Arthur Lives!

What's new(ish)?

Further down the page you'll see an installation guide, a link to a ROM image (thanks to Chris Thornley for his little ROM grabber program, also below), and a list of acknowledgements included in the Arthur ROM. I might separate this page into several eventually. However I might leave it like this as a homage to Arthur's ease-of-use. Oh yeah, and I hope Acorn aren't too bothered about the ROM image. Acorn: if you are, well, maybe you should be worrying about more important things like Java VMs...


Welcome to one of just over some pages dedicated to Arthur and its committed followers (me and many others, as it would seem from my mailbox...). Arthur is a Real Man's operating system. Some would argue that a command-line based system such as Unix deserves such a title. Ah! But those who do would be wrong. For Arthur, in implementing a GUI which is actually harder to use than the command line, is truly an OS with a vengeance.

So I'll waste no more time in introducing Arthur in all its Technicolor glory. Hold on to your hat or someone might grab it to be sick into:

(You will notice that this page is coloured in dedication to the tasteful Arthur backdrop).

So what's it like to use?

Quick - and seriously responsive.

On the iconbar

From left to right:
Disc drive icon
Click on it and you get a window containing the contents of the floppy in the drive. It's all in a day's work for... Arthur. Want more? Add a hard disc drive, or yet another floppy. It'll appear right there on the iconbar.
Palette icon
The appearance of the desktop is fully customisable using the Palette utility. Don't like that blue background? Change it to green! Or yellow! Or even orange! In fact you can choose from one of over 4095 colours using the simple sliding mechanism. Even the pointer doesn't escape the attention of Arthur.
You're fiddling with palette for the seventh time that day, and you come up with a brilliant idea. What to do? Well, no need to exit to BASIC and spool it to a file - just click on the Notepad and the world is your uncle as you spew mentally onto the free-form text window. The context sensitive menu system is demonstrated here. Simply click the middle button on the window and Save, Load and Print facilities are presented to you instantly. Click on Save and you can enter a pathname into a box and click on OK. No more drag-and-drop blues. Loading is similar but you can't specify a name. It automatically loads a file "Note-pad" from the disc in the drive! True boil-in-the-bag functionality.
The life of the busy executive can be both hectic and hectic. Be a high-tech yuppie with "the diary". It shows you what date it is. Click on a date and hey! You've got a miniwindow in which you can enter some words. Wordwrap!
Click here for a second-by-second update of the time, in both digital and analogue formats. Also you can set the time using another handy menu - although it's actually a dialogue.
Work out stock forecasts, your home accounts or even less using the four-function calculator. It automatically performs your calculations as you go along - no need to think about that confusing operator precedence. [er... that's still the same -Ed.]
Such is the comprehensive design of the Arthur desktop that you're sure never to need this icon! But that's a lie, you will.

The Filer

Managing files has never been easier! The filer is there to allow full control over the contents of a disc. Can't see how it's done? Well it's all there, again, in the menu system. Click on that middle button and plop! you've got a menu full to bursting with exciting file management options. Move! Copy! Delete! Rename! New Directory! Arse! It's all there. You can even choose to display hacker-only comprehensive details of all files. Global conflict only ever seen before in the film War Games is at your fingertips, with the Arthur filer.

But it doesn't stop there. No sir. Want to run a file? Click the right button on it. You can even click twice if you want! Want to copy a file? Just dra... oh no sorry you can't.

What's that? You want more?

Tough, multitasking wasn't introduced until RISC OS 2.

Command line operation

Can't take the piss here as it has hardly changed ;-)

However, here's a sample command line session to demonstrate the sheer range and power of Arthur. It's all there. If you can't do it on Arthur you might as well just give up.

Command line text

This sequence includes modules listings, system variables, commands and more.

Installation guide

Well here it is. I expect you yanked those ROMs out all those years ago, with fevered anticipation of the wonderous RISC OS 2, without taking time to note down the original ROM arrangement. First of all switch the power off and unplug the machine. Then:

Removing RISC OS 2

Take all the RISC OS 2 ROMs out, obviously. You should know where they are. They've probably got "RISC OS" written on them somewhere, and they look like ROMs. Anyway, take them out. You'll have to take the backplane out to get at them if you have one - but that, too, should be obvious. If you have never fitted/removed ROMs before, just stick a flat head screwdriver under each end of the ROMs in turn, and twist to ease the pins out. Do this until they are completely free of the socket, then lift them away. While you're doing this, try not to: You might want to earth yourself, for example, by welding a wire to your ear which goes to the earth hole in an ordinary mains socket.

