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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS interview with Chris Johns
 

RISC OS interview with Chris Johns

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:43, 24/12/2020 |
 
This time we would like to introduce you to the person behind the new Python port for RISC OS.

Would you like to introduce yourself?
"Hello.. hello.. is this thing on?" ... "My name is Chris and I'm a RISC OS user".
 
How long have you been using RISC OS?
Since I first got an A3000 in, I think 1989. I remember we bought it from one of the shows. but my parents wouldn't let me have it until Christmas. It sat in it's box behind the sofa taunting me until December the 25th.
 
What other systems do you use?
Linux (at work and I have a Linux server at home) and Windows which I use for a few things, including playing games (when I get the time!)
 
What is your current RISC OS setup?
My main RISC OS machine is an Armbook. It's small enough to take with me, so I can to RISC OSey things on the go. Most of the Python work has been done on it. I also have a couple of Raspberry Pis and two RiscPCs.
 
What do you think of the retro scene?
The prices retro hardware sells for is insane! There are some really neat things that use modern technology with retro systems. Kinda steampunk without all the copper pipes.
 
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
I've not been to one for years. I was actually considering Wakefield 2020 but .. covid.
 
What do you use RISC OS for in 2020 and what do you like most about it?
I use it mostly for development, although I have also used it for writing articles. Although not in 2020 a few years I designed and printed some birthday party invites on it.
 
I still find the UI easy to use and has features I miss on other systems, such as "saving" a file from one program to another.
 
My daughter has played about doing doodles in Paint. Need to develop the next generation of RISC OS users.
 
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
Maybe not a "killer app" but the party invites mentioned above were done with Poster. I've never really found anything quite it for doing stuff like that.
 
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Multiprocessor support.
 
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-releated) moan?
Lack of wifi. Yes I know there good reasons for it, but needing bunch of dongles to get online is a pain.
 
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Python, mostly. I'm currently trying to get 3.8 out, then there will be support of that and looking at 3.9.
 
Any surprises or dates to tease us with?
It's been a slow burner, but I am also playing about with hardware for ancient..erm I mean "classic" Acorn hardware. I have some PCBs on the slow boat from China at the moment.
 
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
The ROOL website for both the forum and the documentation. BBC news/weather, twitter.
 
What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
I've got two young children who take a lot of my time (and energy).
If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
I'm quite not sure what a month's worth of RISC OS development would get - drop me a cheque and let's find out :) It'd probably be something in python - maybe a twitter client? I think there is an API.
 
Any future plans or ideas you can share with us?
I've started on a toolbox library for python. I'd like to develop that further to enable desktop applications to be developed in Python. I also want to look at ways to distribute python applications so you don't need to install the entire python setup to run them. These are things that are there for other platforms, but not yet for RISC OS.
 
Any questions we forgot to ask you?
What made you decide to port python 3? I guess we'd started moving to it at work and I was wondering if it would run on RISC OS, as I found programming in Python a lot quicker (in terms of development time) to C++ or C, and wondered "could I use this on RISC OS".
 
You can read lots of other interviews on Iconbar here
 
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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS interview with Chris Johns