Arthur is an Operating System (OS) that was used on early Acorns from about 1987 until RISC OS 2 was available. It ran on early Archimedes machines, and I believe the Master Compact. As such the desktop is very primitive, and is quite painful for anyone using RISC OS 3, as it is so similar, and yet so dissimilar. The horrendous colour scheme, and the perculiar looking windows are all very similar to RISC OS 2, yet they have several small bugs, for example Filer windows can scroll on for far longer than they really should. Drag and drop was still very much a thing of the future when Arthur was written, and so is not really implemented at all, although you can actually drag the windows around the screen (although not with immediate update).
This emulator is not fully complete, and although it works very well, does not have support for things such as the *IconSprites command, and the Task Manager is not present. To be quite honest, the emulator is not particularly useful, as many things have trouble running under it, well Impression Style did anyway :o) It is more of a curiousity really, the basis of the incredible RISC OS 3.7 that many of us use daily, is based on this now tired looking, but still usable OS of 10 years ago! To bear in mind that 10 years ago Microsoft were still actively developing MS DOS, and Bill Gate's windows were something that needed double glazing, and yet Acorn already had this OS up and running is a testament to the forward thinking of the Acorn of yesteryear.
The emulator took me quite a while to get it running, so it's important to read the 'ReadMe1st' file I've supplied, with some clear instructions inside it. Once I did, I discovered it has the standard filing system icons in the bottom left of the icon bar, a switcher icon of some description in the bottom right, and 5 other icons on the icon bar (see in the screenshot above). These are, from the right, the palette, note-pad, calender, clock and calculator; a few simple utilities.
In fact this emulator has its desktop manager written in BASIC V!! This interacts very well with the other modules (many early versions of modules in RISC OS 3) to run at a perfectly normal and respectable speed on my A5000. It does make quite an interesting analysis of a desktop manager, as the code is very accessible. Unfortunately it seems that Arthur is incompatible with either the StrongARM and/or RISC OS 3.7, if anyone can find out which, I'd be glad to hear from them!
The emulator was 'ported' by Wombat, back in 1994 from an old A310. To my knowledge, this is the only version of Arthur emulator on the Web, and it took a lot of trouble getting hold of it, thanks to Martin Kaletsch for emailing it to me.
Speed Rating: ARM 3
ArthurOS v1.2 (321Kb ZIP file)