Removing RISC OS 3

Bit trickier this one. The RISC OS 3 upgrade that I had came on a little daughter board, with a few wires soldered to pins on a chip in the motherboard. Very dodgy, but I'm sure they knew what they were doing (IFEL I think it was, they did my 1-2Mb upgrade at the same time). Anyway, the daughterboard is plugged in where you want to plug in your ROMs. Don't remove the ROMs from the daughterboard: remove the daughterboard from the motherboard. This is much the same as removing ROMs - run along the edge with a flat head screwdriver twisting it to raise the board from the sockets. Don't yank or otherwise remove the soldered wires. Leave them attached. Just put the daughterboard in a little non-conductive bag (I've got mine in an envelope) and lay it out of the way on the motherboard.

Handy hint for both removals

OK you might have more common sense than me and be able to work this out anyway, but anyway... It's easy to get one end of the ROMs/board out since there's plenty of screwdriver space towards the back of the machine. However the other end has various bits in the way. So, get one end as far out as possible, and then stick the screwdriver right underneath the ROM to the other end, and ease that out too. Easy!

Add the Arthur ROMs

OK if your ROMs are anything like mine, you'll have 4. One actually has Arthur written on it, and the other three have code numbers 702, 701, and 700 on them, but no Arthur. With the back of the machine to your left:

There are more pins available on the sockets than the ROMs have. Put the ROMs hard up against the front-of-machine end of the sockets, leaving two holes free at the other end. The wording on the ROMs should be the way round it is in the diagram.

Make sure the LK2 jumper is in position B. This is below and to the left of the ROM sockets. I don't know if there's any reason it might not be, it's just that I've written it down on this bit of paper and so it might be important.

Switch on

Quick check If you want to quickly check that it's working before reassembling your machine, then just plug in the power and switch on. If you hear the system beep, all has gone well, and it should work.

Plug in power, monitor etc. and switch everything on. It won't work, probably. This is because your CMOS RAM is still has the inferior RISC OS 2/3 configuration information. So swiich on with R held down on the keyboard, twice. It doesn't work if you don't do it twice, for some reason. Each time, keep R held down for a longish time, until it looks like nothing else is going to happen on the monitor (the first time you'll just get some rolling crap). You might have to do it more than that. Eventually (less than a second) you'll get the Arthur desktop, and you will be thrilled. Even the pointer is a slightly different shape.


This section is to highlight conflict between hardware that might occur. I have a 2Mb upgrade, 2 slot backplane, Armadillo sampler, Pineapple video digitiser, and Serial Port Econet MIDI card, and there are no problems, although I don't know if the cards actually work.


Here's the 512K ROM for you to look at and copy in your new, highly advanced Arthur-based operating system. It was grabbed using the following little BASIC program (adapted from the Chris Thornley original):
   10 MODE 7
   20 R=&3800000
   30 *SPOOL :0.$.LIST
   40 *MODULES
   50 *SPOOL
   60 F=OPENOUT(":0.$.ROM")
   61 CLS
   70 FOR C=0 TO &80000
   80 D=?R
   90 BPUT#F,D
  100 R=R+1
  101 IF C MOD 100=0 PRINTTAB(0,0);C/&80000*100"%"
  110 NEXT
  120 CLOSE #F

Arthur Acknowledgements

This appears at the end of the Arthur ROMs:

Thanks are due to the following people:
Graham Anderson
Tudor Brown
Bruce Cockburn
Tim Dobson
Paul Fellows
David Flynn
Steve Furber
Dave Howard
Richard King
Richard Manby
Mike Muller
Harry Oldham
Neil Raine
Nick Reeves
Sharon Shelley
Jim Sutton
Stuart Swales
Paul Swindell
Jon Thackray
Alasdair Thomas
Tony Thompson
Hugo Tyson
Jamie Urquhart
John Wilkins
Jes Wills
Roger Wilson

Others who have assisted:
Alex Bienek
John Biggs
David Burling
Martin Clemoes
Vic Gibling
Martyn Gilbert
Mark Hall
Mike Hill
Henry Howarth
Ian Jack
Kechil Kirkham
Andrew Powis
Jacqué Sanalitro
Graham Smith

Last and certainly least:
David Bell
Brian Long et Gooney Bird


Well, link:

Arthur OS Emulator on the Acorn Emulation pages. I haven't tried this out though.

Is it really worthwhile me adding:

If you could send the following I'd be quite grateful:

Someone sent me System Delta+ but you need the original disc for it to run. I haven't put any effort into hacking it though. It gets as far as trying to start its own desktop and then asks for the disk. It looks quite good up to then though.

If you've got any information or other software that you think might be of use in constructing these remaining sections send them to:

Ben Jefferys -

or if they are bound to a physical existence, mail me for my address.

It had to be done...