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RISCOS Ltd. issue key software libraries

By Chris Williams. Published: 18th Jun 2003, 22:52:04 | Permalink | Printable

New Stubs, toolbox, RISCOS_Lib and more on riscos.com

RISCOS Ltd. have today released updates to the core C/C++ programming libraries used by developers to produce RISC OS software. Two development tools, the Internet chapter of the PRMs and other relevant documents are packaged up with the 32 bit compatible libraries that now are freely available for download from the riscos.com website. This release is important for two reasons so pay attention, 007.

Firstly, this is the first time libraries such as the Toolbox and RISC_OSLib are officially available for free.

Secondly, replacing the Stubs library is StubsG. This is a new library that can be linked with an application to allow that application to run on 26 bit and 32 bit versions of RISC OS regardless of whatever version of the SharedCLibrary module the end user is running.

The released libraries can be used with the Acorn C/C++ compiler package. We advise against GCC users poking around inside their compiler package, although the Stubs library in the experimental 32 bit GCC has the same functionality as StubsG, we're informed.

You may well recall back to when the Castle Iyonix and RISC OS 5 hit the market and users of 26 bit RISC OS had to upgrade to a newer SharedCLibrary in order to run Iyonix compatible software. However, software built using RISCOS Ltd.'s new StubsG will run on any version of RISC OS (specifically version 3.1 through to 5). Hence, RISCOS Ltd. "strongly recommend" that all applications written in C are built with StubsG.

We have to add our support of StubsG as software built with it removes the hassle of forcing the end user to upgrade their SharedCLibrary module. In the past, we've noted that RISCOS Ltd. aren't particular fans of people running a version of the SharedCLibrary module that isn't the version in the OS ROM, explaining that the SharedCLibrary is a core module that OS components and third party software rely on.

Plus, in amongst the commotion over whether or not there will be a Select release for Iyonix users, it's interesting to see RISCOS Ltd. encouraging 32 bit compatible software development.

In addition to the StubsG release, RISCOS Ltd. have published IFClib which was contributed by Justin Fletcher. IFClib is a C library that provides a friendly programming interface to the RISC OS Select ImageFileConvert system, which enables a large range of image formats to be converted into native Spritefiles.

Clarification
By the way, when we said, "this is the first time libraries such as the Toolbox ...are officially available for free", we were refering specifically to the tboxlib component (aka the Toolbox programmer's interface). People were just itching to point out to us that there are alternative interfaces to the Toolbox.

Links

Libraries on riscos.com

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Discussion

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So this StubsG library should be used in preference to the Castle C/C++ Stubs, as it removes the need for 26-Bit users to load the 32-Bit SharedCLib right?

Sounds great, if that's the case. Although most users already have the new SharedCLib now....

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 18/6/03 11:43PM
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Bugger, the link on riscos.com is broken!

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 18/6/03 11:46PM
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Use the first link instead of the one after 'Changes'.

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 18/6/03 11:50PM
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Hmm. I don't really see the point of this at all. Upgrading SharedCLibrary might be a hassle, but you only have to do it once. Going to all this trouble just so people can keep their old C libraries (with their old bugs) seems an awful waste of effort.

In any case, if it supports any version of SharedCLibrary, it's not going to have any of the new C99 functions in it is it (unless I've missed something obvious), so bang goes support for long long ints and all the useful new library functions. What's the use of that?

James

 is a RISC OS Userjbyrne on 19/6/03 1:16AM
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The point is that ROL and other vendors can now issues "32bit" binaries which work on RO4 and RO5 without recourse to use the 32bit SCL from CTL. It also means that when I cold-boot my RO4/Select RiscPC I don't have to go fishing around for the 32bit SCL. Finally, it removes a 3rd party component from the equation when debugging on Select. Sounds great to me.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 19/6/03 8:11AM
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Sound pretty good to me too. So the question is if and when and how should I stop using the version of the SaredCLibrary I downloaded from castles site and revert to using to one in my Select ROM image?. -- Victor Shears, Maidstone

 is a RISC OS Uservshears on 19/6/03 9:30AM
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In principal this sounds ideal - we have been developing separate versions because we have seen small problems occasionally with 32bit CLib on older machines. Additionally, as the article says, it seems ludicrous to make people change something that 75% of software relies upon.

There's a certain irony that people who don't like upgrading Toolbox or other system modules are happy to install the 32bit Clib despite larger potential risk. Of course, in 98% of cases, there's no problem.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 19/6/03 10:08AM
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No, I still don't get it. It's just delaying the inevitable. As soon as you have any one program on your system that uses any of the new library functions, you have to upgrade SharedCLibrary.

Also, I don't see why people seem to be scared of this. It's not like it's very difficult or suddenly breaks anything.

Andrew; I've not come across any problems caused by the new C library myself, but if there are any issues, surely it would be better to identify them and get them resolved rather than fudging round them.

James

 is a RISC OS Userjbyrne on 19/6/03 10:59PM
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