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.
Richard 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.
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