Playing with UNIX - The R140 (1989).

Having successfully released the Archimedes range, Acorn turned to a different operating system for their next machine. The machine was called the R140, and it was a slightly adapted A440. It featured the same ARM2 and 4 Mb of memory, but had a larger 60 Mb hard drive. Rather than the ROM-based Arthur operating system, however, it featured a disc-based UNIX system, based the the 4.3 BSD release. The Acorn variant of UNIX was called RISC iX. The R140 was aimed at the low end of the UNIX market.

Unlike Arthur, RISC iX was a true multitasking operating system. It supported all the standard UNIX tools, the Sun Network Filing System (NFS), an ANSI C development system, and a version of the X Windows GUI. There were also facilities to connect to standard Ethernet networks.

The R140 cost £3500, plus VAT. This cost included the basic system, an assortment of user guides and one year's on-site maintenance. A 640 by 512 pixel colour monitor or an 1152 by 900 pixel high resolution mono monitor could be added to the base spec.

The R140 was a very interesting development, but more was to come...

Next: New developments - RISC OS 2 and the revised Archimedes (1989).

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Robert McMordie

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