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
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.
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
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.
- Touch the pins with your fingers or the screwdriver.
- Bend the pins by trying to take the ROM out before it's completely free.
If you do this, just gently bend them back again, but don't bend them around
too much or they'll just break off.
- Suck razor blades.
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.
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
30 *SPOOL :0.$.LIST
70 FOR C=0 TO &80000
101 IF C MOD 100=0 PRINTTAB(0,0);C/&80000*100"%"
120 CLOSE #F
This appears at the end of the Arthur ROMs:
Thanks are due to the following people:
Others who have assisted:
Last and certainly least:
Brian Long et Gooney Bird
Arthur OS Emulator
on the Acorn Emulation pages. I haven't tried this out though.
Is it really worthwhile me adding:
- The Arthur Welcome Disc
- The Arthur Welcome Guide
- What's it Good For? - details of existing users of Arthur
- Arthur Style Guide - make your applications look as professional as
- Arthur in the news - articles on Arthur and Arthur-based applications
from old Acorn and Micro Users
- Inside Arthur - the men behind Arthur reveal the painful truth
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.
- The Arthur Welcome disc
- Armadillo sampler software (the cool stuff that has its own desktop)
- Pineapple colour video digitiser software
- Arthur-only games/software that you'd like to see screenshots of
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...