October news in briefBy Chris Williams. Published: 30th Oct 2004, 12:30:16 | Permalink | Printable
NetBSD, software, Vigay and moreNow that everyone's recovered from the South East show, and hopefully thinking about what to surprise us with at the December Midlands show, here's a round up of recent RISC OS news.
If you hadn't noticed, the NetBSD port for the Iyonix is now available, and received a fair amount of coverage from the open source leaning online press. Gavan Fantom, maintainer for the work-in-progress project, told us today that VGA graphics, USB and the on-board ethernet aren't complete, although support for PCI, audio and a Realtek PCI network card are in.
Weiss Niklaus has contacted us to warn us that he's ready to unleash a new debugging tool on the RISC OS public, once he's worked out who's going to distribute it. The software, which consists of nearly 12 thousand lines of ARM assembler and took five years to write, will hopefully allow developers to track down bugs in their software, while continuing to work in a multi-tasking desktop. Weiss told us that he's in negotiations with a potential distributor and is currently bug fixing the software. Proving that subtlety at drobe.co.uk isn't dead, when we pushed him for a release date, Weiss replied: "Could you have a little bit of patience?"
Andy Jackson has produced a new version of his Nutshells site, a website that links to RISC OS resources and can be maintained by anyone. Describing the new site, Andy told us: "This should reproduce all the functionality of the old site, but also be fully integrated with a Wiki, have various RSS feeds for different parts of the site, and generally be a bit more flexible and maintainable."
The longest running RISC OS user group to date, the BAUG, has moved from Bottisham to Cambridge. Discussions have also taken place within the group to consider a possible name change from BAUG and whether or not the group should open up to users of all computing systems in order to boost membership numbers. In an email to the group, BAUG chairman David McDowell wrote, "Speaking personally I'm all in favour of promoting increased membership but not at the cost of totally diluting and spoiling the Acorn/RISCOS basis of the club. On the other hand I don't want to be a 'RISCOS fundamentalist' and see the club sink slowly under, while bravely waving the Acorn/RISCOS flag." David is not the only user group chairman this year to acknowledge the consequences of the current size of the RISC OS market and the fate of its user groups.
Deck13 (aka Artexsoft), developers of real time war game TEK1608, have stated that there will be no Iyonix version of their software. Jan Klose, Deck13's creative director, said, "I'm afraid TEK will not be released for the Iyonix PC. We have had a look at this possibility, but firstly the Iyonix people were not really cooperative (at all), and what is more important, it'd involve quite some work including a 32bit C compiler and of course an Iyonix. These are some costs that will, according to our calculations, not be covered by potential sales."
He added: "This sounds sad and quite economic, but it is a fact that we have to earn some money (or at least not lose much of it and thus a pure fan project is not an option anymore. TEK itself was more of a tribute to the RISC OS platform than a profitable product."
We best point out that there is a 32bit GCC available for free, although it can't build modules, which Artexsoft perhaps would need.
Also, Dan Ellis has uploaded a copy of EtherH 4.52 (featuring working multicast support) and related modules to his website. This version was provided by Owen Smith, the previous maintainer of the ethernet card driver, and more details and history can be found here.
Software in brief
Stefan Bellon has ported GnuPG 1.3.92 to RISC OS, for people to try out. GnuPG is a free software replacement for PGP, the privacy and encryption system. Stefan has also released JetDirectFS, a module that allows users to print over a network to a Jet Direct printer. JetDirectFS was originally developed in 1998 by Elliot Hughes, and Stefan has since updated it 32bitted it. It's now available under the GPL.
Version 1.01 of SpamStamp is out, and features French resources and installation instructions for AntiSpam, Pluto and R-Comp's new email engine, Hermes. The USB HID driver software from Xample, has been updated with better control over its 'Compose' mode and now includes support for entering Russian characters, thanks to Richard Spencer's 'DesktopKeyMap' module. Thumbcat is up to version 4.1. RAM disc replacement Memphis 3, 'current working directory' utility Direction 2 and web download tool WebGet 0.19 have been released by Richard Spencer.
And finally, this is the sort of tabloid media intrusion that we'd like to see more of in the RISC OS market: despite the fact that Paul Vigay once requested that photographs of him are not published (so that he isn't recognised when he turns up to crop circle related incidents), our pals at Iconbar and Qercus are playing the public interest card and running a ridicule-Vigay-competition this month.
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