RISC World

SouthEast 2004

Neil White

So.. I arrived at the show around 11am, Castle were starting a theatre presentation on the DIY Iyonix kit, which I sat down and watched, after a few mins I realised that watching someone build a computer, be it an Iyonix or not, isn't all that exiting, until the final powering up, where my evil little mind was hoping it didn't work straight away, unfortunately for me it did.

So I went and did the rounds, the first stand in the door was MW Software, who looked like he had the "..the computer doesn't seem to be working at the moment, it was fine before I threw it around the boot of my car getting here" bug. He was selling updates for Art Works and was plugging a long list of new photo printer drivers.

The charity stand which was advertised as having books only no hardware had a nice collection of old CD-ROMs, floppies, modems and some software, next to which was Mr Serious Statistical Software, plugging his range of serious statistical software, he told me that he actually uses his software to monitor lots of data about global warming, so if your wondering if you should take a jacket or just stay in cos the world is about to explode, he is probably the one to ask.

Oh, it's busy

Peter Naulls and his porting project were next door with encouraging news about a RISCOS port of the Firefox web browser in the pipelines, and demonstrating Iyonix Linux which now runs X windows nicely. Alongside was Mathemagical software demonstrating their new software, Art Graph, which actually makes maths beautiful to look at, and in some cases like a dodgy 60's wall paper design. Fortran friends were were next door with some interesting cardboard models of geometric shape things and a bell ringing simulator, none of which I dare touch, just in case something terrible were to happen.

Icon technology were demonstrating EasiWriter and TechWriter, which I am assured are packed with new and exiting features such as a 32 bit Euclid module for displaying animations in documents. The ARM Club were on the next stand, so far they still have yet to suck me into there cult, sorry club. I do actually have something with ARM Club written on it, somewhere. The Archive and Living with technology magazine people were there, but we won't mention them, same as we wont be mentioning Qercus magazine.

R-comp were flogging there newest versions of Dialup and NetFetch, which now incorporates something called Hermes which is designed to support the latest security and technological requirements of email along with all there usual games and stuff.

ITC-UK had a nice selection of random hardware for sale, APDL had an excellent selection of quality RISCOS software, hardware and books all must buys, at great prices (God he's a crawler - Ed) and the VirtualRPC which was flying off the shelves, at least 25 copies were sold in the 2 mins I was playing with the Linux version (I think he's exaggerating a tad - Ed), which isn't yet available, but is looking promising.

Just for the sake of it of it I ran a PC emulator on VRPC, so that's Windows emulating RISC OS, emulating DOS, if only I'd had another emulator to run in the DOS, oh what fun. CJE were busy on their stand also selling a wide range of RISC OS goodies. alongside were the Electronic Font Foundry with a nice selection of emptiness, yes they hadn't turned up yet again.

CJE Micros

The Aemulor team were showcasing Geminus, which is an Iyonix thingy for using multiple graphics devices and monitors, a first for RISC OS. From their press release- 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. 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, well that's what the blub says, in practice it did look quite impressive.

RISC OS and Castle were taking a Q & A about the future of RISC OS, where a lot of questions about USB API's, 32bit Select, new PRM's and network issues were brushed under the carpet with a lot of mumbling about commercial viability and "we'll have to see's it's still early days" etc.. One thing that did seem to be established is that the Iyonix Select scheme will only ever be available as a soft load over RISC OS 5, not available as a new ROM set like the Adjust for Risc PC's.


RISC OS were demonstrating a new drawfile / artworks rendering system which uses some secret hardware add on and new software which can make the drawing of ArtWork / Drawfiles significantly faster, fast enough even to be faster than plotting sprites, and there is talk of replacing all the desktop furniture with vector files, similar to the way the Mac OS X desktop used pdf's.

So, rounding up, a few big things at the show, the Geminus multiple displays system for iyonix, RISC OS's new system for drawing vector files and a vector desktop in the pipe line, VirtualRPC on Linux in the pipeline and the firefox web browser somewhere in the pipeline.

Apologies for the quality of the photo's. I only had the use of a £7.99 digital camera, which is very hard to take non juddery pictures with. just think of them as action shots.

Neil White