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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: RISC OS - the week in comments; episode 3
 

RISC OS - the week in comments; episode 3

Posted by Phil Mellor on 14:30, 18/3/2007 | , , , , , ,
 
We need more demosEach week we hold up a mirror to the people of RISC OS and reflect the current topics of debate.
 
In this, the third exciting installment:
  • Demo versions of software
  • BBC iPlayer protests won't aid RISC OS
  • Another user says goodbye

Demo versions of software

Sources: Drobe, The Icon Bar
 
There are still some excellent software products being developed for RISC OS, but are their sales being limited because potential customers cannot try before they buy? After reading about the forthcoming ArtWorks 2.7 upgrade on Drobe, Simon Challands commented "I really wish there was a demo of Artworks. It all sounds good, but it's far too expensive to buy and then find I don't get on with it."
 
Martin Wuerthner responded "I have been planning to do a demo version for quite some time and it is quite likely that there will be one for ArtWorks 2.7. The problem is not mainly producing the demo software itself but supplying adequate documentation, i.e., tutorials, to show off its features. Obviously, this is something regular purchasers could do with, too! The advent of multi-page documents has made this task far easier because I can now supply multi-page tutorials that look like presentations and are much easier to navigate and handle than having lots of individual example files."
 
There's a different opinion in the R-Comp camp. Andrew Rawnsley said he didn't want to see Messenger Pro demos because "the importance of getting the first 15 minutes "right" with an email client is very important, hence the value of printed documentation and tech support ... There is also the question of whether developing demos rather than the main program is best use of developer time!"

BBC iPlayer protests won't aid RISC OS

Source: comp.sys.acorn.misc
 
A thread ostensibly about petitioning the BBC to prevent it restricting its on-demand television service to Windows users only (a subject we've previously covered on the Icon Bar) soon turned into yet another climate change debate. Peter Naulls bucked the trend and made an on-topic post: "There are plenty of open and closed formats that can be played on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. But which one did have you in mind that would work on RISC OS? There's MPEG2, and that's about it, and even an Iyonix will be limited in what it can play back. Whilst the principle of the opposition is good, it doesn't in practice have much relevance to RISC OS."

Another user says goodbye

Sources: Robert Hampton's blog, RISC OS Ramblings
 
Another RISC OS user has given up. At least, he - he being Robert Hampton - has given up using RISC OS - I doubt he's just given up in general, unless he's feeling terribly depressed. Something which might make him feel depressed is "the deterioration in the RISC OS community. One of the plus points for RISC OS over the past few years was that a friendly community of users existed out in cyberspace. Not any more though; the remaining users on the comp.sys.acorn groups seem to prefer squabbling."
 
Cheatwarrior has noticed this too, posting on his new RISC OS Ramblings blog. "My inbox quickly fills up with many mailing list e-mails with petty and childish arguments that can be avoided. RISC OS seriously needs new people and they all get driven away by the amount of backstabbing in the community."
 
Back to Robert Hampton, whose article neatly parallels the feelings John Hoare expressed last year. He continues: "It would have been tempting [when Acorn closed down its workstations division] to simply say goodbye and switch to Windows, but I didnít - partly because Iím a stubborn bastard, but mainly because there were lots of good reasons to continue with RISC OS. The PC world was stuck with Windows 98, which had all the lovely games and multimedia addons ("Intel Inside! Dun-dun-dun-dun!"), but simply wasnít as pleasant to use ... More frustrating was the tendency to dismiss these useful add-ons as "PC bloatware", when that clearly isnít the case. While the rest of the web moved on into a world of entertainment, multimedia, music and video, the RISC OS web experience has remained steadfastly text and PNG-based ... As 2007 dawned, I found myself facing up to the famed "youíll have to upgrade them every few years" issue that RISC OS advocates (including myself, it has to be said), used to scream about. But you know what? When I upgraded, I felt like I was getting something useful out of the deal. And, realistically, the only reason I could get away without upgrading my RISC OS machine for so long was because the platform had stagnated."
 
It's clear that more and more users are thinking this way - but is anything being done to address the issue? Can anything be done? And what's the point of it all anyway? I guess now I'm the one who's feeling terribly depressed.
 

