Computers are interesting things. We often think about them as simple tools that we use in our daily life, but for each simple task they complete, there are thousands of lines of code in the system, the architecture, and the bios. When it comes to operating system, we have Windows, Android, Mac, and Linux. Beyond that, the market is stale and monopolized. However, every once in a while, someone sees the stagnation of the industry and enters a new item. his is the case with Cloverleaf and their new Risc OS.
Quite honestly, the world is looking for a new OS that is simple but not riddled with viral and worm-based vulnerabilities. Windows and Mac have been in the game for so long that everyone who wants to knows their architecture. This has created an environment where you do not have to have an anti-virus, but if you do not, you have a high risk lifestyle. Android is great for phones, but it does not really have the software support to run real business applications, just small applets that are a shadow of what they could be. As a result, the world wants some change.
The Risc OS enters the market fresh, which mean no viruses (also no anti-viruses). This is coupled with the downside: limited software support. Both categories have astronomical growth potential, which earns the OS a 9 out of 10 for future market. Right now, however, its marketability is a solid 6 out of 10.
The big weakness of a new system is content. While the Risc OS has the standard startup programs (paint clone, notepad clone, etc.), it also has some good graphics programs it can use. IT also works well as a platform for emulation. In the weeks I have had it, it takes most tasks quite well with little lag. Now since it is a new system, I did run everything on the machine at once and it did lag a little – but running that many programs was impressive for the Pi-style board. Still, it does not have a whole lot of content, as of yet. For the future, we see the world, but right now: 4 of 10.
The version I received came in a housing that was approximately 1’x1’x3″. This means that you can put it in your backpack and take it to any HDMI compatible screen and hook in. You can also buy a small screen off of wish and make it into a battery-less laptop. While it is not currently able to rival the power of a laptop like my HP, it will out perform many tablets with a similar profile (it is much thicker, though). With a much lower expected price tag than a laptop or Chromebook, this could be a great option for college students. 6.5 of 10.
I was impressed. With the exception of the post office shaking the memory card loose, it is a plug-and-play machine. It seemed to me to hit the middle ground between Windows (for professionals) and Apple (for people who do not understand computers). This means that it is a very easy system, but a one with enough utility that you can do many things with it (this may be the most emulator-friendly system I have seen). As a result, I can see a lot of software developed to break into the Apple “but I understand it” crowd, while still having the power to do what needs to be done in the business world. As the chipsets rise with it, I can also see some gaming potential. 6.5 of 7.
While it is a prototype sitting on my desk, I would recommend that they throw two small green LED lights into the case to make it glow. That was the one let down when I fired it up, the red indicator light was the only illumination. With all the trouble of putting in the green plexiglass, some lights would really make this kick.
Outside the case, this is a cool little OS. The process is intuitive; the only thing that I needed to ask the designers about was the drop down menu (which requires the third mouse button). Other than that, the system was easy to use. Sharp features and ease of use gives it a cool factor of 6.
This system has all the potential in the world if it can hold back from getting bought out by one of the big guys. Any time a global monopoly is broken up, it is a good thing for the consumer. So if you are tired of the Windows/Mac wars, take a look at the Risc OS. I give it a 35 out of 50 and I hope it gives the big boys in the operating systems wars nightmares.
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