Testing the water for new ARM netbooks running RISC OS

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trevj

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Oct 16, 2009, 2:59:05 PM10/16/09
to trevor....@laposte.net
Background
==========

Hi. I've been reading about these and was excited to see RISC OS
running on the Beagleboard (basically the insides of a tiny computer
running a new ARM chip) at the recent RISC OS London show.

The first publicly available netbook based on this technology appears
to be the Touch Book, designed and sold by Always Innovating. As you
may know, this features a detachable keyboard, enabling users to also
use the screen in a standalone fashion as a touchscreen. The screen
size is 8.9" (225mm) with a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. Further
information is available at
http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/

I understand that alternative ARM netbooks will also be available in
due course. These are being produced by other companies. They are
neither currently available nor all based on the same Beagleboard
technology as the Touch Book.

If the outstanding recent work to achieve RISC OS compatibility with
the Beagleboard continues, it seems highly likely that RISC OS will
soon be seen running on the Touch Book. Anyone wanting to run such a
version of RISC OS on the Touch Book should be able to download the
latest version and install it themselves. However, it remains to be
seen just how simple this will be for the average user.

I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing agreement
with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook would be
available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.

Cost
====

The basic cost of the Always Innovating netbook is 399 US dollars
(excl. P&P). A commercially available pre-installed RISC OS version
would cost more, due to the time/cost of unpackaging/repackaging/
installing/configuring/postage/fees for legal/banking/accountancy/
insurance cover (e.g. products liability and goods in transit).
However, depending on the number of customers and the licensing costs,
I reckon it could be possible for around 450 UK pounds (UKP).

(This is based on some recent estimations and calculations I've done,
having not yet got my hands on one to actually try it out. My
estimations use a very conservative prediction of selling just 24 in a
year, so I'd like to say it'll be cheaper than 450 UKP.)

Stop me and buy one
===================

My question is this: is this too expensive, considering that this was
similar to the cost of a BBC micro 25 years ago? (Today's 400 UKP
would be equivalent to around 180 UKP in 1984 - see
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator .)

Any thoughts/comments would be welcome. Please post on the newsgroups
as my usual (registered) email's down and I'd also like the discussion
to be open.

All the best

Trevor Johnson

Rob Kendrick

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Oct 16, 2009, 5:02:19 PM10/16/09
to
On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

> The basic cost of the Always Innovating netbook is 399 US dollars
> (excl. P&P). A commercially available pre-installed RISC OS version
> would cost more, due to the time/cost of unpackaging/repackaging/
> installing/configuring/postage/fees for legal/banking/accountancy/
> insurance cover (e.g. products liability and goods in transit).
> However, depending on the number of customers and the licensing costs,
> I reckon it could be possible for around 450 UK pounds (UKP).

Alternatively, you could negotiate a bulk discount from them, and thus
sell at a similar price.

B.

Theo Markettos

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Oct 16, 2009, 5:34:47 PM10/16/09
to

If you did that, you could give them a firmware image to install on shipping
to save the unpacking/etc. Just pay them a bit extra for this work.

The other question is import duty. You would presumably have to import them
in bulk and then reship within the EU. That might end up cheaper than
end-users having to pay fees to Royal Mail/etc for receiving duties. Maybe
people like Fedex will provide this as a service (Fedex from US/China, clear
EU customs, onward-ship to customer)?

(Thought: are duties the same across the EU? If not, can you import to,
say, Malta, and then ship from there? I suspect this loophole would have
been plugged years ago though)

Then you just have to deal with returns.

Theo

Rob Kendrick

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Oct 16, 2009, 7:33:56 PM10/16/09
to
On 16 Oct 2009 22:34:47 +0100 (BST)
Theo Markettos <theom...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

> If you did that, you could give them a firmware image to install on
> shipping to save the unpacking/etc. Just pay them a bit extra for
> this work.

If you could do this, you just arrange with them to flash firmware that
fetches a suitable RISC OS image over the internet when first booted,
this also avoiding licencing costs.

B.

glavallin

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Oct 17, 2009, 5:30:50 AM10/17/09
to
In message <-kc*9M...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>
Theo Markettos <theom...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

> Rob Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:
> > On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
> > trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> > > The basic cost of the Always Innovating netbook is 399 US dollars
> > > (excl. P&P). A commercially available pre-installed RISC OS version
> > > would cost more, due to the time/cost of unpackaging/repackaging/
> > > installing/configuring/postage/fees for legal/banking/accountancy/
> > > insurance cover (e.g. products liability and goods in transit).
> > > However, depending on the number of customers and the licensing costs,
> > > I reckon it could be possible for around 450 UK pounds (UKP).
> >
> > Alternatively, you could negotiate a bulk discount from them, and thus
> > sell at a similar price.
>
> If you did that, you could give them a firmware image to install on shipping
> to save the unpacking/etc. Just pay them a bit extra for this work.
>

How can u give them what u don't own?
It would be better putting this proposal on the RISC OS Open site.

> The other question is import duty. You would presumably have to import them
> in bulk and then reship within the EU. That might end up cheaper than
> end-users having to pay fees to Royal Mail/etc for receiving duties. Maybe
> people like Fedex will provide this as a service (Fedex from US/China, clear
> EU customs, onward-ship to customer)?
>
> (Thought: are duties the same across the EU? If not, can you import to,
> say, Malta, and then ship from there? I suspect this loophole would have
> been plugged years ago though)
>
> Then you just have to deal with returns.
>
> Theo


--

Geoff

Wey Hey were like monkeys...I can use tools too!

Paul Stewart

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Oct 17, 2009, 5:49:27 AM10/17/09
to
In message <f0305049-0364-40f7...@p4g2000yqm.googlegrou
ps.com>
trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

> I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
> company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing agreement
> with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook would be
> available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.

You may also need a licensing agreement from RISCOS Ltd too.

Regards
--
Paul Stewart - Far Bletchley, Milton Keynes, England.
(msn:pauls...@phawfaux.co.uk)


Steve Fryatt

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Oct 17, 2009, 8:01:12 AM10/17/09
to
glavallin <glav...@gjlavallin.plus.com> wrote:

> In message <-kc*9M...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>
> Theo Markettos <theom...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
>
> > If you did that, you could give them a firmware image to install on
> > shipping to save the unpacking/etc. Just pay them a bit extra for this
> > work.
>
> How can u give them what u don't own?

Licensing and contracts can sometimes help with this kind of thing[1], you
know...


