RISC for Dogs (4)

Figure 1: 

This page is a continuation of the blog post (page 3):


There is a way to look at the OS that doesn’t involve a browser.  Clicking the !Director app in the apps directory causes the !Director icon to be placed on the icon bar.  Middle clicking this icon produces the lead-in to a system navigator that gives us all the details of every file.

For example, using !Director, I can find the config.txt file that is sometimes so critical to properly boot the OS and to set up the video and other peripherals. To edit that file, I can left click the !Director on the icon bar, and follow Director->!Boot->Loader->config.txt, clicking the config.txt item in the last menu. The file contents will at that point be loaded into an editor, ready for my changes.


There is a GCC that’s been built for the OS, but it won’t build the system.  It is useful for user programs however.  To build the system requires the DDE (development) environment, which is a commercially purchased item.  The variant DDE for the Raspberry is called “NutPi” – and is available from the main OS site (I think it’s around 75 bucks IIRC).

A BBC BASIC interpreter comes included in the OS.  It’s very integral to the operation of the system, as it’s often used in obey files and such.  The downside of it is that it’s a bit slow.   There’s a BASIC compiler, that can compile programs to native code, and it’s on the DDE stick (that’s how the DDE is usually delivered).   The BASIC compiler will increase the speed of associated apps by about 5X.


Relative to the config.txt file about which I was just writing, it’s a critical little file.  If it’s not correct, there will be no video, and a potential OS user will/may not be one.  Which is sad.  So, here’s a config.txt that works for me on the April 2017 RC15 OS for the Pi:

hdmi_cvt=1024 600 60

I should add that RC15 supposedly fixes the edid (auto-magick identifier for the monitor make/type/resolution).  But, I haven’t yet used the config.txt without the ignore statement.  So, this particular config.txt is pretty close to what works on RC14 as well.  For my particular monitor, I had to select the “Generic” monitor type in the Configuration->screen setup (gotten to via the – you guessed it – raspberry icon).

I’ve detailed the config.txt in another blog post, somewhere on this site.  The visitor may notice that I’ve catered to the beginner in this post.  That’s for two reasons.  One – I am one, when it comes to RISCOS anyway.  And reason #two is that the beginner is the most important RISCOS user.

The Dog

The most important OS setup is the desktop wallpaper.  How could I put it near last?  To put my dog onto the desktop, I middle-clicked in an open space on the desktop.  In the context menu that appeared, I selected !PinBoard, and then “Configure” – which caused a dialog to be displayed where the location of the wallpaper could be specified, along with the tiling/centering/etc.

How did I transfer the image (a jpeg)?  RISCOS will detect a hot-plug of a FAT32 formatted USB thumbdrive.  It appears as a drive icon on the far left of the icon bar when the drive is inserted into a USB slot on the Pi.

Blink of an Eye

When you first start using the OS, one thing that impresses is the quickness of the GUI, and how quickly the OS starts and stops.  Literally, the OS shuts down (via the shutdown context menu) just as quickly as the power button would do it, or the power plug.

As for starting up, my Pi2 setup, running the OS, boots to the desktop in 13 seconds if it needs to do DHCP, and five seconds if it doesn’t.  Five seconds!  Nothing touches that, not even DOS.

It seems to be a great OS for those projects that need near-instant on/off capabilities.  The system, even with a HAL (hardware abstraction layer) has a speed profile that’s about like an MCU controlled appliance.

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RISCOS is a product of Castle Technology Limited (“Castle”) and its licensors at:
http://www.castle-technology.co.uk/  This author and site are not affiliated with them in any way.

Note: This author and site is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi in any way. For information about those projects visit  http://www.raspberrypi.org “Raspberry Pi” is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.