Angelo Melis updates AcornICQ: Faster and leanerBy Chris Williams. Published: 15th Jan 07:53:35 | Permalink | Printable
There are many ways to talk to your friends over the internet. ICQ is one them, a system where you pass messages and other things to each other. Called ICQ simply because it is the abbreivated form of "I seek you", it is very popular with many internet users.
Angelo Melis has taken up the role of providing a RISC OS client for ICQ and has done so for some time. Earlier this week, Angelo announced a further update of AcornICQ, bringing the application to version 0.30.0. Users can send messages and webpage addresses, as well as search for other users and set personal details. Remember, by using AcornICQ still means you can talk to people who use the Windows or Mac clients of ICQ.
According to Angelo's usenet announcement, AcornICQ now has a new history database which is faster and fixes some problems from earlier versions. Also, Michael Stubbs has contributed to this version by providing the start of a comprehensive manual, although once installed and setup, AcornICQ is straightforward in use.
Angelo regrets that the ability to transfer files didn't make it into this update. The next version is hoped to carry this feature along with mobile phone SMS support. Angelo started working on AcornICQ back in September 1998 when he wanted to stay in contact with a far away friend. His friend owned a PC and Angelo found having to use the PC Card for ICQ frustrating. He turned to the internet and found a Linux client, with full protocol information.
"In the beginning it was only for my own use, because I didn't think if people would be interested", Angelo recounts to Drobe. "After I saw a question on the Acorn newsgroups about a RISC OS client, I made my version available and there was a lot of reponse. And there still is. People was very enthusiastic and I continued to work on it."
Angelo's far away friend was at the time suffering from the illness Chronical Fatigue Syndrom, so Angelo thought it would be appropiate to make AcornICQ 'charityware' with donations sent to the CFS Fund.
As Angelo explains, "The contact between my friend and me was broken after a while, but I still think it is a good cause, so I still keep aICQ as charityware."
Angelo lives in the town of Leiden, in the west Netherlands, and works as a technical specialist for a local IT company. Before this, he worked for KITT Engineering, a RISC OS developer located in the Netherlands, after graduating from university with a computer science degree. He now lives with his partner Marjon and their four cats.
To develop AcornICQ, Angelo used Zap to write the client in C, using the Acorn C compiler with OSLib and NetLib. As of this version, Angelo has stopped using Ferdinand Veldman's TBase library for storing the individual messages and instead he is using his own database code. Finally, Angelo promises to implement as many new features as possible, especially when a new protocol is published.
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