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RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:52, 6/5/2017 | , ,
 


 
As ROOL had hinted in the run-up to the show, Wakefield 2017 saw the long-awaited release of RC15.
 
RC15 (RC stands for release candidate) was the official release of RISC OS to run on the Raspberry Pi 3. All the issues found in RC14 have been fixed and this version is now considered stable and reliable to run. RC14 was actually fairly good but several 3rd party applications (which are shipped with RISC OS) did not. There are actually a lot of changes in RC15 (it is an ePic release) which you can read on the changelog.
 
It is still RISC OS 5.23 (so officially no new features) but it has needed a lot of changes to make it run on the latest version of the Raspberry Pi. The hardware used has changed significantly in this new model and this required some updates to the code to make it work correctly. In particular, it uses a different ARM chip (Cortex-A53) which no longer allows some 'old' ways of doing things. This does not effect BASIC code, and C code needs a recompile. ARM code is more messy as it needs to be updated if it still uses these old methods. Otherwise the software will crash. And much RISC OS software is still written in ARM assembly code. We have been playing this catch-up game for many years (remember moving to 32bit for the same reason).
 
The release is important because it once again means RISC OS can run on the whole range of Raspberry Pi machines.
 
Setting up RISC OS on the RaspberryPi 3 is a bit of an anti-climax... I plugged the SD card in, switched on and it all booted straight into the RISC OS desktop. It even autamatically setup my a network connection for me. A quick screen resolution change, and I was up and running....
 
RISC OS is available for the Raspberry Pi in 3 ways:-
1. You can download the SD card image and copy it onto your own SSD card for free from ROOL.
2. You can buy an SD card already setup from the ROOL store.
3. You can buy an SD card containing both RISC OS and all the software on the Nut Pi together on an extra large, superfast SD card from the ROOL store.
 
RISC OS does not really make much use of the extra features so it is not worth upgrading to a Raspberry Pi 3 for a faster RISC OS experience. Where you will see a real benefit is in running other Operating Systems (which can make use of the 64bit chip and multi-threading). This is the first Raspberry Pi which I feel runs Raspbian (the office Linux release) well enough for my personal real, everyday usage. I actually have my Raspberry Pi 3 mostly setup as a Linux machine to use as a web browser (it now includes Chrome) and run Open Office (easily accessed from my RISC OS machines using VNC).
 
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing phenomenon and it is great to see our favourite OS available for all the versions and providing a really cheap entry point for RISC OS and a whole new generation with the chance to try RISC OS.
 
ROOL official announcement
 
Raspberry Pi website
 


 
4 comments in the forums

A fresh look at the Desktop Development Environment Manuals

Posted by Mark Stephens on 10:28, 1/2/2017 | , , ,
 
TheDesktop Development Environment manual is the essential documentation to make the most of the Desktop Development Environment. Both have been adopted and are now updated by RISC OS Open. The manuals come free with the DDE and are also available to buy in printed manual form.
 
The first edition of the manuals was produced in 1994 and it has been revised several times. As you would expect from professional developers, RISC OS Open includes a changelog so you can see what exact changes have been made. Last major update was in 2015. The manuals have also been rebranded with the RISC OS Open cog logo and company name.
 
There are 3 manuals in the set.
 
The Desktop Tools manual (329 pages) covers all the tools in the DDE (Make, Squeeze, SrcEdit, ABC, etc). There is a nice introductory section at the start telling you how to setup and start using the tools.
 
There are lots of screenshots to show the features in action. It should not be regarded as a tutorial but there is lots of material on using them. The Desktop Debugging tool includes 60 pages explaining how to use it.
 
The last 100 pages are Appendices which cover a summary of changes added over the years and information which you would need to use the tools (Library file formats, alignment details, file syntax,etc).
 
The Acorn Assembler manual (159 pages) shows you how to use ObjAsm. It includes some details on ARM Assembler instructions but it is not a tutorial (it does include some good further reading suggestions for you to learn ARM code). The focus is on using the tool and its features (ie labels, macros compilation). There are also some short chapters on writing RISC OS modules and interacting with C.
 
