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News in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 10th Nov 2004, 23:58:36 | Permalink | Printable

32bit TeX, patch legal threats saga, freeware and more [Updated]

Roundup motifA new month, and a new round up of software related action.

It's my party
Further to our earlier article, APDL have promised to ditch Nightsky if Colin Ferris releases his Iyonix patches for the commercial astrology, sorry, astronomy, software. Colin initially posted to the Archive mailing list to find Iyonix users willing to test his patches, which ruffled the software publisher's feathers.

One person recently who volunteered to test the patches was told by APDL's Dave Holden: "I'd be most interested in what you get if Colin is silly enough send you anything before checking with me first. Especially if it's anything other than a new version of WimpExt."

He added: "If [these patches] do 'escape' then not only will I be forced to take action but it will almost certainly result in the withdrawal of NightSky from development and so you'll be guaranteeing that there won't ever be any further upgrades, including a proper 32bit version."

armTeX logo32bit LaTeX
David Llewellyn-Jones has released a 32bit version of armTeX, which is related to LaTeX, the professional type-setting software. Dave's also included a 32bit compatible version of DVIview after author Paul Fields agreed to open source it. There's also talk of a mailing list.

Dave noted, "I'm hoping that both armTeX and DVIview can be developed further and that other LaTeX tools will be created or updated to work on the Iyonix (for example, a port of dvipdfm is a possibility to allow pdfs to be created from dvi files)". The release was greeted with approval from users, including Theo Markettos, who commented: "The lack of decent TeX support is preventing me from doing 'Real Work' on RISC OS, and is something that is frequently annoying me enough to do something about." Gavin Wraith added: "This fills an aching gap in the Iyonix's software provision."

What a lovely bunch of coconuts
RISC OS file-sharers will be pleased to know that Gnutella client Cocognut is up to version 1.14 this month. According to author Marc Warne, his peer-to-peer software features a new, more efficient and network friendly Gnutellanet core, interactive help, better interaction with the Gnutella network and a herd of bugfixes.

In brief
Version 0.09 of popular Excel spreadsheet viewer ViewXLS can now export files as drawfiles. Alex Waugh's excellent NFS client SunFish is up to version 1.02, and features an updated user interface. Alex tells us that this release also sees support for TCP connections. Neil White has updated Crazeman, his SDL powered Pacman variant. Neil summarised his latest efforts as being "quite sweet".

FreeMap 3.20 now has better support for the MassFS USB filing system. Kevin Wells' National Lottery app now works with RISC OS Adjust.

And finally
riscos.de have linked to some photos of RISC OS users meeting up on mainland Europe: the September A.U.T.O. group, Fun of Computing 2004, and the GAG group. Also, as it's now November, highstreets up and down the country are filling up with Christmas stuff - and the RISC OS market is no different: Castle are currently running YALCDO*, get a free LCD monitor with an Iyonix.

Update at 05:16 18/11/2004
We've been asked to point out Theo Markettos' armtex mailing list, which he's kindly set up.


News? Comments? *- Yet Another LCD Offer

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Why do I enjoy looking at other people standing around looking at computers so much?

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 11/11/04 12:32AM
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fylfot: because you're ever so sad ;) :)

Is it just me, or is ViewXLS one of the most useful little programs out there :)


 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 11/11/04 8:06AM
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I've been following the "APDL vs. Colin Ferris" story with some interest. Of course, what *isn't* reported is that there's certainly no conflict between Colin and myself and we've been in regular contact since the beginning (but that doesn't make a good story).

Actually his patches don't actually make NightSky work on the Iyonix, which confirms what I was fairly sure of from the start since it would require more than a 'quick hack' to get NightSky working properly.

I don't yet know if Colin will be taking up my offer for him to do a 'proper' 32 bit version of NightSky. I hope so.

 is a RISC OS Userapdl on 11/11/04 8:30AM
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The NightSky article has a different "Sparkle" to the comments, nice to see we won't experience a "Black Hole" in the programme, or was it theoretically just a "Big Bang" in the beginning of development? (sorry to the NightSky creators about the cheeky comments, couldn't resist it). :blush: ViewXLS looks good, time and money I realise but more of these cross platform software is not only pleasing for RO users but incentive for non RO users to consider??

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 11/11/04 8:50AM
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Since ViewXLS can't display the results of formulae or graphs I find it too limiting to be of use. Essentially isn't it just of use where someone used Excel instead of a plain text table or csv/tsv file? -- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 11/11/04 9:55AM
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I've created a TeX (et al) on RISC OS mailing list: [link]


 is a RISC OS Usercaliston2 on 11/11/04 9:59AM
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Hard to say, Spriteman, but it deals with my supplier's pricelist which crashes some of MS's own XLS importers, so kudos to the author of !ViewXLS I reckon!

