RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

chat about arc/risc pc gaming & RISC OS software here (NOT the core OS!)Related forum: adventures


User avatar
simoni
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed May 25, 2016 6:18 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by simoni » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 am

So I'm wondering, what would the development focus be for a "retro" hobby OS version of RISC OS? Are they incompatible with the above, or have I misunderstood you and your "retro" hobby OS is actually my "modern" hobby OS?
I think this has been answered already above but just to be direct:

It's not really a development focus - as has been pointed out, it's your time and you're welcome to do what you like with it.

But... that's the point really. ROOL seem to be focused on roadmaps, bounties and 'the direction of RISC OS', but those things are for more commercial efforts. As an open retro OS, the focus should be on providing the right environment for people to contribute (and I don't just mean technical environment) and then encouraging that development.

When Bob comes along and posts "Hey, I just got a Pi and I wanna help!" the response should be "Hi Bob, welcome! Just grab this SD image and pop it in your Pi; the OS dev stuff is on the left there and the app dev stuff is on the right - if you'd like some ideas, head over to the git issues and take a look at the ones marked 'good first issues', the wiki pages showing how to git clone all the good stuff is over there"

When Joe comes along and posts "I really want to add solar panel support to my RISC OS A440/1" - the response should not be "For a start it's pronounced RISC ohh-ess and that's super important - besides old Acorn machines are not supported and why on earth would you want to use an old ARM system anyway?!" - but "Sounds great, the OS dev tools are on the left there, and the app tools are on the right - we don't have much on the wiki about that right now, but feel free to add some stuff as you go along".

My advice would be to pick 3 popular open-source projects around the same type of subject. Compare what ROOL do to what those projects do... and stop doing the things they don't - and start doing the things they do.

User avatar
myelin
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by myelin » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:05 am

This thread! I keep half-writing comments and then going away, only to return to find someone else has made my point much more eloquently!

I'm really glad that there are people who think RISC OS has enough value that they're prepared to put their time and money into tracking down and buying out rightsholders, to make more and more of it open source. Whether it has commercial value or not, I'm happy someone believes so, because now we have a whole lot of unrestricted, modifiable, redistributable code to play with.

I bought a copy of the DDE so I could try out building the OS myself, and maybe contribute something. I figure that the £50 is basically a donation to ROOL. I remember bugging my parents to buy me a copy of the DDE back when I was 14!

Ran a successful build from the zipped BCM2835 source (took about 45 mins on a 256M Pi 1 B), and successfully booted after copying the ROM into SDFS::RISCOSPi.$.!Boot.Loader.RISCOS/IMG. I see the updated copyright in the banner, so I guess it worked :)
SW/EE from New Zealand, now in Mountain View, CA, making BBC/Electron hardware projects for fun.
Most popular: fast serial port, FX2+PiTubeDirect Tube/Cartridge adapter, USB cart interface.

User avatar
vanpeebles
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:01 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by vanpeebles » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:20 am

simoni wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 am
When Joe comes along and posts "I really want to add solar panel support to my RISC OS A440/1" - the response should not be "For a start it's pronounced RISC ohh-ess and that's super important - besides old Acorn machines are not supported and why on earth would you want to use an old ARM system anyway?!" - but "Sounds great, the OS dev tools are on the left there, and the app tools are on the right - we don't have much on the wiki about that right now, but feel free to add some stuff as you go along".
LOL, that is perfect!! So true :lol:

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 2140
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by BigEd » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:50 am

myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:05 am
I'm really glad that there are people who think RISC OS has enough value that they're prepared to put their time and money into tracking down and buying out rightsholders, to make more and more of it open source. Whether it has commercial value or not, I'm happy someone believes so, because now we have a whole lot of unrestricted, modifiable, redistributable code to play with.

I bought a copy of the DDE so I could try out building the OS myself, and maybe contribute something. I figure that the £50 is basically a donation to ROOL. I remember bugging my parents to buy me a copy of the DDE back when I was 14!