1. Cue someone from ROL claiming that Castle can't license RISC OS as they
don't have all the right paperwork.

--
Steve Fryatt - Leeds, England

http://www.stevefryatt.org.uk/

Rob Kendrick

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Oct 17, 2009, 8:22:16 AM10/17/09
to
On Sat, 17 Oct 2009 10:49:27 +0100
Paul Stewart <pauls...@phawfaux.co.uk> wrote:

> In message
> <f0305049-0364-40f7...@p4g2000yqm.googlegrou ps.com>
> trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
> > company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing
> > agreement with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook
> > would be available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.
>
> You may also need a licensing agreement from RISCOS Ltd too.

But, of course, don't give either party any money until they can prove
to you that they deserve it.

Then come back and report your findings :)

B.

Doug Webb

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Oct 17, 2009, 9:29:33 AM10/17/09
to
In message <6be596a...@phawfaux.co.uk>
Paul Stewart <pauls...@phawfaux.co.uk> wrote:

> In message <f0305049-0364-40f7...@p4g2000yqm.googlegrou
> ps.com>
> trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

>> I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
>> company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing agreement
>> with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook would be
>> available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.

> You may also need a licensing agreement from RISCOS Ltd too.

allegedly and has been stated before both parties have documents and
interpret them differently so with out wishing to open up a can of
worms I say we would be best not opening that particular pandora's
box.

However what to stop some one giving the URL of the RISC OS Open
version of RISC OS and charging a fee for support if you hit issues
trying to get it on the touchbook then your not paying for RISC OS and
it isn't a commercial offering?


--
Using an IYONIX pc and RISC OS 5.14, the thinking person's alternative
operating system to Microsoft Windows.

Gazza

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Oct 17, 2009, 9:48:51 AM10/17/09
to
On Oct 17, 2:29 pm, Doug Webb <doug.j.w...@btinternet.com> wrote:
> However what to stop some one giving the URL of the RISC OS Open
> version of RISC OS and charging a fee for support if you hit issues
> trying to get it on the touchbook then your not paying for RISC OS and
> it isn't a commercial offering?
>
> --
> Using an IYONIX pc and RISC OS 5.14, the thinking person's alternative
> operating system to Microsoft Windows.

A bit like what most of the Linux distros do... Hmm... Interesting.

trevj

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Oct 17, 2009, 2:07:41 PM10/17/09
to
Thanks so much for the useful pointers, which I find encouraging. I
must admit to having omitted import duty in my estimates so will check
this out. Regarding importation using a tax loophole, I could ask my
accountant about this. However, I'd personally feel more at ease not
employing tax avoidance measures... although I know coutless banks
couldn't give a toss about such things. (And even HMRC rent some
premises from companies registered in Jersey etc. which is a complete
mockery. Sorry for digressing.) I'll also further investigate
licensing issues and the bulk Touch Book purchase negotiation. Cheers
everyone, Trevor

News poster

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Oct 18, 2009, 6:40:50 AM10/18/09
to
In message <6be596a...@phawfaux.co.uk>
Paul Stewart <pauls...@phawfaux.co.uk> wrote:

> In message <f0305049-0364-40f7...@p4g2000yqm.googlegrou
> ps.com>
> trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
> > company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing agreement
> > with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook would be
> > available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.
>
> You may also need a licensing agreement from RISCOS Ltd too.

So you may need a licence from a company that can't supply you with a
version of RISC OS that would run on a Touch Book?

Long live the GNU GPL.

Regards
Stan

[snip]

--
http://mistymornings.net

Theo Markettos

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Oct 18, 2009, 11:02:48 AM10/18/09
to
trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
> Thanks so much for the useful pointers, which I find encouraging. I
> must admit to having omitted import duty in my estimates so will check
> this out. Regarding importation using a tax loophole, I could ask my
> accountant about this. However, I'd personally feel more at ease not
> employing tax avoidance measures... although I know coutless banks
> couldn't give a toss about such things. (And even HMRC rent some
> premises from companies registered in Jersey etc. which is a complete
> mockery. Sorry for digressing.)

Indeed. I wasn't being serious, just academically speculating.

> I'll also further investigate licensing issues and the bulk Touch Book
> purchase negotiation. Cheers everyone, Trevor

The big question is... what's the demand likely to be? Demand and cost are
related... if you can sell for GBP300 then you might get many more customers
than at GBP600. Bulk discounts and so on will rather depend on the volumes.

If I were doing it (which I am not, so feel free to ignore me) I'd get in
touch with Always Innovating and see what they say... there may be various
options they can do like shipping to you direct from the factory (China?)
rather than sending from the US.

Maybe they could use a UK/EU distributor (forgetting about RISC OS for the
moment)... if you did the legal and support stuff then that might provide an
outlet in the UK, which would increase your volumes and allow you to ship
them cheaper. I appreciate you probably aren't set up for that (don't have
a warehouse etc) but perhaps any (non-exclusive) EU outlet is better than
none.

It looks like volumes aren't ramped up yet, but that's probably a good time
to set up an operation before things start shipping in quantity.

Theo

Peter Howkins

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Oct 20, 2009, 8:06:29 AM10/20/09
to
On Oct 16, 7:59 pm, trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
> Background
> ==========
>
> Hi. I've been reading about these and was excited to see RISC OS
> running on the Beagleboard (basically the insides of a tiny computer
> running a new ARM chip) at the recent RISC OS London show.
>
> Stop me and buy one
> ===================
>
> My question is this: is this too expensive, considering that this was
> similar to the cost of a BBC micro 25 years ago? (Today's 400 UKP
> would be equivalent to around 180 UKP in 1984 - seehttp://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator.)

Yes, it's absolutely too expensive at 450 UKP it's gone far out
of the 'netbook' price range and well into serious notebook
money. At that point it's notebook specs (eg. screen res) look
appallingly bad value for money.

Given x86 netbooks can be gotten for 250UKP and ARM netbooks
are allegedly going to be cheaper, then 450UKP looks like your
average RISC OS market punitive markup.

I suggest you look at alternative ARM netbook models, personally
I'm waiting for an Anyka 7802 based one with linux, for about
100-150 USD. Slower, but cheap enough to buy on a whim.

Peter

Peter Naulls

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Oct 20, 2009, 1:51:18 PM10/20/09
to
Peter Howkins wrote:
> On Oct 16, 7:59 pm, trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
>==============
>>
>> My question is this: is this too expensive, considering that this was
>> similar to the cost of a BBC micro 25 years ago? (Today's 400 UKP
>> would be equivalent to around 180 UKP in 1984 - seehttp://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator.)
>
> Yes, it's absolutely too expensive at 450 UKP it's gone far out
> of the 'netbook' price range and well into serious notebook
> money. At that point its notebook specs (eg. screen res) look

> appallingly bad value for money.
>
> Given x86 netbooks can be gotten for 250UKP and ARM netbooks
> are allegedly going to be cheaper, then 450UKP looks like your
> average RISC OS market punitive markup.

