[BBC-Micro] Acorn ARX anybody?

Pete Turnbull pete at dunnington.plus.com
Wed Jan 27 11:00:20 GMT 2010

On 27/01/2010 09:27, Rob wrote:
> I've been a busy beaver lately, working on making viewdata pages
> accessible via the internet...  and I've come across the following
> item on the Gnome At Home news pages (hence the excess of g's about).
> Anybody know what this was or what became of it?  Serialised
> directories?!

ARX was the UNIX-alike OS that was originally planned for the 
Archimedes; it was supposed to enable the machine to compete in the 
workstation market from day 1.  As I recall being told in early 1987, a 
lot of the development work was done in the States, and progress was 
slow.  It was nowhere near ready at that point (6 months before the 
launch) and of course Acorn at Cherry Hinton were producing demo 
software and basic stuff to get their ISVs going, so the team at Cherry 
Hinton ended up writing modules for what quickly became Arthur.  AIUI 
the team doing ARX were OS specialists, while the team that eventually 
produced Arthur were largely from Acornsoft, at one time considered just 
a bunch of amateurs by some, but it turns out that well-educated games 
programmers are -- not surprisingly -- an inventive lot who are pretty 
good at squeezing the most efficiency out of code.

I remember seeing some of those demos there in January 1987, running on 
A500s initially -- Neil Rayne had some very impressive sprite stuff, for 
example, and the font manager work was quite advanced by that time.  I 
never saw ARX, and I don't think it ever got anywhere a complete system; 
it had been scrapped by the time I got there.  Too cumbersome, too 
little progress.

I also remember seeing the first Archimedes, used for the publicity 
photos, probably about May or June 1987, and I guess if it had a serial 
number at all (it might not have, if it was a one-off camera model) it 
would have been 000000.  I have Serial No. 000002 (and IIRC Ali France 
had 000001).

Pete						Peter Turnbull
						Network Manager
						University of York

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