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The Icon Bar: News and features: What is the point of RISCOS Ltd?
 

What is the point of RISCOS Ltd?

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 19:00, 7/11/2009 | , , , , , , , ,
 
What is the point of RISCOS Ltd?After hearing the news that videos from the recent RISC OS London Show are now available online, I decided to take a look at what RISCOS Ltd had to say in their presentation. The results I found to be quite shocking...
 
Disclaimer: Although I've obviously been doing a lot of work for RISC OS Open recently, I am not a member of ROOL, nor am I speaking on behalf of ROOL (or The Icon Bar). The opinions expressed below are mine and mine alone, and any likeness or resemblence to any other person's opinions is entirely coincidental.
 

 
Firstly, despite the concerns of a couple of the more "distant" members of the TIB staff, it looks like ROL are still alive and are still running the Select scheme. Rather unsurprisingly, they say (at 16:25) that their cashflow isn't stable enough for them to commit to any timetable/roadmap for what's going into future releases. They also cite (at around 23:40) commercial confidentiality reasons for not being able to announce the Vpod-related graphics improvements ahead of time. All fair enough so far.
 
But then, at 38:50, when he talks about the lack of RISC OS 6 on the A9home, ROL big-wig Paul Middleton gives a rather shocking answer:
"The A9home, one of the problems there is simply, it's hit the point where things have got to be done, we just don't have the people who have got the skills to actually solve the problem."
And at 40:10:
"All we can practically do is the areas that we've got people that have got interest in. And I think you can probably guess, the areas that people have got an interest in are [...] graphics"
I.e. even though subscribing to the RISC OS Select scheme means that you'll be funding the development of RISC OS, there's no system in place to ensure that the money is being spent on areas that actually need development. If they come across a problem that's too complex for their skill set, or involves working on an area that doesn't hold any interest to the programmer in question, they'll just ignore it. Basically ROL have no direction and no commitments. They say that in the past they've always been sub-contracted to work on things (Omega, A9home, Vpod), but without an external company to give them a goal and a source of funding they're content with just sitting there free-wheeling and soaking up the cash of the Select scheme subscribers.
 
At least Castle were smart enough to realise that they didn't have enough money left to fund the development of the OS, and as a result they open(ish)-sourced it to allow the remaining desktop users to look after it themselves.
 
In fact, what is the point of ROL if they don't have any developers who are working on the code full-time?
 
They can't claim that the money from the Select scheme is putting food on the table of any of their employees (43:25 - "We don't have any programmers whose full time job is doing RISC OS"). And they can't claim that they're using the money to fix any of the real issues with the OS. They can't even claim that they're using it to improve the desktop experience, because they don't produce any roadmaps detailing what they're working on for the next version. Even after a release has been made there's no guarantee that they'll disclose any useful information as to what's changed (see the Select 5i2 changelist, for example). They're just using their subscribers money to provide an extra bit of income to fund the whims of the developers.
 
One thing is now clear to me - with Castle effectively dead and ROL lacking direction, the long-term future of the OS has been left entirely in the hands of its users. We've therefore got to ask ourselves how we want to proceed:

Continue as things are now

The ROOL supporters will continue to support ROOL, and the ROL supporters will continue to support ROL, even though neither can presently guarantee the long-term future of the OS. In the end one side will come out on top, but there's no telling how long that will take or how much the market will shrink in the meantime.

Convince ROL to work on the ROOL codebase

This would be a hard sell for ROL, as it would effectively involve them abandoning the last 10 years of their work. Their pride may also be a problem - could they bring themselves to work on "the enemy"'s code?
 
And also, if the ROL developers were to suddenly start getting paid to work on the ROOL codebase, how would the people currently doing work for free react? Would ROOL possibly lose momentum rather than gain it?

Convince ROOL to work on the ROL codebase

Of course convincing ROOL themselves to work on the ROL code is probably impossible, but if all the ROOL supporters were to throw their time and money at ROL, what would happen? Would ROL gain the funding and skill they need to rescue the OS, or would they still lack the determination and direction that's preventing them from getting RISC OS 6 working on the A9home? Or is there simply not enough money left in the market to guarantee the success of a commercial branch of the OS? (The last time ROL tried asking for money, for the Select on Iyonix scheme, they fell far short of the target they believed they needed to reach for the venture to be commercially viable, and thus the project was scrapped).
 
