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The latest news from the RISC OS world

RISCOS Ltd and Castle Technology Ltd

RISCOS Ltd and Castle Technology Ltd announce new cooperative Agreement on future RISC OS Development

Castle Technology Ltd and RISCOS Ltd are delighted to announce that late on Friday 15th October they concluded negotiations on a new Licence Agreement that ensures a bright future for all areas of RISC OS development.

The new licence ensures that both RISC OS 4 and RISC OS 5 will be merged together, as soon as practically possible and that clear areas of responsibility have been established ensuring that duplication of effort is minimised.

Paul Middleton Managing Director of RISC OS Ltd said "I'm sure that all the RISC OS users who have waited for the availability of the Select Desktop experience will be delighted to know that they can expect to enjoy it on many more platforms, such as the IYONIX pc, next year."

Jack Lillingston Managing Director of Castle said "This is fantastic news for all parties concerned and I know that this sets sound foundations for a bright new future of RISC OS. Castle will continue with the IYONIX pc and other desktop products, whilst Tematic (a trading division of Castle) will focus its activities on the embedded sector. This means that more and more devices using RISC OS will become available around the world."

John Ballance, Technical Director of Castle Technology explained that "merging the two versions of RISC OS together makes very good sense. This means a set of standard APIs for RISC OS and this will be of great benefit to RISC OS developers."

Mike Glover of Icon Technology, who chaired the discussions, pointed out that "this solution ensures that RISC OS 4 will continue to be available for the foreseeable future and that all RISC OS hardware and software developers will continue to supply their products."

All RISC OS users are warmly invited to attend the Guildford RISC OS Show on Saturday 23rd October in order to talk to everyone concerned with this fantastic new development.

More information from:

Paul Middleton
RISCOS Ltd
Tel: 02920 464020

Jack Lillingston
Castle Technology Ltd
Tel: 01728 723200

Advantage Six announce the A9 series

Advantage Six are pleased to announce their A9 series of RISC OS computers. Building on the A75 range, the A9 series offer increased functionality and speed, at reduced power consumption, whilst retaining the diminutive dimensions of our other industrial controllers.

The A9 series feature a range of ARM9 processors, with a choice of OEM options available. The A9 is the first machine to demonstrate the latest version of RISC OS (Embedded Adjust-32) from RISCOS Ltd. Embedded Adjust-32 enables custom applications to run in a RISC OS environment on ARM processors which have a 32-bit program counter (eg ARM9, ARM10). When available, the full retail Select-32 operating system will be compatible with the A9.

A9 variants suitable for running Linux applications are also available. The A9 may be supplied to OEM customers in a number of configurations. Some example base configurations are:

  • A9RM - Half-width 1U rack mountable ruggedised case (1.75" x 8.5" x 10").
  • A9Loc - Wall/Bulkhead-mountable unit with integral 8.4" TFT touchscreen, GPS and GSM/GPRS.

Pricing is dependant on configuration, options and quantity. The A9 is available to qualified OEM customers direct from Advantage Six. Contact thea9@advantagesix.com for further information.

A retail version of the A9 will be available in due course and an announcement will be made when the third party distributor has them in stock.

Commenting on the release of the A9, Matt Edgar of Advantage Six said "It's been a challenging year, and we're extremely excited to see everyone's efforts and hard work finally reified." Paul Middleton, Managing Director of RISCOS Ltd, commented that "The development of a 32-bit version of RISC OS 4.39 (RISC OS Adjust) opens up many new possibilities for 32-bit only computer users to enjoy the RISC OS Select environment. Embedded versions of RISC OS 4 have exactly the same potential features as the full desktop versions but leave the choice of which features are to be included to the manufacturer, dependant on the end application and target cost."

Contact: Advantage Six Ltd
PO Box 183
OLDHAM
OL2 8FB
UK UK Tel: +44 (0)1706 848 600
UK Fax: +44 (0)870 164 1604
US Tel: +1 360-227-5447
www.advantagesix.com

Christmas Special Offer from RISCOS Ltd

RISCOS Ltd has avoided making Christmas Offers in previous years but this year we are breaking away from our scrooge image with a special offer between now and 7th January 2005.

We want everyone to enjoy the latest version of RISC OS, so here's our bit of Christmas cheer.

Buy a RISC OS 4.39 (Adjust) ROM image and get a years subscription to the Select scheme for just 35 extra. The normal price of Select is 99 for Foundation members, or 155 if you are joining Select for the first time so this is a saving of up to 120.

N.B This offer is only valid for purchasers who are NOT already subscribers to the Select scheme and is only for subscription to the standard Select scheme. It does not cover subscriptions to the Select 32 scheme.

