So where do we go from here?
Perhaps having read the history of Acorn Computers you are thinking what is this site doing promoting a dead beast. The beast may have been wounded but the brand, and the machine and RISC OS continue.
Listed below are the companies that have inherited the Acorn legacy, with upgrades and new machines.
Prices have not been quoted, as these are liable to change. If you want to follow up click on the company name to take you to their individual sites. All links take you out of the site.
RISC OS versions
Before we meet the new machines that are flaoting around perhaps some explanation of the various versions floating around,as it could be quite confusing if your new to the scene.
RISC OS 4.xx
This was the version of the OS, being developed by Acorn when it folded. The OS was developed so that it would work on existing machines around at the time, namely the Risc PC, A9, and one or two other short lived production machines.
RISC OS 4 saw several versions, as it was further developed and enhanced by RISCOS Ltd. However it is restricted to old hardware, and emulation. So is not compatible with the fantastic new hardware detailed further down. No longer being developed, its primary market is now the emulation under Windows and the Mac.
RISC OS 6.xx
This appeared as the successor to RO 4, however like version 4 it is only capable of working on older hardware, and not on the new machines now appearing. I'm not sure what effect it had on the market, and very rarely see much mention of it.
RISC OS 5.xx
RISC OS 5 is a separate branch of the OS which came out of the original 4.00. There was much heated debate over the legality of this version, but hey, it is now the most important version around. It is currently being developed and improved, with the last stable release 4.24 being released in 2018. What is more it is free! When the Iyonix ceased production, and Castle pulled out of the market they released the source code into the care of ROOL, who manage and control the source code, and sort out licencing issues where necessary, although much of this hard work has been completed.
More importantly RISC OS 5 is the only version of the OS which will work on the newer hardware, being truly 32 bit, and has been given a hardware abstraction layer. This means that the desktop etc can run on almost any hardware, as long as the code to handle the hardware has been written. So if you want to home build a version on your Raspberry Pi, then this is the version you need.
Indeed RISC OS 5 can be downloaded for older hardware, such as the RISC PC. However this page is concerned with the future so onto....
The New Generation
The following two companies, have bitten the bullet, and set about finding some serious new hardware for RISC OS to run on. I've listed the companies in order of the release of new machines.
R-compThis machine first made an appearance in February 2014. However has now matured into a very nice piece of equipment along with a some really serious monitors, with some very serious screen resolutions.
Based around an i.MX6 CPU running at 1Ghz, 2GB ram, and is the first machine to support SATA. It also comes along with Solid State Disks, and DVD drive. Annoyingly the machine is being very much under sold, it has no flashy website extolling its virtues, just a PDF from when it was originally launched. It really needs a bang up to date web-site. The machine itself is very good and the reviews have been positive.
They also produce a number of other machines based on lower spec hardware. However i.MX6 puts it into a league of if its own.
Go to their website for further details.
CJE Micro'sThis really is a new machine, which was only officially named Rapido in October 2015. Based around a Cortex Arm 1.5GHz chip, has the slightly upper hand in terms of speed, although aspects of this machine are not quite as polished as the R-comp machine, and this is reflected in some benchmark tests run for Archive magazine which put the machine slightly behind its competitor.
However when fully finished this could be a real power machine.
Go to their website for more details.
... but that's not all
If you want to do it yourself then there are a couple more options.
1. Raspberry PiThis is the successor to the original BBC Micro. Designed for anyone to build there own machine, it has, appropriately had RISC OS running on it for a few years now. ROOL, can provide all the software you need -either free or ready to go for a small price.
This really is a new piece of kit. Currently it is a purpose built motherboard, designed as the basis of a computer (the i.MX6 and CJE machines boards are designed for other applications).