RISC OS rivals reach rapprochement

RISCOS will work with Castle

Warring factions battling it out over the future of the RISC OS have agreed to make up and be friendly.

The two key combatants, RISCOS and Castle Technology, have agreed to a "new initiative" which will "ensure that RISC OS hardware and software developers can continue with the development and sales" of their products.

Over a month ago, hardware vendors VirtualAcorn and Stuart Tyrrell Developments told supporters that a legal spat between RISCOS and Castle had reached the stage where neither could be certain of their rights to continue offering RISC OS-based products.

The battle between RISCOS and Castle centred on just who owns RISC OS. RISCOS has a licence for to develop a desktop version, RISC OS 4, which it gained in 1999 when the OS' previous owner, Acorn, collapsed. Castle bought the RISC OS from set-top box maker Pace.

Last month, Castle cancelled RISCOS' licence and effectively sub-licences granted to the likes of VA and STD.

However, on Wednesday, 14 July, sub-licensees, RISCOS shareholders, and directors from RISCOS and Castle met to thrash out a peaceful settlement.

Essentially, the deal will see Castle develop the core RISC OS, with RISCOS steering the operating system's desktop environment. RISCOS will also work to add the new features from its RISC OS Select into the version of the OS used on Castle's IYONIX RISC OS desktops, and one of the causes of past friction.

In short, Castle owns the OS - and will presumably handle licensing - with RISCOS contributing (and owning?) certain desktop-centric components. Crucially, the partnership should provide the stability that third-party developers had believed was lost when Castle fell out with RISCOS last month. ®

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