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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: The Great Divide
 

The Great Divide

Posted by Chris on 17:00, 15/12/2009 | , ,
 
The RISC OS user base has always been a bit schizophrenic. Even in the 90s - the period when the OS had its greatest mainstream success - RISC OS users were a diverse bunch. Most OSes had a clearly defined stereotypical user: Windows was for business-types, Macs for design gurus, Amigas/STs for gamers and Linux/UNIX for developers and academics. RISC OS never had a clear rationale. Many users came from the education sector, others from the scientific community, and a few were home computing enthusiasts.
 
Despite the fact the community has shrunk rapidly over the years, its seems to me that the divide is still with us. There are essentially two types of RISC OS user. The first is the thoroughly traditional non-technical type: perhaps a retired teacher, probably quite 'mature', with a decent knowledge of BASIC and the workings of the Desktop, but no advanced programming skills or interest in the more esoteric side of development. The second is the hobbyist developer. Maybe an ex-IT student, perhaps employed as a programmer in the computing mainstream, they will be comfortable with C/C++, build scripts, open source politics and all the other features of the current IT world.

Two Worlds

The problem for RISC OS is that the two groups have little (superficially) in common with each other, and their needs can seem to be pulling in very different directions. Take software distribution. Traditionalists are much more comfortable with the old model of paying for closed-source applications. This meets their needs - there's no need for potentially confusing downloads or manual building of libraries. In theory, commercial products ought to be fully stable. If not, then the paid-for model normally includes proper support, either by telephone or via a mailing list.
 
By contrast, newer users are much more comfortable with open source software. Being comfortable with downloading resources and making sure dependencies are in place, they can take advantage of the faster development cycle of such software. If something goes wrong, they're likely to be confident about reporting it correctly to the right person, or even fix it themselves. The 'polish' of the application is probably less important to them than the function it performs, and they're likely to have strong opinions on the kind of licence the application is distributed under.

The Open-source Shift

At a guess, I'd say that for most of RISC OS's history, the former group has been more influential. Notwithstanding the excellent PD software of the past, major RISC OS software has tended to be of the commercial, out-of-a-box type. Even PD software tended to be paid-for, in the sense that PD Libraries handled the shipping of catalogue disks. The lack of updates over the internet meant that free software needed to work in a similar way to commercial offerings - beta quality editions were rarer. And, of course, the OS itself has been closed-source until very recently.
 
But this is changing. There are very few commercial applications left. MW Software, David Snell, R-Comp are the only three companies/individuals still developing products that come readily to mind. Even RISC OS itself is moving from a commercial product to a freely-available one. ROOL, of course, distributes the sources and pre-built components for RISC OS 5, but ROL also sells the 'virtually free' edition of its closed-source branch.
 
So the future, to the extent RISC OS has one, looks like being open-source. The geeks have triumphed over the luddites, and in future we're likely to download our OS updates in a way similar to Linux distributions. Is this good news? Well, in the sense that it's the only conceivable way forward, yes it is. You just have to look at the progress made on the shared-source OS, NetSurf and Firefox to see the power of open development. Even some of the commercial software for RISC OS has an open source heart - such as Music Man from R-Comp.
 
But care needs to be taken here. I'm guessing again, but would be pretty sure that the bulk of remaining RISC OS users are a pretty traditional bunch. Things that seem obvious to a seasoned developer can be utterly baffling to a non-technical user. You just have to look at the frequent misunderstandings and frustrations when the two get together, such as on the comp.sys.acorn newsgroups and product mailing lists. Developers can often find the more traditional kind of user immensely frustrating, and the feeling is wholly reciprocated. At their worst, users expect the moon on a stick from free software, fail to follow simple installation instructions, and insist on using hopelessly out of date hardware and OS combinations. At their worst, developers can be intolerant of honestly-asked questions, too opaque with any documentation they provide, and dismissive of the real difficulties some users have with modern ways of distributing and maintain software.

