Drobe :: The archives
About Drobe | Contact | RSS | Twitter | Tech docs | Downloads | BBC Micro

PostScript overhaul project reports progress

Published: 14th Oct 2007, 23:46:39 | Permalink | Printable

Sought after source code in developers' hands

PostScript 3 logoTwo programmers hoping to overhaul the RISC OS PostScript system were this week handed copies of the RISC OS printing system source code. Martin Wuerthner and John Tytgat were granted access to the blueprints of the RISC OS 6 printing system in order to improve it. The source code was supplied by RISCOS Ltd.

It's understood Martin and John want to fix a number of long-standing issues in the way RISC OS generates PostScript and provide PostScript level 3 features. The duo want to tackle problems with fonts and colours, and add proper support for PPD files, which specify which paper trays to use, what resolution to use, duplex settings and so on.

The pair of programmers will ask for cash contributions to fund the development of the software. They also hope to release their work to as many users as possible, even as far as feeding their improvements into the RISC OS Open project. ROOL hopes to have the sources to the RISC OS 5 printing system, as well as the window manager, font manager and toolbox suite, ready for release by the end of the month.

A source close to Martin and John said: "The PostScript drivers really need to be kicked into the 21st century. Their to-do list for the sources is quite long and the code is a little obscure in places. It's a big job but now Martin and John can really get to work.

"It is their intention to help the RISC OS community as a whole and they can't see a reason why they should have to duplicate their work for Castle's RISC OS 5 and ROL's RISC OS 6. It's hoped the source code for both printing systems will be pretty much the same."

Links

Previous coverage of their PostScript project

Previous: Get new software alerts with Rover beta
Next: New TechWriter style editor revealed

Discussion

Viewing threaded comments | View comments unthreaded, listed by date | Skip to the end

Kudos and best wishes to both of them! Let's hope this helps Louie get RISC OS Now out quicker and easier.

 is a RISC OS Userdavehigton on 15/10/07 7:13AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Once again I have my money ready for such an important improvement for our platform.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 15/10/07 8:21AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

If Martin and John are working on it, you know its in safe hands, and a big leap forward is guaranteed.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 15/10/07 9:26AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

If the source code is pretty much the same, it's because it's Castle's! This is reminding me of the way the !Printers source was released into the public domain, complete with all of the copyright notices saying it wasn't theirs to release (whoever it was that put it there).

Kind of makes me wonder why I'm working so hard to do this the right way.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 15/10/07 6:11PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Not that I have anything against Martin and John's contribution, I just hope this isn't RO6 only rather than for the benefit of everyone, which the sources we're releasing are. I suppose it all depends upon the terms under which ROL released the sources to Martin and John. We can only hope.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 15/10/07 6:14PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to riscosopen

You beat me to it, I was just about to say the article didn't state under what clauses were the ROL !Printers sources/blueprints handed to Martin and John. It might just be that Martin and John are been given it as part of some Select/RO6 work they are doing which would be a shame.

If this is to enable a Postscript3 driver to be made available to all then I'm all for it but if it's a spoiler ahead of the ROOL source release of !Printers then I would be really disappointed.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 15/10/07 6:28PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I hope its in the benefit for all. Would be nice to be able to print in Netsurf with Iyonix. Or rather its a fruitful for as many as possible.

 is a RISC OS UserHairy on 15/10/07 6:29PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Martin always made it very clear that the resulting work would be available to all RISC OS users - this is the only sensible way of doing it, so I am sure it will be done that way.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 15/10/07 7:12PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

It's not so much the printing to paper that interests me, but the fact that a good postscript driver will enable much better PDFs to be created.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/10/07 7:14PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Well, let's hope that Martin an John are not into RISC OS 6 only, but support the good RISC OS 5 too - but I think they will do that!

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/10/07 7:20PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Logically, if they were to produce it only for RO 6, then ROL would have to finance it.