The Acorn C/C++ manual (438 pages) provides provides detailed coverage of the C and C++ language features supported by the Compiler (as well as the libraries) and some useful details and tips on writing RISC OS applications from C or C++. The languages are cleanly separated out so you only want to write C, it is easy to skip the non-relevent items. Again it is not a tutorial on coding, but a detailed summary of all the details you need to develop code.
 
All three manuals include an index at the back to help you to navigate as well as very detailed section descriptions at the start and a clear structure.
 
All three books are part of the DDE or available in a printed version (discounts for registered developers). The printed package makes a fairly bulky doorstop (and a great table stand for my MacBookPro!). I also find that it is the sort of programming content which I like to read and reread offscreen.
 
Further details on the DeskTop Tools Manual can be purchased from RISC OS Open website or they usually have some copies as Show events. Maybe something to check out at the South West Show later this month.
 
If you are looking to write software, you should also consider the Style Guide which tells you how the software should look and act to fit into RISC OS nicely.
 
Comment in the forums

ROOL updates RISC OS development toolset to release 27

Posted by Mark Stephens on 10:07, 15/1/2017 | ,
 
DDE (the Collection of tools for developing software in Basic, C and Assembly) has been updated to release 27. If you have a DDE26, you should receive an email telling you that you are eligible for a free update. Developers with older releases can upgrade for 25 pounds.
 
The update includes changes to multiple tools, so ROOL provides a complete new release to replace your existing DDE26 release (simply deleted and use the new version).
 
The headline of the update is to bring the tools in line with Zero Page relocation. The software will now run correctly on a ZPP enabled RISC OS system and all the tools and libraries have been updated to work with ZPP.
 
As an additional bonus, the Basic Compiler (!ABC compiler) has seen some upgrades with fixes, long lost examples now back again and a new manual.
 
In the email, ROOL also draw developers attention to their technical development notes for builds and reminds us that !Make is now really a legacy option.
 
The full announcement is here
 
If you are not currently a registered developer and interested in writing software for RISC OS, it is also well worth signing up for the discounts and announcements.
 
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Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show the day before London show

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 19:30, 23/10/2015 | , , ,
 
In a surprise announcement, ROOL have revealed the existence of "Titanium", a new RISC OS machine based around a dual-core Cortex-A15 SoC. No - it's not CJE's dual-core Cortex A15 IGEPv5 machine - it's an entirely new board design produced by Elesar Limited, and utilising TI's 1.5GHz AM5728 (a cousin of the also-1.5GHz TI OMAP5 used in the IGEPv5). And unlike the IGEPv5 or the Wandboard (as used in R-Comp's ARMX6), which are technically meant to be for embedded or developer/prototyping markets, the Titanium board seems to be aimed squarely at the desktop PC and server markets - it utilises the standard ATX form factor and power connector, has dual DVI video output, dual gigabit Ethernet, four SATA ports, eight USB 2 ports, and even two PCI-E slots.
 
It's unclear exactly how much of the hardware is currently working under RISC OS, apart from SATA, which is called out as using a new version of ADFS developed by Piccolo Systems (previously known for the RISC OS 5 SDFS driver and related disc management utilities). However with the machine launch expected to be only a few weeks away, and with pre-production units being on display at the London Show tomorrow, expect to see much more information about the new machine appear over the next few days.
 
The Titanium board is available to pre-order now through Elesar's website (with choice of RISC OS or Linux as the OS) - however that will only get your the bare board. Users are encouraged to wait for news from CJE and R-Comp, who are both on board with the project (if you pardon my pun) and will be announcing their own plans for fully cased consumer units within the near future (quite possibly at the London Show tomorrow).
 
Also, have we mentioned that it's the London Show tomorrow?
 
6 comments in the forums

ROUGOL & London Show news

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 18:15, 13/9/2015 | , , ,
 
Bryan Hogan of ROUGOL has got in touch to let us know the details of some upcoming events.

RISC OS Open at this month's ROUGOL meeting - Monday 21st September

First up is news that Rob Sprowson will at this month's ROUGOL meeting, talking about all the things that ROOL have been up to recently, and some of their plans for the future. The meeting is due to start at 7:45 PM at the groups usual hangout of the Blue Eyed Maid pub in London SE1. Admittance is free.
 
For more details of the event and venue, make sure to check out the ROUGOL website.

RISC OS London Show 2015 - Saturday 24th October

The second bit of news is that this years London Show is due to take place on the 24th of October, at the usual location of the St. Giles Hotel in Feltham. The show runs from 11 AM to 5 PM, with tickets being £5 at the door (and under-16's free). Details of the theatre presentations are yet to be announced, but so far there are 25 exhibitors confirmed as taking part, and the list is still growing. Highlights this year are likely to be:

Remember to check the show website for all the latest details.
 
4 comments in the forums

Aemulor/Spellings.net account details posted online

Posted by Andrew Poole on 18:08, 1/5/2015 | , , ,
 
According to an email sent out by Neil Spellings this evening, the usernames and hashed passwords of all registered users on the old aemulor.com and newer buyit.Spellings.net websites have been posted online.
 
The leak, which contains just under 1200 email address and password hash combinations, appears to have been obtained through an SQL injection attack on some "very old" PHP code from the original aemulor web store and was posted to the Pastebin website on Thursday evening (29 April).
 
People who have accounts with the Spellings.net website are advised to change their password and also change the password on other sites that they use the same password on.
 
You can view the full email sent to registered users of the Aemulor/Spellings websites by clicking here.
 
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Portsmouth show reminder

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 21:30, 22/9/2013 | , ,
 
This is a quick reminder to say that RISC OS Open's free Portsmouth show is next Saturday, the 28th of September. The show takes place at Innovation Warehouse Portsmouth, between 11am and 5pm.
 
ROOL recently announced that the list of exhibitors will include:For more information, be sure to check out the announcement on the ROOL website.
 
2 comments in the forums

RISC OS 5.20 released, free Portsmouth show in planning

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 20:15, 30/7/2013 | , , , ,
 

RISC OS 5.20 released

First seen at the recent Midlands show, RISC OS Open Limited have now officially released RISC OS 5.20 into the world. This stable release of the operating system is available for the Iyonix, ARMini/BeagleBoard, and for the first time for RISC OS 5, RiscPC and A7000/A7000+ IOMD-based machines, including Kinetic RiscPCs. In addition, a stable version of the base hard disc image is now available as well. All users of RISC OS 5.20 are required to at least upgrade to the new version of !Boot as the 5.1x era !Boot will refuse to run on the newer OS.
 
There are far too many changes for me to attempt to cherry-pick the interesting ones to list here, so to find out what's changed between this release and the last I suggest you check out the change summaries that ROOL link to from their press release above.
 
This new release can be downloaded free of charge from the ROOL downloads page, or you can purchase physical ROMs (for IOMD machines) or installation CDs (for other machines, or for Kinetic cards with flash ROMs) from the ROOL store. And if you go down the download route, please consider donating to one of the open bounties to help reward ROOL and the RISC OS developers for all their hard work.
 
The Raspberry Pi and OMAP4 ports are yet to reach "stable" status, so are still only available in the form of (potentially) unstable development builds and (for Raspberry Pi) official beta releases available from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. In particular, the latest Raspberry Pi release, RC11, has been updated to RISC OS 5.21 and so is roughly equivalent to the stable 5.20 release that's available on other platforms.

Portsmouth show in planning

Not content with just managing the OS source code, ROOL are planning to host a free RISC OS show in Portsmouth, to be held on one of the Saturdays in September (most likely the 21st or 28th). The show is to be free to both visitors and exhibitors, but in order to make it happen ROOL need to know who can turn up and when - so whether you're a visitor or an exhibitor, please get in touch with ROOL and let them know your availability.
 

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