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WELCOME TO THE COMP.SYS.ACORN FAQ MONTHLY UPDATE.

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This update is automatically generated by my machine, so please email me at
csa-faq (at) riscos.org if it appears corrupted.
--------------------------------- part 1 of 1 ------------------------------

WELCOME TO THE COMP.SYS.ACORN.* FAQ MONTHLY UPDATE.

This database comprises answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions on the popular Acorn Usenet newsgroup hierarchy, and is maintained by Paul Vigay.

A text based version of this web site is posted to comp.sys.acorn.announce and comp.sys.news.answers on a monthly basis.
From April 2008, this text version consists of a single part of 114K in length.
After placing a polling booth on the official CSA.FAQ website, an overwhelming majority (90%) voted in favour of having a single part to the FAQ.

If you have any queries, or would like to suggest a new question, please contact me by emailing csa-faq [at] riscos.org


Last alterations: 31st May 2008
-------------------------------
 * New question: Q5.14 How do get an allocated filetype for my software?
 * New question: Q7.8 How do I setup Usenet kill-files using NewsHound?

Contained below is a list of the most commonly asked questions about Acorn machines in the comp.sys.acorn hierarchy. Before posting to comp.sys.acorn.*, if you are new to the groups, check to see if your question(s) are already answered below. Corrections and/or additions to the list should be sent to csa-faq at riscos.org and I'll try to update the main FAQ as soon as possible....

This FAQ is posted monthly to comp.sys.acorn.misc, comp.sys.acorn.announce, comp.answers and news.answers.

For Web browsers out there, the FAQ home page is http://www.riscos.org/csafaq/. This will always contain the latest version of the FAQ.

Lastly this FAQ is maintained by Paul Vigay. Credit is given to Philip R. Banks who created it and maintained it until I took over from him on 1st Dec 1998. The aim of this FAQ is to share information and help newcomers to the RISC OS scene, therefore permission is granted for free distribution of the entire list or quoted segments of it.

If you wish to include segments of the list into other documents then proper attribution must be performed and if you wish to include a part of the list, or the list in full, in any commercial product then express permission must be obtained from myself.

Index of Questions
------------------
The questions have been categorised loosely into related sections, in an effort to make finding the desired information simpler and quicker.

Section 1 - Hardware and Operating Systems

   Q1.1) What is an Acorn machine?
   Q1.2) What kind of Acorn/RISC OS machines are there?
   Q1.3) What versions of the ARM processors are there?
   Q1.4) What are the differences between different RISC OS versions?
   Q1.5) What is RISC OS 3.8/Ursula?
   Q1.6) What are the graphics capabilities of RISC OS machines?
   Q1.7) Is Virtual Memory possible under RISC OS?
   Q1.8) What 'Easter Eggs' are present in RISC OS?
   Q1.9) What is the current status of Linux for Acorn machines?
   Q1.10) What is the current status of NetBSD for Acorn machines?
   Q1.11) What is 'Lazy Task Swapping'?
   
Section 2 - Upgrades and Expansion

   Q2.1) What's the memory limit on current machines?
   Q2.2) What is a second processor and what second processors are there?
   Q2.3) Can PC VGA & Multisync Monitors be added to an Acorn machine?
   Q2.4) Can I connect a SCART monitor to my Acorn machine?
   Q2.5) What was a VIDC enhancer?
   Q2.6) Are there any Acorn cards for IBM PC or compatible machines?
   Q2.7) What configuration of serial cable should I use for modem work?
   Q2.8) How do I make a Null modem cable?
   Q2.9) How can I get unfiltered sound from an Acorn machine?
   Q2.10) What are StrongARM dipswitch settings?
   Q2.11) Are there any PIC programmers available for RISC OS?
   Q2.12) Can you add a TV card to a RISC OS machine?
   
Section 3 - Hardware Issues and Compatibility

   Q3.1) What do the hard drive error numbers mean?
   Q3.2) What can I do with a 'Broken Directory' or a corrupt Free Space Map?
   Q3.3) What does the power on self-test check?
   Q3.4) My Real Time Clock has paused, how do I restart it?
   Q3.5) Why doesn't *Speaker work on my machine?
   Q3.6) What can I do about my fan making excessive noise starting up?
   Q3.7) After fitting the RISC OS 4 upgrade my CD Rom reports 'Drive Empty'.
   Q3.8) Occasionally a fairly early model Risc PC will completely hang for no apparent reason, usually when filer windows are redrawn.
   Q3.9) What IDE drives work on Acorn machines?
   Q3.10) What are the Master/Slave link settings for my IDE drive?
   Q3.11) Why won't my Western Digital IDE drive work after a cold boot?
   Q3.12) What peripherals work with RISC OS?
   Q3.13) What specification memory can I use with my RISC OS machine?
   Q3.14) What's the biggest hard drive I can fit?
   Q3.15) To what size should I partition my Hard Drive?
   Q3.16) What is the maximum size for a file under Risc OS?
   
Section 4 - RISC OS Configuration

   Q4.1) What is ADFSBuffers and what is the best setting for it?
   Q4.2) How do I enable solid drags in RISC OS 3?

Section 5 - Software Issues

   Q5.1) Why does DOSFS corrupt my files occasionally?
   Q5.2) Where can I obtain the latest version of module X?
   Q5.3) What are the current File-type allocation ranges?
   Q5.4) Is there a Modula 2 compiler for the Arc?
   Q5.5) What Programming Languages are available for Acorn machines?
   Q5.6) Why does the RO3.5 desktop sometimes revert to the system font?
   Q5.7) Why does ChangeFSI display a blank white window, not an image?
   Q5.8) What causes the 'nager:Sprites22' error?
   Q5.9) Is there a Real Audio or Real Video player for Acorns?
   Q5.10) Is there any 'streaming audio' player software available for RISC OS machines?
   Q5.11) How do I get a faster interrupt timer than the centisecond ones?
   Q5.12) How can I create Interlaced GIFs on Acorn machines?
   Q5.13) Is the PC Card software still available?
   Q5.14) How do I obtain an allocated filetype or SWI chunk for my software?
   
Section 6 - Viruses and Security

   Q6.1) What RISC OS virus killers are available?
   Q6.2) I have received some information about a virus from a reputable source, it apparently affects Windows, Mac and/or Linux systems, is it perhaps dangerous for RISC OS users too?
   
Section 7 - Online Resources & Support

   Q7.1) What archives/FTP sites are available?
   Q7.2) What Acorn related companies are available on the net via email?
   Q7.3) What are the submission addresses for comp.{binaries.sources}.acorn groups?
   Q7.4) What WWW pages are out there for Acorn topics?
   Q7.5) What Acorn BBS's are there?
   Q7.6) Where can I advertise second hand Acorn kit?
   Q7.7) Where can I find a user group local to me?
   Q7.8) How do I kill-file people using NewsHound?
   
Section 8 - Compatibility with other Machines

   Q8.1) How compatible with other systems is an Acorn machine?
   Q8.2) Is there a BBC BASIC for other machines?
   Q8.3) Can I run 65Host on the Risc PC?
   Q8.4) Can I read Acorn format discs on a PC?
   Q8.5) What software handles files with this extension?
   Q8.6) Is there a version of Draw for Windows?
   Q8.7) Can I run Windows software on a RISC OS machine?   

Section 9 - Common Questions about the FAQ

   Q9.1) Why do I get the FAQ twice?
   Q9.2) Why does the full FAQ have to be posted?
   Q9.3) Isn't the FAQ overly long?
   Q9.4) If I find something wrong or am unhappy with the FAQ, what do I do?
   Q9.5) How to retrieve the FAQ from the source...
   Q9.6) Is there a more detailed Network FAQ available?
   Q9.6) Is there a comp.sys.acorn.games (csa.games) FAQ available?


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 1: Hardware and Operating Systems 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1.1) What is an Acorn machine?

Acorn computers were a British built line of computers that started with 6502 based machines and later became based upon ARM (Acorn Risc Machine) processors. Acorn computers were made by the Acorn Computer Group, originally founded in 1978 by Cambridge business men Chris Curry and Herman Hauser.

In January 1999 Acorn Computers Ltd., was renamed Element-14, focussing more on their Digital TV technology. Element-14 were later purchased by Broadcom Corporation on November 24 2000. More information can be found on their web site at http://www.broadcom.com

The remaining part of Acorn was later sold to Pace Micros, including the remains of their set-top box division. Thus Acorn the company, is technically no more - other than a brand name. Pace subsequently agreed to licence RISC OS, Acorn's powerful wimp-based operating system to a newly formed company called RISCOS Ltd.

Castle Technology took over the original manufacture of the Acorn Risc PC and A7000 range, and now produce the Iyonix which is currently the fastest RISC OS computer available. In 2003 Castle Technology bought the rights to RISC OS from Pace, and in 2006 a new company, RISC OS Open (ROOL) was created in order to manage the open source release of RISC OS. More details can be found on the RISC OS Open website at http://www.riscosopen.com/

Section 1.2 details those RISC OS machines currently in manufacture and how to fetch a full list of all machines known to have been made by Acorn. Acorn machines are known for their innovation, flexibility and reliability of hardware/software.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.2) What kind of Acorn/RISC OS machines are there?

The full list of Acorn made machines is now getting somewhat lengthy as many variants and new machines have been launched amd discontinued in the last few years.

As of June 2002, only current machines are listed in this FAQ, as there are numerous online resources available which give details of the history of Acorn & RISC OS computers. The following sites may be useful to find out about past machines. However, I've included some information on various diverse machines (below).

* http://www.khantazi.org/Archives/MachineLst.html - Philip Banks comprehensive list of Acorn machines.

* http://www.mcmordie.co.uk/acornhistory/acornhistory.shtml - A technical history of Acorn Computers, compiled by Robert McMordie.

* http://atterer.net/acorn.html#hard - Richard Atterer's Information about Acorn Computers.

* http://homepage.tinet.ie/~lrtc/computers/acorn_ro/acorn/ - Richard Butler's History of Acorn & RISC OS

What follows is an up to date list of machines currently in production and available to purchase.

The Iyonix
~~~~~~~~~~
The Iyonix is currently the most powerful RISC OS based, ARM powered computer. Manufactured by Castle Technology, it is available in a variety of models.

It is also the only current machine running a full 32-bit version of RISC OS.

Detailed specification for the base model comprises;
Intel XScale 80321 Processor running at 600MHz.
32-bit RISC OS 5
128Mb 200MHz DDR RAM
40, 80 or 120Gb Hard Drive
UDMA 100 support
16-bit Sound system
nVidia GeForce 2MX graphics giving resolutions of up to 2048x1536 pixels in 16 million colours.
Virtually silent operation (quieter than even the latest iMac range of Apple computers)
USB Keyboard & Mouse.
USB expansion
Full PCI DMA for expansion cards

More information is available on the Iyonix Ltd website at http://www.iyonix.com

The A9 Home
~~~~~~~~~~~
The A9 Home is a miniature RISC OS based machine, manufactured by Advantage Six (www.advantagesix.com). Based on the ARM9 processor, it's technically not quite as fast as an Iyonix, but none the less is an extremely capable machine, even more useful because its very small form factor.
Weighing in at only 6.6" x 4.1" x 2.1" in size, it has the following specification:-
Samsung ARM 9 Processor running at 400MHz
Graphics co-processor and Power control processor
128MB SDRAM
8MB VRAM supporting graphics up to 16.7 million colours at resolutions of 1600x1200
40GB internal 2.5" hard disc
RISC OS Adjust32 operating system
2 x USB (1.1 standard)
2 x PS/2
3.5mm Microphone in and headphone out sockets
10/100 BaseT integral network
RS232 serial out
5V, 20W PSU, although in operation the A9 Home consumes only around 3W of power.
More information can be obtained at www.thea9.info


Acorn RiscPC series
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In 2003 Castle technology announced that they were ceasing production of the Risc PC range, which has now been supeceded by the Iyonix PC (see above).

The Risc PC was the last generation of Acorn badged machines, superseding the original Acorn Archimedes computers. All of them were based on a highly configurable and modular system that made a bewildering variety of options available. All were founded on the 'second generation' chipset featuring VIDC20, IOMD and the latest StrongARM processor. The 'RPC' range was launched on the 15th of April 1994 with the RiscPC 600 series of machines. The last 'Kinetic' RPC was some ten times faster than the original 1994 model.

A list of older, legacy machines is now archived at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.3) What versions of the ARM processor are there?

