RISCOS Ltd is a UK limited company, created in January 1999 and managed by Paul Middleton.


RISCOS Ltd was formed to continue end-user focused development of the RISC OS operating system after the de-listing of Acorn, following Acorn's effective purchase by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in order to benefit from the shareholding that Acorn held in ARM Ltd. In March 1999, RISCOS Ltd obtained exclusive rights to develop and sell RISC OS 4 for the desktop market from Element 14 (the renamed Acorn Computers Ltd). A few weeks later Pace Micro Technology purchased Acorn's Cambridge headquarters and staff for £200,000 and then continued to develop their own, in-house version of RISC OS, primarily for set-top boxes and other embedded devices.


RISCOS Ltd completed work on "RISC OS 4" and in July 1999 it was released as an upgrade for existing machines. Work then continued on a system of soft-loaded updated versions of the operating system, released under a rolling scheme named "RISC OS Select" in 2002. Customers may subscribe annually to the Select scheme.

In 2004, the company replaced their baseline RISC OS 4.02 product with an updated version of the OS named "RISC OS Adjust". This version of RISC OS was based on version 4.39, or "Select Edition 3 Issue 4", of the company's Select scheme. In the same year, RISCOS Ltd agreed to produce a fully 32-bit compatible version of RISC OS Adjust for Advantage Six's A9Home product. The A9Home was released in May 2006 after a 12 month Beta-testing process, although the current build of Adjust 32, namely RISC OS 4.42, is not yet feature complete.

As a result of lengthy delays in converting RISC OS Adjust to 32-bit compatibility, the company attracted criticism from subscribers of the Select scheme, since they did not receive any products during the conversion. Since November 2006, a beta-version of RISC OS Six is available for free [http://select.riscos.com/RISCOS6/downloads.html download] by subscribers to the Select scheme, both present and those whose subscription was renewed after 30th May 2004 - the last time the company delivered a Select release - but has since lapsed.

RISC OS Six represents the next generation of RISCOS Ltd's stream of the operating system. Significant portability, stability and internal structure improvements, including full 26/32 bit neutrality, have laid the foundations for the company's future releases, all of which will be based on version 6. The first product to be based on RISC OS Six will be "Select Edition 4". Whilst it is [http://select.riscos.com/RISCOS6/faq.html confirmed] that Select 4 will run on Risc PC and A9home machines, it is still uncertain if it will run on the Iyonix PC computer.

License dispute

In November 2002, Castle Technology Ltd released a modified version of Pace's 32-bit RISC OS as "RISC OS 5" for their Iyonix PC, in apparent contravention of the licence agreement that RISCOS Ltd held with Element 14. In July 2003, Castle bought all technology rights to RISC OS from Pace in an attempt to legalise the situation. In January 2004, Castle also took over Tematic Ltd., the company formed by ex-Pace engineers when they were made redundant in March 2003. The result was a long-running and acrimonious dispute between RISCOS Ltd and Castle over licensing, which ultimately lead to Castle claiming to terminate RISCOS Ltd's license to develop, sell and sub-license RISC OS 4. RISCOS Ltd refuted all the claims made and challenged Castle to identify how and from whom they had acquired RISC OS 5. An end to the dispute was signalled when RISCOS Ltd and Castle agreed to work on attempting to merge their development streams and re-unify RISC OS, with Castle's engineers working on key system functionality and RISCOS Ltd on user-facing elements. One of the conditions was that RISCOS Ltd agreed to be renamed RISC OS Developments Ltd.

Castle's Tematic division was dramatically closed in September 2005. As of December 2005, RISCOS Ltd are still trading under the name RISCOS Ltd.

External links

* [http://www.riscos.com/ RISCOS Ltd]

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