RISC OS on Raspberry Pi


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by DavidS » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:35 am
I do and will always push Risc OS on the Raspberry Pi for educational use and first time computer users,  This said I will personally be running Haiku OS as my primary OS (as soon as the ARM port is stable) on the Pi with Risc OS as a secondary.  I mention this so that no one thinks that I am trying to say that Risc OS is the only way to go, there are many many options.
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by bonzobanana » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:58 pm
I was semi-interested in Raspberry Pi until I heard that Risc OS was going to be available and then it became a must have. I truly adored Risc OS and was actually depressed when it became unviable to continue with it. I made the transition to Windows reluctantly and still hate it.

I have a strong arm pc but its just too slow nowadays and too limiting. To be honest a 700mhz risc os computer capable of 3d gaming, bluray playback etc sounds pretty fantastic.

I wish Risc OS would become the primary OS for the raspberry pi, Linux is already well catered for on other hardware.

All I can say to future pi owners is please try Risc OS on it!
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by spamel » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:01 pm
It shouldn't be hard to try it out, I certainly will.  I remember it from school, on an Archie, and the boot up time impresses me now that I realise how long Windows takes to boot!
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by ceti331 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:13 am
IMO, best to keep people on Linux, don't confuse them with un-necassery options.

maybe make a raspberry pi linux environment that mimics risc OS ?

More linux users = more people who can potentially feed back into it with contributions in future = good.

Linux's user experience can be customized just about any way you want with window manager and desktop environment, perhaps a Risc OS styled linux window manager (with a few of it's favorite programs if there are any) would be a good way to go to give the rasperri pi a unique feel.
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by microbitsuk » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:47 am
IMO, there are five Linux distribution on this list have you by chance posted to the wrong one citi331.

What have you got fear from Risc OS?? Do you think it will take people away from your preferred OS.

Why do we need to have to customise Linux to look like Risc so when we can have the real deal in a fraction of the memory space, there is more that is ample software to keep me using Risc OS, The more the merrier is what I say.
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by GavinNY » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:50 am
I'm baffled by ceti331 saying we should "keep people on Linux", I find that in the face of what Raspberry Pi is all about (learning and exploring and experimenting with computers). There's nothing to fear from RISC OS! It's a potential additional option in the armoury of Raspberry Pi, nothing else and it's clearly a big desire by a lot of people.
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by andri » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:44 am
Raspberry Pi
An ARM RISC OS box for $25. Take a byte!
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by BlueClogger » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:16 pm
One of the key features of the Pi is the ability to swap the OS by inserting a different SD card.  I support the idea of a 'standard distribution,' which should be one of the Linux variants.  However a major objective for the Pi is to encourage people to program and experiment, which can be done without the risk associated with multi-booting a PC.

I started on an Acorn Electron through a BBC Model B, Acorn A3000 and RiscPC. Family pressures more or less forced me over to PCs, but now the parasites have moved out I am looking forward to a machine running native RiscOS on an ARM (rather than the emulator I use at present).  There will be things RiscOS can't do (yet) so there will always be Linux to fall back on.
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by ss7 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:01 pm
Having been a one-time fan, and a former programmer for the platform with several distributed products under my belt, I know something about RISC OS.

I don't look on RISC OS through rose tinted spectacles.  If you do a technical comparison it fares poorly with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.  It lacks basic things that we now take for granted, like pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection.  It still has its fans because in spite of it's shortcomings it works pretty well and tends to be fast and responsive.

The big advantage of RISC OS over the three mainstream OSs I mentioned is that it is small enough to be understood.  You can gain a detailed technical understanding of the whole OS, from the lowest to highest level.  The same cannot be said of Windows, Linux or Mac OS X.
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by riscosdave » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:41 pm
To add my pennyworth to the discussion, I also look forward to getting RISC OS going on Raspberry Pi. From an educational standpoint, students and pupils would be better served by seeing more than one OS on the Raspberry Pi so that they can make comparisons, at least of the graphical user interfaces. The GUIs of versions of Linux I have encountered look much like MS Windows. The explanation for this that I have heard is that the GUI is intentionally like Windows so as to encourage Windows users to switch to Linux. If that is true, then I think it is rather sad. So, I think students should experience the RISC OS GUI and see the difference. The RISC OS GUI is very well designed and is the best feature of the OS.
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by DavidS » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:59 pm
ss7 said:


Having been a one-time fan, and a former programmer for the platform with several distributed products under my belt, I know something about RISC OS.

I don't look on RISC OS through rose tinted spectacles.  If you do a technical comparison it fares poorly with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.  It lacks basic things that we now take for granted, like pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection.  It still has its fans because in spite of it's shortcomings it works pretty well and tends to be fast and responsive.

The big advantage of RISC OS over the three mainstream OSs I mentioned is that it is small enough to be understood.  You can gain a detailed technical understanding of the whole OS, from the lowest to highest level.  The same cannot be said of Windows, Linux or Mac OS X.



I would agree 130% that the big advantage of RISC OS is that it can be understood in its entirety.  And I would recatagorize Cooperative Multasking as an advantage in Educational settings, as it gives an extreme level of control, and can cause a screw up in the case that the programmer forgets to get back to the event loop :) .  This is an advantage as it helps to think about doing things correctly (I have run accrosed many Win32 and MultiTOS apps that forget to check for an event from time to time[thus locking themself up]).  And once some one does get to a point that Preemptive Multitasking should be presented there is WIMP2 and for multithreading we have UNIXLib.
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by DavidS » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:16 pm
I would add that if a group of people so desired it would be a fairely simple task to implement a modern GUI centric preemptive multitasking, preemptive multithreading OS with all the features that we take for granted (loadable device drivers, sockets, VFS, etc..) in 10 thousand to 20 thousand lines of code.  Though this is complicated by the fact that every one is accustomed to the modern bloated implementations, that are mostely either unused or redunt libraries.  And further by simplifying the archetechure we could reduse the probability of encountering a bug.  I would go as far as to say that so long as we have mutex and lock functions provided by the kernel (whitch should be a duh for multithreading) that in this small of an OS we could even implementing a simple method for detecting most HeisenBugs (those caused by circular dependancies).

Risc OS would give people the experience of an OS that is usable in a modern enviroment, though has a very simple archetecture.  This could potentially lead to the next generation thinking about a simple efiencient, optimized OS for the future.   Remember that we are at the second point in history of computing that the complexity of the OS, and applications has went way to far, we simplified it the first time while providing more functionality, we can do the sam again :) .

Edit:Typo:

Typed: secone, Meant: second.
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by Davespice » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:20 pm
Hi guys, just wondering if there is any news on this?  This is definitely a distribution I want to have a play with.  Not trying to pestering you, just keen that's all.
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by arm2 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:13 pm
Various reports that the RISC OS port is progressing, but slowly. RISC OS Open said at the RISC OS South West Show on Saturday that they expect to be able to demonstrate a complete/near complete port at the Wakefield Show in 8 weeks (28th April 2012) show details at: http://www.wakefieldshow.org.u...../index.php
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by theomarkettos » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:39 am
Erm, I don't think we said any such thing.  The port is in the hands of one developer who has access to detailed chip documentation, which the rest of us don't have.  While there's certain things other people can do, we're still reliant on him to have sufficient time to work on it.  So I'm being very careful about not making timescale promises at this stage.
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by shirro » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:32 am
Am I missing something about RiscOS. My understanding was that it was very dated and probably a bit hacky and didn't support pre-emptive multitasking, smp, memory protection and dozens of other things we take for granted in a modern OS. If the major advantage is small and easy to learn wouldn't something like Minix or L4 be a better choice? Of all the non-Linux OS choices including Haiku, Plan 9, BSD etc why this one?
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by Chromatix » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:54 am
I'd say there are two really nice things going for it.

1) This is an OS designed specifically to run on ARM CPUs.  There's a reasonable amount of software for it, and (as a side effect of not being pre-emptive) it allows pretty near bare-metal programming if you want to.

