With the BeagleBoard forming the heart of R-Comp Interactive‘s ARMini computer, it’s easy to see that some of R-Comp’s developments and releases for their computer might be relevant to those people who have put together their own RISC OS computers using the board. Well, now those “DIY” users have a way to access those developments: R-Comp have announced an annual subscription based scheme whereby users of home built RISC OS computers based around a BeagleBoard can receive the software* and support enjoyed by ARMini owners.
“The main benefit of the scheme,” writes Andrew Rawnsley, “is access to the same repository of software and OS updates as ARMini owners, allowing the ‘DIY’ community to receive the same features that ARMini owners do. That means a wealth of additional software features, regular updates, improved monitor drivers for higher resolutions/refresh rates, enhanced USB/disc support, friendly updating and access to a range of valuable software (existing ARMini users have already received in excess of £50 of free R-Comp content).”
R-Comp has a good reputation for customer support and, recognising this, Andrew adds that another benefit of the scheme is that “RCI will endeavour to provide the same level of customer support/service to Scheme members as ARMini users, by the usual telephone and email routes. This includes advice on compatible hardware/software and preferential pricing where applicable. This stems from the fact that we always try and go the extra yard for our computer-customers, and Scheme members will receive these benefits.”
Membership of the scheme gains BeagleBoard users a suitable RISC OS licence. While this might not sound relevant (RISC OS 5 is free to download and set up yourself from the RISC OS Open Ltd website), it is a necessary step for R-Comp to be able to provide it to members as an upgrade through their membership, since they must pay licence fees to do so. However, what that brings with it is the same level of quality testing and assurances that ARMini users enjoy with their – sorry, our – updates.
The subscriptions will run on a calendar year basis, with the first year running until the end of 2012, and the prices are £69.99 for the first year, and then £39.99 for each subsequent year. A one-off price of £99.99 provides membership for the lifetime of the scheme which, being slightly cheaper than the first two years, should represent good value.
* There may be instances where software is licenced to R-Comp exclusively for use on the ARMini computer, or relies on hardware features found in that computer. Such items cannot be included as part of the scheme, but R-Comp will do their best to keep this to a minimum.