RISC OS Six
This page covers RISC OS 6.01 to 6.20
This page is not yet complete
The content on this page has not yet been finalised and may be subject to change.
RISC OS Six is the most feature rich and stable version of RISC OS ever released. It was initially only available only as part of the 'Select' subscription scheme. RISC OS Six benefitted from a new development team with more manpower and a clear design focus. As well as adding new features the developerss spent considerable time re-building parts of RISC OS Six from the ground up, removing inefficient legacy code as they went. The result was that each further release of RISC OS Six included significant speed improvements as well as new features.
RISC OS Six is supplied as a 'softload' as it's too big to fit into a set of 4MB RISC OS ROM chips and, unlike RISC OS 4.39, cannot be compressed enough. RISC OS Six can only be installed on a machine/emulator running RISC OS 4.02 or RISC OS 4.39 in ROM.
RISC OS 6.20 is included/relates to the following products.
RISC OS Six cannot be installed on top of RISC OS 3.70 or earlier, you must be running either RISC OS 4.02 or RISC OS 4.39 in ROM. RISC OS Six is compatible with the following devices running RISC OS 4.02 or later:
RISC OS Six version 6.20
The following support documents relate to this version of RISC OS:
Further support documents for RISC OS users can be found here.
HistoryAfter releasing RISC OS 4.39 in 2004 RISCOS Ltd didn't release any further versions of RISC OS for three more years. During this period some speculated that RISCOS Ltd would never release another version of RISC OS, they were wrong. The RISCOS Ltd developers were taking RISC OS apart and making some huge changes to the construction of RISC OS. At the same time numerous changes were being made to every corner of RISC OS.
On the 17th October 2006 RISCOS Ltd released a free HTML version of the new RISC OS Select Programmer's Reference Manual. This completely new documentation included information on features that weren't included in any current version of RISC OS. A day later RISC OS Six was announced at the RISC OS Northern Roadshow. However this wasn't just an empty promise, a free of charge 'Preview' version of RISC OS 6.01 was released to all RISC OS Select subscribers the same day. The 'Preview' version had some features disabled, such as printing, but was very well received as it allowed both developers and users to see all the improvements that the RISC OS development team had made since RISC OS 4.39.
Whilst changes were being made to RISC OS there were also other changes taking place behind the scenes as a new development team had been assembled. This new team assembled a 'feature' document that listed all the improvements that the team wanted to include in RISC OS Six. Given that the number of developers had more than trebled over a couple of months the RISC OS sources were migrated from CVS to a dedicated SVN server so that all the developers could work more efficiently.
When the first full release of RISC OS Six was made available in early 2007 users were surprised to see a complete RISC OS Six User Guide was included. One of the main complaints about earlier releases from RISCOS Ltd was that the documentation was very poor. This complaint couldn't be made about RISC OS Six as both PRM and User Guide were included. The inclusion of full documentation was one of the first items from the developers 'feature' document. Another welcome addition was an automated installer which greatly simplified the process of installing a copy of RISC OS. This new installer also included an un-installer which would cleanly removed RISC OS Six and restore the users old boot sequence.
Select subscribers saw a rapid rate of development with RISC OS 6.06 being released at the Wakefield 2007 show, only a few months after RISC OS 6.01 had been made public. In December 2007 the first new printed RISC OS manual for over 15 years was announced. The 'Window Manager' Programmer's Reference Manual ran to 472 pages, despite the same information being made freely available on the RISCOS Six website the book sold well.
At the Wakefield 2008 show RISC OS 6.10 was announced with over 3000 improvements made since RISC OS 6.06 had been released a year earlier. One of the major improvements was the support for different graphics drivers. This allowed RISC OS 6.10 to use up to 8MB of VRAM (video memory) when running on a VirtualRPC. All previous 'softload' versions of RISC OS had defaulted to 2MB of memory when run on VirtualRPC. The support for different graphics drivers also allowed for the development of the Stuart Tyrell Vpod, a slot in graphics podule that greatly increased the speed and fluidity of the RISC OS desktop.
RISC OS 6.14 was the next major release, it was announced on the 6th December 2008 at the Midlands User Group Show. One of the headline features was support for 64,000 colour screen modes. This feature worked on both real and emulated machines and used the same amount of memory as the 32,000 colour screen modes supported by earlier versions of RISC OS. Not suprisingly this proved to be a popular feature. At the same time support for 64,000 colour sprites in Paint was added along with alpha transparency, image re-sizing and better colour handling.
The final release of RISC OS Six was RISC OS 6.20 made in December 2009. This release included all of the features that had been put together in the original 'features' list some three years earlier along with thousands of bug fixes and speed improvements. RISC OS 6.20 was initially only available as part of the Select subscription scheme but after suitable testing it was marked as a stable release and was them made available as a separate product.
The following articles releate to this version of RISC OS.
© Copyright 3QD Developments - 28/10/2015