Agree. These are US prices, so use with caution. Note also
you need to typically add 8-9% tax and in California, an $8
recycling fee for LCD screens.

But, depending upon screen size, netbooks here are $160-$350
(sometimes less if you want refurb). e.g.:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=U100-641US-DT&cat=NBB

This is a local dealer for me, so no shipping. The 450 GBP
is over $700 by comparison. You're almost better running
RPCEmu on it - although I don't want to guess what the performance
would be under emulation versus running natively on ARM hardware,
which if large enough, might justify a big price hike.


> I suggest you look at alternative ARM netbook models, personally
> I'm waiting for an Anyka 7802 based one with linux, for about
> 100-150 USD. Slower, but cheap enough to buy on a whim.

The opinion of Eric Rucker is that unless a Linux port appears,
this might not be a great choice, and that the relative performance
is just too slow.

http://www.riscos.info/index.php/ARM_System-on-Chips#Anyka_AK7802

By all means argue the toss with him ;-)

trevj

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Oct 20, 2009, 4:50:00 PM10/20/09
to
On Oct 20, 1:06 pm, Peter Howkins <maru...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, it's absolutely too expensive at 450 UKP it's gone far out
> of the 'netbook' price range and well into serious notebook
> money. At that point it's notebook specs (eg. screen res) look
> appallingly bad value for money.

Good point, but this is new technology. Prices are bound to fall in
time, for those who can stand the wait.

> Given x86 netbooks can be gotten for 250UKP and ARM netbooks
> are allegedly going to be cheaper, then 450UKP looks like your
> average RISC OS market punitive markup.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Everyone knows that unfortunately the RISC OS market is small, which
means there are less opportunities for economies of scale. The price I
arrived at to make the original post is based on estimated times
required to carry out tasks needed before the netbooks can be resold
with RISC OS. If only 24 units were to be sold in a year then I expect
that I could do all of these tasks myself in my spare time. However -
what if the demand is for double that number?... or quadruple? If this
happens, at some point I would inevitably have to forfeit other income
(i.e. reduce the hours I work elsewhere) by reallocating netbook time
during the normal working week. Some of the work could arguably be
taken care of by employing someone part time. But other aspects - e.g.
compiling instructions, providing after sales support, compiling press
releases - I would expect to be doing myself. And what if only a
handful are sold but the licensing agreement requires a minimum number
to be purchased in advance - how is the financial shortfall covered?
Therefore, I don't think it would be realistic to claim to be able to
resell the Touch Books with a nomnial "markup" and assume I could cope
fine with it and would be doing the RISC OS community a favour by
doing so. Sure, confident users and hackers will reasonably conclude
that they may as well just buy the hardware themselves, do the install
and hey presto. Fair enough, that's great. But how does one get RISC
OS on new hardware to those who are reluctant to follow the DIY
option?

If anyone still feels that the scenario outlined above equates to a
simple "punitive markup" then I'd urge them to re-read my reasoning
and then do some estimates/calculations themselves. Please be my guest
if you want to get stressed out selling the netbooks yourself without
considering what you may be getting yourself into!

One other option, of course, is an FAQ on how to get RISC OS running
on such hardware. This will probably be around before myself or any
other party sells a RISC OS netbook. But I still feel there wil be a
need for an "out of the box" option. Time will tell whether I'm wrong.

> I suggest you look at alternative ARM netbook models, personally
> I'm waiting for an Anyka 7802 based one with linux, for about
> 100-150 USD. Slower, but cheap enough to buy on a whim.

Thanks very much for the suggestion to consider other models. I know
that there are others planned but they could be some considerable time
in bringing to market. And besides, the Touch Book appears to be the
likely first suitable model due to its Beagleboard design.

Finally, and to further elaborate on my thinking, my initial thought
was to establish the hardware reselling company using a cooperative
business model. (Members/customers of The Phone Co-op will know what I
mean - see http://www.thephone.coop/). This remains an aspiration of
mine but it's significantly more expensive to establish and maintain
than just any old limited company. Having said that, if about 1500
RISC OS users would like to chip in a fiver or more each then this
could be looked at in more detail - and I'd certainly suspect a bulk
order discount would then be available from Always Innovating and
others in the future. (If people think this is feasible, then I
suggest another thread is started.)

BTW, if anyone fancies chatting any of this over in person, I live in
Bristol - my email seems to be working OK now so please get in touch.

Cheers

Trevor

Theo Markettos

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Oct 20, 2009, 7:59:38 PM10/20/09
to
trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
> On Oct 20, 1:06 pm, Peter Howkins <maru...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Yes, it's absolutely too expensive at 450 UKP it's gone far out
> > of the 'netbook' price range and well into serious notebook
> > money. At that point it's notebook specs (eg. screen res) look
> > appallingly bad value for money.
>
> Good point, but this is new technology. Prices are bound to fall in
> time, for those who can stand the wait.

True, but prices generally only fall substantially because things go either
seriously volume, or end-of-line. The next model comes along and does more,
but at the same price point. The gradual drift down of release prices has
happened at a somewhat slower rate.

For me $399 is a bit pricey for a netbook (comparing with the sub-200 quid
Atom netbooks) so 450 quid would be way too much. Bear in mind that this
isn't going to be people's main computer - people are likely to see this as
an impulse-buy gadget.

> Everyone knows that unfortunately the RISC OS market is small, which
> means there are less opportunities for economies of scale. The price I
> arrived at to make the original post is based on estimated times
> required to carry out tasks needed before the netbooks can be resold
> with RISC OS.

Here's a business plan:

1. Have a serious read of the Always Innovating forum to be sure this is a
product you want to be involved with. Look in particular for any issues
which you, as vendor, will have to deal with.

2. Talk to Always Innovating

3. Become a/the EU distributor

4. Ship standard netbooks to anyone who wants to buy one

5. These netbooks come with the standard Touchbook Linux distro

6. Provide a 'free' USB stick/flash card with a bootable RISC OS installer
in the box (if necessary of the 'go on the net, fetch OS ROM, save on flash
and boot from that' kind). A non-permanent 'live CD' style installer is
good so people can try out RISC OS.

That's a way to get the volume up and cross-subsidise the RISC OS version.

