AMcS
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RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:54 pm

RISC OS gets an honourable mention in an (overall) fair review in the current issue of Linux Format magazine (issue 169). They rate it as 2nd (after Raspbian which given that that is the official Raspberry Pi OS is probably fair enough) and give RO a 4 out of 5 star (which isn't bad, isn't bad at all). I mention it just in case you want to give it a peruse.

Only minor quibble I'd have would be over their comments on OS "Freedom" where RISC OS 6 is mentioned for some reason and I believe people unfamiliar with RISC OS versioning might get confused. RISC OS 6 doesn't run on the Pi, is closed source and purchased under subscription (the "Select" scheme) and is (at best) distantly related to RISC OS 5 (it has a different owner and developers from RO 5 as well). RO 5 is open, is available for free download and is (arguably) the version of RISC OS that is subject to the most on-going development.

Other than that very minor quibble - the article is well worth a read.

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:11 am

A ranking is nonsense, imo. Both OS have their advantages and disadvantages, making one or the other suitable for a certain task. E.g., for building/home automation no one (hopefully) would use Linux (so zero out of n stars), while RISC OS might get n out of n stars ... as long as there isn't OS-9 on the Pi :D
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tonyhughes
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:16 am

Why wouldn't you use Linux for home automation? (Serious question, as I want to do some, and I am familiar with Linux, but not with RISC OS).

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:30 am

tonyhughes wrote:Why wouldn't you use Linux for home automation? (Serious question, as I want to do some, and I am familiar with Linux, but not with RISC OS).
It's not a real-time OS, doesn't boot fast and might need terminal based service when just switched off. Personally, I'd want just the opposite.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:07 pm

AMcS wrote:Only minor quibble I'd have would be over their comments on OS "Freedom" where RISC OS 6 is mentioned for some reason and I believe people unfamiliar with RISC OS versioning might get confused.
I think this is what has happened to the Linux Format staff too--after all forks in 'commercial' software are pretty rare.

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LemmeFatale
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:44 pm

tonyhughes wrote:Why wouldn't you use Linux for home automation? (Serious question, as I want to do some, and I am familiar with Linux, but not with RISC OS).
Plenty of folks on the forums have been using Linux for this, but I haven't (as far as I remember) seen anyone doing the same with RISC OS, so out of pure curiousity I'd like to know the same, since the claim that no-one would use Linux for home automation and that it should get zero stars for that functionality doesn't seem to jive with what can be observed around the forum... :P (And "I'd want just the opposite." doesn't provide any good answers, given this.)
dr_d_gee wrote:I think this is what has happened to the Linux Format staff too--after all forks in 'commercial' software are pretty rare.
Linux Format unfortunately has this tendency not to fact-check on occasion (completely inaccurate features were one of the numerous reasons that I stopped buying it, myself). I doubt it's confusion, so much as simply not looking it up - or at least not doing so well enough.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:14 pm

LemmeFatale wrote:[...] out of pure curiousity I'd like to know the same, since the claim that no-one would use Linux for home automation [...]
You forgot to quote the word 'hopefully', turning this claim into pure irony.
LemmeFatale wrote:(And "I'd want just the opposite." doesn't provide any good answers, given this.)
I gave a couple of good arguments in my post above. Everyone is free to ignore them :-).
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AMcS
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:53 pm

thradtke wrote:
tonyhughes wrote:Why wouldn't you use Linux for home automation? (Serious question, as I want to do some, and I am familiar with Linux, but not with RISC OS).
It's not a real-time OS, doesn't boot fast and might need terminal based service when just switched off. Personally, I'd want just the opposite.
Ok, Linux doesn't boot as fast as RISC OS - but usually home automation systems are "just left on" (they shouldn't need to be booting so frequently that boot time makes a difference). Let's say if you need to reboot a home automation system frequently then you've got a bigger problem than which OS is being used :)

Yes Linux (because of PMT) is not a real-time OS, but then neither is RISC OS if you multitask it (yes in single tasking mode it would be (almost) as good as a RTOS). But here's the thing how fast do you want to turn those houselights on or off or how fast do you need to have that garage door open/shut anyway !

The only valid concern I'd concede regarding Linux in home automation would be connected with unexpected power failures, if the power goes how tolerant of that is Linux? RISC OS would probably fair better in that (I've pulled the plug on it and haven't yet had ROS fail to restart...).

So (all IMHO of course) nothing there to rule out RISC OS or Linux being used in a Home Automation case - it really is the choice of the developer - and either would eminently do.
Last edited by AMcS on Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:06 pm

dr_d_gee wrote:
AMcS wrote:Only minor quibble I'd have would be over their comments on OS "Freedom" where RISC OS 6 is mentioned for some reason and I believe people unfamiliar with RISC OS versioning might get confused.
I think this is what has happened to the Linux Format staff too--after all forks in 'commercial' software are pretty rare.
That might well be what happened, though to be fair their article appeared to me to be a fair and reasonable one.

