In this week's episode:
- Whatever happened to VA for Mac?
- Should developers join forces?
- A7000 puts you on hold
- Acorn Computers admit their past
Whatever happened to VA for Mac?
Following the recent announcement that Virtual Acorn now supports Windows Vista, Jess Hampshire questioned the version for Mac OS X currently missing in action. "Is the OS X version ever going to be released? If so is there a timescale? ... RISC OS has a great user interface and is very good for certain tasks, however it is not good enough to be worth suffering windows for."
Gary Lock is positive about the Mac scene: "The Mac market is rather like the Acorn market was back in the glory days; a lot of help and enthusiasm around. But the upswing has been /very/ recent; OS X with its rock-solid Unix foundation... the iPod effect... and now Intel for the much-needed speed boost. Nobody could have forecast all this, even 3 years ago." - but wonders where it would lead RISC OS users - "There is a downside for RO developers. Mac OS X is really rather good, especially where RO is weakest, on the internet. Two first-rate free browsers, and no virus worries. Don't want to encourage desertion, do we?"
Druck, meanwhile, was just plain frustrated. "Virtual Risc PC *has* been ported to the Mac, its just needs a smaller amount of work to finish the user interface and release it. It was first previewed on Mac on PowerPC so there was the issue of the JIT needing to be ported to a different processor which was a big job, but now MAC is on Intel this task has evaporated as the x86 JIT code can be used."
Similar sentiments, and a sense of deja vu, were expressed by Jeremy Brayshaw: "So much RO software has been promised and never actually materialises - Oregano3, Cino, Cineroma, etc. It's understandable, but very frustrating. I'm wondering if VA for Mac is also in this category."
Final words here go to Virtual Acorn's own Aaron Timbrell who explains the situation: "It has been delayed for a number of reasons. The main one being time. Both Graeme and I have been busy on other projects. Further delays have been caused because I haven't been very well. The current test version is far more advanced than anything that's been seen in public. However I am not going to announce a release date until we are happy with it and it's gone through the QA test cycle. Currently there are still some things that need to be fixed/implemented. We want to release the product. We've spent a lot of time and money on it and when it's completed to our satisfaction it will be released."
Should developers join forces?
John Nolan thinks RISC OS developers should stop competing and start co-operating. "It may be, that RISC OS could hold its own, and even make progress, if there were less commercial competition within its folds and more "commercial" co-operation ... Some of the "weak links" are where a key flagship application is either missing, or has problems of difficulty in use ... If the many "weak links" of the RISCOS world could be strengthened in a co-operative way, we could all benefit, include those talented people who make part of their living from it." He thinks developers of rival programs, such as ProCAD and RiscCAD, should agree to join forces and work on a single project. "But how do you decide drop the effort on one of more competing applications in order to make a fewer number excellent? And would the originator want to share it?"
John Cartmell agrees, to a point. "I understand what you are saying - and there may be times when developers may well be best going to a rival and saying, "I'm developing this in competition with you - can we co-operate?" That may well have worked in one circumstance recently with co-operation allowing merged resources and more sales." But John also thinks that there is plenty of software to rescue. "There is commercial software that is disappearing and having to be re-invented ... If such software could be brought back into the fold as freeware - or better still sold at a price that would guarantee continued development - then current developers could avoid having to re-invent the wheel."
A7000 puts you on hold
Kell Gatherer's A7000 had sat "languishing on a shelf, now however it has been brought out of retirement, and is non-stop all day long playing random tracks from a CD pumped into our telephone switchboard to be heard as "hold music". Acorn computers being the workhorses they are, I'm glad it's still in use."
Acorn Computers admit their past
Source: The Icon Bar
I'm sure he doesn't need this publicising further, but Paul Vigay is buying a PC! Not for himself, for a "friend". This led to the discovery by Richard Cheng that "http://acorncomputers.co.uk/about.htm is a lot less deceptive than it used to be. In that it fairly plainly states that this Acorn is not the same as Acorn of old. I wonder what made them decide to go with the more honest approach?"
The site now states:
Acorn Computers Limited was incorporated in 2006 and is registered at Companies House to its’ new owners. The Acorn registered trademark is assigned to Acorn Computers Limited under license in the relevant classes 9 and 41, the same classes as the original Acorn Computers established in Cambridge in 1978. However, RISC OS and ARM Holdings are now under license to other companies and have no connection with the newly incorporated Acorn Computers Limited. The re-launch of the Acorn trademark by Acorn Computers Limited is for a new range of notebook PC's that are assembled and supported in the UK.They're still bastards, mind.