The details of various ARM chips and their capabilities are described on Philip Banks web site at http://www.geocities.com/~banksp/Archives/ARMChips.html
Current developments can be found on ARM Ltd's web site at http://www.arm.com

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.4)  What are the differences between different RISC OS versions?

Between RISC OS 2 and RISC OS 3?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A good article on the differences between RISC OS 3 and various versions of RISC OS 3 is available on Richard Goodwins website at http://www.houseofmabel.com/puters/RISCOS3/

Between RISC OS 3.5 and RISC OS 3.6?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quite a few, although nothing particularly drastic OS wise, mostly improvements although the lifting of the FileCore partition limit and the incorporation of JPEG handling into the OS are quite substantial improvements. Here is the list :- 

 * Now stored on 2x2Mb ROMs, or an increase ot a potential 4096Kb of OS.
 * FileCore improvements allowing at least 4Gb partitions.
 * Support for ATAPI style CD-ROM drives.
 * JFIF handling incorporated into the OS.
 * Standard applications have been moved back into ROM.
 * Toolbox modules, the Cv5 support modules, moved into ROM.
 * CDFS modules moved into ROM.
 * Access modules moved into ROM.

Between RISC OS 3.6 and RISC OS 3.7?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Like RISC OS 3.6, RISC OS 3.7 was primarily changed behind the scenes and was an incremental improvement of the OS. The changes were mostly geared towards rendering the OS StrongARM compatible. Here is the list :-

 * Autodetection of processor type enhanced to detect and cater for ARM6 and better processors up to the StrongARM
 * Memory handling has been moved into the kernel, away from the Window manager. This not only speeds up task switching but now means the kernel is now aware of multiple applications.
 * FileSwitch supports 2048 byte buffers, useful for CDFS.
 * The Font Manager is now capable of blending anti-aliased fonts to a variable colour background. Improving the readability of fonts displayed over colour images. (Like Web pages, say. :) )
 * An improved Internet module is supplied in ROM.
 * A StrongARM compatible Econet module is supplied in ROM.

Between RISC OS 3.7 and RISC OS 3.8/4?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RISC OS 3.8 was a developmental version of RISC OS 4 released to developers just before the closure of Acorn's Workstation division and cancellation of the Phoebe project. It was code-named Ursula (see Q1.9).

It was finally completed by RISCOS Ltd and RISC OS 4 was the first new version of RISC OS to be released by a company other than Acorn, A comprehensive list of features was released onto their own web site during April 1999. This is available online from http://www.riscos.com/risc_os_4/Features.htm

In a nutshell some of the major new features were:-
 * Performance Enhancements
 * New Disc format brings new features, improved performance and more disc space.
 * Redesigned icon set
 * Faster/Easier configuration and !Boot
 * New screen saver system
 * 'Lazy Task Swapping'
 * Improved applications including a new !Writer appliction for simple word processing and !Taborca - an Adobe PDF creator.

Between RISC OS 4 and RISC OS 5?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RISC OS 5 was exclusively written by Castle Technology for the Iyonix PC. It was essentially a completely re-written and fully 32-bit version of RISC OS 4.02
A list of features is available online at http://www.iyonix.com/iyonix/features/osfeatures.shtml
RISCOS Ltd maintain a RISC OS 4 FAQ at http://www.riscos.com/faqs/ro4_qanda.htm

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.5) What was RISC OS 3.8/Ursula?

Before Acorn decided to abandon Workstations and focus on Digital TV, work was at an advanced stage on an updated version of the operating system (codenamed Ursula) to live in their new machine (Phoebe). Developers had access the RISC OS 3.8 (as Ursula declared itself to be) for evaluation and beta testing purposes. Versions of RISC OS 3.8 were primarily available for ARM710 machines, although some StrongARM compatible versions are known to exist.

For those who don't know, Phoebe is a character from the hit US sit-com Friends, and Ursula is the name of Phoebe's twin sister.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.6) What are the graphics capabilities of RISC OS machines?

I've now decided to restrict this section of the FAQ to detailing currently available models. For the graphics capabilities of older machines, please visit my legacy systems page at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/

Each type of monitor generally requires a mode definition file (MDF) set up for it, to allow you to take advantage of the specific monitor capabilities. A library of common MDFs can be found at http://www.riscos.org/resources/ although you'll generally find that with most modern monitors you can find one that works by trying other available MDFs via trial and error.

Iyonix machines
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The most notable difference in the graphics capability of the Iyonix is that it now incorporates a 'standard' graphics card, namely the nVidia GeForce 2MX. This gives much higher resolutions and colour depths than previous 'Acorn' machines, but also sacrifices 2 & 4 bit colour depths (ie. 4 and 16 colour screen modes).
Rather than give an exhaustive list of all 'modes' available, it will suffice to say that the Iyonix display resolutions from 320x200 up to 2048x1536 pixels, each in either 256, 32 thousand or 16 million colours (8, 16 or 24 bit). However the latest nVidia graphics cards do not support 32K colour modes due to the Red and Green components being swapped around.

