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Article archives

!OBrowse reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:52, 17/11/2017 |
 
!OBrowse was originally released as a 'freebie/thank-you' to anyone who had put money into RISC OS developments. It has been updated for the London Show and was also available for sale at 40 pounds (providing a simple way for people who wanted to contribute smaller amounts to the project).
 
!OBrowse is a front-end for the !Otter port for RISC OS. As R-CompInfo were very keen to stress, !Otter is not their project and is a free release which no-one has to pay for. What they have written is some code which allows you to run the software in a much more RISC OS friendly way. They are offering their front end as a way to finance their plans (which will also be available as free software to anyone). They have already made an impact by funding one of the ROOL bounties to bring RISC OS networking support up to date.
 
!OBrowse is not tied to any release of !Otter and does not 'add' any additional functionality. What it does do is make !Otter into a much more compliant and better behaved RISC OS application. It has a proper iconbar entry, can be run to open HTML files or a URL. It can take over all the protocols which use a browser, supports global clipboard, drag and drop, etc It does this role very well and you get a polished RISC OS application which works as you would expect and plays nicely with the rest of the system.
 

 
If you are an investor or want to support RISCOS Developments, it is a very nice to have application installed and a no brainer. If you just want to experiment with accessing the internet under RISC OS, !Otter will run perfectly well on your machine without it.
 
10 comments in the forums

DDE reaches release 28 and above

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:25, 10/11/2017 | ,
 
At the London Show, ROOL released DDE 28. DDE is a key development tool for RISC OS so it very important to see regular new releases for it.
 
The software was sent out to show purchasers as a time-limited link to download (I got my copy on sunday morning after the show!). You can now get it via the ROOL store.
 
The change logs record changes to 13 tools in the software specific to the DDE software and the readme lists changes to other software (like !srcEdit). Most of the changes are minor. For example, !AMU is now 5.32 - up from 5.31 in DDE27) and now correctly reads a timestamp). Some items have not changed in this release (for example !ABC).
 
There have been some major changes in the Compiler, which actually introduced a bug in compilation. This was quickly fixed with a patch release from ROOL, containing just the changed files. So you will need both to patch your existing version - hopefully ROOL have updated the original DDE28 build for new downloads.
 
This is quite a technical release and there is a good and detailed discussion of the technical changes on the ROOL forums. There is also an interesting discussion on the bug introduced. It is good to see the software is being evaluated and used by developers and full credit to ROOL for the quick fix.
 
The package also comes with a full collection of documentation in PDF format and this has all been updated to latest versions.
 
If you are a non-technical user, this release essentially continues to improve the software and ensure it supports the ARM platforms as well as possible. If you are looking to get into programming, it is also a fully featured collection of all the tools and documentation you need with lots of examples to get you started (and a great way to support ROOL).
 
ROOL store
 
Comment in the forums

Elesar quicks dispels stormy clouds

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:08, 3/11/2017 |
 
My RISC OS machines could no longer access PCloud storage (which I use for sharing and backup) last week. This is one of the 'fun' parts of SaaS and cloud applications where things will just change or stop working.
 
As I was attending the RISC OS show, I waited to speak to Elesar's coding supremo there. It turns out that PCloud had quietly changed the way you access your cloud storage, which needed some changes in !CloudFS. Rob has already released the update (0.29 on 24th October) and you can install this by just re-running the Installer (which automatically downloads the latest version).
 
Problem solved - if only every problem in life was so simple to solve...
 
2 comments in the forums

!DualHead second release reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:11, 6/10/2017 | ,
 
In our previous review we looked at release 1 of !DualHead. R-CompInfo have already released an update so we will dive in and see what has changed...
 
There is more polish in this release with some clearer messages. The software is very smart in making sure that you do not end up with no display. There is no dedicated installer application but the software is extremely easy to update - you copy !Boot over your existing copy and copy the !DualHead software onto your disk, and reboot/run . There is also a !RevertMode application installed in !Boot which will restore sanity with a click of Alt and Home.
 


 
As you can see there are some higher resolution modes now available. 2048 x 1440 x 2 is an amazing screen, but I was unable to run this in 16 million colours without a lot of flickering (although for most tasks 32k/64K is indistinguishable). R-Comp acknowledges this in the documentation and is probably pushing the Titanium/RISC OS beyond its limits.
 
I do think that the documentation could be improved. There is a version 1 PDF document hidden away (which is confusing on a v2 release) and a proper rewrite and release history in the !ReadMe would be nice.
 
Some advice on how best to use and setup the 2 monitors for RISC OS would also be welcome - my biggest issue after testing the new release was neck ache from playing 'head ping-pong' by switching my view between the 2 monitors all the time due to the Icon Bar now being across both screens.
 
I am really pleased to see R-Comp produce a second release (I prefer to keep the version 2 tag for major feature updates). R-Comp is leading RISC OS into new territory with this software and I think it really benefits from small, regular incremental releases driven by user and developer feedback. I am really looking forward to talking to R-Comp at the London show about their plans for the software.
 
My killer feature for the version 2 release would be to fix the issue with the popups appearing in the middle of the screen. What is yours?
 
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RISC OS software to download from !Store

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:47, 22/9/2017 | ,
 
In previous articles, we looked at package managers and some of the software available on !PackMan. In this article we are going to highlight some of the software available in !Store and ask for your suggestions.
 
When you run !Store, it offers you a long list of files and includes both free and commercial software (which you can buy via !Store). As with !Packman it gives you a front end to make it easy to search, provide more details and you can select categories.
 


