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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Is RISC OS 4 obsolete?
 

Is RISC OS 4 obsolete?

Posted by Phil Mellor on 01:15, 5/1/2004 | , , , , , , , ,
 
Talking point. According to Microsoft, Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE will end their Extended Support Phase later this month. This means they'll become officially obsolete and will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Apart from the chance to dance on the grave of another Microsoft OS, what's the relevance of this for The Icon Bar?

Consider the age of RISC OS 4. Clan members first saw it running at the Wakefield show in 1998 which makes it a similar vintage to Windows 98. (RISC OS 4 was eventually released by RISCOS Ltd for existing Acorn machines within a year.)

As time passes, Microsoft release Windows 2000 and XP, and we see several incarnations of RISC OS Select and the 32-bit RISC OS 5. So, with the forthcoming Select ROM release, and with the softloading arguments nullified for emulator machines, is it time to "do a Microsoft" and move on from a five year old OS?
 

  Is RISC OS 4 obsolete?
  SparkY (03:21 5/1/2004)
  rich (09:30 5/1/2004)
    john (11:45 5/1/2004)
      mavhc (12:13 5/1/2004)
        [mentat] (13:16 5/1/2004)
          diodesign (13:26 5/1/2004)
            fwibbler (13:39 5/1/2004)
              john (13:47 5/1/2004)
                martin (16:23 5/1/2004)
                  fwibbler (17:03 5/1/2004)
                    monkeyson2 (17:17 5/1/2004)
                      cbcbcb (17:33 5/1/2004)
                        monkeyson2 (19:18 5/1/2004)
                          ad (19:34 5/1/2004)
                            rich (21:56 5/1/2004)
                              mavhc (23:03 5/1/2004)
                                simo (00:43 6/1/2004)
                                  mavhc (13:14 6/1/2004)
                                    Select VA (22:11 6/1/2004)
                                      [mentat] (23:52 6/1/2004)
                                        Liam Proven (15:49 12/1/2004)
                                          QJimbo (20:42 16/2/2004)
                                            chiller2 (01:39 14/6/2007)
 
Gavin Message #92674, posted by SparkY at 03:21, 5/1/2004
Danger! Danger! High Voltage!
Posts: 682
Move on in what way? New software can support RISC OS 3, 4, 5 and Select easily so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Nice Acorn/Cog graphic though!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #92675, posted by rich at 09:30, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92674
Rich
Webmaster
The Icon Bar

Posts: 6765
I think the point is that RISC OS 4 is old by the standards of the outside world, and we should have something to move on to by now. RISC OS 5 isn't suitable for anything other than a small range of computers.

OK, so there's a counter argument that we should also have moved on from using 200MHz or less RiscPCs by now as well, but this is a talking point! ;)

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John D Message #92676, posted by john at 11:45, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92675
Member
Posts: 261
We shouldn't just move on for the sake of it! I'm sure we don't want to mave a short obsolescence time, I expect anything written now should work on RO4, and probably RO3.5 onwards much of the time. Windows has changed a lot from Win9x to NT type version.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mark Scholes Message #92677, posted by mavhc at 12:13, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92676
Member
Posts: 660
No
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
I don't have tourettes you're just a cun Message #92678, posted by [mentat] at 13:16, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92677
[mentat]Fear is the mind-killer
Posts: 6266
The comparison with Windoze doesn't quite work as RISC OS has (always had) a much less frantic pace of hardware development.

I'm sure Microsoft have financial motivations for ditching OSs ASAP to force (or encourage :) people to upgrade, so let's not go giving ROL or Castle ideas eh? :)

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Chris Williams Message #92679, posted by diodesign at 13:26, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92678
diodesign
The Opposition

Posts: 269
I can't believe there's still people using RISC OS 3.x, let alone RISC OS 4.0x.

If more people upgraded then there would be more progress to the OS because more programmer time would be afforded. I don't care if you smugly don't like the short obsolescence time, OS developers don't generally work for free.

Simply put, if you're not running the latest version of the OS (Select or ROS5 depending on your hardware), you might as well not use RISC OS at all because you're contributing this much to the platform:

Nothing.

