Managing Director Paul Middleton said "In the two years since we took over the development of the desktop version of RISC OS there have been major changes in the RISC OS marketplace. RISCOS Ltd is adapting to those changes and RISC OS Select is the first result of those changes."
26 bit versions of RISC OS under the project name of RISC OS 4.5 will in future be supplied on a yearly subscription basis.
This is similar to the way that yearly maintenance and upgrade schemes are provided for other major software packages. From now on RISC OS will be updated on a rolling basis, instead of releasing a major upgrade every couple of years.
The subscription scheme will be called RISC OS Select.
The advantage of the scheme is that the timescale for fixing bugs and offering new features will be significantly decreased.
Future components of RISC OS will be released in two formats:-
1. ROM images which can be softloaded to replace the existing physical ROM's
2. Individual modules that can be loaded as part of the Boot sequence.
The new ROM image and modules can be stored on local Hard Disc, on a Network, or loaded directly from CD.
Part of the new ROM image boot sequence will provide the option to choose which medium you wish to boot from, so that you may for example wish to keep a backup of your usual Boot sequence on CDR and then install the new RISC OS Select Boot sequence onto your main hard drive.
Subscribers to RISC OS Select will receive up to 3 CD's per year i.e one CD approximately every 4 months. The CD will contain both Beta software and official release versions. It is anticipated that components which are issued as Beta on one CD will become official releases on the next CD. Interim components will also be available from a password protected area of the new RISC OS Select Web Site. The scheme is suitable both for users who want to be sure of receiving the latest fixes & official releases and also for users who like to have the latest experimental modules & features. (Subscribers to RISC OS Select will be provided with a method whereby they can choose to just install the release components or else they can try out the latest features, knowing that they can restore to a known working set-up at any time. To do this each Select CD will contain a "safe" boot image with all the released upgrades and patches pre-installed as a working disc image.)
N.B. Users will have to initially purchase RISC OS 4 in ROM either as an upgrade from RISC OS 3.5/6/7 or else as an integral part of a new computer. It will NOT be possible to softload RISC OS Select packages onto anything other than RISC OS 4.
Purchasing RISC OS 4
New users will be have three choices when purchasing RISC OS 4 in the future.
i) To join the RISC OS Select Scheme for £179. For this they will receive the current full RISC OS 4 package and a one year subscription to the Select Scheme. or
ii) To buy the current RISC OS 4.02 ROM and installation CD for the special new reduced price of £95. (This will NOT include any bundled applications, such as Vector, Writer, ImageFS or the new RISC OS Internet Suite) or
iii) Buy the current full package with bundled applications and Manuals CD for the new reduced price of £109.
(Users choosing ii) or iii) will not get access to the web site or other upgrade features of RISC OS Select.)
Existing RISC OS 4 users will be able to join the Select Scheme for one year for £105 (or £99 if they are members of the Foundation.) If a new purchaser wants to upgrade to RISC OS Select they can do so for £80 instead of the normal £105. This upgrade offer will be available for up to 4 months after the purchase of RISC OS 4 at the full price. Users of machines that were supplied with RISC OS 4 will only be able to join the Select Scheme at the full price, irrespective of when they purchased their computer. NB All prices are inclusive of VAT. Overseas subscribers will be charged postage at cost if they wish to receive CD's. They may optionally choose to only receive updates via the Web Site. Application forms for the RISC OS Select Scheme are available from the RISCOS Ltd Web Site at http://www.riscos.com
Since the formation of RISCOS Ltd the demands of the current software developers have been very varied. In a recent survey of developers most of them indicated that they do not usually need much individual support. In order to provide full support to those that require it we shall be increasing the fees for Registered Developers to £500 per 6 months as from 1st June 2001. This will entitle them to direct contact with the RISC OS Development team. Developers that only need access to technical documentation will be able to do so by joining the RISC OS Select Scheme. Anyone that joins the RISC OS Select scheme may also apply to be become an affiliate Registered Developer. There will be no fee for becoming an affiliate and they will be able to use the Registered Developers logo. The Foundation RISC User CD and the RISC OS Products Database Web Site will contain a database of all Registered Developers, and their products. The only requirement for becoming an affiliate and having software included on the database will be that a fully functional version (and any subsequent updates) of the software is supplied to RISCOS Ltd for evaluation and internal use.