Ran a successful build from the zipped BCM2835 source (took about 45 mins on a 256M Pi 1 B), and successfully booted after copying the ROM into SDFS::RISCOSPi.$.!Boot.Loader.RISCOS/IMG. I see the updated copyright in the banner, so I guess it worked :)
Now that is a result! Excellent comment all round.

Phlamethrower
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:35 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by Phlamethrower » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:08 pm

simoni wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:18 am
So I'm wondering, what would the development focus be for a "retro" hobby OS version of RISC OS? Are they incompatible with the above, or have I misunderstood you and your "retro" hobby OS is actually my "modern" hobby OS?
I think this has been answered already above but just to be direct:

It's not really a development focus - as has been pointed out, it's your time and you're welcome to do what you like with it.

But... that's the point really. ROOL seem to be focused on roadmaps, bounties and 'the direction of RISC OS', but those things are for more commercial efforts. As an open retro OS, the focus should be on providing the right environment for people to contribute (and I don't just mean technical environment) and then encouraging that development.
OK, so essentially the "retro" part of your statement was irrelevant. That makes a lot more sense now, thanks.
My advice would be to pick 3 popular open-source projects around the same type of subject. Compare what ROOL do to what those projects do... and stop doing the things they don't - and start doing the things they do.
I think this was mentioned in their talk, but hopefully one of the changes we'll see is that ROOL start to get involved in the forums a bit more - because from my perspective I think that's a major contributor to some of the problems that people are citing. At the moment ROOL appear to exist completely separate from the community, which makes it hard for the community to judge their intentions (are they trying to exploit RISC OS commercially? etc.), and it makes it hard for them to see any problems within the community which may be harming it (forum toxicity, no-one answering Joe when he asks for help with his solar panels, etc.). And since the people who don't like the community don't go near the community, it may even be hard for the community to know that there's a problem.

User avatar
simoni
Posts: 438
Joined: Wed May 25, 2016 6:18 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by simoni » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:47 pm

OK, so essentially the "retro" part of your statement was irrelevant. That makes a lot more sense now, thanks.
If that's how you choose to interpret it, then I guess it's up to you. Seems you read the first two sentences you quoted but not the third - which clearly (I thought) explained that it was a different focus.

I watched their talk and my conclusion was; new licence, same old attitude; but I hope you're right and ROOL/ROD will adjust their thinking and help to move RISC OS in another direction because one thing that's hard to argue against is - the direction up till now hasn't achieved much. Although I'm sure there will be a few who would disagree with even that.

User avatar
myelin
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:17 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by myelin » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm

simoni wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:47 pm
If that's how you choose to interpret it, then I guess it's up to you. Seems you read the first two sentences you quoted but not the third - which clearly (I thought) explained that it was a different focus.
I think that wasn't as clear from your last post. I took your "retro OS" comment from one of your earlier posts to mean that you didn't think there was any point developing RISC OS as a "current" OS for modern machines/boards, and that future development should be focussed on backwards compatibility, resurrecting 26 bit support etc. A retro-OS for retro-computers. (As an aside, I really like this idea; I'd love to be able to build new ROMs for my A3000.)

However it seems from your last post that this is one of many things you think ROOL should be enabling, and that by "retro" you just mean that RISC OS shouldn't be considered a commercial project to shepherd into the future, but rather something to preserve and enable people to tinker with. Retro in philosophy rather than specifically for retrocomputers.
Last edited by myelin on Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SW/EE from New Zealand, now in Mountain View, CA, making BBC/Electron hardware projects for fun.
Most popular: fast serial port, FX2+PiTubeDirect Tube/Cartridge adapter, USB cart interface.

User avatar
Elminster
Posts: 3137
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:09 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by Elminster » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:46 pm

myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm
However it seems from your last post that this is one of many things you think ROOL should be enabling, and that by "retro" you just mean that RISC OS shouldn't be considered a commercial project to shepherd into the future, but rather something to preserve and enable people to tinker with. Retro in philosophy rather than specifically for retrocomputers.
I am watching the thread but I shall remain an 8 bit’ter I think. But what I would say is that very few OS have made the transitioning to a ‘modern OS’ in the form they started. What I mean by this is. Linux is pretty much was written from the ground up from the 90s, windows/dos was pretty much rewritten with windows NT, and then beaten into a generic OS with XP, Apple through away OS 9 and started again, using a lot of NEXT stuff, to make OS X.

