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
5th November 2007
In response to a bit of prodding (thanks, Andy Dobson!), there is a new
version of the basic ROLF code
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
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
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
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
download, a bzipped iso), the space has been kindly donated by Ned
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
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
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
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.
- GTK now works much better (still lots to do there, though).
- I've got an
ISO image that almost works as a live CD, based on Linux From Scratch, which
should allow me to reduce the size to something a lot more reasonable that
the 640MB it takes at the moment.
- I've just updated the todo list.
6 June 2007
GTK+ now compiles and runs, still with some slight redraw problems. Mouse input isn't right and keyboard input is limited.
Last update: Monday 5th November 2007