My one concern was that people who found RISC OS 5.19 on Pi useful might be tempted to purchase RISC OS 6 for use on Pi (assuming it to be "better" version of RISC OS given it's higher version number) but then discover it doesn't run on Raspberry Pi and consequently be disappointed.

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:33 am

AMcS wrote:The only valid concern I'd concede regarding Linux in home automation would be connected with unexpected power failures, if the power goes how tolerant of that is Linux?
Wouldn't this alone be a real show stopper to you?

I think everything works if you're just toying (or self-educating yourself ;-) ). As soon as you seriously consider integrating such a system, it should be as trouble free as possible, right?

Another thing, but tightly connected, would be durability. How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so? How many years will an SD card last under Linux, and how many years will it last under any OS that's more conservative to the card?

Ok, in the end it is for all OS' good practice to preserve some pre-written SD cards (and RPi boards) in case they fail. Still, instrumentation and control is to the least degree within the scope of Linux imo.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:41 am

thradtke wrote:
AMcS wrote:The only valid concern I'd concede regarding Linux in home automation would be connected with unexpected power failures, if the power goes how tolerant of that is Linux?
Wouldn't this alone be a real show stopper to you?
It would be a serious concern alright.
thradtke wrote:I think everything works if you're just toying (or self-educating yourself ;-) ). As soon as you seriously consider integrating such a system, it should be as trouble free as possible, right?
Yes, agreed. Though many people do seem to use Linux with few issues in such roles, that having been said the same could be said of RISC OS (it's been used in set-top boxes for years without issue).
thradtke wrote:Another thing, but tightly connected, would be durability. How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so? How many years will an SD card last under Linux, and how many years will it last under any OS that's more conservative to the card?
That's a fair point for OS like Windows or Linux which do spend some time paging in/out stuff to an SD. Wear levelling can limit the issue but yes over time a system that doesn't heavily use the SD for paging is (theoretically) have an advantage- so RISC OS (should) have the edge there.
thradtke wrote: Still, instrumentation and control is to the least degree within the scope of Linux imo.
That's probably true, as a Server OS Linux is solid (then servers have UPS and RAID drives) and is unrivalled (IMHO) but for an "install and forget" instrumentation or control device probably somewhat less so. For such installations and arguably in some other niche areas RISC OS would be a better choice.

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:25 am

AMcS wrote: Another thing, but tightly connected, would be durability.
How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so?
How many years will an SD card last under Linux, and how many years will it last under any OS that's more conservative to the card?
after boot sd card is not realy necessary ..

eg i thunk you can network boot linux on a box with no writeable storage

most distros however expect to have writeable storage , but not all !

- it should be posible to
0) boot linux(kernel initrd) from sd
1) unmount sd
2) mount / write / unmount
How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so?
options include
- change the default config !
- use a distro that is smarter than the average bear ( picore!? - a port of tinycorelinux for raspi)
- build linux from scratch and configure it to your reqirements

on a x86 box im fairly shore
i could make winXP boot to ram from usb , unmount and only mount/write when needed . :oops:
sadly tho i find mutch truth in this
"Those who don't understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly."
Last edited by duberry on Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:43 am

duberry wrote:
AMcS wrote: Another thing, but tightly connected, would be durability.
How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so?
How many years will an SD card last under Linux, and how many years will it last under any OS that's more conservative to the card?
You're misattributing that quote to me, I never wrote that. Nor the stuff that follows.
duberry wrote: after boot sd card is not realy necessary ..

eg i thunk you can network boot linux on a box with no writeable storage

most distros however expect to have writeable storage , but not all !

- it should be posible to
0) boot linux(kernel initrd) from sd
1) unmount sd
2) mount / write / unmount
How can I prevent Linux from writing to flash except when ordered to do so?
options include
- change the default config !
- use a distro that is smarter than the average bear ( picore!? )
- build linux from scratch and configure it to your reqirements

on a x86 box im fairly shore
i could make winXP boot to ram from usb , unmount and only mount/write when needed . :oops:
sadly tho i find mutch truth in this
"Those who don't understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly."
And with RISC OS you don't have any of the above hassle, no need for network or changing config to avoid writing to SD or seeking out "special" distros.

