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By Chris Williams. Published: 29th Sep 2005, 00:35:27 | Permalink | Printable

Visual programming language, VNC client, new GnuGP tool, and more

Compose screenshotDavid Llewellyn-Jones has made an intriguing stab at creating a visual programming language for RISC OS. Compose allows users to literally string together pre-defined components to form useful applications. By dragging flexible 'pipes' between contact points on individual component blocks, information can be made to flow around a program - it's almost like drawing a pretty flowchart. Currently, programs crafted in David's environment can perform calculations, read data from the keyboard and files, output information to the screen and to files, process text, communicate via a standard TCP/IP network, and more besides. The programming tool has its fair share of quirks, especially in the user interface department, although David admitted, "It's at a relatively early stage of development and I'm making it available for fun more than anything else." The open source software is released under the liberal MIT licence, so other developers are encouraged to contribute.

A new version of the Avalance VNC client is now available. The software by James Peacock allows RISC OS users to log into the desktop of a remote computer running a VNC server via a network. This updated release, which takes it up to version 0.07, includes support for non-UK keyboards and scalable screens, plus various bug fixes and speed enhancements.

Dr. Nat Queen has written a new crypto-tool to simplify the functionality of GnuPG. Crypt can, for example, assist in the encryption and decryption of data, and the verification of digital signatures. Another shining knight of the civil liberties order, Paul Vigay, has tweaked his FileNuke utility so that it now offers three grades of data scrubbing, (casual, good, and military grade), for those with less time on their hands. Bulk file renamer, Rename has also been updated to include the option for a default rename pattern.

RiscCAD developer David Buck has uploaded a new demo version of his 2D design software. The update addresses graphics glitches seen when the application is run in deep colour screen modes. Release 10 of RiscCAD is due to go on sale at next month's RISC OS South East show.


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Avalanche has already become my VNC for general usage. It is fast, stable and has some really nice features (like cut and paste text between windows and save the window as a screenshot).

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 29/9/05 8:28AM
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It was high time for a visual programming language for RISC OS. Well done David!

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 29/9/05 11:47AM
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mark: I'm sure that's true, although I would question the existence of (I think) no less than 6 VNC clients for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 29/9/05 5:02PM
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One could say RISC OS is served well in the VNC client area.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 29/9/05 5:36PM
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One could, but I'm not sure if it would be correct or not. What imperitive required each person to start over - presumbly deficiencies in each of the previous versions?

This is the topic of my article on resuable engineering:


And before anyone says anything, yes one of the VNC clients was in fact done by me - but in my defence, it's a direct port, with no code changed, and was done to examine the behaviour of ChoX11 and UnixLib.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 29/9/05 6:27PM
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Maybe it's just a managable sized project that several people have decided to stretch their programming skills with?

 is a RISC OS UserStoppers on 29/9/05 6:40PM
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Your argument seems to be that someone can't work on a software project if something similar already exists. As if it's ok to ban a developer from working on a project because it may not fit in with what you would like to see developed for the platform. So what if there's a number of VNC clients? Some of them are flaky, and some are pretty good. It may be unfortunate to you that a particular developer decided work on a VNC client, rather than something else, but I personally believe it's unreasonable to demand what other independent programmers can and can't do.

You, yourself, even distribute versions of make, gzip, wget, whois, VNC, RDP, etc etc, which were already available. Presumably you did this because you felt your ports would be better. I'm pretty sure this same thought passed through the mind of the last person who developed a VNC, RSS, RDP, etc client.

Thanks for the blog spam, btw.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 29/9/05 6:42PM
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Avalanche was started quite a while ago because at the time I was unable to find a VNC client which worked on the Iyonix - there is more choice now. I initally wanted an X server, but the X server was too much work to port, so I settled for VNC - the protocol is simple enough that porting TightVNC or something would probably not have saved much time over writing it from scratch and also made it easier to integrate into the RISC OS desktop. Today, I may not have made the descision to write it.

 is a RISC OS Userjamesp on 29/9/05 7:01PM
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diomis: If my argument "seems to be" that, then you don't seem to have grasped what I said very well. The issue is much more than a particular project. I certainly did not mention "ban" in any way.

"Presumably you did this". No presumptions are needed, and your conclusion is incorrect. They were done and added to the autobuilder so there would be just _one_ version which could be easily built from the latest sources and avoid this precise problem.

"Thanks for the blog spam". Perhaps you can explain why a link to a relevant article is classed as spam.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 29/9/05 7:24PM
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What we need next is a good fast reliable and secure VNC server for both 26bit and 32bit machines. Neither the original !VNCServe or HBPs server work on my Kinetic/ViewFinder/Select machine or the Iyonix, but were also slow and insecure. So perhapse the talented VNC client authors with a good grasp of the protocols could turn their had to a sever implementation?

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 30/9/05 9:39AM
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Yes, there may be many clients, but there isn't really a usable server.

Of course you could run VirtualAcorn and use a PC server to export the display ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 30/9/05 11:00AM
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When I started on VNCViewer there wasn't any other VNC client around at the time. And then about two weeks before I was ready to release, !VNC appeared. As there were a number of differences in the UI and so on, I thought I might as well release VNCViewer as well.

So in that case it was just a bit of bad timing that 2 clients got released, and as I've not yet made VNCViewer 32 bit compatible this may have prompted a few other people to produce VNC clients that could be run on the Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS UserLeo on 30/9/05 11:18AM
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A VNC server has to work harder than the client - the protocol is designed to make writing clients easy. I haven't needed one enough to bother writing one as I tend to connect to other machines from RISC OS, not the other way round; though it would be an interesting little project if I had the time.

As far as security is concerned, I tunnel VNC over ssh when going over public networks as the standard VNC protcol is unencrypted. I am unaware of a RISC OS ssh server to go the other way.

 is a RISC OS Userjamesp on 30/9/05 11:55AM
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How about an A9 compatible RDP Client as well.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 30/9/05 2:10PM
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When STD/ROL document the differences between 32bit Adjust, 26bit Adjust and 32bit RISC OS 5, then it should be straight forward to make software which works on all machines. But nothing has been forthcoming, and A9 beta testers emailing you to say your software crashes is not the way to discover about changes to APIs or version numbers and capabilities of the Shared C Library.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 30/9/05 2:48PM
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sa110: good idea, tried my client?

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 30/9/05 4:05PM
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In reply to Mr Chocky: Yes thanks. It did not work. I did send you an email advising your of this on the 16th July. Complete with error logs. Would you like me to send it again?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 30/9/05 4:48PM
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No, I'll take another look, thanks. I'll get in touch if need be. For the benefit of others, my RDP client doesn't use SCL, so this is unrelated to issues that druck refers to.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 30/9/05 6:41PM
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druck: Advantage Six did initially ask A9 owners not to contact software owners directly about problems 'at this stage' - but A9 ownership is way beyond the half-a-dozen beta testers stage. Software writers should be able to produce programs for RISC OS without needing to identify the specific machine and attempts to do so may well ensure that programs work only on a limited range of machines. The A9 runs the latest (current) version of RISC OS that has been 32-bitted so, as long as you use StubsG and don't incorporate Iyonix specific features, then there should be no problems with programs running on the A9 - and any such do need to be reported to AdvantageSix unless they touch upon one of the few areas yet to be completed (and generally known to A9 users). The whole idea of the work that ROL have been doing is that there will be no effective differences between the 26-bit and 32-bit versions of RISC OS for programmers and users and no need to consult a list of 'differences'.

 is a RISC OS Userjc on 3/10/05 12:15PM
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