My point would be regardless of the license a huge amount of work would be required to take an older OS into the modern world, where it would be used by non hobbyists. This is usually done with money (Ms/Apple) or weight of number (Linux). Although even with Linux many commercial companies feed code back in, IBM, Redhat, Oracle etc.

Just a random

User avatar
SarahWalker
Posts: 1112
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:56 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by SarahWalker » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:11 pm

Elminster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:46 pm
myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm
However it seems from your last post that this is one of many things you think ROOL should be enabling, and that by "retro" you just mean that RISC OS shouldn't be considered a commercial project to shepherd into the future, but rather something to preserve and enable people to tinker with. Retro in philosophy rather than specifically for retrocomputers.
I am watching the thread but I shall remain an 8 bit’ter I think. But what I would say is that very few OS have made the transitioning to a ‘modern OS’ in the form they started. What I mean by this is. Linux is pretty much was written from the ground up from the 90s, windows/dos was pretty much rewritten with windows NT, and then beaten into a generic OS with XP, Apple through away OS 9 and started again, using a lot of NEXT stuff, to make OS X.
The only real example I can think of is actually Windows 95 - essentially at a low level it's Windows 3.x with preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, better memory protection etc bolted on, with a vast amount of mangling to try to preserve application compatibility. I'm not entirely sure that's the route anyone would want to see RISC OS going down!

User avatar
Elminster
Posts: 3137
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:09 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by Elminster » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:42 pm

SarahWalker wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:11 pm
Elminster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:46 pm
myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm
However it seems from your last post that this is one of many things you think ROOL should be enabling, and that by "retro" you just mean that RISC OS shouldn't be considered a commercial project to shepherd into the future, but rather something to preserve and enable people to tinker with. Retro in philosophy rather than specifically for retrocomputers.
I am watching the thread but I shall remain an 8 bit’ter I think. But what I would say is that very few OS have made the transitioning to a ‘modern OS’ in the form they started. What I mean by this is. Linux is pretty much was written from the ground up from the 90s, windows/dos was pretty much rewritten with windows NT, and then beaten into a generic OS with XP, Apple through away OS 9 and started again, using a lot of NEXT stuff, to make OS X.
The only real example I can think of is actually Windows 95 - essentially at a low level it's Windows 3.x with preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, better memory protection etc bolted on, with a vast amount of mangling to try to preserve application compatibility. I'm not entirely sure that's the route anyone would want to see RISC OS going down!
Not sure Windows 95 was really a codebase rewrite like NT was, and it died with XP, which was NT with some extra bits so you could use 95. I dare say there is a post somewhere as to how much of the original code made it into XP. Although you could argue it was win95 that launches MS to where it is today, but then I am a Mac user so what would I know.
Last edited by Elminster on Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Phlamethrower
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:35 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by Phlamethrower » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:10 pm

myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm
simoni wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:47 pm
If that's how you choose to interpret it, then I guess it's up to you. Seems you read the first two sentences you quoted but not the third - which clearly (I thought) explained that it was a different focus.
I think that wasn't as clear from your last post. I took your "retro OS" comment from one of your earlier posts to mean that you didn't think there was any point developing RISC OS as a "current" OS for modern machines/boards, and that future development should be focussed on backwards compatibility, resurrecting 26 bit support etc. A retro-OS for retro-computers.
Yes, that's pretty much how I interpreted it.
(As an aside, I really like this idea; I'd love to be able to build new ROMs for my A3000.)
Indeed - I think there are a few people who would like to see that happen.