And there's also the question of how many ROOL supporters could be convinced to support ROL in the first place, considering ROL's current lack of direction, and the fact that ROOL are so close to having the full OS source released under the shared source license.
 
To mis-quote Paul Middleton (at 33:05, when he's talking about the open/shared source threat): "If you're doing a job, and you've got the skill to do it, you should get paid for it" - which is exactly why I'm not paying ROL, because they're not doing the job!

Links


 
  What is the point of RISCOS Ltd?
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Simon Willcocks Message #111963, posted by Stoppers at 09:52, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111940
Member
Posts: 293
Can we stop beating it now?
I'd love to, but, since you seem to be referring to my earlier comment, I don't think you read it very carefully.

Firstly, I was answering Alan's question, which made it relevant to the discussion. (The question may not have been, but that's not my fault.)

Secondly, I did write that Pace sold the IP to Castle (actually, "Castle bought the IP"). Nobody mentioned Pace until you did in order to imply that I was claiming otherwise.

All I said was that there was an agreement in place that would have had to have been part of the package, because agreements would be worthless if they could be nullified by simply transferring everything else to another company. I even gave an example.

Oh, and *I have* seen some documentation, at a ROL shareholders' meeting where Castle made a presentation on this subject. In what way do you think you are better informed than I am?
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VinceH Message #111967, posted by VincceH at 10:47, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111963
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1600
Can we stop beating it now?
That appears to be from message #111940 which I haven't seen, and can't see now. I don't appear to have anyone blocked. Has the message been deleted? (And who was it/what was said?)

I hate reading replies without properly knowing the context - ie what was said, etc. That's why when I filter someone out on usenet, I usually filter on the references as well.

Edit:

Okay, that was weird. I can now see it and it's a message I'd read yesterday. Was it some kind of glitch on the server, or in my brain? If the latter, being slightly ill may have been a factor.

[Edited by VincceH at 10:50, 12/11/2009]
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Michael Drake Message #111968, posted by tlsa at 11:10, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111967

Posts: 1096
It's on page 2, your link is for page 1.

#111940

[Edited by tlsa at 11:11, 12/11/2009]
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Simon Willcocks Message #111970, posted by Stoppers at 12:35, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111967
Member
Posts: 293
Can we stop beating it now?
That appears to be from message #111940 which I haven't seen, and can't see now. I don't appear to have anyone blocked. Has the message been deleted? (And who was it/what was said?)

I hate reading replies without properly knowing the context - ie what was said, etc. That's why when I filter someone out on usenet, I usually filter on the references as well.
Sorry about that. It seems to be a "feature" of TIB.

Michael Drake´s provided a working link to the message I replied to; here´s one for the message I wrote:

http://www.iconbar.com/forums/viewthread.php?threadid=11262&page=2#111913

and the one I was replying to:

http://www.iconbar.com/forums/viewthread.php?threadid=11262&page=1#111876
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Eric Rucker Message #111978, posted by bhtooefr at 14:21, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111963
Member
Posts: 337
I'd love to, but, since you seem to be referring to my earlier comment, I don't think you read it very carefully.
Unless you're the author of the My RISC OS article, then no, I wasn't referring to you. My post was intended fully as a reply to that article and its author.
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VinceH Message #111979, posted by VincceH at 15:16, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111968
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1600
It's on page 2, your link is for page 1.

#111940
Yes, I spotted the problem after posting/editing. The reply I read was on page 3, so the link to 111940 included page 3 in the url, even though it's on page 2; clicking it didn't work.

The problem was, though, when I first read it and tried the link, I decided to scan through the thread manually, looking for that post number, and I just couldn't see it.

The link not working is a feature of the way the site sets up the link.

My not seeing it when looking manually is a feature of currently being one of the living dead.

Probably.
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Jason Togneri Message #111980, posted by filecore at 16:07, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111979

Posts: 3867
The link not working is a feature
Phlamethrower
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Simon Willcocks Message #111981, posted by Stoppers at 18:44, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111978
Member
Posts: 293
I'd love to, but, since you seem to be referring to my earlier comment, I don't think you read it very carefully.
Unless you're the author of the My RISC OS article, then no, I wasn't referring to you. My post was intended fully as a reply to that article and its author.
Sorry, I just skimmed the last few paragraphs after reading the first few. I didn´t spot that they´d written about "who owns what", etc., and the quick search for the word Pace I used to check my post obviously didn´t turn up anything.