The A9 Home
~~~~~~~~~~~
The A9 Home has the Samsung ARM9 integreated graphics processor which can drive up to 1600 x 1200 in 16 million colours or 2048 x 1536 in 32 thousand colours.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.7) Is Virtual Memory possible under RISC OS?

The short answer is that full VM is not possible under the current versions of RISC OS. The problem is that most of RISC OS works in SVC mode, if a DataFetch abort occurs then R14_svc is corrupted. This makes returning from the SWI somewhat problematic. This is a hardware limitation with the ARM2 and ARM3 cell chips. Hardware using ARM6 or better processor cells have special memory abort modes that alleviate this problem so future machines and incarnations of RISC OS may well have VM available. Indeed the RiscPC machines make prime candidates for having virtual memory, however there are still re-entrancy issues that make this problematic for RISC OS. (Consider loading data from a file into paged out virtual memory...)

A number of limited solutions were devised over the years but are no longer under development. One such utility was !Virtual by Nick Smith and Ferdinand Oeinck, which allowed VM for a user process using a limited subset of SWI's that are carefully 'protected' against R14_svc being corrupted. This solution suffered from the restricted set of SWI's supported and was mostly useful for batch style processing jobs like compilation or memory intensive processing jobs.
!Virtual v0.37 (and its source) can be downloaded from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/util/memory/

Virtualise was developed by Alexander Thoukydides for the Risc PC machines. It was originally sold by Clares Micro Supplies, who's range of products were taken over by APSL in December 2002. Alex's web page giving more information is at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/thouky/software/virtualise/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.8) What 'Easter Eggs' are present in RISC OS?

It has been a long tradition with Acorn OSes to have hidden sections that give credit to the people involved in the creation of that OS. The BBC Model B ROMs had the names of the people involved hidden in the memory space occupied by Fred, Jim and Shelia. With the release of the ARM powered machines this tradition has continued on.

RISC OS 2.00
------------
 * tucked away in the ROMs is a list of the names of involved people.

RISC OS 3.00
------------
 * If you type 'rmtmd' when the desktop welcome screen is displayed a slide show of the key RISC OS team members is displayed on the screen.
 
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the letters 'rmtmd', in that order, contained within the author icon a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon.

RISC OS 3.10 & 3.11
-------------------
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the letters 'team', in that order, contained within the author icon a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon.
 
 * Using a template editor examine the task managers templates file from the Resources filing system. (Resources:$.Resources.Switcher.Templates)
 
 * Inside the 'power' dialogue is a message.

RISC OS 3.50
------------
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the author icon four times a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon. (This can take a while to watch, be warned...)
 
 * Using a template editor examine the task managers templates file from the Resources filing system. (Resources:$.Resources.Switcher.Template3D) Inside the 'power' dialogue is a message, in 3D. This message also appeared in the replacement templates supplied with NewLook for RISC OS 3.1.

REM Extract Names and Pictures from RISC OS 3.50, 3.60 and 3.70 ROMs
REM
REM Based on an original program (for RISC OS 3.50) by Nick Craig-Wood.
REM Updated by Matt Rix <BigRISC@CyberJunkie.Com>
SYS "OS_Byte",129,0,255 TO ,version%
CASE version% OF
  WHEN &A5: S=&1F47AC :REM RISC OS 3.50
  WHEN &A6: S=&358F18 :REM RISC OS 3.60 - Thanks to Terry Adams for finding this
  WHEN &A7: S=&3A0868 :REM RISC OS 3.70
  OTHERWISE: ERROR 0,"Cannot run on this ROM version.":END
ENDCASE
S+=&3800000
E=S+&3130
O=65536

SYS "Squash_Decompress",%1000,-1 TO Q
DIM R Q,P O
SYS "Squash_Decompress",%0100,R,S,E-S,P,O TO,,,,,U

path$="Pipe:$."
piccy$=path$+"Pictures"
names$=path$+"Names"
run$="Filer_Run "

SYS "OS_File",10,piccy$,&FF9,,P+8,P+P!4+8
SYS "OS_File",10,names$,&FFF,,P+P!4+8,P+O-U

OSCLI "SetType "+piccy$+" Sprite"
OSCLI "SetType "+names$+" Text"

OSCLI run$+piccy$
OSCLI run$+names$
END
        
RISC OS 3.60
------------
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the author icon four times a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon. (This can take a while to watch, be warned...)
 
 * Using a template editor examine the task managers templates file from the Resources filing system. (Resources:$.Resources.Switcher.Template3D) Inside the 'power' dialogue is a message, in 3D. This message also appeared in the replacement templates supplied with NewLook for RISC OS 3.1.
 
 * Run the program listed in the RISC OS 3.50 section to be given a list, and pictures, of the primary developers of RISC OS 3.60.
 

RISC OS 3.70
------------
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the author icon four times a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon, including a 'special' acknowledgment to Peter Bondar. (This can take a while to watch, be warned...) This only works if the menu was opened from the Task Manager window, not the icon.
 
 * Using a template editor examine the task managers templates file from the Resources filing system. (Resources:$.Resources.Switcher.Template3D) Inside the 'power' dialogue is a message, in 3D. This message also appeared in the replacement templates supplied with NewLook for RISC OS 3.1.
 
 * Run the program listed in the RISC OS 3.50 section to be given a list, and pictures, of the primary developers of RISC OS 3.70.

RISC OS 3.71
------------
 * In the info box of the task manager if you clicked menu over the author icon four times a full list of the people involved with the OS's development is displayed in that icon, including a 'special' acknowledgment to Peter Bondar. (This can take a while to watch, be warned...) This only works if the menu was opened from the Task Manager window, not the icon.

RISC OS 4.02
------------
 * From BASIC, issue the command SYS "OS_Module",2,"IRQUtils" and RISC OS will launch an invaders game.
 
 * Click MENU over the RISC OS 4 icon on the far right of the iconbar. Move the pointer over to 'Info' and then across to open the RISC OS 4 information box. Click MENU four times over the icon containg ' 1999, RISCOS Ltd'. Sit back and watch a list of RISCOS Ltd. developers scroll by.
 
 * Using a template editor examine the switcher module's file in the Resources filing system. (Resources:$.Resources.Switcher.Templates) Inside the 'power' dialogue is the message "Help! We've been released from the software factory, and don't know what to do!". There is another one inside the 'Confirm' template. :-)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.9) What is the current status of Linux for Acorn machines?

Due to the rapid development of Linux exact details about the latest incarnation of Linux are not kept in this FAQ. However for the latest information you might like to consult these web pages, or email the people involved with the port :- 

Native Linux page :- 
http://www.arm.linux.org.uk/ (rmk@arm.linux.org.uk)

The Iyonix machine has a near complete Linux port available for me. Further information can be found at http://www.iyonix.com/linux.html

Peter Naulls has some very useful ARM Linux resources available on his website at http://www.chocky.org/linux/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.10) What is the current status of NetBSD for Acorn machines?

N.B. The RiscBSD name has been dropped entirely in favour of NetBSD/arm32.

Due to the rapid development of NetBSD exact details about the latest incarnation of it are not kept in this FAQ. This is a port of NetBSD, a Unix variant, to the RiscPC. However for the latest information you might like to consult these web pages, listen to the NetBSD email list or email the people involved with development of it:-

NetBSD/arm32 - For RiscPC and later machines - http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/arm32/

NetBSD/arm26 - For Archimedes and other pre arm600 boxes - http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/acorn26/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q1.11) What is Lazy Task Swapping ?

On RISC OS 3.5 and 3.6 machines there were seen to be serious delays in the desktop when running applications with large wimpslots, mostly indicated by the lack of reponsiveness. The problem was identified as being that of having to page in the entire application which, with a 4k page size was quite slow. In RISC OS 3.7 this situation was improved by changing the way in which the application is paged in.

RISC OS 4 can support a new method of paging tasks in - Lazy Task Swapping. This can also be called 'demand paging', because instead of paging the entire space in, individual pages are only given 'on demand'. This means that in a large application only sections of the application space may be physically present although the application itself will be unaware of this.

There is a problem, however, with some versions of the StrongARM processor which will (under certain circumstances) cause Lazy Task Swapping to fail. StrongARMs prior to revision T exhibit this failing and Lazy Task Swapping is consequently be disabled. You may also want to disable Lazy Task swapping if you encounter problems when using DMA.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 2: Upgrades and Expansion

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q2.1) What's the memory limit on current machines?

The Iyonix computer can have a maximum of 1GB RAM added to it, in the form of two 512MB RAM modules. The Iyonix RAM is 200MHz DDR RAM. The most common configuration of Iyonix machines is 128MB or 512MB.

The A9 Home cannot be upgraded, as it's a sealed unit. It contains 128MB SDRAM and 8MB VRAM.

Information on Risc PC and earlier systems can be found at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q2.2) What was a second processor and what second processors were there?

A second processor was the generic name for a range of parasite processors that could be linked to Acorn's original 8 bit machines via what was called the 'Tube' interface. Basically the host machine became dedicated to handling the Input and Output while the second processor would do the higher level functions (like running your programs).

The second processor ran asynchronously to the host processor allowing incredible increases in execution speed for programs. A wide range of processors were supported this way allowing Acorn's eight bit range of machines to remain viable and useful for much longer than their technology would suggest.

For more information on legacy second processor systems, see http://www.riscos.org/legacy/2ndprocessors.html

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Q2.3) Can standard PC video monitors/projectors be added to a RISC OS machine?

All current RISC OS machines and older Risc PCs, come fitted with standard 15 pin 'D-type' VGA connectors for video out, so should work on pretty much all standard monitors, both CRT and LCD flat panel types.

If you have an older legacy machine, additional information and wiring diagrams for connecting VGA monitors is available online at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/monitors.html

N.B. The Risc PC can sometimes get confused when set to 'auto' monitortype, resulting in a blank screen and no display on the monitor. If this happens, try re-configuring the CMOS ram settings to the following and then reseting the machine.

*Configure Monitortype 4
*Configure Sync 0
*Configure Mode 40

These settings should prevent the monitor confusing the auto setting of the Risc PC.


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Q2.4) Can I connect a SCART monitor to my Acorn machine?

If you have an older Acorn machine with a nine pin video socket, then yes and here is the wiring diagram :-

    .------------------------.    Arc 9-pin plug
    \    1   2   3   4   5   /
     \                      /
      \    6   7   8   9   / Case
       '------------------'
        _____________________
       |19                  1|    SCART 21-pin plug
       | | | | | | | | | | | |
      /                      |
     / |  | | | | | | | | |  |
    /___20_________________2_| 21 (metal casing)


A SCART connector is also known as a Euroconnector or a Peri-Television connector. 

                Arc             SCART
Case            | ------------- 21              Case
Red             1 ------------- 15              Red
Green           2 ------------- 11              Green
Blue            3 ------------- 7               Blue
CSYNC           4 ------------- 20              Composite video input
Ground (0V)     6 -+---------+- 13              Red ground
Ground (0V)     7 -+         +- 9               Green ground
Ground (0V)     8 -+         +- 5               Blue ground
Ground (0V)     9 -+         +- 13              CVBS video ground

Ideally each ground wire should be linked to a separate Arc pin. Also, depending on your SCART monitor, pin 16 may need a +5V input to it. Unfortunately the Arc 9 pin socket does not provide a +5V output so this will have to be sourced from somewhere else.

If you have a newer Acorn machine, with the 15 pin high density video socket then you need this kind of wiring :-

       .--------------------.   15-pin VGA style plug
       \    1  2  3  4  5   /
        \ 6  7  8  9  10   /
         \ 11 12 13 14 15 /
          '--------------'

Connections:

Arc                               SCART

1 red ---------------------------- 15
2 green--------------------------- 11
3 blue---------------------------- 7
4 ID[2] nc
5 0V (test)
6 red rtn------------------------- 13
7 green rtn----------------------- 9
8 blue rtn------------------------ 5
                  75 ohms
9 +5V-------------/\/\/\/--------- 16
10 0V----------------------------- 17,18
12 ID[1]-------------------------- 8
11 ID[0] &lt;--13 |
13 HSync --&gt;11 |
                    120 ohms
14 CSync------------/\/\/\/------- 20
15 ID[3] nc

Notice the two resistors. Also notice that the HSync output (pin 13) of the 15-way plug has to be connected to the ID[0] input (pin 11) of the same plug. (Be aware I have no direct confirmation that this wiring works.)

As is usual care must be taken when doing this procedure. Older Acorn machine did not have their VIDC chips fully buffered and unplugging/plugging cables from the video socket while the machine is turned on can cause damage to the video circuitry.

If you want to connect a BBC B computer to a Scart monitor, there are some online wiring diagrams at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/monitor.html (previously at www.astro.livjm.ac.uk/~bbc/monitor/monitor.html)

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Q2.5) What was a VIDC enhancer?

A VIDC enhancer is basically a clock change for your VIDC. Most Acorns (bar the A540 and newer machines) have 24 MHz VIDC chips installed in them. A VIDC enhancer increases this to 36 MHz allowing much higher resolution screen modes to be displayed on your Arc. (800x600x16 or SVGA standard becomes available.) You do not need one to use a Multisync monitor - the standard VIDC handles that just fine. However having a VIDC enhancer is only really useful if you do have a Multi-sync monitor.

Details on a 'build-it-yourself' VIDC enhancer are available online at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/vidc.html

Note a VIDC enhancer is unnecessary and incompatible with the Risc PC (and newer) range of machines.

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Q2.6) Are there any Acorn cards for IBM PC or compatible machines?

Yes. Three cards in total :- 

Springboard
ARM 2 processor, 4096k Memory, 8 MHz RAM, Brazil OS.

PC ARM development system
Precursor to Springboard. Hardware functionally identical.

Ecolink
An econet link card for the PC. 

However, to the best of my knowledge none of these cards are commercially available.

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Q2.7) What configuration of serial cable should I use for modem work?

All current machines, along with all machines since the A5000 have come fitted with a 'corrected' serial port as standard. This newer serial port operates as it should and is directly compatible with standard PC cables.
Some older communications software may not take this in account and assume that you have a cable patched in the manner described at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/serial.html
If you do not use such a patched cable on these 'fixed' serial ports this software will generally fail to work completely. (Usually hardware flow control fails.)

With the advent of the Risc PC and all current machines, a standard PC cable is advised. For details on how to wire up a cable for older machines, visit http://www.riscos.org/legacy/serial.html

If you want to wire a console cable to a Sun Netra/Sunfire server, detailed wiring diagrams are available online at http://www.sunhelp.co.uk/sun/serialcable.html

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Q2.8) How do I make a Null modem cable?

For starters you will need soldering skills and the necessary components.
Namely cable, connectors (9 pin female D-type), a soldering iron, solder and the will to use them. All of these items, bar the will, can be found down at the local electronic components store. Assuming you have them all then you will need to decide what kind of machines you are hooking together.

There are three cases and I need to define a few terms.

'Archimedes' is defined to be A300 series, A400 series (including the /I machines), R140, A540, A3000 (but not the A30x0 machines) and R260 machines.
'RiscPC' is defined to be both the RiscPC series but also the A5000, A4000, A30x0 & A4 machines. All of these machines have a 'PC Style' serial port that conforms closely to RS232 specifications.

This means that if you are connecting your Acorn machine to a non Acorn machine then generally treating the foreign machine as a RiscPC, in terms of serial handling, will work. There are exceptions, Macintoshes in particular have had non-standard serial ports and may require further research before you can create a cable for them.

The cases are :- 

Archimedes to Archimedes

 Arc (9 pin)                      Arc (9 pin)
 -----------                      -----------

 +---1---DCD                        DCD----1---+
 |                                             |
 |   2---RxD------------------------TxD----3   |
 |                                             |
 |   3---TxD------------------------RxD----2   |
 |                                             |
 +---4---DTR------------------------DTR----4---+
 |                                             |
 |   5---0v-------------------------0v-----5   |
 |                                             |
 |   6---DSR------------------------RTS----7   |
 |                                             |
 |   7---RTS------------------------DSR----6   |
 |                                             |
 +---8---CTS                        CTS----8---+
 |                                             |
 +---9---RI                         RI-----9---+


Archimedes to RiscPC

 Arc (9 pin)                      RiscPC (9 pin)
 -----------                      --------------

 +---1---DCD                        RI-----9---+
 |                                             |
 |   2---RxD------------------------TxD----3   |
 |                                             |
 |   3---TxD------------------------RxD----2   |
 |                                             |
 +---4---DTR------------------------DTR----4   |
 |                                             |
 |   5---0v-------------------------0v-----5   |
 |                                             |
 |   6---DSR------------------------RTS----7   |
 |                                             |
 |   7---RTS------------------------CTS----8   |
 |                                             |
