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The Icon Bar: General: What makes RISC OS, well er RISC OS :)
 
  What makes RISC OS, well er RISC OS :)
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112652, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 10:23, 3/1/2010
Member
Posts: 65
After hanging around and reading lots of posts about why RISC OS is RISC OS. I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.

I know it's a subjective and personal question. But I wondered:

a) What for you is RISC OS
b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)

And don't forget this is each persons personal opinion, so no flaming. wink
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Jason Togneri Message #112653, posted by filecore at 10:54, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652

Posts: 3867
a) What for you is RISC OS
1994.

b) What is its greatest strength against other OSes
ArcElite! No, seriously: menus that don't vanish when an option is selected, meaning you don't have to open and navigate the menu structure twenty times for the options (an extension of the whole Adjust-click functionality).

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
Less scene in-fighting, not much else since I'm stuck with an ancient RO3.7 rpc

d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS.
Better interoperability with other OSes, more power in the system - but on legacy hardware/OS version, it's asking a lot. This is probably provided with Iyonix/Beagleboard and RO4/5/6. I'm stuck in the past.
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Eric Rucker Message #112654, posted by bhtooefr at 11:00, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 336
A. Something that I play with occasionally as an oddity
B. Elements of the UI are nice
C. Better window management, and keyboard shortcut support
D. Preemptive multitasking and better memory protection

That's far from an extensive list, though.
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VinceH Message #112655, posted by VincceH at 11:35, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1586
a) What for you is RISC OS
Quirky, but nice. And yesterday.

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
A number of aspects of the UI: Adjust clicking to keep menus open and window stack positioning are the two most obvious that spring to mind.

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
Keyboard support in the GUI, and more robustness/security - against both poor programming and potential malware.

d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
An IDE comparable to Visual Studio.

And as if that isn't ridiculously ambitious enough, let's be completely and utterly ridiculously ambitious and say OpenOffice.Org smile

And don't forget this is each persons personal opinion, so no flaming. wink
Hmm... we'll see.
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Simon Willcocks Message #112657, posted by Stoppers at 13:26, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 278
a) The look and feel (particularly mouse select/adjust behaviour, and that the OS feels like it's doing what I'm asking for, not what a committee of programmers who have never met me think is best for me).

b) See (a). I also like the file/directory duality of the image file system system.

c)
i) Preemptive Multi Tasking, with a style guide for programmers so that the feel of the OS doesn't change too much.

ii) Support for a wider range of newer and faster hardware

d)
i) Office software to manipulate OpenOffice files, but with a RO twist (i.e. without bloat, maybe with separate applications to provide less used features).

ii) NetSurf with flash plugins to be able to use more of the web.
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Alan Robertson Message #112658, posted by nytrex at 15:34, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 26
a) What for you is RISC OS?
Although I have some great memories of RISC OS as a teenager, I now look forward to the future and doing my bit to help RISC OS move forward.

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes?
Hmmm. It's greatest strength that is perhaps also a great weakness, is the amount of ARM assembly in it that makes it so fast, even on old antequated hardware.

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved?
1) Filing System
2) Window Manager
I believe these two things are long-overdue for a rewrite.
d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS?
1) Support for some sort of 'standard' gadget/window toolkit, that could then aid the porting of my second option;
2) A IDE similar to Vistal Studio to be ported to RISC OS
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Phil Mellor Message #112660, posted by monkeyson2 at 17:19, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
a) What for you is RISC OS
That thing I used to use before I got a Mac. tongue

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
I always liked the toolkit approach - small apps with interchangeable file formats (usually Draw files) rather than monolithic apps - which is why I don't see the point of porting something like Open Office.

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
The number of users and the number of developers. Unfortunately I don't see either rising (you certainly won't get one without the other) and there are simply more feasible and active prospects elsewhere.

I don't see new hardware really helping much on its own - only a subset of existing users will buy an ARM device to run RISC OS, and even then they'll be running the same old applications on it.

d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
RISC OS may have had a nice desktop UI but the trend is towards web based applications running in the cloud and the desktop UI (regardless of the platform) will become increasingly irrelevant over the next few years.

So, a top class web browser capable of running modern web apps (such as Google Wave and Excel 2010 Web Access) is the top priority. Once you have that, perhaps running on new, faster hardware, the problem of application development goes away.

