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RISC OS for Raspberry Pi - Archimedes reborn

by Mark Tyson on 7 November 2012, 18:00

Tags: ARM, Raspberry Pi Foundation

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The Acorn Archimedes range of computers was moderately popular, especially in schools, around the time of the Atari ST and Amiga home computer reign. However these ARM powered computers were quite a lot more expensive than those 16-bit favourites, also no killer app(s) to entice people to move over to the platform left Acorn Archimedes owners to remain a minority.

Photo credit: Paul Vernon

Most 16-bit friends I remember moved to the PC because of Doom, flight simulators and Word. More arty types gravitated to the Apple Mac with its Quark Xpress and Pagemaker and sometimes played Myst. Determined not to follow the pack, I owned an Acorn Archimedes for a few months in the early 1990s just to give it a go. However as I bought a cheap used model it didn’t really work out, I soon found out it would be uneconomical to upgrade my A310 to use many modern and popular Archimedes programs that existed. I was stuck on an old RISC OS version with the wrong kind of “expansion backplane” or “VIDC” or something like that.

So I was happy to find out that RISC OS is now available for the little Raspberry Pi. Luckily the Raspberry Pi has more than enough CPU power and RAM to make the RISC OS really fly along. RISC OS for RasPi can be downloaded free of charge from the RasPi downloads page alongside the Debian and Arch Linux ARM distributions. The Raspi blog suggests new users have a browse though a PDF about RISC OS here. Apparently quite a few old programs for the Archimedes won’t be compatible with this RISC OS (version 5.19 RC6) for RasPi as they weren’t written with 32-bit clean code, unfortunately that includes Elite...

The RISC OS OPEN website offers a suite of commercial RISC OS apps on an SD card for £35. While this is more than you paid for a RasPi, the software prices would have added up to over £600 individually, it says. However you’ve got BBC Basic built into right into the OS to play around with among many other utility apps and a browser. Here is a page to guide you through your first hour or two using RISC OS on your RasPi should you decide to give it a go.

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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Yep I remember we had an Archimedes at school - it was a very powerful machine easily capable of taking on the ST and Amiga.
The most I remember about using the Archimedes (two full suites of them) at school was at the end of term and the games came out, most notably Virus and my personal fave Conqueror… ah good memories.
Yep those are the games I remember as well.
No love for starfighter 3000?
Psh. Crystal Rainforest!