Aaron's final Foundation RISCWorld words...
Normally the final article of the final issue of a volume would see me appealing (I don't think so - DH) for money (Ah - DH). However you won't find any such appeal this time. Why? Simple because after nine years and 55 issues we have taken the reluctant decision to cease publication of Foundation RISCWorld. This issue will be the final one.
This may come as a surprise, but I did make a prediction last issue that at least one RISC OS magazine would cease publication, and it's this one. So at least I can claim one bonus point for accuracy. However nonsense aside why have we taken this decision? There are a number of factors involved and it's not been a decision that's been taken lightly. Of the fifty five issues of Foundation RISCWorld I have edited all but the first three. Editing a magazine is not an easy task, just ask anyone who has tried it. Each issue contains roughly 20 articles, these vary in size from a few hundred words upwards. Lets say an average of 1000 words per article, that's 1000x20, or 20,000 words an issue. Making 120,000 words a volume. Although in one particular case an issue was nearly 120,000 words on it's own, but lets not let the facts get in the way of the math. If you add this up across the 52 issues that I have edited then the total is well over one million words, that equals a lot of spelling mistakes.
Each issue takes, on average, three weeks of editorial time to assemble. This time includes writing my own articles, editing other submissions and laying out the HTML. This doesn't include time spent on research, updating the Foundation RISCWorld website, chasing up authors for copy, commissioning articles plus all the other little jobs that need doing. As such I am constantly working on the magazine even outside the three weeks that I allocate every other month. In terms of content I am often working on 3 issues at once. The one that's due for publication in the current month, the one for two months later and often I am making notes for the issue after that which will be six months away.
You might well ask why if I have been doing this for the last nine years can't I continue? Well, you asked...
As some readers know my health isn't great and over the last couple of years I've found editing the magazine increasingly difficult. The amount of time I can spend working has now become limited, with the result that I can't carry on doing all the jobs that I am contracted to do. Something has got to give. I've restructured my time on several occasions and cut down various parts of my work load. If I hadn't then Foundation RISCWorld would have disappeared a couple of years ago. As it stands it takes longer to edit each issue than the time I have available. The result has been that other projects I want to work on have had to go on the back burner.
In addition both Dave Holden and myself are heartily sick of the abuse directed at us from some sections of the RISC OS "community". Both of us have worked incredibly hard to keep RISC OS afloat over the years and to constantly be attacked by some "RISC OS users" wears one down over time. Despite the best efforts RISC OS still seems to be polarized around 2 camps. It's ridiculous. Fighting each other will only end one way, with everyone dead. Attempts to reconcile the situation always get sabotaged sooner or later. So, frankly, stuff it. We are both going to carry on doing our own things. Life is too short to try and convince idiots who don't rely on RISC OS to stop shouting and start thinking.
Ceasing publication of Foundation RISCWorld means that I will have more time to work on VirtualAcorn and some of my other non RISC OS projects. There's a lot of stuff that I haven't had time to do and when you can only work for a few hours a day, rather than the 12+ hours I used to work, it's a bit annoying not being able to find the time to work on things. Now I will be able to.
One other question you might ask, is why can't someone else take over as editor? Simply put, we can't find anyone who has the time or is prepared to make the long term commitment required. We have been quietly asking around for some time with no real joy. A couple of people did seem to be interested, until they discovered the amount of work involved, then their interest seemingly evaporated. So it's time to close down Foundation RISCWorld. I could try and carry on, but the quality of the magazine would suffer and we don't want that to happen. It's better to go out on a high than suffer a long decline.
The final Foundation RISCWorld CD and DVD
Normally in the final issue of a volume you will find a slip with a renewal offer and the option to purchase the updated Foundation RISCWorld DVD or the "Just the Words" CD for a discounted price. As there will no no more issues we haven't included a slip this time. Instead we have placed a special subscribers area on the Foundation RISCWorld website.
This special area is protected and you will need to login using the following details:
Username : subscriber
These are case sensitive, so make sure you type them correctly or you won't get in. As a subscriber to volume 9 of Foundation RISCWorld you will be able to purchase the final versions of "Just the Words" and the full Foundation RISCWorld DVD for half price:
Foundation RISCWorld DVD subscriber price £14.90 (normally £29.90)
All details will be checked against the subscriber database, so any non subscribers trying to take advantage of this offer will be out of luck.
A few final words
On an almost final note both Dave and myself want to thanks all of the authors who have contributed to the magazine over the last 9 years. The list is too long to name everyone, but you know who you are and you all have our thanks.
So there you have it, this is the last paragraph of the last ever issue of Foundation RISCWorld. Perhaps I should end it with some deeply meaningful insight into RISC OS? But then again, perhaps not, someone would be bound to argue about it...