Chris. Just me.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
fwibbler Message #92680, posted by fwibbler at 13:39, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92679
fwibbler

Posts: 318
I more or less agree with Chris.
I believe that software written should work on OS's as far back as 4 but no further. If they happen to work on OS3 then fine, if not, tough.

It's up to the individual if they wish to run OS3 but I don't think that programmers should feel any obligation to make their software work on it.

I suspect that one of the reasons that so much recent software does still work on OS3 is that the market is so small that programmers have to try and cater for the largest possible audience.

I don't think ROL could possibly drop support for OS4 for sometime since they're still selling it!
Even once they move over to 4.37 on ROM (or whatever version it will be (4.4 I think)) it would be reasonable to expect support for a year afterwards on OS4.
Cheers!

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John D Message #92681, posted by john at 13:47, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92680
Member
Posts: 261
Come to the future, everyone's invited!

(Oh except you, you're running RISC OS 4.0, and you're wearing trainers :)

Yeah everyone should upgrade to the latest version... where can we get figures on how many people run which version of RISC OS? Maybe everyone has who's still active users. Can't wait for select on ROM though, faster bootups all round! :)

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
martin hansen Message #92682, posted by martin at 16:23, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92681
Member
Posts: 17
I'm all for moving on, but why is RISC OS 4 still so expensive ? I upgraded a dozen or so machines to RISC OS 3 when it cost around £25 a time, but the.. (pause to look it up) ...£85 price tag means that my classroom's 8 RiscPCs are staying RISC OS 3.5/3.6/3.7. For goodness sakes, even the £85 dosen't get the latest version....

***retires into the corner, muttering to self ***

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
fwibbler Message #92683, posted by fwibbler at 17:03, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92682
fwibbler

Posts: 318
?75 for the roms only and if you can claim the VAT back then you'll only be paying ?63.83 per copy.
I'd guess it's not going to get any cheaper than it is now (at least not a lot cheaper).
Cheers!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #92684, posted by monkeyson2 at 17:17, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92683
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Martin: once you've upgraded to RISC OS 4, one Select subscription will cover all your machines.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
cbcbcb Message #92685, posted at 17:33, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92684
Unregistered user Why would I buy RISC OS 4+Select, when it costs 230 pounds, and would require me to spend several hours sorting out my computer just to make it work as well as it did with RISC OS 3.7?

I would need to replace !Boot and then reinstate everything which was configured in my old !Boot, and back up and reformat the hard disk and remove !LongFiles. Then I (probably) need to patch some of my software which will stop working.

For many people, it is not worth the time and money to upgrade a perfectly functional computer which is worth two hundred quid at most.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #92686, posted by monkeyson2 at 19:18, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92685
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Chickens and eggs spring to mind.

Take NetSurf as an example. It would have been very easy to use the ImageFileRender module, found in Select, to render images in various formats found on web pages. In fact Justin Fletcher implemented a rough and ready implementation of this almost overnight - compare this to the development time in porting open source image libraries, the extra consumption of system resources, and so on. The time saved could have been spent improving CSS support or adding new GUI features.

Select has many benefits for users and programmers (the programmer benefits would benefit users too if the user base was large enough to make development worthwhile). You might think RISC OS 3.7 is good enough for your needs, but you can't make progress by standing still.

Yes, 230UKP is a lot - that's one argument for leaving RISC OS 4 behind. You shouldn't have to upgrade twice to get into a position to use Select, and the ROM release should solve this. It depends on the pricing strategy, of course.

