Re: Write your own TCP/IP stack?
"So given you need to hack it to even enable the network port do you have to write your own TCP/IP stack too?"
Hack it? <sigh>
It's a pointy-clicky configuration tool that you tell it how the network behaves (static IP, DHCP, blah blah). Give it the right info, it is done. No, you don't need to write a stack. There's one built in. I guess, since you call the machines "Archimedes", that it has been a really long time since you'd used RISC OS...
"I'm only being semi-facetious here as ISTR the simplest (and most reliable) way to get the last model of Archimedes online was to buy an add-on card which was basically a 486SX25 with 4MB of RAM - and run Windows For Workgroups or Win3.1 with trumpet winsock."
You really don't have much of a clue, do you? Okay, so setting up ka9q was a serious pain in the ass. Well, Argo Interactive put together a floppy disc of stuff. An entire internet suite on a floppy disc (this in the days before widespread scripting and when HTML 3.2 was cutting edge). Anyway, put the disc into the machine, let it install some stuff. Run it, and off you go. I remember thinking it was going to be a BBS killer because you could download stuff (which took ages at 28k8) and do other stuff at the same time. Like try to figure out the best syntax to get altavista to return the results you really wanted...
"given the RiscOS internet apps were crap."
They are lacking now. I'm not so sure back then. Heck, Webite made a better attempt than Mosaic. Fresco and Oregano did a reasonable job with the whole "Best viewed with MSIE 3!" style pages. I think it started to come unstuck around the time of HTML 4 (anybody remember "frameset"? ;-) ) when the world went "yay" for scripts and flash and real video (as opposed, I guess, to fake video?).
Pluto was hands down better than most of the mainstream packages around. These days we have Thunderbird. Fifteen years ago, we didn't. But then, I decided to write my own mail fetcher because I wanted to discard messages that were "too big" and so on. I wrote it in BBC BASIC. Because I could. Talks POP3, it'd probably still work...
"my current Raspberry Pi issues are more demanding"
Mmm, enjoy yourself. You look at DVDs, I'll look at RISC OS's kernel source. We all have our own definitions of "fun".