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News in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 14th Feb 2005, 23:06:52 | Permalink | Printable

MPro screenshots, more software and special offers

Now that we're half way through February, it's time to round up recent news. R-Comp have dished out upgrades to DialUp 3, NetFetch 2 and Messenger Pro 3 to users this month. NetFetch 2 and DialUp 3 were both treated to Hermes updates, while Messenger Pro now supports a heirarchical structure of mail folders and newsgroups. This will allow users to view their files in a 'tree view':

The new tree view in MessengerPro: Clicking on the 'minus' closes the tree. Note that is you have a riscos directory containing emails and you can put other directories into riscos.

Clicking on the 'plus' icon will open the tree view again for the directory

Creating a sub-directory is just a case of including the full path with "." to separate each level. It also works for renaming existing directories.

Levels also work with move and copy commands
Pictures and captions by Mark Stephens

Drobe's Peter Naulls has given riscos.info a spring clean: his RISC OS software and materials are now on the site, whilst his ARM Linux work remains on chocky.org. Rick Murray has published issue 23 of his fanzine Frobnicate online - now 100% RISC OS free. Until the end of February, Castle are throwing in a free digital Canon Powershot A95 camera with Iyonix orders, and a free Canon iP3000 printer with 512M Iyonix orders. From today until 15th March, STD are offering a fully unlocked Unipod, RISC OS Adjust ROM set, an 80G hard disc with Adjust software and Boot sequence pre-installed and a 50 quid voucher off a year's Select subscription, all for 290 quid (including VAT and postage).

News in brief motifSpeaking of Select, a source close to RISCOS Ltd. has contacted us regarding our previous Select special offer article. He told us: "In the 'Select sale' post, you'd described Select-32 as Iyonix compatible. I agree that in theory this may be the case, but to my knowledge that's not the primary aim - the primary aim will be the A9 and possibly the Omega. Iyonix will need much more work to establish hardware independence. I also don't think ROL have details on how to drive the Iyonix hardware, and I suspect the information won't be forthcoming."

Meanwhile, it's rumoured that one or both of the parties in the Castle-RISCOS Ltd. agreement have since backtracked on the settlement between the two OS developers.

Software in brief
File comparison utility DirSync 1.09 can now compare binary types, such as Sprite files and image filesystems. Friendly email app Tapirmail 1.04 can now send attachments and various enhancements have been made to the POP3, SMTP and MIME engines. iconv 0.03, a utility which converts character encodings, now supports various aliases of inbuilt encoding names and a more friendly Iconv_Convert SWI.

Richard Windley of the Really Small Software Company has updated software IDE Sourcery, his ODBC drivers and tools, SQLlite library, and audio sample editor SampleEd, plus ported SDL games LBreakOut2 and Jump'n'Bump. Mark Page has released an updated RISC OS port of the classic Super Methane Brothers game. Andrew Stubbs knows it makes sense - he's moved his Swipe utility to his drobe.co.uk web space. Originally developed by Thomas Leonard, Swipe lets you grab text from anywhere in the desktop and copy it to the global clipboard. Ray Favre has updated popular desktop application library Dr. Wimp to version 4.20, closely followed by a NurseW update. Oh matron.

Finally, some USB2 speed comparisons have been published on Iconbar and by Dave Ruck.


News? Comments? Cough

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Next: Qercus says sorry for lateness


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"Meanwhile, it's rumoured that one or both of the parties in the Castle-RISCOS Ltd. agreement have since backtracked on the settlement between the two OS developers"

So long as they are talking about things in a mature and adult fashion, and one's not trying to rip the other off, I guess it's no big deal and, probably, to be expected.

It's when it becomes bullying that I find it unpleasent. But we've been there, done that, and moved on, right ?

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 15/2/05 12:11AM
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Re: Select-32. Bother. :-( Iyonix owners who would like to see significant OS updates are out of luck again it seems.

Time to blow the cobwebs off Merlin?


 is a RISC OS Usersoutherner on 15/2/05 12:19AM
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Re: Iconv a) It was written from scratch so can't really be called a port. It does (by its very nature) borrow API details from the iconv.h header file present in most C libraries. b) The latest version of the module may be obtained via the version-independent [link] link. As it happens v0.03 is the latest (and, as I've no pending bugfixes or feature requests, is unlikely to change any time soon).

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 15/2/05 12:46AM
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jmb: Ok. Thanks. I've updated the article.


 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 15/2/05 2:08AM
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With regards to Select on Iyonix - looks like ROL have put the blame back in CTL's court. So I'd say were back to the pre CTL/ROL public fall out stage of last year with regards to Adjust/Select on Iyonix. Oh well, never mind. At this rate we'll probably end up with two incompatiable OS's in a few years time. Picture it: ROL specificially altering Adjust/Select as to be not compatible with RO5. CTL publicly accusing ROL of doing such that, whilst they quietly do the same.