A Happy Compromise

I think it's likely that both kinds of users will continue using and enjoying RISC OS, and it would be sad to see either group feeling that the platform was no longer for them. There are good examples of excellent software from both sides. MW Software's excellent commercial offerings will hopefully continue being produced and supported, and show how capable and popular closed-source applications can still be. On the other hand, premier open source applications like NetSurf have made real efforts to make installation and use as simple as possible for non-technical users. Their website is a model of clarity and professionalism.
 
So even though the future of RISC OS looks brighter for fans of the more collaborative, open-source model of computing, there's room for the OS to remain the broad church it's always been. Personally, I'd not wish RISC OS to go the way of Linux distros, where a certain degree of technical expertise is generally expected in order to make best use of the desktop. With any luck, open-source RISC OS will remain the rather strange hybrid it's always been, appealing to both seasoned hackers and retired geography teachers alike.
 

  The Great Divide
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
 
Gavin Wraith Message #112390, posted by Gavin at 10:19, 16/12/2009
Member
Posts: 18
I find myself agreeing with this article. I think it may be fair to say, though, that the number of technically competent people using RISC OS may have shrunk to a very small number. What can be done to attract young people with programming skills to try their hand with RISC OS?
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Jason Togneri Message #112393, posted by filecore at 10:56, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112390

Posts: 3867
I'm one of the horrid luddites in the former category, although I probably have more technical knowledge of it than the average luddite.

At their worst, developers can be intolerant of honestly-asked questions, too opaque with any documentation they provide, and dismissive of the real difficulties some users have with modern ways of distributing and maintain software.
You forgot to add "unbearably arrogant" to that list. Doesn't apply to all, but certainly to some - and also applies to other OS' developers, not just RISC OS. Thus speaks a luddite.

[Edited by filecore at 10:56, 16/12/2009]
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112394, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 10:58, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112390
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Posts: 65
What can be done to attract young people with programming skills to try their hand with RISC OS?
I think the main reasons that young developers tend to develop for other OSes, is that any future employer is going to be looking for experience with Windows or to a lesser degree Mac. Which I think is a real shame. Whilst you do need these in this day and age. I believe that you should have the ability to program for any OS, and the thinking that goes into producing the program, that should matter.

I suppose the other thing is a feeling of open source doesn't pay. Commercially what is someone going to do that they could earn money from. I'm currently doing some software for the PC, Mac & iPhone. I would love to do it for RISC OS as well but what are the people paying the bills (the publisher) going to get out of it. They have already said no to Linux because of "a lack of commercial viability". Now right or wrong if I want to release the program, I have to do what they want.

There is never going to be an easy answer. But that doesn't mean that we should give up on it. I believe that we need to make it as easy as possible to develop for, and engage developers and publishers to say that there is opportunity's to create great software for RISC OS.

As someone said on the other thread, we need to get the basics right before jumping to far ahead.

OK that's my 2p's worth.
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Peter Howkins Message #112397, posted by flibble at 11:50, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112390
flibble

Posts: 863
What an odd article, people still talk about RISC OS in terms of "With just this bit of extra effort and organisation our platform can recover some". But people have talked like this for 10 years, what's actually changing?

I'm aware of no magic bullet or suggestion that suddenly makes people want to do serious development for a retro platform like RISC OS, but if you know of one please share it.
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George Greenfield Message #112398, posted by Bucksboy at 11:53, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112394
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Posts: 56
Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful article. While the luddite/geek dichotomy is useful, and true enough, I suspect the dividing line is considerably more blurred in practice. One of the appealing features of RISC OS is the way in which operations which are totally opaque on other platforms to the unskilled user are accessible in RISC OS: an incorruptible OS, no hidden directories, an accessible Boot structure, powerful editors like StrongEd, Basic etc. As a result, longtime, albeit luddite, users such as myself acquire an understanding of and confidence with the OS which users of other platforms totally lack - if anything goes wrong, they just throw up their hands. So I suspect that the average, or luddite RISC OS user is considerably more capable than his or her counterparts elsewhere. And this is just as well, because open-source developments are clearly going to become more, not less, important in future.
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #112400, posted by Gulli at 13:10, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112394
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Posts: 138
What can be done to attract young people with programming skills to try their hand with RISC OS?
I think the main reasons that young developers tend to develop for other OSes, is that any future employer is going to be looking for experience with Windows or to a lesser degree Mac. Which I think is a real shame. Whilst you do need these in this day and age. I believe that you should have the ability to program for any OS, and the thinking that goes into producing the program, that should matter.
The biggest problem is that RISC OS doesn't offer any modern development tools, very few libraries and is limited to Assembler, BASIC and C for the most part. While C is used in most operating systems, BBC BASIC and ARM Assembler are going to be of very limited help outside RISC OS.