  RISC OS - the week in comments; episode 3
  Chris (17:52 18/3/2007)
  monkeyson2 (09:45 19/3/2007)
    Phlamethrower (10:01 19/3/2007)
    monkeyson2 (11:03 19/3/2007)
    Chris (14:59 19/3/2007)
      monkeyson2 (15:24 19/3/2007)
      tlsa (16:19 19/3/2007)
    gazc (16:59 27/3/2007)
  sorvad (09:50 19/3/2007)
    moss (10:00 19/3/2007)
      sorvad (10:20 19/3/2007)
        monkeyson2 (10:36 19/3/2007)
          moss (10:41 19/3/2007)
            monkeyson2 (10:49 19/3/2007)
    Q (12:57 19/3/2007)
      sorvad (13:35 19/3/2007)
        Col (14:21 19/3/2007)
          sorvad (15:41 19/3/2007)
            monkeyson2 (15:51 19/3/2007)
              sorvad (15:54 19/3/2007)
        arawnsley (16:36 19/3/2007)
          Col (16:50 19/3/2007)
            CrazyRisc (18:05 19/3/2007)
              Col (08:03 20/3/2007)
              epistaxsis (08:09 20/3/2007)
                pnaulls (19:22 20/3/2007)
 
Chris Message #100205, posted by Chris at 17:52, 18/3/2007
Member
Posts: 283
On the issue of RISC OS being depressing and all, I tend to go through alternate periods of being optimistic and pessimistic. If St Martin Wuerthner releases an update I start to think it's all going to be OK, but if I read the thread on iPlayer in the newsgroups I get depressed very quickly.

Part of me wishes that the dream of restoring RISC OS to being a 'real' OS (i.e. a genuine choice lined up against Linux, MacOS et al) goes away and we can start treating it just as a hobby OS (which is how I think of it). I used to have an Amstrad CPC and was a bit sad when the CPC world went the way of all flesh, but now that nobody seriously uses it, the remaining community is a lot of fun and people are writing all sorts of mad stuff for it (see http://www.symbos.de/facts.htm).

The key thing is *fun*: projects like the USB missile launcher make RISC OS still an interesting OS. If we weren't so hung-up all the time about competing with the 'real world' OSes, maybe we'd get some back. And there is still stuff to like: ArtWorks and NetSurf being at the top of the list.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100219, posted by monkeyson2 at 09:45, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100205
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Part of me wishes that the dream of restoring RISC OS to being a 'real' OS (i.e. a genuine choice lined up against Linux, MacOS et al) goes away and we can start treating it just as a hobby OS (which is how I think of it). I used to have an Amstrad CPC and was a bit sad when the CPC world went the way of all flesh, but now that nobody seriously uses it, the remaining community is a lot of fun and people are writing all sorts of mad stuff for it (see http://www.symbos.de/facts.htm).
In a way it's always been a bit of a hobby OS. When did it ever compete with Windows and Mac? (OK, there was a time when it could compete as it was superior in many ways, but there were very few markets where it actually was marketed as a competitor, and fewer where it was even noticed.)

The key thing is *fun*: projects like the USB missile launcher make RISC OS still an interesting OS. If we weren't so hung-up all the time about competing with the 'real world' OSes, maybe we'd get some back. And there is still stuff to like: ArtWorks and NetSurf being at the top of the list.
True, but there's competition even in the hobbyist sector. Linux is a very strong competitor for the hobbyist software developer, as is Mac OS X. Games development? Playstation homebrew or Flash. I suppose RISC OS is good for masochistic developers!

But, for people who know the system well (it's simple enough to understand the whole of it within your lifetime!) it's great for tinkering with.

Also:
Another one gone. How long before you can count the number of RISC OS users on the fingers of one foot?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
sorvad Message #100222, posted by sorvad at 09:50, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100205
Member
Posts: 68
I want to get back into Risc OS, am I mad, quite possibly.

I use and have used a Wintel PC for my job and main home computer now for many years. My very old antiquated A3000 (with Internet access, hard disk and some other bits and bats) sits in it's box in the attic. It will return one day but not as my main Risc OS machine, for that I will be looking at a much newer model.

But the question is why do I want to do this ? I've seen the way the community is, the way they fight amongst themselves, with the suppliers being pretty much the same.

The reason I want to re-join is to put some fun back into my computing and to hopefully contribute something that is fun and perhaps useful too.