Considering nobody mentioned Pace until you did, let alone claimed they didn´t sell the OS to Castle, I´d say the last paragraph of your comment (#111940) falls directly into the category of "misinformed opinions or disingenuous comments", the article´s author was complaining about, don´t you?

If you have anything to say about my (informed) opinion, I´d like to hear it.
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Eric Rucker Message #111983, posted by bhtooefr at 19:25, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111981
Member
Posts: 337
I don't really have anything to say about your opinion, I don't see anything that I disagree with, and I'm not informed.

I presume that ROL still has a license, but the implication in the My RISC OS article appears, at least to me, that Castle didn't have ownership, therefore, that's what I addressed.
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Peter Naulls Message #111984, posted by pnaulls at 19:33, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111957
Member
Posts: 317
Surely the most recent example being for use with Stuart's VPod.

Presumably this was to fill the gap between the RPC and the Iyonix, as 'basically' it was only the better video performance that the Iyonix offered. naughty (Hurridly ducks down below the parapet, to avoid the flak!) {quick re-read the first line - that's my excuse}
Well, indeed tongue The hardware you meant here was the Viewfinder, which by all accounts did fill a substantial gap between the RiscPC and Iyonix. The VPod wasn't released until after the Iyonix ceased production, and I'm not sure what gap it meant to fill, although there was presumably a market for it (especially with increasingly rare VFs being sold for silly prices).


Hopefully, Stuart will now return to his A9home, and finish that, again with ROL's input? Kissy
Well, I hope for the sake of those with A9s, that he does too, but from what was pointed out in the article, it's unclear that ROL have any resources at all to help STD, and what resources STD have to address this matter, I have no idea at all.
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Jason Togneri Message #111985, posted by filecore at 20:12, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111984

Posts: 3867
it's unclear that ROL have any resources at all to help STD
I'm sure your doctor can give you pills to help with STD...?
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Simon Willcocks Message #111986, posted by Stoppers at 20:44, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111983
Member
Posts: 293
I presume that ROL still has a license, but the implication in the My RISC OS article appears, at least to me, that Castle didn't have ownership, therefore, that's what I addressed.
Ah, I didn´t read it that way. On the other hand, when I read your comment, it seemed very final - Castle own it, end of story - when I´d just tried to explain in an earlier comment how the situation is more complex than that.

I´m sorry about the misunderstandings, and if I over reacted.
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Eric Rucker Message #111988, posted by bhtooefr at 21:53, 12/11/2009, in reply to message #111986
Member
Posts: 337
And I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.

My understanding of the situation is that:

1. Castle owns RISC OS
2. Pace has a license to RISC OS
3. ROL has a license from someone, probably Pace, possibly now Castle (with Castle now owning RISC OS,) but I haven't seen the documents in question, so I can't say for sure.

Is that correct?

[Edited by bhtooefr at 21:54, 12/11/2009]
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Simon Willcocks Message #111992, posted by Stoppers at 07:34, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111988
Member
Posts: 293
And I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.

My understanding of the situation is that:

1. Castle owns RISC OS
2. Pace has a license to RISC OS
3. ROL has a license from someone, probably Pace, possibly now Castle (with Castle now owning RISC OS,) but I haven't seen the documents in question, so I can't say for sure.

Is that correct?
ROL´s licence came from E14, before Pace and then Castle bought it. However, that´s basically correct.

Then it gets complicated. Actually, it got complicated when the Iyonix came out.

Who is wrong or right was never clear (although it has become clearer, in my view, who was wrong in the first place, I can´t comment on what the current legal position is because IANAL). However, it´s a bit like a schoolground with sides taking it in turns to shout "Come on, if you think you´re hard enough". It needs someone with legal clout to work it out and both sides to agree to get involved if the legal costs aren´t to be enough to wipe out one or possibly both companies.

I can´t imagine any sensible company touching desktop RO with a bargepole until it does get sorted out, which is a large barrier to entry into the market (such as it is).

Never mind, eh?
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Daniel Nesbitt Message #111993, posted by solsburian at 09:07, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111992
Member
Posts: 23
Note: I have not seen any RISC OS contracts, however I do know a little bit about Software Development contracts as I covered that and IPR for my last year of Uni.

