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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS source code to be relicensed under the Apache open source license
 

RISC OS source code to be relicensed under the Apache open source license

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 20:40, 22/10/2018 | , , ,
 
Hot on the heals of the reveal that RISC OS Developments had acquired Castle Technology and with it the rights to RISC OS 5, more news on the future of RISC OS has emerged this week: RISC OS Developments are working with RISC OS Open to relicense RISC OS under the Apache 2.0 License, a popular and fairly permissive open-source license.
 
Although some the OS's components were already available under permissive open-source licenses such as the BSD and CDDL licenses, ever since RISC OS Open's inception the primary license has been the Castle License, which came in commercial and non-commercial flavours, neither of which satisfied all of the requirements that the OSI deem necessary in order for the code released under that license to be considered "true" open source. So although the "shared source" Castle License was better than nothing and certainly played a big part in RISC OS's survival post-Iyonix, many people have also felt that it's been holding the platform back. ROOL and ROD hope that by relicensing the OS under this new license, developer and user interest in the OS will increase, and the OS will be kept free to grow and evolve into the next decade and beyond.
 
More information about what this means for RISC OS and what ROD's and ROOL's plans for the future of RISC OS are will be released at the London Show this weekend.
 
  RISC OS source code to be relicensed under the Apache open source license
  glavallin (14:12 23/10/2018)
  nunfetishist (16:35 23/10/2018)
  helpful (16:47 24/10/2018)
    yogyog (07:49 6/11/2018)
      CJE (11:43 6/11/2018)
        arawnsley (15:39 6/11/2018)
          CJE (11:29 7/11/2018)
            levi (17:41 7/11/2018)
              CJE (11:39 8/11/2018)
                bhtooefr (14:16 8/11/2018)
                levi (21:21 8/11/2018)
          hubersn (14:54 7/11/2018)
            richw (17:04 8/11/2018)
 
Geoff Lavallin Message #124351, posted by glavallin at 14:12, 23/10/2018
Member
Posts: 40
I hope that this new license is not so permissive as to allow unwarranted pilfering of valued code that was previously protected. RISC OS may have some ‘older bits’ but I wouldn’t want to see it needlessly appropriated by any ‘sneaky thief’.
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Rob Kendrick Message #124352, posted by nunfetishist at 16:35, 23/10/2018, in reply to message #124351
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 486
I hope that this new license is not so permissive as to allow unwarranted pilfering of valued code that was previously protected. RISC OS may have some ‘older bits’ but I wouldn’t want to see it needlessly appropriated by any ‘sneaky thief’.
Why? RISC OS itself has "pilfered" much from the liberally-licensed open source world. What there is to give back (which is to say not a lot) should be fair game.

You wouldn't be using the Internet, USB, or many ports beyond the RiscPC if it wasn't for liberally-licenced open source software developed in a context other than RISC OS.

[Edited by nunfetishist at 10:29, 24/10/2018]
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Bryan Hogan Message #124359, posted by helpful at 16:47, 24/10/2018, in reply to message #124351
Member
Posts: 197
Come to the London Show this weekend, where ROOL have said more detail will be revealed big smile

https://www.iconbar.com/forums/viewthread.php?threadid=12536
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Mike Futcher Message #124380, posted by yogyog at 07:49, 6/11/2018, in reply to message #124359
Member
Posts: 4
Does this mean that from now on the roms that emulators need can be included in the same download as the emulator? That sounds convenient!
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Chris Evans Message #124381, posted by CJE at 11:43, 6/11/2018, in reply to message #124380
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 203
Not yet AFAIUI. The new licence covers RISC OS 5.
In time I think ROD will change the licence on other software they now own. Though who now owns RISC OS 3 is not clear. I'd be surprised if Pace bought it when they acquired the set top box/desktop part of Acorn in which case it wouldn't have ended up being owned by Castle and is probably still owned by MSDW holdings.


[Edited by CJE at 12:16, 6/11/2018]
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #124382, posted by arawnsley at 15:39, 6/11/2018, in reply to message #124381
R-Comp chap
Posts: 474
My understanding is that Pace got the entire contents of Acorn's software dev tree (source code), which would include all of RISC OS. Indeed, there are many old components in the tree.

It would have been rather daft for them to not acquire everything, as that would leave the older versions open for separate sale to competitors.

Of course, it'd mean going through an awful lot of paperwork to confirm that exactly.

