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August news

By Chris Williams. Published: 7th Aug 2004, 21:55:31 | Permalink | Printable

News from this month: A5, USB, GCC and more

round up motifIt's that time of the year again that we, in the UK, like to call 'summer'. It doesn't stay this sunny here for long, so most of us tend to enjoy it as much as possible while it lasts. In terms of RISC OS, it's around the months of July and August when either: everyone goes on holiday, or everyone's working on stuff in time for the autumn shows. So grab a cold drink, and let's review the news that's been building up so far this month.

Windows security again
You may have noticed R-Comp's announcement, described by one user as "coy", that they're now bundling anti-virus and other security software with all their RISCube Windows PCs. It's a relief to see that R-Comp are taking this sort of thing seriously, acknowledging that (without the proper protection) Windows security is pretty tragic, much to the glee of the native hardware fans. Growing concerned that we weren't going to cover the news at all, R-Comp's Andrew Rawnsley pointed out that the anti-spam software they're using will also scan and disinfect any email fetched by the RISC OS hardware emulated side, and the AV software will include RISC OS files in its virus sweeps.

"Basically, [bundling AV and anti-spam software] comes straight out of the profit margin, but we've decided to include it because we've seen the effects that viruses can have, and don't want other customers to go through that," Andrew told us, while also refraining from naming exactly what software R-Comp are using because it's "a small commercial advantage". Although, we hear that it isn't from Norton and the firewall component is from Sygate.

All we're hoping is that a decent proportion of the cash from the emulated systems is being ploughed back into overall development for RISC OS, certainly after Alan Wrigley (developer of Grapevine, a R-Comp published application) recently hinted to users, "I'm always keen to improve Grapevine but do bear in mind that it has a limited user base and what I can do is dictated by how much development R-Comp are willing to fund."

Opening the software flood gates
The Unix Porting Project's efforts to bring X Windows software to RISC OS continues, as Peter Naulls (fellow Drobe editor) and Alan Buckley (of RISC OS SDL fame) gradually implement more and more of the X11 specification to enable open source applications, found on Linux and other OSes, to be enjoyed by RISC OS users. While the ChoX11 library isn't complete yet, applications are starting to take shape, such as the GTK based web browser Dillo. There's also a Rick Dangerous clone, xrick, a first person 3D shooter game, Aleph1, and an updated Ultima IV, xu4, all newly available for download from the UPP website.

Screenshot of Dillo Screenshot of a GTK example
Dillo and an example GTK component running natively on RISC OS

A5 gets around
The STD A5 kit is earning itself column inches on other news portals, including pocketpctools.com and gizmodo.com - Gadgetmadness.com described it as "the hip hot sub-notebook for your granny (if her last name is Smith)", referring (we really hope) to the Artworks apple shown in the publicity photos. Um, great.

Interestingly though, we got hold of a copy of the PR STD have been sending out to other newsy types, and one paragraph caught our attention: "The A5 is an interesting case-in-point, along with the A6, in that it has been used to enable customers who have traditionally been Windows based to evaluate RISC OS in a convenient format, with a view to offering them ARM based hardware should this be suitable."

GCC 3 logoUnofficial GCC update
Peter Naulls has released an unofficial GCC 3.4.1 build for RISC OS. GCC 3.4 was previously commited by the GCCSDK team, although Peter's build is the first publically available version of this, if you wish to try it out before an official build is put together. Compared to 3.3, GCC 3.4 has a re-written C++ parser, performs better during compilation, and features ARM specific optimisations. Peter's build also includes his recent UnixLib fixes.

USB updates
Castle have updated their USB driver software, suitable for machines running 26bit and 32bit RISC OS. According to Castle, the driver "now runs rather better with mass storage devices" and that keyboard and mouse support is "also more robust."

There's BSD in the air
Over the weekend in a London pub, I had the pleasure of chatting to Gavan Fantom, who's heading the Iyonix NetBSD port. As demonstrated back at the Wakefield show, a NetBSD Iyonix was seen running the Apache webserver and playing MP3s. Gavan explained that he wants to do some more work on the port, including tackling the USB and Nvidia graphics sub-systems, before committing his work to the NetBSD project.

It's getting hot in here
The summer warmth is perhaps getting to one or two users, who have recently gotten into the habit of losing the plot on several RISC OS related forums, mentioning no names. The advice from RISCOS Ltd., at least on the Select mailing list, is "can everyone who is about to make a posting, stop, have a cup of tea, then read their message again ten minutes later and see if it really contributes anything positive to the forum." The OS developers also added, "We have all been extremely busy over the past year, and there are some very exciting new developments under way. We are certainly very pleased with the outlook for the future, but we can't give any exact detail yet for reasons that will become apparent over the next 6 weeks."

In brief
Home accounting app Account2 has been updated by author Kevin Edwards. Malcolm Ripley seems to have originally forgotten about long filenames according to the latest update to MakeAlias. VECstat now monitors more RISC OS vectors, including the RISC OS 5 GraphicsV and other vectors.

A bit late, we know, but riscos.de has photos and details from European mainland user meet-ups and shows: Netherlands, Germany and Germany again. One lucky user managed to get a mention of RISC OS on a BBC News page, much to the delight of Dave Ruck, who emailed us this link. Finally, more of the South East show details are online and, clearly, the SASAUG got first dibs on the table allocations (screenshot mirror).

Enjoy the sun.


News? Comments? Recommended summer e-reading

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Looks like a few interesting things on the horizon and being released now.

Good on all the effort put in buy all.

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 8/8/04 5:06PM
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xrick is a fun diversion. The progress in other areas of the UPP looks very exciting. Many thanks to all at the Unix Porting Project for their continued efforts.

The publicity that the A5 has received is quite impressive. Just what's needed, I'd have thought, to raise the platform's profile. I was amused by one of the other articles which reads:

"The Sony U50 is a tiny computer, a byproduct of the continuing Japanese admiration for tiny things -- someday they will fit a working machine into an acorn" [link]

Into an acorn? Well, all things are possible ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 8/8/04 8:02PM
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PS that's Drobe's auto-correct capitalisation of "acorn", not mine, or that of the review...

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 8/8/04 8:04PM
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Lots of good news.

ChoX11 is really starting to show just how RISC OS users will benefit from its development. Well done Peter and Alan, keep up a great work :-)

It is also nice to see the A5 getting a bit of attention outside of traditional circles. We might not all agree on the idea of emulating RISC OS under XP, but any good news exposure is good for everyone.

Finally, it is good to see Drobe articles appearing on www.osnews.com :-)

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 9/8/04 5:39AM
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Hey I didn't "originally forget" I actually "originally remembered" I just overwrote a bit of code with an update and forgot to make it long filename compatible again.



 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 9/8/04 8:08AM
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The Unix Porting Project is a gresat achievement to this platform.

I must appologise for any earlier comments when I was unkowing to the full extent of what this team is doing.

If I knew how to code correctly for RISC OS (not just Basic or Java), i'd help.

I hope there is enough of you to keep it going :D

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 9/8/04 9:46AM
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micheal: What wrong with basic and java? There both powerful enough to write good programs....

 is a RISC OS Userddenk1 on 9/8/04 11:27AM
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ah, but my coding isn't ;) still in the learning process

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 9/8/04 12:00PM
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Great to see the news of the GTK and X11 development. Could we see a port of gaim any time soon? Then we might finally have a free MSN client on RISC OS again!

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 14/8/04 4:39PM
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