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LemmeFatale
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:48 am

thradtke wrote:
LemmeFatale wrote:[...] out of pure curiousity I'd like to know the same, since the claim that no-one would use Linux for home automation [...]
You forgot to quote the word 'hopefully', turning this claim into pure irony.
My apologies. I did indeed miss the word "hopefully" (it's because it was in brackets - I didn't take it as a proper part of the sentence). Sorry about that!
LemmeFatale wrote:(And "I'd want just the opposite." doesn't provide any good answers, given this.)
I gave a couple of good arguments in my post above. Everyone is free to ignore them :-).
I didn't see anything of particular detail (just some short statements that I've already seen elsewhere), hence my curiousity. ;) I really would like to know more!
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:08 am

AMcS wrote: And with RISC OS you don't have any of the above hassle, no need for network or changing config to avoid writing to SD or seeking out "special" distros.
network boot was just an example that storage is not always needed for Linux ( idk if you can net boot an raspi ).

well thats good to know
but to me RISC OS is just another "special" distro

if this is the case tho i will probably give some time to looking into it
can u recommend any good RISC OS guides / forum thread's / blogs for the uninitiated

also im a bit scared of using any one else's default config ( even if they built the os/image RISC OS or other )
it seems bad form to assume you can expect any install defaults will work for your needs/expectations
if you have no clue at any level of how it works and why

edit
i found New to RISC OS? Read this! and some links within 8-)
Last edited by duberry on Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:19 am

LemmeFatale wrote:I didn't see anything of particular detail (just some short statements that I've already seen elsewhere), hence my curiousity. ;) I really would like to know more!
Let us know what exactly needs clarification.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:40 pm

AMcS wrote: Ok, Linux doesn't boot as fast as RISC OS
this depends what Linux distro you are booting , IMHO
and even then how that distro is configured to start .. (you can change the default seting's!!!)
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:51 pm

thradtke wrote:Let us know what exactly needs clarification.
Well, I'm somewhat confused by what you originally said, to be honest. :)

That is;
thradtke wrote:It's not a real-time OS, doesn't boot fast and might need terminal based service when just switched off. Personally, I'd want just the opposite.
I know the deal with the differing multi-tasking methods used by Linux and RISC OS, I'm aware of Linux's slightly longer boot-time when not optimised for particular hardware, and I can see how it needing attention if the power goes out would be a problem...

But I'm not sure I understand how the boot time (which can be brought down) is a big issue, since I assume you wouldn't be booting/rebooting very often.

I'm also not sure what difference not being real-time makes, since as far as I know it isn't making a difference to people putting it to this use. Is RISC OS real-time? I was of the impression that it is not, but when single-tasking it can be fast enough to be near-enough real-time. Is it a problem if a task locks up the system? What do you do if that happens?

And, last of all, being rather "new" to RISC OS (I used it in school twenty years ago, but I don't count that as much past experience :P), I'm not sure why the power issue isn't a problem for it... Does it need no intervention if it goes down?

More generally: What is it that makes RISC OS better for home-automation, exactly? :P

That's a lot of questions, I know... Sorry about that!
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:36 pm

LemmeFatale wrote:But I'm not sure I understand how the boot time (which can be brought down) is a big issue, since I assume you wouldn't be booting/rebooting very often.
One example: I can't tell a customer that the AHU doesn't work when I switch it on.
LemmeFatale wrote:I'm also not sure what difference not being real-time makes, since as far as I know it isn't making a difference to people putting it to this use.
You know people working in building automation? Tell me more, what are they doing, and why doesn't it make a difference if e.g. fire flap actuators work as they should. Is this within the standards and regulations?
LemmeFatale wrote:Is RISC OS real-time?
No. As I stated above, I'd prefer Microware OS-9, and not only because I know it well.
LemmeFatale wrote:Is it a problem if a task locks up the system? What do you do if that happens?
Wrong question. Make sure no task is running that locks up anything.
LemmeFatale wrote:And, last of all, being rather "new" to RISC OS (I used it in school twenty years ago, but I don't count that as much past experience :P), I'm not sure why the power issue isn't a problem for it... Does it need no intervention if it goes down?
Correct. You can ensure RISC OS isn't writing anything to the card AFAIK.
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:31 pm

duberry wrote:
AMcS wrote: Ok, Linux doesn't boot as fast as RISC OS
this depends what Linux distro you are booting , IMHO
and even then how that distro is configured to start .. (you can change the default seting's!!!)
And RISC OS has default settings that can be changed too ! :D

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:10 pm

duberry wrote:i will probably give some time to looking into it
can u recommend any good RISC OS guides / forum thread's / blogs for the uninitiated
Sorry for not getting back sooner duberry, there are a few sources of information:

RISC OS Open have a site that includes general information, discussion forums and online documentation https://www.riscosopen.org. They also have a Wiki giving some useful introductory information at https://www.riscosopen.org/wiki/documen ... 0RISC%20OS. The RISC OS distribution itself includes PDFs and other documents describing how to use and program the platform.

For a Linux user RISC OS will come as a bit of a "shock" - but although it is more limited in several respects compared to Linux it is nonetheless a worthwhile operating system to have a look at.

