The APDL PD Library


Welcome to the new 'APDL Public Domain library'. This library was originally assembled and catalogued by David Holden under the APDL (Archimedes Public Domain Library) banner. When the library started in the late 1980s everything was supplied on floppy discs. APDL would post customers paper catalogues from which they could select any floppy discs they wanted. Discs were priced at £1.00 each regardless of the content. Each of the discs was referenced by a catalogue number, these numbers are still in use except they no longer refer to a physical disc, they refer to a compressed archive.

As well as supplying the library APDL also helped nurture a number of promising software developers. David Holden had spent many years developing software and he knew what worked and what didn't. In the early days of RISC OS their was no design template for desktop applications with the result that many early applications looked terrible.

The library didn't just supply 'Public Domain' software it also supplied shareware and was a member of the Association of Shareware Professionals. As the library expanded APDL took over some of the other libraries. Content from Arch-Angel, Datastream and The Datafile were all added to the APDL library.

As time and technology progressed the use of floppy discs declined and so APDL made the library available on CD ROMS, the complete library filled three 780MB data CDs. With the falling costs of website hosting David decided that the library should be made available free of charge. Work was started in 2008, but it took a couple more years before the complete library of over 7000 compressed archives was available. David overhauled many of the archives before uploading them and removed out of date content, for example it was common for PD libraries to keep older versions of applications in the catalogues.

David Holden's shock death in May 2014 placed the future of the library in doubt. The whole library, along with the rest of the APDL website, vanished in early June 2014 and it looked for a while as though the library was no more. However myself and David Bradforth, with the help of David Holden's family, managed to rescue the library and we have given it a new home as part of We have made some small design changes and tidied up some pages but what you see here has exactly the same content.

So here you have it, the largest 'Public Domain' library for RISC OS. There are over 7000 compressed archives, with well over 10,000 individual files/applications and everything is available free of charge. All we can ask is that you don't abuse the library.

Aaron 24/7/2014



Most of the material in the library dates from the 1990's, some is even earlier. You should therefore be aware that this is an historical archive and some programs may may not work on modern versions of RISC OS. Most of the contents of the library are not 32bit compatible.

It is therefore offered with absolutely No Warranty or guarantee as to Fitness for Purpose. There is no reason to believe that any of this could in any way harm your computer but because of its age you use it entirely at your own risk and APDL accepts absolutely no responsibility for any consequences of its use.

People no longer buy floppy discs of PD software but the APDL library still exists and contains a huge collection of programs and other material, much of which was not (and is still not) available from other sources. A lot of this can be found on the APDL PD-1, PD-2 and DTP CDs. But for those who don't want a complete CD or who have older RISC OS computers without CD ROM drives or who are running emulators which can't access a CD drive we have decided to make the entire library available for everyone. Nearly two and a half thousand discs for you to download.

Each 'disc' is supplied as a zip file which contains the contents of the original library disc. Most of this material was compressed using ArcFS, and this is retained, so the zip files will usually contain mainly ArcFS archives. Most discs originally included a copy of the read-only version of !ArcFS but this has been removed to reduce download size. ArcFS archives can be opened using !SparkFS or you can download a copy of the read-only !ArcFS.

The copies of !SparkFS and !ArcFS are supplied as self extracting .bin files. You will need to change the filetype from bin to 'Absolute' from within RISC OS. Click Menu (centre mouse button) over the top of the .bin file. The filer menu will then open. Go past the File 'xxx.bin' (where xxx depends on the name of the .bin file) and move down and over the Set Type. Finally type the word 'Absolute' in the Set Type box. If you do it correctly the icon of the file will change. Now double click on the new absolute file to start the self extraction.


Although this material is loosely labelled Public Domain only a very small part of it actually is. By far the majority should more properly be called Freeware. This means it can be used and (usually) copied by anyone but that the author actually retains copyright. Also many programs (and most of the clip art) were only licensed to be distributed by certain named libraries, so although it can be distributed by APDL circulation by other persons or organisations may be a breach of the author's copyright.

APDL claims no copyright over most of this material, but what we do own are the compilations (that is, the 'discs'), the descriptions and the catalogues. This represents many thousands of hours of work spread over many years. We are now doing even more work to make it all freely available to anyone, but on the understanding that it will not be copied wholesale. If we find this archive being mirrored or otherwise exploited we will take action to prevent this. If these actions continue then we may remove the whole library.

So if you are a RISC OS enthusiast you are welcome to browse, download and enjoy this material for your personal use. However please don't abuse it or it may vanish forever.

David Holden 8/5/2008

The catalogues

The catalogue is divided into a number of sections. Some of these are no longer relevant, but the main ones are shown below. Each section is a text file which describes the various discs and with it a link or links to the page where you can download the discs described in the catalogue.


This Web site was hand coded by the Friends of David Holden.
All contents are © The estate of David Holden and/or Aaron Timbrell & David Bradforth 2014
Graphics constructed using DrawWorks Millennium
Last updated 18/5/15