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 11/11/04 10:02AM
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arawnsley: I quite agree, it works with the mangled spreadsheet that uni kept giving me, and displayed them (IMHO) better then excel itself did :

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 11/11/04 10:22AM
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Yes, ViewXLS is one of those really great programs we have on this platform. Small and unobtrusive, and it works so well you hardly ever notice it. Pretty much the sort of thing that come bundled with RISC OS. Many thanks to the author. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 11/11/04 11:25AM
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Doh! The sort of thing that /should/ come bundled with RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 11/11/04 11:26AM
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In reply to spriteman I wondered how ViewXLS coped with formula in an 120K application! Fortunatly that limitaion hasn't limited me, all the dozens of Excel files I've thrown at it (Price lists mainly) have displayed brilliantly. It means I rarely turn on my PC here:-)

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 11/11/04 11:51AM
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Now all that is needed is Powerpoint and access file converters ;)

<fx: hint hint, nudge nudge :)>

<fx: runs and hides>

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 11/11/04 1:24PM
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Let's get serious - all we need is Macromedia Director and Shockwave and Flash 5 or 6 - then we're in business!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveW on 11/11/04 7:43PM
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In reply to DaveW:

And Java 1.5 , Firefox, Dreamweaver and a .net port ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 11/11/04 8:52PM
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.net? why would we need that MS rubbish?

<FX: hides more>

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 12/11/04 9:04AM
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Some upgrade to Oregano2 is needed and hopefully due or the Firefox mentioned in previous articles sounds an interesting addition. In business it is frustrating sometimes getting something like a JavaScript error message (I assume something is not compatible or lacking) for some important links that are not appearing. Yes, it is nice to see so many updates to so many RISC OS software and many I have never used or heard of before. On the other hand I say to myself, it's odd that many people have pointed out before, that no one really has the time to do the what one would consider more important other (useful) software in need of updating. I was thinking more of PC 2 RISC OS (and vice versa) software and file converters etc. as a means of getting PC users and their stuff over and on to RISC OS?

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 12/11/04 10:03AM
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Sawa: I look forward to your contribution to the Unix Porting Project

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 12/11/04 11:07AM
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andypoole: I hope you're being ironically blinkered intentionally in the hope of fitting in well here :) C# and the CLR parts of .net are very fine, and fix almost all the dumbness Java had. There's already an open source implementation of C# and the CLR with an ARM JIT, too. Get currying!

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 12/11/04 12:00PM
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In reply so Sawadee: Firefox doesn't sound like an addition but like a complete replacement of Oregano 2 - on Windows I use Firefox in preference to the Internet Explorer and until now barely saw any sites Firefox didn't cope with.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 12/11/04 5:13PM
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In reply to Nunfetishist:

What sort of dumbness did Java have? C# has some really nasty features like multiple inheritance....

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 12/11/04 5:41PM
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markee174: Stack-based VM, no generics (until very recently, and only because C# has them), massive memory overhead, difficult to bind to host-side code, ill-designed VM and class structure for support of other languages, madness in arbitary caching of objects [consider Integer i1=127, i2=127; Integer i3=128,i4=128; System.out.println(i1==i2); System.out.println(i3==i4) ], bad reflection, no nested classes. I could go on for ever.

"C# has some really nasty features like multiple inheritance...."

Multiple inheritance is very occationally useful, and is very much a personal taste thing. And anyway, you don't have to use it. Are you going to say next that having knifes in the kitchen is bad because you can stab yourself with them?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 12/11/04 5:54PM
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In reply to NunFetishist:

Multiple inheritance is bad because it allows you to make some very nasty logic errors. A programming language should try to make sure errors are compiler errors and not logic errors wherever possible.

The fact the only code you give to support an argument isn't even valid Java code speaks volumes. Which do you mean

//returns true as they are primitives int i1=127, i2=127; int i3=128,i4=128; System.out.println(i1==i2); System.out.println(i3==i4);

//returns false as they are objects Integer ii1=new Integer(127); Integer ii2=new Integer(127); Integer ii3=new Integer(128),ii4=new Integer(128); System.out.println(ii1==ii2); System.out.println(ii3==ii4);

Integer is an Object so you would not expect == to match them (its asking if they are the same object and they are not). You would use .equals() or use an int (which is a primitive). C sharp does not have pritimives as everything is an object. Not knowing how to use a tool properly does not make it a bad tool...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 12/11/04 6:37PM
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Java has nested classes. But this comment is way more off topic than my previous one - Sawadee wanted Firefox and other RISC OS software, I pointed out a way he could contribute to the effort of making it happen for RISC OS.

