender to the inevitable, all fine and well, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

* 'amateur' in its proper sense, meaning done for the love of it, as opposed to 'professional' in its proper sense, meaning done for money. I make no judgements as to the quality of said output, because 'amateur' and 'professional' are two of the most badly misused and misinterpreted words in the language. Professional no more implies quality than amateur implies a lack thereof.
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Edward Rogers Message #108678, posted by Monty at 17:30, 5/11/2008, in reply to message #108670
Posts: 154
I suppose I was thinking in a similar way. The professional side is dying slowly, but the amateur side could flourish once the exclusive nature of the knackered original hardware has gone.
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Phil Mellor Message #108989, posted by monkeyson2 at 14:31, 10/12/2008, in reply to message #108678
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Hell's teeth! Will the arguments never end?
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