I can be under no delusions that it will not become my main machine. For my work I need access to many PC specific apps that will never in a month of Sundays appear on Risc-OS even if it was still in it's hey-day.

It will cost me a lot of money too (if I go the totally brand new route) but I want to have some fun again with my favourite OS and hopefully inject a little money into the software developers (and hardware too) pockets to keep them working.

Am I mad ? well probably, but I'm hoping to have some fun along the way. As long as I know what I'm getting into I'll be OK won't I ?

In the end I suppose I would be treating it as a hobby machine and not a work machine, so perhaps Risc OS can only now be a hobby OS. Is that important ? Surely we must be realistic and can never expect it to be a main OS again ?

It'll still be quite some time before I get my new machine (money being one issue, but probably buy second hand to start with anyway).

I'm not a half bad coder, been a very long time since I did anything in anger on Risc OS though but I'm really hoping I can contribute in the future and enjoy doing the work along the way.

Even if it is just a hobby OS, if there are enough people in the hobby there will be an industry to support it, it needn't die off. Look at any other hobby you can mention, hey we may even get a newsagent stand mag back ! (Gosh I think I'm stretching it a bit there !)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #100224, posted by moss at 10:00, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100222

Posts: 9346
RISC OS for me used to be both a hobby OS (messing around with things) *and* a serious OS (for doing my proper work).

The thing is, OS X has taken over both roles. Not only is it far better suited to my main work... but it's far more fun to piss around with too.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #100225, posted by Phlamethrower at 10:01, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100219
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15057
I suppose RISC OS is good for masochistic developers!
But that was for the BBC, not RISC OS!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
sorvad Message #100228, posted by sorvad at 10:20, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100224
Member
Posts: 68

The thing is, OS X has taken over both roles. Not only is it far better suited to my main work... but it's far more fun to piss around with too.
I've been surrounded by Macs in my job for about 13 years now, think I started off using 6.7.x

and I programmed on them and PC's for about 7 years before being solely dedicated to PC app development. And although they still surround me today in my place of work I rarely get involved with them and they really don't interest me.

I can't comment on OS X as I very rarely use it despite being surrounded by Mac to PC ratio of about 60/40 but the earlier Mac OS was in my opinion nothing to write home about at least not in comparison to the then Risc OS. Which was my main home OS back when I started on Macs.

I wonder how rare I am, a guy that used Macs for years and doesn't say how wonderful they are.

OK This is my own view but I feel I might need my flame retardant underwear on now...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100231, posted by monkeyson2 at 10:36, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100228
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
I wonder how rare I am, a guy that used Macs for years and doesn't say how wonderful they are.

OK This is my own view but I feel I might need my flame retardant underwear on now...
Not from me. I didn't think much of Macs at all until the most recent version of OS X (Tiger). We've got a Mac Mini at work running the previous version (Panther?) and it wouldn't have made me switch.

If you want to get involved in RISC OS, I think you should. It only needs a few people actively taking interest to inspire the miserable old sods.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Hoare Message #100233, posted by moss at 10:41, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100231

Posts: 9346
Not from me. I didn't think much of Macs at all until the most recent version of OS X (Tiger). We've got a Mac Mini at work running the previous version (Panther?) and it wouldn't have made me switch.
Out of interest, what was it about Tiger over Panther that made you switch?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100239, posted by monkeyson2 at 10:49, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100233
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Out of interest, what was it about Tiger over Panther that made you switch?
It doesn't suck?

Improvements to the UI (especially System Preferences), Spotlight, better networking support, VPN that works, burn folders...

Panther mostly does the job, but it's a bit rudamentary. Tiger just feels nicer.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100245, posted by monkeyson2 at 11:03, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100219
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Also:
Another one gone. How long before you can count the number of RISC OS users on the fingers of one foot?
And another!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
John Cartmell Message #100266, posted by Q at 12:57, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100222
Member
Posts: 37
sorvad:
If you are without a RISC OS machine and want to contribute then say where you are in the country. Someone local may well be willing to offer you some hardware that you can get to work with.

If you are within striking distance of South Manchester we might be able to locate a fairy godmother for you! ;-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
sorvad Message #100268, posted by sorvad at 13:35, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100266
Member
Posts: 68
Well, that would be more than generous, yes I am about 45mins drive to south Manchester. However I would like to defer this kind offer for a short while as at present (and the main reason I've not got back into RiscOS) I've no where to set my kit up. Due to family expansion two years ago (i.e. children) I lost my study and it's been re-located to the attic, which is not ready for use yet, but should be all completed by the end of this year.

It's at that point that all my old Acorn kit (including that very old A3000) and my next Acorn machine to be will be put into use.

Until that time comes I don't have time to contribute at the moment anyway (yes I'm the sole worker on the house renovations so this takes up a lot of spare time).

If that offer still good in about 9 months time that would be great. Wouldn't like to accept any kit and then do nothing with it for months

At the moment I use a works laptop as my sole computer at home as don't even have my old PC desktop machine set up anymore.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Colin Cartmell-Browne Message #100269, posted by Col at 14:21, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100268
Member
Posts: 89
Don't know whether this is possible for you or not but perhaps you'd like to come along to RONWUG (South Manchester based user group) on Wedsnesday night.

Details are:
Date: Weds 21 March (and every 3rd Weds of the month)
Start time: 7pm for 7:15pm,
Venue:
Trafford Metrovick Rugby & Cricket Club Finnybank Road
Sale
Cheshire
M33 6LR

Venue is a few hundred yards from M60 J7,

I'll probably not be there this week but plenty of other members will be.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Chris Message #100272, posted by Chris at 14:59, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100219
Member
Posts: 283
In a way it's always been a bit of a hobby OS. When did it ever compete with Windows and Mac? (OK, there was a time when it could compete as it was superior in many ways, but there were very few markets where it actually was marketed as a competitor, and fewer where it was even noticed.)
Fair point, but I think there were several years when it wouldn't have been ridiculous to compare RISC OS with PCs/Macs in the fields of DTP, design, bitmap editing, word processing and 'office' style software. That's a pretty big chunk of what a computer gets used for, even now. Regrettably, RISC OS never really got into the internet/media age, and as a result even the good features it used to enjoy have been superseded.

True, but there's competition even in the hobbyist sector. Linux is a very strong competitor for the hobbyist software developer, as is Mac OS X. Games development? Playstation homebrew or Flash. I suppose RISC OS is good for masochistic developers!

But, for people who know the system well (it's simple enough to understand the whole of it within your lifetime!) it's great for tinkering with.
Yeah, that's why I like it. Everything's open, and it's just nice feeling when you understand something (a bit). Starting from scratch with Mac OS or Linux is a bit daunting.


Also:
Another one gone. How long before you can count the number of RISC OS users on the fingers of one foot?
Getting to be a bit of a habit...

Still, wait till version 2 of the Islands Level Editor comes out - then they'll be sorry...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100273, posted by monkeyson2 at 15:24, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100272
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Fair point, but I think there were several years when it wouldn't have been ridiculous to compare RISC OS with PCs/Macs in the fields of DTP, design, bitmap editing, word processing and 'office' style software. That's a pretty big chunk of what a computer gets used for, even now.
Yes. I really enjoyed the articles in Acorn User about professional publishing and DTP, circa 1994.

Still, wait till version 2 of the Islands Level Editor comes out - then they'll be sorry...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
sorvad Message #100274, posted by sorvad at 15:41, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100269
Member
Posts: 68
Don't know whether this is possible for you or not but perhaps you'd like to come along to RONWUG (South Manchester based user group) on Wedsnesday night.
Thanks for the info. It's possible I could make a meeting sometime

What sort of things do you do there ?

Is there a list of Acorn/ Risc OS user groups anywhere ?

[Edited by sorvad at 15:42, 19/3/2007]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #100275, posted by monkeyson2 at 15:51, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100274
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
Is there a list of Acorn/ Risc OS user groups anywhere ?
http://www.aaug.net/

Not sure how up to date it is...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
sorvad Message #100276, posted by sorvad at 15:54, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100275
Member
Posts: 68
Cheers
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Michael Drake Message #100283, posted by tlsa at 16:19, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100272

