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The Icon Bar: News and features: Codename: Merlin
 

Codename: Merlin

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 16:09, 18/5/2004 | , , , , ,
 
Mr. WizardCastle have just emailed with plans for the future of RISC OS. This includes a "6 week period of open consultation with the RISC OS community to assist Castle's management in allocating development resources through its internal Green Paper".

Assuring us that the company is "committed to the development of core RISC OS and desktop extensions", here's a quick rundown of the three main areas of development:

1. Tool Chain
Mainly info on the C/C++ suite (and keeping it up to date), with new features such as "inline assembler", "packed structure support" and "instruction scheduling" mooted.

2. Core
Highest priority, as it brings in the most cash, but slightly devoid of punter-grabbing info. The mention of "further ARM cores" support is interesting though.

3. Dekstop Extensions
The bit most readers will be interested in. As well as bug fixes, the following are suggested:
Filer Enhancements
- Extended Configuration
- Extended Graphics/Display Capabilities
- Extended Network Services
- USB Performance and Connectivity
- Audio Input
- WIMP Enhancements
- ROM Applications Enhancements

More info can be found on the Merlin webpage, and it looks like a SmartGroup has been set up to handle the discussions. And Hey, there's the press release to check out too.

Links:
Merlin webpage
press release

 

  Codename: Merlin
  flibble (16:25 18/5/2004)
  andrew (17:00 18/5/2004)
    flibble (17:45 18/5/2004)
      andrew (19:03 18/5/2004)
        ajps (19:25 18/5/2004)
          arenaman (11:26 19/5/2004)
            Col (12:10 19/5/2004)
              Horse (13:24 19/5/2004)
                Gulli (17:04 19/5/2004)
                  arenaman (02:34 20/5/2004)
                    rdenk (08:41 20/5/2004)
                      guestx (09:27 21/5/2004)
                        Ian (09:57 21/5/2004)
                          guestx (14:34 21/5/2004)
                            Ian (16:29 21/5/2004)
                              guestx (16:55 21/5/2004)
                                ad (17:52 21/5/2004)
                                  arenaman (00:30 22/5/2004)
                                    guestx (10:48 24/5/2004)
 
Peter Howkins Message #92979, posted by flibble at 16:25, 18/5/2004
flibble

Posts: 840
1) Make it open source, and get some real 'open consultation'.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Message #92980, posted by andrew at 17:00, 18/5/2004, in reply to message #92979
HandbagHandbag Boi
Posts: 3439
That depends on Castle getting significant revenue from elsewhere does it not?
Castle need to be make profits if RISC OS has a future.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Peter Howkins Message #92981, posted by flibble at 17:45, 18/5/2004, in reply to message #92980
flibble

Posts: 840
Such as hardware perhaps ?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Message #92982, posted by andrew at 19:03, 18/5/2004, in reply to message #92981
HandbagHandbag Boi
Posts: 3439
If it's enough of course.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Antony Sidwell Message #92983, posted by ajps at 19:25, 18/5/2004, in reply to message #92982
Member
Posts: 48
If RISC OS was open source, Castle wouldn't need to make a profit for RISC OS to have a future. For Castle to have a future, they would indeed need to make money from elsewhere. :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Michael Stubbs Message #92984, posted by arenaman at 11:26, 19/5/2004, in reply to message #92983
Member
Posts: 74
Stop trolling. It is childish to suggest that a company releases it's intellectual property into the public domain. Castle is a business. Their aim is to survive and flourish, which often means making money. They'll hardly make a lot of money if their central product is open source, will they.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Colin Cartmell-Browne Message #92985, posted by Col at 12:10, 19/5/2004, in reply to message #92984
Member
Posts: 89
Besides if Castle made RO open source wouldn't you end up with 100's of different OS's rather than just two?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Horse Message #92986, posted at 13:24, 19/5/2004, in reply to message #92985
Unregistered user No, if RISC OS was open source, you'd quite possibly have a single community-developed OS with substantial momentum, entering markets where the commercial entities don't want (or can't afford) to go. You'd also see some real enhancements being made, too, rather than seeing the emperor's dinner service, looted from his palace when the horsemen rode into town, being polished for the nth time.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #92987, posted by Gulli at 17:04, 19/5/2004, in reply to message #92986
Member
Posts: 134
dream on!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Michael Stubbs Message #92988, posted by arenaman at 02:34, 20/5/2004, in reply to message #92987
Member
Posts: 74
Horse: I guess it would have stopped the two different versions of RISC OS appearing, too, just like Linux being open source has ensured there aren't several different versions floating about and that the interface remains constant. Oh, no, wait, that didn't work...

