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RISC OS Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Guidelines for adding items:

  • Only entries that are relevant to machines from RiscPC onwards and the versions of RISC OS in those machines, unless a comparison is being made. This FAQ is in reference to current information and versions of RISC OS. For historical information, see the csa.* FAQ.
  • The item really should be a "Frequently Asked Question". If it's obscure or not asked often then it might be better in an article of its own on riscos.info.
  • Lengthy items too, should be on their own page, then provide a link in this FAQ to them.
  • Be as accurate as you can. Names, places, dates and people all help, as do external references. Check your spelling.
  • Items must be current. Try to avoid references to legacy software that isn't being developed and to websites which haven't been updated in a long time.
  • Sub-topics deserve their own FAQ. There is already a RISC OS C Programming FAQ.
  • If you have a question, but don't know the answer or don't feel confident to provide, give the question anyway. Someone else may be able to provide a repsonse.


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 Select 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 3.71 (shipped version). 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.

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.

RISC OS Software

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

riscos.info maintains a list of recommended software.

RISC OS Forums and mailing lists

What mailing lists exist for RISC OS?

Iconbar maintains a list of RISC OS mailing lists.

RISC OS Publications

Which online and offline publications exist for RISC OS?


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