But then again it's over 15 years since ArcWeb was released and we still aren't anywhere near the goal; so you might as well just run Chrome OS and be done with it. tongue
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Blind Moose Message #112662, posted by Acornut at 18:27, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
a)
User Included Picture

b)
Doesn't keep saying "Please Wait" annoying me ( if I had a pound....etc.)

c)
i) Put more OS back into ROM acorn
ii)!Browse tongue

d)
i) Voice control Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. or
ii)with Hey I'm a Sophie Wilson Fan heartlaugh
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Peter Naulls Message #112663, posted by pnaulls at 18:54, 3/1/2010, in reply to message #112660
Member
Posts: 317
I always liked the toolkit approach - small apps with interchangeable file formats (usually Draw files) rather than monolithic apps - which is why I don't see the point of porting something like Open Office.
Yes, I agree, but those formats aren't widely understood outside RISC OS. These days we have SVG and ODF, which have no real support on RISC OS. OO.org isn't going to be ported on RISC OS, but AbiWord/Gnumeric are still good ideas.
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Jeffrey Lee Message #112665, posted by Phlamethrower at 00:28, 4/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15057
a) What for you is RISC OS
An old friend.

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
That we're all too stubborn to admit defeat! tongue

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
The number of developers and the number of users.

d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
Something like an LLVM JIT compiler, so programs can be dynamically compiled and optimised for the machine they're running on, and so we can put behind us all the compatability issues that seem to crop up whenever new hardware arrives (first it was self-modifying code on the StrongARM, then it was 32bit compatability, and now it looks like it'll be ARMv6/v7 unaligned load/store behaviour)

And, of course, some kind of magic wand to allow existing ARM binaries to be used on new hardware without running into the above compatability issues.
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Glenn Burgess Message #112680, posted by DiscoBurgess at 11:17, 6/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 22
a) Something I used to love as a teenager, but now I've grown up and matured and it hasn't.

b) The Adjust button, without question. I still sometimes try it on my Windows machines when selecting menu items in the hope that it'll suddenly behave the same way.

c) Only two? Support for the web (okay, I'm cheating because that also includes Java, Flash, HTML5, Javascript) and an active development community.

d) RISC OS does literally nothing that I need from a modern computer, but to narrow it down to two choices: beefy development tools, like Visual Studio or Dreamweaver, and some serious 3d rendering software (plus support for HW accelerated OpenGL for preview... maybe that's already here).

Sadly, it would take a mammoth amount of work on RISC OS for it to become in any way relevant to me again. So much so, in fact, that I'm going to plant my flag in the ground right here and say that it's an insurmountable task.
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Simon Willcocks Message #112687, posted by Stoppers at 17:27, 6/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 278
I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.
Can we expect you to provide a thoughtful and scientific critique of the answers received?

Or at least your answers to the questions you posed?

If you're waiting for a statistically significant number of answers, I suspect you're going to be disappointed!
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112692, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 09:57, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112687
Member
Posts: 65
I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.
Can we expect you to provide a thoughtful and scientific critique of the answers received?

Or at least your answers to the questions you posed?

If you're waiting for a statistically significant number of answers, I suspect you're going to be disappointed!
Sorry, been hectic the last couple of days.
Okay, after compiling the answers both here and personal email. The general feeling is:

A: What for you is RISC OS
Old with a possible future

B: What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
It's speed (loading and use) and the UI in general.

C: What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
D: What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
Yes I have lumped them together because several of the answers crossed over.

Preemptive Multitasking
A Solid IDE
A Modern Browser (including if possible Flash, Java etc)
& SOME compatibility with other OSes (Reading/Writing file formats, Editing Word Documents. etc)

And one last one which also fits in with B:, is the look and feel of the OS. The feeling was that engineers/programmers should be respectful of the style of the OS.


[Edited by Andy_Hodgson at 10:00, 7/1/2010]
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Peter Howkins Message #112693, posted by flibble at 10:41, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112692
flibble

Posts: 864
I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.
Can we expect you to provide a thoughtful and scientific critique of the answers received?

Or at least your answers to the questions you posed?
Sorry, been hectic the last couple of days.
Okay, after compiling the answers both here and personal email. The general feeling is:
Just out of curiosity, what are you going to do with this new found information?
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112694, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 11:04, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112693
Member
Posts: 65
I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.
Can we expect you to provide a thoughtful and scientific critique of the answers received?

Or at least your answers to the questions you posed?
Sorry, been hectic the last couple of days.
Okay, after compiling the answers both here and personal email. The general feeling is:
Just out of curiosity, what are you going to do with this new found information?
Well, for a start, it helps me to understand the feeling of the people that have responded. What areas need improving, which areas people are happy with. There's no point in reinventing the wheel or directing resources to projects that people do not feel the need for.
So from a business sense, it helps me to see what people want.
and from a personal sense, it gives me a greater understanding of the mood and feelings of the people in the RISC OS community.

And we did a whole thread without a single flaming. grin

There are enough people in the community, that feels that RISC OS has a future, that the work and time that people are putting into the OS and programs is worth the effort, and it gives all the people that are involved a chance to see what the people they are/should be serving think.

Hopefully I should have some announcements as to what Myself and AC will be doing in due time.

A BIG thanks to everyone that has responded either here our via email.
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Trevor Johnson Message #112695, posted by trevj at 12:06, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112652
Member
Posts: 660
Sorry I'm late ('snow excuse). Here's my 2p worth.
a) What for you is RISC OS
A responsive, productive and intuitive GUI.
b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
Context-sensitive menus, Adjust button, drag/drop data/file handling, WYSIWYG anti-aliased fonts, scripting, Acorn Replay (in its day).
c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
WWW compatibility (incl. plugins), documentation (e.g. Style Guide).
d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
Spreadsheet with Google Docs/OpenOffice/MS Excel compatibility, interactive whiteboard support/compatibility.
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Peter Howkins Message #112696, posted by flibble at 12:10, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112694
flibble

Posts: 864
I notice that there is a difference in what the perception of what makes it RISC OS.
Can we expect you to provide a thoughtful and scientific critique of the answers received?

Or at least your answers to the questions you posed?
Sorry, been hectic the last couple of days.
Okay, after compiling the answers both here and personal email. The general feeling is:
Just out of curiosity, what are you going to do with this new found information?
And we did a whole thread without a single flaming. grin
Allow me to start.

a) What for you is RISC OS?

Fond memories, archaic OS design, the 90's, arguments with whomever would listen about computers, terrible stability, obsession, frustration, rejection, someone popping up every six months with a plan to 'save' it, fond memories.

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes?

Some of it's users and ex users whom I consider friends.

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.?
d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)?

Whilst I have no expectation of this coming to pass. I would suggest having a stable high level API (much higher than SWIs) for GUI functions and other functions, eg. something like desklib being a supported part of the OS for C apps. I'd also then suggest having a binding for that in a more modern high level language such a Python. That might actually make app development considerably less archaic.

Well, for a start, it helps me to understand the feeling of the people that have responded. What areas need improving, which areas people are happy with. There's no point in reinventing the wheel or directing resources to projects that people do not feel the need for.
Oh, you have resources? Or is this just you with delusions of grandeur and a willingness to tell other people what to work on?

So from a business sense, it helps me to see what people want.
I really hope from a business sense that this isn't the extent of your market research.

and from a personal sense, it gives me a greater understanding of the mood and feelings of the people in the RISC OS community.

There are enough people in the community, that feels that RISC OS has a future,
Yep according to this thread I count 4

that the work and time that people are putting into the OS and programs is worth the effort, and it gives all the people that are involved a chance to see what the people they are/should be serving think.

Hopefully I should have some announcements as to what Myself and AC will be doing in due time.
Skip the announcements about what you will be doing, do an announcement when it's done.
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112698, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 12:13, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112695
Member
Posts: 65
Sorry I'm late ('snow excuse).
laugh

Thanks for the 2p

So that's another vote for:

Modern Browser,
Style Guide,
Compatibility with Office (MS/Open/Google)
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Andrew Poole Message #112700, posted by andypoole at 12:20, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112652

Posts: 5552
a) What for you is RISC OS
An old toy that I don't play with much any more.