If you don't think that's relevant, at least bother to explain why.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 12/11/04 7:49PM
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Both .net and Java would be nice because they would increase the software options available and keep the platform 'mainstream'. They will never be as nice as 'proper' RISC OS applications because they will not be optimised or follow the style guide.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 12/11/04 8:17PM
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While I do like my Oregano2 software, Firefox sounds interesting from other people's comments and looks like he answer for the time being (if Firefox makes it to RO?). This article and some recent ones showing us the wonderful updates and developments happening on RISC OS is good news for sure. I just don't really understand why so much work is and has been done on software to bring them up to date, 32bitting classic wares (for the sake of it?), plug ins and add ons, and particularly the software to amuse the RISC OS users. I feel that it should be a priorty for all "RISC OS'ers" (new word!?!) to have a ViewXLS, and some other similar converter RO 2 PC and vice versa, worked on and developed so that there is no gap or lack of extremely "USEFUL" software for RISC OS. It is nice to have games ported and other stuff, but may not just right now? I do realize that individuals create their own bits and pieces of many a software and features I may see as not a priority, but maybe a joint effort may help solve this RO problem that we moan about and for the good of this wonderful new development "pathway" (sounds a bit like George Bush here!) that RISC OS is heading for?

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 12/11/04 10:26PM
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Sawadee: One word, "huh?". Your comments don't really have a whole lot to do with the real world, and a little bit of checking on your part would go a long way.

Let's inject some reality:

"Firefox sounds interesting ... the answer for the time being".

Mozilla/Firefox for many years has been the only realistic option for a comprehensive browsing experience on RISC OS, so this is hardly a relevlation. And as for your "for the time being", I have no idea what this might mean. If Firefox can be ported (which relies upon contributions by people like yourself), then there's no reason why it couldn't continue to be a comprehensive browser. Please read my document "The RISC OS browser issue".

"I don't understand why so much work .. software up to date". Er, what? In general 32-bitting software usually isn't a whole lot of work, and it's been done precisely because people want to run popular legacy applications on their new 32-bit hardware. I don't know why this is hard to understand.

"I feel it should be a priority .. for ViewXLS [and other converters]" - don't you really think you should be encouraging someone to port Gnumeric/AbiWord et al?

"It is useful to have games ported". Sigh, I've explained this before several times, but here it is again, just for you. There _aren't_ that many games being ported - really only by one person who has also given RISC OS for the first time in some years, new original games. Who are you to dictate what he does with his time?

Yes, Alan and I _have_ ported a lot of games in the past - mostly because it was so easy, and because there _were_ and still are people who want games (although it's a minority). That it is so easy is a reflection of just how good the various libraries and compilers we have are (but lots still remains to be done)

As for the "other stuff" - well, that would be everything else, wouldn't it? So I'm not sure what you mean. In any case, it is quite often that a new ported program - game or otherwise - helps to improve matters for any existing or potential ports, so it is rarely a waste of time.

"but maybe a join effort" - no points for originality. RISC OS has already extensively benefited from collaboratie development, and continues to do so. But given the limited number of RISC OS developers, and the sometimes difficult attitudes of users, there's a finite amount that can be done.

So, once again, in conclusion - you'd be much better off spending a little time to think before you start banging away on the keyboard. Not to mention that excessive exclamation certainly detracts from any post.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 13/11/04 8:58AM
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/and the sometimes difficult attitudes of users/

What sort of stuff do you mean?


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 13/11/04 11:07AM
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In reply to mrchocky: Thanks for your opinion and sorry if you feel a bit uneasy about mine (not intending to offend anyone, really). I was not dictating or putting RISC OS games down, but looking at what RISC OS really needs right now. I agree that anything done for RISC OS is not a waste of time, we are in a time now where RO appears to be happening. The attitude of us users, is frustration? The mentality and way of thinking in a school "Real World" of PC's is a frustrating battle for a lone Kiwi RISC OS nutter here and I do understand your RISC OS reality comments. So no offence, I was just asking in a comment form. :smile:

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 14/11/04 3:00AM
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Bear in mind that contribution needn't consist of actually writing lines of code if you're not that way inclined. Financial contribution to projects like the Unix Porting Project could really help move things forward.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 14/11/04 4:27AM
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jonix .....or indeed writing somewhat less terse program documentation than that that is normally accepted as useable in the UNIX world :o)

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 14/11/04 9:59AM
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