You'll have to do hardware service and possibly EU techsupport, as well as
complying with regulations (WEEE, RoHS[1], consumer laws etc). And possibly
some EU marketing.

[1] In fact, is the Touchbook even RoHS? If not, forget about importing it
to the EU. They are shipping to the EU, but I think they can still do that
without RoHS as it's the customer who is importing it.

Whether RISC OS is free or is a chargeable extra depends on the licensing
deal you can negotiate with Castle (and ROL, and anyone who once had a
cup of tea at Acorn). Having a 'free trial' component in the box is nice
though... and few-hundred-MB flash cards are dirt cheap.

> If anyone still feels that the scenario outlined above equates to a
> simple "punitive markup" then I'd urge them to re-read my reasoning
> and then do some estimates/calculations themselves. Please be my guest
> if you want to get stressed out selling the netbooks yourself without
> considering what you may be getting yourself into!

The big question is: what is the prospective EU market for the Touchbook
full stop, irrespective of OS? Are we talking 1000, 10000, 100000 units?
That's the number I wouldn't have any idea on. I imagine it's substantially
more than 100 though. You could always canvass the A-I forum.

The next question is: how much can you forward a vanilla Touchbook from the
US for? Including all the overheads etc. That will be your cost per single
unit. Once the volume ramps up you can cut this down (eg ship
container-loads direct from China to you), but that'll give you a maximum
price you need to sell it for. (Or was that where your GBP450 came from?)
With greater volume will come higher overheads (you might need to rent a
warehouse) but that should still reduce the price per unit.

> One other option, of course, is an FAQ on how to get RISC OS running
> on such hardware. This will probably be around before myself or any
> other party sells a RISC OS netbook. But I still feel there wil be a
> need for an "out of the box" option. Time will tell whether I'm wrong.

There's also the small matter of a lack of RISC OS port to it yet... It
might also be good manners to chat to Jeffrey Lee and offer him something
for the porting work he's done.

> Finally, and to further elaborate on my thinking, my initial thought
> was to establish the hardware reselling company using a cooperative
> business model. (Members/customers of The Phone Co-op will know what I
> mean - see http://www.thephone.coop/). This remains an aspiration of
> mine but it's significantly more expensive to establish and maintain
> than just any old limited company.

There's something to be said for taking things one step at a time. Would it
be feasible to move to a cooperative once you know the business model is
sound? For example, if you have no employees what difference does it make
whether you're a cooperative or not?

Theo

Torben Ægidius Mogensen

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Oct 21, 2009, 4:56:18 AM10/21/09
to

I'm not sure the Touchbook is the way to go. Sure, it uses the
Beagleboard, for which porting is already underway. But it appears
rather expensive, even in its Linux version.

I would either go for the extremely cheap (albeit somewhat underpowered)
Chinese netbooks like Sungworld's $73 model:
http://www.gadgetfolder.com/sungworld-noname-7-inch-netbook-via-vt8500-powered.html
or wait for the upcoming crop of "smartbooks" based on Tegra or
Snapdragon. These should be somewhat cheaper than the Touchbook but
more powerful. Whether you can exploit the power of graphics processors
etc. from RISC OS is another question, though.

Torben

Rob Kendrick

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Oct 21, 2009, 5:16:22 AM10/21/09
to
On Wed, 21 Oct 2009 10:56:18 +0200
tor...@pc-003.diku.dk (Torben Ægidius Mogensen) wrote:

> I'm not sure the Touchbook is the way to go. Sure, it uses the
> Beagleboard, for which porting is already underway. But it appears
> rather expensive, even in its Linux version.

The Touchbook does not use a Beagleboard, it just uses a similar CPU.

> I would either go for the extremely cheap (albeit somewhat
> underpowered) Chinese netbooks like Sungworld's $73 model:
> http://www.gadgetfolder.com/sungworld-noname-7-inch-netbook-via-vt8500-powered.html
> or wait for the upcoming crop of "smartbooks" based on Tegra or
> Snapdragon. These should be somewhat cheaper than the Touchbook but
> more powerful. Whether you can exploit the power of graphics
> processors etc. from RISC OS is another question, though.

But this means an entirely new port, to something slow, with a tiny
screen, and dreadful build quality.

B.

Peter Naulls

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Oct 21, 2009, 2:29:00 PM10/21/09
to
Torben �gidius Mogensen wrote:

[no quoting at all]

Please quote some context, so we actually know what you're replying
to.

You say the Touchbook is "expensive", but how exactly are you counting
that cost? If we're talking Linux, then it's obvious enough, but the
context is of RISC OS running - given the similarity of the TB/BB,
then the work is pretty small. If we're talking about an entirely
different chipset, which is likely a great deal of work, then what
value do you put on that? Or are you just hoping that another
RISC OS developer will do it for free?

This is the same fallacy we've seen applied for those advocating
a native RISC OS port to x86 - which would be an extraordinary amount
of work, would never be 100% and gain you little over emulation
solutions which work right now.

And as a general rule, if it runs WinCE, then it doesn't have a Linux
port, and isn't open hardware, and a port will impossible or much
harder. Whether that's true or not in this case, I don't know.

More to the reseller issue, my question would be what value does
the reseller add? Unless it's some credible technical addition, then
likely all he is doing for example is having more users which Jeffery
ultimately has to deal with.

Michael Gerbracht

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 3:43:07 AM10/22/09
to
In article <7z8wf52...@pc-003.diku.dk>, Torben �gidius Mogensen
<tor...@pc-003.diku.dk> wrote:

> I'm not sure the Touchbook is the way to go. Sure, it uses the
> Beagleboard, for which porting is already underway. But it appears rather
> expensive, even in its Linux version.

I do not think it is very expensive. $399 is not much these days, currently
265 Euro which is below the price of a current ATOM Netbook.

> wait for the upcoming crop of "smartbooks" based on Tegra or Snapdragon.
> These should be somewhat cheaper than the Touchbook but more powerful.
> Whether you can exploit the power of graphics processors etc. from RISC OS
> is another question, though.

Of course it would be nice to get RISC OS ported to different computers once
they are available but it is still a lot of work. Also I wonder where those
ARM netbooks are, they should have been available now but I did not read any
announcement mentioning a release date for these devices. Do you know which
ARM netbooks are coming out soon?

Michael

--
Please replace "nospam" by "m.gerbracht" when replying by mail

Theo Markettos

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 4:46:01 AM10/22/09
to
Michael Gerbracht <nos...@cityweb.de> wrote:
> I do not think it is very expensive. $399 is not much these days, currently
> 265 Euro which is below the price of a current ATOM Netbook.

