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Comp.Sys.Acorn.FAQ part 3 of 3

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 )
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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] if any parts are missing or corrupted.
--------------------------------- part 3 of 3 ------------------------------


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

Paul Vigay also developed and still supports !VZap, available from
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; - A massive collection of Acorn and RISC OS software including archives of old file repositories. - A good collection of freeware - a backup of the original Acorn FTP site


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

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:- for comp.sources.acorn. for comp.binaries.acorn.

For requests, comments and suggestions send email to:- for comp.sources.acorn. 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 so I would recommend looking there if you want to contact a specific company, person or locate a particular item of software.

   Acorn gaming site with news, reviews, features and support for Acorn gaming. 

   The Acorn CyberVillage pages - dealers, developers, information, software and low cost web rental.

   The Acorn computer user WWW Server. - contains pointers to other Acorn Web pages.

   Large list of Acorn groups around the world.
   Alpha Programming WWW Pages - Acorn/Psion software, Jokes+Reviews. 

   Ant Internet Suite technical support 

   Internet Service Provider (ISP) with dedicated Acorn/RISC OS support.

   The ARM Club home page. 

   The Association of Acorn User Groups. Your first stop for the Club
   Discounts Scheme! 

   Artex Software's pages. 

   Doggysoft's WWW pages. 

   Mike Enderby's pages - including PC Card information. 

   Jaffa Software. Authors of WimpWorks.
   Octopus Systems. 

   Internet Service Provider (ISP) with dedicated Acorn/RISC OS support.

   Programming in ARM assembler 

   Richard Murray's site, with Econet information, software and extensions
   to Argo's Voyager. 

   Simtec Electronics. 

   Soft Rock Software. 

   Stuart Tyrell Developments. 

   Suffolk Acorn Risc Club's pages. 

   Tim Rowledge's page (Acorn version of Squeak Smalltalk). 

   Warm Silence Software. 

   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.

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 4
                      08:00-24:00 Sat/Sun  Telnet 4
BBS De Randstad  Den Haag NL    24Hrs      1k2-33k6      +31 70 3557975   1
Frank de Bruijn                            FidoNet       2:280/1203                    AcoNet        77:8500/203
The ARMpit       Denmark        24Hrs      300-33k6      +45 39675110      1
Sysop: Thomas Olsson                       FidoNet       2:234/181
Heaven                          24Hrs      Telnet  34
Sysop: James Coates                        VIEWDATA
Plasma Sphere    Cheshire       24Hrs      300-33k6      +44 1925 757920   1
Sysop: Keith Hall                          300-33k6      +44 1925 757921   1
Web:       FidoNet       2:250/219 & 250/222
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:-

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

There is also a large Acorn/RISC OS section on the UK Auction site eBay (

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:- where a global list of user groups is maintained.

There is also a list of worldwide usergroups kept on at


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, 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

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 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. See for more information.

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

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

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.


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
REM Provided by (Tim Gladding)
REM of Cambridge, England
REM Tweaked to substitute ScrollLock for Break
REM by (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
  CASE word OF
    WHEN &E3520402, &E2600402, &E3510402: data?ptr=&05
    WHEN &13A0000F: data?ptr=&0E: REM key code for ScrollLock
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, 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 -


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 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
 - 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


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 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


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 or you can download the textual version from


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


Q9.7) Is there a ( FAQ available?

Matthew Hambley used to maintain a FAQ, which is still available online at

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

- Comp.Sys.Acorn FAQ ---------------------------------- End of part 3 of 3 -

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

User Contributions:

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM