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Username: stevef
Realname: Steve Fryatt
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Homepage: http://www.stevefryatt.org.uk/
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On In brief: Acorn World show this weekend:

I was there on Sunday for WROCC; it was much quieter than the Saturday (I'm told), but attendance still seemed good and at least we got to leave the stand.

I didn't catch all of Rob Sprowson's ROOL talk (I'm afraid lunch was more pressing), but the other two presentations (Steve Furber and Mel Pullen) were very good. Some interesting exhibits, too, even though I'm definitely not an 8-bit enthusiast.

I think TIB's report sums it all up. Thanks to the organisers -- it was a good day, both as an exhibitor and a visitor.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 14/9/09 10:06PM
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On Video: Prof Steve Furber on 8-bit Acorn days and beyond:

"Will you be interviewing Sophie Wilson? I read somewhere that she modeled the entire ARM command set in BBC BASIC."

Steve Furber did. Apparently (according to the talk he did for WROCC, which looks similar to what is planned for Huddersfield next Sunday) he recently re-discovered the files on an old disc in his garage. ARM still consider them commercially valuable, however, so don't expect to see them released on the internet any time soon.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 6/9/09 4:45PM
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On RISC OS Open seeks rep for Acorn World event:

"How likely is it that anybody is going to be able to volunteer to represent an organisation they're not part of? Why did ROOL agree to go in the first place?"

Maybe at the time they agreed, they could attend? And perhaps now something more important (this RISC OS thing being a spare-time, and hence by necessity low-priority, activity for many) has come up, meaning that they can't attend any more?

I'd imagine that it would be possible, in theory, for one of the developers working on RISC OS 5 to talk about the project. Whether anyone will want to is a matter for them.

And in the end, if you don't ask, you don't get...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 1/9/09 12:14AM
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On NetSurf on RISC OS faces axe:

As I understand it, no. While the lack of a RISC OS maintainer is holding up the release of some major updates, other updates (including bug fixes and the like) are still being produced.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 19/8/09 9:31PM
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On NetSurf on RISC OS faces axe:

Aside from the fact that throwing money at this kind of problem may not end up being that helpful (and might even make things worse), where is this pool of commercial RISC OS developers who aren't already working on other projects? Having money to throw at a problem is fine, but only works if there's someone who wants to catch it (IYSWIM).

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 8/8/09 5:10PM
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On Acorn World show is back this September:

No, it's the Cedar Court Huddersfield (Junction 24 of the M62, so 'round the corner' from the Wakefield one).

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 26/7/09 12:08PM
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On RISC OS Now magazine to close this year:

As far as I know Louie will not be attending the Wakefield show (at least as an exhibitor). RISC OS Now was removed from the list of exhibitors, as I understand it at Louie's request, on Monday last week.

To be fair to Archive, I would guess that it would have been on its way to the printers by that point.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 4/4/09 7:38PM
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On ROL flogs RISC OS 4 for all emulators:

Well done, RISCOS Ltd. Hopefully this will bring many users back into the legal fold: particularly those using Linux, for whom Virtual Acorn still isn't an option.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 7/12/08 1:04PM
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On South East 2008 show round up:

"Meanwhile, Steve Fryatt had new versions of his PrintPDF and CashBook software..."

I'd just like to pass on my thanks (again) to those who bought discs or CashBook manuals off me at the show, as well as those who gave straight donations on finding that I'd sold out. I was able to give a donation of £130 to St Catherine's Hospice this morning -- far more than I had been expecting.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 20/10/08 10:28PM
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On Wakefield 2008 show photos:


WROCC have put a limited number of photos online at


I've got some more to go up on the site later this week, and should also have another set on there by the end of the month.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 08/05/08 1:55PM
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On Wakefield 2008 show theatre line-up revealed:


"Looking at the map (I first went after the show had moved to Thornes Park), the venue looks far enough away that if I just miss a bus from the station I'll be better off waiting for the next one?"

Probably; it's a fair walk from junction 39 to the centre of Wakefield. There are some other options for getting from the station to the venue (see the travel section of the show website for details), but just waiting for the next minibus is likely to be the easiest and cheapest.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 18/4/08 10:29PM
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On Christmas 2007 show this weekend:


I don't think Gaydon was too far south in reality, but it's location on the M40 south of Birmingham did make me stop and wonder if it was worth the trip from Yorkshire (whereas I never worried about a trip down to the Motorcycle Museum; I didn't make last year's show). If I hadn't specifically wanted to buy a couple of items, I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Personally, having now been there, I'd have no problem with your holding another show at this venue: it seemed a good space, and it was easy to get to. The only 'problem' was that, to me as a southerner (based in the north), J12 of the M40 initially said "south" not "midlands" until I had worked out the actual mileage involved. Maybe others got put off before they got as far as sticking it into a route planner? If so, I'm sure that could be overcome in next year's advertising.