User avatar
SarahWalker
Posts: 1112
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:56 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by SarahWalker » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:39 pm

Elminster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:42 pm
SarahWalker wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:11 pm
Elminster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:46 pm


I am watching the thread but I shall remain an 8 bit’ter I think. But what I would say is that very few OS have made the transitioning to a ‘modern OS’ in the form they started. What I mean by this is. Linux is pretty much was written from the ground up from the 90s, windows/dos was pretty much rewritten with windows NT, and then beaten into a generic OS with XP, Apple through away OS 9 and started again, using a lot of NEXT stuff, to make OS X.
The only real example I can think of is actually Windows 95 - essentially at a low level it's Windows 3.x with preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, better memory protection etc bolted on, with a vast amount of mangling to try to preserve application compatibility. I'm not entirely sure that's the route anyone would want to see RISC OS going down!
Not sure Windows 95 was really a codebase rewrite like NT was
It wasn't - that was the point I was making, that it was a RISC OS-era OS that tried to transition to a modern OS (by 1995 standards, though that's still more modern than RO is!) without a total rewrite. I'm fairly certain many people have opinions on how well that worked.

User avatar
Elminster
Posts: 3137
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:09 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by Elminster » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:30 pm

SarahWalker wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:39 pm
Elminster wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:42 pm
SarahWalker wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:11 pm

The only real example I can think of is actually Windows 95 - essentially at a low level it's Windows 3.x with preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, better memory protection etc bolted on, with a vast amount of mangling to try to preserve application compatibility. I'm not entirely sure that's the route anyone would want to see RISC OS going down!
Not sure Windows 95 was really a codebase rewrite like NT was
It wasn't - that was the point I was making, that it was a RISC OS-era OS that tried to transition to a modern OS (by 1995 standards, though that's still more modern than RO is!) without a total rewrite. I'm fairly certain many people have opinions on how well that worked.
It didnt work but I dont count 95 as a transition, that was NT (the code base was rewriten using a lot of VMS experience) and then the merging of NT into a consumer friendly version i.e XP. So I would say XP was the consumer transition, NT was the buisness transition, not 95. I guess it depends if you look at it from a commercial or a consumer point of view. Companies I worked ofr went stright from Windows 3.1 (or 3.11) to NT, missing 95 completely.

Edit: So in fact we make the same point, a complete code base rewrite is needed (NT) rather than bolting stuff on (windows 95). This is hyperthetical of course.

Edit2: Also note this was in response to the comment above about making RISC OS a modern OS, by which I take to mean that people who know nothing about RISC OS (perhaps in the < 30 year old camp) or Acorn etc, would want to load it up on their ARM machine and use it, rather than using Windows 10, MacOS X or Linux etc.
Last edited by Elminster on Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

matt_nottm
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:54 am
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by matt_nottm » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:33 am

Phlamethrower wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:10 pm
myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm

(As an aside, I really like this idea; I'd love to be able to build new ROMs for my A3000.)
Indeed - I think there are a few people who would like to see that happen.
Exactly what I'm looking for!
Last edited by matt_nottm on Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
daveejhitchins
Posts: 4462
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:23 pm
Location: Newton Aycliffe, County Durham
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by daveejhitchins » Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:39 am

matt_nottm wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:33 am
Phlamethrower wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:10 pm
myelin wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm

(As an aside, I really like this idea; I'd love to be able to build new ROMs for my A3000.)
Indeed - I think there are a few people who would like to see that happen.
Exactly what I'm looking for!
I think there will be lots of people who would enjoy the fruits of thost labours . . .

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ARA III, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

hubersn
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:59 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by hubersn » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:22 pm

paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
hubersn wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:21 pm
The only necessity for the DDE is if you want to rebuild the whole ROM. If you really want to develop one of the OS modules, most of them are compilable for softloading, and this is (at least theoretically) possible with GCC.
Theoretically? OK. I've previously developed a soft loadable module for RISC OS 3.x and below so I know these things can be developed without the DDE but my perception and it seems others too when it comes to getting involved with ROOL is/was that the DDE is/was required. If it weren't a common misunderstanding we wouldn't be talking about it in these terms.

