Feeds

RISC OS runs on fastest hardware ever

Nostalgic for the Acorn Archimedes? Help is at hand

Reducing security risks from open source software

RISC OS is alive and well and running on the fastest hardware it's ever been on – and the kit only costs £120. But "kit" is the operative word...

Acorn may sadly be no more than a brand name attached to fairly generic netbooks now, but Acorn's products are thriving. The Acorn RISC Machine, later renamed the Advanced RISC Machine once VLSI and Apple got involved, is one of the greatest British technology successes ever. ARM is the world's most successful processor – ARM's partners had shipped over ten billion units by the start of 2008, dwarfing the x86 market.

But even today, the ARM chip's original OS is still chugging along. RISC OS is experiencing more development than it has in years. The "official" version from RISC OS Ltd, mainly sold as an upgrade for old Acorn machines, is going nowhere fast, but the other fork, Castle Technology's RISC OS 5, has been released under a shared-source licence agreement and has transformed into RISC OS Open.

RISC OS 5 was built specifically for the Castle's Iyonix computer, based on a 600MHz Intel XScale 80321. RISC OS Open Ltd, affectionately known as ROOL, are reworking it for other hardware, including the last Acorn model, the RiscPC – and a small ARM development platform called the Beagleboard.

There are several small, inexpensive development devices that get electronics wonks all excited, such as the Arduino, based on an Atmel AVR microcontroller. It's great for embedding into all sorts of devices, if that's your personal thing.

hand holding Beagleboard between two fingers

The 3" square Beagleboard

The Beagleboard is a little different. Mainly this is due to its specification: an 720MHz ARM CPU, along with a DSP and PowerVR graphics, plus 256MB of RAM, a USB port, an HDMI port and SD/MMC slot. In other words, a capable little self-contained PC.

Most Beagleboards run Linux – there's even a version of Ubuntu available for it – but it's quite low-spec for a desktop system. Ports of other ARM operating systems are in progress, too, including QNX and Symbian. 256MB of RAM is plenty for RISC OS, though, and it goes like stink on the device.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.