RISC OS Developments acquires Impression family of products

Impression Style now available free of charge

Just in time for this year’s London Show, the company formed only a few short years ago by Andrew Rawnsley and Richard Brown has pulled another rabbit out of the hat, and announced that it has recently taken over ownership of the Impression family of products.

Originally developed by Computer Concepts, Impression was a comprehensive desktop publishing application, and over time it grew into Impression Publisher, and there were cut down versions released as well – Impression Junior and Impression Style.

Written largely in ARM assembler, the software was written when RISC OS was running on Acorn’s ARM-based computers, making use of a 26-bit program counter (to provide a 28-bit address space) – and, like a lot of software of the time, it was developed itself with the same constraint. In 2002, therefore, when Castle Technology Ltd brought out the fully 32-bit IyonixPC, software such as Impression could no longer be run without assistance. That assistance came in the form of Aemulor, which allowed 26-bit software to be run on the 32-bit version of RISC OS on the IyonixPC.

In 2003, Netherlands-based X-Ample Technology BV announced that they had taken over Impression from Computer Concepts, and were working on 32-bitting it under the project name Impression-X, which would result in a version that can be on the IyonixPC without the need for Aemulor. Unfortunately, over time news of this work – which would have been quite considerable – seemed to have stalled, until at the 2013 Southwest Show Richard Keefe revealed that he had made arrangements with X-Ample to take on development of the software.

The acquisition by RISC OS Developments Ltd actually happened a couple of months ago, but news has been kept under wraps until now. In the intervening time, the company has already been able to deliver a newly-revised and updated 370 page manual, and an updated and released Tutorial guide.

In his announcement, Andrew Rawnsley notes that Richard Keefe will be continuing with development work on Impression-X, but will be able to benefit from RISC OS Developments’ ownership and oversight, intending the company to have a much closer involvement with the development process, assisting him and providing additional resources that weren’t available previously. The goal of this stronger relationship between owners and developer will be to deliver more updates and improvements for users, sooner.

Impression Style was a more limited version of the software, although still very comprehensive. When first launched by Computer Concepts, it was priced at £116.00 and later reduced to £92.82 (£79.00 plus VAT, which was 15% at the time), with lower prices available for those upgrading to it from other software – and it is now available from RISC OS Developments Ltd for free.

It can be found via !Store, and includes a comprehensive Tutorial guide and built-in help. The new release has seen the application updated to include several 32-bit support modules to improve compatibility with modern RISC OS platforms – although the main program itself, like its bigger brother Impression-X, does still need Aemulor to run on RISC OS 5 systems. Aemulor, of course, can also be obtained free of charge from !Store.

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