Feeds

RISC OS runs on fastest hardware ever

Nostalgic for the Acorn Archimedes? Help is at hand

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.