As for better public transport, I suppose you would be looking at a minibus link to Warwick (or Warwck Parkway) station, which gives links to the CrossCountry service. I don't know how practical or financially viable that would be, although it's 'just' a couple of junctions up the motorway...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 4/12/07 1:54PM
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On New TechWriter features bonus style finder:


You have been able to take snapshots of menu trees using a timer in Paint since long before Select came along. I mean, it's even in RISC OS 5's Paint...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 24/10/07 10:36PM
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On RISC OS 5 core source release imminent:


"If you are right then a stupendous amount of time will have been wasted by testers and developers who worked on the other branch."

If Paul Middeton's reported comments at ROUGOL are true (that Select will never appear for the Iyonix), then a stupendous amount of time has *already* been wasted by testers and developers as far as Iyonix owners are concerned.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 21/10/07 11:25PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

rjek: Good to see that the Show Help and Preview buttons still submit the form, even in NetSurf 1.0...

Anyway... I thought that ROL were supposed to be removing stuff from the kernel and abstracting it to external modules, not adding yet more functionality and then tying down the "ROM applications" to that new code?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 17/7/07 6:50PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:

rjek: I thought that ROL were supposed to be *

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 17/7/07 6:48PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:


I still don't see why Castle need to comment. RISC OS 6 is nothing to do with them, and I'm not aware that they ever promised it to those buying Iyonixes. Given that, where does the ignorance and arrogance come in?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 16/7/07 11:20PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:


As noted above, there's a version of PC Keyboard (version 2.09) specifically updated to allow the Iyonix keyboard to be mapped back to the Acorn-style Delete, for those who want it (the opposite of its more usual use for making rogue applications behave in the correct RISC OS 5 style). I've been told it works fine like this...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 16/7/07 9:54PM
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On Select nets 1,000th subscriber:


I'm not quite sure what Castle have to do with it? The product being discussed is ROL's, and as far as I can see, Castle have delivered everything that they have promised to Iyonix owners (ie. a machine, a 32-bit OS and subsequent updates). The issue of RISC OS 6 is between us and ROL, if we want it.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 16/7/07 9:53PM
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On Wakefield 2007 live news and photos:


There was a football match on? ;-)

More seriously, shows aren't arranged on a whim the weekend before. There are many constraints on the date chosen, and avoiding a single sporting event is just one of them (and, if we're honest, probably a fairly insignificant one in the grand scheme of things). I don't know when the 2007 Cup Final date was announced, but I suspect that the show date was at least provisionally selected before it happened. I don't know for sure; I wasn't involved with that side of things.

What I *can* say is that, with another (non RISC OS) hat on, we're selecting dates for this kind of thing over 12 months ahead and have to just hope that they don't clash with too many other things when the date arrives. That's how it works.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 19/5/07 8:06PM
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On Messenger Pro 5 released:

thegman: Surely you didn't *need* NetFetch to use POP3, unless POPstar doesn't work with GMail?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 18/5/07 1:45PM
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On ROOL mouse mat design revealed:


"RONWUG, SASUG and WROCC, for instance, hang your heads in shame!"

I can't speak officially for WROCC, but I know the idea was considered. Sadly, as others have said, the time between announcement and deadline was so short that by the time it was noticed and raised for discussion (we are fairly busy with other things at present), we had missed the deadline.

Had the deadline been a couple of days later, I suspect it would have been different...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 4/5/07 2:02PM
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On App development plans to be hatched at Wakefield:


We tried the 'totaliser' thing for an Iyonix version of Select. We even hit the target figure given by ROL. And then what happened?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 29/04/07 4:36PM
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On News in brief:


"Blimey! I thought the idea of such open projects was that several people contributed and that seems to be what Thomas and Herbert did."

I've no idea what happened in this case, and I'm not really interested in getting drawn into the politics. But, Peter's complaint seems to be that he wasn't contacted before the other version of Samba was made available.

