RISCWorld and APDL’s PDL (!) back online

Family and friends of David Holden pay tribute with a new website.

With the recent, unfortunate death of David Holden, as well as condolences for the family, some concern was expressed on usenet and other forums about what would happen to his business, APDL, including the hardware and software David sold, as well as the vast amounts of software that existed in the ‘public domain library’ that gave APDL its name, and other resources made available on the website.

Aaron Timbrell and David Bradforth, who have both been friends of David for many years, and have also had business relationships with him in the past, have been taking steps to ensure that David’s work is not lost to the RISC OS community. Working with members of David’s family, they have created a completely new website, which is intended to serve both as a means to allow the software collection to remain available, and as a lasting legacy to David’s work.

Aaron Timbrell broke the first news of the new website to the public in a post to the comp.sys.acorn.announce newsgroup1, paying tribute to David’s commitment to RISC OS by saying:

Over the last 25 years David did more work for the benefit of the RISC OS community than anyone I know. Without David hundreds of RISC OS applications would have vanished without trace. APDL took over Clares, Topological, 4th Dimension, iSV Products and many more. David also published RISCWorld magazine and wrote for other magazines.

He went on to explain that a significant amount of work had already gone into the new website, but that it was expected to be a few more months before it was complete. Since then, a couple of sections of the new website have gone live.

The RISCWorld magazine section of the website was opened on 18th July, so the CD-based magazine is once again available online. RISCWorld was published bi-monthly, and ran for nine years. In that time, some fifty five issues were published (volume one consists of seven issues, rather than six), consisting of well over 1,100 articles – and in amongst those, a number of RISC OS reference books were serialised. The magazine represented excellent value for money when David was publishing it, and became a useful resource when he put it on the APDL website; it should continue to be so on the new site.

The ‘APDL PD Library’ was the second section of the website to go live, just a couple of days ago, and is the section that is most representative of the origins of David’s business. As explained in the announcement:

David Holden founded APDL in the late 1980s as a library for freeware RISC OS applications. Originally the library was supplied on floppy discs. In the mid 1990s APDL launched a set of three CDs which comprised the whole of the library. In 2008 David Holden decided that he was going to make the whole library available free of charge via the APDL website.

The PD Library section of the website is divided up into a number of subsections – one for the ‘main’ discs, for example, another for the games discs, another for clip-art, and so on – though the contents of these discs are currently not indexed. There are also a pages with a large selection of tracker and Digital Symphony music, on which the individual tracks are downloadable and, therefore, indexed.


  1. That post was somewhat controversial because of its tone and the pejorative terms Aaron used within it. Rather than merely paying tribute to David Holden, and announcing that the new website was being developed, it became something of an unsubtantiated rant about copyright infringement, in which unnamed parties were called ‘idiots’ and ‘mentally challenged individuals’.

    Although Aaron’s point that the intellectual property David owned was part of his estate, and is now owned by his heirs, the overall nature of the post was felt, by some, to be inappropriate for comp.sys.acorn.announce – though the charter for the group doesn’t expressly forbid posts of that nature and, by approving it, the moderator clearly felt it was acceptable.

    RISCOSitory agrees with those who felt the post was inappropriate, which is why it made no appearance on the site as a fully quoted announcement (the only option that would have been possible at the time).

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