Open source isn't as good as it sounds. If it was open source, for example, the RISC OS interface could be simply added to a Linux base (a bit like MacOS X) and then goodbye RISC OS on ARM hardware.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
rick Denkers Message #92989, posted by rdenk at 08:41, 20/5/2004, in reply to message #92988
Member
Posts: 4
Did Castle realised that the codename ' merlin' was also used by IBM?
IBM used it for their os/2 warp V4, codename merlin.....

Regards,

Rick

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
GuestX Message #92990, posted by guestx at 09:27, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92989
Member
Posts: 102
I guess what Horse is trying to say is that, with an open source RISC OS, at least the users get a decent choice about which variant of RISC OS they get to use, and that (like Linux distributions) the choices are laid bare. With RISC OS, on the other hand, it's all about commercial politics. Want Select on your Iyonix? Too bad that it isn't on the agenda of the company which developed it; too bad that company seemingly have it on their agenda to actively *not* support that platform. At least a community-driven RISC OS would attempt to tackle such issues.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ian Jeffray Message #92991, posted by Ian at 09:57, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92990
Member
Posts: 4
guestx> You're talking utter bollocks.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
GuestX Message #92992, posted by guestx at 14:34, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92991
Member
Posts: 102
OK. Which part is bollocks, then? The bit about the differences between Linux distributions being completely in the open and widely known, or the bit about the fish in the small pond splashing around trying to nibble each other's fins?

First off, let's brush aside the doubt about Linux distros. Yes, some distros make different decisions about the various pieces of software that gets shipped with the kernel, but you usually have (1) a ton of choices about which distro floats your boat (look at distrowatch for a start) and (2) a fair degree of control over whether you get to run the latest KDE (for example) or not.

As for the fighting minnows situation, I can well imagine a number of useful and substantial projects that could get done (or have been done) on RISC OS if the community were (or had been) involved. I might as well use the past tense, however, because by the time RISC OS does become open source (ie. if some commerical entity doesn't insist on being buried with it), there's likely be more community interest in nostalgia-driven, leather-clad Peter Bondar dolls than in reworking the RISC OS source code for the post-microcomputer age.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Ian Jeffray Message #92993, posted by Ian at 16:29, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92992
Member
Posts: 4
You're just a Troll. Why do you even bother using this website?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
GuestX Message #92994, posted by guestx at 16:55, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92993
Member
Posts: 102
If stating the obvious (and correcting comfortable misconceptions) is trolling, then I suppose I'm doing a pretty good job of it. ;-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Duffell Message #92995, posted by ad at 17:52, 21/5/2004, in reply to message #92994

Posts: 3216
Okay folks... time to count to ten and chill a bit.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Michael Stubbs Message #92996, posted by arenaman at 00:30, 22/5/2004, in reply to message #92995
Member
Posts: 74
Troll/guestx:

I agree ROL could well die, which is due to not meeting the demands of the customer base (32bit RISC OS).

However, even if the desktop market was to die, there is nothing saying that RISC OS and Castle would go with it. As you ought to know, RISC OS is not just used on the desktop.

But it looks very far from being dead, what with the IyonixPC and RISC OS 5 and all the software that is now 32bit.

The market has looked as far from being dead as it has been since Acorn stopped trading.

Now stop trolling.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
GuestX Message #92997, posted by guestx at 10:48, 24/5/2004, in reply to message #92996
Member
Posts: 102
Trolling indeed! Anyway, I think your fears of RISC OS on ARM disappearing after a hypothetical open source release of the software are misguided. It's quite possible that RISC OS on ARM would have less significance over time, especially since one of the first things likely to happen would be an attempt to port as much of it as possible to other platforms and architectures. But the emergence of Virtual Acorn suggests that the market entertains such developments anyway, even when the means of executing them is substantially more convoluted.

Meanwhile, consider the benefits for RISC OS on ARM from an open source release. Creative thinkers (eg. Niall Douglas with his Wimp2 stuff) would actually have a realistic chance of delivering production quality goods with full access to the source code, rather than having to second guess the workings of the software. Moreover, such developments would stand a chance of becoming mainstream. Meanwhile, in the closed source world of RISC OS, are either of the commercial guardians willing to take the risks in such an overhaul of the software?

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 

The Icon Bar: News and features: Codename: Merlin