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Posted by Steve Revill Mon, 22 Oct 2018 14:02:00 GMT

RISC OS Open Ltd (ROOL) are hugely proud to announce that we will be working with RISC OS Developments (ROD), following their recent acquisition of the RISC OS intellectual property through the purchase of Castle Technology Ltd (Castle), in the next phase of the mission to reinvigorate the RISC OS market.

Image by Mark Moz, CC 2.0

ROD will be working alongside community maintainers ROOL to republish the source code to this popular niche operating system under the Apache 2.0 License, in a move aimed at removing existing barriers to entry for developers from the Open Source community and enabling free-of-charge use in commercial products for the first time in RISC OS’s history.

The release of RISC OS under the Apache license is scheduled for this weekend, to coincide with the popular RISC OS London Show on Saturday 27 October. At the show, RISC OS Developments will be unveiling its future plans for the system and RISC OS Open will be on-hand to explain the benefits of Open Source and answer all of your questions.

The news has been welcomed by many in the RISC OS community, including Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton:

“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.”

RISC OS Open’s Steve Revill added:

“This re-licensing represents the achievement of the primary goal RISC OS Open originally set out to achieve. It is a key milestone for an important part of British computing history and the fulfilment of my long-held personal ambition to enable anyone to use RISC OS freely and contribute openly to its future.”

“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.” says Richard Brown, Director of RISC OS Developments Ltd.

Fellow director Andrew Rawnsley added, “This move unlocks a lot of opportunities for RISC OS that were previously inaccessible due to former licence restrictions. We look forward to seeing the exciting projects that this makes possible.”


RISC OS was first released in 1987 by iconic British computer company Acorn Computers and was created by the same team who designed the original Arm microprocessor. The operating system was a proprietary, closed-source product, sometimes licensed to third parties for use in projects as diverse as digital TV decoders, factory automation systems and providing the graphics for ITV’s hit show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

In the early 2000’s, RISC OS was acquired by Castle Technology and subsequently developed for their range of desktop systems. Then in 2006, Castle worked with RISC OS Open to release the source code to RISC OS under a partly-free license. This move allowed anyone to contribute to the RISC OS source code and use it non-commercially free of charge. Commercial users of RISC OS were still required to pay royalties to Castle.

Now, Castle Technology is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RISC OS Developments and RISC OS is being made available under a true Free Open Source Software license.

About RISC OS Open (ROOL)

RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) manages the source code to RISC OS. We are an organisation run on a largely voluntary basis. We also offer specialist professional services to anyone who is interested in developing products around the Arm architecture or RISC OS.

About RISC OS Developments (ROD)

was formed in 2016 with the goal of providing investment and development into the RISC OS operating system and its applications, and bringing RISC OS to new markets. In 2018 it acquired Castle Technology Ltd and with it the RISC OS intellectual property rights (IPR).

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