nublol wrote:I'm here for almost same question.
I'm long term Linux user, over a decade as my main operating system. I have experience of compiling from source, but no interest to develop software. Now i start to get tired to Linux and i'm looking for less mainstream alternatives.
I understand use of RISC OS to old risc os users and their projects, but for person that haven't ever used it, Is there any point to make it as main os for desktop use? Does it have any software that can be used to "daily basics" like modern web browser (no flash/java ofc) that i need for my online banking.
As everyones needs are different that is a difficult question to answer.
Let me begin by recommending CHriss Hall's site, it contains good information especialy for people new to RISC OS. See:
Just about anything. word Processing, Programming, Picture Editing, playing with GPIO to control other things, video processing, Text Editing, Web Browsing, E-Mail, FTP, Playing Games (many many games), Emulating other systems (a few emulators available), 3D stuff, etc, etc, etc.
The majority of what you can on other OS's, and a few things unique to RISC OS.
The only limit is the available software, and this is constantly being added to. The more people interested in RISC OS, the more software development likely to take place, and thus the more new software likely to come into existance for RISC OS.
RISC OS is a small tightly written OS designed specificaly to run on the ARM CPU, you could say it is an ARM OS. As such a lot of things are quite fast in RISC OS. Also the main availabel Web Browser is NetSurf, so it is quite fast, though missing some features that some poeple want.
To be complete, RISC OS only uses a single core, as do most applications on RISC OS, and so far RISC OS does not take advantage of the VideoCore IV GPU (Though there are a few projects that run on RISC OS that do use the GPU, and a few applications that manualy use extra cores).
RISC OS is prety small. The core OS is all in a ROM image that is 4MB or less, and the on Disk portion of the os is no more than a couple hundred MB, leaving plenty of space for other applications and data.
You can NOT stream videos from the net.
Though you can play many video files verry well, using the available multimedia programs for RISC OS. Even though they use Software rendering these applications do a very good job as they are designed to work well on a lot lower speck HW than the RPi.
I know you are not so interested in programming, though if you wish to try simple small projects, RISC OS is very easy to program for in C/C++ (with GCC), Charm, ARM BASIC, ARM Assembly, or a number of other Languages.
While there are limits of the currently available internet software for RISC OS, RISC OS is still great for basic internet usage. That is information based browsing, downloading/uploading files, FTP, POP, IMAP SMPT, IRC, ICQ, GOFOR, etc, etc.
So far you can not stream movies, or things like that. And to use JS heavy sites requires using a slow web browser (Otter or Qupzilla), admittedly slow do to running on only one core.
Though for 99% of Web based stuff NetSurf fits the bill, and is what I am typing this from.
There are many games ported to RISC OS, including a Hardware Accellerated Quake port using VideoCore IV accelleration via Khronos.
The number of games is emence, though more of the kind of games that realy grab your mind and keep you playing for a while. That is not as many of the games that rely on there graphics to compensate for lack of game play (though we have some of those as well).
NOTE ON THE LEARNING CURVE COMPARED TO OTHERS:
RISC OS does a lot of things in a way that is different from most other OS's of today. I feel it is easier to use once you get accustomed to it, though if you are accustomed to Linux, Windows, Mac OS, etc there is a bit of a learning curve, and it may take a few to get accustomed to.
RISC OS uses the midle mouse button for all menus, everywhere. It also usees drag and drop more completely than any other OS you have likely ever used.
In RISC OS drag and drop realy does make things faster to do, unlike others. The implementation of Drag and Drop in RISC OS is so easy, and it makes it easier to do big tasks with a lot of small programs than it is to use a mega application on the other systems.
RISC OS also allows any window to have input focus, not just the top most window, so you can type in a window that is partly behind other windows, as I am doing at this moment. This can be very convient if looking at some reference while typing in some program, allowing the reference to be in front.
If you do not mind the limits of NetSurf, and do not mind taking the time to learn an OS that is different than what you have used in the past, RISC OS can be a reasonable option. Keep in mind though it is different than the others, to the point of making Windows, Linux, and Mac OS look like they are versions of the same.
There are many advantages of RISC OS.
The main dissadvantage is the lack of developers, so somewhat limited availability of newer software.
In the end it is your decision.
I would recommend giving RISC OS a real chance, that is use it for a few weeks, learn the quirks and differences, realy get accustomed to it, and ask questions, see if it can do what you need it to. Those of us that use RISC OS are more than happy to answer your questions, and point you in the dirrection of how to do what you want.