Also, there's always the question of RISC OS Ltd. Whilst their initial remit was RISC OS 4 on the desktop market (aka 3.8 when it was acquired), there's a fairly reasonable argument that RISC OS 3 on the desktop could fall into their court.

A "live and let live" approach is favoured by all parties these days, and it is certainly something that could be discussed, but it may have a material effect on RISC OS Ltd income as I believe they sell a CD of old ROMs.

RISC OS Developments is quite firmly committed to helping all RISC OS companies make money, even if it isn't doing so itself (currently!).


I should probably take some of the blame for all this. When we negotiated the acquisition of RISC OS 3.8 from Element 14, there was a long list of deliverables. If I recall, it listed each RISC OS module, and possibly version number. My goal was to ensure we had everything we needed to continue development and produce RO4. I had little thought for legacy OSs.

Also, there's VirtualA5000 to consider. That was the first VA product (excluding a PC emulator bundle from APDL which I think it grew out of), and had a low price. If I recall, this was achieved because it didn't need to pay a royalty on RISC OS, so my guess is it fell outside of RISC OS Ltd, and perhaps had a separate agreement from Pace. I could speculate on that (I think Aaron or Dave Holden once told me), but I fear I may be guessing rather than remembering.

[Edited by arawnsley at 15:41, 6/11/2018]
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Chris Evans Message #124383, posted by CJE at 11:29, 7/11/2018, in reply to message #124382
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 203
That's good news Andrew. Though just to throw another spanner: What about non RISC OS IPR?
8bit, 16bit...
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Steffen Huber Message #124384, posted by hubersn at 14:54, 7/11/2018, in reply to message #124382
Member
Posts: 77
My understanding is that Pace got the entire contents of Acorn's software dev tree (source code), which would include all of RISC OS. Indeed, there are many old components in the tree.
That was also my understanding I got from various Pace employees back then. And what Castle said when they bought RISC OS from Pace.


Also, there's always the question of RISC OS Ltd. Whilst their initial remit was RISC OS 4 on the desktop market (aka 3.8 when it was acquired), there's a fairly reasonable argument that RISC OS 3 on the desktop could fall into their court.
According to what I gathered over the years from statements of the various parties: no, RO Ltd. has no exclusive licence wrt versions prior to RO4 - I think even Aaron confirmed this in one of the longish Usenet threads back then.


A "live and let live" approach is favoured by all parties these days, and it is certainly something that could be discussed, but it may have a material effect on RISC OS Ltd income as I believe they sell a CD of old ROMs.
I don't believe that those 10 UKP for the "old RISC OS" CD makes them rich, you could ask them who they are paying the royalties to.

But as low as those 10 UKP are, they are a major stumbling block for people who "just want to try RISC OS on emulation/simulation solution xyz". Or they just don't care and copy it from somewhere.


Also, there's VirtualA5000 to consider. That was the first VA product (excluding a PC emulator bundle from APDL which I think it grew out of), and had a low price. If I recall, this was achieved because it didn't need to pay a royalty on RISC OS, so my guess is it fell outside of RISC OS Ltd, and perhaps had a separate agreement from Pace. I could speculate on that (I think Aaron or Dave Holden once told me), but I fear I may be guessing rather than remembering.
Aaron always explained that the RO3.1 license for VA5000 came from Pace. As everything wrt RISC OS went from Pace to Castle, and now from Castle to ROD, it looks like ROD is free to license RO3.1 to anyone at any cost, like e.g. give it away for free, allow it to be bundled for free with emulators etc., just like it was done by Amstrad for their old stuff.

Since VA5000 is now again a commercial product sold via RO Ltd., I am sure Aaron is in a position to tell you who receives the royalties for the RO3.1 license if there are royalties to be paid.

From the "ROL licenses RISC OS" paperwork once leaked, it seemed as if ROD is now in a position to give out RO4 "for free" if it does no longer want the royalties from VA/ROL for V-RPC. This could reduce the price for VA products quite considerably, since Aaron always explained that the main part of the price was the RO4 royalty to pay. So everyone would win in the end - the end user because the emulator becomes cheaper and/or VA because they earn more per product sold.
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Levi Levinson Message #124385, posted by levi at 17:41, 7/11/2018, in reply to message #124383
Member
Posts: 5
Though just to throw another spanner: What about non RISC OS IPR?
8bit, 16bit...
What 16 bit IP? As far as I recall the only 16-bit CPU Acorn ever shipped in limited quantities was the 32016 possibly in a ABC prototype, and it may have been available as a second processor as well. As far as I can find out, that ran CP/M which Acorn never had the license to redistribute the source to, I would expect (if they ever had it at all).