What would be nice is if all new computers shipped with Select by default. I'm including the Iyonix in that statement.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Duffell Message #92687, posted by ad at 19:34, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92686
ad

Posts: 3229
People buying lower RISC OS's are still contributing to the platform (although not as much)

e.g
I just sold some RISC OS 3.7 ROMs for GBP16.50 inc P&P, and I will now probably upgrade part of my computer i.e VRAM using that money (and some other money.). If I hadn't sold RO3.7 I wouldn't have planned to upgrade the VRAM.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Richard Goodwin Message #92688, posted by rich at 21:56, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92687
Rich
Webmaster
The Icon Bar

Posts: 6765
where can we get figures on how many people run which version of RISC OS?
A new poll might help...
<fx:clickety>
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mark Scholes Message #92689, posted by mavhc at 23:03, 5/1/2004, in reply to message #92688
Member
Posts: 660
> Simply put, if you're not running the latest version of the OS (Select or ROS5 depending on your hardware), you might as well not use RISC OS at all because you're contributing this much to the platform:

> Nothing.

Unless you're buying hardware and software that isn't Iyonix/Select. Or writing code, or helping in all those non programy ways people keep talking about.

What of all the programs that stop working whenever you upgrade?

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
simo Message #92690, posted at 00:43, 6/1/2004, in reply to message #92689
Unregistered user I think the problem is RO4 is so good, and Select doesn't offer enough extras to upgrade.

I think Select on ROM will tempt 3.x users more, and maybe even 4.0x users who don't like softloading.

I wonder if they'll be a VARiscPC-SE "Select in ROM" upgrade too - so you can boot straight from the 6Mb ROM image like RedSquirrel.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Mark Scholes Message #92691, posted by mavhc at 13:14, 6/1/2004, in reply to message #92690
Member
Posts: 660
> Booting into Select directly with VARPC

It would be rather daft if you couldn't do that already.

The Select features seem more interesting than the ROS4 features, but the combined cost is too high.

New computers need to come with the latest stable version of Select if the userbase is to grow enough to make producing software that takes advantage of Select only features a good idea

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Select VA Message #92692, posted at 22:11, 6/1/2004, in reply to message #92691
Unregistered user If you're not entirely stupid you'll know you can already get VA/RS to boot Select directly.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
I don't have tourettes you're just a cun Message #92693, posted by [mentat] at 23:52, 6/1/2004, in reply to message #92692
[mentat]Fear is the mind-killer
Posts: 6266
TheDoctor:
I don't think ROL could possibly drop support for OS4 for sometime since they're still selling it!

I think that's the most important point wrt to this article.

Diodesign:

I can't believe there's still people using RISC OS 3.x, let alone RISC OS 4.0x.

Presumably you mean 4.0x let alone 3.x ;-)

if you're not running the latest version of the OS ... you might as well not use RISC OS at all because you're contributing this much to the platform: Nothing.

That statement's a bit much.
But even ignoring the inhenrent wrongness of it, I would imagine those people you refer to would categorise themselves as 'users' and not contributors, then.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Liam Proven Message #92694, posted at 15:49, 12/1/2004, in reply to message #92693
Unregistered user It's high time RISC OS Ltd and Castle both stopped being so petty and childish, resolved their differences and produced a unified RO 5.1 or whatever. Doesn't hugely matter if it's 1 version for 26-bit & 32-bit hardware or 2 variants, but the lack of unity is crippling the already nearly-dead Acorn world.

Given ROL's failure to produce a 32-bit version or an Acorn-chipset-independent version, I think the simplest option might be for ROL to go into liquidation and Castle to acquire the rights to Select to integrate into RO5, making it an even more compelling upgrade for RISC PC owners. ROL has been failing to deliver anything other than incremental improvements for years now. Castle is at least showing some initiative.

[Sits back and waits for the flames]

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
QJimbo Message #92695, posted at 20:42, 16/2/2004, in reply to message #92694
Unregistered user I'm currently looking into upgrading a RO3.7 StrongARM RPC. However, I would love to have the features of Select, but £230 is absolutely rediculous. I also am torn whether to buy RO4, because ROL could release Risc OS 4.4 any minute. If you buy RO4 now you can be certain it isn't the latest and best version of the OS.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Kelv Message #102901, posted by chiller2 at 01:39, 14/6/2007, in reply to message #92695
Member
Posts: 9
Can I put Select on my A3000 then? wink

Ok, ok, I'll get my coat.
________
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Is RISC OS 4 obsolete?