When I say modern development tools, I'm of course not talking about compilers, C and C++ are supported with the excellent GCC port but a lot more is needed in modern development. GCCSDK offers a way towards that and a good one at that but still, if you're developing on Linux, Windows or Mac OS what's the incentive to develop for RISC OS?

The only real alternative is retro-development similar to the still amazingly kicking C64 demo scene and that's hardly going to spark new life into RISC OS.
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Jason Togneri Message #112401, posted by filecore at 18:01, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112398

Posts: 3867
an accessible Boot structure
You have actually looked at the !Boot structure, haven't you?
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Jason Tribbeck Message #112403, posted by tribbles at 18:50, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112400
tribbles
Captain Helix

Posts: 926
...ARM Assembler are going to be of very limited help outside RISC OS.
I've been using ARM assembly for non-RISC OS things - and I hate to admit it, it's the closest I've come to RISC OS for quite a while now.

When I say modern development tools, I'm of course not talking about compilers, C and C++ are supported with the excellent GCC port but a lot more is needed in modern development. GCCSDK offers a way towards that and a good one at that but still, if you're developing on Linux, Windows or Mac OS what's the incentive to develop for RISC OS?
I'd agree with that - I started an IDE, but it's an excessively complicated thing to do, so I aborted at a very early stage.

I use Visual Studio at work, and XCode/Eclipse at home - each are fairly capable at their respective jobs (although I prefer XCode of the three).

I've more or less stopped RISC OS development for the foreseeable future because it's not really relevant for my needs (I have one or two potential ideas which may be fulfilled by a microcontroller based system).

In my current home projects, I need a combination of speed, memory and databases - all of which are a bit lacking in the current RISC OS machine market, so I'm a little forced to "go elsewhere".

Going back to the original article, I'm in the "hobbyist developer" camp, and more in the open source than closed (despite most of my RISC OS work being closed).

I would really like to release more of my earlier work under an open source, but I don't think that many people are interested in 15 year old code - the last project I released open source (ROVLib) didn't really attract that much attention (I only recall getting 2 emails on it).

I could do some more work on Equinox - if people thought it was worth it. Although the last release of that I made (in 2005) also only elicited two emails. I think that was really the final point in doing RISC OS development for me - it appeared as though I was only doing it for myself. And since I was the only benefactor, I may as well do other things.

Certainly the last 4 years of entries on my web site has basically been about cars, cats, 3D and mechanics.

Would I go back to RISC OS? Possibly - but at the moment, I'm working on things that would benefit more people.
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Michael Drake Message #112406, posted by tlsa at 20:09, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112403

Posts: 1093
I still check your website from time to time to look for updates about FahZhi Tracker or Equinox. tongue

[Edited by tlsa at 20:09, 16/12/2009]
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Jason Tribbeck Message #112407, posted by tribbles at 20:15, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112406
tribbles
Captain Helix

Posts: 926
I still check your website from time to time to look for updates about FahZhi Tracker or Equinox. tongue
I did have a re-read of the emails while writing that, and it was yours that made me feel the most guilty of all.

I really am sorry that I didn't get on with it some more - the only consolation I can give is that some of the code was reused in my most recent project (ARMCommand).

