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I use computers that run the RISC OS operating system – currently a 4té2 with an ARMX6 as backup. Unlike many people who have only ever used one operating system I have extensive experience of using three different operating systems over many years and have seen them all evolve. On almost every count, my order of preference is RISC OS, then Mac OS and finally Windows. That puts me in a minority among many people who have only used Windows, and who assume that everyone else does too. There are more users of Windows than of other operating systems, but in most cases that is not by making an informed choice with a knowledge of the alternatives, but simply by going with the herd and buying what the PC industry wants them to buy.

RISC OS has many advantages. It is very easy and productive to use. It is easier for a non specialist to maintain a home system. And if you do have problems, there is a very supportive community of users who help each other. The RISC OS community is small, with a genuine sense of community among users. Being small has both advantages and disadvantages. It means we are not a target for cybercrime, so I don't need to be so paranoid about opening e-mails (viruses are operating system specific). The main disadvantage is that there is less money to drive the development of new software. There is a lot of very good software, both commercial and freeware, but in some areas, notably browsers, it is difficult to keep up with what seems like a technology arms race between the browsers that run on other platforms. Having said that, Netsurf , which began life on RISC OS before becoming multi-platform, is an extremely fast and useful (free) browser. It doesn't yet support all features, but is being continually developed. More recently Iris, which uses the same WebKit engine as Safari, offers many of the facilities of other mainstream browsers.

In 2016 RISC OS Developments  was formed to secure the future of RISC OS and its applications through investment and development, and by introducing the system to new markets. It acquired the RISCOS Intellectual Property, and is currently investing in the development of Iris (see above) a more advaced and capable browser for RISC OS.

RISC OS runs on machines that tend to last far longer than most people in the mass computer market expect. Partly that is due to the machines being well built and reliable, but also it is because the software is not continually being bloated, forcing users to buy ever more powerful hardware just to stand still. As a result, the cost of ownership is relatively low. The software also tends to be very reasonably priced, and there is a lot of extremely good, free software available.

I used RISC OS to develop !Strike , a training tool for bellringers. Without RISC OS, it is much less likely that it would have happened. At the time (1993) Windows was extremely primitive. and the only sound that most PCs could generate was a beep, while RISC OS had built-in sound and powerful graphics.

RISC OS computers have the operating system in ROM (Read Only Memory). That means it doesn't get corrupted even if a program tries to do something drastic - you can always get back to a basic working machine to start to sort the problem out.

RISC-OS is British, and so are most of the machines designed to run it. RISC OS software comes from talented people in many countries where RISC OS is used, including UK, Europe, the Far East and the Antipodes.

You can even experience the benefits of RISC OS by running it on a Mac, Linux or Windows computer using an emulator (eg from RISC OS Open or from Virtual Acorn ). Many people run RISC OS in that way, and they use the Windows or Mac OS or Linux for things that don't run on RISC OS.

You don't have to follow the herd. There is a better way.

Look at these RISC OS links:

Type RISC OS into Google  and you get 42 million entries.

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