Acorn Registered Developers

How Acorn helped third parties make software and hardware

Registered Developer Logo

Items that have not previously been made available via Chris's Acorns are marked new.

Acorn's Registered Developer scheme, was a paid-for service that provided RISC OS hardware and software developers with;

  • Early access to Acorn's new technology, the ability to order pre-production prototype hardware and specification documents.
  • Early access to Acorn's new software, beta versions.
  • Significant discounts off the RRP of Acorn products.
  • Email and telephone support from Acorn engineers.

Miscellaneous Documents

All files are in PDF format.

Registered Developer Newsletters

All files are in PDF format.

Registered Developer Price Lists and Offers

All files are in PDF format.

RISC OS Black (3.60) specifications

All files are in PDF format.

Registered Developer Newsletter Support Discs

dev disc

All files are in .ADF disc image format.

Miscellanious Developer Discs

All files are in .ADF disc image format.

  • NewRoDocsD (800 KiB) - 1988, many documents related to aspects of RISC OS, from kernel to Apps new
  • ARM Code Check (800 KiB) - 1991, ARM code check utility new
  • NewDesk (800 KiB) - 1993, test Window manager and other modules for Risc PC like behaviour on RISC OS 3.1 machines. Used in Risc PC compatibility testing. Sometimes mistakenly called RISC OS 3.22 new
  • FontEdSrc (800 KiB) - 1994, !FontEd+, !FontEd and source code new
  • FunctionalSpec (800 KiB) - 1994, Documents relating to Aquarius (Acorn C/C++) project new
  • AppUpdate1 (800 KiB) - 1994, RISC OS 3 Applications Upgrade Disc #1, 1994. Printers 1.22
  • Prt1HDRs.A (800 KiB) - 1994, RISC OS assembler headers for RISC OS 3.50 era new
  • KeyHandler (800 KiB) - 1995, Related to generating keyboard handlers for different countries keyboards new

Mirror of 1998 FTP site new

In the archive is a mirror of the FTP site for registered developers from September 1998, at the time of the closure of Acorn's Workstation Division.

It contains many interesting historical items, here are some highlights.

RISC OS 3.80 new

RISC OS 3.80 on RPCEmu

As part of the development of the Phoebe Risc PC2 Acorn developed a new version of the OS, RISC OS 4. However they made an early version (retronymed to 3.80) available to the registered developers. It contained many of the advances that weren't directly related to the Phoebe hardware. It had a much improved (though buggy, see below) file-system. It also featured the first major graphical overhaul of the GUI since RISC OS 3 came out.

3.80 as released to developers does not work on a StrongARM, only ARM610/710 and the A7000/A7000+. However an Acorn internal StrongARM compatible ROM image is available from this site.

RISC OS 4 was finished off and released for Risc PC users by RISCOS Ltd in 1999.

Also check the readme.txt and knownbugs.txt.

Important note: RISC OS 3.80 has a known data-loss bug in the new file-system, it therefore is not a good OS to trust with your data or use long term. However it does have a historical relevance as the last version of RISC OS Acorn released (even if not publicly).

Soft-loadable RISC OS 3.70 new

As part of the StrongARM development the new OS was made available to developers to test their programs. Of course this was before most had StrongARM processors so you could only test non-ARMv4 issues.

This soft-load works over the top of RISC OS 3.50 and 3.60.

Check out the ReadMe.txt for details.

Developer Mailing List new

Dave Walker, Engineering Support Manager (later Developer Support Specialist) at Acorn, would email regular missives out to developers with details of the latest news, downloads and support. Here are some highlights.

  • 22/01/1997 - Risc PC 2 (Phoebe) development noted.
  • 17/04/1997 - A7000+ announced.
  • 13/10/1997 - RISC OS is Y2K compliant.
  • 03/04/1998 - Acorn tries to relaunch the Acornsoft brand.
  • 24/04/1998 - Schedule for the 5th May developer conference.
  • 08/06/1998 - Preliminary guidelines for developing for the Phoebe/Risc PC 2.
  • 25/06/1998 - Dave explains the new management changes with Stan Boland as the new CEO.
  • 04/09/1998 - RISC OS 3.80 soft-loadable OS made available.
  • 15/09/1998 - The last entry on the mailing list, Phoebe (Risc PC 2) powered up and so close to production. Two days later the project is cancelled.

Other Items new

Other parts of the FTP mirror include, but there is still more to find if you dig deep;

Update 6/2015 new

Two CDROMs that were made available to registered developers are available on the CDROMs page, including beta test, utility and support programs.

A copy of the handouts given to registered developers at the August 1997 developer conference is online. Including information on Phoebe and Galileo.

Can you help out?

I am sure there is a lot of other material related to the Registered Developers that hasn't yet come to light. Do you have copies? Please get in contact! I am looking for files, documents, price lists and anything else that may be relevant.