My own view on the IPR situation (and feel free to disagree with it!) is that that everything that was developed by Acorn/E14/Pace would be owned by Castle directly. I also get the impression that code modified by ROL that was submitted back to Pace etc. would also still be owned Pace etc. (since ROL did not write all the code themselves).

Often if a contractor is modifying your code then all copyright would be assigned to you (of course this could be different for the RO contracts but since the Pace Internal versions of RO4 don't seem to credit ROL it would appear that Pace still had the copyright - I could be wrong of course).

Code written by ROL themselves would be more tricky, since Acorn/E14/Pace/Castle did not write one line of code of it, though Castle could turn round and say that they would have been unable to write such code without access to the source of RO, which is sometimes calmed in other licensing disputes.

To me the revealing factor of the whole mess is ROL's changing views of the matter over the years coupled with vague statements and assertions that have been challenged by people who used to work for them and apparently people form Pace/Castle. Their allegations of fake signatures on the contracts was also a bit of an eye opener, if that was the case why did they not get the police involved?

In any case contracts can be a mess to start out with vague terms, loopholes and often a lack of clarification on key points. Perhaps one side is trying to get the upper hand with interoperating the contract in their own way (and that could be ether side, or both).
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Simon Willcocks Message #111994, posted by Stoppers at 10:43, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111993
Member
Posts: 293

Often if a contractor is modifying your code then all copyright would be assigned to you (of course this could be different for the RO contracts but since the Pace Internal versions of RO4 don't seem to credit ROL it would appear that Pace still had the copyright - I could be wrong of course).
I think this case is different; ROL were licenced to make derivative works, they weren't making modifications to E14's specifications, which is what I think you're talking about, here.

[...]
To me the revealing factor of the whole mess is ROL's changing views of the matter over the years coupled with vague statements and assertions that have been challenged by people who used to work for them and apparently people form Pace/Castle.
I know what you mean; you tend to get told about things in the licence as and when it benefits the person talking.

I've stuck to the facts as I've been aware of them, and I don't think anyone has seriously disputed any of my postings here.

Also, I've limited myself as much as possible to what Castle told ROL shareholders about the licence, in a document supposed to convince ROL shareholders that they had no rights in the matter.

I assume that was the best argument they could make for their position (why wouldn't it be?).

(It didn't work, by the way.)

Their allegations of fake signatures on the contracts was also a bit of an eye opener, if that was the case why did they not get the police involved?
I don't think anyone said there were fake signatures. Could you provide a link?

In any case contracts can be a mess to start out with vague terms, loopholes and often a lack of clarification on key points. Perhaps one side is trying to get the upper hand with interoperating the contract in their own way (and that could be ether side, or both).
The Castle briefing to ROL shareholders was written in quite clear terms, and did manage to dispel a lot of previous speculation about where their licence to produce IYONIX came from.
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Daniel Nesbitt Message #111995, posted by solsburian at 11:13, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111994
Member
Posts: 23


Their allegations of fake signatures on the contracts was also a bit of an eye opener, if that was the case why did they not get the police involved?
I don't think anyone said there were fake signatures. Could you provide a link?
It is mentioned by Aaron here: http://www.drobe.co.uk/article.php?id=2372#cid29940

It has also been alleged that RISC OS Ltd license was also non-exclusive, as detailed here: http://www.riscworld.co.uk/volumes/volume3/issue2/rol/index.htm by Paul Johnson when discussing Virtual Acorn.
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Simon Willcocks Message #111996, posted by Stoppers at 12:17, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111995
Member
Posts: 293


Their allegations of fake signatures on the contracts was also a bit of an eye opener, if that was the case why did they not get the police involved?
I don't think anyone said there were fake signatures. Could you provide a link?
It is mentioned by Aaron here: http://www.drobe.co.uk/article.php?id=2372#cid29940
Ah, I see. He meant "fake signature-document", not "fake-signature document".

Check out the next few comments, particularly http://www.drobe.co.uk/article.php?id=2372#cid29950.

As I read it, ROL agreed to a document, were handed what they thought was a printed copy of what they'd agreed to and signed it without reading it.

And they say trust is dead.

This, by the way, is why I'm not willing to make any predictions about which way any case would go, but it would be interesting.