2) It includes a native, full-fat implementation of BBC BASIC.  On my original RiscPC (30MHz), that's already fairly powerful.  While it lacks quite a few language features nowadays considered essential, there is lots of literature available about it, especially in the UK.

Since it's free to use, why not try it?
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by arm2 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:36 pm
Theo Markettos said:


Erm, I don't think we said any such thing.  The port is in the hands of one developer who has access to detailed chip documentation, which the rest of us don't have.  While there's certain things other people can do, we're still reliant on him to have sufficient time to work on it.  So I'm being very careful about not making timescale promises at this stage.


Maybe Steve said he 'hoped' rather than 'expected' and he just said 'near complete'. I might though be remembering through rose tinted specs, in my enthusiasm! Sorry if I've raise expectations that cause dissapointment. I wish I could do something to help progress the port.
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by Cylon » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:01 pm
shirro said:


AOf all the non-Linux OS choices including Haiku, Plan 9, BSD etc why this one?


RISCOS - Its not linux
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by Cylon » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:02 pm
Id say anything that get more OS in the frame the better i used Riscos for ages and found it a very capable and fast OS.

Dont judge before you have had a look..

Its also british. Hurrah
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by shirro » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:50 pm
Chromatix said:


1) This is an OS designed specifically to run on ARM CPUs.


CP/M used to run on Intel CPUs but I don't get all nostalgic about it when I'm sitting in front of an Intel CPU 30 years later. The ARM has move on a bit since the  old days but even so the CPU in the RPi is pretty much there just to load shaders into the GPU. The GPU is where the real action is and AFAIK RiscOS won't be playing.


2) It includes a native, full-fat implementation of BBC BASIC.


Ok, I wasn't setting out to troll, was curious but now I think I am just incapable of understanding. You go and plot jaggy lines with your BBC BASIC and I will play with Python or Qt Quick and see what the GPU can do. Have fun. Enjoy your nostalgia.
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by Joe Schmoe » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:06 am
(heh heh - somebody's in a bit of a mood today, aren't they?)
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by shirro » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:59 am

(heh heh – somebody's in a bit of a mood today, aren't they?)


Sorry it came across like that. I think the RPi is a really exciting development and I am a bit disappointed to see people stuck on: designing a pretty case, retro computing, media centers, the ordering system and "will it run Windows".

They have their place I suppose but I was expecting more and I am getting a bit frustrated. "It runs BASIC" isn't the answer I was looking for.

Does RiscOS have some special architectural merit that I should learn more about it. I had a look at the todo list on the riscopen site and it is pretty long.

I downloaded the source and the first thing I notice is the sources are divided by license and not by functionality which is a bit curious. So far I haven't got beyond the WTF stage. Is there some code in there I should be reading that will make me a convert to RiscOS?
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by Chromatix » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:28 am
It's a proper desktop environment that is still lean enough to work nicely in 32MB RAM, never mind 256MB.  If I took the hard disk out of my RiscPC, it would still boot to a desktop with anti-aliased fonts from the built-in 4MB ROM.

And BASIC.

Noteworthy that these days PCs come with a 4MB ROM just for the BIOS.  O_O

Of course, for the sort of work and play that I do, Linux is still generally the better choice.  It doesn't help that I have only ancient ball mice that work with the RiscPC's ancient ports.  But occasionally it still sees some use, so I probably will have a card with RiscOS among my collection.
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by mengel » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:22 am
I had an ice storm take down a HUGE tree limb in my neighbors yard and was without power from 0400 GMT to about 1315 GMT on launch day, so I'm WAY back in the queue for my pi. But since my major reason for wanting one was to learn RISC OS, I guess I don't mind waiting. I have been running different flavors of Linux for ~15 years, starting with a 286 and strictly cli . and DOS/Windows variations on Intel cpus from 8088-Pentium's, and have been really looking forward to RISC OS on ARM . Another Linux box would not be as much fun. Maybe by the time I (finally) get mine the porting will be done.
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