Although Newtek (the Lightwave creators) had changed the TGA render format they'd used and my converter (called "EquiGfx") didn't like it, so I had to go back to source and fix the reader for it...
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Eric Rucker Message #112408, posted by bhtooefr at 21:12, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112401
Member
Posts: 336
If the !Boot structure is accessible, then C:\Windows is also just as accessible.

And, I think I fit into a third camp altogether - the retrocomputing enthusiast camp, that buys the machines from the luddites and developers after they move on, to play with as a retrocomputer, not trying to make it something new.

[Edited by bhtooefr at 21:14, 16/12/2009]
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Alan Robertson Message #112409, posted by nytrex at 21:19, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112400
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Posts: 26
The only real alternative is retro-development similar to the still amazingly kicking C64 demo scene and that's hardly going to spark new life into RISC OS.
That's the crux of the problem there - peopple develop for platforms that interest them. And that means that even older archaic platforms as Spectrum's, C64's, Amstrad CPC's and MSX's all have a 'cool, cult status' tag on them that attracts quite a lot of developers.

The only recent really cool piece of software I've seen developed for the Acorn recently was a demo for the BBC. A youtube video link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMEtjLur4uM

The Acorn and BBC platforms are still generally viewed as platforms for old aging ex-professors. Until RISC OS is viewed as a worthwhile platform (tangible or intagible) then I don't see more developers being attracted to it.

So for me the question is; How do we change the perception of the RISC OS platform?
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Chris Message #112410, posted by Chris at 21:20, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112397
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Posts: 283
What an odd article, people still talk about RISC OS in terms of "With just this bit of extra effort and organisation our platform can recover some".

I'm aware of no magic bullet or suggestion that suddenly makes people want to do serious development for a retro platform like RISC OS, but if you know of one please share it.
I don't, and didn't mean to suggest there was one. The main point was (meant to be) that to the extent RISC OS development happens these days, it's mostly open source. This wasn't the case so much in the past, and it's created a divide between a few technically-savvy users and a larger group of very traditionally minded users. I do think the rapidly widening gulf between the few remaining developers and users is a bit of a problem if the platform is to survive in any shape or form.
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Eric Rucker Message #112411, posted by bhtooefr at 21:26, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112409
Member
Posts: 336
So for me the question is; How do we change the perception of the RISC OS platform?
Make it cool.

Make a demo for it that blows away the best of the Amiga demos.

This probably means running on an A3000 or similar, to compete with OCS and ECS Amigas. Then, you'll have better sound (eight channels instead of four,) some better graphics modes (640x256 8-bit, anyone?) and four times the processor power (although a much more primitive graphics chip.)

Once people see what you can do with an old ARM2 machine, then there might be interest in those, and it can trickle up through to the RiscPC.
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Alan Robertson Message #112412, posted by nytrex at 22:12, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112411
Member
Posts: 26
So for me the question is; How do we change the perception of the RISC OS platform?
Make it cool.

Make a demo for it that blows away the best of the Amiga demos.

This probably means running on an A3000 or similar, to compete with OCS and ECS Amigas. Then, you'll have better sound (eight channels instead of four,) some better graphics modes (640x256 8-bit, anyone?) and four times the processor power (although a much more primitive graphics chip.)

Once people see what you can do with an old ARM2 machine, then there might be interest in those, and it can trickle up through to the RiscPC.
I think the problems run much deeper than something a new shiny demo can fix. Some ex-RISC OS demo coders are now part of the legendary PC demo group 'Farbrausch' so its not lack of knowledge of RISC OS thats the problem. Its the lack of interest in RISC OS thats the problem.

The ROOL initiative has definetly given RISC OS a much needed boost, especially when Jeffrey Lee announced he was working on porting it to much faster hardware. We need some *big* annoucements, that would interest developers.

I've always thought that a modern day IDE for RISC OS is necessary stepping stone. e.g. Something like Visual Studio. I know a lot of developer hate them, but many more won't program without them.

