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Messenger Pro 3 developers step forward

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Jun 2004, 20:07:54 | Permalink | Printable

Short term work for RISC OS

Messenger logoVersion 3 of the popular email and news client Messenger Pro is still in the works, we've learnt, while lead developer Mark Sawle concentrates on its Gemini cousin.

Gemini is the Windows and Linux port of Messenger Pro that was unveiled in 2003, although last month Mark admitted to Messenger users that he needed to focus more of his time on Gemini in order to make it a real alternative to other mainstream email and news clients. However, Mark didn't want to see Messenger development cease entirely, and so appealed for a "short term" developer to lend a hand to the RISC OS side of development.

Mark confirmed today that he has had responses from two programmers, and he described both as being "very competent" and that they "would do a good job of developing Messenger Pro further" - he now has to make a final choice between them.

"What it comes down to is whether or not a viable Messenger Pro 3 upgrade can be produced and how quickly, since there's a lot of demand for this," explained Mark.

"It's intended that Messenger Pro 3 will incorporate the suggestions listed on Adam Richardson's Messenger Pro pages which have accumulated a lot of user requests, although exactly how many of these will be included will depend on the release timescale."

Messenger first began life as a popular freeware client, developed in the mid-1990s, while the 'Professional' version is now distributed by R-Comp.


intellegit website - developers of Gemini MessengerPro ported to Windows, Linux

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I had a look at Gemini (Windows) a couple of months ago, and am sorry to say it's absolute sh1te. It doesn't even multitask when fetching news, so if you're trolling binaries groups, it could hang your machine for quite some time....

MPro2 seemed much better to me, maybe a case of the programmer being used to RISC OS and cludging it to work on the PC?

I think Linux has enough news/Email clients, but in PC land, you always need a good alternative to Outlook ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 2/6/04 1:13AM
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This is *extremely* good news. One of my few disappointments at Wakefield was that there wasn't a new version of MPro. How very cheering to hear that there's a good chance of MPro receiving a spate of enhancements.

Something I'd like would be the option to automagically save a 'sent' message in a specified folder (perhaps following settings in the address book), rather than having to visit sent mail and do the chore of house-keeping. It would also be great if it were possible to drag *all* attachments out in one operation.

Good luck to the developer who wins the 'competition'. Personally, I think they should *both* work on it to speed the implementation of new features ;-)

simo: I've recommended Gemini to a number of Windows-using friends, and they seem to get on well with it. As Mark is busy working on Gemini, perhaps he will address the 'issues' you feel it has? As an email client, it seems to work very nicely.

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 2/6/04 3:28AM
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Great news! The news sounds to me like that the BOTH developers are going to work on the job. Possibly Mark is going to piece the best of their finished product together? Designating the RISC OS side of the project to a separate team than the Windows Linux job may keep their design & thoughts on our needs! :acorn: Like "Stewy" commented about the importance of an easy filing and houseworking system, besides many of us don't appreciate "Dill Gates" PC system. rage Cheers, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 2/6/04 11:29AM
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Sawadee> I don't see anything to suggest that both developers would end up working on the product.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 2/6/04 11:57AM
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In reply to Simo: Gemini does multitask when fetching news. It doesn't multitask when expiring old articles and certain other operations, which can be frustrating though.

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 2/6/04 8:40PM
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You guys seem to be talking about Microsoft Windows, which isn't my area of expertise (sorry).

However, I was always told that more recent versions of Microsoft Windows used something called "pre-emptive multi-tasking".

This, I was told, is different to the sort of multi-tasking that RISC OS uses.

Not just a little bit different, no.

Whilst RISC OS multi-tasking could mean that the whole computer locked up quite often, proper pre-emptive multi-tasking (as implemented in Windows NT, XP and 2000, and maybe in 95 and 98) would mean that all applications would still allow a responsive system overall.

What went wrong with these "pre-emptive" Windows versions?:

If it didn't work right, why are people still asking for this technology under RISC OS?


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 2/6/04 10:35PM
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Just because Microsoft can't do something properly, that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing!

Also, to be fair, you'll find that programs that work perfectly under NT-based Windows (NT, 2000 and XP) can lock the non-preemptive DOS-based Windows (including 9x) into doing a single job for hours on end.

What Risc-OS really needs is multiple processor support! :) (Seriously, though - no one except us wants arm chips that run at multi-gigahertz speeds, so multiple processors is a vital step forwards.)


 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 3/6/04 10:42AM
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Windows 95 onwards are preemptive.

The whole computer stopping whilst an application does something is due to cooperative multitasking, so your 700MB download times out whilst you're opening a really large file.

Multi-threading is what lets an application continue whilst part of it is busy, so you could still read email whilst news is expiring. But that's up to the application to implement, hardly any programs do it completely, usually the sympton is redraws not happening. Oddly these applications are running multiple threads, so who knows why the job wasn't finished.

Once we have PMT and multi threading it should be much easier to add multiple CPU support.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 3/6/04 11:34AM
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More importantly, operating systems like Linux, xBSD, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, AmigaOS, MacOS X, and such, all do pre-emptive multitasking, and for the most part, get it right.

As mavhc correctly pointed out, there's no point having multiple CPU support until there's multiple thread support in the OS.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 3/6/04 11:49AM
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Windows 95 is not pre-emptive. It is a hybrid system. 32 bit stuff is pre-emptive. 16 bit windows stuff isn't.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/6/04 1:35PM
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I understand the technical benefits of preemptive multitasking, but I think it's fair to say that it's not a panacea.

It's perfectly possible for the action of one application to stall another simply by making use of the same resource. For example, when large apps are being paged in from the hard drive on my Windows 2000 system, practically everything else grinds to a halt because it all needs access to the harddrive. This happens very often. From a user's POV I find cooperative multitaksing under RISC OS bliss in comparison.

Windows isn't the best example, but other systems have problems too. Is the responsiveness of RO and preemptive multitaksing always compatible I wonder? :indiff:

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 3/6/04 2:26PM
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mul-ti-ta *sk* ing

Sorry, I must learn how to use a kebyoard ;)

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 3/6/04 2:31PM
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NT 3.51 was really responsive and pre-emtive, so I guess not.

NT went downhill from then on (though the interface improved in the next 2 versions)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/6/04 2:45PM
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The original NT was designed by the same chap who designed VMS. It was a rather elegant microkernel. However, for performance reasons, more and more found its way into the kernel.

flypig's point about resource contension is a good one. Most modern UNIXes make heavy use of buffering and caching, as well as sensibly designed file systems to make the problem all but go away. I'd hate to think of the performance of the RISC OS file system, all the way from the hardware drivers, to FileCore, to FileSwitch, should true PMT happen, and more than one process want to access the disc at the same time. I suspect it'd suck big time, as none of them are designed for it in the slightest.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 3/6/04 4:20PM
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Hi All,

I've updated the suggestions page as I had a few new ones come in :) but the reason I'm posting here is that I've had a fairly major email problem recently, so if anyone emailed me (address on the page linked to above) and your suggestion's not been added, please get back in touch!

Thanks, Adam

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 6/6/04 5:42PM
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