|I've been sitting on a bunch of old discs (not
literally, mind) for years now. With the increase in people
seemingly interested in the history and resurrection of old
Acorn ARM-powered computers, I thought I might as well put this
stuff up for download. RISCOS Ltd and Pace Microtechnology, the developers and
copyright holders, have officially cleared distribution by this
website of these disc images. My thanks to them.
Thanks also to Peter Miller, who sent the RISC OS 2 (Please note the spacing) Applications and Support discs, and the Arthur Welcome disc. Markus Huber has contributed lots of Developer discs, and he and Nick Gill both supplied the A3000 Test disc. Alan S, whose surname I don't know, has supplied the A3000 rolling demo, plus the Clan discs, which have not yet been linked. The A3010, Tesco and A5000 rolling demos were provided by Darren, who posts to Usenet under the ROS402dn alias. The disc images have been provided by Ralph Corderoy.
The original A3xx and A4xx Archimedes machines were launched in 1987. Computers running the latest iteration of the operating system, RISC OS 4, are still manufactured today. Castle Technologies own the rights to the Acorn brand, RiscStation supply a range of eponymous machines, and MicroDigital have a model called Mico.
In late 2002, Castle Technologies launched a radically new machine, called Iyonix. This, for the first time, breaks dependence on Acorn's original chipset design. There is also a machine called the Omega from MicroDigital.
A major caveat is that: if you try to run applications from any of these discs on current generation RISC OS machines, you could cause yourself a problem. If you do, power the machine down and restart while holding down the Delete key. This should get you on the path to a fix.
Most of this stuff should also run under emulation on a Windows PC. There is a commercially available emulator called VirtualAcorn. This is available for £29 for the A5000 flavour, complete with RISC OS 3.1 ROM images or £169 for VirtualRiscPC with RISC OS 4 ROMs. You can buy from here. Various dealers have jumped onto the bandwagon, and are bundling VRPC with PC clones. My personal feeling is that this is not a good idea. There's nothing special about most of the boxes in question that I can see. Buy a decent box and install it yourself.
All data is stored as zip files. Each zip contains the contents of an original floppy disc. Archive names are the names of said floppies. As and when I get round to it, I'll put up disc images too.
If you've got to download to a PC and want to unzip on an Acorn (because all the filenames will break horribly if you don't), you need to download DEARCHIV.BAS. Copy this to an Acorn-format disc or whatever, set its file type to BASIC and run it. Its name doesn't matter, by the way.
Having been all chuffed with the pun in the page title, I was horrified to find that lots of people actually use it as a spelling for 'archaeology'. Go check on Google.
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