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
Some nicities in the UI, although most of them can now be achieved in other more up to date OSes.

c) What is the TWO things that you would like to see improved.
d) What are the TWO things you would like to see in (or made for) the OS. (This could be the same as question c if you want.)
Less bikkering between the users (see csa*)

More people developing stuff instead of just complaining that nobody else has.

Andy.
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Rob Kendrick Message #112703, posted by nunfetishist at 12:54, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112695
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
A responsive, productive and intuitive GUI.
I'm not sure a GUI that hides most of an application's functionality behind a physical and unlabelled button can ever be called "intuitive".

b) What is it's greatest strength against other OSes
Context-sensitive menus, Adjust button, drag/drop data/file handling, WYSIWYG anti-aliased fonts, scripting, Acorn Replay (in its day).
Of course, all of these exist in other OSes, many of them from the same era as RISC OS.

I think what most people who still use RISC OS value about it can be summed up in one word: Familiarity.
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Jason Togneri Message #112707, posted by filecore at 14:28, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112703

Posts: 3867
I'm not sure a GUI [...] can ever be called "intuitive".
I think what most people who still use RISC OS value about it can be summed up in one word: Familiarity.
You said the same thing twice (most people apparently can't tell the difference between genuinely intuitive interfaces and learned 'familiar' interfaces). RISC OS is not and never was particularly intuitive, with its obscure pictographic icons and its odd !plings and its labyrinthine, if somewhat logical, directory structures.

This is not to say Windows or Mac OS are particularly intuitive either; the definition of an intuitive OS or interface is one that you can just walk up to with no prior experience of it or anything vaguely similar to it and find that it's entirely obvious what to do without prompting or studying.

In RISC OS, this was not so - lacking prior experience, there's no way that you'd natively intuit the fact that "0" is your floppy drive but "4" is your main hard drive, for example. It's learned. Of course all things are learned to some extent, but RISC OS as an intuitive interface? Not even the most deluded among you can surely believe that.

[Edited by filecore at 14:30, 7/1/2010]
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Trevor Johnson Message #112708, posted by trevj at 15:39, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112703
Member
Posts: 660
I'm not sure a GUI that hides most of an application's functionality behind a physical and unlabelled button can ever be called "intuitive"..
More intuitive than e.g. <SHIFT>-clicking for multiple selections IMHO.
[snipped] ...there's no way that you'd natively intuit the fact that "0" is your floppy drive but "4" is your main hard drive, for example.
The accompanying pictographic icons represent the physical drives, with the numbers shown probably for historical reasons and to aid the identification of >1 drive of the same type.
Context-sensitive menus, Adjust button, drag/drop data/file handling, WYSIWYG anti-aliased fonts, scripting, Acorn Replay (in its day).
Of course, all of these exist in other OSes, many of them from the same era as RISC OS.
(except Acorn Replay)
I think what most people who still use RISC OS value about it can be summed up in one word: Familiarity.
"Why not try our OS? We've grown to become very familiar with it!"
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Jason Togneri Message #112709, posted by filecore at 16:02, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112708

Posts: 3867
[snipped] ...there's no way that you'd natively intuit the fact that "0" is your floppy drive but "4" is your main hard drive, for example.
The accompanying pictographic icons represent the physical drives, with the numbers shown probably for historical reasons and to aid the identification of >1 drive of the same type.
Erm. Your argument is circular - you're just as bad as those who claim that C: is a perfectly intuitive name for your principal HDD. Again, it's not immediately clear what this yellow box with black stripes and a red dot and labelled "4" actually is, unless you read the FM or are told by somebody.
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112710, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 16:07, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112709
Member
Posts: 65
I think the same can be true about any OS. When I switched to a Mac, a few years ago, I hated it. I couldn't find anything and it took ages to find anything. However within a week, I was zipping around like I had been using it for years.
The same is even true when you consider Windows going from 3.11 to 95 to XP.
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Trevor Johnson Message #112711, posted by trevj at 16:10, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112709
Member
Posts: 660
Apparently "Intuitive equals familiar".
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Jason Togneri Message #112712, posted by filecore at 17:25, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112711

Posts: 3867
Apparently "Intuitive equals familiar".
But if your OS is only intuitive to people who already know how to use it, then how do you hope to win over new users?
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VinceH Message #112713, posted by VincceH at 17:52, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112712
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1586
Apparently "Intuitive equals familiar".
But if your OS is only intuitive to people who already know how to use it, then how do you hope to win over new users?
I think there's a fundemental point being missed here - perhaps deliberately? Dunno.

