Tau Tau


Drawing Graphs with RISC OS

This page last updated: 20 Feb 2018

Tau, version 1.60. Copyright © Tim Birks 1993, 1994, 2000, 2001. GPL Freeware: for conditions of use, see the files ReadMe & gpl.txt. Subsequent development by Peter Killworth 2001-2006.

Peter died in 2008. His page below in white and downloads were recovered from web.archive.org in February, 2018 and copied here for the convenience of the RISC OS community.

Tau is Desktop graph preparation software. Tau generates publication-quality graphs in the form of Draw files, ready to import into your favourite word-processor, computer presentation, or DTP.

My software

Updated 15 Jun 2006

Over the years, I've written or adapted various pieces of software, mostly for RISC OS machines. Here are some of them.


!Tau (RISC OS only) is by far the nicest graph-drawing software I've ever used, designed to give a publishable-quality graph first time round. It aims to give the user complete control over how the graph will look, with defaults that give a really good graph immediately (if you don't like the default settings, just change them till you're happy and save your own). You can save style files to speed up reprocessing of similar data sets.

It will also do computations on your data, sort them, normalise them, fit best fit lines and curves through them, all via a huge spreadsheet-like area which lets the user drop in several datasets in various places. It works in colour (useful for computer presentations) and / or line styles, all of which are adjustable. It permits you to bound the data area shown (so that extreme values are blocked off); it will autoscale if you wish. The most recent additions are full 24-bit colour on all drawing options and a quick way to change which columns are plotted..

The original version was written by Tim Birks, and I have in recent years taken over maintenance. It's here released in version 1.60, with Tim's permission. Read the ReadMe and Help files inside the package for full details; an EasiWriter/TechWriter manual is also provided, and also a pdf and html version of the manual.

This version updated Jun 15 2006

Here are two example diagrams from my own work:

Click here to download just the SparkPlug archive of !Tau (180K); or here to download the archive of !Tau including manuals in Easi/TechWriter format, pdf and html (2.4 MB).

Interactive fiction

Back in the 1970's and '80s, I wrote a fair number of IF games for the Acorn platform. In recent times I rewrote these into Graham Nelson's excellent Inform compiler. These are now accessible for any computer (all you need is an interpreter for z-code games, easily available from the IF archive).

The conversions are a science-fiction trilogy:

Countdown to Doom (click here)

Return to Doom (click here)

Last Days of Doom (click here)

all set on the planet Doomawangara. They're unashamed puzzlefests, you can die in lots of (hopefully funny) ways - but undo will cure that - and it's very easy to get stuck. The last one becomes quite serious towards the end. You're warned! But enjoy them all.

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