 +---8---CTS                        DSR----6---+
                                               |
     9---RI-------------------------DCD----1---+


RiscPC to RiscPC

  RiscPC (9 pin)                   RiscPC (9 pin)
  --------------                   --------------

     2---RxD------------------------TxD----3
 
     3---TxD------------------------RxD----2
 
     4---DTR---------------------+--DSR----6
                                 |
     6---DSR--+                  +--RI-----9
              |                  |
     9---RI---+                  +--DCD----1
              |
     1---DCD--+---------------------DTR----4
 
     5---0v-------------------------0v-----5
                                
     8---CTS------------------------RTS----7
 
     7---RTS------------------------CTS----8


Note that most PC compatible machines have 25 pin D type male ports for their second COM port. You have two options in this case - either re-wire the cable for the 25 pin port or you can buy a 9 to 25 pin converter plug.
Either solution works well. Here are the relevant pins for the 25 pin port :-

  Pin No.  Function
  -------  --------
     8       DCD
     3       RX
     2       TX
     20      DTR
     7     GND (0v)
     4       RTS
     5       CTS

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Q2.9) How can I get unfiltered sound from an Acorn machine?

All Acorn machines are equipped with a sound filter designed to remove high frequency harmonics from the sound output. However this does cause a muffled feel to the sound as on some machines the filter is a little too excessive and it filters out valid frequencies. Also the filter is optimised for 20.833 kHz output and has less desirable results when the output rate is changed. Accordingly people who do audio work often want to bypass the filter.

On all machines bar the A3000 there is the Internal Auxiliary Audio Connector (usually called link LK3), which can be easily plugged into to provide the unfiltered output. This connector has 10 pins on it and is usually found near the headphone socket on the motherboard. The pins are :-

1 Unfiltered Left
2 Ground
3 Filtered Left
4 Ground
5 Auxiliary Input
6 Ground
7 Filtered Right
8 Ground
9 Unfiltered Right
10 Ground

Simply hook into the Unfiltered outputs.

On an A3000 you need two 10uF 16V ALEC capacitors. Look for chip LM324 (IC39) and hook the capacitors like this:-

Pin 1 --> --|+ |--- Unfiltered Left
Pin 2 --> --|+ |--- Unfiltered Right

The Risc PC & A400 machines have a connector similar to the A5000. 

There are several caveats to this procedure. Opening your machine may void your warranty and most definitely should not be attempted if you are unsure of the procedure. Do not unplug/plug the unfiltered audio output while the machine is turned on, by bypassing the filter you also bypass the normal protective circuitry for the audio output.

Finally you will hear higher harmonics present in the audio signal so you will need to connect the signal to a filter of some kind to reduce this extra noise.

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Q2.10) What are StrongARM dipswitch settings?

The StrongARM card has a set of dipswitches on it that control the clock speed of the processor.

These can be altered but there are some important caveats to mention first :- 

This information is for the original 202MHz StrongARM. The newer 233MHz ones can't be clocked as high, as the base crystal speed is different.

Don't change the links while the card has power. This can result in damage to your processor, always turn your machine off before changing settings.

By default two tracks on the back of the card constrain the card to never go faster than 202 MHz. Cutting these tracks invalidates your warranty, so only do this if you are prepared to replace the card.

The chip is officially rated for 202 MHz, running it faster than this speed can result in hardware damage to the processor and will shorten the chip's lifespan. Again, only do this if you are prepared to replace the card.

If you do cut the tracks remember that the card is a multi-layer one, cutting deeper may sever more tracks than you intended and render the card non-functional.

Without cutting the tracks, the dip switches can be used to slow the processor down from 202MHz to 88MHz if required. Each switch sets one bit making sixteen possible speed settings. This table summarises those speed settings :- 

     Switches      |              SA frequency
----+----+----+----+------------------+---------------------
 1  | 2  | 3  | 4  | Revision J and K | Revision R, S and T
----+----+----+----+------------------+---------------------
 on | on | on | on |    88.473600 MHz |       85.909080 MHz
 on | on | on | off|    95.846400 MHz |       93.068170 MHz
 on | on | off| on |    99.532800 MHz |       96.647715 MHz
 on | on | off| off|   106.905600 MHz |      103.806805 MHz
 on | off| on | on |   143.769600 MHz |      139.602255 MHz
 on | off| on | off|   151.142400 MHz |      146.761345 MHz
 on | off| off| on |   162.201600 MHz |      157.499980 MHz
 on | off| off| off|   169.574400 MHz |      164.659070 MHz
 off| on | on | on |   191.692800 MHz |      186.136340 MHz
 off| on | on | off| * 202.752000 MHz |      196.874975 MHz
 off| on | off| on |   213.811200 MHz |      207.613610 MHz
 off| on | off| off|   228.556800 MHz |      221.931790 MHz
 off| off| on | on |   243.302400 MHz |    * 236.249970 MHz
 off| off| on | off|   258.048000 MHz |      250.568150 MHz
 off| off| off| on |   276.480000 MHz |      268.465875 MHz
 off| off| off| off|   287.539200 MHz |      279.204510 MHz

The default speeds are indicated with *'s.
(Thanks go to Matthias Seifert for this information.)

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Q2.11) Are there any PIC programmers available for RISC OS?

Robert Sprowson has produced an application called !PICsuite which caters for PIC programming under RISC OS. There is also a free PIC assembler to download, which has BBC Basic style assembly conventions. Visit http://www.sprow.co.uk/pics/ for more information.

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Q2.12) Can you add a TV card to a RISC OS machine?

The Iyonix machine supports standard PCI expansion cards and Robin Hounsome has written drivers for the Pinnacle Rave PCI TV card using the SAA7134 chip from Philips.
More information and his driver can be downloaded from http://www.hounsome.org.uk/



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Section 3: Hardware Issues & Compatibility

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Q3.1) What do the hard drive error numbers mean?

The error numbers returned indicate the type of error encountered.
Exactly why slightly more meaningful messages are not returned I am unsure.
The error codes meanings are as follows :- 

   ST506 error codes
   &01  ABT     Command abort has been accepted
   &02  IVC     Invalid command
   &03  PER     Command parameter error
   &04  NIN     Head positioning, disc access, or drive check before SPC has
                been issued 
   &05  RTS     TST command invalid after SPC
   &06  NUS     USELD for a selected drive has not been returned
   &07  WFL     Write fault has been detected on the ST506 interface
   &08  NRY     Ready signal has been negated
   &09  NSC     Seek completed (SCP) wasn't returned before a timeout
   &0A  ISE     SEK, or disc access command issued during seek
   &0B  INC     Next cylinder address greater than number of cylinders
   &0C  ISR     Invalid step rate: highest-speed seek specified in normal
                seek mode
   &0D  SKE     SEK or disc access command issued to drive with seek error
   &0E  OVR     Data overrun (memory slower than drive)
   &0F  IPH     Head address greater then number of heads
   &10  DEE     Error Correction Code (ECC) detected an error
   &11  DCE     CRC error in data area
   &12  ECR     ECC corrected an error
   &13  DFE     Fatal ECC error in data area
   &14  NHT     In CMPD command data mismatched from host and disc
   &15  ICE     CRC error in ID field (not generated for ST506)
   &16  TOV     ID not found within timeout
   &17  NIA     ID area started with an improper address mask
   &18  NDA     Missing address mark
   &19  NWR     Drive write protected
   
   IDE errors
      - As ST506, except:
   &02  IVC     Command aborted by controller
   &07  WFL     Write fault
   &08  NRY     Drive not ready
   &09  NSC     Track 0 not found
   &13  DFE     Uncorrected data error
   &16  TOV     Sector ID field not found
   &17  NIA     Bad block mark detected
   &18  NDA     No data address mark
   &20          No DRQ when expected
   &21          Drive busy when commanded
   &22          Drive busy on command completion
   &23          Controller did not respond within timeout
   &24          Unknown code in error register
   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3.2) What can I do with a 'Broken Directory' or a corrupt Free Space Map?

DiscKnight, from the ARM Club, is the recommended repair tool, which fixes both the standard and RISC OS 4 long filename formats. It's available for the budget price of 10ukp and includes free support. A checking only version is available for free download from the DiscKnight website at http://discknight.riscos.org/

A shareware utility called 'fsck' is available to download from http://www.monesi.com/sergio/fsck.html and works reliably. However it doesn't support RISC OS 4 F+ format discs. A commercial version of fsck was available from Oregan Deveopments, as Oregan Disc Doctor. This is no longer available.

Another commercial disc repair application was available from Look Systems, called ADFS Rescue which also appears to be no longer available. Look Systems can be found at http://riscos.looksystems.org.uk/

Paul Vigay's Disc Commander application will allow you to edit bad sectors by hand and will work with the new F+ format discs under RISC OS 4 or above. However, it does have automated recovery, so is mainly designed for people who feel competant at manually editing sectors and want a powerful tool for performing disc operations. More information can be found at http://www.vigay.com/software/commander.html

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Q3.3) What does the power on self-test check?

The power on self test was introduced with RISC OS 3.0 and later versions of the OS. On power up your machine checks the hardware for physical faults before letting you use it, hopefully signalling important errors to you before further hardware damage can result.

The purple screen at power on indicates that the self-test has begun. A brief ROM, RAM, VIDC and IOC test is performed and then the screen colour changes to blue and a limited memory test [1] is performed, along with a second test of the VIDC and IOC. When the screen returns to purple, the machine is testing for an ARM3 (or better). At the end of this sequence the screen colour is set to green (for pass) or red (for fail). If the tests have all passed then the machine starts to boot and the RISC OS welcome screen is displayed.

RISC OS Select introduced some more tests (and screen colours). For detailed documentation on Select system initialisation, see http://select.riscos.com/prm/startup/systeminit.html

If any test fails, the screen will remain red and the disc drive light will blink a fault code. A short flash is used to indicate a binary '0' and a long flash indicates a binary '1'. The bits are grouped into eight nybbles (blocks of four bits) with the most significant bit first.

The lowest seven bits are a status word. The meaning of each bit is given below in hex :- 

00000001   Self-test due to power on
00000002   Self-test due to interface hardware
00000004   Self-test due to test link
00000008   Long memory test performed
00000010   ARM ID detected (ARM 3 fitted for non-RiscPC hardware)
00000020   Long memory test disabled
00000040   PC-style IO world detected
00000080   VRAM detected

Bits 8-31 indicate the fault code and are described below. Not all the bits are used. If the code is marked as reserved on the RiscPC this means that error number is currently either unassigned or it's meaning on older hardware is no longer sensible for the newer machines (and thus it's meaning may be reassigned on the newer versions of the OS.)

00000100   CMOS RAM checksum error
00000200   ROM failed checksum test
00000400   MEMC CAM mapping failed (A reserved code on the RiscPC)
00000800   MEMC protection failed (A reserved code on the RiscPC)
00001000   (A reserved code on the RiscPC)
00002000   (A reserved code on the RiscPC)
00004000   VIDC Virq (video interrupt) timing failed
00008000   VIDC Sirq (sound interrupt) timing failed
00010000   CMOS unreadable
00020000   RAM control line failure
00040000   Long RAM test failure
00080000   (A reserved code on the RiscPC)

Some third party VIDC enhancers on older hardware trigger the self test to fail. If you are getting a failed self test with a VIDC enhancer, yet the machine is working fine, enter and run this BASIC program and then save your CMOS settings:-

REM Toggle state of power on self test bit in CMOS
REM Read byte
SYS "OS_Byte",161,&BC TO ,,byte%
REM EOR byte with mask for bit 1
byte% = byte% EOR %10000000
REM Write byte back again
SYS "OS_Byte",162,&BC,byte%
END

This modifies the self test to cope with the VIDC enhancer. 

[1] By limited it meant that it verifies the VRAM, if present, and checks the first 4 MB of RAM in the machine. (Or so I am told.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3.4) My Real Time Clock has paused, how do I restart it?

This is a problem caused most often by 'rogue' software chatting to the IIC bus and incorrectly setting the pause bit on the RTC control register.
Symptoms of this happening are that the time is always the same every time you reboot and the software clock tends to run slightly slow (losing about a minute every hour or so.). If you are experiencing these symptoms this program should restart your RTC clock :-

REM poke RTC control register
REM  Bit   0         1
REM   7   Count  ResetDivider
REM   6   Count  HoldLastCount
REM write 0 for normal operation, write &80 or &40 freezes RTC
DIM cmosdata% 16
!cmosdata%=&00000000
REM write 0 twice to RTC, first 0 is address- control reg
REM second is control reg value 0 is default i.e. clock on
SYS &240, &A0, cmosdata%,2
END

You will need to reset the time after running this program but hopefully your RTC will keep the correct time from here on in.

If the same symptoms persist after trying this program contact your local Acorn dealer as something more serious has gone wrong. Note that to check that the symptoms are persisting you must reboot your machine after running this program and having set the time. This is due to the way RISC OS maintains a 'soft' copy of the real time clock and until you reboot it will not be obvious whether your RTC has indeed started working again.

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Q3.5) Why doesn't *Speaker work on my machine?

The *Speaker command does not work on newer RISC OS machines. The A300, A400, A3000, A540, A5000 and A4 all had software control of the built-in speaker. With newer machines this feature has been removed in favour of a automatic hardware cut off of the speaker when a jack is inserted into the sound socket on the machine.

However to ensure compatibility with old software the command *Speaker has been left in the OS, it merely doesn't do anything.

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Q3.6) What can I do about my fan making excessive noise starting up?

This is a problem primarily with the Risc PC machines caused by the fan lubrication drying out. Symptoms generally include the fan making a lot of noise when the machine starts and then, once warmed up, the noise going away. Progressively the amount of warm up time gets longer and longer.

The solution, and this should only be attempted if you are confident in handling your machine's internal components, is to strip the machine down to it's base slice. Remove the label from the fan and the rubber bung from the bearing. Place a drop of three-in-one oil (and not WD40) on the bearing. Replace the bung and reassemble the machine, your problem should be cured.

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Q3.7) After fitting the RISC OS 4 upgrade my CD Rom reports 'Drive Empty'.

This is generally caused by upgrading machines fitted with slower CD Rom drives to RISC OS 4 and is caused by the CDFSSoftATAPI module trying to access the drive too fast. One remedy is to obtain a soft-loadable version of CDFSSoftATAPI from RISC OS 3.7, copy it into your !Boot.Choices.Boot.PreDesk directory and then *UNPLUG the CDFSSoftATAPI module in RISC OS 4.

Please feel free to email me if you encounter this problem because I encountered it myself upon fitting RISC OS 4.

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Q3.8) Occasionally a fairly early model Risc PC will completely hang for no apparent reason, usually when filer windows are redrawn.

Such freezing during Filer redraws can be caused by applications using 256 colours sprites without a palette (it's a bug in RISC OS 3.7). Only sprites private to the task trigger the problem, not the icons used by the Wimp (those in files !Sprites and !Sprites22). Note which applications are loaded when the freezing occurs and add a palette to any 256 colours sprite they use.

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Q3.9) What IDE drives work on Acorn machines?

There are so many drives and interfaces available, it's not feasible to maintain a complete list in the FAQ itself. Therefore I've compiled a comprehensive list of compatible IDE drives which is available online at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/drives.html

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Q3.10) What are the master/slave link settings for my IDE Drive?

Most modern drives have this information on a label on the drive itself.
A list of drive settings for some of the older drives is maintained at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/drives.html#links

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Q3.11) Why won't my Western Digital IDE drive work after a cold boot?

Due to an obscure interaction between Acorn's IDE implementation and the Western Digital drives a problem occurs in that the computer becomes unable to find the Boot record that details the shape, format and other data of the hard drive. This results in a somewhat alarming and frustrating series of error messages that seem to indicate that the drive isn't formatted at all.
(And by extension implying that you have lost all your information stored on the drive.)

Fortunately that isn't the case. In reality your information is safe and sound on the drive and you merely need to give ADFS a helping hand in finding the boot record, after which it can carry on as normal. This BASIC program supplies dummy values to ADFS that allow it to do that.

REM> Specify
drive%=4
DIM rec% 64
FOR I%=0 TO 60 STEP 4:rec%!I%=0:NEXT
rec%?00=   9 : REM Sector size, 2^9 = 512
rec%?01=   8 : REM Sectors per track
rec%?02=   1 : REM Heads
rec%!16=4096 : REM Disc size in bytes
rec%?41=   0 : REM LBA mode disabled
SYS "ADFS_SectorDiscOp",,15+(rec%<<6),drive%<<29
END

(Thanks to Eduard Pfarr for this program.) 

Running this program once, during boot up, will allow the drive to be used normally. This does mean, for the moment, that you cannot boot from a Western Digital IDE drive.

NB for RISC OS 3.10, or earlier versions of RISC OS, you will need to replace the ADFS_SectorDiscOp with an ADFS_DiscOp call instead.

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Q3.12) What peripherals work with RISC OS?

The FAQ used (up to March 2008) to contain a comprehensive list of various peripherals, such as hard discs, magneto-optical drives, tape, CD-rom, and related interfaces etc. However, this list was vastly out of date and aimed mainly at legacy Acorn machines.
Because the list was largely irrelevant to the majority of readers, the list has now been archived at http://www.riscos.org/legacy/peripherals.html

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Q3.13) What specification memory can I use with my RISC OS machine?

Iyonix PC
~~~~~~~~~
The Iyonix takes 128MB, 256MB, 512MG or 1GB 184 pin DDR RAM rated at 200 or 266MHz. PC manufacturer PC2100 (CL2.5) RAM should be ok.