It has also been alleged that RISC OS Ltd license was also non-exclusive, as detailed here: http://www.riscworld.co.uk/volumes/volume3/issue2/rol/index.htm by Paul Johnson when discussing Virtual Acorn.
In this case, I think you're referring to the part in brackets, starting "I cannot let this one through without a few comments..."?

That would have been written by Aaron as well, I think, in his capacity as RiscWorld editor, and VirtualAcorn publisher.

That's another can of worms, altogether.

On the other hand, would you say the Iyonix and the RPC are in different markets?
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Daniel Nesbitt Message #111997, posted by solsburian at 13:39, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111996
Member
Posts: 23
I've got the wrong end of the stick in both cases - my apologies!

I'd say Iyonix and RPC are in the same markers.

However, from what I've read ROL's license was apparently for RISC OS 4 only and even the exclusivity has been questioned.

Perhaps one of the reasons Castle was able to ship the Iyonix without any involvement with ROL was because it was shipped with RISC OS 5, which would fall outside of ROL's licence (if it was restricted to RO4 of course).

The same kind of thing happened with Apple and the clone manufactures in the 1990's, the clone manufactures had licences for Mac OS 7.x only. When Apple wanted to renegotiate the licences (basically to kill them off) they simply bumped up the version number of their next release at that time (OS 7.7) to OS 8 to force them to renegotiate their licences.

On the face of it, the whole issue is a complete and utter mess and quite ridiculous given all of the misinformation and FUD that is spread around by people who should know better.

However, given ROL's track record with their now empty promises with the A9, the whole Select on Iyonix debarcle (Paul more or less killed it off in his presentation at Wakefield this year, yet still haven't updated the RO6 FAQ to reflect that) what are you supposed to believe?
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Simon Willcocks Message #111998, posted by Stoppers at 17:45, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111997
Member
Posts: 293
I'd say Iyonix and RPC are in the same [markets].
I think you'd be very strange not to.

However, from what I've read ROL's license was apparently for RISC OS 4 only and even the exclusivity has been questioned.
That is not an argument made in the briefing (in fact the breifing was the clearest statement I'd seen to date on the subject), so I suspect it is either speculation or misinformation.

Perhaps one of the reasons Castle was able to ship the Iyonix without any involvement with ROL was because it was shipped with RISC OS 5, which would fall outside of ROL's licence (if it was restricted to RO4 of course).
See above.

The same kind of thing happened with Apple and the clone manufactures [...]
Charmers, aren't they?

If anything, ROL would have been in a position to do that to Castle, since Castle were a RISC OS 4 sublicencee. I think the naming of the derivative works was up to ROL.

On the face of it, the whole issue is a complete and utter mess and quite ridiculous given all of the misinformation and FUD that is spread around by people who should know better.
Yes.

However, given ROL's track record with their now empty promises with the A9, the whole Select on Iyonix debarcle (Paul more or less killed it off in his presentation at Wakefield this year, yet still haven't updated the RO6 FAQ to reflect that) what are you supposed to believe?
That ROL have been honest, but incompetent, and Castle the opposite, IMO.

It could all have been so much better. unhappy

Oh, and the two computers are in different markets because the Iyonix doesn't bear the Acorn brand. Apparently.
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Daniel Nesbitt Message #112001, posted by solsburian at 18:25, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #111998
Member
Posts: 23

That is not an argument made in the briefing (in fact the breifing was the clearest statement I'd seen to date on the subject), so I suspect it is either speculation or misinformation.
I've based what I've said on what I've read from ROL's annual reports:


Under the terms of the original Head Licence Agreement with Element 14, RISCOS Ltd is limited to utilising RISC OS 4 within the desktop computer market.
That's on page 5 of the 2001 annual report.

Admittedly there are other places where the report talks about ROL's less explicitly and there is no mention of the version number. As I've said I have not read any part of the license, so I'm just basing my opinions on things I've came across over the years so you can take my comments with a pinch of salt smile


That ROL have been honest, but incompetent, and Castle the opposite, IMO.
While I've been mainly talking about ROL your right that Castle are not free from blame, just look at the GPL issues they had a while ago with the RO5 HAL.


