Risc Os computing

Risc Os is the operating system developed by Acorn Computers, at one time the main supplier of computers to education in the UK. It was one of the first to be designed as a graphical, WIMP (windows-icon-mouse-pointer) operating system, making it easier to use for non-specialists to use and more productive for more advanced users. It was designed for use on ARM-based computers and is optimised for that hardware.

When ARM, the chip design company set up by Acorn and Apple, was floated off in 1998 and Acorn wound up, the operating system continued to be developed. First by set-top box maker maker Pace. Then by companies set up by former Acorn retailers and developers.

Until 2002 there were two platform options, besides legacy systems (mainly the Risc PC):

Virtual Acorn, a fully featured emulator running on PC and Mac hardware and still a popular option. This runs Risc Os 6, a development of the standard 26-bit operating system.

The Iyonix, a desktop computer, launched in 2002, now discontinued, using Risc Os 5, a 32-bit version of the operating system.

“Native” hardware has seen a revival with the development of suitable new ARM chips, such as the A8-Cortex.

Currently, the main hardware choice is the Armini, a small profile desktop system developed by R-Comp Ltd and based on the BeagleBoard.

The development of the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer on a board, has presented a new opportunity.

Though the standard version of the computer comes with Linux operating system, ROOL (Risc Os Open Ltd), which maintains and develops Risc Os 5, offers Risc Os Pi, an alternative operating system on a SD card, turning the Raspberry Pi into a Risc Os platform.

Complete systems or components for RPi-based Risc Os systems are available from CJE Micros.

The Risc Os Pi SD card contains the latest version of Risc Os 5 plus several basic programmes, such as text editors, Paint and Draw programmes and the NetSurf web browser.

A full suite of Risc Os commerial progerammes for the Raspberry Pi is available on the Nut Pi Sd card.