RISC OS is the superbly efficient operating system designed in the 1980's by Acorn Computers, and its latest incarnation is used by thousands of people around the world. However, many may never have even heard of RISC OS - so if you're one of them, you've come to the right place.
Pre-dating both Windows and Mac OS to use a task bar or 'Dock', RISC OS includes many revolutionary features which are only just being copied by other systems. Its anti-aliased font technology is still the envy of the computer world and its drag 'n' drop, stackable windows GUI, flexibility and ease of use make it arguably the most productive computer system in the world today.
Thousands of applications and utilities are available, often developed by small companies and individual users, mean that you should be able to find software on RISC OS to cater for all your computing requirements. It is hoped that new developers will come on board to help promote and enhance RISC OS even more.
RISCOS.org seeks to not only introduce newcomers and experts alike to this wonderful system, but to act as a resource centre and help forum for existing users around the world. Our software database is probably the most comprehensive repository of RISC OS links anywhere on the internet, and we update it frequently with new releases.
News Headlines from other RISC OS Portals
Some news summaries maybe truncated. This is a limitation with GoogleGroups RSS feed and beyond our control unfortunately.
BBC4's Micro Men: an interview and review
Ahead of tonight's Micro Men programme, which charts the rivalry between Sir Clive Sinclair and Acorn Computers in the early 1980s, drobe.co.uk spoke to the film's producer, Andrea Cornwell, to find out more about the show - and now you can read our review of the film
'Threaded' Firefox for RISC OS build released to test
An experimental build of the RISC OS port of Firefox that promises a smoother experience has been released for people to test. You'll need the latest 188.8.131.52 version and then replace its executable with the one from here. The technical bit: developer Peter Naulls has moved the browser's polling for user interaction into a separate thread to aid multitasking with the rest of the RISC OS desktop.
In brief: Acorn World show this weekend
Archive editor Jim Nagel summarises what to expect at the retro-themed show. Official website here [Update 2] A report by iconbar.com's Phil Mellor of the sell-out show is here - with pictures
RISCOScode.com webzine publishes autumn issue
Drobe man Martin Hansen has updated his personal web publishing endeavour, RISCOScode.com, with a new issue for the autumn. It includes interviews with an organiser of the inaugural London RISC OS show, to be held in October 2009, and Richard Hallas, plus more bits and pieces. Go check it out. It's free.
Tanks a lot! Double USB toy driver joy
RISC OS USB guru Dave Higton has released drivers for two remote-controlled gadgets: an 'executive mayhem' tank and a mini car. Get ready to order your armoured, missile-firing kit into position and destroy your office colleagues, or instead swap your computer's circuits for your own race track with a remote-controlled banger. The source code is available and the software should work on Simtec and Castle USB stacks.
ROUGOL & London Show news
Bryan Hogan of ROUGOL has got in touch to let us know the details of some upcoming events.
Time for a round-up of recent games news.JASPP to release more classics
Aemulor/Spellings.net account details posted online
According to an email sent out by Neil Spellings this evening, the usernames and hashed passwords of all registered users on the old aemulor.com and newer buyit.Spellings.net websites have been posted online.
Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Show, 25th April 2015
This year's Wakefield show is due to take place on Saturday the 25th of April, at the usual location of the Cedar Court Hotel near Wakefield. With the doors open from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, this will be the show's 20th anniversary, a major achievement for the Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club who are responsible for organising the event.
First impressions of the new RaspberryPi
A few weeks ago, the RaspberryPi foundation surprised most of us with a new version of the RaspberryPi (creatively named the RaspberryPi 2). So I ordered one from Cjemicros (they have them in stock!) and here are some observations for you on the new device...
ConfInfo 1.14 released
ConfInfo is a PD application that collects lots of configuration and status information about a RISC OS computer by running various commands and putting the output into a text file, so that this can be provided to people or organisations offering technical support.
Charm version 2.6.2 released
Charm version 2.6.2 [32 bit] the set of high level language tools and demos for RISC-OS computers and emulators is now freely available under the terms of the GNU GPLv3 license.
Charm version 2.6.0 released
Charm version 2.6.0 [32 bit,VFP] the set of high level language tools and demos for RISC-OS computers and emulators is now freely available under the terms of the GNU GPLv3 license.
Charm version 2.5.8 released
Charm version 2.5.8 [32 bit] the set of high level language tools and demos for RISC-OS computers and emulators is now freely available under the terms of the GNU GPLv3 license.
Charm version 2.5.6 released
Charm version 2.5.6 [32 bit] the set of high level language tools and demos for RISC-OS computers and emulators is now freely available under the terms of the GNU GPLv3 license.
