RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Well it is now a couple of months since Pace announced that Castle had purchased RISC OS and....nothing seems to have happened. No big press releases, no massive promotional campaigns, in fact all I have seen is a couple of "Buy an Iyonix, get a free thingy" type promotions. I really was rather hoping that we would have had some exciting new developments with RISC OS 5 and the Iyonix by now, especially as new faster code compatible XScale processors are being released. Still Castle do have a well deserved reputation for keeping things close to their chests. Let's hope we all find out what they have in store in the next few months.

Meanwhile RISC OS Ltd seem to have been pulling out all the stops, with some more updates to RISC OS Select (as previewed in RISC World Volume 4 issue 1) as well as new toolbox modules and a host of other goodies. On a personal note I should point out that up until recently I hadn't subscribed to Select. I kept thinking about it, but then not doing it. Now I have and so far I am really rather pleased with it. I still think it is expensive, but then I do know that development costs money, and Select does show that RISC OS 4 is still being heavily developed and in very useful directions.

As I am sure most readers will have now noticed VirtualRPC-SE is now available as a stand alone product, and not just on the MicroDigital Alpha. This has kept us rather busy over the last few months but does lead neatly into this months rant....

Editors Rant of the month

As I am writing this it is one week since we announced VirtualRPC-SE, and a few days until we are going to start shipping. This is good news, in fact it is very good news. However something odd has been happening over the last week, we have been approached by a number of individuals with "business proposals". Now I don't mean the usual "help me get $25 million dollars out of Angola - signed Winston Kadogo" e-mail spam, but "genuine business proposals" from those associated with the RISC OS community in some way. These proposals take one of two forms.

The first is the "perhaps you would like to bundle some of my old software with VirtualRPC-SE and pay me a royalty per copy." Interesting, and exactly where were these people nearly two years ago when we were trying to sort out the VirtualA5000 disc build? Well in several cases they were walking in the general direction of away whilst competing in the 100 yds nonchalant dash. A lot of very supportive and helpful people did help us out with the disc build, and most of them are credited in the disc build pages supplied with VirtualA5000 and on our website (if anyone has been forgotten then I apologise). Some others simply were not interested, so we sourced the software we wanted from other authors.

Some developers wanted to collaborate with us to help promote VirtualAcorn and their own products at the same time, and we were delighted to work with them. Some dealers want to sell VirtualA5000, so we gave them a discount. Some said they wanted to help but were not in a position to do so as RISC OS 3.1 wasn't suitable, which is fair enough. In some cases we were met with a very luke warm response, and a general lack of any interest whatsoever.

Now suddenly some of these disinterested developers are sidling over and whispering "..want some software guv" in our ears. Well we did want your software two years ago, now we don't need it, sorry. In one interesting case one developer said they would match what we paid for one particular software item in the VirtualAcorn disc build. We told them what we paid. I haven't heard from them since. We have another one who was adamant that they would not sell VirtualA5000, but now seems to want to sell their own PCs with VirtualRPC-SE bundled and pre-installed. I am all for the RISC OS community helping each other, and with the best will in the world people fall out sometimes, but when people who told me to "sod off" two years ago now come knocking on my door I am less keen to help them.

The other "business proposal" has been of the "investing" kind. The idea is simple they "invest" (read lend us money) and in return get some form of "return". Now again this might have been helpful two years ago when we were trying to get VirtualAcorn off the ground. However it is now off the ground, and we don't need "investment", we have managed to get this far and fund the project ourselves. So why do we need money now? Answer we don't. One particular person suggested that he would "invest" some money in exchange for some rights over VirtualAcorn, Oh and we could pay back the money with interest as well, oh and provide him with exclusive access to some of the things we are doing. Two hopes, Bob Hope and No Hope. We could have done with the investment at the start, but it wasn't forthcoming, now we don't need it people seem to think we do. Or to put it another way, now we are about to launch VirtualRPC-SE they think they might get on the bandwagon. Well they can, if they want to do one of the following:

  • Sell their software to VirtualAcorn users
  • Bundle VirtualAcorn with their software
  • Bundle VirtualAcorn with their own hardware
  • Promote VirtualAcorn into areas that are not served by the current "real" machines

So that's how you get on the bandwagon; you promote RISC OS and VirtualAcorn and your own products. You get more copies of RISC OS in use, because the more copies that are used the more users there are to buy software. As for the next person to approach me with a "genuine business proposal", they will get told to depart the vicinity in the vernacular.

Printing RISC World

The new look of RISC World means that you will no longer get the yellow background when printing articles from RISC World. However you will still get the blue border on the left unless you turn off the printing of background images. The example below shows the print dialogue box from Fresco.


As you can see the option "No Background" is ticked. If you want to print out any of the RISC World pages and don't want to waste ink on a blue border then make sure you have clicked a similar option in your browser.

Aaron Timbrell