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*maus.computer.archimedes (German language, quiet)
*maus.computer.archimedes (German language, quiet)
These groups can be accessed using your own usenet software, or via the [http://groups.google.co.uk/groups/dir?sel=33583754&hl=en Google Groups web interface].
These groups can be accessed using your own usenet software, or via the [http://groups.google.co.uk/groups/dir?sel=33583754&hl=en Google Groups web interface].
Groups no longer extant or no longer used, but viewable in [http://groups.google.com/ Google Groups]:
*comp.sys.acorn (1990-5)
*comp.sys.acorn.tech (1992-5)
*eunet.micro.acorn (1988-92)
*fido.ger.archimedes (German language)
*maus.sys.archimedes (German language)
===I prefer online forums - are there any of those?===
===I prefer online forums - are there any of those?===

Revision as of 17:05, 3 February 2007

This is a collaboratively driven RISC OS FAQ, designed to replace the dated comp.sys.acorn.* FAQ. In this format it can be easily kept up to date by multiple contributors.

Please read the FAQ guidelines before editing this page.



What is RISC OS?

There are many summary and introduction pages to RISC OS around, but Wikipedia give one of the best overviews.

What RISC OS versions are there?

Peter Howkins provides a database of RISC OS versions, components and modules which lists major versions. However, the main versions you will see in use with current machines are:

  • RISC OS 3.5, 3.6, 3.7: RiscPC, A7000(+). StrongARM RiscPCs require at least RISC OS 3.7. 1994-98
  • RISC OS 4, RISC OS Adjust/Select: RiscPCs, A7000(+), MicroDigital Omega, MicroDigital Mico, VirtualRiscPC, RiscStation R7500+ (Lite). 1999-present
  • RISC OS Adjust 32-bit: Advantage 6 A9: 2004-present
  • RISC OS 5: Castle Iyonix. 2002-present

3.7x variants exist, especially for ARM7500-based machines, as do point versions of other versions - in particular, RISC OS 5.11 is the latest version for the Iyonix, and Adjust is also known as RISC OS 4.39.

All versions for the RiscPC apart from Select, come in a two chip ROM package. RISC OS Select is softload. For the Iyonix and some of the other machines, RISC OS exists on flash ROM.

RISC OS Hardware

What RISC OS hardware is available for purchase?

New Hardware

Second hand

The following machines are generally found on eBay, or the comp.sys.acorn.hardware newsgroup

    • 600/700 - manufactured 1994-96. Usually have not been upgraded beyond original purchase specification
    • StrongARM - manufactured 1997. Available in 202MHz or 233MHz, usually with RISC OS 3.7 or 4. Occasionally with Select/Adjust. Often come with IDE or Ethernet upgrades.
    • Kinetic - manufactured by Castle Technology Limited. StrongARM overclocked up to 300MHz, and coupled with DDR RAM for faster memory access.
  • A7000 - Usually RISC OS 3.6 or 3.7. 32MHz or 40MHz processor, 4MB base RAM
  • A7000+ - Usually RISC OS 3.71, occasionally 4. 56MHz processor with Floating Point, 8MB base RAM. A much nicer machine.

Other more unusual machines worth considering

  • RiscStation - These are basically a more advanced A7000+. They use the same processor clocked at 56MHz but have faster bus and memory and ISA support. RISC OS 4.03 and above.
  • Microdigital Mico - this is similar to the RiscStation but also has Microdigital's Microbus interface. RISC OS 4.03 and above.
  • Microdigital Omega - This is based around the same StrongARM as many RiscPC's but has the processor clocked at 300MHz and much faster bus, memory and also PCI support. RISC OS 4.03 and above.

What emulation solutions exist?

  • RPCEmu - Open source RiscPC Emulation for Linux, Windows and MacOS X. (Requires RISC OS ROMs)
  • VirtualRiscPC - Commerical RiscPC emulator for Windows.

Configure won't detect my network card!

Create an obey file called "AutoSense" with something similar to the following in it:

Set InetSetup$Driver$NIC I-cubed EtherLAN600:eh0:EtherH:4.33:EtherH16

Save it into !Boot.Resources.Configure.!InetSetup and reboot. The fields are:

  • NIC: the podule slot the card is fitted in. Use Slot0, Slot3, etc if it's a podule slot rather than a network slot card
  • I-cubed EtherLAN600: The name of the podule as reported by *Podules
  • eh0: the network device. *ROMModules will show the card having a module on it called something like EtherM, EtherY, EtherX, etc. You should replace 'h' with the letter 'm', 'y', or 'x' in these cases. You're mostly likely to want to use device zero: EtherH and EtherM cards also provide devices eh1 and em1, mostly for PC cards, which can be configured separately.
  • EtherH: the name of the driver module in memory (usually the same name as that shown by *ROMModules)
  • 4.33: the lowest version of that driver module that's required. Try 0.00 if you don't know.
  • EtherH16: the filename of that module to load from System:Modules.Network. Sometimes the module will have a different filename on disc as it has in memory, but usually this will be the same as the name in memory.

You should now see your card in !Boot's network configuration.

RISC OS Software

Is there a list of "must have" RISC OS software?

riscos.info maintains a list of recommended software.

Is there a version of RealPlayer for RISC OS?

Not really. There is a player for very early RealAudio files (pre-1996) by Kira L Brown and Justin Fletcher, but these are seldom found today and it is unable to cope with streamed audio.

In 1995/6 Acorn and Warm Silence Software cooperated to port the then-current RealPlayer as part of the Network Computer project. Acorn are said to have loaned a Risc PC to Progressive Networks (now Real Inc) to allow them to compile the core routines without releasing them outside the company. However it is said that Progressive Networks asked for a five or six figure sum to allow release of this version, and so the project was canned.

Circa 2002 Real Inc performed a partial release of the RealPlayer source code through its HelixCommunity website. The source to Helix Player, a player frontend, is available for relatively unrestricted download. This does not contain source to the RealPlayer decoders. They, including ARM-optimised variants, are available at zero-cost but under a more restrictive licence arrangement. Essentially a prospective porter has to submit a proposal to Real that they intend to port the codecs. By agreeing to the Research and Development licence they gain access to the source. After examining the source they must then submit a plan stating the timescales by which they intend to port the code and what work needs to be done. Once the port is complete, Real's commercial distribution licence requires a royalty of US$0.25 per copy.

The misapprehension that performing a port requires many thousands in licence fees still circulates. However at present the barrier to porting is financially lower but requires a degree of commitment from the porter. To date no-one has publically stated such a commitment.

Does Unicode printing work in RISC OS 5?

Not currently. See the full situation.

RISC OS Forums and mailing lists

What mailing lists exist for RISC OS?

Iconbar maintains a list of RISC OS mailing lists.

Are there any usenet groups related to RISC OS?

Yes. For historical reasons they come under the 'Acorn' name. They are:

  • comp.sys.acorn.advocacy
  • comp.sys.acorn.announce (Moderated)
  • comp.sys.acorn.apps
  • comp.sys.acorn.extra-cpu (Quiet)
  • comp.sys.acorn.games (Quiet)
  • comp.sys.acorn.hardware
  • comp.sys.acorn.misc
  • comp.sys.acorn.networking (Quiet)
  • comp.sys.acorn.programmer
  • maus.computer.archimedes (German language, quiet)

These groups can be accessed using your own usenet software, or via the Google Groups web interface.

I prefer online forums - are there any of those?

Online forums are not so popular amongst the RISC OS community. However, the least quiet ones can be found on the Iconbar.

RISC OS Publications

Which online and offline publications exist for RISC OS?



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