Risc PC
~~~~~~~
RAM for the RiscPC, while a standard 72pin SIMM, must be bought with a degree of care to avoid potential damage to your machine. EDO RAM, while it will work, is not advised as it may have different power requirements that could be detrimental to your machine.

The RAM required is 70ns (or faster), 72pin, square array (equal number of bits used for row and column addressing), non-parity RAM that supports 'fast page mode' and 'CAS before RAS' refresh. Devices that contain more than 16 memory chips (8 on each side) is not recommended as they may have power requirements above and beyond what the computer can safely supply.
Consequently SIMM 'stackers' and 30 to 72pin adaptors are also not advised.

For the more technically inclined out there maximum loads possible are:-
Address    128pF
WE         140pF
CAS or RAS  59pF
Data bus    29pF

Finally, in the maintainers experience anyway, Hitachi parts seem to be fine.

The Risc PC Kinetic update uses 64MB, 128MB or 256MB (RISC OS 4.39 or above required for 256MB) SODIMM memory modules.

A7000
~~~~~
The A7000 range of machines take Fast Page Mode (FPM) SIMMS.

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Q3.14 What's the biggest hard drive I can fit?

RISC OS 3.5 and earlier can only support drives up to 512MB. For maximum efficiency, it's recommended that you format the drive to 499MB.

RISC OS 3.6 to 3.7, on Risc PC or A7000 hardware can support up to 128GB drives. ADFSBuffers should be configured to 0. Due to an inefficient file allocation system (see Q3.15) RISC OS 3.6 & 3.7 is wasteful of disc space if you're storing a large number of very small files.
N.B. Some older interfaces may not support more than 20GB due to old style code which only addresses the first 20GB.

RISC OS 4 and above can support up to 128GB drives. The Iyonix hardware will support drives of up to 256GB but UDMA is only supported on the first 128MB.

Most modern drives over 40GB won't work when connected to the RPC motherboard interface. Instead, it's recommended you fit a third-party IDE interface capable of handling large drives if you want to use drives larger than 40GB.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3.15) To what size should I partition my Hard Drive?

This is a complicated question to answer with any hard and fast rules.
For starters the media and filing system being used must be considered. If you are using an IDE drive under ADFS then you usually should have your drive formatted as one whole partition due to ADFS' inability to support multiple partitions. (Although third party extensions, like Alsystems PowerIDE software, can extend the default IDE interface to include partioning.) However this is not always true and sometimes it can be beneficial to sacrifice a few Mbs of partition size to gain tens of Mb savings in reduced space wastage when storing files.

RISC OS uses, and through FileCore virtually all filing systems share this, a fairly complicated map system that tries to make a reasonable compromise between filing system overheads, speed and flexibility. For drives 512Mb or less this system works quite well. With the advent of easily available multiple Gb size drives the system begins to suffer a little.

For reasons that are beyond the scope of the FAQ to explain RISC OS links the LFAU (Large File Allocation Unit) to the minimum object size on a disc by a ratio of sixteen to one. Thus a two byte sized file occupies a minimum of sixteen kilobytes of actual disc space to store. There is an important exception to this involving the sharing of map entries, and thus disc space, but the general rule is as above. This table summarises the relationship between LFAU, disc size and minimum object size.

lfau   max disc size   min object
----   -------------   ----------
 1K      499M bytes        16kb
 2K      998M bytes        32kb
 4K     1996M bytes        64kb
 8K     3992M bytes       128kb

Consequently it can be easily seen that the larger the partition size the larger the individual file overheads of storing it becomes. (NB It is worth pointing out that Image Filing systems do not share this overhead directly.)

Thus which partition size you should aim for depends on what you intend doing with the drive. If you are primarily storing Replay films then given the multi-megabyte size of the files the overheads required for storing each file is percentage wise less and it is more important to have bulk disc storage available than it is efficiency of space utilisation. On the other hand running a news spool will involve thousands of files averaging around the seven kilobyte mark, thus a smaller partition size will greatly reduce space wastage to filing system overheads.

In the FAQ maintainers experience a good compromise size seems to be the just sub one gigabyte mark.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3.16) What is the maximum size for a file under RISC OS?

No current filing systems support over 2GB.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 4: RISC OS Configuration

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q4.1) What is ADFSBuffers and what is the best setting for it?

ADFSBuffers are Read Ahead and Write Behind buffers for ADFS on RISC OS. These are designed to improve the speed of filing operations by doing work at optimum times. There are some side effects of using them though. When active under RISC OS v2.00 and v2.01 discs must be dismounted before being removed from the floppy drive. Failure to do so results in the dreaded 'FileCore in use.' error. However if you are prepared to sacrifice the speed improvement they give configuring the buffers to 0 does remove this problem. (Or so I am informed.) 

Under RISC OS v3.00, as supplied with the early A5000 machines, these buffers generate a different problem and must always be configured off. Failure to do so results in spurious errors when using the Hard Drive on an early A5000. Symptoms include reformatting of crucial sectors of the disc, disc address errors and general failure to save files to the drive. So when using an A5000 with RISC OS 3.00 remember to configure them off!

With RISC OS v3.10 all of the old problems have been cured with a new one introduced. Namely that if you have only a few ADFSBuffers configured and are accessing the floppy drive then your machine can occasionally lock up completely for you. It appears that any value of ADFSBuffers above 8 causes that problem to be largely alleviated (read it only occurs rarely at these settings). So under RISC OS 3.10 it is recommended that you set your ADFSBuffers to 8+. There is a patch module available, called ADFSUtils, that does fix this problem - contact your local dealer for a copy of it.

By default RISC OS 3.5 seems to have all of these problems cured and no new bugs introduced. 

Under 3.5 the number of ADFSBuffers can be left at the OS's discretion and generally the OS chooses a number based on the amount of memory present in your RiscPC. Unfortunately this cannot be said of RISC OS 3.6, 3.7 or 3.5 using a softloaded copy of the 'extended' FileCore. When running under these conditions if you have a hard drive partition larger than 2 GB then the buffers must be configured off to allow the drive to work, however installing ROM Patch 3 from the Acorn ftp site will fix this bug with large hard discs. 

As for the optimum settings for ADFSBuffers, from some speed tests conducted on an A5000, then it has been observed that configuring the maximum of 255 buffers increases drive access speeds by 40-50% (this varies considerably with the type and make of drive) over accesses with no buffers at all. However it achieves only a 15-20% gain over using 32 buffers.

All in all ADFSBuffers behave in a fashion standard for caches. Enlarging the cache size does produce increasing gains, but there are increasingly limited gains as the cache size enlarges. So 255 buffers is better than 128 buffers but not twice as good. However at the low end there does seem to be a degree of synergy between the caches and the drive that means that 64 buffers is twice as good as 32 buffers. Accordingly I recommend that people use at least 64 buffers, more if they can spare the RAM.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q4.2) How do I enable solid drags in RISC OS?

RISC OS 3 or above, supports solid icon drags within the desktop.

Solid drags are controlled by bit 1 in byte 28 of the CMOS RAM. Setting this bit enables solid drags on all solid drag 'aware' applications. However setting this bit using a *FX command from the command line is a foolish way to do it, as this will unset/set the other 7 bits in that byte which have meaning to FileSwitch and the Wimp. Accordingly the recommended way to set this bit is using a program like this BASIC one enclosed below :-

REM Toggle state of DragASprite bit in CMOS
REM Read byte
SYS "OS_Byte",161,&1C TO ,,byte%
REM EOR byte with mask for bit 1
byte% = byte% EOR %10
REM Write byte back again
SYS "OS_Byte",162,&1C,byte%
END

Which safely sets bit 1 while preserving the settings of the other bits.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 5: Software Issues

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.1) Why does DOSFS corrupt my files occasionally?

Under RISC OS 3 DOS, and indeed with any other ImageFS filing system, discs are treated as one large file and ADFS applies write-behind buffering to nearly everything it does. (See the question on ADFSBuffers for more details about this.) This means while working on a DOS disc the entire disc is treated as one large open file.

However as long as a file is held open the cache is not flushed out fully till the machine is explicitly told to do so. This means when working with non-ADFS format discs always dismount them before removing them from the drive. With ADFS format discs this is not so critical, as files aren't held open during most operations on them, but it is good to get into the habit of dismounting floppy discs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.2) Where can I obtain the latest version of module X?

All patch modules, official RISC OS extensions and the like can be sourced from the RISC OS ftp sites. Ideally your dealer will also have copies of them too and you should be able to obtain them from them. (If they don't you may like to pass on the ones from the ftp site, if you request them, so that they are up to-date.) Failing that you should probably contact RISCOS Ltd who now manage all aspects of RISC OS development.

I am also in the process of compiling a complete list of up-to-date module version numbers, together with links to where you can download them from. This database is online at http://www.riscos.org/support/modules.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.3) What are the current File-type allocation ranges?

Acorn originally reallocated the File-type ranges for applications. The new ranges are :-

  Non-user area
    &E00-&FFF   Acorn/RISCOS Ltd
    &B00-&DFF   Commercial software
    &A00-&AFF   Acornsoft, and other commercial software
    &400-&9FF   Commercial Software

  User area
    &100-&3FF   Non-commercial distributed software (ie PD)
    &000-&0FF   User's personal usage (ie non-distributed)

75% of the user area is for PD/Shareware, with allocations co-ordinated by RISCOS Ltd. If your software is going to be distributed, you should have an allocated filetype to avoid clashes.

RISCOS Ltd cannot publish its master list of filetypes because, at any given time, it will contain allocations made for products which have not yet been announced. Therefore, they would be in breach of confidence by doing so - and the editing overhead for producing a sanitised list is too great.

However, all is not lost. Denis Howe maintains an unofficial list of filetype allocations. This can be found at http://foldoc.org/acorn/doc/filetypes and includes details about whether the allocation is an official one, a de facto one and what the file contains. If you would like an official 'Acorn' filetype issued to you, you should contact allocate@riscos.com, who are responsible for allocating filetypes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.4) Is there a Modula 2 compiler for RISC OS?

Currently, no. Acorn did have, in the early days of the experimental ARM work, an in house compiler. However this compiler was sufficiently unstable and buggy to be un-releasable as a commercial product and was only used because in house support was available immediately to the users of the compiler. When Olivetti invested in Acorn this technology went to them so that Acorn no longer have even an in house Modula 2 compiler.