So if I did misunderstand then the reason I think is due to a lack of effective communication that the DDE is not required to get involved in working on the OS.
I don't know where you get your information from, so I cannot tell if it is lack of effective communication, lack of understanding, lack of a will to experiment, widely spreaded misinformation, not asking the people in the know or something else. Did you ask in the ROOL forum?

Since the DDE is by far the easiest way to build RISC OS (all parts, the ROM, the disc image, everything), pragmatic natures would calculate the time needed to get a working alternative against spending 50 UKP. It is really a no-brainer for anyone who values time. Unless of course you have a lot of time and very little money. But if you have, you could have already built a fully GCC-buildable source base in the past few years. Or even create a GCC that is fully DDE compatible. Or even build your own C compiler. On the other hand, if you have those capabilities, why not work a few hours for a typical professional dev rate and buy a few DDE licenses.
paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
If all it's needed for is to build the ROMs and a few choice parts of the OS, fair enough but there should be a conspicuous documented ways of developing for RISC OS without the DDE and to be truly inclusive I'd argue that you should be able to do it all without the DDE.
Yes, getting rid of the DDE dependency would be a good idea. Is there anybody who does not agree with this? The question is: if this is of ultimate importance (and that is what I gathered from this topic), why does nobody want to tackle the problem? Because it is a lot of work? Because it is complicated? Because everyone thinks someone else should do it?
paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
As for your offer for free DDE for serious developers, was that before RISC OS was open sourced? I don't know as I never saw the offer.
The first such offer was probably in Fidonet times in the early 90s. You can search through my posts on the ROOL forum for the first time I offered that in modern RISC OS Open times. Probably 2009? Ah no, 2011: https://www.riscosopen.org/forum/forums ... posts-8050
paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
If it was though, there were other barriers to getting involved other than the cost which may have affected the take up of your offer, namely the perceived semi toxic community and a licencing model where commercial companies were at least perceived as getting development/developers for free.
"Semi toxic community"? I wonder how you would characterize Linux kernel development.

And every "Open Source" licensing model allows commercial companies to get development for free. It is the nature of the beast. But I have heard all those many reasons for not getting involved many times. There is no project in the world that satisfies all demands. And I blame nobody for spending their free time on other interesting things. I just don't believe that anything mentioned in this thread as show stoppers would change anything wrt meaningful contribution if those show stoppers would be removed.
paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
These things were a showstopper for many so the move to an Apache licencing model at least reduces the potential for toxicity and removes the licencing barrier now.
"Many"? Citation needed. And the new Apache license is also not good enough for some (probably also "many").
paulv wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:00 am
At the end of the day though, I think the argument that "if you're going to open source a project, go the whole way" is the way to go to maximise engagement with the community and reduce or remove all the significant barriers to make contribution a no brainer.
It stops being a no-brainer when it costs time and money, both of which is typically in short supply. IMHO the most significant barrier for contributions is the complicated RISC OS codebase and the sparse documentation of internal details as well as the very few people who could be considered experts on many RISC OS internals. Making anything open source does not solve anything in that department. Especially if you need the real experts also to review the code of submissions and discuss the finer details of those submissions.

The relicensing took a lot of effort, time and money. We have yet to see if it was all worth it. I remain sceptical because of past experience.

Have fun
hubersn

hubersn
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:59 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by hubersn » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am

davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
Trying to be constructive here. Skip to the end for the constructive bit...
hubersn wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:53 pm
There already were lots of incentives. Like fixing a few of the ShareFS bugs (or even providing a solid base for making ShareFS-over-TCP/IP possible and therefore much more relaible than it is nowadays).
I thought ShareFS was closed. How am I supposed to fix something that is closed in a sustainable way? I'm capable of making binary patches for things, but why should I spend time doing so?
But my point was that you already had the incentive to *replace* ShareFS to fix the bugs. So in this hypothetical scenario you have the source. Because you have replaced it successfully. You said that only after the license change there was suddenly the incentive to provide a replacement. Probably I misunderstood your point?
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
hubersn wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:53 pm
Or providing an Open Source alternative - many people seem to think that this is an important property of RISC OS, so providing a clean-room implementation of those closed parts would have been very welcome. However, it didn't happen. Despite those two examples being very loosely coupled with the rest of the OS and could have been easily developed with completely open and free tools.
The incentive is greater now if someone wants a completely open OS with completely open components. That may or may not attract a different kind of developer than those who might have been interested before.
The delta between now (Apache) and then (Castle Shared Source) is IMHO so small that it will not make a difference. I hope I'm wrong.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
From my perspective, I was never interested in reimplementing ShareFS on RISC OS, but I was interested in reimplementing the underlying network protocols to allow interoperability with systems using ShareFS.
So the relicensing has changed nothing for you (at least in this specific respect of course).
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
hubersn wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:53 pm
Look, I don't deny that there are a lot of stumbling blocks in the world of software (and more specifically OS) development. But it was argued that a freely available DDE would change everything and that the 50 UKP were a major entry barrier. Your argument seems to suggest that for many/some people it wouldn't change anything if the DDE is freely available, because people are not used to it.
Both arguments are valid, though I don't think anyone was arguing that it would change everything.
I exagerated a bit for dramatic purposes. But "elephant in the room" was mentioned. And "The issue" (not "one of the issues", "The issue"). And several times it was mentioned that 50 UKP was too much.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
There are two barriers: some people won't pay £50 up front plus £25 per upgrade, some people won't adjust to using it. So, perhaps using GCC is the solution, but how socially acceptable is it within the RISC OS community to use it for OS code?
If you write quality code (and I hope we all agree that anything contributed to the core RISC OS should be high quality!), it will compile with GCC as well as with DDE. I cannot see the problem in using GCC for development purposes. I am also not aware that any code submission was turned down because of that. There is that nice "Code review" section in the ROOL forum - post your contribution there and there will be helpful people throwing your code at the DDE.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
hubersn wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:53 pm
I have no idea who tried what to recruit developers for a web browser - I don't even know any details about that mythical planned browser. However, there is this NetSurf browser. A fine project, GPL, source code in Git, buildable with GCC. The NetSurf developers are always looking for new contributors. But oh dear - not much interest there either. Where are the "GPL and GCC and Git" friends when you need them.
NetSurf has serious competition from other browsers and many projects lack contributors. Open sourcing a piece of software and developing it in a public repository is not a silver bullet for that problem. I've seen projects languish because the contributors never came, or because users were happy to free-ride on corporate development. It helps to know the culture around your project and what it would take to encourage contribution. Keeping a project closed isn't necessarily a viable alternative, either.
Thanks for joining my standpoint: open sourcing is not a silver bullet. Having a public Git repo is not a silver bullet. There are no silver bullets unfortunately.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
hubersn wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:53 pm
So who should change what exactly (and at what cost) to encourage those groups so that they might - or might not - contribute something (what?) in the future?
The first thing is knowing what you want to achieve. I don't necessarily mean just you, but anyone who wants RISC OS to "improve" in some way. Here are some examples.
Personally, I support very similar goals to those stated by Jeffrey. The big difference is that I am only talking and he is doing the hard work.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
If a goal is to keep using the DDE for OS development then it might be beneficial to try and make it open source if it seems like that might attract developers who wouldn't or couldn't use it otherwise. If existing RISC OS developers who are happy to buy a DDE license aren't working on the OS, and if this is something to be encouraged, then I don't know what to suggest. Maybe better tutorials or training.

If a goal is to encourage more people to develop applications then maybe just improving GCC for RISC OS is fine unless the DDE has advantages over GCC on RISC OS. Then maybe we are back to calculating whether opening the DDE is worth it.

If a goal is to make RISC OS interesting for students of operating systems then it might be difficult to justify keeping the DDE closed if it is needed to work on OS internals. I doubt this is a problem for many people in academia because they have other systems to play with but I thought I would mention it.
All of these goals require a lot of work, expertise, time, money. Or a miracle (I believe open sourcing the DDE will require such a miracle). I cannot see how a vague promise of "I might get involved if..." would justify spending time, money and work.

