RISCOS Select Q+A
Pricing information has been removed from this article
Q. Do I have to take out a RISC OS Select Subscription for every machine I own?
A. NO. The scheme is a personal one and allows you to install the RISC OS Select software on any machines you own. If you are a business with more than 10 machines then a site wide subscription to Select costs ?
0 per annum. You will however have to have bought a separate RISC OS 4 ROM upgrade for each machine you own, in the first place before joining the Select Scheme. Discounts are available for bulk purchases of RISC OS 4 ROM's.
Q. What new features will there be in the RISC OS Select Scheme?
A. We have many new features planned for RISC OS 4. It is not possible to state exactly when any particular new feature or update will appear since the whole idea of the Select Scheme is to make new items available as soon as possible, rather then waiting 3-4 years before releasing everything at once. By releasing a smaller number of items at a time then the testing schedule is made much easier and those people that like trying out the latest features can do so as soon as possible.
Q. I don't like the idea of softloads. I want to wait until the proper ROM release of RISC OS 4.5
A. You will unfortunately have a long wait as there will not be a "proper" ROM release. The whole idea is that there will be a rolling scheme of updates. It is possible that there might be new ROM images available every month from the web site, not just every 4 months on CD, but that will depend entirely on how long any particular item takes to develop. It was always intended that RISC OS should be able to be updated on a much more regular basis than once every couple of years. Unfortunately the problems with obtaining suitable FlashROMS made that impossible. The softload scheme now allows that to happen. We want developers and end-users to become a close part of the future development of RISC OS, and whilst it is not possible to make RISC OS Open Source as some people would like, by releasing new components as soon as possible everyone will get the chance to play their part in testing and improving RISC OS faster than has been possible in the past.
Q. Doesn't making RISC OS softloadable open it up to viruses?
A. NO. You will still have the ROM in the machine, that cannot be altered. The ROM image will only be able to load over a specific physical ROM. If a virus attempts to change the ROM image it simply won't load.
Q. Why don't you offer a Monthly payment Scheme?
A. The administration burden and costs of taking and checking monthly payments are simply too much.
Q. £xxx is just too much to become a Registered Developer now. Doesn't this mean you are trying to discourage RISC OS Developers?
A. NO. Virtually all the information that was previously only available to Registered Developers will now be available as part of the RISC OS Select Scheme. So for just over half the price of the old Registered Developer Scheme you now get updated versions of RISC OS effectively for free if you join the RISC OS Select Scheme. The new Registered Developers Scheme is purely aimed at Developers who need to have direct contact with the programming team and access to documentation on specific features that cannot be made public.
Q. £xxx per year is too much. If it was more like £xxx and we got a proper set of ROM's at the end of each year I'd be happy!
A. The maintenance and development of RISC OS is unfortunately an expensive business, and the volumes in which RISC OS is sold, simply doesn't make sense at other prices. As many people have pointed out, Acorn used to subsidize their software development from the hardware sales. Since RISCOS Ltd doesn't produce hardware we don't have that luxury. As regards supplying proper ROM's the problem is the cost and availability of ROM's. At present Masked ROM's (as originally supplied with RISC OS 3 machines) are on 16 - 20 weeks lead time. With Beta testing time added to that schedule it would mean that there would be over 9 months between code being released and it actually reaching end users. Under the RISC OS Select Scheme we can cut that cycle down to less than 2 weeks. The cost of the ROM's is also nearly £xx and hence there would be little money left to actually fund the development of RISC OS if we only sold it for £xx and gave away ROM sets as well.
Q. In that case why don't you use Flash ROM's?
A. Unfortunately suitable Flash ROM's are not available.
Q. Exactly what new features are planned for the RISC OS Select Scheme?
A. We have taken the results of the recent survey and questionnaires over the past year and at present the following is the features that are in the current RISC OS Select ROM image under development:
Planned RISC OS Select Features
- New version of CDFS with support for RockRidge extensions, Joliet and mixed mode disc reading.
? Filer has been improved with :
- indication of shared discs via file icons,
- refresh option for filer displays,
- numeric sorting of names,
- lowercasifying option,
- optional alternate renaming method,
- create new directory by click on menu entry,
- sharing of directories made simpler,
- easier entry of filenames with spaces - i.e. you can now just type in a filename entry rather than .
- Updates to !ChangeFSI and !Paint to allow importing of PNG files.
- JPEG export from !Paint
- System application support for the Universal Clipboard system allowing cutting and pasting between compliant applications.
- New version of !Printers with support for networked printer drivers.
- Startup choices to allow user to choose boot device so that booting is possible from CD-ROM, network or hard disc.
- LanManFS in ROM along with new Internet stack with BootP and DHCP support and updated ShareFS. This will also work with the Appletalk client module which will be available shortly.
- ROM images larger than 4MB to support everything being in ROM for machines than may require to boot without a hard disc.
- New configuration applications for fonts, replay, screensetup and filer.
- Miscellaneous improvements to kernel
- !Bugz application for easy reporting of faults.
- ADFSfiler quick format
- Improved speed of booting over ShareFS
- New integrated CDPlayer and CDFS Filer
- Graduated Pinboard backdrop
- Multi-user choices
- GZip support in !Squash
- Improved internet configuration And many other features that are of interest to programmers such as :-
- Filer has improved error handling
- Improved DeviceFS/BufferManager interaction
- FileSwitch with Enumerate file handles Fix for upcall on rename in an image filing system
- !Impression second-ROM bank access fix (would crash on click)
- Wimp EdgeNotify message
- Wimp copes with long CLIs to StartTask
- Shared ZLib and PNG support.
- Programmers Zip file handling
- ShareFS now supports EOF
- MimeMap has reduced processesing impact caching of matches to improve efficiency
- SpriteExtend : fixes for 1:2 sampled JPEGs rendering speed improvements Exif support
- Improved JPEG compression support
- ClipboardHolder module provides a persistent clipboard
- Freeway fix for S_0 bug
- Fix for HeapSort failing near the end of a page
- All Obey files are now cached. This means that you CANNOT use *Obey Pipe:Gunge if the file is already open.
- PipeFS speed improvements
- Taskwindow speed improvements for Upcall handling
- Sound service handling for external hardware
NB. All the above items are beta releases and may not necessarily be included in the first RISC OS Select ROM release. Further details and illustrative screen shots will appear on the Select Web Site shortly.
Return to section Index