Recommended software

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This is a preliminary list of 'must have' software and utilities for RISC OS.


Shareware is starred - * Commercial software is bracketed - ()

Contents

Essential modules

  • SharedUnixLib - Needed for a growing number of programs being developed: NetSurf and Cretin, to name just two
  • Universal Boot (RISC OS 3.x only) - This enables users of < RISC OS 4 to have a compatible Boot structure. Essential for all users, regardless of vintage of hardware. The skeleton official download is available from the legacy Acorn website or you can try the more comprehensive (& recommended) "FancyBoot" version.

Text Editors

There's a huge debate about which is superior. My advice is: flip a coin, and stick with that one, then cite it as the best whenever anyone asks. A quirk with both StrongED and Zap is that by default, the Delete key does a LEFT-DELETE and Copy/End does a RIGHT-DELETE, instead of the more common Delete for RIGHT-DELETE and Copy/End to jump to the end of the text. To fix this please follow the instructions on this page.

Desktop Utilities

  • StrongHelp - provides help for a number of programs
  • Director - browse the directory structure of your Harddisc using menus and submenus
  • Thump - Filer-like image viewer
  • HID* - drivers for interactive USB keyboards and mice (Iyonix and Castle USB only). 10UKP to register
  • InfoZip (recommended) (SparkFS - 25UKP) - Decompress (and compress) ZIPs and other archive formats
  • Organizer (Latest version: 11UKP) - Fully functional addressbook and diary, capable of running tasks, remembering anniversary dates, alarms
  • Remane* - Bulk renamer: rename entire directories of files using simple criteria and wildcards. 10UKP to register
  • (CDVDburn - 65UKP) - cd and dvd burning software
  • cdburnlite - provided with the Iyonix PC
  • Gimp-Print* - High quality photo-real printer drivers

Modules/Utilities

  • AltClick - Alt-Click on a window to bring it to the front
  • NetTime - Update your clock to internet time servers
  • PlayIt - codec for most audio formats on RISC OS
  • AMPlayer - adds support for MP3 playback
  • SpecialFX - utility that improves overall desktop appearance by anti-aliasing drawfiles and blending fonts. Also fixes printing issues which can occur when printing text from several applications
  • MiscSetup - a !Boot plugin that allows easy configuration of several desktop appearance choices no configurable elsewhere
  • ZapFonts - Bitmap font renderer. Used for Zap, StrongED and Cretin, among others

Email/News

  • Messenger/Lite (Pro - 39UKP)/(Pluto - from 29UKP) - Email and News Agent, allowing sorting and searching of messages and news
  • Newsbase - Freestanding News database for use with the free version of messenger

Note: The free version of Messenger and Newsbase are not 32bit compatible, however the Iyonix is provided with Messenger Lite as standard

  • Popstar - Mail client for fetching and sending Email
  • Newshound - News client for fetching and sending news

Other Internet

  • NetSurf - Free web browser, under constant development
  • Firefox beta - A Work-in-progress port of the popular Firefox browser to RISC OS, currently undergoing further improvement and testing.
  • FTPc - FTP access, fully featured
  • Cocognut - File share client for the Gnutella network
  • WebJames - Web server, with SSIs and optional PHP interpreter

Media

  • PlaySound
  • DigitalCD - multiformat audio player (MP3, Audio CD, wave)
  • AMPlay - Sophisticated MP3 player with filterable playlists
  • KinoAMP - MPEG 1/2 video player

Bitmap graphics

  • ChangeFSI - Multi-format image convertor, outputting jpegs or sprites
  • FSIbatch* - Batch process of images with ChangeFSI, eg: convert a directory of large 16million colour jpegs into smaller 256 colour sprites for desktop backgrounds. 10UKP to register
  • (Composition) - AKA Compo. Commercial image combining tool, with many processing capabilities. Compo can also be driven by scripts.
  • InterGIF - The definitive GIF toolkit for RISC OS.
  • Jcut, Jclean, Jess etc - Set of JPEG utilities giving lossless cropping, rotation and colour processing, among other features.
  • (Photodesk) 84UKP from CJE Micro's - The main commercial bitmap editor for RISC OS.
  • PoV - Jérôme Mathevet's port of the Persistence of Vision raytracer.
  • Spr2Png - The definitive PNG toolkit for RISC OS.
  • Variations - A graphics effects package, previewer and thumbnailer. Compare previews of many effects side by side; apply effects to multiple files automatically. Also has the best 'for-the-web' JPEG generation tool.

Vector graphics

In addition to the venerable Draw, supplied with every RISC OS machine, there are a number of very capable vector graphic editors and utilities.

  • (ArtWorks) 169UKP from MW Software) - Originally from Computer Concepts, this highly capable vector graphics package is now being very actively developed by Martin Wuerthner.
  • DrawLots - Creates many different shapes in Draw format (polygons, curved polygons, stars, spirals, cogs and various crosses and many more).
  • Vector (source from Jonathan Marten, 32-bit version 10UKP from Spellings Software) Now open-sourced, this offers libraries and other improvements over Draw. Also available: DrawPlus and GridPro.
  • (RiscCAD Professional) 30UKP - A highly capable commercial (but very reasonably priced) CAD package.
  • writeflash - Written by Henrik Bjerregaard Pedersen, this tool creates Flash 3 files from scripts. Also includes utilities to convert Draw files and RISC OS fonts to Flash format.

DTP and Spreadsheet

  • (Easi/TechWriter - 99 & 124UKP respectively)
  • (Ovation Pro - 125UKP)
  • (Impression Publisher) - Currently being rewritten by X-Ample Technology
  • Writer - Provided free with RISC OS 4
  • Writer+ - Provided free with the Iyonix PC
  • (Fireworkz Pro 26 - 100UKP) - Fully functional spreadsheet and database package
  • Fireworkz32 - Provided with the Iyonix PC

Instant Messaging

  • (Grapevine - 29UKP) - Supports MSN, ICQ and IRC
  • LIRC - Free IRC client. Fully featured. Not currently 32bit compatible
  • Cretin - Alternative free IRC client. 32bit version available.

Games

See the games page for more information on games for RISC OS

Compatibility

This issue is rather important for all users of minority systems, so here we go: MS Word compatible software:

  • AntiWord - a viewer and convertor of MS Word (.doc) documents. Converts to Text or Draw
  • Writer(+) also can read MS Word documents to a fair degree of accuracy, and convert them to its native format.
  • (Easi/TechWriter) also exports MS Word documents

MS Excel compatible software:

  • ViewXLS - ditto for MS Excel (.xls) spreadsheets. Converts to CSV, TSV or Draw. CVS files exported can then be loaded into eg: Fireworkz for editing.
  • Schema 2 has MS Excel (.xls) converters.

PDF/PostScript:

Wishlist

If you're looking for some software that's not listed above, try the Wishlist to see if anyone else has the same idea

Personal tools