The October Rougol meeting was well attended with 6 people at the Duke of Sussex and 44 on Zoom. As usual, all mistakes and omissions are mine. Here are my notes....
The main topic was the RISC OS port for Pinebook Pro by Andrew Rawnsley, although there was plenty of conversation beforehand if you were in person.
Before diving in, there were quite a few noteworthy announcements....
There is no RISC OS London Show in October (hotel is still unavailable and no alternate venue could be found). But there will be a South-West Show in February and Andrew/Richard are keen to expand it to fill the gap. Contact them if you would like to be involved.
Rougol are organising a trip to the Science Museum followed by food and drink at the Duke of Sussex if you would like to do something on the saturday the Show would have happened.
November's Rougol speaker will be Ben Finn (in person) talking about his Sibelius software.
Before the main talk started, Andrew was answering general questions. R-Comp has toned down their use of the word ARM after some 'communications' from ARM's US lawyers. So they now refer to the Pinebook and the Pinebook Pro (not ArmBook).
The Pinebook Pro is part of a more general project to make RISC OS run on the RK3399 chip. This is a hybrid 32/64 bit 6 core ARM and probably the pinnacle of current hardware capable of running RISC OS. Closest match is Pi4. The Pinebook Pro is a different hardware platform to the original Pinebook so completely new project
The Pinebook Pro also has interesting hardware changes. So no, HDMI, it is USB-C. There is no RISC OS support for this, but it MIGHT happen (Andrew is keen to make it work but never likes to make any promises). It also exposes the pci express bus for high speed storage options.
Andrew had several models to show and it looks like a solid 14inch laptop in a nice black aluminium case with a good keyboard, bright screen, and 64 gigs of storage. It comes in various options depending on how you want it to work. RISC OS was quick to boot even off sd card.
Still debugging software and even finding bugs in RISC OS (found some zero page accesses in development). Xat are working on software to support gestures. Code for port is in ROOL source tree but not currently an official platform. There is lots of work still going on and graphics hardware acceleration has not yet been fully implemented. Compatibility is similar to Pi4 and sound is not yet working. There is an updated version of Pine Tools for the machine. RISC OS can use 4 gigs on the machines.
Peak speed is 1.8 gig so fast. Clocks down if cpu is idling. Screen dimming to preserve battery. Probably 8.5 - 9 hours battery life. Chris Halls tests show it outperforming the Pi400.
Andrew did an extensive demo and it was solid in execution, running Iris with impressive speed (Andrew had the latest development version with an interesting new toolbar)
Still plans for original Pinebook systems although machines no longer made.
R-Comp has machines in stock. It looks good but should not yet be regarded as is not yet finished product (you will get updates if you buy now). Andrew is using his machine in daily usage without issue.
Prices start at 499 - complicated by currency fluctuations. Price likely to rise in new year when Andrew buys new stock.
Currently no Aemulor support.
After the impressive demo there was time for additional updates (PhotoDesk) and any questions.
You can find more details and contact details on the R-Comp website here