RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) announced yesterday that it would work with RISC OS Developments (ROD) to redistribute RISC OS source code under the Apache 2.0 license. The move aims to eliminate the existing entry barriers for open source community developers and reinvigorate RISC OS.
RISC OS is an operating system initially designed by Cambridge Acorn Computer Corporation (predecessor of ARM) in 1987 and designed to run on ARM chips. Its name comes from the supported RISC architecture of the reduced instruction set. RISC OS is fast, compact and efficient. It is not a kind of Linux. It has nothing to do with Windows. It has a lot of unique features and design patterns.
In January 1999, Acorn officially stopped developing the operating system. RISC OS was sold or licensed to companies such as RISCOS Ltd, Pace Micro Technology and Castle Technology. In 2016, Castle Technology released the RISC OS source code under a partially free license, allowing non-commercial free use, and commercial users pay royalties to them. In 2018, ROD acquired Castle Technology Ltd and acquired intellectual property rights from RISC OS.
Next, ROD will work with the RISC OS community maintenance organization ROOL, re-release under the Apache license and truly open source the project, tentatively scheduled for October 27.
The RISC OS community welcomed the news, and Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton commented: “RISC OS is a great demonstration of how much performance a well-tuned operating system and user interface can wring out of a platform. Moving to a free open source license should bring a renewed interest to RISC OS.”
ROD Director Richard Brown said, “The open source movement plays a fundamental part in today’s software industry and its goals of promoting collaboration and sharing are exactly what the RISC OS community needs to enable its future growth.”