There are netbooks and netbooks. The Touchbook seems to be fitting into the
small end of the market (7"/9"), while much of the main netbook market is
moving to bigger machines (10/11/12") (perhaps with Vista rather than
Linux). So I think it has to compete with the lower-end machines rather
than the higher-end ones.

> Of course it would be nice to get RISC OS ported to different computers once
> they are available but it is still a lot of work. Also I wonder where those
> ARM netbooks are, they should have been available now but I did not read any
> announcement mentioning a release date for these devices. Do you know which
> ARM netbooks are coming out soon?

The Touchbook was announced on 1st March, and even now volumes are limited.
So, unless you do a deal with the manufacturer, only get involved in
products that actually exist in volume. There are plenty of 'Chinese'
laptops on Alibaba but whether they have a serious intention of
manufacturing and shipping these is another question.

('Chinese' laptops have another issue, which is they may have cut costs by
not being RoHS and so be unsaleable in the EU)

Theo

trevj

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 6:51:48 AM10/22/09
to
On Oct 21, 12:59 am, Theo Markettos <theom
+n...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
[snipped]

> There's also the small matter of a lack of RISC OS port to it yet... It
> might also be good manners to chat to Jeffrey Lee and offer him something
> for the porting work he's done.

In anticipation, the other day I put a request here http://innovatingtouch.com/
for RISC OS to be added as a 'Child Board' in the OS forum. Hopefully
this will save Jeffrey having to answer too many questions personally
as the port progresses. (And it also helps publicise RISC OS.)

trevj

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 7:24:58 AM10/22/09
to
On Oct 21, 7:29 pm, Peter Naulls <pe...@chocky.org> wrote:

[snipped]

> More to the reseller issue, my question would be what value does
> the reseller add?  Unless it's some credible technical addition, then
> likely all he is doing for example is having more users which Jeffery
> ultimately has to deal with.

In my case, no technical additions are planned for the moment.
However, any reseller could be expected to potentially offer the
following:

- UK availability;
- RISC OS installed and ready to go;
- RISC OS specific instructions;
- after sales/technical support;
- UK returns in case of defects; and
- financial contribution to the RISC OS open source project.

Any ideas on what else might be useful?

trevj

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 7:28:08 AM10/22/09
to
On Oct 22, 8:43 am, Michael Gerbracht <nos...@cityweb.de> wrote:

[snipped]

> Of course it would be nice to get RISC OS ported to different computers once
> they are available but it is still a lot of work. Also I wonder where those
> ARM netbooks are, they should have been available now but I did not read any
> announcement mentioning a release date for these devices. Do you know which
> ARM netbooks are coming out soon?

Sorry no, I don't. Some seem to be vapourware (at least for the
foreseeable future). While the Touch Book may not meet requirements of
all users, it *is* real.

Peter Naulls

unread,
Oct 22, 2009, 2:26:52 PM10/22/09
to

"Technical additions" would mean exactly this after sales support.
My fear is that you've greatly underestimated the work here. This
is easy for even me to do, who's been developing for a long time.

As an example, given an arbitrary bug in the RO5 shipped with a
device, what do you do? True, there's some value in filtering bugs
and passing them on, but where is the value here? In most cases,
you won't be able to fix them yourself - it's really just passing
on to ROOL/Jeffery/other developers, thereby increasing their work load.
Sure, over time you'll build up a body of knowledge, but it's not
something you'll know off the bat.

Compare with CJE/APDL, who can answer obscure questions regarding
BBCs and RiscPCs (and have had many years to build up this
experience) - or if not, will almost certainly know someone
who will. Indeed, the buck has to stop with them, since there's
no Acorn to pass issues on to.

It's not that you can't do this; but you should be very much
aware of what you are getting in to.

trevj

unread,
Oct 23, 2009, 3:38:12 AM10/23/09
to
On Oct 22, 12:24 pm, trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

[list etc. snipped]

> Any ideas on what else might be useful?

Add to list:

- depending on spare cash, possible subsidy of hardware purchases by
cash-strapped developers

trevj

unread,
Oct 23, 2009, 4:52:55 AM10/23/09
to
On Oct 22, 7:26 pm, Peter Naulls <pe...@chocky.org> wrote:

> "Technical additions" would mean exactly this after sales support.
> My fear is that you've greatly underestimated the work here.   This
> is easy for even me to do, who's been developing for a long time.

Thanks. I don't disagree that it's easy for anyone to underestimate
the amount of work. However (with the exception of duplicated issues)
I would suggest that time needed for tech support is directly
proportional to the number of sales.

Clearly the unknown is the time required per sale. Is anyone
realistically in a position to accurately gauge this, considering
we're talking about new hardware and an evolving OS? If I increase the
tech support allocation to 2 whole working days per sale, my
calculations show the unit cost rising to between UKP700 and UKP800
depending on sales volumes! I view this as being prohibitively
astronomical for prospective customers.

Therefore, regarding tech support, I would suggest that somebody's
going to have to either be abnormally quick-thinking and intelligent,
have excessive free time on their hands or frankly take a bit of a
gamble and risk criticism for doing so.

>
> As an example, given an arbitrary bug in the RO5 shipped with a
> device, what do you do?  True, there's some value in filtering bugs
> and passing them on, but where is the value here?  In most cases,
> you won't be able to fix them yourself - it's really just passing
> on to ROOL/Jeffery/other developers, thereby increasing their work load.
> Sure, over time you'll build up a body of knowledge, but it's not
> something you'll know off the bat.
>
> Compare with CJE/APDL, who can answer obscure questions regarding
> BBCs and RiscPCs (and have had many years to build up this
> experience) - or if not, will almost certainly know someone
> who will.  Indeed, the buck has to stop with them, since there's
> no Acorn to pass issues on to.

Agreed that established dealers (and not just restricted to CJE/APDL)
have a wealth of knowledge, which I'm grateful for and have found
personally useful over the years. However, I still feel that prior
knowledge and personal connections may be of less assistance than
claimed because of the nature of dealing with new hardware and an
evolving OS. If a supplier were to fix bugs themselves, it would
definitely be helpful if they were already involved in the open source
project. This is something I cannot investigate until I obtain the
relevant hardware. As for increasing the work load on ROOL
contributors, I expect you'll agree that this will happen anyway as
the number of users increases.

>
> It's not that you can't do this; but you should be very much
> aware of what you are getting in to.

Thanks very much. Point taken.

