Aaron tried to round up the debate...
Well, there we have it, and it wasn't what I asked for. To recap we asked two regular RISC World contributors, one who uses VirtualAcorn and both of whom have an Iyonix, to write a lucid well constructed argument to support their choice of the way they run RISC OS. This would hopefully help kickstart an intelligent debate to allow readers to make up their own minds with the help of experienced professional journalists. Some hope.
What was delivered to us was two badly constructed rants. Instead of explaining the benefits of their choice they both decided to simply bash the alternative, brilliant. To me the argument that A is better than B because B is rubbish doesn't carry any weight. What I want to know is why A is actually better, not why the author doesn't like B. I suppose it was a bit much to hope that both would deliver the goods as requested, but for both of them to make a mess of it was rather a surprise.
This left me with a problem, I couldn't edit the articles because I am not independent, nor would I embarrass the authors concerned by putting their names on the articles. So I was left with two choices, either dump the whole feature, or try and make something useful out of it. After a bit of a think I decided to publish the articles as is, but also write this short additional article to accompany them.
At least the articles do provide a fair representation of the views that have been expressed in various public forums over the last year or so. Why people get so polarised into one camp or another is completely beyond me. If you don't like A, or it's not suitable for your needs then don't go down that route, chose B instead. Or perhaps choose a completely different option that suits your needs. Not everyone has the same requirements and people do make different choices. The "tribal" thinking of "he choose different to me, he's wrong, lets attack him, loot his village, steal his women and his food" doesn't seem to fit in the 21st century.
So I don't actually agree with either article and I will try to explain why. Firstly emulation and real machines, well it's a bit like comparing chalk and wildebeest. I seem them as complimentary, and as far as I am concerned they serve different purposes. Let me give you a real world example, can you take your Iyonix into work and plug it into the network, no, most IT departments would run a mile. By the same token can you plug a RISC OS podule (for example for data logging) into a PC running an emulator, no. So in order to do both you need both (now I know some smart alec will pop up and say they take their Iyonix to work, good for you, well done, but you are the exception). I think having access to both is a good idea, use an emulator when its the best/only tool that will do the job and use a real machine when it is the best/only tool for the job.
The problem is simple, we have two polarised (but small) groups, one at each end of the spectrum and large number of people in the middle who see the views expressed by both camps, and are none the wiser as a result. It's a shame that both articles that were submitted to RISC World ended up with a "playground" mentality, on reading one of them I was waiting for the alternative to be called "a big lump of poo". Both alternatives have advantages and disadvantages, but why can't you simply have both?
If you do want to express an opinion about either of these articles then please send an e-mail to the editorial address and I will get the authors concerned to respond in the next issue.