It could all have been so much better. unhappy
Your right, but this kind of rubbish seems to be the norm with Enthusiast OS market, just look at AmigaOS 4!
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Simon Willcocks Message #112002, posted by Stoppers at 19:09, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #112001
Member
Posts: 293

I've based what I've said on what I've read from ROL's annual reports:


Under the terms of the original Head Licence Agreement with Element 14, RISCOS Ltd is limited to utilising RISC OS 4 within the desktop computer market.
That's on page 5 of the 2001 annual report.
That's a reasonable interpretation (I've heard it suggested before, but never by any representative of Castle, it's worth noting), but I think they were just using "RISC OS 4" to mean "our version of RISC OS".

The briefing says that E14 were not allowed to operate in the target market, which rather implies they couldn't release any version of the OS into that market.

The market definition doesn't mention any OS version numbers, just "the market for E14's traditional desktop computer products bearing the Acorn brand", and some example Acorn computer models.

That ROL have been honest, but incompetent, and Castle the opposite, IMO.
While I've been mainly talking about ROL your right that Castle are not free from blame, just look at the GPL issues they had a while ago with the RO5 HAL.
On reflection, I'd rather say ROL have been truthful, rather than honest; the latter implies full disclosure of relevant facts, and that hasn't always been the case.

Nobody has come out of this well, that I can see, and the OS has suffered as a result.
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Daniel Nesbitt Message #112003, posted by solsburian at 20:30, 13/11/2009, in reply to message #112002
Member
Posts: 23
Nobody has come out of this well, that I can see, and the OS has suffered as a result.
The OS has indeed suffered. If there was less arguments about IPR and more development of the OS its self, I feel we would be in a much better position then what we are in now.

The reality is that in its present form, RISC OS just doesn't cut it compared to other operating systems for the ARM platform like Linux or the recently open sourced Symbian OS.

However, I genuinely believe that RISC OS Open and the community can address these problems where ROL, Castle, Acorn etc. have failed.

The fact that RO5 is being quickly being ported to new hardware is a tantalizing taste of what can be done with the OS in the hands of the community.

I hope that once the port is more complete plus if RISC OS is made fully open source then it will help it to gather more traction and more developers to take it and the community to new heights.
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Rick Murray Message #112027, posted by heyrick at 18:23, 16/11/2009, in reply to message #111914
Member
Posts: 1
I too add that would very much want to see ROL continue in some shape and form
Um... why?
Is this a dose of the guilts?

What you are responsible for is getting the Head Honcho to admit a few less than welcome facts about the (lack of) direction of the company, the (lack of) skill-sets of the developers, and how it all seems be pretty aimless. Directionless. I dunno, just lost.

On the other hand, maybe you do wish for the company to continue, so you can keep up your subscription for what in return, and when? If that's the case, why not send some cash my way and I'll get to work on porting ROOL's version to the RiscPC architecture. Maybe. If I feel like it. And it doesn't look too hard...


The bottom line is that when you pay for something, you have certain expectations. And this presentation, with the responses you extracted (don't feel guilty about it, somebody had to start asking) have made rather a number of people wonder what these expectations are, realistically, and if their cash wouldn't be better used directing a different part of RISC OS's future.

As much as we may love RISC OS, it has woeful omissions, and - I like my RiscPC, but I don't use it much anymore. There's so much that the hardware and the platform can't do compared to a generic no-name mid-price hunk of crap running Redmond's finest. By making the system a teeny tiny bit better for hardware dating back to the original Pentiums, we will be applying personal bandaids to help our current situation, and the future will be our demise. By instead looking to support RISC OS on newer hardware (the Beagle board has numerous omissions, but it is a start), there could be a continued life for RISC OS. Personally I don't see it as a desktop OS, but rather think of the possibilities for a tight embedded system. At work we have these industrial machines that squirt "product" (lemon custard, yoghourt, whatever) into a variety of moulds and containers (depending on the product). It is flexibly. Little colour touchscreen to control it. Can you imagine an ARM board and RISC OS running that sort of thing? I can. And how about a wide choice of programming options - BBC BASIC, C, assembler... IT would be powerful, flexible, and low-power consumption. All that AND a complete GUI to make setting up the device a tappy-clicky doddle. All we need is to get a reliable version of RISC OS running on just such a board (this is why Beagle is important) and abstract the API/HAL so that porting to different boards can be as simple as plugging in the hardware specific bits and recompiling. With ROOL we're on the way.

With ROL????
Though, to be fair, the question is not so much "What is the point of ROL?", but rather with this new information taken on board, "Where do we go from here?". If that includes ROL, then it includes ROL. If it doesn't, it doesn't...
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Rob Kendrick Message #112059, posted by nunfetishist at 09:50, 18/11/2009, in reply to message #111824
nunfetishist
Today's phish is trout a la creme.

