RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Welcome to yet another action packed RISCWorld. You know I can do this editor thing if I try, luckily I usually get off track quite quickly, which means my editorials aren't really just editorials, just streams of unconsciousness. Anyway having just read Dave Bradforths open letter to the powers that be I think that I might have come up with a nice neat workable solution to the RISCOS Ltd vs Castle Technology Ltd debate.

Aarons Solution

What the hell is wrong with the status quo?

Yes, it's that simple. Let RISCOS Ltd develop their version of RISC OS in the way they see fit, and licence it to those that produce RISC OS Kit under their existing licence. At the same time allow Castle to develop their version of RISC OS for the Iyonix and for other projects as well as be allowed to licence it out under their purchase agreement with Pace. Both companies own their own versions of RISC OS, and both companies have paid substantial amounts of money for certain rights to RISC OS. My understanding is that under the contracts that currently exist each company is excluded from certain markets that have been purchased by the other. For example RISCOS Ltd does not have the right to develop set top boxes and some other devices, as Element 14, then Pace and finally Castle have those rights. Both companies should be allowed to exploit RISC OS in the markets they have paid for.

I have heard that Castle claims to own RISC OS "lock, stock and barrel." Well Castle can only own what Pace had to sell. Certain rights to RISC OS had already been sold before Pace took over, and not just to RISCOS Ltd either. To draw a simple analogy it's like buying a house with several sitting tenants. If you're sensible you can get enough rent out of them to pay the mortgage and make the building self sustaining. If on the other hand you try an evict any tenant you are liable to find yourself with a major problem.

I have been told by a couple of sources that what Castle really wants to do is develop a business model based on licensing technology (much like ARM), in which case it makes sense to licence RISC OS as widely as possible. So why not stop messing about and lets all get on with selling and promoting RISC OS based solutions. If what I have been told is true and Castle do want to develop a licensing based model then they had better understand that in order to do this you actually have to licence things out. They already have one big customer inside the traditional RISC OS desktop market, RISCOS Ltd, so lets all stop trying to re-write what already exists and get on with selling RISC OS as far and wide as possible. After all, for every copy of RISC OS sold Castle gets a royalty payment, so the more copies that are sold the more Castle get paid.

Editors Rant of the month

The following is about the vehicular faith, not specifically about computing.

I recently purchased yet another vehicle, only instead of the usual round of local papers, AutoTrader and AdTrader phone calls I purchased one on eBay. The vehicle in question was a 1973 Beetle, it was described as being in good condition, I queried what the underneath was like and was told that it was "sound as a pound." Bidding ended at just over £1000 and as the seller was close he said he would be able to deliver it. And on Saturday morning this is what he indeed did.

As an aside the reason I was buying a Beetle was that I had sold my kit car on eBay, to a nice chap from Germany, who flew over, paid cash, stayed for a chat and then drove the car away, to Germany. He left at about half three on Friday afternoon and got home at 9am on Saturday morning. I know this as I e-mailed him to make sure he had got back OK. He knew what faults the kit car had as I listed them and was very happy when he arrived and saw it.

Anyway I should have realised that the seller of the Beetle was a bit on the dim side when he couldn't find our house. Turnberry has 90 or so houses and no 86 is second up on the right, with a VW Camper parked on the drive. It's the only VW Camper in Turnberry, but Hayley and I watched merrily from our front window as the Beetle drove up and down the road. In the end I walked down the road to find him.

At a quick glance the Beetle was pretty much as described with a few minor rust patches on the outside but nothing serious and looked really quite good. So whilst Hayley made the Beetle owner and his return home driver a coffee I stuck my head underneath. Whoops. Although the car had indeed had new floor pan halves as described all the rest of the body rust hadn't been removed and with a deft prod of my finger I was able to punch a hole in the inner rear wheel arch right through to the base of the rear seat. After a few seconds I was able to pull out an entire body mount from the rusty hole. Well that's it, I'm not buying it as it's not as described.

Now this seemed to cause a problem. I explained that I had specifically asked about rust and been told there were a few minor patches. A fist sized hole within 18 inches of the suspension was not "minor". "But it's got an MOT" was the reply. So what? It shouldn't have as the rot was so far advanced that it would have been clearly visible a few months earlier. I also checked the other side of the car and found that it was exactly the same, only worse. This then caused a 20 minute argument with me explaining that I wasn't buying it as it wasn't as described, whilst the two idiots said rust didn't matter. In the end I got rather annoyed with them, gave them 10 quid for return petrol and threw them out of the house.

So what's the moral of the story. Firstly if you are selling something make sure you know what you are selling and that you describe it accurately. Don't just assume its OK before selling it, check it first. If it is knackered say so, don't hope you will be able to get away with passing on a lemon as 99% of the time you won't. As for buying something, well the same applies, check first, which I should have done. I assumed the seller had genuinely described the car and that was my mistake. If I had handed over the money and only discovered the rust later then it would have been too late. So know what you are selling and know what you are buying then things will go smoothly. If you don't know what you are selling or buying things can go badly wrong and someone will end up disappointed.

Printing RISC World

The new look of RISC World means that you will no longer get the yellow background when printing articles from RISCWorld. 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 RISCWorld 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