I'd like to point out that I'm not precluding other dealers/developers
from publicly voicing their opinions on all of the matters discussed.
I've not yet seen a need to approach many individuals directly myself.
This is because I don't have a lot more to say on the matters over and
above what I've posted here. I hope that's OK with everyone.

The discussion is taking place, and that's what's important...

Cheers

Trevor

Chris Hall

unread,
Oct 23, 2009, 10:29:15 AM10/23/09
to
In message <20091016220...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>
Rob Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:

> On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
> trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

>> The basic cost of the Always Innovating netbook is 399 US dollars
>> (excl. P&P). A commercially available pre-installed RISC OS version
>> would cost more, due to the time/cost of unpackaging/repackaging/
>> installing/configuring/postage/fees for legal/banking/accountancy/
>> insurance cover (e.g. products liability and goods in transit).
>> However, depending on the number of customers and the licensing costs,
>> I reckon it could be possible for around 450 UK pounds (UKP).

> Alternatively, you could negotiate a bulk discount from them, and thus
> sell at a similar price.

> B.
Actually I think you will find it is RISC OS Limited that can license
RISC OS. After all the latest version (RISC OS 6) woould be better
than RISC OS 5 surely?

--
Chris Hall <ch...@svrsig.org>

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 23, 2009, 10:57:47 AM10/23/09
to
On Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:29:15 +0100
Chris Hall <ch...@svrsig.org> wrote:

> In message <20091016220...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>
> Rob Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:
>
> > On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:59:05 -0700 (PDT)
> > trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >> The basic cost of the Always Innovating netbook is 399 US dollars
> >> (excl. P&P). A commercially available pre-installed RISC OS version
> >> would cost more, due to the time/cost of unpackaging/repackaging/
> >> installing/configuring/postage/fees for legal/banking/accountancy/
> >> insurance cover (e.g. products liability and goods in transit).
> >> However, depending on the number of customers and the licensing
> >> costs, I reckon it could be possible for around 450 UK pounds
> >> (UKP).
>
> > Alternatively, you could negotiate a bulk discount from them, and
> > thus sell at a similar price.
>

> Actually I think you will find it is RISC OS Limited that can license
> RISC OS. After all the latest version (RISC OS 6) woould be better
> than RISC OS 5 surely?

Why are you saying this in reply to me? But anyway, to answer your
question; it is strongly doubted that RISCOS Ltd's OS as anywhere near
as easily ported as RISC OS 5 to new hardware.

(RISC OS 5 runs on countless devices devised by Pace and Tematic,
RiscPC-class hardware, the Iyonix, and the Beagleboard [to which it was
ported to by an amateur in his spare time]. Conversely, RISCOS Ltd.'s
offering has only fully-working ports for RiscPC-class hardware.)

B.

trevj

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 1:36:30 PM10/24/09
to
On 23 Oct, 15:29, Chris Hall <ch...@svrsig.org> wrote:

> Actually I think you will find it is RISC OS Limited that can license
> RISC OS. After all the latest version (RISC OS 6) woould be better
> than RISC OS 5 surely?

I have RISC OS 6 on my RiscPC and find it a great improvement over v.
4, which I purchased with the Kinetic StrongARM card. Like you, I
expect plenty of other people would be delighted to have RISC OS 6
running on new hardware. But at the moment, RISC OS 5 is expected to
be compatible sooner, as it's already running on the Beagleboard.

Tim Hill

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 3:16:37 PM10/24/09
to
In article <20091023155...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>, Rob

Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:29:15 +0100 Chris Hall <ch...@svrsig.org> wrote:

[Snip]

> >
> > Actually I think you will find it is RISC OS Limited that can license
> > RISC OS. After all the latest version (RISC OS 6) woould be better
> > than RISC OS 5 surely?

To assume a bigger number is better may lead you to believe that windoze
6 was better than windoze 5. Generally it is held that Xp is better than
Vista and it is still installed in >70% of wintel boxes.

> Why are you saying this in reply to me?

That's how usenet works, Rob. :-D

[Snip]

Peter Naulls

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 7:03:21 PM10/24/09
to

I'm not sure what you're trying to imply here, but unless there's
a very radical change in direction from ROL, RO6 is only ever going
to run on a very limited set of hardware. It's not even clear if
it'll be seen any time soon on the A9.

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 7:18:34 PM10/24/09
to
On Sat, 24 Oct 2009 20:16:37 +0100
Tim Hill <t...@invalid.org.uk> wrote:

> > Why are you saying this in reply to me?
>
> That's how usenet works, Rob. :-D

What, people randomly talking about things in reply to posts that do
not mention them? I wasn't talking about RISC OS at all, I was talking
about bulk discounts of hardware purchases.

B.

trevj

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 8:19:18 PM10/24/09
to
On 25 Oct, 00:03, Peter Naulls <pe...@chocky.org> wrote:

> I'm not sure what you're trying to imply here, but unless there's

[snipped]

Nothing intentionally implied - please feel free to replace
"compatible sooner" with " exclusively compatible" for those who
prefer.

As I've not corresponded personally with ROL on this, I thought it
only fair *not* to comlpetely rule out RO6 on new hardware. If they've
already publicly ruled it out then sorry if I've missed the
announcement. If it's not ruled out then it *is* still possible, isn't
it?

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 24, 2009, 9:04:29 PM10/24/09
to
On Sat, 24 Oct 2009 17:19:18 -0700 (PDT)
trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:

> As I've not corresponded personally with ROL on this, I thought it
> only fair *not* to comlpetely rule out RO6 on new hardware. If they've
> already publicly ruled it out then sorry if I've missed the
> announcement. If it's not ruled out then it *is* still possible, isn't
> it?

Nobody knows; there's certainly no evidence of it.

B.

Tim Hill

unread,
Oct 25, 2009, 11:25:07 AM10/25/09
to
In article <20091025001...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>, Rob

I know, I was being amused. This happens often, I'm surprised you seem
surprised.

--
Tim Hill
--------
tjrh.eu

... "I hear, yet say not much, yet hear the more" Henry IV, Act iv, Sc.1

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 25, 2009, 2:07:13 PM10/25/09
to
On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 15:25:07 +0000 (GMT)
Tim Hill <t...@invalid.org.uk> wrote:

> In article <20091025001...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>,
> Rob Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:
> > On Sat, 24 Oct 2009 20:16:37 +0100 Tim Hill <t...@invalid.org.uk>
> > wrote:
>
> > > > Why are you saying this in reply to me?
> > >
> > > That's how usenet works, Rob. :-D
>
> > What, people randomly talking about things in reply to posts that do
> > not mention them? I wasn't talking about RISC OS at all, I was
> > talking about bulk discounts of hardware purchases.
>
> I know, I was being amused. This happens often, I'm surprised you seem
> surprised.

