Using RISC OS as a media centre

I got a raspberry pi 2 model B today for the purposes of generally playing around with RISC OS for a bit of Archimedes nostalgia. I figure that it would be fairly useful to have a computer plugged into my stereo and TV as a media centre so I can listen to music without having my Surface plugged in at the same time. I also wanted a version of Linux such as Raspbian so I could use the machine as a productivity machine as well, should I feel so inclined. My SD card comes with NOOBS installed and is 8GB, which is big enough for a couple of operating systems at once. As a media centre you can't go much wrong with OpenELEC which is a Linux-based entertainment centre that has a pi version, however I could not have all three operating systems installed at once on my tiny 8GB card.

Although my goal was to have a media centre, I decided to go with the Raspbian/RISC OS install despite liking OpenELEC very much (I might get a larger SD card so I can have them all later!).

And so, with RISC OS installed I bravely set out to make it my new media machine.

My first impressions of RISC OS

Not really first impressions, as such, because I used the original Archimedes machines back in the nineties, however I had forgotten much.

RISC OS for the Raspberry Pi looks really good!  I thought it would look dated immediately, but you could be fooled into thinking that this is a modern operating system.  Considering RISC was new at the same time as Windows 3.1 it has a lot going for it.

First up come the context sensitive menus, which incorporate edit boxes.

RISC context menus were ahead of their time.

I also love the fact that you can press F12 to bring up the BASIC interpreter, or type Operating System commands (I'll probably do a whole post about this later).

I was also pleasantly surprised that there is an app store for RISC OS.  It is called the Pling Store (Pling is the British name for the '!' symbol used in computing).  The store seems to have a fairly comprehensive list of software, most of which is free and I will most likely do another future post on this too).

Some negative points. You do need a three button mouse to get anywhere with RISC OS. A two-button mouse with a scroll wheel works just as well, but there are no keyboard shortcuts like in Windows.

The browser (NetSurf) is very light-weight (but CSS compatible). It struggles with JavaScript and Flash however, and as far as I am aware, there is currently no support for Wifi on your RISC OS pi (you need to use the ethernet cable). You can install Firefox for RISCOS, however most websites that I visit throw errors and I haven't got to the bottom of why, but my main mission was to set up a media centre, so I got to work.

RISC OS media centre

I found an app called DigitalCD in the Pling Store. DigitalCD was written by Andre Timmermans (+1 Geek experience point awarded).  It comes with some very easy to follow installation instructions for those of us who are RISC OS noobs.  I put some MP3 files on a memory stick and plugged into the fourth USB port of the pi.  I created a playlist and the job was done.

DigitalCD running under RISCOS on my Raspberry Pi 2
Digital CD also allows you to play digital radio stations which is an added bonus.

So that's my first day as a RISC OS user and I am looking forward to exploring this machine further.

#RISCOS #Raspberry pi
#Linux #RISC