I doubt there's much to see in the 8-bit source for MOS, DFS, ADFS etc, beyond what you'd see through a disassembled version of a pirated rom, except for a few label names. But it might be nice to have properly licensed versions of these things of course.
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Chris Evans Message #124386, posted by CJE at 11:39, 8/11/2018, in reply to message #124385
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 203

The only 16-bit CPU Acorn ever shipped in limited quantities was the 32016 possibly in a ABC prototype, and it may have been available as a second processor as well.
I can't recall if they ever sold any ABCs but they certainly sold 32016 co-pros, we sold a second hand one earlier this year.

Also I think the 80186 co-pros would fall into the 16bit category. There is a thriving Retro world out there. Someone has even produced a co-pro that can emulate all Acorns co-pros at blistering speed IIRC the 6502 mode is about 200MHz.
The retro scene mainly hangs out at https://stardot.org.uk/


[Edited by CJE at 11:42, 8/11/2018]
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Eric Rucker Message #124387, posted by bhtooefr at 14:16, 8/11/2018, in reply to message #124386
Member
Posts: 337
There's also the Communicator, which used the 6502-compatible Western Design Center 65816 (better known for its use in the Apple IIGS and the SNES) - the CPU that made Acorn realize they could just design their own CPU.

(Internally, that's fully 16-bit with 24-bit addressing, but the external data bus is 8-bit.)
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Richard Walker Message #124388, posted by richw at 17:04, 8/11/2018, in reply to message #124384
Member
Posts: 34



A "live and let live" approach is favoured by all parties these days, and it is certainly something that could be discussed, but it may have a material effect on RISC OS Ltd income as I believe they sell a CD of old ROMs.
I don't believe that those 10 UKP for the "old RISC OS" CD makes them rich, you could ask them who they are paying the royalties to.

Well, quite. At one potential extreme: why should an activity be prevented because someone might be selling unlicensed wares? Of course it shouldn't.

What is totally understandable, though, is that Andrew will be a busy guy, and I'm sure has more pressing matters. The size of the price for all the current stuff (RISC OS 5) is probably tiny, never mind the fraction of that which involves odd-balls like RISC OS 3.1. smile

Mind you, I've suspected for many years now that there might be more people using BBC micros (as 'retro toys') than there are active RISC OS 4/5 users. I wonder how the number or 'Archimedes' users fits into those numbers...
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Levi Levinson Message #124389, posted by levi at 21:21, 8/11/2018, in reply to message #124386
Member
Posts: 5

Also I think the 80186 co-pros would fall into the 16bit category.
Yes, that's probably true. According to Chris's Acorns (which seems to be significantly more reliable when it comes to this stuff than wikipedia) the 80186 at least in the Master 512 ran DR DOS and GEM. You're unlikely to get the source for those.

I'd got my register width and my data bus width mixed up there when I was talking about the 32016. That's got 32-bit registers, and a 24-bit PC but can only spit our half of a register per operation. But code worked natively with 32 bit values whenever it could, so that's normally considered to be 32-bit code.

I think most 32016-based machines ran PANOS from disc. I think they booted up to Pandora which was 16k (bytes, I assume) of ROM implementing at the very least a *-prompt supervisor which could call through to the MOS running on the 6502 side, and could also run BBC BASIC programmes on the 32016 side (though it's not clear to me whether that executor called bas32 lived on the panos discs or in the 16k ROM). Switching into Panos proper gave you access to compilers for pre-iso C or a weird version of Lisp, or standard versions of Fortran (77) or 32016 assembler, all of which could give you native 32016 binaries to play with or you could still run BBC BASIC programs under the bas32 interpreter (I assume).

It might be interesting to see the source of Pandora and Panos, and there's also RISC iX which I think predated RISC OS 2 slightly (the A305 running Arthur was late '87, the A400 and R140 were '88 I think, and RISC OS proper early '89). RISC iX is mainly a BSD with some SysV extensions and some stuff from Sun. I'm not sure how much of that latter bit Acorn ever had the source to.

ChrisW's Acorn pages (helpfully archived by Bletchley Park) list almost everything there is to know about these old bits and pieces

Although I'm pretty sure my Archimedes PC Card came with a copy of DR DOS, not PC DOS.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS source code to be relicensed under the Apache open source license