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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS 5.30 arrives

RISC OS 5.30 arrives

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:15, 27/4/2024 |

It has been four years since 5.28 stable release, so it is really exciting to have the next official release now available.

While you can always use the nightly builds, many people prefer a solid release for their main system. 5.30 brings together all these changes (6 bounties of work), 347 improvements to the 'hard Disc4' image and 329 improvements to the ROM to RISC OS. 76 bug tickets have been resolved.

There is a lot of exciting new things in this release. The highlights for me are:-

  • Mot of the Applications get tweaks and fixes for issues
  • Addition of Ovation Pro and full SparkFS thanks to David Pilling
  • Better PNG support
  • Out of the box wifi support for many Raspberry Pi models.
  • Updated User Guide

What are your top features?

Time to  backup your systems and plan your upgrade...

ROOL announcement

  RISC OS 5.30 arrives
  nytrex (16:38 28/4/2024)
  arenaman (23:30 5/5/2024)
    arober11 (15:13 19/5/2024)
      helpful (03:46 21/5/2024)
        arober11 (08:03 22/5/2024)
          richw (13:18 22/5/2024)
      richw (10:08 21/5/2024)
Alan Robertson Message #125621, posted by nytrex at 16:38, 28/4/2024
Posts: 107
A huge thank you to everyone involved with the latest release.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Michael Stubbs Message #125626, posted by arenaman at 23:30, 5/5/2024, in reply to message #125621
Posts: 114
I love how the RISC OS scene is still alive and kicking over 25 years after Black Thursday. Sure, there's some major work to do, like 64bit, but what's been achieved so far is brilliant. The fact that RISC OS itself is still actively developed, as is software to run on it, is no mean feat. Well done, guys, and thank you!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Andy R Message #125631, posted by arober11 at 15:13, 19/5/2024, in reply to message #125626
Posts: 2
Appear to have missed a trick, or several, at least with the Pi image.

Burnt a copy of 5.3, using the Pi imager, onto an ancient 16GB microSD (haven't seen anything smaller than 32GB in a decade), the image is ~2GB, the rest is wasted. No FAT32 second partition, however small the RISCOS filesystem image on the SDcard, to permit the easy transfer of downloaded zips, or to add a few ADF floppy images on a PC or Mac, before plugging the card into a Pi, to make the image usable.

The vanilla image lacks SMB, SFTP, SCP, SSH, support, as it lacks an ADF floppy image mounter, to obviously prevent you from accessing any shares you have on your network, or floppy images you manage to get onto the card.

There's NO Partition Manager bundled on the image, to allow you to create a FAT32 partition in the remaining space on the SDCard, though the FAT32FS module is present.

There's no copy of !SoftSCSI to permit you to add filler icons to access any additional FAT partitions you manage to create on the unused space on the SDcard, or on a USB stick, USB CDRom, ...

The included package-managers fail to offer the ability to install SMB, USB, or ADF floppy support, let alone a partition manager, or even the latest version of the 26-bit support mod. The original machines, even if they didn't have an HDD, came with a System disk that included an HDD formatter.

The bundled NetSurf browser doesn't have the JavaScript engine to even be able to access the RaspberryPi support forums, or directly download the necessary missing modules and Apps, from the Javascript heavy sites the Devs have chosen to stash the necessary bits to make RISOC usable on.

Essentially the vanilla image requires a day of dicking around to make a vaguely usable system, to even have a brief play on. The utter lack of end user utility makes this no way near a Public Release.

Draw up a few User stories, for what you expect the average Pi user, say who out of curiosity might want to try out RISCOS, likely for the first time, and play an odd port of a retro Amiga game, desire from the image. Ditto for the old farts, who have physical RISCOS hardware, and previous versions of the Pi images, and will want to transfer stuff from previous installs. If this can't happen on inserting a copy of the burnt image, without a decade or four of RISC OS usage (as there's no tutorial saved to the pinboard), and they can't get or ask for help the browser supplied on the RISC OS image, then the image is no good.

If it takes longer, and an order of magnitude more advanced knowledge, than unboxing a real A3000, A3010, ..., plugging it into a TV and wall socket, removing a Lemmings floppy from its box, or one of the other floppies in the early 1990s Learning Curve / Action pack bundles, to get the software running, and you blowing things up, or writing a letter, the release is nothing but an Alpha / Developer preview, not even fit for a Public Beta, let alone to be called a Public release.