It's mostly written in ARM code and was developed by the people who designed the ARM processor itself. The OS is highly modular, so is relatively easy to expand and extend. It was the first operating system to include vector based fully anti-aliased fonts (making them readable at very small point sizes). Because it is mostly ARM coded and because it is relatively small (the whole OS fits in just 6MB of RAM - I jest you not...) it has a real turn of speed. It also demands little (for example I have around 400MB free when using RISC OS RC6 on my Pi...). To see a Pi fly - give RISC OS a spin :D
duberry wrote:
i found New to RISC OS? Read this! and some links within 8-)
Yes good catch that !

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:27 pm

thradtke wrote:
LemmeFatale wrote:But I'm not sure I understand how the boot time (which can be brought down) is a big issue, since I assume you wouldn't be booting/rebooting very often.
One example: I can't tell a customer that the AHU doesn't work when I switch it on.
Are there any others?
LemmeFatale wrote:I'm also not sure what difference not being real-time makes, since as far as I know it isn't making a difference to people putting it to this use.
You know people working in building automation? Tell me more, what are they doing, and why doesn't it make a difference if e.g. fire flap actuators work as they should. Is this within the standards and regulations?
No, I don't know anybody working in building automation. I'm simply looking to learn more about the topic, so I can't tell you more. I was referring to the small-scale hobbyist things I've read around here, for the most part - accordingly, I didn't expect professional building automation to even come up. :P
LemmeFatale wrote:Is RISC OS real-time?
No. As I stated above, I'd prefer Microware OS-9, and not only because I know it well.
Ahh, ok. Above, you simply wrote "OS-9", which I mistakenly thought that it was a reference to an older Macintosh operating system. I've never actually heard of Microware OS-9 until this very moment. I'll go and look it up, now. :)
LemmeFatale wrote:Is it a problem if a task locks up the system? What do you do if that happens?
Wrong question. Make sure no task is running that locks up anything.
Interesting. One wonders how one does that... :P
LemmeFatale wrote:And, last of all, being rather "new" to RISC OS (I used it in school twenty years ago, but I don't count that as much past experience :P), I'm not sure why the power issue isn't a problem for it... Does it need no intervention if it goes down?
Correct. You can ensure RISC OS isn't writing anything to the card AFAIK.
Is this done in a similar fashion to how this is done with Linux, or differently?

Again, sorry for all the questions!
AMcS wrote:For a Linux user RISC OS will come as a bit of a "shock" - but although it is more limited in several respects compared to Linux it is nonetheless a worthwhile operating system to have a look at.
I agree with this (about it being a bit of a shock), but it's certainly very nice to use. I've only encountered one oddity, myself, and that was with Netsurf, so not something that can be put down to the OS itself, anyway. :P
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:27 pm

LemmeFatale wrote:Are there any others?
Sure.
LemmeFatale wrote:I was referring to the small-scale hobbyist things I've read around here [...]
Have a look what I wrote:
thradtke wrote:I think everything works if you're just toying (or self-educating yourself ;-) ).
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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:48 pm

thradtke wrote:
LemmeFatale wrote:Is it a problem if a task locks up the system? What do you do if that happens?
Wrong question. Make sure no task is running that locks up anything.
For a dedicated system like a home automation system that might well be achievable (it's an automation system - not something likely to be running a myriad of programs some of which could interact negatively. You could limit the applications running to ones that are reliable and unlikely to cause problems).

In a more general application though assuring that you would never have a lock up due to an errant program would be (I think) difficult if not impossible.
thradtke wrote:
LemmeFatale wrote:And, last of all, being rather "new" to RISC OS (I used it in school twenty years ago, but I don't count that as much past experience :P), I'm not sure why the power issue isn't a problem for it... Does it need no intervention if it goes down?
Correct. You can ensure RISC OS isn't writing anything to the card AFAIK.
Power goes - RISC OS stops. Re-apply power RISC OS boots as normal - that's all folks !

Next time you run RISC OS have a look to see how frequently the Disk activity light comes on once it's booted. Unless you have some surreal set up you should find NO SD activity EXCEPT when you boot or start up a program. With no paging file or Virtual memory the OS won't just keep thrashing the disk with frequent writes - so the risk of data loss (or worse lost data AND a failed boot after a power failure) are minimal. I've never had RISC OS fail to boot after a power cut.

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Re: RISC OS included in OS types reviewed in Linux Format

Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:54 am

AMcS wrote:I've never had RISC OS fail to boot after a power cut.
Same here, combined with the fact that it used to live in machine ROM made it virtually bullet proof when it was in widespread education use. I remember when schools were moving over to PCs and suddenly they had to employ specialist network managers etc to manage their machine real estate. On an Acorn the most common way to fix issues was to simply hold the delete key down on reboot to force a hard reset.... It would be very interesting to see the differences in cost between running a non trivial ROS and PC network

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