ARM’s original operating system goes open source
In today’s increasingly digital world, learning to code has become an integral part of STEM curriculums. Schools are using Raspberry Pi and other ARM-based hardware as a low-cost means of introducing students to coding.
Following the recent news that RISC OS, the original ARM operating system, is going open source, TechRadar Pro sat down with the Director of RISC OS Developments, Richard Brown to learn more about how the operating system is being used in schools and other hardware projects.
Can you tell us a little about RISC OS and how long you have been using it for?
What prompted the move to open source?
When you have an operating system that you know is stable, long lasting and easy to use; it is only natural to want to share this with others. The most prolific software in the world is generally Open Source allowing for innovation and updates to reach an OS quickly. We want the same for RISC OS because it has the potential to be useful for so many people now that it has a clear and simple licence.
Do you think it will lead to more people using RISC OS?
Do you see more device makers opting to use your OS now that it is open source?
In your press release you mentioned the fact that BBC BASIC is being taught in UK schools, is there a lot of interest in your OS in the education sector?
What opportunities can you now pursue that were previously inaccessible due to license restrictions?
We can now place RISC OS in front of industry leading people and companies, and offer them solutions without any of the holdbacks of the previous licensing. One such opportunity has arisen with the makers of the compact and low-cost Pinebook; who have supported our developers to integrate the OS on the device. We have also worked with a couple of Dutch companies who use the OS in their products; one being a control system for watering crops around the world and the other which started as a database system for medical practitioners and is now deployed in the UK in education and car racing. From these great international examples we hope to build the user base with this new release and work on more exciting and useful projects.
Could native ARM-based laptops be the future of mobile computing?
Certainly one of them! ARM based laptops are already in existence and as time passes more and more will have ARM derived/based chips in them. I already mentioned the Pine Book earlier. If manufacturers can see the advantages of the ARM hardware (and they do) then it should be practical and possible to show them the huge advantages of using RISC OS, which was designed for ARM-based hardware in the first place.
Where do you see RISC OS going next now that it is open source?
Richard Brown, Director of Developments at RISC OS