Hopefully, it's just to give them a head start so when the ROOL release appears, they can land running.

I hope the finance model is like firefox rather than gutenprint.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/10/07 7:32PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

If they'd wanted access to the sources under a non-disclosure agreement in order to get started prior to it all being in the public domain (within the next week), I'm sure Castle would have agreed to that.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 15/10/07 7:49PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to jess:

"Logically, if they were to produce it only for RO 6, then ROL would have to finance it." Nice one :-) You mean in the same way that Ad6 paid for 32bitting RISC OS...

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 15/10/07 8:00PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

riscosopen: Surely it's best to assume that ROL want to help rather than to gazump? In that case it would have been a waste of effort to get what you're providing early, if the other sources were going to be provided anyway.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/10/07 9:14PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

riscosopen: No, unfortunately, what you wrote is not correct. We did ask Castle and our request was declined due to the pending open sourcing. We asked RiscOS Ltd. and Castle at the same time - in June 2006. Since then, we have been waiting. RiscOS Ltd. beat you with the sources, but that does not mean anything. I am very glad that the ROOL sources will soon be there, too. Fortunately, this particular module is probably the one that has diverged the least of all the major modules because neither ROL nor Tematic/Castle have done any substantial work on it.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 15/10/07 9:32PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

jess: "I hope the finance model is like firefox rather than gutenprint." - I am not quite sure what you mean by that. What aspect of the Gutenprint finance model do you dislike?

hzn: "Well, let's hope that Martin an John are not into RISC OS 6 only, but support the good RISC OS 5 too - but I think they will do that!" - It is rather unlikely that this will become a RISC OS 6 only release because I do not have RISC OS 6, so how would I use a RISC OS 6 only module? ;-) Seriously, both John and me have been very active making software work on the Iyonix, so it would be silly to assume we might release something that does not run on the Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 15/10/07 9:41PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

wuerthne: I would prefer sponsoring something that is then free. (With something as important as this) Rather than limiting it to subscribers.

I see things like this available for free as a benefit to the future of the platform. (I wouldn't be too keen on trying a platform if I had to buy printer drivers) .

Also Gutenprint was of little interest to me directly, so I didn't join, had it been a sponsor type thing, I would have attempted to contribute.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/10/07 10:16PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Thanks for the response, Martin. I'm still not clear whether this means you'll be able to add the same features to the printer sources which will very soon be in the public domain.

The alternative would appear to be that the sources have been licensed to you by ROL so you can add some features to _their_ stack (which may well end up being a separate commercial product for non-RO6 platforms) on the condition that your changes aren't published. Any similar changes to the public printer stack (available to every RISC OS user free of charge) would have to be "clean room" implementations.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 15/10/07 10:40PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

riscosopen: I think you are seriously confused wrt licencing and copyright. If Martin and John are producing new code, they have the copyright and can add that code free of any limitations to both the ROL and the open version of the software. What they probably (depending on the contract they had to sign to get access to the ROL sources) couldn't do is transfering existing code from the ROL to the open version. However, since both versions should be more or less equal, that wouldn't be sensible anyway.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 16/10/07 9:56AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Personally If I am going to trust anyone to do the 'right thing' for RISC OS it would be Martin. So best to let them get on with it.

 is a RISC OS UserStu on 16/10/07 10:13AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

riscosopen: "If they'd wanted access to the sources under a non-disclosure agreement in order to get started prior to it all being in the public domain (within the next week), I'm sure Castle would have agreed to that."

All hilarious cloak-and-dagger, back-of-cereal-packet secret codewheel stuff, I'm sure, but are you actually sure you mean "public domain"?

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 16/10/07 12:13PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

What are you all on about? In reply to hubersn:

No, I'm not getting confused about licencing and Copyright. ROL won't just give the sources to Martin et al; they must do so under some licence agreement - you yourself have said as much by talking about a "contract". That's what I'm talking about. You sound confused. When I've written code for a thiry party on their software stack, usually the contract states that they gain the IP - hence the copyright.