For a long time (starting during Acorn days), I maintained the opinion that it was mainly a "hardware price problem" that made it so difficult for RISC OS to interest enough users and developers to keep ot alive and prospering. The availability of RPCEmu + RO5 as well as the RPi proved me dead wrong. Probably that is what made me a sceptic concerning those "we just need to solve xxx and a miracle will happen" predictions.
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
If a goal is to improve the operating system in fundamental ways, or make it more maintainable/understandable, or port it to other architectures then perhaps switching to GCC or another compiler might be desirable.
I just remembered one tiny detail in the Castle license that many seem to have forgotten: there was an "ARM only" clause inside IIRC. That is now gone. Looking at the RISC OS codebase, I am not sure if that substantially changes anything :D
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
The most important thing, however, is to ask people what might encourage them to contribute and to accept that their responses are sincere. That's what has happened in this thread.
I don't know if asking for wishlists is a sensible thing to steer future development in a resource restricted world. Nothing new was mentioned in this thread, all those wishes were known since the beginning of time. Everything free, everything friendly, perfectly understandable sources in the programming language of personal choice, perfect documentation. And of course the ultimate expert answering any technical question within minutes 24/7 and who solves all the difficult problems for you.

Sorry, I guess I need to do something constructive for the next few days. Writing so much pessimistic predictions (here and elsewhere, and not restricted to RISC OS, but serious future problems wrt German politics) is really not what I like to do. Maybe I am getting old and cynic. Time for some coding.

hubersn

User avatar
davidb
Posts: 2231
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:11 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by davidb » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:39 pm

