From An American Hardcore Geek...

The RISC OS is a British-founded ARM-based operating system that's still heavily used by users in the UK. I grew up in the USA in the heartland of Boeing, Microsoft, Adobe, and RealNetworks, but my inspiration is the Commodore Amiga 500, in which AmigaOS seems to be a rival of RISC OS. Today, there are still massive users of RISC OS and AmigaOS, but I don't think there are many people running them at the same time.

What is ARM Architecture? This is a useful article explaining why I never knew ARM when I was in the USA. Back then, I was working with the instruction sets of MOS Technology 6502/6510, Intel x86, Motorola 68k, and Zilog Z80. ARM Architecture was never an option that was ever offered to me.


From doing a lot of work with RISC OS Pi, it strongly seems this implementation of RISC OS is intended exclusively for active RISC OS users and not for new users, such as myself. It's very unfortunate that the documentation from RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) is poorly written for new users. Without having access to a RISC OS-dedicated computer, I have to function in discovery mode. This is why I'm writing this blog post.

Not All RISC OS Open Desktop Applications are included in RISC OS Pi

Notice: Some useful desktop applications, mentioned at Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club, don't exist in RISC OS Pi.

List of RISC OS Bundled Applications on Wikipedia.

RISC OS 5.19???

The details from Raspberry Pi's Download page, at the bottom about RISC OS, does NOT give any useful details, other than it's a release candidate (RC7). It has a restricted size of 2GB; that means you can only use a 2GB SD Card. The RISC OS partition is "unknown" to non-RISC OS operating systems, such as Linux, so application installs will have to be done using a FAT-formatted USB Flash Drive.

From my own discoveries, here are the useful details that's missing:



Notice the phrase, "GETTING THIS WRONG MAY RENDER YOUR MACHINE UNBOOTABLE". To a new user, such as myself, if I didn't know better, I would simply stop using RISC OS altogether. Apparently, ROOL isn't aware how they wrote in the description, can scare away new users of RISC OS on their Raspberry Pi. There are no warnings like that when using RPI-UPDATE in Linux.


ROOL suggests the use of !PackMan for new users; they have written a PackMan user's guide. It seems to be The RISC OS Packaging Project.





ROOL has included the PlingStore to download more RISC OS applications for the Raspberry Pi. It includes applications from the following suppliers:


Here are the pay (non-free) applications found at the !Store:


Here are some other categories of the software available from the PlingStore, in thumbnail form:



Default Diversions

There are only 10 diversions (6 of which are mentioned by ROOL), a.k.a. Diversions, pre-installed in RISC OS Pi:


  1. !Blocks - A Tetris-like game
  2. !Doku - A Sudoku game
  3. !Flasher - A Caret Flasher
  4. !Madness - Not good for New Users!
  5. !MemNow - Displays free memory
  6. !MineHunt - Like Mine Hunter?
  7. !Patience - A solitaire card game
  8. !SChain - Info says its "SuperChain" 'to kill off your opponents!'
  9. !SignalBox - A full-screen simulation of train tracks, somewhere in UK.
Speech Synthesis???

So far, to date, I have not been able to get my Raspberry Pi running RISC OS Pi to talk! I believe conflicts with the proprietary, closed-source Broadcom drivers have something to do with it, since RISC OS Pi is still a release candidate.


For those that want to do screenshots, !Paint is not included in RISC OS Pi, not even in !PackMan nor !Store. However, !Snapper is included, yet undocumented by ROOL.

Thanks for Reading!

Thank you for reading my discoveries of the Raspberry Pi's version of RISC OS, based on my point of view. Prior to buying my Raspberry Pi, I never used RISC OS before. I tried and tried to understand the documentation found on ROOL's site and extensively used Google search engine for a lot of the content on this blog post. There are many Raspberry Pi owners that tried RISC OS Pi and gave up because it's purely confusing, since the documentation found online is written by hardcore users of RISC OS. Hopefully, this blog posting will help other new users with RISC OS Pi. (Since Commodore Amiga failed, then RISC OS should be easy, right???) Again, thanks for reading, and have a nice day.


Marcos "Kuya Marc" Miranda