Software newsBy Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Apr 2006, 08:15:01 | Permalink | Printable
NetSurf, more RiscPC emulation and more to followPlease sir, can I have some more?
Power users can now get to grips with a much larger desktop, thanks to 7th Software's new MoreDesk utility. Virtual workspaces can be created and switched to, creating the effect of a much more spacious desktop. DIfferent backdrops and windows can be assigned to each separate desktop, and the application is known to run on Iyonixes, StrongARM RiscPCs and VirtualRiscPCs. The software will set you back fifteen quid, although a free demo is available.
Author Steve Revill, whose name you might recognise as being one of the Pace engineers during the time the company flirted with RISC OS, said: "MoreDesk allows you to organise your windows on over a space which is larger than the normal desktop. It does this by creating a grid of desktop spaces and by allowing you to select which of these is the one you are currently looking at."
QEMU the music
Hot on the heels of RPCEmu, Daniel Clarke has taken recent work that allows QEMU to run RISC OS applications, and grown a RiscPC emulator from it. While RPCEmu interprets ARM processor instructions in sequence to perform its emulation, Daniel's work attempts to recompile the software running on his emulator on-the-fly into something the host machine can execute.
He said: "I feel it would be excellent to have a working open source 'just in time' RiscPC emulator to complement the range already out there."
Daniel's project has hit a few snags that prevents RISC OS and ARM Linux from booting up. Those curious enough can take a look at the project here, as hosted by Peter Howkins. Meanwhile, a Mac OS X port of RPCEmu has begun, but it's still very early days yet.
NetSurf road map announced
The team behind open source native web browser NetSurf are homing in on their promised version 1.0 release - which will be officially branded as being stable enough for users who can't keep up with the daily fresh-off-the-compiler builds. Their goals at the moment include fixing problems with cookies and HTML lists, finishing off the configuration user interface, adding support for CSS absolute positioning, and squashing some hundred or so known bugs; more details here.
Plans are also afoot to develop NetSurf to the point where it can be productively used on other platforms, such as on a typical Linux desktop using GTK+. It can already produce a GTK+ version (pictured), but this is more useful as a debugging aid rather than as a competent web browser.
Coder Daniel Silverstone told NetSurf users: "When NetSurf 1.0 is released, it will be promoted to a fully fledged browser and we expect that NetSurf 2.0 will be simultaneously released as a RISC OS browser and as a GTK browser on as many platforms as we can compile it for."
Meanwhile, the browser now supports multiple simultaneous downloads from the same site, produces thumbnails of pages when windows are iconised, supports more CSS-based pointer types, as well as various other recent tweaks and bug fixes. It's hoped the NetSurf developers will be able to meet up at the forthcoming Wakefield show to take part in a live coding sessions, allowing punters to see how the browser is put together by the team and offer immediate feedback.
Xara open source available, MW Software spotted nearby
As promised, the source code to vector art package Xara Xtreme is now available. Published by Xara, also known as Computer Concepts, the makers of ArtWorks and Impression, Xtreme is being aimed at the Linux and Mac platforms. However at least a few of you have noticed that ArtWorks 2 developer Martin Wuertner has been getting stuck in by discussing various issues on the Xara Xtreme mailing list, and posting source code updates to the project.
Hell raiser Neil White's game Crazeeman has been ported to the ARM powered GP2X games console. More to follow...
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