Unless they make an agreement and both sides stick to it, I reckon and spells more uncertainty for us RISC OS supporters, and more work for the few developers that are left.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 15/2/05 11:17AM
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"and more work for the few developers that are left" Well, not really. If API changes aren't available for RO3.[567], then they're unlikely to be used - it's simpler to reinvent the wheel, tbh.

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 15/2/05 11:58AM
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Surely Frobnicate is 100% *Microsoft* free, not RISC OS free?

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 15/2/05 12:09PM
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I'm surprised that a Select port to Iyonix needs details of how to drive the hardware. Surely there are SWIs in the underlying RISC OS 5 to do that (or even in the HAL, which is documented)?

If it does need details of how to drive the hardware in this, the first RISC OS machine to try to abstract away from the hardware for portability reasons, isn't that a Bad Thing?

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 15/2/05 6:34PM
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You believe the CTL's pathetic HAL provides everything you need to sit an OS on? Hehe.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 15/2/05 6:56PM
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Oh please. This needn't be a Castle/RISC OS Ltd slagging match. None of the above info has been confirmed by either Castle or ROL, and until it is I think we shouldn't start blaming anyone or jumping to conclusions. Let rumours be rumours, and confirmed fact be fact. I'm sure if there are any unsolved disagreements then it will become clear, but until then...

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 15/2/05 7:08PM
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Good to read the software updates going steady ahead, at least most of them know where their loyalty is - I am finding these 'rumours' regarding ROLtd/Castle increasingly troubling, in fact it beggars belief... when are they coming forward with their real agenda? I think the customer base have a right to know what's in store for them and should no longer be the 'victim' of these childish disputes. This rumour has certainly p*ssed me off...

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 15/2/05 7:16PM
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but it's just a rumor. Anyone can start a rumor. It's unverified, and uncertain, so I suggest it is forgotten about for now until something is (or isn't) confirmed.

I must say I'm impressed with all the development of Messenger Pro. :) I find it very easy to use, and far better than Outlook Express which I am forced to use to read my Uni email.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 15/2/05 7:29PM
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In reply to hEgelia: If suspect most if not every RISC OS user is by now p***ed off and fed up with the constant in fighting between CTL and ROL, especially as it was all supposed to be sorted out.

I think they should both make a statement as to what the state of play is i.e. is everything ok? or have the discussions/agreements broken down.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 15/2/05 7:30PM
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Sounds like Webster XL is a gonna.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 15/2/05 7:41PM
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I have just read through this whole article and can find no mention of WXL. All I can think of is that you are hearing things that are not there.

 is a RISC OS UserMart on 15/2/05 8:07PM
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AW - that's how rumours get started LOL. I am fairly certain WXL is not gone, because I'm talking to the programmer about Javascript bits and bobs right now on Grapevine. He was just explaining to me how he's fixing another problem then sending me a test build. Shame RISC OS doesn't have an "unsung heroes" award really.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 15/2/05 8:42PM
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Hum, as an Iyonix owner interested in buying a promised product from RO Ltd I had no intent of starting a slagging match.

But my understanding of the agreement between the two is that RO Ltd will supply the desktop elements. So I genuinely don't understand why they need details of how to drive the underlying hardware when there's a whole OS (loosely) between them and it. It just sounds like FUD to me but I was trying to be tactful.

If RO Ltd have no intention of providing Select for Iyonix then that's their business (or non-business, in that case). However, they said they were going to do it so a naive, trusting soul like me then tries to understand the apparent problems...and fails in this case.

We could perhaps have a rational discussion of that issue?

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 15/2/05 9:28PM
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Perhaps, has as aslready been said in the newsgroups by a variety of people and during the past several months, the problem with Select is that many of the higher lever functionality changes that we as users see, require many low level changes to be done. Now, I'm no programmer, but if any of these low level changes impact in the way ROS talks to hardware and these have been changed for the Iyoinx, then that will stop ROL from producing a version of Select for the Iyonix, without co-operation fom CTL.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 15/2/05 11:00PM
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As other people have said. These are just rumours and should not be taken as fact. It dosen't seem to fit with my understanding of the statements made by ROL/Castle either. My understanding is that the extras in Select would be integrated into OS 5 to make Select 32. Reworking a 32bit version of the current Select was going to be more complex. This way it wouldn't take them long to install the first lot of features and release it.

 is a RISC OS UserIanK on 15/2/05 11:09PM
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Yes it is the absence of WXL that was conspicuous. In particularly the mailing list has been quiet as well. Andrew Pullan has spoken in the past of the demands that WXL places on his spare time and I thought that - in spite of the work that WXL still needs - the demands had finally got the better of him. Together these made me negative about WXL's future.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 16/2/05 1:21AM
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I'm interested, what are the benefits of WXL over Oregano? I used to be a huge fan of Webster back in the day. Especially for offline browsing and website design. I eventually moved to Arcweb for online browsing (can't remember why. was it faster? Had frame support?) before getting Browse. I suspect WXL has come a long way since then.

-- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 16/2/05 1:55PM
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WXL has come a long way since the days of Webster, ArcWeb and Browse in terms of it's capabilities. But it's still incredibly slow compared to all other browsers for RISC OS and lets face it the rest of them are none too spritely on the crippled RISC OS hardware.

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 16/2/05 2:12PM
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Is there a demo version of WXL? I've only really used Fresco, and Oregano as my main browser, and am starting to use NetSurf a lot more.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 16/2/05 3:37PM
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I think a fair assessment of WXL's strengths over Oregano would be in its saving (drawfile, page with images, page-with-scripts-css-js-images etc), printing, cache, text-highlighting-and-drag'n'drop (global clipboard support too), font handling and the fact that WXL's javascript gets users into some sites/router-config-pages which Oreg/Fresco won't touch. Of course, Oregano's JS will conversely get users into some things which WXL will not. WXL has a moderate amount of CSS (but not comprehensive by any means) and full RISC OS plugin support. It can even act *as* a plugin to allow other apps to render HTML. Indeed this is how we implement things like iframes (something missing from other RISC OS browsers). WXL also has hotlist and history lists, global history lists, and lots of flexibility in terms of browser-faking etc. We also put a few extra features in to WXL which can help with web design (it is included as part of our web design range).

The achiles heel of WXL is speed. Certain types of page can take a long time to display. To a degree this depends on the type of content being viewed, but certainly browsers like Browse or Fresco are significantly quicker (although often WXL is handling more of the HTML eg. font lookups etc). It is worth noting that WXL on the Iyonix is a very different beast to WXL on RiscPC because of the extra CPU speed (the extra 400mhz make a big difference). Additionally WXL was rather disc-speed bound on RiscPC and earlier machines.

The bottom line is that each RISC OS web browser has its strengths and weaknesses. I would never claim WXL to be gods-gift to web browsers, but then that's true of all RISC OS browsers. However it certainly does have a number of (to my mind) useful features which make it different enough from the other RISC OS browsers to be worth owning. I would also add that people who bought WXL for just 25ukp back in 1996 (the price went up to 30ukp when we added Javascript and SSL) have never been charged for upgrades (although we have slowed down the upgrades for them recently).

Anyway, lets not turn this into a WXL thread - I know certain drobe-posters love to put the boot in when WXL is mentioned. There was a WXL32bit update sent out at the end of January incidentally.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 16/2/05 3:49PM
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Re OS developments.... We're buying a Mac Mini so we can make use of things that other OS users take for granted such as video viewing and editing, DVD authoring and burning and web browsers with JAVA.

Those apps that come free with a Mac mini (at the bargain price of Eur500) simply do not exist for any RISC OS machine wether or not it has Adjust whistle and bells as opposed to RO5 whistles and bells.

Thus further debates as to which OS flavour is the best etc miss the point entirely.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 16/2/05 5:47PM
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Yes we're aware that we've not been charged for upgrades but that's been said several times and is beginning to look a bit like "shut up or we'll charge you". Yes it was very cheap by today's standards, yes it's a one man effort but the fact is that there are some very unprofessional looking bugs in it quite apart from the on balance relatively slow speed. For instance every time I load it (RO Select), /every/ time and try to re-size the window (i.e. a simple click on the toggle size icon) the whole thing crashes!

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 16/2/05 9:04PM
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Still haven't got my WXL32bit upgrade yet Andrew!!!

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 16/2/05 9:07PM
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Thanks for the bug report AW. I'm curious about that and will check your report against my version. I assume you're aware that you can do File->Save->Window Size. Can you drop me an email, and I'll see if we can't get your problem solved. rcomp@rcomp.co.uk should do the trick. I have to say I tend to save window size and/or reszie with the bottom-right drag-resize icon, as I don't like full screen applications, so I can't comment immediately (I'm reading drobe whilst Everquesting). I assume that you're happy to have a beta update if we can reproduce the problem? Anyway, this isn't a WXL support thread - email please.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 16/2/05 10:43PM
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Eddie - yes, we've had a number of people not receiving this upgrade - if you email us, I'll send you it by return immediately. I'm starting to get a little worried that Demon may have been misbehaving when I dispatched this upgrade. Anyway, fingers crossed there'll be another upgrade before SW show, for people I don't email for individual copies to.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 16/2/05 10:46PM
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PS, AW - no threat intended. I have no intention of failing to honour the promise of free upgrades. I tend to mention it a lot because it is rather different to other browsers/software in that regard. I've lost count of the number of upgrades that have been released over the years! The reason I have always felt this way about web browsers is that unlike (say) a word processor, a web browser is only ever as useful as the content that people put out. Once you charge for a browser upgrade, it is a gun to the user's head - pay up or your product is history. Taking the word processor example, if you keep the same machine, it will continue to function to the same level of productivity ad infinitum. The web is not like that. Sorry if you've heard me cite that example before.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 16/2/05 10:54PM
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