However some companies have stated intentions to produce Modula 2 compilers for RISC OS. Whether these intentions become reality has yet to be seen.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.5) What Programming Languages are available for RISC OS machines?

This is a list of freely available programming languages and programming tools for Acorn Risc OS computers. Some of the items are in the public domain, some are not. I will be grateful to receive emendations and further items. Many items of legacy software are stored in the Orpheus filestore at http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/

Imperative Languages
--------------------
- ADA bytecode interpreter from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/c/c052

- ADA GNAT 3.03 compiler from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/ada/ and further information from http://www.huber-net.de/ada/

- ALGOL 68S from ftp://ftp.cs.man.ac.uk/pub/chl/A68S

- AWK - Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan's text-processing language from http://www.wra1th.plus.com/awk/

- CHARM from David Pilling 

- ICON 9.3 By ftp from ftp://ftp.cs.arizona.edu/icon/

- G77 3.4.6 GNU FORTRAN from http://fortran.orpheusweb.co.uk/gnu/

- GCC GCC 3.4.6 GNU C, C++, Objective C Compiler, release 3 from http://www.riscos.info/index.php/GCC_for_RISC_OS

- LUA - prize-winning extension language from http://lua.riscos.org.uk/

- OBERON POT 1.33 (Portable Oberon Translator) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/oberon/

- PASCAL PC 4.09 Norcroft DDE Compiler from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/pascal/

- PASCAL GPC 1.0.2 - Gnu Pascal Compiler from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/pascal/

- PERL 5.8.8 from http://www.cp15.org/perl/

- PYTHON 2.4.1 from http://www.schwertberger.de/python.html

- Regina REXX 2.05 from http://www.ashm78.dsl.pipex.com/Regina/Home.htm

- RLAB 1.25 from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/e/e022

- TCL 7.4 from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/e/e057

Object Oriented Languages
-------------------------
- ARMBOB 2.1 from http://www.wra1th.plus.com/bob/

- GC++ GNU C++ 3.4.6 from http://www.riscos.info/index.php/GCC_for_RISC_OS

- Squeak 3.8 (Smalltalk) from http://rowledge.org/tim/squeak/RISCOSSqueak.html

- GRS from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/grs/

- INFORM 6.30 from http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXinfocomXcompilersXinform6Xexecutables.html

- LITTLEST 0.0 Little Smalltalk from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/a/a102

- OBJECTIVE C GNU 2.7.2 from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/b/b013

- SATHER ISCI Sather 1.1 - Mail to Peter Naulls

Declarative Languages
---------------------
- BIBPROLOG 3.30 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/prolog/

- GOFER 2.30a (GoOd For Equational Reasoning) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/ See comp.lang.functional FAQ.

- HOPE 4.02a from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/

- HUGS 98 - latest version of Haskell Users Gofer System from http://shiell.cjb.net/files/hugs98-src-riscos.zip

- HUGS 1.3 (Haskell Users Gofer System) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/ See comp.lang.functional FAQ.

- HU-PROLOG 1.62 Humboldt University Prolog from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/prolog/humbolt/

- MOSML 1.42 - Moscow ML port by Andrew Hunter from http://www.geocities.com/~cfsfcpage/

- OCAML 2.00 - Objective CAML port by David Fletcher from http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/djf/ocaml/

- SML 4.0.01 Edinburgh Interpreter from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/

Forths
------
- AFORTH 0.70 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/forth/

- FORTHMACS 3.1 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/forth/forthmacs/

- TILEFORTH 2.1 Portable C implementation from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/a/a111

- WIMPFORTH 1.0 from http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/e/e096

Lisps
-----
- CLISP 01.01 Common Lisp from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/DemonFTP/languages/

- FOOLSLISP 1.3 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/lisp/

- GNU SCHEME from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/scheme/

- SIOD 2.90 (Scheme In One Defun) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/scheme/ Also see George Carrette's site.

- XLISP 1.60 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/lisp/xlisp/

- XLISP+ from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/lisp/xlisp/

ARM AOF Assemblers
------------------
- AOFLIB 0.07 create AOF files with the Basic Assembler. From http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/acornet/long/development/assembler/

- AS 1.26b from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/assembler/

- ASM 2.01 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/assembler/

- EXTASM 1.00 from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/assembler/

- TLA 0.2a (The Last Assembler) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/assembler/

AOF Tools
---------
- ADDFILE 0.05 from Plasma Sphere BBS (tel.+44 1925 757920/1). Embed data in AOF files.

- DECAOFB 1.00 - decode AOF files. From http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/aof/

- DRLINK 0.28 Linker from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/acornet/long/development/c/drlink/

- MAKEALF 1.03 - tools for Chunk files. From http://www.mirror.ac.uk/micros/arch/riscos/d/d039

Miscellaneous
-------------
- J 6.2 (APL-like language) from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/StuttgartFTP/riscos/lang/apl/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.6) Why does the RO3.5 desktop sometimes revert to the system font?

This is due to a bug in the RISC OS 3.5 Wimp module. Applications that have outline fonts in their icons and a validation string of R5 or R6 (slabbed icon) will trigger this bug and cause the desktop to revert to the system font. There are two solutions to this problem depending on your level of computer literacy.

The easiest solution, for people who are very shy of template editors, is to complain to the author(s) of the application about this problem and get them to fix it. If you are not shy of template editors you could also go in and edit the applications templates so that none of the slabbed icons have outline fonts in them.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.7) Why does ChangeFSI display a blank white window, not an image?

Versions 1.13S (and later) of ChangeFSI now have the RISC OS 3.6 JPEG support built-in. However the code has been designed to fail 'gracefully' if the support code is not available in the OS. For instance when you run the software on versions of the OS older than RISC OS 3.6. In this case a blank white window is displayed.

To regain normal use of ChangeFSI go to the main menu and select Sprite Output instead of JPEG output. Next time you load a picture, or re-process the current one, an image will be displayed. The JPEG Output option is not greyed out because even though no image is displayed you can still save the processed file as a JPEG.

For those of you with RISC OS 3.5 the module can be obtained from the Orpheus download repository at http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/RISCOS/PD/Modules/SpriteExtend.spk
This can be softloaded in your Boot.PreDesk sequence to use it.

If you've got RISC OS 3.10 you'll need to load the "JPEGMsgs" and "JPEGRender" modules BEFORE you load ChangeFSI. These were available on Acorn User CD no.8 (inside the $.Boot.Newboot.!Boot.Resources.!System.310.Modules directory)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.8) What causes the 'nager:Sprites22' error?

This is both a tricky and simple question to answer. The cause of the error is unknown, but something is erroring. However rather than displaying the error message RISC OS has a subtle bug in it that causes it to display the above error message instead. The sequence goes like this:-

- An error occurs.
- The wimp realises it needs to load the hi-res toolsprites & loads them.
- The wimp then displays the error message.

Unfortunately the process of loading the his-res toolsprites over-writes the buffer containing the original error block. (IE the block of memory with the error number and error message in it.) What it overwrites it with is the string 'WindowManager:Sprites22', which is a path reference to where the hi-res toolsprites are to be found.

This error has been corrected in RISC OS 3.60 and later versions of RISC OS. (Thanks go to Alan Glover for this information.)
Additionally the error can be provoked by conflicting versions of the DrawFile module being loaded. If you are experiencing this error message then it is worthwhile to scan your hard drive looking for all copies of the module and ensuring they are consistantly the latest version of the module.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.9) Is there a Real Audio or Real Video player for Acorns?

Unfortunately not. A Real Audio player was written for NCOS but is not useful for most RISC OS machines due to it's dependance on the presence of hardware Floating Point. An integer arithmetic version was written by Warm Silence Software for StrongARM equipped machines but was never released due to licensing issues.

However, Kira Brown and Justin Fletcher ported an Amiga RA player to RISC OS which you can download from my RealAudio page at http://www.vigay.com/thirdparty/realaudio.html

This version however will not play 'streaming' RealAudio or many of the newer RA files.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.10) Is there any 'streaming audio' player software available for RISC OS machines?

There are a number of streaming audio players for RISC OS available from http://www.duffell.riscos.me.uk/ which will allow you to listen to radio stations via the internet, assuming they use the SHOUTcast or MP3 audio streaming protocols.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.11) How do I get a faster interrupt timer than the centisecond ones?

For this you require the use of IOC Timer 1, a 2MHz timer unused by RISC OS and claimable by code for use. Details of how to program the timer are available in the IOC datasheets, or you could look for various PD utilities like TimerCtrl that handle the timer for you.

I am informed that the Acorn TimeCode system now lays claim to Timer 1 and that software using it is deprecated.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.12) How can I create Interlaced GIFs on Acorn machines?

Four utilities exist to let you create these.

spr2gif will take a sprite and convert it to a gif file. It will interlace and render transparent the gif as well. For the transparency it uses the colour of the first masked pixel it encounters in the sprite - suitable for automated gif image creating. (No need to twiddle with specifying transparency colours.)
Available from http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/pub/RISCOS/DemonFTP/graphics/spr2gif.arc

WebGIF, by Ian Jeffray allows you to add transparency and interlacing to your GIFs as well.
Available from http://ian.jeffray.co.uk/riscos/

Creator, from about v2.00, can create interlaced GIFs. However you have to specify the transparency colour directly.
Available from http://www.riscos.org/cgi-bin/linksdb?q=gr0021&c=Graphics&d=x

And finally InterGIF not only can create interlaced, transparent GIFs but is capable of creating animated ones as well.
Available from http://www.riscos.org/cgi-bin/linksdb?q=gr0078&c=Graphics&d=x

On top of these utilities an increasing number of commercial programs can create Interlaced GIFs, such as Photodesk and ArtWorks2.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.13) Is the PC Card software still available?

Yes. You can currently download it from RISCOS Ltd's website at http://acorn.riscos.com/riscos/releases/pccard/ or from http://www.riscos.info/index.php/PC

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q5.14) How do I obtain an allocated filetype or SWI chunk for my software?

When developing new software, you should try to ensure that any filetypes or SWI calls are unique to your software. This will ensure that your new application doesn't cause conflicts with any existing software.
In order to to this you should apply to RISC OS Open in order to register your application name and any system variables, SWI calls or any filetypes your application may require.

The !Allocate application will do this for you, which can be downloaded from http://www.riscosopen.co.uk/content/allocate and your request should be emailed to allocate@riscosopen.org



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 6: Viruses and Security

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q6.1) What RISC OS virus killers are available?

Pineapple Software originally produced a program called !Killer, which is the standard means of checking for or killing viruses. !Killer is no longer developed and thus no longer available.

There are also a couple of shareware/PD virus checkers available.

Kiwisoft's !Slayer detects most known viruses and removes quite a few as well and serves as a good secondary defence if Killer is unavailable to you. Slayer is available from http://www.kiwisoft.co.uk/software/slayer/

Paul Vigay also developed and still supports !VZap, available from http://www.vigay.com/software/vzap.html
VZap is the only fully 32-bit compatible virus scanner available.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q6.2) I have received some information about a virus from a reputable source, it apparently affects Windows, Mac and/or Linux systems, is it perhaps dangerous for RISC OS users too?

No known virus designed for Windows, Macintosh, Linux or Unix systems has ever infected a RISC OS system. Whilst many Acorn computers are capable of running DOS or Windows operating systems via software or hardware emulation, it is only the DOS/Windows environment that is vulnerable to infection by these virusues.

Unless you have detailed evidence indicating that the virus in question has actually infected RISC OS systems, issues concerning viruses for foreign systems are best dealt with via your Windows, Macintosh, Linux or Unix anti-virus software supplier.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 7: Online Resources

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.1) What archives/FTP sites are available?

There are a few online repositories of Acorn/RISC OS software available on the internet. The following sites are a few of the more popular ones;

http://downloads.orpheusweb.co.uk/
http://www.drobe.co.uk/archives/
http://www.quantumsoft.co.uk/files/
http://acorn.riscos.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.2) What Acorn related companies are available on the net via email?

There are quite a few companies now on the net and reachable via email with more joining as time passes. A comprehensive list of RISC OS company websites and/or contact details is available at http://www.riscos.org/companies/

If you represent or work for a company that is not listed, and you would like to included in this list please send me an email to the address specified at the bottom of this FAQ, detailing the web/email addresses. I will then include them into the FAQ. However as a matter of policy I will only include an address if I receive email from the owner, or a representative for the owner, of that address.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.3) What are the submission addresses for comp.{binaries.sources}.acorn groups?

