South East 2008 show round upPublished: 19th Oct 2008, 23:16:16 | Permalink | Printable
News from the event in the south of the UKThe South East 2008 show in Guildford has been and gone - and if you couldn't make it, here's a round up of news from the event.
RISCOS Ltd were showing off an internal development build of RISC OS 6 with a few new features including support for 64,000-colour screen modes that use the same amount of Video RAM as 32,000-colour modes; a new colour picker that uses the CIELAB model, as used in PostScript 2 and 3; and better alpha transparency support in Paint. The prototype dual-widescreen A9homes were also on show.
ROL's Paul Middleton said: "I only showed a demo of the next stages [of RISC OS 6] at the show as other demands on people's time has meant that getting a full release together hasn't been possible for the show. The main feature is that we have now got a 64K screen mode for all machines. This offers a number of advantages that will be detailed in a forthcoming announcement."
RISC OS Open have published the latest batch of RISC OS 5 source code - which includes the driver module for the Nvidia graphics cards used in the Iyonix plus the operating system's networking and internet modules. They were also selling little desktop calenders for 2009 to raise funds for their shared-source project. Steve Revill was overheard saying his team would come to shows to raise the cash to go to the following shows.
ROOL also had a large annotated graphic representing a RISC OS 5 ROM image and had labeled all the components they had published. The team are not far from being able to offer a full ROM image which they plan to bundle with an open source machine emulator so anyone, especially non-RISC OS types, can download and try - such as a RiscPC build with RPCEmu.There was, shall we say, a "lively discussion" between Qercus editor John Cartmell and the ROOL gang on their stand about how this scheme might impact the market.
MW Software also showed off TechWriter and EasiWriter 8.8 with a new window that displays the structure of documents. The update is set to go on sale to everyone soon.
Martin Wuerthner, of MW Software, said: "A long-standing feature request has finally been implemented - a structure view window that shows a hierarchical view of your document's structure alongside your main document window.
"In the structure view you can expand and collapse (fold) nodes to show or hide detail and clicking on any item takes you to the corresponding structure in the main document, which makes navigating complex documents very quick and easy."
A new port of Gutenprint for RISC OS is also set to be released in the near future. Martin and John Tytgat are also continuing work on a new PostScript driver, and Martin highlighted some of the issues with the current Acorn driver - such as it creating documents with layers for every colour in a bitmap.
Photodesk 3.09 was unveiled by CJE Micros. It features a redesigned user interface, a zoom gadget, new brushes, palettes and stamps, and more. A rewritten manual is also being worked on and third-party programmers are set to be invited to develop plug-ins for the graphics package to add extra features. A demo version of the new release is also available for download.
Version 2 of file and printer networking software LanMan98 was ready in time for the show. It now supports encrypted passwords, can handle hidden files better, is more friendly towards Windows Vista and network-attached storage devices plus other small tweaks. NAS devices, essentially large hard discs in a box connected to a network, are becoming increasingly popular and the new release of LanMan98 is expected to cope better with these pieces of kit.
R-Comp have been busy: backup tool SafeStore is now available following its preview at Wakefield 2008. It can backup folders automatically at set times in the background or can be triggered manually. Internet connection manager NetFetch can now send emails without the need of a separate email client and other programs can send emails using NF 3.50. There are also other tweaks and enhancements, we're told. UniPrint 3.50, which allows RISC OS users to print documents via Windows PCs. now supports Windows Vista. The Windows, Linux and Mac OS X port of MessengerPro has been rebranded from its old name, Gemini, to simply MessengerPro, and will be sold by R-Comp.
Meanwhile, Steve Fryatt had new versions of his PrintPDF and CashBook software, and Paul Vigay was showing off his animated GIF package. Graham Shaw and Netsurf had their usual show presence as well as the ARM Club and ADPL. Qercus and RISC OS Now both had new editions, and John Cartmell told readers of his magazine at the show that his publication had been put on ice while he comforted his dying father. John is now back to work. There were fewer stands this year - and no VirtualAcorn, Fortran Friends or Castle.
Mark Stephens, who went along to the show, said: "There seemed to be a range of reactions among punters regarding the recent news from Castle - I don't think it was a big surprise to most people and some welcomed it as an opportunity to 'clear the air'. I think, unfortunately, there are still lots of people with polarised views and are either in the Castle or the RISCOS Ltd camp.
"RISC OS Open's plan to offer a RISC OS 5 ROM as a free download with an emulator for people sounded like an exciting attempt to get people back onto the platform. Some punters expressed concerns about how this might affect VirtualAcorn while others felt some competition might be a good thing. I think some people were surprised as they saw the end of the Iyonix range as the end of RISC OS 5.
"There were fewer people than last year, but exhibitors with new things to sell seemed to be doing a good trade."
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Article contributed to by James Shaw and Mark Stephens, who bumped into a punter who travelled all the way from Paris to attend the event.
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Chris Why's Acorn/RISC OS collection •
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