RISC OS Open
A trilogy worth of reading matter
First previewed in the theatre presentation at the Wakefield 2015 show in April, ROOL are now shipping from stock three more books for developers, along with another print run of the Style Guide which sold out recently.
Dip your hand into our bonus bin
Frequent visitors of the popular Miscellaneous downloads might have spotted the recent introduction of a bonus binaries archive.If you’re not a developer, it’s probably safe to stop reading now – the HardDisc4 archive contains everything that end users could ever want. Those more adventurous or technically inclined can read on…CC-BY Chris Parfitt
Raspista vanhan ajan kotitietokone
It’s always great to hear of RISC OS users from far flung places – it’s a useful reminder of the importance of internationalising applications for non native English speakers.One recent example of this is the 5 page review of RISC OS Pico which features in the Skrolli computer magazine. RISC OS Pico was put together to coincide with the 50th anniversary of BASIC and recapture the halcyon days of MODE 7 home computing. The article Raspista vanhan ajan kotitietokone recounts home computers from the 1980’s and how well the feature of the built in BBC BASIC and its built in assembler compares with those original machines.Ex pat user Kevin, who tipped off ROOL about this article, was pleased to add the Finnish for all sorts of RISC OS concepts to his vocabulary – they don’t tend to crop up in water cooler conversations.For 9 euros you can buy a copy to read if you’re fluent in Finnish, but the example graphic program from the article (listing 1, listing 2) will run regardless.The only complaint cited was that the MODE 7 character set didn’t cover the full Finnish alphabet. MODE 7 is emulated in software by the RISC OS kernel rather than using the SAA5050 chip as the BBC Micro did. Although German/Swedish/Italian/Belgian variants of the chip were produced, implementing a Finnish version in software is left as an exercise for the reader.
Important software compatibility notice
Starting from tomorrow, July 5th, the Iyonix, OMAP3, OMAP4 and Raspberry Pi development ROM images will be making use of “zero page relocation”, a change to the RISC OS memory map which moves the kernel’s “zero page” workspace away from address zero and up to the high end of the memory map. This greatly increases the system’s resilience to a common type of software bug known as a “null pointer dereference”. However, there is a catch: because the OS has always had memory mapped to address zero, large amounts of RISC OS software contains cases of “harmless” null pointer dereferences where the code reads from page zero and then does something insignificant with the result (usually ignoring it completely). With the new memory map, these programs will most likely cease to operate, exiting with a data abort as soon as they try to access page zero.Since relocating zero page is very beneficial to the stability and security of the OS, the goal is to have the feature enabled for all future stable releases, starting with RISC OS 5.24. But due to the large amount of buggy software out there we can’t simply turn it on and be done with it – we need to have a transition period in which developers can fix their code without worrying about the fact their compilers, text editors, etc. are buggy too. We also need a way for regular users to get involved with the testing process.With that in mind, we are putting into effect a two-phase testing process:Phase 1 of the testing process begins tomorrow. Zero page relocation is enabled, but a compatibility/logging module (“ZeroPain”) is provided to you in order to allow most buggy software to continue to run unmodified. ZeroPain traps most attempts to read page zero and emulates the operation, providing a safe level of compatibility with the old memory map. And for any page zero access which it emulates, it adds an entry to a log file so that the user/developer is aware of the issue.Phase 2 of the testing process is due to begin on 1st Jan, 2016. ZeroPain will refuse to run on any ROM built on or after that date. This will help to ensure that any previously unnoticed bugs are found and fixed prior to the release of RISC OS 5.24.ZeroPain can be found within each ROM download archive. Make sure to install it before installing the new ROM, otherwise your system may not boot correctly. Please help ROOL make RISC OS a better OS by testing all your software and reporting any issues you find to the developers.High processor vectors and IOMD supportModern ARM CPUs support a feature known as ‘high processor vectors’, whereby the processor vectors are moved from their old location at &0 to a new location at &FFFF0000. Zero page relocation within RISC OS makes use of this feature – without it we would still need some memory mapped to address zero in order to contain the processor vectors. Although high processor vectors is currently a requirement for zero page relocation, this is likely to change in the future, in order to support zero page relocation on the IOMD (RiscPC/A7000/RPCEmu) build of RISC OS.OS_PlatformFeatures 0 can be used to determine whether high processor vectors are in use (flag returned in bit 20). Software which needs to interact with the processor vectors directly should use this to determine their location. The address of the processor vectors should not be used to infer the address of the zero page workspace, and vice-versa.Apart from the change in location, the processor vectors continue to operate as normal – so for FIQ handlers, you can still rely on having 228 bytes of space available for your handler code (from &FFFF001C to &FFFF00FF inclusive). Also, for future compatibility, code should not assume that the processor vectors are readable from user mode – regardless of whether high processor vectors are in use or not.Unaligned loadsAnother change that is planned for RISC OS 5.24 is to re-enable support for unaligned loads/stores on ARMv6+. For the past few years this feature has been disabled by default, to protect you against potential compatibility issues with software which assumes the older ARMv5 “rotated load” behaviour is in effect. But we believe the time to re-enable the feature is drawing near – expect to see it happen sometime during the zero page relocation testing process. By re-enabling support for unaligned loads/stores the performance of some OS operations will be improved, and third-party software aimed at ARMv6+ can more easily make use of the feature.
A nuttier pie
At the start of May, we updated the contents of our Nut Pi SD card to include newer versions of a range of components.The Nut Pi is a great collection of some of the best commercial RISC OS software available – including the ROOL Desktop Development Environment (DDE). It represents a fantastic deal; the total retail value of the bundled software is around £600 but the Nut Pi is available for just £35 plus VAT, P&P – that’s cheaper than the DDE on its own!One of the key changes in this update was to ensure that everything functions correctly on the Raspberry Pi 2 but we also took the opportunity to refresh many of the titles with newer versions. One significant update is the bundled DDE has been updated to the very latest release version.Most of the included applications are built specifically to run only on the Raspberry Pi range of computers. The Nut Pi is available in micro-SD and full-size SD form factors.Please note: there is no discounted price available to existing Nut Pi owners, due to the already heavily discounted price.
And maybe of interest....
FBI boss: No encryption backdoor law (but give us backdoors anyway)
Let's keep this little matter private, eh, says Uncle SamPresident Obama will not push for laws requiring tech companies to cripple their encryption systems with backdoors, FBI boss James Comey has said.
Dot-gay bid fails again: This time because it is too gay
ICANN evaluation takes absurdity to new levelsThis time last year, the applicants for the internet top-level domain .gay were stunned to find that their application to be recognized as a "community" was rejected because they weren't gay enough.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Biz founded by Chris 'I hack airplanes' Roberts files for bankruptcy
Meanwhile, new FAA committee to develop cybersecurity protectionsOne World Labs, the infosec biz founded by Chris Roberts - the security expert famous for allegedly making an airplane move sideways mid-flight without leaving his passenger seat - has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Meg Whitman: Next HP Enterprise CEO is already on the payroll
Failure rate 'very high' when hiring outside leadersCanalys Channels Forum Meg Whitman this week refused to say when she'll quit as chief exec of HP Enterprise - the chunk of HP that will split away from the other half that makes printers and PCs.
Chinese dragon Alibaba ramps up cloud war with second US data center
China cloud unit pushes deeper into Silicon ValleyChinese cloud purveyor Aliyun, a division of the Middle Kingdom's Amazon equivalent Alibaba, has opened its second data center in Silicon Valley.
Geek Toys : Vinyl Idolz: Walking Dead
Little cartoony versions of Rick, Daryl, and Michonne! Vinyl Sugar has made tiny 8-inch versions of your favorite zombie apocalypse characters. Choose Daryl Dixon, Michonne, or Rick Grimes. But where's Carl!?! $19.99
T-Shirts & Apparel : Tie Fighter Squadron - Exclusive
For the brave TIE fighter pilots who made it through 1977. The combat scenes between TIE fighters and X-wings in Star Wars were always meant to resemble World War II dogfights, so here's a commemorative shirt for any TIE fighter pilots who managed to survive the attack on the Death Star and earned their wings. $19.99
T-Shirts & Apparel : Harry Potter & Quidditch Lounge Pants
A pair of comfy pants with pockets for watching a Quidditch match. Whether you're on the sidelines watching a match, or hanging around in the common room arguing about a match, or curled up in your favorite chair re-reading Quidditch Through the Ages, you'll appreciate these comfy lounge pants to wear anytime. $24.99
T-Shirts & Apparel : Caught in Spider Gwen's Web - Exclusive
Is she strong? Listen bud, she's got radioactive blood. In the chill of the night, at the scene of the crime, like a streak of light, she arrives just in time! Spider-Gwen, Spider-Gwen, friendly neighborhood Spider-Gwen! $19.99
T-Shirts & Apparel : My Little Pony Unisex Lounge Pants
Comfy Saturday morning cartoon pants for everypony! Now that Saturday morning cartoons are no longer restricted to Saturdays or mornings, you'll be needing more comfy pants to watch MLP: FiM all through the week! Featuring an all-over print of everypony's favorite Mane 6, and sweet pockets! $24.99
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