There are four addresses involved here. To submit files for the groups send your email to:-
csa@bridge.wn.planet.gen.nz for comp.sources.acorn.
cba@bridge.wn.planet.gen.nz for comp.binaries.acorn.

For requests, comments and suggestions send email to:-
csa-request@bridge.wn.planet.gen.nz for comp.sources.acorn.
cba-request@bridge.wn.planet.gen.nz for comp.binaries.acorn.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.4) What WWW pages are out there for Acorn topics?

The web is now expanding at an alarming rate and Acorn Web pages are popping up all over the place. This list of Web pages is checked periodically by myself for validity but I make no claims that URL's present here are currently valid. I'm no longer adding to this list because I maintain a more extensive and dedicated Acorn links page at http://www.riscos.org/links/ so I would recommend looking there if you want to contact a specific company, person or locate a particular item of software.

 * http://www.acornarcade.com 
   Acorn gaming site with news, reviews, features and support for Acorn gaming. 

 * http://acorn.cybervillage.co.uk
   The Acorn CyberVillage pages - dealers, developers, information, software and low cost web rental.

 * http://www.poppyfields.net/acorn/ 
   The Acorn computer user WWW Server. - contains pointers to other Acorn Web pages.

 * http://a-e-g.surftec.net/main.html
   The Acorn Enthusiasts Group pages.
   
 * http://www.alpha-programming.co.uk/
   Alpha Programming WWW Pages - Acorn/Psion software, Jokes+Reviews. 

 * http://www.vigay.com/inet/
   Ant Internet Suite technical support 

 * http://www.argonet.co.uk
   Internet Service Provider (ISP) with dedicated Acorn/RISC OS support.

 * http://www.armclub.org.uk/ 
   The ARM Club home page. 

 * http://www.aaug.net/ 
   The Association of Acorn User Groups. Your first stop for the Club
   Discounts Scheme! 

 * http://www.armage.demon.co.uk/software/
   ARMage Software WWW pages. 

 * http://www.artexsoft.com
   Artex Software's pages. 

 * http://www.doggysoft.co.uk/ 
   Doggysoft's WWW pages. 

 * http://www.interpages.co.uk/acorn/
   Mike Enderby's pages - including PC Card information. 

 * http://www.jaffasoft.co.uk/
   Jaffa Software. Authors of WimpWorks.
   
 * http://www.octosys.co.uk/ 
   Octopus Systems. 

 * http://www.orpheusinternet.co.uk
   Internet Service Provider (ISP) with dedicated Acorn/RISC OS support.

 * http://www.heyrick.co.uk/assembler/ 
   Programming in ARM assembler 

 * http://www.heyrick.co.uk/ 
   Richard Murray's site, with Econet information, software and extensions
   to Argo's Voyager. 

 * http://www.simtec.co.uk/products/SWRISCOS/
   Simtec Electronics. 

 * http://www.softrock.co.uk/ 
   Soft Rock Software. 

 * http://www.stdevel.co.uk/
   Stuart Tyrell Developments. 

 * http://www.btinternet.com/~icenicomputerclub/
   Suffolk Acorn Risc Club's pages. 

 * http://rowledge.org/tim/
   Tim Rowledge's page (Acorn version of Squeak Smalltalk). 

 * http://www.wss.co.uk/ 
   Warm Silence Software. 

 * http://www.koekoek.co.uk/
   Werewolf Software. 

Note that, as with email addresses, I require either the owner of the pages, or a representative of the owner, to email me if they wish to be included in the list.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.5) What Acorn BBS's are there?
The following is a list of Bulletin Boards run on Acorn Computers.

If you spot any errors or indeed any Acorn BBS's not included, then please contact me.

ACORN BULLETIN BOARDS WORLD WIDE
--------------------------------
BBS Name         Location       Times      Speeds        Numbers       Lines
Sysop Name                                 Network       Address
===========================================================================
Arcade           London         24Hrs      300-33k6      +44 20 8655 4412  1
                                           Fidonet       2:254/27.0
Sysop: Dave Coleman/David Dade  24Hrs      300-33k6      +44 20 8654 2212  1
                                24Hrs      300-33k6      +44 20 8655 1811  1
                      18:30-24:00 Mon-Fri  Telnet       arcade.demon.co.uk 4
                      08:00-24:00 Sat/Sun  Telnet       arcade.demon.co.uk 4
Web: http://arcade-bbs.net
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
BBS De Randstad  Den Haag NL    24Hrs      1k2-33k6      +31 70 3557975   1
Frank de Bruijn                            FidoNet       2:280/1203
mailto:frank@aconet.org                    AcoNet        77:8500/203
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
The ARMpit       Denmark        24Hrs      300-33k6      +45 39675110      1
Sysop: Thomas Olsson                       FidoNet       2:234/181
Web: http://welcome.to/armpit/
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Heaven                          24Hrs      Telnet   heaven.affection.net  34
Sysop: James Coates                        VIEWDATA
Web: http://www.heaven.affection.net/
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Plasma Sphere    Cheshire       24Hrs      300-33k6      +44 1925 757920   1
Sysop: Keith Hall                          300-33k6      +44 1925 757921   1
Web: http://www.tpsphere.demon.co.uk       FidoNet       2:250/219 & 250/222
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Twisted Spires    *** THIS IS NOW A MAIL SYSTEM ONLY, NO BBS CALLS ***
Sysop: Miah Gregory                        FidoNet       2:2501/210
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Yeti BBs         Flensberg, de  24Hrs      2400-64000    +49 461 232721   2
Sysop: Birger Harzenetter                  FidoNet       2:240/1005
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

This listing is for Bulletin Boards being run on Acorn computers

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.6) Where can I advertise second hand Acorn kit?

There are various web sites available now that list second hand adverts without charge. If you are wanting to sell some equipment it may well be worth your time trying them. They are:-

http://acorn.cybervillage.co.uk/noticeboard.stm

The Acorn User Magazine website normally carries free ads, but you can also advertise for free in the magazine by emailing your advert to; aufreeads@acornuser.com

There is also a large Acorn/RISC OS section on the UK Auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)

http://listings.ebay.co.uk/aw/plistings/list/category50210/index.html?from=R4

You can also advertise items for sale on the relevant Acorn Usenet newsgroup. I would advise advertising hardware and peripherals on comp.sys.acorn.hardware and any software items on comp.sys.acorn.misc
Please respect Usenet 'netiguette' by refraining from posting your advert to multiple newsgroups (known as cross-posting).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.7) Where can I find a user group local to me?

There are lots of local user groups out here, and the best place to find them is in the lists of the Association of Acorn User Groups:-

http://www.aaug.net where a global list of user groups is maintained.

There is also a list of worldwide usergroups kept on RISCOS.org at www.riscos.org/usergroups/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q7.8) How do I kill-file people using NewsHound?

If you're using NewsHound for downloading Usenet messages and you find that a particular person irritates you, so that you wish to skip over their messages and not waste time downloading them, you can easily setup what's known as a 'kill-file' by creating a suitable filter in NewHound's "GlobalRule" file. Select 'Servers...' from NewsHound's main menu and then load "GlobalRule into a text editor.

Add the following line in order to ignore all messages from person "XXX"
*		*	*XXX*	*	*	*	*	*	none

If you want to ignore any subsequent follow-up messages to their messages, you should also add the following line too.
*		*	*	*	*	*	*XXX*	*	none

Replace XXX with enough of their email address to uniquely identify the individual concerned.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 8: Compatibility with other machines

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.1) How compatible with other systems is an Acorn machine?

This is a fairly brief introduction to the issue. If your question isn't answered below than it is well worthwhile going to the Acorn Emulation Pages at http://acorn.cybervillage.co.uk/emulation/, which cover this subject in some detail.

PC - The early 'Archimedes' machines can handle 720K DOS discs and all machines since the A5000 can also handle 1.44MB discs. In RISC OS since version 3.0, DOS compatibility is built in, whereas under the older RISC OS 2 you have to use one of the (PD) utilities. There are two PC (software) emulators that can handle most PC software, three if you count the fact that Acorn's offering is split into two emulator programs. There are also PC cards, containing an 80x86 processor and other PC hardware, which uses the main computers' disc and video. All emulators are multitasking (and not PD). RiscPC machines, by adding a 486 or 586 'second processor' card, can fully emulate a PC. However, these are still quite slow by todays PC standards.

Unix - Unix software can be ported (and in fact many packages already have been) with the help of UnixLib. Memory-hungry ports, such as gcc, can be run with the aid of !Virtual (also PD). Of course if you are really desperate to run Unix software it might be advisable to buy RISCiX (only available second hand now), the Acorn flavour of Unix (suitable only for A540 or older machines), or perhaps use linux (compatible with all 32bit Acorn machines) or NetBSD/arm32 (for RiscPC machines).

Further information on NetBSD/arm32 is available from http://www.netbsd.org/Ports/arm32/

Mac - Commercial software is available that can read HFS format discs, including hard drives and CDROMs. For floppy discs this generally encompasses high density discs (1.44 MB format) and a limited subset of double density (720 kb) discs. Essentially the software can read the disc if the tracks have been laid down with constant angular velocity, rather than constant linear velocity - which requires a variable speed drive to work.
Most Macintoshes default to CLV format discs when formatting double density discs but some Mac software exists to override this and, in theory, such discs are readable using the Acorn software. To be sure that the double density disc is a CAV format disc, then formatting it first in your Acorn machine is a good step and the disc will then work with Macintosh machines.
Also most modern Macintoshes can, like Acorn machines, read and write PC format discs so transfer is possible via that medium as well. There is no Mac emulator available natively. However if you have a PC card in your RiscPC it is possible to run Executor 2.0 under the PC Emulation to then emulate a Mac. However this approach is likely to be fairly slow.

A shareware application called ExMac is available from http://www.riscos.org/cgi-bin/linksdb?q=fu0040&c=DiscUtils&d=x which will allow you to read, write and format Apple Mac discs under RISC OS.

Atari ST - Like PC floppies, the Archimedes can read, write and format ST-format floppies. An Atari emulator is available, called STem, which is of limited utility is currently under development and improvement.

Amiga - The amiga uses an unusual disc format that is not easily read by other machines. Accordingly there is currently no Amiga format disc reader available. But Amiga's can read PC and Macintosh format discs, so again transfers can occur via that medium. There is one Amiga emulator available, a port of the Unix Amiga Emulator, but it is somewhat CPU intensive and really requires a StrongARM to be useful.

Spectrum - There are emulators around for this and Amstrad, the owners of the Sinclair copyright, have released permission for the ROM images, needed to run these emulators, to be copied and released with the emulators.

Apple][ - Again emulators are available for this. However they, like the Spectrum emulators, require a copy of the ROM image to work. The copyright of the ROM image for these machines, as far as I am aware, prevents them being distributed, so you have to source your own copy of them.

BBC B - Once again emulators exist, including Acorn's own effort of 6502Host. The emulators are fairly good, offering a high level of compatibility. See question 8.3 for more details about two commercially available emulators. Also various programs do exist that allow the newer Acorn machines to read BBC B format floppy discs.

GameBoy - An emulator exists for this, capable of loading and using most snapshots with sound correctly emulated. Snapshots seem to be fairly freely available on the Internet and a search in any of the more capable search engines should quickly turn up a set of sites with downloadable snapshot images.

Amstrad CPC - Emulators exist for these machines and Amstrad & Locomotive Software have given their permission for the ROM images, needed to make them work, to be freely distributable with the emulators.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.2) Is there a BBC BASIC for other machines?

The short answer is, yes.

Macintosh - A BBC BASIC environment was released some years back as a commercial product featuring compatibility with a limited subset of OS_Bytes and other features for limited compatibility with a BBC Model B. More information is available from http://emulation.net/bbcmicro/

IBM Compats - In addition to the old MS-DOS version of BBC BASIC, a brand new Windows version was released last year by Richard Russell. Full details of his products, including BBC BASIC (86) and 'BBC BASIC for Windows', are available on his website at http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/

J.G.Harston maintains the most complete catalogue availiable of implementations of BBC BASIC available for over thirty platforms. Contains a wealth of documentation and links to available downloads. http://www.mdfs.net/Software/BBCBasic/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.3) Can I run 65Host on the Risc PC?

Officially, no. Unofficially there is a patch that enables the Emulator to run fairly well. Unfortunately the patch does not correctly enable the break key; however, it does substitute the Scroll Lock key, so you can reset the emulator easily from inside the emulator. On a StrongARM equipped RiscPC you need to disable all but the instruction cache while running the emulator. (An '*Cache I' will do this.)

