ROLF is a user space layer above the Linux Kernel, providing a superset of the RISC OS look and feel on Linux.

14th March 2011 - ROLF is still being developed

It's not really clear from the older posts, but development of ROLF is still ongoing, and can be followed on my blog, and on SourceForge.

5th November 2007

In response to a bit of prodding (thanks, Andy Dobson!), there is a new version of the basic ROLF code here
The directory now contains a proto configure program which handles the differences between ARM and X86 builds.
There are more video modes supported, including the packed 24-bit mode used by QEMU.
If you try it, please leave a comment at my blog.

23rd October 2007

I've revived an old blog in order to more easily say what's going on with ROLF, and also allow comments, which will hopefully feed some discussion. Please go there for updates on progress (there is some, although it may not look like it!).

12th October 2007

Unfortunately, the Live CD has problems with booting for many people, and the lack of functionality has been described as disappointing. (Any and all feedback is welcome, by the way, it enables me to establish priorities for the many things that need to be done.)
For the next ISO image I intend to use some scripts from Stax, instead of my home-grown boot scripts and programs. I expect this will result in a more generally usable (VMWare, etc.) CDROM image. Since the scripts provide for compression, I will probably leave the build tools on the CD, so that users can try modifying and building software without affecting their harddrive setups.
For people who are interested, and who have a build environment, I intend also to start updating the source tarball on this website more frequently than ISO images.
With regards to the lack of functionality, the next ISO should have NetSurf working out-of-the-box (albeit with the address bar still not working, GTK is not that easy to follow internally), Inkscape with a proper application directory (also broken, for the same reason) and a copy of mplayer on it that works within the ROLF windowing system (at the moment it works, but performance is lacking, in that it can't keep up playing a DVD on my machine without dropping frames; this appears to be a problem with the speed of access to the frame buffer, I need to borrow some code from the fbdev2 code.)
I've already made some optimisations to the image library, but the frame buffer throughput needs working on, and there is now DragASprite-like functionality in the filer, and I'm working on drag selection (it won't show the box at the moment, though).
I'll be making some kind of upload in the next week or so.

20th September 2007

A first attempt at a Live CD has been uploaded here (169MB download, a bzipped iso), the space has been kindly donated by Ned Abell.
Ths CD should boot into a desktop with Tux on the right and disc icons for /home/rolf and /tmp, on the left of the Iconbar.
In /home/rolf are three apps that should work immediately, !Terminal, !Viewer and !Vim. !NetSurf needs a little help to run, as does Inkscape, which has no application directory yet.


Terminal is a simple 80x25 teminal emulator which tries to emulate the linux console terminal. You will need to click on the window before it accepts input.


Viewer is a simple image viewer for JPEG and PNG files. It has a proper icon bar icon, and you can drop images or directories containing images onto it.


This starts the vim (vi-improved) editor in a terminal window. When you exit the editor, the window will close.


Open a Terminal window, and enter the following before trying to run NetSurf:
ln -s ~/fonts ~/.fonts
Once this has been done, NetSurf should start up with a failure message bacause the network is inaccessible. The address entry field does not display correctly!
I have to work out how /sbin/ip works, exactly, to get the network accessible. However it works, it will be done from a root prompt that can be accessed using Alt-F2.


This has to be run from a Terminal window at the moment. The output (including stderr) must be redirected to a file, /dev/null, or piped into tail.
inkscape -g /home/rolf/install/share/inkscape/examples/tiger.svgz > /dev/null 2>&1
This is also a GTK application, and will lock as soon as you look at it.


To exit ROLF, use Ctrl-Shift-F12.
There is no safe shutdown procedure included on the CD. Unless you manually used mknod and mount to mount local devices, however, no devices need to be unmounted and you can just switch off the computer.
If you did use mknod and mount to mount local devices, you responsible for dismounting them before switching off.

9th September 2007

Screenshot of ROLF on Linux, showing Inkscape being compiled and OSNews website.  Click for larger image.
Well, this is the live CD, being prepared.
Specifically, it's Inkscape being compiled in a terminal window while showing an OSNews web page using the GTK (over ROLF) version of NetSurf.
When I was asked for a progress report on ROLF to be published on Drobe, I wasn't expecting it to be picked up by OSNews, I hope no-one from there is disappointed!
This is a one-person project (so far), a work in progress which will probably mostly interest current or lapsed RISC OS users.
Please feel free to contact me at, I'll also check comments on drobe and osnews.

5 September 2007:

After no updates for three months, I just thought I should publish something to let people know I'm still around.

6 June 2007

GTK+ now compiles and runs, still with some slight redraw problems. Mouse input isn't right and keyboard input is limited.
Screenshot of ROLF on Linux, showing Inkscape.  Click for larger image.

Last update: Monday 5th November 2007