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Profile for not_ginger_matt

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Username: not_ginger_matt
Realname: Richard Wilson
About me:
Homepage: www.tinct.net
Comments posted:63 (show all)

Recent comments

On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

You've once again completely missed the point.

Tinct (an alpha-blended sprite plotting module) was written because the Select alpha plotting wasn't made available to non-Select users. This meant that NetSurf couldn't render PNGs correctly and an alternative solution was required.

Flash forwards 5 years and various other applications also use Tinct due to the same lunacy that NetSurf faced. Except now, RISC OS Six supports a new 64k screen mode. A mode that Tinct, and thus any application that uses it, doesn't support.

Do you see the stupidity here? RISC OS Ltd's lack of foresight has created itself a dependency on a module that provides functionality that it already has. Given that the source code for Tinct isn't openly available, imagine if I'd turned around and had the same attitude as RISC OS Ltd., deemed the updates non-commercially viable and left the 64k screen modes somewhat of a dead duck for anyone wanting to use !NetSurf.

Also, such low-level stuff as this really can't be tested for and the used accordingly. For a start you'd still need to write the fall-back code anyway, so all you get is twice the code base to maintain. I'd also suggest that a simple look around will show that RISC OS Ltd. has no idea how to stop the OS stagnating and dying.

Regarding RISC OS 5's lack of such API support, it sits precisely alongside the support for 3.5 and later to me. Why couldn't RISC OS Ltd. have worked with whatever relevent parties and made it happen?

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 3/6/09 12:56AM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

Think of things from a developer's point of view for a moment. There is almost no chance of any commercial gain from RISC OS, so whenever someone writes code they are effectively donating to the platform.

Now, I'd always assumed the central purpose of RISC OS Ltd. was to drive forwards the RISC OS platform. So, you're effectively calling the few developers who are left helping RISC OS Ltd's cause a bunch of scroungers.

Well done.

Now, onto your lowest common denominator argument -- let's take NetSurf for an example. NetSurf needed an alpha sprite plotter, which only Select had. Should a window pop-up for every web-page a non-Select user visits? Of course not. I had to waste large amounts of time writing Tinct so that all users could get the same experience. That time could have been spent in far more constructive areas.

As for releasing RISC OS Six features for the Iyonix for free, how about the time I wasted updating Tinct to run on the 64k screen modes of RISC OS Six so you could make some money?

RISC OS Ltd. simply doesn't have the funding or, quite frankly, the leadership to do anything but wither. By working with ROOL perhaps you'll get the contributors using shared APIs rather than moving away from the RISC OS Select / Six variants and taking the precious developers and applications with them.

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 2/6/09 2:47PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

For me the argument for freely releasing components (in a similar way that Acorn did with the nested Wimp, SharedCLib etc) is that it allows software to be written in an easier manner by developers. To me, the Firewall is most certainly not in that category.

I'm curious why you feel the Image File Render module isn't suitable for outside release. Given that it's effectively pointless on the surface to anyone without the Select thumbnailing Filer, no-one's getting anything for free. Similarly, to an end-user SpriteExtend is useless without Select !Paint.

The beauty comes when application developers get their hands on them. Want to write an application to load and render a PNG file? Simple. Suddenly you don't need to use libpng then waste your time writing some custom alpha-transparency plot routines. Similarly existing applications can be quickly updated to support exotic image formats transparently and centrally.

So, to summarise, you receiving benefits from increased application development and additional functionality. Without a large enough user-base to justify development the work wouldn't be caried out without freely available code (as has bene proven by the implementation rates.) All you can really be perturbed about is that others are also receiving some of the benefits.

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 2/6/09 2:03PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

I disagree with you somwehat here. I was given a copy of RISC OS 6 to update Tinct to work with 64k modes, and I was fairly impressed with the amount their desktop has changed for the better since RISC OS 4. Simple user-facing things like DHCP and copy/paste throughout the GUI made life so much easier. The image thumbnailing was also good, and !Paint and friends felt nicer too. As a developer though, I consider the fact they haven't passed-back their non-user facing changes as both disapointing and harmful. The obvious examples being the image conversion module and alpha-transparency sprites. I'd also have liked complete documentation of the (thousands of?) bugs they've squashed so I could be aware as a developer of what to be careful of -- just a simple online database of modules and the changes would have done. I assume (danger, Will Robinson!) this is also true for the ROOL developments. All in all, I'd say that ROL didn't manage to get developers on their side enough, whereas ROOL are thankfully doing the opposite. The general issue with giving things away for free though is that Joe Public who can't contribute code and wants to have rounded buttons and a graduated background won't ever get to see them. Given the choice, I'd personally rather have a Unicode FontManager -- but I doubt a very high percentage of users even know the difference RISC OS 5's makes. I think you're right that ROL is effectively over, but let's not pretend they didn't achieve anything worth keeping. I hope they can work something out with ROOL and not have their work become 'insignificant' by passing across some of their advancements so they can be merged rather than re-implemented.

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 1/6/09 7:01PM
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On Five tips for ROL over the next five years:

I'd personally like to see a freely available, softloadable, update to SpriteExtend that will cope with alpha-transparency. If it could also support the standrard RGBA format then that would be brilliant too. ROL shot themselves in the foot here by not releasing their update to the wider masses and make it usable for developers (even if !Paint etc couldn't edit them, applications could use them.) The current solution here (Tinct) is really not acceptable (as you know, it was originally written purely for NetSurf and has to contain horrible hacks for printing.) Also, by not being centralised it stops hardware accelleration, and doesn't support anything other than scaling -- CSS3 image-orientation anybody?

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 1/6/09 1:17PM
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