Here is the patch :-

REM >HostPatch
REM RISC PC !65Host patch
REM Obtained from comp.sys.acorn.games
REM Provided by tim@spodnet.org (Tim Gladding)
REM of Cambridge, England
REM Tweaked to substitute ScrollLock for Break
REM by arcsalt@spuddy.mew.co.uk (Darren Salt)
SYS "OS_File",5,"<65Host$Dir>.!RunImage" TO t,,,,len
DIM data len
SYS "OS_File",255,"<65Host$Dir>.!RunImage",data
FOR ptr=0 TO len-4 STEP 4
  word=data!ptr
  CASE word OF
    WHEN &E3520402, &E2600402, &E3510402: data?ptr=&05
    WHEN &13A0000F: data?ptr=&0E: REM key code for ScrollLock
  ENDCASE
NEXT ptr
SYS "OS_File",10,"<65Host$Dir>.!RunImage",&FFA,,data,data+len

It is a BASIC program - simply enter it into the BASIC editor of your choice, let the filer see the copy of 65Host that is to be patched and run it. A copy of the 65Host emulator can be found on the Acorn FTP site.

A PD BBC Emulator, called !BeebIt, is available to download from http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mjfoot/bbc.htm, but this doesn't include the ROM images due to copyright reasons, so you will need to obtain these seperately.

There is also a commercially available BBC emulator, called 6502Em, available that works on the RiscPC range and boasts improved compatibility, mostly with games, over the Acorn effort. It also is StrongARM compatible.
Contact Murklesoft for details - http://www.borcherds.co.uk/murklesoft/riscos/6502em.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.4) Can I read Acorn format discs on a PC?

Yes, there are a number of utilities available, such as ArcDisc or ArcImg. A good first port of call is http://acorn.revivalteam.de/Emu/Emu.html which also includes other useful links to emulating RISC OS machines under Windows.

I don't know if any of these utilities will read the latest F+ format discs, as used by RISC OS 4.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.5) What software handles files with this extension?

This really depends on what the extension is. Most popular extensions and file formats are catered for, either natively or by third-party utilities.

Presented below is a list of common file extensions and the software that, in some way, handles the file. It is recommended, especially for commercial software, that you verify that software will indeed perform the functions you require on the file format. This list is intended as a starting point to give the reader a pointer towards suitable software, nothing more.

N.B. This list is primarily for programs that convert foreign file formats into Acorn usable data - not the other way round. Some programs listed will export as well as import but this is by no means guaranteed.

* AVI (.avi) , &FB2, Audio Visual file.
 - CineWorks, commercial. 
 - MovieFS, commercial.
 
* BMP (.bmp) , &69C, Bitmap file (Windows). 
 - BMPSprite, freeware. 
 - ChangeFSI, commercial - supplied with RISC OS 3 and above. 
 - Compo, commercial. 
 - ImageFS, commercial. 
 - ImageMaster, commercial. 
 - Translator, shareware.

* CGM (.cgm) , &B2B, Computer Graphics Metafile. 
 - CGM->Draw, careware. 
 - DXF-CGM, careware.

* DXF (.dxf) , &DEA, Drawing eXchange Format file. 
 - Draw, commercial - supplied with all versions of RISC OS. 
 - RiscCad, commercial.

* FLIC (.fli, .flc) , &B9F, Autodesk flic animation.
 - AAPlay, freeware

* GIF (.gif), &695 , Graphics Interchange Format picture. 
 - ChangeFSI, commercial - supplied with RISC OS 3 and above
 - Compo, commercial
 - FYEO2, freeware
 - ImageFS, commercial
 - ImageMaster, commercial
 - InterGIF, freeware
 - ProArtisan24, commercial
 - Spr_2_Gif, freeware
 - Translator, shareware
 - WebGif2, freeware

* GZIP (.gz), &F89, Archive format. 
 - GZip, freeware.
 - SparkFS, commercial

* HTML (.htm, .html) , &FAF, Hyper Text Markup Language document. 
 - ArcWeb, freeware
 - Browse, commercial
 - Fresco, commercial
 - NetSurf, freeware (available from http://netsurf.sourceforge.net)
 - Oregano, commercial
 - Oregano2, commercial
 - Webite, freeware
 - Webster, freeware
 - Webster XL, commercial

* JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg) , &C85, JPEG format picture. 
 - ChangeFSI, commercial - supplied with RISC OS 3 and above
 - Compo, commerical
 - FineArt24, commercial
 - FYEO2, freeware
 - ImageFS, commercial
 - ImageMaster, commercial
 - ProArtisan24, commercial
 - RapidJPEG, freeware
 - Studio24Pro, commercial
 - SwiftJPEG, freeware
 - Thump, freeware
 - Translator, shareware

* Metafile (.met), &B2C, OS/2 Metafile.
 - Draw-Met, careware

* MIDI (.mid, .midi), &FD4, Musical Instrument Digital Interface file. 
 - MIDIWorks, commercial
 - ESPSynth, commercial
 - MelIDI, commercial
 - ReMidi, shareware
 - Rhapsody, commercial
 - Timidity, freeware

* MPEG (.mpg, .mpeg) , &BF8, Motion Picture Experts Group movie file. 
 - CineWorks, commercial
 - MPEG, freeware

* PDF (.pdf), &ADF, Adobe's Portable Document Format. 
 - Pdf, freeware

* Perl (.pl) , &102, Practical Extraction and Report Language file. 
 - Perl, freeware

* PostScript (.eps, .ps) , &FF5, Adobe's printer graphics language. 
 - AiEps-Drw, careware
 - GhostScript, freeware
 - ImageMaster, commercial
 - RiScript, commercial

* Quicktime (.mov) , &FB2, Macintosh movie file. 
 - CineWorks, commercial
 - MovieFS, commercial

* SoundTracker (.mod) , &CB6, Sound Tracker file. 
 - AMFTracker, freeware
 - BASTracker, freeware
 - Digital Symphony, commercial
 - Harmony, freeware
 - MPlayer, freeware
 - ProTrack, freeware
 - ProTracker, freeware
 - S/Tracker, freeware

* Tar (.tar) , &C46, Tape Archive. 
 - Spark, commercial
 - SparkFS, commercial
 - SparkPlug, freeware
 - Tar, freeware

* Text (.txt, .text), &FFF, text file. 
 - ChangeTxt, shareware
 - Edit, commercial - supplied with all versions of RISC OS
 - StrongEd, shareware
 - Uemacs, freeware
 - Zap, freeware

* TIFF (.tif, .tiff) , &FF0, Tagged Image File Format. 
 - ChangeFSI, commercial - supplied with RISC OS 3 and above
 - Compo, commercial
 - ImageFS, commercial
 - ImageMaster, commercial
 - Studio24Pro, commercial
 - Tiffin, freeware
 - Translator, shareware

* Wave (.wav) , &FB1, Chunk based sound file.
 - AudioWorks, commercial
 - MovieFS, commercial
 - Player, commercial
 - ProSound, commercial
 - StudioSound, commercial
 - SoundCon, freeware

* WMF (.wmf) ,&B2F, Windows Meta File. 
 - WMF->Draw, public domain.

* ZIP (.zip) , &DDC, Archive format. 
 - Info-ZIP suite, freeware
 - MiniZip, part of RISC OS Select 3
 - SparkFS, commercial
 - Sparkplug, freeware (read only)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.6) Is there a version of Draw for Windows?

Yes. Oak released a program called Oak-Draw for Windows. This program can load, save and manipulate Acorn Draw format files in the Windows environment. The commercial program CorelXara can also load and manipulate Draw files.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q8.7) Can I run Windows software on a RISC OS machine?

The Risc PC machines had the ability to add an x86 co-processor card in order to run Windows applications and add a level of 'PC compatibility'. A 486 card and a faster 586 card were available. Neither are in production any more.
For more information, see the x86card FAQ at www.riscos.org/legacy/x86card.html


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section 9: Common Questions about the FAQ

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.1) Why do I get the FAQ twice?

There are two ways this can happen. The first, and most common way, is when you see two copies of the FAQ, one set posted to comp.sys.acorn.announce and the other set posted to comp.sys.acorn.misc. This occurrence is caused by your news handling software being broken. The FAQ is, if you check the newsgroups line when it is posted, crossposted to both of these groups.

This means it is actually posted just the once and with all good news handling software you will read the post exactly once. Given that this is supposed to be standard behaviour for newsreaders I refuse to stop cross-posting purely because people are seeing the posts twice. Quite simply it isn't my problem and I will need other justification before I stop cross-posting.

The second way it can occur is when you see two copies of the FAQ in the same group. Careful checking of your newsbase should reveal that one copy is about 30 to 32 days older than the other. This comes about because I use the Expires: header to ensure that a copy of the FAQ is always present in all well configured newsbases.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.2) Why does the full FAQ have to be posted?

Simply because of the wide distribution that the FAQ has. Every time the FAQ gets posted it gets automatically archived into various FAQ databases, propagates on ancillary networks only loosely connected to the net (BBSes in particular) and reaches a wide variety of people whose skills at navigating the net vary considerably. Occasionally it gets copied onto CD ROMs, Magazine discs and extracts get used in various publications from time to time.

All this just from the posted copy of the FAQ.

Given this wide reaching nature and the general idea of an FAQ being to reduce network traffic by providing the answers to common questions immediately then I see clear justification for continuing to post the full FAQ.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.3) Isn't the FAQ overly long?

In a word, no.

To be slightly less candid it's worthwhile doing a comparison of the c.s.a FAQ with other newsgroup's FAQs. For this task I used a 'snapshot' of various FAQs obtained from the http:rtfm.mit.edu Usenet FAQ archive, taken in March 2008. Here are a few sample sizes:-

FAQ                                      Size in bytes
---                                      -------------
comp.sys.acorn (as posted 1st Apr 2008)  116,385
comp.lang.c                              280,487
comp.sys.sun.admin (Solaris FAQ)         437,078
sci.crypt (Cryptography FAQ)             129,330
soc.feminism (resources list)            200,503

As can be seen by the above table the size of the FAQ is neither overly large nor is it particularly uncommon.

Having said that, I'm currently performing a general overhaul and revamp of this FAQ, archiving a lot of older information, only of relevance to legacy machines. This will be stored online at www.riscos.org/legacy/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.4) If I find something wrong or am unhappy with the FAQ, what do I do?

Email me first about it.

I mean it. Generally errors or bad information that has crept into the FAQ has been through circumstances beyond my control. Often a lot of the information I am provided with I simply can not check directly myself. So I accept a lot of what I am given on trust and generally try to exercise care with what I include into the FAQ.

If, after getting a reply back from me, you are still unhappy then by all means grumble about it on the newsgroups. But I want the chance to explain things first. I take a very dim view to people posting complaints to the newsgroups, first, about the FAQ, especially ones that imply or impugn improper conduct on my part. I tend to view such posts as attempts to publicly force my hand and make me do whatever said poster wants done to the FAQ.

Thanks go to all the people who have contributed corrections and additions to the list. Without this help this list would be a hell of a lot buggier (spot the programmer... :-) ) than it is...

If you have any additions, corrections or suggestions for the FAQ, please contact me. Being the maintainer of this FAQ I reserve the right to be wrong, incorrect, slow, out of date and generally how I please with the FAQ List.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.5) How to retrieve the FAQ from the source...

As I frequently update the FAQ between postings you may wish to get the latest and most up-to-date copy of the FAQ before it next gets posted to the newsgroups. You can view it directly at http://www.riscos.org/csafaq/ or you can download the textual version from http://www.riscos.org/csafaq/text/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.6) Is there a more detailed Network FAQ available?

Philip Blundell originally created the comp.sys.acorn.networking FAQ which is now maintained by Chris Johns and available online at http://www.drobe.co.uk/faq/csan-faq.html

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q9.7) Is there a comp.sys.acorn.games (csa.games) FAQ available?

Matthew Hambley used to maintain a csa.games FAQ, which is still available online at http://www.aether.demon.co.uk/faqs/games.html

--------------------------------------------------------- end of csa.FAQ ---

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Comp.Sys.Acorn FAQ ---------------------------------- End of part 1 of 1 -

This FAQ is maintained by Paul Vigay (csa-faq (at) riscos.org)
Please email me with any queries/amendments or problems.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM