Expose your desktop for some BASIC tools

But cover up any private bits!

RISCOS FRIn yet another BASIC-based initiative on the part of David Feugey’s RISC OS FR, a tailored edition of the latest Desktop Development Environment from RISC OS Open Ltd is on offer to people who want to get into BASIC programming, for the grand price tag of zero pounds, zero pence1, and one screenshot of your RISC OS desktop.

The package on offer is based on the recently released DDE27, and specially tailored towards the BASIC language. As such, it includes a number of applications, tools and utilities:

ABC Manual - image taken from within the manual itself.
Archimedes BASIC Compiler (image taken from within the manual itself)
  • Version 4.18 of the Archimedes BASIC Compiler (ABC), which is compliant with the ARMv7/v8 processors found at the heart of newer RISC OS hardware, and will take a BBC BASIC program that is compliant with its requirements, and turn into a native ARM program. Software compiled with ABC can benefit from speed improvements of up to five times.
  • Tools to assist with developing an application’s Graphical User Interface in such a way that it is consistent with the overall RISC OS GUI: ResEd, ResTest, ResCreate are programs that work with the RISC OS Toolbox, and are primarily designed for use by C/C++ programmers, but it is possible to use them with other languages (or so I believe).
  • Edit’s more powerful, and programmer-focused sibling, SrcEdit.
  • SDCreate, a utility to help install ROM images onto SD cards.
  • CreateSEC, for creating ‘self extracting code’ – a single, compressed file that can itself be run and which will decompress itself into the component parts of an application, ready for use.
  • Allocate, for requesting ‘resource allocations’ (such as application names, filetypes, and so on) so that clashes with other developers can be avoided.
  • And finally, the most recent System components for merging with the System application via Configure.

The following manuals are also included:

  • The BBC BASIC reference manual, a work that provides a wealth of detail on the programming language supplied with all RISC OS computers.
  • An updated version of the ABC operating manual, explaining in detail how to ensure a program written in BBC BASIC is suitable for compiling with ABC and how to get the best results when doing so.

David explains that he will be sending out the package by email, along with a personal serial number. Should the recipient wish to do so, that number can be used to purchase the full DDE from RISC OS Open, with a 10% discount on its full price. The full package contains much more than just the BASIC components, and also includes the ‘Acorn’ C/C++ package and all the tools and utilities associated with that.

So, what was that price again? Oh yes – zero pounds, zero pence1, and one screenshot of your RISC OS desktop.

All you need to do to earn yourself a copy of this BASIC-centric version of the DDE is take one or more screenshots of your RISC OS desktop, preferably without cropping or resizing it (but ensure there is no personal data visible), and send them by email to basicdde4free@riscos.fr for publishing (anonymously) on the RISC OS FR website and release into the ‘public domain’ – i.e. they will be published with no restrictions on further use.

Are there any other conditions? Well, of course there are. While it’s free to the recipients, the DDE package on offer remains a commercial product of RISC OS Open – the licence is being paid for by RISC OS FR. It may not be distributed or resold, and the licence is non-transferable. Licence stocks are limited, so please try to limit your submissions to one per household.


  1. Please feel free to substitute your currency of choice – but the price remains the same no matter which currency you use: Zero [whatever], zero [smaller whatever], and one screenshot of your RISC OS desktop.

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