[Edited by arober11 at 21:23, 19/5/2024]

[Edited by arober11 at 01:55, 20/5/2024]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Bryan Hogan Message #125632, posted by helpful at 03:46, 21/5/2024, in reply to message #125631
Posts: 250
Yeah, the standard ROOL image has been criticised before for being rather, err... bland :-( It's basically still the RiscPC disc image from 30 years ago!

The RISC OS Developments Direct image has a better selection of bundled software, and it's a 16GB image IIRC, although it hasn't been updated to RO 5.30 yet. Give it a try and report back, feedback is useful for those producing the next version - https://www.riscosdev.com/direct/
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Richard Walker Message #125633, posted by richw at 10:08, 21/5/2024, in reply to message #125631
Posts: 68
I agree with this sentiment: the entire platform is a minefield for 'getting started'. I set up a Pi back in 2017-ish, and it wasn't simple. Yet I'd been using RISC OS from 1988 to 2002!

There was lots of assumed knowledge, and farting about like getting version X of this module/utility from this random web page. And ignore that one, because it's obsolete, and you want the newer one on this other home page etc.

I don't mind the official RISC OS images being basic. It's understandable - they are the build output of code rom ROOL's GitLab.

With initiatives like 'RISC OS Pi' or 'RISC OS Direct', there are opportunities to make it beginner friendly. It should be a good experience out-of-the-box, even more so than where Acorn were with a new Risc PC. But both of these feel a bit murky: perhaps I've missed them, but are there any sort of project repositories for either? Maybe some explanation of the aims, the code (build process etc.), a plan for the next release, a place to report issues etc.

I feel like these two images could potentially land on the answer, but they are shrouded in mystery. For example, is there going to be a 5.30 for RISC OS Direct? What extras will be included? How can we ensure they are up-to-date?

I also can't help but think that a big part of the answer is for the community to embrace utilities like GitLab/GitHub and packaging. Even the vanilla HardDisc4 could be pretty good if I could open PackMan and select all the 'essentials', rather than have to discover a dozen magic web sites.

Of course, the other problem is that any existing users (myself included!) are less likely to appreciate or feel the need to work on the 'new user journey', since they don't need it!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Andy R Message #125634, posted by arober11 at 08:03, 22/5/2024, in reply to message #125632
Posts: 2
At least the RiscPC had a floppy drive you could directly get software onto the platform with (equivalent of inserting a USB stick). The current distribution could do with a modal popup:

"Warning: This system image does not recognise USB media, and the included package managers only offer packages to permit the transfer of files from YOUR thirty something AUN / Econet file server. If you have any desire to use software not included on the image, or hosted on YOUR AUN server, before booting for the first time download and place any 3rd party software you want to use on YOUR vintage Acorn / SJ Research fileserver (once you remember the password you set in 1993). Else if you insist on violating the RISC OS Open teams vision as to how this image is to be used, you'll need a separate FAT32 formatted microSD card, and then on a PC or Mac download and place the deviant files onto the micro SDcard, next define a RAM disc within the RISCOS task manager (left click the Raspberry on the bottom right of the task bar and scroll to bottom in the resulting window, and allocate some space), then play the dismount SDcard, swap SDcard, copy a few bits to the RAM disc from the unauthorised SDcard (or even semi-authorised NuPI SDcard), dismount the deviant SDcard, reinsert the RISCOS SDcard, copy from RAM disc to the RISCOS SDcard, shuffle, till you have defiled the system image"
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Richard Walker Message #125635, posted by richw at 13:18, 22/5/2024, in reply to message #125634
Posts: 68
It was pretty tricky in 1996-ish. You may have had that floppy, but where were you to obtain Acorn-format/content floppies? Getting your new Risc PC on the Internet was bothersome.

It should be very straightforward these days - and in some ways, things are close. It's maybe just that last little step which is missing.

I've not used RISC OS Pi/Direct for a while, but I would hope that, once booted, you can open PackMan or Store and discover some additional apps. And actually, lots of useful things would be there by default, such as a functional web browser.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]

The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS 5.30 arrives