RISC OS 4.02/4.03/4.04
Released 1999 - RiscPC, Kinetic, A7000, A7000+, RiscStation and Microdigital Mico
RISC OS 4.02 was the first version of RISC OS released after the demise of Acorn Computers Ltd. It was based upon Acorn's unfinished RISC OS 3.80 and was developed and published by RISCOS Ltd, the company set up and funded by Acorn dealers and software developers. RISC OS 4.02 included a huge number of bug fixes and is more stable than earlier versions of RISC OS. It also included numerous improvements, such as long files names and unlimited files per directory. It's now considered as the 'base' version of RISC OS as developers no longer test applications against RISC OS 3.
RISC OS 4.02 is included with the following products.
This version of RISC OS is compatible with the following devices.
RISC OS 4.02
RISC OS 4.03
RISC OS 4.04
All versions of RISC OS 4.0x are functionally identical. The only differences between the various versions is support for specific hardware and customisation for each manufacturer.
The following support documents relate to this version of RISC OS:
RISC OS 4.02, released in July 1999, was the first version of RISC OS released by RISCOS Ltd, who had purchased the rights to RISC OS from Acorn Computers Ltd. RISC OS 4.02 was based upon RISC OS 3.80, which was the unreleased operating system being developed for the 'Phoebe' computer, which had been cancelled when Acorn was broken up. RISC OS 3.80 had not been intended for RiscPC hardware and some considerable amount of work was required to resolve this problem.
RISC OS 4.02 was a major advance on all earlier versions of RISC OS. The most obvious changes were to its appearance. From the very first Archimedes models drive icons had been yellow and directories blue with plain white menu backgrounds. With RISC OS 4 the drive icons were grey and 'vertical', the directories pale green and the menus textured. Not, of itself, a huge change but it clearly marked the hand over of development from Acorn Computers to RISCOS Ltd.
Under the hood there were various improvements; a completely new Configure system allowing modular 'plug-ins' for 3rd party applications and numerous enhancements which resulted in a significant speed increase in many areas. This was particularly noticeable in the slower models such as the A7000. However the most important advance was a new filing system. For the first time this permitted filenames longer than the (previously somewhat restrictive) 10 characters, directory names longer than 12 characters and more than 77 objects per directory.
The upgrade ROMs were intended to be fitted to the A7000, A7000+, and all RiscPC models. It was a huge success and is now regarded as the 'base' OS version for any of these machines. As well as supporting exisiting machines RISCOS 4.02 was designed for new machines.
After the demise of Acorn two companies announced that they were developing new RISC OS computers. They were RiscStation and Microdigital. These new machines were based on the ARM 7500FE processor as used in the A7000+. Although sharing the same CPU as the A7000+ the new computers were much improved and considerably faster. Each of these machines ran a RISC OS 4.03. This was functionally identical to RISC OS 4.02 but included specific customisation for each customer (such as different splash screen/startup details).
A third version of RISC OS 4.03 was supplied to Castle Technology Ltd for use with their Kinetic Strong ARM processor upgrade for the RiscPC. Although this was intended for use on the RiscPC support for the earlier ARM 610 and 710 processors was removed from the ROM. At this time some older apps (and games) had not been updated to be StrongARM compatible. So it was quite common for RISC OS users to swap their Strong ARM processor for an older 710 or 610 to run these apps.>
The lack of support for ARM610 and ARM710 cards caused some considerable complaint from customers. So support for thes older CPUs was restored in RISC OS 4.04, which then bacame the standard version of RISC OS for Castle Technology products.
In 2003 RISC OS 4.02 was licenced to VirtualAcorn for use with the VirtualRPC range of products. This marked a major change as this was the first time that RISC OS had been licenced for a software only product and signalled wider stream acceptance of 'virtual' machines amongst the RISC OS user base.
The following articles releate to this version of RISC OS.
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