For this interview, we introduce you to Ident Computers very own Tom Williamson, who was a first-time exhibitor and speaker at the London Show
How long have you been using RISC OS?
In real terms not that long! (bearing in mind I'm not 30 years old yet!) I've only sat down and used RISC OS properly since about early 2013 with the Raspberry Pi port of RISC OS 5 running on a original model b board! And have since patched together my missing Acorn back history from where I left off using original BBC B and Master computers, still in service at my school into the early 2000's!
What other systems do you use?
Primarily Apple Mac since the early 1990's and Windows PCs mostly running XP or 7
What is your current RISC OS setup?
Well it's an Ident Micro One powered by a Raspberry Pi 2 board. I designed the Micro One as a computer that I wanted for myself and hence use as my main RISC OS system!
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
RISC OS shows is a new thing for us. We did the Recursion Computer Science Fair in the Midlands in 2015 and again in 2016 and from that made links with the RISC OS community hence appearing at RISC OS London in 2016 which was our first real stand alone RISC OS show.
What do you use RISC OS for in 2016 and what do you like most about it?
RISC OS is for me, and the many I showcase it to a 'play thing' So its mainly about writing code in BASIC or C, or running these BBC Micro or Archimedes classic and retro games!
Which for a new audience is not necessarily a bad thing!
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
For me RISC OS has two very valuable assets, First its incorporated BBC BASIC which is just so different from other OS's in use today. And second the !Pling application model, which I think is just amazing and I wish other systems would or could implement it. These 2 features is why nearly all my hobbyist Pi boards now run RISC OS instead of a Linux build.
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
A fast HTML 5 web browser... Please! Also better video and monitor implantation, Quad-core running would be nice to!
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-releated) moan?
Well.... Proper colour implementation for 'Modes' in the Raspberry Pi version of 5, because at present all modes are fixed to use the 256 colour palette which is a pain for some cross-platform software development.
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Currently all efforts are with supporting the Ident Micro One kit product, and we're looking forward to 2017 and building on the system in the future.
Any surprises you can't or dates to tease us with?
Now that would be telling!... I am hoping to do a Shareware game release in 2017 with a free to play version for a number of Acorn based/clone platforms.
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
Am I allowed to say ident-online.co.uk/computer ?[iconbar: of course - great site!] Probably not! In all seriousness, I really like reading the forums of StarDot and ROOL's own site.
Santa Claus is a regular iconbar reader. Any not-so-subtle hints you would like to drop him for presents this year (assuming you have been very good)?
Ok this might sound a bit odd but... BBC Micro hardware! You can never have enough! I really would like a good condition Microvitec CUB metal case monitor, as its one of the last bits I'm missing, but don't want to pay Ebay prices!
Any questions we forgot to ask you?
Who Am I? ...., I think maybe about our work in the education sector and Raspberry Pi Jam events, were I show RISC OS to a new generation, mostly school age children but also there parents, taking the system along with BBC Micro hardware into schools etc. For many this is the first time of seeing a computer not running Windows, Android or maybe in the case of the Raspberry Pi, Linux, hence showcasing the real opportunities RISC OS presents. Also for parents or older peoples, allowing them to reconnect with the Acorn they remember from their own school days, most are still amazed any of this is still around let alone being actively updated and supported!