When RISC OS (or any other OS, for that matter) is described as intuitive, it's not in the sense that someone can see it for the first time and somehow magically intuit how to use it. It's in the sense that once you have learnt - ie become familiar with - enough of the basics, then that familiarity helps you 'intuit' (which in this context really only means guess, with a good chance of being right) how to do other things*.

(It's a complete misuse of the word intuitive, but that's life for you.)

Provided things are presented in a reasonably consistent way - which is the reason for the style guide - then there is enough consistency between apps that this is broadly true; if you know how to save in ThisApp, then you know how to save in ThatApp, etc.


Unfortunately, though, that consistency isn't always there - and the blame for that can be placed firmly at Acorn's feet, both for not leading by example, and for not making the Style Guide freely available from the point it was first published rather than including it with the PRMs. They assumed that all programming would be done by people with the PRMs, but that simply wasn't true - and even if it had turned out to be true it failed to take into account that some people would continue to use the RISC OS 2 PRMs (the style guide first appeared with the RISC OS 3 PRMs).

* Not just on RISC OS, but on any OS.
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Peter Naulls Message #112714, posted by pnaulls at 18:33, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112696
Member
Posts: 317

I really hope from a business sense that this isn't the extent of your market research.
Indeed. Ultimately, it's just a wishlish (which has dubious value with such an open question) with some nostalgia thrown in.

Anyone taking a serious business approach (financial aspects aside) to RISC OS needs to do some proper research, not throw around ideas, as to what is required, collect requirements far more specific than you'd get from a wishlist, and then also get some kind of coordination and commitment from people.

But I don't see any of this happening any time soon, or at all. People with this kind of skill abandoned RISC OS long before most of the developers did.
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Jason Togneri Message #112716, posted by filecore at 19:53, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112714

Posts: 3867
But I don't see any of this happening any time soon, or at all. People with this kind of skill abandoned RISC OS long before most of the developers did.
This is exactly the problem. The only people with the knowledge, skill and enthusiasm to write apps and code for RISC OS are just that, enthusiasts. They do it for fun or out of love, and will finish - if they finish at all - whenever their spare time permits. You can't base a commercially viable solution around that, and you certainly aren't going to attract the sort of developer base around it to get the applications that will in turn attract end users.

Some sort of detailed plan would be nice, because unless we ("the community" and the only people currently using this OS) understand how you're going to go about it, we won't really be able to see any realistic future outside of its existing micro-niche.
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112717, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 20:08, 7/1/2010, in reply to message #112714
Member
Posts: 65

I really hope from a business sense that this isn't the extent of your market research.
Indeed.
How do I put this nicely. D'oh you mean I have to do some research as well. Well that never accurd to me. I'm so glad that there are people there to remind me.

This could also be the case for people that make off hand comments and put downs and yet know nothing about what I am trying to do.

Anyone taking a serious business approach (financial aspects aside) to RISC OS needs to do some proper research, not throw around ideas, as to what is required, collect requirements far more specific than you'd get from a wishlist, and then also get some kind of coordination and commitment from people.
Which is what I am doing. Unlike you, I do not discuss private talks with developers, and business deals on the public forum, UNTIL there is something to discuss.

But I don't see any of this happening any time soon, or at all. People with this kind of skill abandoned RISC OS long before most of the developers did.
Ok, then. You heard the man, lets all just pack up and go home then.
Why do you never give someone the chance to do something before trying to smash it to bits. Both here and on CSA?

Or is this just you with delusions of grandeur and a willingness to tell other people what to work on?
No, I don't intend to tell anyone what to do. There's enough people already trying to do that.

that the work and time that people are putting into the OS and programs is worth the effort, and it gives all the people that are involved a chance to see what the people they are/should be serving think.

Hopefully I should have some announcements as to what Myself and AC will be doing in due time.
Skip the announcements about what you will be doing, do an announcement when it's done.
No problems there. You won't hear another word about what I am doing UNTIL it is done.
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The Icon Bar: General: What makes RISC OS, well er RISC OS :)