Foundation RISC User DVD
This release is something a bit different as it's the first DVD release for RISC OS machines, this release brings together all 16 Foundation RISC User (or FRU for short) CD-ROMs onto one DVD, it is also the first time a Foundation release is available to anyone, not just the FRU members.
FRU is a subscription based CD-ROM magazine which took over from Clan Acorn, and is produced by RISC OS Ltd. The DVD comes in a standard DVD box and is easy to run, simply put it in the drive and click on the CD icon and up will pop the filer window, then click on !RunMe and it will now load, FRU is displayed using a web browser and will work fine with any of the RISC OS browsers, it looks and behaves exactly like a website would but is much quicker bringing up the pages.
Now here comes the problem, only certain RISC OS machines can actually use this DVD because many machines can't read DVD's. To use this DVD you will need a machine with a DVD-ROM drive running either RISC OS Select or RISC OS Adjust, as these versions can actually read data DVD's, note that standard RISC OS 4 cannot read DVD's (a good reason to upgrade to Select or Adjust).
RISC OS 5 on the Iyonix cannot read DVDs either, despite being the top end RISC OS machine, the DVD was even created using an Iyonix, but you can't use it on it. I can only hope that somehow RISC OS 5 will be able to use DVD's as it will look pretty silly if it can't - RISC OS 5 needs to be able to use DVDs and hopefully Cino and/or Select on the Iyonix will solve this. Windows machines with DVD drives and Virtual Acorn can also run the without any problem as well - I successfully ran it on Virtual Acorn with RISC OS Select 3i4.
Once you have a machine which can read DVDs, you can then begin to view 5 years worth of FRU material and there is a lot of it, which is divided into a number of sections.
The first section is the Welcome section which includes the Editorial and 'From the Cutting Edge' which is a column from written by RISC OS Ltd, all the 16 editorials and 'from the cutting edges' are included here along with an introduction to the DVD.
The News section speaks for itself, it contains items of news from RISC OS Ltd, hardware partners (Castle Technology, MicroDigital, Millipede and RiscStation) and also hardware and software developments from third party developers and also information about forthcoming events.
Next up is the features section which shows all the features available about various subjects.
Clicking on a subject will take you into an article on that subject, from here you will see a bar with the numbers 1-16 on, by clicking on a number you will then see listed all the features available from that particular issue.
The Database section has information on RISC OS products available and where to get them from, the developers, who they are, and how to contact them, plus RISC OS user groups and information on RISC OS 4 authorised installers.
The forum section is a collection of all the hints & tips, help and reader feedback.
The A-Z section gives an A-Z listing of all the articles, to make finding them easier, if you are having difficulty locating one, which may be the case as there are a lot of them!
There is the Help section which gives help and information about the DVD, then there is the credits section which lists the people who were involved in bringing the 16 issues together. The final section is a software archive which contains lots of programs of all types, it's a bit like a public domain library but on a disc! The latest version of the programs are supplied, which is good if you have an older version. Of course if a new version gets released then these versions will then be out of date, but then the next issue of FRU will have the latest one version if you've missed it, anyway it serves as a useful backup for software. A useful feature of the software archive is that you can click on the program and bring it up straight away in a filer window, and then drag it straight onto your hard disc and run it.
There is no standard price for this DVD, the price you pay for it depends on how long you have been a member of the RISC OS Foundation, and whether you are a member or not of the Select scheme.
The price for non Foundation Members and Select members is £43.30, however if you are a subscriber to RISC OS Select then the cost becomes £25.00, for Foundation members the cost decreases the longer you have been a member, so for me it was 5 years at £8.05 which is a pretty good deal I think.
There are also various bundle options available for buying the FRU DVD, some with DVD drives, some with subscriptions to RISC OS Select or Adjust and/or the RISC OS Foundation, check out www.riscos.com for more details.
The RISC OS Foundation DVD is definitely worth getting for a number of reasons, it contains a massive collection of useful, informative and interesting articles, plus loads of software, it covers all aspects of RISC OS computing so there will be something for everyone, and also 1 DVD takes up less shelf space than 16 CDs!
Overall this is well worth buying, especially if you've been in the RISC OS Foundation since it started, as it can be very inexpensive. If you're not in the Foundation then it is a bit more expensive but you definitely are getting a lot for your money and is a good chance to see what you've been missing by getting the whole lot (so far) in one go.
Perhaps we'll be seeing a RISCWorld DVD as well in the future?