I'm not surprised; I'm asking why he replied to me. There may have
been something I missed, or he may have made a mistake.

B.

Eric Rucker

unread,
Oct 25, 2009, 5:49:52 PM10/25/09
to
On Oct 23, 10:29 am, Chris Hall <ch...@svrsig.org> wrote:
> Actually I think you will find it is RISC OS Limited that can license
> RISC OS. After all the latest version (RISC OS 6) woould be better
> than RISC OS 5 surely?

RISC OS 5 and 6 are different OSes, both derived from the common code
base of 4.02 (with some unused 3.8 code adapted for RISC OS 5.)

Not only that, but 5.14 for the Iyonix (the latest stable release)
came out April 28th of this year, versus 6.16 for RiscPC/A7000 coming
out April 21st - making RISC OS 6 one week older than RISC OS 5. ;)

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 25, 2009, 6:09:49 PM10/25/09
to
On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:49:52 -0700 (PDT)
Eric Rucker <bhto...@gmail.com> wrote:

> RISC OS 5 and 6 are different OSes, both derived from the common code
> base of 4.02 (with some unused 3.8 code adapted for RISC OS 5.)

Surely that's not the case? Surely they're both derived from 3.8?
(Given RISC OS 4.02 has 'refinements' that 5 lacks.)

tbh, its family tree is now more turgid than UNIX's, making it somewhat
difficult to follow. Which is impressive given there are only two
strains left.

B.

Peter Naulls

unread,
Oct 25, 2009, 7:11:53 PM10/25/09
to
trevj wrote:
> On 25 Oct, 00:03, Peter Naulls <pe...@chocky.org> wrote:
>
>> I'm not sure what you're trying to imply here, but unless there's
> [snipped]
>
> Nothing intentionally implied - please feel free to replace
> "compatible sooner" with " exclusively compatible" for those who
> prefer.
>
> As I've not corresponded personally with ROL on this, I thought it
> only fair *not* to completely rule out RO6 on new hardware. If they've

> already publicly ruled it out then sorry if I've missed the
> announcement. If it's not ruled out then it *is* still possible, isn't
> it?

Of course it's possible, in the sense that we cannot logically rule it
out, but you trimmed the important bit of my quote. Let's review
what we know - or at least have strong circumstantial evidence for.

RO5 runs on Iyonix, and with a few fixes, RiscPC-class hardware. Also,
mostly on BeagleBoard, and perhaps with relatively small changes
(although still many tens of hours) also Touchbook/Pandora. Also has
support for ARM9 and other miscellanea. Perhaps more importantly, its
source is available without permission for examination, and also to work
on any extend with a community. All of this can be improved of course,
but it's there.

RO6 runs on RiscPC-class hardware only (as far as we know). We might
hope it runs on A9 too one day. Right now, no one seems to know
what ROL is doing, if anything. But that the A9 RISC OS remains
incomplete is somewhat telling - I appreciate that Adv6 is involved
here too. Does RO6, etc run on anything else (apart from older
hardware) - perhaps, but we don't know.

So, RO6 on new hardware - there are a few theoretical options:

ROL do it themselves - there isn't any particular reason why not,
but surely there'd be outcry over the A9 - but it would still be
a very substantial outlay of time and money for questionable gain -
remember that ROL have never sold hardware themselves; they'd
still have to partner with someone.

A third party do it (mostly likely an existing RO developer - again, not
impossible) - but apart from Adv6 this would have to be a spare time
free effort, and the developer would not be able to share his results.
RO5 is a much, much more likely choice here for such a developer.

ROL put Select etc on top of RO5. Demonstrated to be entirely
possible by ROL themselves, but they have also shown a considerable
reluctance to do so; partly citing unspecified technical reasons.

So, are we going to see RO6 on new hardware? It's not impossible,
but it seems very unlikely - unless, as I said, there's a radical
change of direction by ROL. Such things might including open
sourcing RO6, or other wild ideas.

I know there will be someone who'll if, any or but over all this,
but waiting around for ROL to do something like this doesn't seem
helpful. Of course, by the same token, we shouldn't wait on ROOL
or Castle either, but at least in that case, matters are much more
in the hands of those who care to do things, and ROOL have demonstrated
considerable willingness (within their very limited time constraints)
to help developers.

Matthew Phillips

unread,
Oct 26, 2009, 3:17:29 AM10/26/09
to
In message <20091025220...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>

on 25 Oct 2009 Rob Kendrick wrote:

> On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:49:52 -0700 (PDT)
> Eric Rucker <bhto...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > RISC OS 5 and 6 are different OSes, both derived from the common code
> > base of 4.02 (with some unused 3.8 code adapted for RISC OS 5.)
>
> Surely that's not the case? Surely they're both derived from 3.8?
> (Given RISC OS 4.02 has 'refinements' that 5 lacks.)

Which refinements are those?

--
Matthew Phillips
Dundee

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 26, 2009, 5:43:36 AM10/26/09
to

3D window borders, additional tasteless graphics.

B.

Ian Hamilton

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Oct 26, 2009, 5:51:13 AM10/26/09
to
In article <20091026094...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>,

WimpVisualFlags is implemented in 5. It's only the configure interface
that's missing.

--
Ian Hamilton (Iyonix RO5) http://www.hamiltoni.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Oct 26, 2009, 5:57:55 AM10/26/09
to
On Mon, 26 Oct 2009 09:51:13 GMT
Ian Hamilton <Ian.Ha...@AAUG.net> wrote:

> > 3D window borders, additional tasteless graphics.
>
> WimpVisualFlags is implemented in 5. It's only the configure interface
> that's missing.

Does configuring it incorrectly actually give you the 3D window
borders, though?

From what I recall, both came from 3.8, it's just that RO5 contains
some of ROL's changes.

B.

Ian Hamilton

unread,
Oct 26, 2009, 6:11:48 AM10/26/09
to
In article <20091026095...@trite.i.flarn.net.i.flarn.net>,

Rob Kendrick <nn...@rjek.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 26 Oct 2009 09:51:13 GMT
> Ian Hamilton <Ian.Ha...@AAUG.net> wrote:

> > > 3D window borders, additional tasteless graphics.
> >
> > WimpVisualFlags is implemented in 5. It's only the configure interface
> > that's missing.

> Does configuring it incorrectly actually give you the 3D window
> borders, though?

