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The Icon Bar: News and features: Virtual Acorns?
 

Virtual Acorns?

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 10:45, 3/1/2002 | , , ,
 
I return to find in my mailbox a note from Aaron Timbrell about the future of The Emulator Formerly Known As Red Squirrel:
"Virtual Acorn is the new brand name for commercial versions of the exceptionally popular Red Squirrel Acorn emulator. The first commercial RISC OS emulator for Windows, called VirtualA5000, emulates an Acorn A5000 computer with up to 16Mb of RAM."
It had been put forward on the Archive mail list that a RISC OS emulator was illegal, given that when you buy RISC OS it's only licensed for use on Acorn hardware (or obviously the companies that have taken up the slack after the fall of Acorn). However, Aaron goes on to say...
"Following our agreement with Pace, the copyright holders for RISC OS, VirtualA5000 will be supplied complete with RISC OS 3.11, the universal !Boot sequence and a host of applications (full details to be announced). Projected price is 29 (plus carriage)."
There also seems to be consensus from the hardware manufacturers that this won't hurt regular RISC OS sales. This means that you can now (legally) run RISC OS on non-native hardware, such as a PC laptop, albeit slightly slower than on native hardware. It should be more than enough for most usages apart from the latest games however.

VirtualA5000 will get its first public release at the BETT 2002 show, 9th-12th January. There's even a rather snazzy website at www.virtualacorn.co.uk.
 
  Virtual Acorns?
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Guest Message #89727, posted at 13:44, 3/1/2002
Unregistered user Will VirtualA5000 on a 1.5GHz Athlon really run slower than the original (ca 20-40 MHz IIRC)?

Will the printer hang bug be failthfully reproduced? ;)

Looking forward to the PC coverdisc version ;)

Guy
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
richard cheng Message #89728, posted at 14:01, 3/1/2002, in reply to message #89727
Unregistered user Pretty nifty... but they seem to have managed to pick an incredibly unattractive screenshot of the RISC OS desktop for their front page. If I were new to it all, I wouldn't be convinced by that pic that turning "this" into "this!" would be such a good idea.

Or maybe RISC OS 3.11 always looked like that and it's just my rose-tinted memory spectacles getting in the way. ;) (like when I think about the game Yie-Ar Kung Fu. that game ruled :) )
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Tim Fountain Message #89729, posted at 18:40, 3/1/2002, in reply to message #89728
Unregistered user Does this mean I have a chance of running Star Fighter 3000 on my PC? :))
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
keith dunlop Message #89730, posted at 19:19, 3/1/2002, in reply to message #89729
Unregistered user or !elite? ;-)

wonder how well it'll do with my work laptop as it only has 2 mouse buttons :(

still it'll be good for a laugh...

& answer the complaints over the lack of a proper RISC OS laptop? - ahem! :)

If pace are happy for this to be bundled with RISC OS 3.11 it shows you how little is left in the current versions of RISC OS...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89731, posted at 21:29, 3/1/2002, in reply to message #89730
Unregistered user Guy: I thought it said a 500MHz PC would run faster than an A5000 (original was 25MHz, then went to 33MHz later BTW)?

Richard: I like the way the WinME desktop looks sooo much better than the RO3.11 one too! ;o)

Tim: Isn't there a SF3K for the PC already - I know it was ported to the 3D0 (and PS1 IIRC).

Keith: I know Elite was available for the PC - and much better than any of the Acorn versions. Plus on my 500MHz laptop, it'll be better than the A4 - and probably the RS Portable ;o)

Is this the way we can get Select on an A5000? ;o) Didn't some people take the RO4.02 ROM image and get it to work with Red Squirrel?

Can't see it converting anyone, but might be handy for ex-Acorn'ers who want to do some development on their PC's, maybe a Java version might be better - we could run our A5000's as a plugin for MSIE then!

BTW, does !PCem run on it? ;o)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89732, posted at 00:33, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89731
Unregistered user Kieth,

Your last paragraph is a loaf of effing nonsense. 3.11 is incomparable to the latest versions of RISC OS and you know it. It's like saying Microsoft know there's nothing let in WinXP because they don't care if people copy 3.11

Asshole.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89733, posted at 00:35, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89732
Unregistered user Ooops!

Or did you mean that it shows that RO 4+ is very different from 3.11?! It could be read eaither way!

If it's the latter, then I'm sorry. If not, my previous comment stands.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #89734, posted at 10:16, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89733
Unregistered user Just to clarify, a modern laptop might run Red Squirrel as fast, or faster than, an A5000. But an A5000 isn't exactly cutting edge! I don't think the emulation will compare favourably with any of the RiscPC range (even sub-StrongARM), which is what I'm guessing most people would want.

So, if you're running games, or something that takes up a lot of resources like Photodesk, a 16MB A5000 emulator is probably going to be much slower than what people are used to. Having said that, it's probably quite fast enough for what most people use laptops for - word processing, and playing Solitaire on the train ;)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89735, posted at 12:03, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89734
Unregistered user Hi all,

Allow me to clear up some of these points.

There are development versions of 'Red Squirrel' which emulate other hardware: A440/1, A7000 and Risc PC 700 are currently available. There are MANY more changes which could be made to the software to make it go a LOT faster. It is early days! At the moment, I'd say those A7k/RPC emulations are about as fast as an A7000.

I consider this to be a nice 'two fingers' to all those morons who poo-pooed Red Squirrel, moaning about how it was 'illegal' and that it will 'kill the market' (the market can do that itself).

Obviously, you won't be able to use PhotoDesk or Vantage, but older applications will work fine. You can use Impression, ArtWorks, Sibelius etc.

If anyone thinks the RISC OS 3.1 desktop looks dated, just think about how it would look without some of the 'tweaks' it has applied on that screenshot. I think it looks OK.

You can indeed play Elite or SF3000. I've got loads of games running with Red Squirrel and Virtual A5000.

If you have a two-button mouse, you can use the 'Window Menu' key (on your keyboard) as ADJUST or MENU - it's programmable. Problem solved!

I don't know if PCEm runs, but 6502Em certainly does. Anything should work.

A 500 MHz Wintel notebook with RedSquirrel will be WAY better than an A4, in every respect.

With regards to RISC OS on Red Squirrel being illegal, as mentioned on the Archive Mailing List, this was a comment by Paul Middleton (of RISCOS Ltd.) in reference to people using RISC OS 4 or RISC OS 4+ with RedSquirrel. Both of these versions do work (as you would expect - the later versions of RedSquirrel emulate the RPC/A7k hardware) but you would be breaking the license agreement if you used them in that way.

Anon. (not involved with VA/RS)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89736, posted at 13:23, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89735
Unregistered user Does this mean, therefore, that I can buy a 1 GHz PC laptop from Dixons for 799 inc VAT, and for 30ukp extra I end up with a very fast A5000? i.e. would it be as fast as the new RiscStation laptop? :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89737, posted at 16:36, 4/1/2002, in reply to message #89736
Unregistered user Yeah, you'll get a machine that's noticably faster than a real A5000. My 800 MHz Athlon with TNT2Ultra graphics manages about A7000 speed.

Red Squirrel and Virtual A5000 work in such a way that the IOC, VIDC etc. parts of the emulation run at the 'correct' speed, and the ARM emulation simply runs as fast as it can. This has a down-side with those badly-written games, though!

Before people snub the term 'A5000', please remember that: on a fast PC, it's faster than a real A5000, 16 MB of RAM is emulated (how many A5000s or A540s have 16 MB?!), and some funky screen modes have been defined (800x600 in 256 colours, and 1024x768 in 2/4/16 colours).

If you installed a development version of Red Squirrel, and set it to emulate an A7000 or Risc PC, then you could get something approaching the RiscStation sub-notebook (in terms of raw RISC OS parformance). Of course, Red Squirrel doesn't have much in the way of external-connectivity though (only printing at the mo.!).
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89738, posted at 12:12, 5/1/2002, in reply to message #89737
Unregistered user This would be the clincher for me. Some form of networking is essential. Even serial port would be cool. I'd been playing with ArcEm (Dave Gilbert's free Acorn emulatof for X11/Windoze/RISC OS) and considering the ins-and-outs of how to write a fake "Internet" module which just passed calls down to the host OS socket layer. Could be possible. Would be wonderful.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89739, posted at 12:12, 5/1/2002, in reply to message #89738
Unregistered user This would be the clincher for me. Some form of networking is essential. Even serial port would be cool. I'd been playing with ArcEm (Dave Gilbert's free Acorn emulatof for X11/Windoze/RISC OS) and considering the ins-and-outs of how to write a fake "Internet" module which just passed calls down to the host OS socket layer. Could be possible. Would be wonderful.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89740, posted at 16:23, 5/1/2002, in reply to message #89739
Unregistered user Oh yeah, networking support is certainly possible. As are many other cool things.

It just depends if the RedSquirrel author, or someone else, decides to implement them. Many things will require expert RISC OS programmers, which seem to be a rare breed these days. :-(
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
richard cheng Message #89741, posted at 10:45, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89740
Unregistered user Got the foundation newsletter last night, and was interested to find this:

"RISCOS Ltd has the worldwide licence to the RISC OS Operating System for use in the Desktop Computer Market and I have to report that no-one has a written licence to distribute any version of
RISC OS for use with PC based emulators.

Any unlicenced sales of any version RISC OS means that the income from those sales only goes to those who are pirating RISC OS and does not go into further developments of RISC OS.

If you have bought an emulator in the expectation of running RISC OS on it then there is no product which is legally licenced to do that at present. RISC OS 3.11 in particular has not been placed into
the public domain and Pace as copyright holders of RISC OS have made it quite clear that they reserve all rights to take action against anyone who abuses the RISC OS rights by illegal distribution of unlicenced copies of RISC OS."
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89742, posted at 11:54, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89741
Unregistered user > Got the foundation newsletter last night, and was
> interested to find this:
>
> "RISCOS Ltd has the worldwide licence to the RISC
> OS Operating System for use in the Desktop
> Computer Market and I have to report that no-one
> has a written licence to distribute any version
> of RISC OS for use with PC based emulators.

Well, if the agreement is with Pace (as the copyright holders) then RISC OS Ltd. will just have to sort it out with them, won't they. It wouldn't surprise me if RISC OS Ltd. only have a contract which covers RISC OS 4, however, and are just attempting to undermine any initiative which threatens their revenue.

> Any unlicenced sales of any version RISC OS means
> that the income from those sales only goes to
> those who are pirating RISC OS and does not go
> into further developments of RISC OS.

That's right: use the p-word when no reasonable response comes to mind!

> If you have bought an emulator in the expectation
> of running RISC OS on it then there is no product
> which is legally licenced to do that at present.
> RISC OS 3.11 in particular has not been placed
> into the public domain and Pace as copyright
> holders of RISC OS have made it quite clear that
> they reserve all rights to take action against
> anyone who abuses the RISC OS rights by illegal
> distribution of unlicenced copies of RISC OS."

Well, I guess that Pace will just have to sort this out themselves (if there's anything to sort out, of course). It would help if the clueless got their terminology right, however. Placement of works into the "public domain" is not equivalent to the free distribution of copyrighted works.

But then, large parts of the Acorn scene remain remarkably clueless about these issues even in this day and age.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89743, posted at 12:01, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89742
Unregistered user I reckon Paul Middleton is speaking out of his rear on this one.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89744, posted at 12:46, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89743
Unregistered user On this 'one'? I think that's most likely true on most things he says. Watching him demo Select at RO2001 was hilarious.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89745, posted at 13:42, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89744
Unregistered user For many years it was illegal to *freely* distribute Speccy ROM images but perfectly legal for me to copy my own Speccy's ROM to my Acorn, and also legal to distribute spare ROM images to *existing* owners. All provided I only used one copy at a time.
because I have a *paid-for* A3010, surely Red Squirrel *can* quite legally distribute a *spare* 3.11 to me. I promise not to network my A3010 and Red Squirrel ;)
Or has the legal side of things changed in the last ten years, Paul?
guy
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89746, posted at 14:18, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89745
Unregistered user Probably an attempt to reduce VA's impact - I don't know the legalities. In any case RO 3.1 isn't that attractive to me anyway.

Of course, a far better way of protecting thir income would be to actually make RISC OS capable of running on Evolution, Imago, 32 bit only processors etc. That would be much more constructive than flinging mud at others products.

Robert
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #89747, posted at 14:26, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89746
Unregistered user Hmm... I just heard about PM's comments, and frankly it's not the first time Paul's talked out of his arse in the Foundation newsletter - apparently he's been criticising ArgoNet for his slow server and inability to update his ownmailling list, when in fact they never hosted his server, he'd struck a deal with Jason Tribbeck who hasn't worked for them in over a year!

I'm awaiting copies of the relevant postings so I can post an informed news item about all of this.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89748, posted at 15:00, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89747
Unregistered user Of course it is possible that when the Foundation User article was written it was correct. I don't know how long it takes to collate the issue, get it duplicated and then sent out but I'm pretty sure the Virtual Acorn announcement came around the same time as I received my Foundation User.

Blimey.....I'm half defending RISC OS Ltd...I must be ill. I'll go for a lie down... ;)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #89749, posted at 16:14, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89748
Unregistered user I thought the Virtual Acorn announcement came well before Christmas (it's just no-one - even other sites - seemed to post about it until recently), but the Foundation stuff is only just coming out?

It might just be bad timing, but if you're going to lambast someone in what amounts to an official company public communication I'd have thought he'd have checked with all parties involved? Like asking the Red Squirrel author after the whole thing had already been gone through in the Archive mailling list?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Tim Fountain Message #89750, posted at 18:52, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89749
Unregistered user The timestamp on the Foundation newsletter in my mailbox is 16:40 on the 8th Jan, so it was written way after the Virtual Acorn announcements were released.

PM also didn't criticise Argo for their hosting, he just said that they had "decided to move to Demon". Seems a bit silly to me, as I think Argo were hosting them for free (?), and Demon's prices for dedicated servers (last time I looked) were incredibly high. Seeing as ROL aren't exactly rolling in it, it would have been better to try and come to some sort of arrangement with Argo or try and find some reasonably priced hosting.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89751, posted at 19:11, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89750
Unregistered user ROL seem to be quite good at chucking money away for no good reason...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
mark quint Message #89752, posted at 21:15, 9/1/2002, in reply to message #89751
Unregistered user so what happened to ROL's in-house hosted 'super-speed' adsl connection that PM announced at RiscOS 2001 show?
least it might be possible to download things at a *reasonable* speed for once from the RO site :/
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #89753, posted at 09:48, 10/1/2002, in reply to message #89752
Unregistered user Tim - the Virtual Acorn stuff was sent 17th December, a good fortnight before the Foundation newsletter even allowing for Christmas. And it was one of the previous newsletters that he criticised ArgoNet more openly (apparently, I don't subscribe). Note it's ArgoNet, not Argo, whch is a separate company! :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #89754, posted at 10:25, 10/1/2002, in reply to message #89753
Unregistered user Ok, I accept the comments made in reply to my query. I don't seem to get the foundation email newsletter anymore and the CD goes to my parents address.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Guest Message #89755, posted at 11:42, 10/1/2002, in reply to message #89754
Unregistered user Now I'll defend RISCOS Ltd...

It's perfectly possible that the Foundation newsletter was written *ages* ago - before the Virtual Acorn press releases.

Having said that, I would imagine that Paul Middleton was aware of Virtual Acorn AGES ago.

As for wasting money... Read the 2000 and 2001 reports. Look at it all going...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jason Tribbeck Message #89756, posted at 12:07, 10/1/2002, in reply to message #89755
Unregistered user Rich - I don't think I've actually worked for ROL at all (apart from letting them use my server).
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
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The Icon Bar: News and features: Virtual Acorns?