 
If you are looking to run old software on a new machine, our old friend Aemulor is available as free download. There is also in interesting Atari ST emulator called Hatari if you want a real ‘GEM’ environment on your machine.
 


 
!Store is also the home for the latest version of !Impression. (although I would criticise the broken link which goes nowhere and looks bad. The pages like PMS Music scribe also include broken links).
 


 
Some very high quality software originally written by David Pilling is now freely available and you can find this on !Store.
 


 
!Store offers more than software, and you will also find fonts and copies of DraG’N’Drop (which we reviewed here).
 


 
What are you downloading from !Store?
 
2 comments in the forums

RISC OS on GitHub

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:49, 15/9/2017 | , ,
 
In a previous article, we mentioned Git and GitHub.
 
Git is a version control system which software developers use. Once you have used version control is is very hard to go back. In particular it:-
1. Allows you to have a full, documented history of all changes you have made and roll back to any point.
2. Label your official release versions.
3. See what you have changed easily.
4. Work with other developers (even large groups) in an orderly manner, see who has edited which bit of code, merge code changes together and handle conflicts where several people are editing the same code.
5. Have the security of lots of backups.
6. Never lose anything! (if you use it properly)
 
Version control solves a lot of complex problems. When I hire new developers, I always ask them about their experiences with Version control systems....
 
RISC OS itself is available on version control (it uses CVS) and you can explore it online at the ROOL website.
 
Part of the attraction of Git is that it also gives easy access to GitHub (a huge online repository of software source code). And (in theory) it means the source code will never be lost. There are some interesting RISC OS related projects hosted on there. Here is a sample to start your exploration...
 
https://github.com/risc-os-open contains some Ruby and JavaScript projects written by ROOL for their website.
 
https://github.com/TimothyEBaldwin/RO_cvs2git converts RISC OS CVS to git.
 
https://github.com/elesar-uk/titanium-build is the source code for Elesar's Debian Linux build.
 
https://github.com/TimothyEBaldwin/RISC_OS_DevTimothy Baldwin's port of RISC OS to run on Linux.
 
https://github.com/dpt/PrivateEye The source code for Private Eye
 
https://github.com/alanbu/packman Source code for Package manager
 
https://github.com/martenjj/drawview A draw file viewer for Linux.
 
https://github.com/jaylett/zap Source code for !Zap
 
2 comments in the forums

R-Comp release !DualHead

Posted by Mark Stephens on 10:14, 26/8/2017 | ,
 
If you own a Titanium based machine you may have noticed that it has 2 video output ports. If you plug a monitor into the right port (as you look at the machine from the back), you will get the chemical details of the element Titanium on your second screen. Interesting but not very practical....
 


 
Now R-CompInfo have released !DualHead which allows their Titanium based TiMachine to display RISC OS across two screens (heads). In this article, we will get it up and running with a later look at how well it works. Let us see if two Heads are better than one...
 
The application is a free download from the R-Comp website (you will need your username and password to access it). It consists of some updates for !Boot, a very helpful !ReadMe, and the actual !DualHead application. There is also SingleHead to revert back to one display
 
I read the !ReadMe, updated !Boot and rebooted my machine. Nothing changes until you run the !DualBoot software and press space. If anything goes wrong the software is well-designed to revert back to the default single display.
 


 
You now have one RISC OS display spilt across 2 screens (with a really long iconbar across the bottom). Windows can also be split across screen as you can see from the alert message. This can take used to along with alerts and dialog boxes popping up on the screen you were not expecting.
 


 
As you can see the software is very easy to setup. Next time we will delve into how well it works....
 
1 comment in the forums

ROM release for your Titanium - What is new

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:35, 28/7/2017 | , ,
 
In a previous article, we looked at installing the new ROM for your Titanium. This time we will look at what the new release offers.
 
This is actually quite a major update and there is a long list of changes. The offical full list of changes is on the ROOL website. Some of the changes are not really relevant to Titanium users (Pico build fix, introduce iMx6 to ROOL repository) but there are lots of interest.
 


 
From a user's point of view, there are 3 major new features
 
The first is the addition of 256 colour modes.


 
This makes it much easier to use old software which was written for these modes.
 
Another bounty enhancement is the new EDID support means that your machine can be much 'smarter' when you plug a monitor into it. It is not Titanium-specific (but very nice to have). This is the result of the EDID bounty from ROOL.
 
Improvements to ADFS now mean that you can have up to 8 terabytes of storage on RISC OS (and RISC OS uses large drives more efficiently).
 
A nice little enhancement for Paint is the addition of a timer control for the spray can (which was previously a little unwieldy on fast new modern machines). Paint is now version 2.21 (last updated May 2017).
 
BASIC and the Chars and Draw applications both get enhancements and bug fixes.
 
The whole package is free to download and brings the Titanium bang up to date with RISC OS developments. What are your impressions of the new update? Have you found any problems?
 
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Installing the new ROM release for your Titanium

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RISC OS software to download from !PackMan

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Elesar updates Font Directory Pro to 3.21

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RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi

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Chris Gransdon tells ROUGOL about Otter browser and other ports

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A tale of 2 package managers

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Recent discussions
- Drag'N'Drop Autumn edition now available (News:)
- !DualHead puts 2 screens in one (News:)
- RISC OS London Show 2017 - Notes from the talks (News:6)
- November News (News:)
- !Organizer 2.28 reviewed (News:2)
- !OBrowse reviewed (News:10)
- Aemulor (Gen:16)
- DDE reaches release 28 and above (News:)
- Elesar quicks dispels stormy clouds (News:2)
- RISC OS London Show 2017 (News:)
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