RISC OS changes hands

And unlike the post on 1st April, this one is NOT a joke!

It has just been announced that RISC OS Developments Ltd, the company formed last year by Andrew Rawnsley and Richard Brown, has acquired Castle Technology Ltd, and with it RISC OS itself.

The operating system was originally developed by Acorn Computers for use on the ARM CPU developed by the company for use in its next generation of computers. These were launched in 1987 as the Archimedes range, with the OS at that point known as Arthur, and it gained the name RISC OS for version 2, released in 1989.

By 2002, Acorn had closed down and the operating system was in the hands of Pace Micro Technology. With RISCOS Ltd already a licensee and releasing new versions for the RiscPC, Castle also became a licensee in order to use a 32-bit version of RISC OS in their new Iyonix PC – and the following year they purchased the operating system outright.

Since 2006, although Castle remained the owners, the operating system was released under a ‘shared source initiative’, with RISC OS Open Ltd acting as its stewards. With that in mind, RISC OS Open has been closely involved in the process of acquiring Castle and the OS, and there have been regular meetings to plan for what happens next.

The company has also been in discussion with 3QD Ltd, the parent company of Virtual Acorn, and which acquired RISCOS Ltd‘s products when the company closed down in 2013. Long time RISC OS users will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that the historical grievances that came about in the early 2000s have been put aside, and that a co-operative future is planned.

The main thing that people will be concerned about at this stage, however, is the availability of RISC OS, its licence terms, etc. – and the answer is that existing arrangements will remain unchanged, with a single exception: anyone who wishes to license RISC OS for use in a commercial product should now contact RISC OS Developments rather than Castle.

If you wish to learn more about the company’s plans, you need to think about attending the London Show, which takes place later this month – and at which the company will be revealing more of its plans. So if you have yet to make plans for your trip to Feltham on the 27th, what’s stopping you?

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