Not sure I understand that. You can configure it via the command line and
it works.

> From what I recall, both came from 3.8, it's just that RO5 contains
> some of ROL's changes.

As far as I can remember the WimpVisualFlags additions were done by ROL
as it incorporated the patch that Matthew Bullock created.

Terje Slettebø

unread,
Oct 26, 2009, 4:18:49 PM10/26/09
to
On 16 Okt, 19:59, trevj <tr...@cwazy.co.uk> wrote:
> I'm therefore investigating whether I could sell (via an official
> company) Touch Books with RISC OS pre-installed. A licensing agreement
> with Castle Technology would be required, but the netbook would be
> available to potentially run RISC OS straight from the box.
> (snip)
> My question is this: is this too expensive, considering that this was
> similar to the cost of a BBC micro 25 years ago? (Today's 400 UKP
> would be equivalent to around 180 UKP in 1984 - seehttp://www.thisismoney.co.uk/historic-inflation-calculator.)

Hi Trevor.

I've read this whole thread, and would like to go back to your
original question.

Not wanting to pour cold water into someone testing the waters,
but...

I'm a big ARM/RISC OS enthusiast (going back to the days of the BBC
Micro), but I don't think that RISC OS is ready for mainstream at the
moment, and may not be so in the forseeable future.

For an enthusiast like me, a port-in-progress like the BeagleBoard
RISC OS port is a godsend... It means that Iyonix/A9 was not the end
of the line.

Even though there may be plenty of things to do in the development of
RISC OS and these ports, that just makes such systems a very nice
hobby project.

However, for the mainstream users, things are different: They expect
things to "just work", and that a number of applications are available
and working well, such as a mail client and browser. Granted, things
are getting better on that front (or worse, considering the state of
NetSurf support for RISC OS), but there are other issues, as well,
such as the ability to play video in a variety of formats (including
Flash), hardware/software compatibility with external devices, etc.

Tech support has been mentioned in this thread, and given the state of
RISC OS hardware and software, this is likely something that will more
than drown any revenue from sales.

As a hobbyist system, it's a dream, but for the average user, it may
be something of a disappointment (due to having different things they
appreciate).

Hobbyists/enthusiasts usually have the ability or persistence to get
something working, even if there's a fair amount of manual work
involved, whereas average users, even if they get a system running out
of the box, may not be satisfied with what they get.

I just don't see a market, there. At least not now. I'd love to be
proven wrong, though.

Regards,

Terje

(Who has already ordered both a BeagleBoard, and more recently, a
Touch Book :) )

druck

unread,
Oct 27, 2009, 4:26:59 AM10/27/09
to
Rob Kendrick wrote:
> On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 14:49:52 -0700 (PDT)
> Eric Rucker <bhto...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> RISC OS 5 and 6 are different OSes, both derived from the common code
>> base of 4.02 (with some unused 3.8 code adapted for RISC OS 5.)
>
> Surely that's not the case? Surely they're both derived from 3.8?

3.8 was the early developers test version of what would become RISC OS 4
on Pheobe, further work was done by Acorn to make their RISC OS 4.0
which still ran on RISC PC's. That is the version both ROL and Pace
received and developered further.

> (Given RISC OS 4.02 has 'refinements' that 5 lacks.)

During the first few years of ROL's work, the changes (refinements if
you will) were submitted to Pace and the important ones incorporated in
their version. Changes after the first year of the Select scheme were no
longer passed to Pace, and that is where the divergence started.

Later Pace's version was ported to 32bit and became RISC OS 5 when
Castle launched the Iyonix.

> tbh, its family tree is now more turgid than UNIX's, making it somewhat
> difficult to follow. Which is impressive given there are only two
> strains left.

It's quite simple, if you ignore the inexplicable attempts at muddying
the water from some camps.

---druck

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

unread,
Nov 14, 2009, 12:03:48 PM11/14/09
to
�ann 22/10/2009 09:46, Theo Markettos skrifa�i:

>
> ('Chinese' laptops have another issue, which is they may have cut costs by
> not being RoHS and so be unsaleable in the EU)
>
> Theo

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=261613&source=1

139 UKP ARM9 400MHz GPRS/quadband 128mb 1gb flash disk RoHS compatiable

that thing is dead slow running Linux (most ARM Linuxes are) but RISCOS?

Rob Kendrick

unread,
Nov 14, 2009, 12:49:00 PM11/14/09
to
On Sat, 14 Nov 2009 17:03:48 +0000
Olafur Gunnlaugsson <o...@audiotools.com> wrote:

> Þann 22/10/2009 09:46, Theo Markettos skrifaði:
>
> >
> > ('Chinese' laptops have another issue, which is they may have cut
> > costs by not being RoHS and so be unsaleable in the EU)
> >
> > Theo
>
> http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=261613&source=1
>
> 139 UKP ARM9 400MHz GPRS/quadband 128mb 1gb flash disk RoHS
> compatiable

And currently being shipped with pirated software, given they're
infringing the GPL, and show no signs or even attempting to obey by the
conditions under which they received the software that runs on it.

Also, the hardware is truly dreadful. Painfully diabolically awful.
If you're interested, it's a S3C2450 (same family as the A9 Home's
S3C2440) with no graphics accelerator, a Microchip SPI 10Mbps ethernet
controller, and Ralink wireless.

On the plus side, it's a great example of how contract-free handsets
have a price that's entirely made up.

B.

trevj

unread,
Nov 16, 2009, 6:23:24 AM11/16/09
to
On Nov 14, 5:03 pm, Olafur Gunnlaugsson <o...@audiotools.com> wrote:

> http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=261613&source=1
>
> 139 UKP ARM9 400MHz GPRS/quadband 128mb 1gb flash disk RoHS compatiable
>
> that thing is dead slow running Linux (most ARM Linuxes are) but RISCOS?

Interesting suggestion... and these ARM9 netbooks may offer an easy
migration from the A9home. But with RISC OS development currently
focused on the OMAP3530, such prodcuts are likely to be quickly
superseded.

Matthew Phillips

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Nov 17, 2009, 2:56:56 AM11/17/09
to
In message <052088b7-f165-4a71...@e23g2000yqd.googlegroups.com>

The reviews of the unit seem to be very mixed. If I could be sure that the
drivers were open source, that root access is available and it would be
possible to boot from a different OS, I'd seriously think about getting one
to put RISC OS on it -- no doubt quite a lot of work but it would be an
interesting project.

Battery life rather short, and the screen a bit smaller than I would like,
but it has a good specification for a RISC OS machine.

--
Matthew Phillips
Dundee

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