In reply to guestx:

What are you on about? If some source code belongs to Castle and they farm some development out to a thiry party, they will first get them to sign an NDA to ensure that those sources don't find their way anywhere else. It's how Acorn did it and it's how everybody else does it. Until those particular sources have been processed and released through our activity (and they are able to be developed under a more open model than the proprietary one as it stands), it will remain that way.

In reply to Stu:

It all depends upon the contract with ROL. I and others have worked on loads of great software which would be perfect for RISC OS but because it was for some other company, we can't just dump that intellectual property into the RISC OS sources. You cannot even use the same concepts - you have to achieve the same ends with a clean room reimplementation which experience shows you're not going to feel inclined to do.

Now, if this development were done on the ROOL-released sources in the first place, everyone would be free to download that updated stuff from our site free of charge. However, as this work is being done on source code which _isn't_ in the public domain, under unknown terms and conditions, it remains to be seen whether we'll all benefit *free of charge* from it.

Just saying "well, the Castle sources are very similar to the ROL ones" doesn't mean a thing unless Martin and John are free to take their work and cut-and-paste it from the ROL sources into the Castle ones.

Please re-read everything Martin has said thus far. All he has done is indicate that non-RO6 users (e.g. IYONIX users) will hopefully also be able to *benefit* from his work. He doesn't say at no cost to them, nor that they will have access to the sources to his work in order to maintain and improve it further in future.

 is a RISC OS Userriscosopen on 16/10/07 4:33PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to risosopen:

So CTL declined the sources due to the pending open sourcing... well I dare say that that is reason enough for ROOL to open source Printers right now, or at least to pass on the sources to Martin and John asking them to keep them to themselves until they are open source since that is imminent - and I mean "ask" and not make them sign a NDA. Both are well known users and programmers in the community and I'm sure if they both tell you can trust them with no written and signed NDA (assuming our open sourcing does happen in a timely fashion).

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/10/07 5:24PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to wuerther:

Thanks for your reply - it was exactly what I expected it to be (that is your code running on RISC OS 5).

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 16/10/07 5:25PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to riscosopen.

You make a very valid point on what Martin has said. Surely there is nothing stopping Martin and John, subject to the terms of any contract/licence they have with ROL, from taking the ROOL sources and doing work on that but not making it open thus attracting a licence fee from ROOL/Castle. This fee then would be part of any charge passed on to Iyonix users outside of the Select scheme. Equally what is there to stop the components being bundled as part of Iyoinix Select if this was done?

All this talk is hypothetical as we don't know what T&C's Martin and John are working under but given Martin's excellent track record with Gutenprint than I'm sure that everything will be done for all users.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 16/10/07 5:31PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Really this is all getting a storm in a tea cup.

ROOL hopefully are releasing the !Printers sources later this week. Martin and John have the ROL sources. Martin has an excellent record for including all abeit on a paid for subscription basis i.e Gutenprint.

Lets just rejoice that !Printers/printers components will be getting some much need attention even if it ends up on a paid for basis.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 16/10/07 6:22PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to riscosopen: I think it's worth clarifying a few of your comments as it would be possible for someone reading them to get the wrong impression.

Firstly: Whilst RISC OS sources may well have been made available to members of the public, they have not been placed in "the public domain". As far as I am aware all releases of RISC OS source code have been subject to a licence. Publically available does not mean Public Domain. All released sources will of course still be copyright.

Secondly: With regard to ownership of sources I refer you to the agreement between Castle and Pace for the "purchase of the RISC OS technology". I also refer you to RISCOS Ltd's head licence. I am sure that you are not trying to suggest that someone would release the sources to some RISC OS components without having the absolute rights to do so.

Thirdly: I don't really feel that you are in a position to comment on RISCOS Ltd's development/licencing model. Particular developers/sub-contractors have had direct access to the ROL sources for years.

 is a RISC OS UserVirtualAcorn on 17/10/07 10:46AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I'm with bluenose on this one. "Storm in a tea cup".