This message turned out to be even longer than I expected. ;)
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
But my point was that you already had the incentive to *replace* ShareFS to fix the bugs. So in this hypothetical scenario you have the source. Because you have replaced it successfully. You said that only after the license change there was suddenly the incentive to provide a replacement. Probably I misunderstood your point?
Yes, perhaps. My point was the incentive for someone like me (though probably not me) has increased. It was always possible to replace ShareFS with an open version, just as it is possible to reimplement any part of RISC OS. It just wasn't easy to fix the bugs in the current version without source code. The reason why the incentive has increased now, if someone wants to replace it, is that it would contribute to a wider goal - making a completely open RISC OS. Before, if someone had replaced it, there may have been questions about whether it was wasted effort. It depends on priorities and perspective, of course.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
From my perspective, I was never interested in reimplementing ShareFS on RISC OS, but I was interested in reimplementing the underlying network protocols to allow interoperability with systems using ShareFS.
So the relicensing has changed nothing for you (at least in this specific respect of course).
In this case, probably not, or not that much. I'm not really that interested in redoing something I started over 15 years ago in Python all over again in C. Maybe a helper library that enabled filing systems to be written in high level languages would be a project I would consider, so a ShareFS reimplementation would be a side effect of that, if it ever happened.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
If you write quality code (and I hope we all agree that anything contributed to the core RISC OS should be high quality!), it will compile with GCC as well as with DDE. I cannot see the problem in using GCC for development purposes. I am also not aware that any code submission was turned down because of that. There is that nice "Code review" section in the ROOL forum - post your contribution there and there will be helpful people throwing your code at the DDE.
That's very helpful. I think there needs to be some effort towards making it possible to build the OS with the GCC toolchain. Then it becomes more of a matter about the quality of submitted code. I know that ROOL want to make code review easier, too.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
NetSurf has serious competition from other browsers and many projects lack contributors. Open sourcing a piece of software and developing it in a public repository is not a silver bullet for that problem. I've seen projects languish because the contributors never came, or because users were happy to free-ride on corporate development. It helps to know the culture around your project and what it would take to encourage contribution. Keeping a project closed isn't necessarily a viable alternative, either.
Thanks for joining my standpoint: open sourcing is not a silver bullet. Having a public Git repo is not a silver bullet. There are no silver bullets unfortunately.
I'm not sure anyone here thinks it's a silver bullet, and plenty of us are publishing quite a lot of source code. I don't know if ROOL think it's a silver bullet. Probably not - I think they're just doing what they can to increase participation in the absence of other options, though I also believe that they have been wanting to run it as a completely open source project for some time.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
Personally, I support very similar goals to those stated by Jeffrey. The big difference is that I am only talking and he is doing the hard work.
Jeffrey does work very hard indeed. It was good to hear him mentioned by name in one of the presentations at the recent London show because I think it's important to recognise people who work hard in the background, and easy to overlook them in favour of people who make a lot of noise.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
All of these goals require a lot of work, expertise, time, money. Or a miracle (I believe open sourcing the DDE will require such a miracle). I cannot see how a vague promise of "I might get involved if..." would justify spending time, money and work.
Open sourcing the OS is a leap of faith, or a calculated risk. If enough people might get involved then maybe it's worth it. The same can be said of the DDE. A lot of money was spent (apparently) to acquire the OS. Possibly only a small fraction of that is required to open the DDE.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
For a long time (starting during Acorn days), I maintained the opinion that it was mainly a "hardware price problem" that made it so difficult for RISC OS to interest enough users and developers to keep ot alive and prospering. The availability of RPCEmu + RO5 as well as the RPi proved me dead wrong. Probably that is what made me a sceptic concerning those "we just need to solve xxx and a miracle will happen" predictions.
That may have been true in the Acorn days, though it's probably much less of an issue now. Back in the Acorn days we could convince ourselves that the OS was superior and that the hardware was too expensive but, if that was ever the case, the OS became less and less competitive over time while the hardware (the ARM at least) became adopted everywhere. But we knew that the OS had shortcomings, even if Acorn didn't seem to acknowledge them. That's why I'm interested in the other operating systems that they didn't choose.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
davidb wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:16 am
If a goal is to improve the operating system in fundamental ways, or make it more maintainable/understandable, or port it to other architectures then perhaps switching to GCC or another compiler might be desirable.
I just remembered one tiny detail in the Castle license that many seem to have forgotten: there was an "ARM only" clause inside IIRC. That is now gone. Looking at the RISC OS codebase, I am not sure if that substantially changes anything :D
I've been aware of that clause for a long time. It always seemed outrageous, though it reflects a narrow view that it should be RISC OS on ARM forever, and perhaps RISC OS doesn't have a future on non-32-bit ARM or other CPUs. Perhaps its identity is too tied up with 26/32-bit ARMs and it would evolve to be something else. I think it was in the ROOL presentation that porting to other architectures was mentioned and someone joked about it being "blasphemy" - it was a joke, but I think some people do closely link RISC OS to the ARM processor, Acorn, Cambridge and the history and culture around those things, even if they still want modern RISC OS machines to use.
hubersn wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:25 am
I don't know if asking for wishlists is a sensible thing to steer future development in a resource restricted world. Nothing new was mentioned in this thread, all those wishes were known since the beginning of time. Everything free, everything friendly, perfectly understandable sources in the programming language of personal choice, perfect documentation. And of course the ultimate expert answering any technical question within minutes 24/7 and who solves all the difficult problems for you.
Well, we're not there yet. That's why we have wishlists! ;)

User avatar
davidb
Posts: 2231
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:11 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by davidb » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:42 am

Looks like there may be more developments on the development tools front.

User avatar
danielj
Posts: 6652
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by danielj » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:34 am

Pleased to see that ROOL agree about the Dev tools being an issue at odds with open source development :) and that something is going to happen! I am watching with interest.

User avatar
dgrubb
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:36 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by dgrubb » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:05 pm

=D>
I’m pleased to say we now have a straight-forward plan.
That doesn't sound very Acorn-y, or British, to me. Try again please, ROOL.

TynHau
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:55 pm
Contact:

Re: RISC OS relicensed: now under Apache 2.0!

Post by TynHau » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:44 pm

dgrubb wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:05 pm
=D>
I’m pleased to say we now have a straight-forward plan.
That doesn't sound very Acorn-y, or British, to me. Try again please, ROOL.
A cunning plan?

Post Reply