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The future of Oregano 2?

By Mark Stephens. Published: 17th Feb 2004, 11:47:02 | Permalink | Printable

Richard of OreganoUK pays a visit to London users [Updated]

OreganoUK's Richard Brown came to town, sorry London, yesterday to tell the ROUGOL usergroup about his plans for Oregano 2. In an interesting and very personal talk, he told the group about his experiences with RISC OS, how he came to take over Oregano 2 and his plans for the future. He had also come to listen and wanted feedback and suggestions from the floor.

Oregano2 bannerRichard has been a RISC OS dealer in Southend for some time and although he moonlights maintaining PCs, he likes to run his business on his Iyonix. He has been involved with Castle for some time by doing stints on their stand at shows to demonstrate scanners and generally helping out. This is how the 'opportunity' to take control of Oregano 2 came about.

Oregano 2 is the successor to Oregano and is developed by Oregan Networks. While Oregano was written for RISC OS, Oregano 2 is based on Oregan's multi-platform web browser core and adapted to run on RISC OS. Oregan have had considerable success in selling their browser to large players such as Sony and Oregan reportedly spent a very busy Christmas coding to meet their requirements.

While this approach does have some drawbacks, for example Richard mentioned font sizes and appearances, it does offer the advantages of on-going developments and cost advantages. An interesting note was that Oregan gets feedback from the Smartgroups on problems with the browser and difficult sites, which then goes back into improving the product. Currently Richard estimates the RISC OS version has 1,000 to 2,000 active users. He regularly checks the Smartgroups and recently answered the "Does Richard Brown read this group?" question within 15 minutes.

Richard also explained his plans for developing Oregano further, presumably to bring the software in line with modern standards and to push the browser ahead of increasing competition from the likes of open source project NetSurf. Current plans include CSS 2 support and layers. There was a lot of discussion on features missing from Oregano 2, including "cut and paste" and "save as drawfile". A good suggestion from the floor was saving Oregano 2 pages directly into EasiWriter and then using that for better access of the text.

There were lots of suggestions from the floor on features which users would like to see, including Real Audio support. There was also a lively discussion on how accepting of badly written websites Oregano 2 should be. Many of those present felt more pressure should be put on the companies that produce the websites to follow standards and check their web code, but there was also a strong desire for Oregano 2 to be as robust and flexible as possible.

There was some discussion on the timing of releases, with long delays leading to heightened expectation, and the best way to fund developments. Richard is actively formulating his plans for future updates and is clearly very interested in ideas and feedback. He wants Oregano 2 to be the best RISC OS browser and he has access to some interesting developments from Oregan. If you have anything to suggest, join the Smartgroup and drop him a line.


Leo White has put up some screenshots. These demonstrate the functionality of the latest development version versus the current release.


Oregano smartgroup mailing list OreganoUK website

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Nice article with very good news! I hope Richard will be encouraged to develop Oregano further. The RISC OS community needs that.

 is a RISC OS UserGollum on 17/2/04 1:25PM
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I have O2 on select and a PS2 with network adaptor. The version of oregano with the PS2 seems to be about equivalent to two releases ago of the RO version, with repect to how certain sites work.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 17/2/04 1:38PM
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Richard mentioned that the scrolling pane was added for RISC OS and wasn't used for PS2.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/2/04 1:42PM
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The PS2 version has few controls - no address bar or scroll bars for example. It is designed just to go Sony's own special site. However it is possible to point it at other sites and there is at least one site which has an address bar added specially.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 17/2/04 1:49PM
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The main things that puts me of O2 is some of the silly crashes it does, and the speed of it (or lack of ;))

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 17/2/04 2:10PM
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The Quote "Many of those present felt more pressure should be put on the companies that produce the websites to follow standards and check their web code, but ..." can't be meant serious, can it?

Quite a lot websites are created for more-or-less mal-designed software with the result looking ok in mainstream browsers (read this as IE and perhaps Netscape). Goal achieved for the creators who give a sh... if the same result could be done in a better way with a bit more work and often half the size of the web site.

And then there are the web sites where the design has to be exactly as on print where the desinger has to invest hours of work of bad techniques to make them look like they should even if the design is not sensible for the WWW.

Every once in a while I see web sites where instead of a <a href="www.gag.de">look here</a> JavaScript is used to achieve just that so that using a simple browser or disabling Javas*** makes the site unuseable. And if you drop a line to the web master stating that the page don't work if you configure IE to a sensible secure setting (don't mention other browsers since they won't take you serious at all) they often don't even react...

Summing up we have to live with all those strange web sites and either the browser can cope with them sensibly, or the browser is not as much use as it should. Sorry, but that's life as I see it.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 17/2/04 3:00PM
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the situation is probably getting better with regard to being able to put pressure on. 1. Disability discrimination act. 2. Playstation 2 has a big market. 3. M$ has dropped support for IE on many platforms.

(Also poor sites won't index so well)

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 17/2/04 3:37PM
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The situation's getting better, slowly, because customers in general don't like crappy websites. Whatever browser you're using, going to [link] and being presented with a poncy graphic and "Click to enter" is a PITA. For starters.

 is a RISC OS Usermikeg on 17/2/04 10:23PM
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One problem with O2 is the price. Richard may well want to get ahead of Netsurf, but Netsurf is free; O2 is 50? I'm certainly not going to pay 50 for a web browser that can't render pages written to HTML 4 standard and, more importantly today, XHTML. When Netsurf is complete, it will have complete support for HTML 4 and CSS, which O2 still doesn't have! Also, I'd like to point out that Netscape (which is actually Mozilla/Gecko now) is THE most standards compliant browser available, and can still render poorly written for IE pages properly (most any way). The only problem I ever have with it is poorly written IE only JavaScript. However, it's good to see Richard putting the effort in to see RISC OS get a decent web browser.

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 18/2/04 8:55PM
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Erm, Oregano2 costs 100. It is only 50 if you happen to have Oregano1 Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 18/2/04 9:06PM
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Oregano 2 is bundled with Iyonix.

Hey, I bought this really expensive browser and got a free computer to run it on. ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 18/2/04 10:29PM
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TonyStill: You should complain if the free Iyonix runs too fast :-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 18/2/04 11:30PM
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before I forget...

we also had a demo of one of those emulators...

stewy brought his along

2hrs battery life...

enjoy :pukey:

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 19/2/04 5:53PM
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Smiler: Judging by the screenshots Leo White put up, O2 will support CSS2, which is a massive and vital step-up from what Netsurf can do. I honestly thought we'd never get CSS2 on RISC OS, but O2 comes to the rescue. Of course O2 also does javascript, allowing thousands of sites to work properly. Except for speed and interface, it has to be considered much better than Netsurf, and worth the money.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 19/2/04 9:28PM
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Oooh, proper CSS support. Nice designs *and* accessible sites, finally...

Anyone want to check how [link] looks like in the development version? :)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 20/2/04 12:11AM
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