Posts: 515
Some other possible headlines for future TIB articles:

* Why are CJE's prices so fantastically high?
* Are Jack and John enjoying their retirement?
* Do we feel sorry for MW for having to put up with us?
* What will Paul Middleton do for work when ROL finally dies?
* Will Jess ever suggest something that's workable?
* When will TIB get a decent commenting system?
* Guess how much of ROL's Select subscriptions actually get spent on developing the OS, and win a donkey!
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Peter Howkins Message #112060, posted by flibble at 11:49, 18/11/2009, in reply to message #112059
flibble

Posts: 878
Some other possible headlines for future TIB articles:

* Why are CJE's prices so fantastically high?
Because people keep paying them unhappy

* Are Jack and John enjoying their retirement?
I would expect so, so much less stress from crazy RO users who still think there's a market and demanding they lose even more money making an Iyonix 2.

* Do we feel sorry for MW for having to put up with us?
Mildly, he's a nice bloke, but then he does have a nice day job working for Xara too, so he's fairly covered.

* What will Paul Middleton do for work when ROL finally dies?
I believe he spends a lot of his time currently working as a lighting designer.

* Will Jess ever suggest something that's workable?
No, I don't believe that's possible.

* When will TIB get a decent commenting system?
It matches the quality of our comments big grin

* Guess how much of ROL's Select subscriptions actually get spent on developing the OS, and win a donkey!
After paying PM wages, my estimate is at most 10%.
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Blind Moose Message #112063, posted by Acornut at 23:07, 18/11/2009, in reply to message #112059
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
.....and win a donkey!
Is this a thinly veiled 'dig' at my avatar? Crybaby
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Rob Kendrick Message #112067, posted by nunfetishist at 00:37, 19/11/2009, in reply to message #112063
nunfetishist
Today's phish is trout a la creme.

Posts: 515
.....and win a donkey!
Is this a thinly veiled 'dig' at my avatar?
Given your avatar contains an animal that has antlers, no.
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VinceH Message #112071, posted by VincceH at 09:46, 19/11/2009, in reply to message #112067
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1600
.....and win a donkey!
Is this a thinly veiled 'dig' at my avatar?
Given your avatar contains an animal that has antlers, no.
Donkeys have secret antlers that they keep hidden away out of shame. TRUE FACT!
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Matthew Price Message #112090, posted by mjprice at 21:13, 26/11/2009, in reply to message #112071
Member
Posts: 4
Yet another long term user appearing out of the woodwork. This article has caused some considerable interest. Hey, at least we're all talking about RISC OS. Right?

I have a RISC PC in my loft, which I'll occasionally bring down and have a play with - usually in a fit of retro-gaming pique. I did use it to communicate on the comp.sys.acorn.* news groups back in the day, but now I find Google far easier.

This is the crux of the matter for me, RISC OS now is quite obviously an OS for the previous decade. Everything is moving online, and we barely have working browsers the can just about get the basics done.

The infighting between Castle and ROL a few years ago also put me off.
I mean come on, did no one tell them with such a niche and small market have a split fork OS with legal threats being thrown everywhere is not the best way to take things forward? It just showed how pathetic things had become.

I have always been tempted to buy Virtual Acorn, hey, the guy who sells it lives ten minutes away from where I grew up, and that really is putting cash in the local economy!
However, even at the current offer price, I cannot justify the expense to play a couple of retro games, and maybe fire it up occasionally a feel sad for what could have been.

What I would love to see would be the RISC OS equivalent of a Linux USB stick. A lightning fast OS which can launch from an external device and give you fast access to a decent and serviceable OS.
Updating (or what from I've read "looking like you're updating") an OS for a hardware platform that is heading towards it's 20th anniversary (how old do we all feel?!) and charging a lot of money for it seems counter intuitive.

Frankly I'd be happy to see the entire OS development moved to ROOL and be a community run affair. In my opinion this is the only viable option left. You cannot run RISC OS as a viable commercial venture anymore.

The day of RISC OS was schools in the 80s and 90s. I work in a school as a IT bod, and I can't find any teachers who remember them anymore. The wider world has forgotten about Acorn and RISC OS. Even those who used it daily.
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