Anyway, I could go on, but that's probably enough for just now.
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Jason Tribbeck Message #112414, posted by tribbles at 22:24, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112412
tribbles
Captain Helix

Posts: 926
I've always thought that a modern day IDE for RISC OS is necessary stepping stone. e.g. Something like Visual Studio. I know a lot of developer hate them, but many more won't program without them.
Agreed, but I think we need a proper debugger before an IDE (after all, you can't write an IDE without bugs smile ).

Certainly the last time I did debugging on RISC OS, it was easier to just stick (f|s)?printf every so often...
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Jason Togneri Message #112415, posted by filecore at 22:46, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112414

Posts: 3867
Plenty of demosceners are already writing stuff and porting other demos over to the platform. That's not really a great help, however, and seems to be rather of an irrelevant tangent to the discussion.
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Alan Robertson Message #112416, posted by nytrex at 22:53, 16/12/2009, in reply to message #112414
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Posts: 26

Agreed, but I think we need a proper debugger before an IDE (after all, you can't write an IDE without bugs smile ).

Certainly the last time I did debugging on RISC OS, it was easier to just stick (f|s)?printf every so often...
As it's unlikely either will surface, the best we can hope for, is for any remaining developers to work on improving the core OS, so that when new super-fast ARM hardware does become a reality, that the OS will be in better shape than it is now.

We do have some seriously talented developers, but I get the impression that some of them will not work on the RISC OS sources because of the licensing agreement. i.e. its shared source rather than open source.
I wonder when Castle will get round to Open Sourcing it? It's likely that its going to happen some day, so might as well do it sooner rather than later. I digress...
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Peter Howkins Message #112417, posted by flibble at 10:26, 17/12/2009, in reply to message #112410
flibble

Posts: 863
I do think the rapidly widening gulf between the few remaining developers and users is a bit of a problem if the platform is to survive in any shape or form.
I think the fact that the user base and developer base is so tiny will be more of a factor of it not 'surviving', do you consider it surviving at the moment?
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Jason Togneri Message #112418, posted by filecore at 11:51, 17/12/2009, in reply to message #112417

Posts: 3867
We're here, aren't we?
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Peter Howkins Message #112419, posted by flibble at 11:56, 17/12/2009, in reply to message #112418
flibble

Posts: 863
We're here, aren't we?
And you use risc os so much laugh
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George Greenfield Message #112421, posted by Bucksboy at 11:53, 18/12/2009, in reply to message #112419
Member
Posts: 56
And you use risc os so much laughWell, yes, for about 90% of my computing smile. I don't play games or watch videos; I use the internet, set music, send and receive emails, retouch photos and do graphics and dtp (desktop publishing). For these purposes apps such as Firefox, Netsurf, Rhapsody, MessengerPro, Photodesk, Variations, Thump, Artworks, Postscript3 and OvationPro are more than adequate: I know these programs well, several are still being developed and they can do everything I need or want to do at adequate speed on this Iyonix. I have used Windows and Mac machines extensively and for many of the purposes mentioned above, but I personally still find RISC OS a more congenial environment. I quite accept that other users may have much greater demands that RISC OS cannot satisfy, and I would not claim to be typical. It wouldn't surprise me though if many traditional RO users also used the platform for most of their computing; nor would it surprise me either if most developers hardly used it at all, and I wouldn't presume to criticise them. I hope to go on using RISC OS and I am encouraged by the work of ROOL and others in improving the OS and porting it to faster hardware.
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Peter Howkins Message #112422, posted by flibble at 13:28, 18/12/2009, in reply to message #112421
flibble

Posts: 863
And you use risc os so much laugh
Well, yes, for about 90% of my computing smile.
That was actually a direct dig at Mr Filecore wink

