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New MSN client in development

Published: 3rd Sep 2007, 00:01:56 | Permalink | Printable

Currently with beta testers [Updated 5/9/07]

Parmesan MSN clientA new RISC OS MSN chat client was released for free tonight for brave punters to test drive. Dubbed Parmesan by developer Christian Ludlam, the software allows people to chat to each other in real-time over the Internet - ideally enabling RISC OS punters to converse with buddies using Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and other computer platforms.

In a covert announcement earlier this evening, Christian said: "I'm looking for beta testers to trial a new MSN client I've written for RISC OS. If you have an MSN account, please try it."

Although the freeware software, pictured, gets stuck at the "Setting online status" point on drobe's RISC OS 4.42-powered A9home, the client at least reportedly works on a vanilla RISC OS 4 RiscPC and a RISC OS 5 Iyonix. Christian's client even supports nudges, allowing online chatterboxes to wobble the other person's Parmesan windows to grab their attention.

While basic chat operations work, other functionality including file transfers has yet to be implemented. The software's user interface is governed by XML and CSS, according to Christian, allowing users to tweak how the program appears on the desktop.

It's believed that, by supporting features such as nudges, Christian's software is the most up-to-date MSN client available for RISC OS.

Update at 19:58 05/09/2007
Christian has withdrawn the beta download as a number of people have now stepped forward to act as beta testers. A number of bugs have now been fixed, and the software is working on the A9home. A website is expected soon, although Christian's priorities are file transfer support, configuration settings, 'sort by group' functionality, configurable fonts and colours, and various user interface tweaks.

He told us last night: "I prefer my client over the official MSN Mac OS X client, even though there's still loads of things it does that Parmesan doesn't.

"There's lots of stuff I want to do, but it's been usable for so long it should be released. I removed the download when I had enough beta-testers and started getting bug reports back.

"I spotted the drobe.co.uk article later - that's unfortunate."

File transfer is said to be mostly working and needs a user interface to finish it off. The program can also receive handwritten messages from other MSN clients.


Download beta version 1 Christian's website - the parmesan site appears to be password locked.

Previous: Beta testers needed for new MSN client
Next: Video introduction to ROS Adjust prepared


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Don't mean to sound ungrateful, but don't we already have an MSN client in the form of Grapevine. Why do we need another?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 3/9/07 11:02AM
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This looks very interesting.

Is it tied into only MSN or does it have the potential for mutliprotocols?

(A shame it duplicates the only IM system I can reliably access from RISC OS, as my contacts are spread over MSN, yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Google and SIP.)

Does it provide support for contacting Yahoo via MSN? Does it support user Icons?

Both of these would be very useful and bring it up to the level of the official mac client.

I shall definitely have a play when i get back home.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/9/07 11:26AM
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sa110: maybe because this is a free?

 is a RISC OS Userjonesd98 on 3/9/07 11:28AM
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And why is it called Parmesan?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/9/07 12:38PM
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At this time, would love to download it but the two links via Drobe, give the error 404 Not Found :(

 is a RISC OS UserHairy on 3/9/07 1:07PM
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Grapevine is okay, but it's certainly not ideal. Nudges are amusing and can on occasion be useful, it's not essential in my book, like File transfer is. Grapevine does support file transfer, but it requires the user to open the relevant ports in the router manually. From the screenshot above, it does seem there is support for user pictures (avatars) in Parmesan, which has yet to become supported on Grapevine.

In all, I'd say a very interesting development. Certainly so if Parmesan will have better functionality and a more pleasant user interface than Grapevine, which until now remains the only MSN / Windows Live client for RISC OS users.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 3/9/07 1:30PM
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Without access to the application's website, we obviously have no idea why MSN was chosen in preference to jabber, yahoo or icq or a multiprotocol system.

Perhaps the author found a library for MSN that all the correct components exist for and nothing is complete for other protocols.

Or perhaps he has loads of MSN contacts and needs some more advanced features than Grapevine provides. (Webcam maybe :) )

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/9/07 2:16PM
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In reply to Hairy:

I would also like to download it, and would love to beta test it, yet it appears that they only put it up for a few hours.

 is a RISC OS UserMikeCarter on 3/9/07 8:17PM
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Well I suppose it's one way to limit the number of beta testers... ;-)


Yeah narked me too :-(

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis on 3/9/07 8:22PM
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As sent to the zap-technical list (0422 on 3 September), beta1 is temporarily gone while Christian fixes some bugs. He also asked that people e-mail him if they are successfully using it so he doesn't have to assume no-one uses it if he doesn't get any reports back.

 is a RISC OS Userxyzzy on 4/9/07 4:20AM
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epistaxsis: No need to be cheesed off.

 is a RISC OS Userxyzzy on 4/9/07 4:21AM
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> so he doesn't have to assume no-one uses it if he doesn't get any reports back

Would it be possible for beta versions of the program to add an extra contact? One the author sets up for this purpose. This could even be used for feedback to the author. (Status could be away or available for feedback).

In release versions this could be an option.

Grapevine has one feature i love - changing screen name each message from a file.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 4/9/07 9:18AM
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Parmesan. Makes perfect sense if you think about it (I did hear somewhere that it was originally going to be called Nobcheese, but I think parmesan is a better name).

Sa110 - yes you do. Grapevine is fairly annoying and expensive. Parmesan beta is already better in lots of ways.

hEgelia - nudges ARE essential. Oh yes they are.

Unfortunately, msn seems to be massively more widely used by the UK general public than most other IMs. Pleh.

 is a RISC OS UserMENTAT on 4/9/07 4:46PM
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Ooooh, and check out how bad i am!

 is a RISC OS UserMENTAT on 4/9/07 4:51PM
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parMeSaN ?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 4/9/07 5:04PM
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In reply to MENAT

"Grapevine is fairly annoying and expensive"

Well at £29 I think it is an Ok price and it's a good product though I agree that some more functionality would be nice and which I would be prepared to pay for. Then again if I lived in the RISC Os world that some others seem to live in then I would be demanding RComp pay me to use their software as even £0.00 is to much.

Any way nice to see more development in the market and well done to Christian for taking the time and effort with Parmesan.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 4/9/07 6:30PM
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bluenose: I have to say I agree with you there!

Still not bad to have seomthing for free once in a while!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 5/9/07 4:04PM
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I also have to say...I am impressed with the XML and CSS Ideas! :@)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 5/9/07 4:06PM
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On reading the update this is quite an exciting development, especially the nudge and receiving handwritten messages I don't think even Gaim/Pidgin on Linux does this.

 is a RISC OS UserMikeCarter on 6/9/07 5:28PM
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Sounds all good - I look forward to using it when the author decides to release it. When the software reaches the release stage, will it still be freeware? I have thought for a while that its a shame we do not have a free MSN client available, like many other platforms. I appreciate that of course for a company to write a client then they require some repayment, but I think that a free client might make the platform more attractive to potential users

 is a RISC OS Userpolas on 11/9/07 1:28PM
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It's out now. Looks nice.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/9/07 11:15AM
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Indeed. Compared to Grapevine, it looks great and already has basic stuff Grapevine still hasn't managed to implement after all these years. Best thing it's free! I wonder what R-Comp and Alan Wrigley are thinking of this...

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 15/9/07 5:58PM
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Hopefully improving Oscar support, adding Jabber or Yahoo support and doing nothing to MSN unless it's adding webcam or voice support (which would be lovely, but is too much to hope for realistically).

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/9/07 6:53PM
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