Posts: 1093
Still, wait till version 2 of the Islands Level Editor comes out - then they'll be sorry...
That's the spirit.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Rawnsley Message #100286, posted by arawnsley at 16:36, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100268
R-Comp chap
Posts: 465
45 mins south of Manchester would probably make us your closest RISC OS dealer/company, so if you want to come and check anything out, feel free to give us a call on 01925 755043 or email at rcomp@rcomp.co.uk - the Manchester user group should prove a good user-based lifeline, too, and I'm glad John's on here to mention that. The Northwest is a fairly active RISC OS region
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Colin Cartmell-Browne Message #100287, posted by Col at 16:50, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100286
Member
Posts: 89
I'm glad John's on here to mention that.
Oi. it was me who mentioned RONWUG not John

In reply to Sorvid:

Theres not a pre planned list of activities as such, it all depends on what John/Steve Potts can arrange between meetings. I'm suppose to help organise things but never seem to get around to doing anything. (But I do make the tea from time to time!!)

Past events include:

Preview of the A9
R-comp paying a visit
Derek Haslam previewing his new interative fiction title.
How to upgrade a RISC PC
etc etc

But anyone can suggest things they'd like to do, and if we can arrange it we'll give it a go.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Allan Dawes Message #100292, posted by CrazyRisc at 18:05, 19/3/2007, in reply to message #100287
Member
Posts: 9
It's doing my head in when the developers (Castle and ROL) are maintaining a divide. Why can't they all just pull together and work on development. This is why Risc OS is going nowhere fast. They are also not thinking of the best market direction either. The A9 works, as a cost efective desktop system. Risc OS does not really need the massive amount of memory the Iyonix has (Though I am not complaining). Also, why has nobody tried their hand at the Laptop market. As the A9 only takes 2.5Watts, thats probably less power than the I/O chipset on a x86 laptop, so think of the runtime.

Anyway.... enough bitching and dreaming. It IS sad when people loose faith in Risc OS, but then - what can we do?

Note to Castle and Advantage 6:- Would love a Laptop system running Risc OS native. Would also like to see that new 1.2GHz XScale put to use too.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Colin Cartmell-Browne Message #100319, posted by Col at 08:03, 20/3/2007, in reply to message #100292
Member
Posts: 89
Also, why has nobody tried their hand at the Laptop market. As the A9 only takes 2.5Watts, thats probably less power than the I/O chipset on a x86 laptop, so think of the runtime.
They did- CTA tried to produce a laptop soon after they released the RiscStation.

AIUI one of the many problems of producing a RISC OS laptop is getting hold of the actual cases. Most manufacturers sell their cases in bulk- at a price that RISC OS companies can't afford and are not likely to recuperate their costs on.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
keith dunlop Message #100321, posted by epistaxsis at 08:09, 20/3/2007, in reply to message #100292
epistaxsis

Posts: 159
dummy spitting:

http://www.drobe.co.uk/riscos/artifact1881.html


:-(
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Peter Naulls Message #100375, posted by pnaulls at 19:22, 20/3/2007, in reply to message #100321
Member
Posts: 317
dummy spitting:

http://www.drobe.co.uk/riscos/artifact1881.html


:-(
No dummies spit, no toys thrown as people are trying to say, but thanks for your concen.

The toys and dummies remain precisely where they were - on riscos.info, and not used since no one cares.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gazc Message #100857, posted by gazc at 16:59, 27/3/2007, in reply to message #100219
Member
Posts: 16
Part of me wishes that the dream of restoring RISC OS to being a 'real' OS (i.e. a genuine choice lined up against Linux, MacOS et al) goes away and we can start treating it just as a hobby OS.
I completely agree with Chris. I've recently decided that while I do still use it, I feel that RISC OS is now more of a hobby for me than a serious platform. The unfortunate flip side of this is that as a result I also feel that many users on all platforms will become increasingly unaware of what RISC OS has to offer, an example being RISC OS's programming system. To draw from my own experience, RISC OS got me into programming and I feel that many users who are in the same position will not get the same opportunity. As yet I have not found a feasible alternative to RISC OS programming.

Assuming that it could be a hobby OS, it still like others needs support. For this there is only one solution I can see, that the system should be available to everyone. Obviously this raises its own complications, but at least in a freely available form, those supporting it could continue to use or develop for it and those looking for an alternative could see there was one.

I don't think arguing helps, but neither does the current commercial situation.

[Edited by gazc at 18:00, 27/3/2007]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 

Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: RISC OS - the week in comments; episode 3