I don't play games or watch videos; I use the internet, set music, send and receive emails, retouch photos and do graphics and dtp (desktop publishing). For these purposes apps such as Firefox, Netsurf, Rhapsody, MessengerPro, Photodesk, Variations, Thump, Artworks, Postscript3 and OvationPro are more than adequate: I know these programs well, several are still being developed and they can do everything I need or want to do at adequate speed on this Iyonix. I have used Windows and Mac machines extensively and for many of the purposes mentioned above, but I personally still find RISC OS a more congenial environment. I quite accept that other users may have much greater demands that RISC OS cannot satisfy, and I would not claim to be typical. It wouldn't surprise me though if many traditional RO users also used the platform for most of their computing; nor would it surprise me either if most developers hardly used it at all, and I wouldn't presume to criticise them. I hope to go on using RISC OS and I am encouraged by the work of ROOL and others in improving the OS and porting it to faster hardware.
Whilst I've no doubt that you're a RISC OS user, unless you're joined by a significant amount of new additional users then I don't see see RISC OS 'surviving' as a general purpose platform. IMHO it's already reached the Retro fun level in terms of users.

As such debates about Users Vs Developers, how to fund commercial development, new hardware etc [1], porting things from other platforms, miss the point that the critical mass required has gone, and isn't coming back.

A few things are going on, but if you want to be scared have a look at something like Acorn User/Qercus from 5, 10 and 15 years ago and compare the activity and number of adverts to now.

[1] Despite best efforts.

Sigh, trying to make this not sound like a crazy troll-fest is quite difficuly smile
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Tony Haines Message #112423, posted by Loris at 14:52, 18/12/2009, in reply to message #112422
madbanHa ha, me mine, mwahahahaha
Posts: 1025
What I think really worked about RISC OS was that it encouraged people to write their own programs. There is a fairly gentle learning curve; you can start off with BASIC and do decent things, and there were lovely manuals which walked new users through the entire process.

Result : most people used their computers as actual computers, rather than as web-surfing machines.

For the platform to survive I think a wishlist would be:
1) A cheap and small machine which will plug into - and work well with - TVs, including HD ones. With a bullet-proof transfer interface (probably USB)
2) Further streamlining for new coders. Get rid of the odd bit of cruft which has built up in the OS, and where compatibility with old programs can't be maintained, lose them.
3) Games for the above system.
4) Up to date manuals for the above system for novices as well as geeks. A Welcome guide and BASIC manual specifically.

High-end coding systems are nice to have, but the best bet for enlarging the userbase is to attract the people who historically used RISC OS because it was best for them. Enthusiasts, hobbyists, parents and schoolchildren.
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Andrew Hodgson Message #112426, posted by Andy_Hodgson at 18:37, 18/12/2009, in reply to message #112423
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Posts: 65
Just come across this http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=28752 and while it is more about Linux, it has points that could be of interest when talking about small programs for RISC OS.
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Amin Kharchi Message #112431, posted by AKX at 14:34, 19/12/2009, in reply to message #112390
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Posts: 11
Hello! I think there are many problems on the RISC OS platform. It's not Closed Source vs Open Source. There are two problems:

1) The hardware is not interesting! If you want new developers, they don't know why they should develop for under powered hardware? If you are a developer, you want do some cool stuff. But you always need good powered hardware to do "to day" things like video play and editing, 3D graphics etc. Not every user need this, but it should be no problem if the user want it.

If you want develop for retro hardware, then because you want do cool stuff on very old hardware... like C64 or BBC. But Risc PC or Iyonix are today not retro... just under powered computers. :-(

2) There is very few developer support! I have not found how to use Internet APIs with GCC. Where can I find them?
I know from my old A3010 days that I haven't found easly any informations about Sound programming! How on earth can I play background MOD music and play on event sound FX?
If I read the old "Archimedes Operating System" by Dabs Press, there is very little information... the same on "Archimedes Assembly Programming" by Dabs Press.
The situation isn't today better! If I search about Sound programming, I am lucky to find ONE page on Acornarcade.com about shared sound.

[Edited by AKX at 14:48, 19/12/2009]

[Edited by AKX at 14:52, 19/12/2009]
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Amin Kharchi Message #112432, posted by AKX at 14:45, 19/12/2009, in reply to message #112390
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Posts: 11
I want say something about Open Source on RISC OS. I like OSS, but I am not fanatic about OSS. Just pragmatic. smile

But its a pity that the OSS community just ports OSS like Firefox. Why should a new user (or an old user) use RISC OS if there is the _same_ software on cheaper hardware like PCs (Windows or Linux)?

If you want that the user base stay or grow on RISC OS, you need _unique_ software! Software that is better.

I was in the A3010 days thrilled about the unique software like ArtWorks, BBC BASIC with Inline Assembler, Spark FS (a ingenious tool!).

Today there is no real amazing powerd ARM hardware. So the argument for RISC OS must be unique software and not just ports.

If you want port, then please port it with real RISC OS customizaton.
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Peter Naulls Message #112433, posted by pnaulls at 15:35, 19/12/2009, in reply to message #112432
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Posts: 317

2) There is very few developer support! I have not found how to use Internet APIs with GCC. Where can I find them?
I don't know what you think this means, but UnixLib supports all the standard BSD sockets, and there are many other libraries which sit about this like the SDL sockets library. But then, I've never seen you ask any such questions in csa.p/GCCSDK mailing list.

But its a pity that the OSS community just ports OSS like Firefox. Why should a new user (or an old user) use RISC OS if there is the _same_ software on cheaper hardware like PCs (Windows or Linux)?

If you want port, then please port it with real RISC OS customizaton.
"just". This is an argument I *have* heard from your before. Several times, and I pointed out the folly each time, but you seemed to have ignored me.

There are many arguments for porting Firefox to RISC OS. I don't have to repeat them here. There is no "just" about it - the effort that goes into it is enormous. The alternative is to do it from scratch, and that is magnitudes more effort for browsers which are now mostly no longer developed.

But the overall problem with your argument is that you don't actually name any "unique software", or suggest alternatives to porting.

As for "customization", if ports were not customized for RISC OS, then would often not work (or even compile) at all. Of course, if you want more RISC OS integration, then you are most welcome to do it yourself.

As to the overall discussion, the problem here is that it's once again people trying to tell others what to do - typically, the small number of developers who are already doing a great deal of stuff. Any one who wants things to change will need to get involved beyond the level of rhetoric.
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Alan Robertson Message #112437, posted by nytrex at 16:12, 19/12/2009, in reply to message #112431
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Posts: 26
1) The hardware is not interesting! If you want new developers, they don't know why they should develop for under powered hardware? If you are a developer, you want do some cool stuff. But you always need good powered hardware to do "to day" things like video play and editing, 3D graphics etc. Not every user need this, but it should be no problem if the user want it.

If you want develop for retro hardware, then because you want do cool stuff on very old hardware... like C64 or BBC. But Risc PC or Iyonix are today not retro... just under powered computers. :-(
Very well written. 100% in agreement.

There is no doubt that much faster and exciting ARM products are coming, which will greatly help our 'speed' problem (assuming port's are feasible). But until then...
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Peter Naulls Message #112438, posted by pnaulls at 16:44, 19/12/2009, in reply to message #112437
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Posts: 317

There is no doubt that much faster and exciting ARM products are coming, which will greatly help our 'speed' problem (assuming port's are feasible). But until then...
Hm, I dislike arguments which end in "...", since it suggests to me that what ever you are saying wasn't even clear to you. So, I'll end it for you:

...until then, there is much that can be done for RISC OS, and all that will still be relevant (and faster) on new RISC OS hardware. And after then, we can expect people to _still_ hold onto RiscPCs and insist on various things.

We already did this argument about new hardware in the "WTPORL" thread, but hardware alone isn't that useful (except for a speed boost). If we want new hardware to be interesting, we have to consider application and OS and hardware development all together.

New hardware is interesting, sure - that's why I cover it in riscos.info news, but it's not a silver bullet, and it's not a reason to sit on our hands in the meantime.
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