Steffen's Iyonix Bits

Deutsche Version...meist aktueller.

Updated: Brought more in line with German version

Differences between RISC OS 4.0x and RISC OS 5

There is/was a lot of confusion which 26bit RISC OS version could be described as "similar" to RISC OS 5. In principle, RISC OS 5 has every feature of RISC OS 4.0[0,1,2,3,4].

Additionaly, RISC OS 5 has some interesting new features:

Important Tools

Just a few links to useful pieces of software

Developers interested in writing software for the Iyonix/RISC OS 5 should point their browser to the Iyonix 32-bit RISC OS pages.

Castle keep a list of 32bit-ready software.

Most of the other 26bit only software will run on Iyonix with the help of Aemulor, the 26bit emulator for Iyonix. However, there are a few restrictions which will be solved by the forthcoming Aemulor Pro:

CDBurn vs. CDBurn Lite

CDBurn Lite is a cut-down version of CDBurn that is bundled with every CD-RW-equipped Iyonix. Restrictions are e.g. the missing multisession support, no configurable ISO filename mapping, no disc at once support, works only on an Iyonix in conjunction with Sony CD-RW drives, support only via Castle, updates are strictly bugfixing only.

CDBurn Lite customers (which means Iyonix owners) can upgrade for a reduced price of 35 UKP+VAT via Warm Silence Software.

CDBurn customers can download a new 32bit and Iyonix-enabled beta version free of charge. As always, point your browser to the CDBurn upgrade page. If you are not aware of the Username/Password required, subscribe to the CDBurn support mailing list first.

There are quite a few changes and optimizations that enable Iyonix owners to successfully use the higher writing speeds as well as multitasking CD writing, so upgrade now.

Oregano2 - German keymap

Since Oregano2 is a highly configurable, multi-platform browser, it may be understandable that integration into RISC OS is not perfect (and probably never will be). One "missing link" is the keyboard layout - Oregano2 does not use the RISC OS keyboard settings, but uses its own scheme of so-called "Keymaps".

So for the benefit of the German users, I have produced a German keymap for Oregano2 (Version 0.03, 2003-06-14).

Ada development

As you might know, CDBurn, my main RISC OS software project, is written in Ada95. To be able to produce a 32bit version of CDBurn (Lite) for the Iyonix, it was necessary to patch both the GNAT runtime (done by Martin Würthner) and the GCC runtime (done by Peter Naulls). The result of this work, as well as a small bit of documentation, is now downloadable as the "32bit GNAT/Ada compatibility package".

I have to thank both Peter and Martin for their work - without them, a 32bit version of CDBurn would have never been possible. So if you are a CDBurn customer, why not buy ArtWorks 2 from Martin, and/or subscribe to Peter's Unix Porting Project?


In the Pocket PC world, the XScale doesn't have a good reputation. Benchmarks have shown that the old 200 MHz StrongARM machines often outperform the 400 MHz PXA250/255 XScale machines for real world applications. To make things worse, Intel and Microsoft said that this was a problem of "missing software optimizations" and "software not optimized for the XScale" - however, it is much more likely that a PXA250 problem with slow RAM was the real culprit (the early PXA250/255 processors had a bug which prevented Windows CE and other OSes from using the write back cache, needing a fall-back to write through, which gives big performance problems especially in slow RAM environments like PDAs).

Looking at the performance of the 80321 XScale variant inside the Iyonix, it becomes soon clear that the Pocket PC problems do not exist on the Iyonix. Many real world benchmarks show improvements of around 200-300% compared to a StrongARM Risc PC, and all that after a simple 32bit recompile without any specific optimizations made or usage of the special instructions available on the XScale.

To show prospective customers what the Iyonix is capable of, I have invented a series of benchmarks that use already available 32bit software and rather time consuming tasks so that hand-made measuring is possible.

The following machines were/are/will be used to conduct the benchmarks:

  1. Iyonix PC, RISC OS 5.01
  2. Risc PC, RISC OS 4.29, 202 MHz StrongARM, ViewFinder
  3. Risc PC, RISC OS 4.29, 287 MHz StrongARM, ViewFinder
  4. Risc PC, RISC OS 4.29, 202 MHz StrongARM
  5. Risc PC, RISC OS 4.29, 287 MHz StrongARM

Additionally, tests will be conducted with RISC OS 4.02 and/or 3.70 to find out whether the OS version makes a difference.

The benchmarks:

Description of files used for the tests:

The results...all timings in seconds, all timings were done several times to be sure that they are reproducable. Shorter times are likely to be more imprecise. Not all tests were done on all available machines, some tests are just not possible (e.g. high/true colour ArtWorks tests on non-ViewFinder Risc PC).

!PDF (1)1s-3s--
!PDF (2)1s-4s--
AWViewer (1)6s-25s--
AWViewer (2)6s-19s--
AWViewer (3)5s-15s-10s

Further planned benchmarks:

More suggestions? Just mail me.

Specific Aemulor tests have not been conducted yet. However, subjective performance for 26bit software I regularly use (Impression Style, RiScript Pro and Browse) show StrongARM-like performance.


A lot has happened recently concerning USB on the Iyonix. Perhaps the most important milestone was the release of the Mass Storage Drivers for the Iyonix (free of charge for all customers!), which now allows direct use of many Flash Pen drives, USB CD writers, USB harddiscs, digital cameras, card readers, MP3 players...

Personally, I was very surprised to see both my "Leading Driver 256MB Flash pendrive" and my "Belkin 8-in-1 card reader" working out-of-the-box. If you want to buy a new USB device, please have a look at Castle's USB compatibility database.

To be done...

The rest of the content on the German variant of this page is not translated/converted yet...

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