Personally, I am looking forward to the updated Printers.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/10/07 1:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

In reply to wuerthne:

Martin, probably too early to tell, but I'm asking anyway. Do you have any timescales for this project? i.e. 3 - 6 months or longer?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 17/10/07 1:11PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

VirtualAcorn: "Firstly: Whilst RISC OS sources may well have been made available to members of the public, they have not been placed in "the public domain". As far as I am aware all releases of RISC OS source code have been subject to a licence. Publically available does not mean Public Domain. All released sources will of course still be copyright."

Well explained! Perhaps a daily phone call to RISC OS "Open" HQ should be scheduled to repeat this point, in order to bring them beyond an "Acorn User circa 1990" level of understanding around copyright and licensing practices.

sa110: "Storm in a tea cup"

I guess that things aren't looking too good for even the "big fish in a small pond" analogy any more.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 17/10/07 2:13PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

riscosopen: Steve, I agree with you that such licences do exist (full transfer of IP and copyright). However, I am very sure that such a licence would never be signed in this particular case, since it would defeat the very point of providing an updated PS driver for RISC OS. If you reread what Martin has written over the years about this project, this is very clear.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 17/10/07 2:35PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

I am amused by this discussion because there is not really anything to discuss at the moment. John and I have not even announced the project, nor have we announced on which source tree we will work or whether we will work on both. Let me clarify that nothing would stop us from adding our changes to both source trees if we wanted to. Secondly, as stated a few times already, the software will be released for all versions of RISC OS and finally, this is very expensive development so it would be unreasonable to assume that it could be free of charge for anyone.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 17/10/07 4:09PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

wuerthne: Your last comment, I take it that means a sponsorship arrangement (like firefox) isn't likely to be viable? Or did you just mean someone has to pay for the work? (quite reasonably)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 17/10/07 4:34PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

jess: I suggest you simply wait for the announcement.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 17/10/07 5:26PM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Unavailability of facts and a proper announcement has never ever stopped a discussion ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 18/10/07 02:11AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

hubersn:

Indeed it normally helps wild speculation. The fewer concrete details the better ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 18/10/07 07:29AM
[ Reply | Permalink | Report ]

Please login before posting a comment. Use the form on the right to do so or create a free account.

Search the archives

Today's featured article

  • Should the TCO of RISC OS be higher?
    Show us the money
     61 comments, latest by datawave on 16/06/05 5:07PM. Published: 17 Feb 2005

  • Random article

  • riscos.org.uk email headache
    Tried to contact free RISC OS subdomains provider riscos.org.uk recently?
     2 comments, latest by on 27/9/01 1:55AM. Published: 26 Sep 2001

  • Useful links

    News and media:
    IconbarMyRISCOSArcSiteRISCOScodeANSC.S.A.AnnounceArchiveQercusRiscWorldDrag'n'DropGAG-News

    Top developers:
    RISCOS LtdRISC OS OpenMW SoftwareR-CompAdvantage SixVirtualAcorn

    Dealers:
    CJE MicrosAPDLCastlea4X-AmpleLiquid SiliconWebmonster

    Usergroups:
    WROCCRONENKACCIRUGSASAUGROUGOLRONWUGMUGWAUGGAGRISCOS.be

    Useful:
    RISCOS.org.ukRISCOS.orgRISCOS.infoFilebaseChris Why's Acorn/RISC OS collectionNetSurf

    Non-RISC OS:
    The RegisterThe InquirerApple InsiderBBC NewsSky NewsGoogle Newsxkcddiodesign


    © 1999-2009 The Drobe Team. Some rights reserved, click here for more information
    Powered by MiniDrobeCMS, based on J4U | Statistics
    "Oh, and books are freaking books, not dead trees, for gawd's sake"
    Page generated in 0.2708 seconds.