The price for the Adjust ROM is 130 for users who upgrade from RISC OS 3.X and 115 for users who are upgrading from RISC OS 4.0X.

The total price for RISC OS 4.39 with a years Select subscription is therefore 165 for users who upgrade from 3.X and 150 for users who upgrade from 4.0x.

To claim the extra discount for upgrades from RISC OS 4.0X you must supply the RISC OS 4 ROM serial number. There is also a further discount on the above prices if you return your RISC OS 4.02 ROM set.

RISC OS Adjust ROMs are suitable for Risc PC and A7000 computers. They may also be suitable for MicroDigital and RiscStation computers but we cannot guarantee this.

For further details contact:

Paul Middleton
Managing Director
RISCOS Ltd

Geminus

The team behind Aemulor, Aemulor Pro and Cino are pleased to announce their latest project : Geminus - a multiple-screen driver for the IYONIX pc. It allows several PCI graphics cards to be installed (up to the maximum number of free PCI slots-3 in current models) and your desktop can be split across several screens in various configurations.

Features:

  • provides screen modes which span multiple graphics cards, allowing the desktop to be used across two or more screens
  • supports up to 8 screens (Note: only 3 PCI slots are available for graphics cards in current IYONIX pcs.)
  • screens can be arranged in any configuration (left to right horizontally, right to left horizontally, vertically..)
  • each screen image can be rotated 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise, allowing rotatable LCD panels to be used in portrait mode; great for DTP!
  • An API allows applications to create their own display surfaces (the desktop is just one display surface) and thus claim screens for their own, exclusive use, either drawing to them directly or via the OS VDU drivers.

For example, Cino can take over the second screen for DVD playback, whilst the desktop is displayed in the first screen.

Geminus makes full use of the hardware acceleration already available in RISC OS 5 on all screens, plus a hardware DMA channel to improve scrolling and copying performance between screens

A graphical Configuration plug-in allows you to define your own large screen modes, specifying the screen positions and, optionally, rotations for each mode.

Future Developments

Geminus doesn't just end there. We have a host of exciting features planned for the product, which will be made available in different "flavours" depending on which features you require.

  • R/B-swapping in software, allowing the use of other graphics cards which have not or cannot have their Red and Blue signals crossed-over (as per Castle's supplied NVidia cards), eg. digital DVI outputs.
  • low-colour modes (code to be migrated from Aemulor Pro into the Geminus module, allowing each physical screen to be used in any display depth, whatever its actual capabilities).
  • Geminus is ideally placed to further accelerate desktop operations such as sprite plotting and window redrawing.

Some early prototype code has already proved that the plotting of texture backgrounds in particular can be greatly speeded up, leading to a noticeably slicker desktop.

Constraints

The widths of the individual screens within a multi-screen mode are restricted slightly, as shown below:

  • 16 million colours width must be a multiple of 256 pixels
  • 32 thousand colours width must be a multiple of 512 pixels
  • 256 colours width must be a multiple of 1024 pixels

So all standard modes are available in 16 million colours (eg. 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1536 x 1152, 2048 x 1536).

A couple of example desktop modes available with 2 CRT monitors side-by-side : 2560 x 1024 x 16 million colours or 4096 x 1536 x 16 million colours!!

The first public showing of Geminus will be at the Guildford RISC OS show today, where we will also be selling second PCI graphics cards suitable for installing into the IYONIX pc, and a range of LCD monitors at fantastic prices.

We anticipate Geminus will be available for purchase 3-4 weeks after the show as much of the code is already complete. Pricing for the multi-screen version of Geminus will be 25UKP+vat.

Modified (R/B swapped) PCI graphics cards are available at 50UKP+vat. Upon release, we will be offering various bundles of Geminus, PCI cards and LCD monitors at discounted prices.

More details from www.spellings.net.

RiscCAD the Buck stops here

APDL have kindly allowed me to take over the development, sales and marketing of RiscCAD. May I take this opportunity to thank APDL for their efforts in the last few years in promoting RiscCAD.

RiscCAD is a highly capable and fast 2D CAD package for RISC OS. I am not yet sure what I will do with the software, but I will support existing users who have any queries.

If anyone has any questions, please get in touch at david.buck@freeuk.com.

And finally....

Castle Technology

Castle are running yet another "Get a free LCD monitor when you buy an Iyonix" offer. This is marked as a "Special Christmas offer", rather amusingly if you go to the Iyonix website the text says that the Iyonix is "...the top choice this spring." Have Castle really been running these monitor offers since spring? Right guys, why not just slash the price of the Iyonix and forget the cheapo free monitor?

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