I am going to attempt to hilight some of the pros and cons of RISC OS, in the interest of allowing people to figure out if they feel that RISC OS is a viable option for them. This post includes some things related to education as well as software development, as these are tha target audience of the RPi.
I feel that this is needed as there seem to be many unknowns, and questions in the forums that would be helped along by a quick view of the Pros and Cons of RISC OS. Also it may be helpful to software developers to have an idea what needs to be improved in RISC OS and programs for it on the RPi.
There will be 3 subsections to this post section 1 will cover general stuff about RISC OS, section 2 will lookat it from a more technical view, and section 3 will look at the current state of kinds of applications that may interest people.
NOTE: This list is just a quick overview and should not be considered exaustive in any way.
NOTE2: This list is made with out any direct comparison to other OSes.
*** SECTION 1 : General RISC OS Pros and Cons ***
- *) RISC OS is quite fast.
*) Almost Universal drag and drop for file save, file load, copy/cut/paste and much more.
*) Very consistant User interface.
*) Very easy to learn even for a new user.
*) A structured BASIC inturpreter is standard in the OS.
- *) USB support is still a bit buggy (Tempory Con).
*) 802.11* support is not present at all, and looks like it will be a while before we get it.
*) The screen driver on the RPi does not yet support HW acceleration.
*) For uers that are accustomed to the odities of other OSes it can take a few minutes to get used to.
*** SECTION 2 : Technical Pros and Cons ***
- *) The ability to Single task.
*) RISC OS has a very clean implementation of the BSD Sockets library.
*) RISC OS is very easy to extend by writing modules.
*) Preemptive multitasking is possible for apps that are written for it, thanks to extension modules.
*) The WIMP (RISC OSes GUI) is very easy to program for.
*) The API is extremely simple, to the point that if a person so wished they could learn it in its entirety.
*) On the RPi there are at least two modules available to simplify access to the GPIO pins, and PWM.
- *) There is not yet any way to have system wide Preemptive Multitasking.
*) There is not yet a good clean way to do multithreading. Though there are programmers working
| on fixing this.
*) The sound system can be a bit diffucult to work with, when programming.
*** SECTION 3 : Pros and Cons for Kinds of Software Available ***
- *) There is a lot of educational software for children that is easy to use, even for a person that has
| never touched a computer before.
*) There are many available compilers including though not limitd to GCC, Pascal, and Charm.
*) There are many interpreters inluding though not limited to BBC BASIC and LUA.
*) There are two web browsers; FireFox 2, and Netsurf.
*) There are a couple of good Video players available.
*) There are many good DTP packages available.
*) There is a reasonable selection of games, both the good old ones and many newer titles.
- *) Web Browsers: FireFox is a very old version, and NetSurf still has a ways to go before it will
| completely replace FireFox.