Things would seem to have been clouded by the announcement of Peter's sabbatical, but it's generally courteous (although not a requirement) to drop the maintainer of an open-source project a line before doing something like this. You may simply get told to go ahead, or you may learn of later work that has been done to the source and be asked if you would like to help with that. Herbert seems to have said that he didn't contact Peter, because he (reasonably) thought that Peter had taken a break from RISC OS stuff for a while.

What I can say is this: I've got at least one public domain title hosted on my website, which I kind-of maintain (when I've got the time). I can't stop someone deciding I'm useless and releasing their own version, but I know I'd be furious if someone did so without letting me know: not least because I've done a hell of a lot of work on the source since the last released version. Seeing someone else decide to pull the rug out from under me, rather than asking if they can help and *co-operate*, would certainly make me very seriously question why I bother doing any work for RISC OS users for free.

I hope that puts the other perspective to this debate. As I said, I don't particularly wish to comment on the specifics, not least because I am not involved. I also have a certain sympathy for both sides' positions.

...and yes, there is an update pending to IcnClipBrd, when I'm not snowed under with Wakefield stuff. Apologies to those waiting for bug fixes.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 19/4/07 11:12PM
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On Vigay: I was told to remove my Firefox 2 tutorial:


"Why wasn't the obvious solution of putting Paul's work on the wiki taken?"

I certainly suggested the idea to Paul (before and after his guidelines were published). It would have made much more sense for the article to be collaborative, given the nature of the problem and the nature of the Firefox project.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 21/03/07 00:23AM
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On South West show reports and photos:


Your "independant" third-party: who would that be? You seem to be suggeting that someone gets the design done and than hawks it around the various companies and individuals in the market. Remember that "all concerned" means end users like me, too (I create web pages and the like which include the cog). I'd expect any new initiative to come "from the top" (the cog was sanctioned by Castle and ROL early on), or I can't see me taking it on board.

As for the right to whinge: of course we can all criticise. Campaigning to throw the baby out with the bathwater without showing a credible alternative isn't really that helpful, though. Some of your criticisms of individuls' work (even if you don't name them) have looked extremely spiteful, too; it would be worth bearing that in mind, even if you didn't mean them to come over in such a way.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 05/03/07 9:24PM
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On South West show reports and photos:


"Lot's (sic) of companies would refresh their branding after 5 or so years, maybe we should too."

In case you missed it, RISC OS 5 benefited from a full icon re-design four years ago, which gave it a structured and coherent appearance. The Iyonix branding was also new four years ago. I'm not sure when the cog appeared, but it must have been around that time too.

The cog is becoming a standard logo across the platform: throwing it away now would be extremely foolish and, given the politics, I suspect that any successor would be unlikely to gain such universal approval.

Finally, I'm with Druck on the last point: Richard, ignore the handful of whingers who haven't yet (AFAICT) demonstrated their design abilities.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 05/03/07 5:27PM
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On South West show reports and photos:


OK, so many of those involved with RISC OS use poor logos and design. I'd largely agree with that, and I also agree thet the "RISC/OS ltd" logo is bad. However, I don't make the leap from that to the idea that we should abandon the cross-platform branding that has built up following a lot of work.

Getting to the point that we have a single logo (the cogwheel) which is flexible enough to be incorporated into other designs took a fair bit of effort. If any one RISC OS company now goes out and commissions a new 'universal logo', it will be ignored by the other players. We already have a consesus: why can't we build on it?

There's nothing to stop ROL, Castle, ROOL and so on commissioning new logos from these £200 design houses that incorporate the cog. Surely that would solve your problem, too?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 1/3/07 4:21PM
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On South West show reports and photos:

If you read the explanation of how the RISC OS cog came about, it seems a lot more thought went into it than is being suggested here. I suspect that Richard Hallas might be a bit miffed at being described as a 12 year old, too.

As for changing the logo again: why? The cog is universal now: it appears in the RO4, RO5 and RO6 logos, ROOL's logo, and in a lot of the platform's publicity. As more logos get redesigned, it's replacing the Acorn as the standard symbol of the platform, regardless of supplier.

And just as this is happening, some people want to design a new logo to replace it, thereby diluting what 'brand image' we have. Why?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 1/3/07 2:22PM
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On Wakefield 2007 to take place in May:


"I think its says a lot about the state of the RISC OS market, when the biggest RISC OS event of the year can be held in a pub."


Looking at it on Google Earth, it would seem to be a *very* big pub...

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 21/2/07 6:44PM
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On How to port RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC:


Does anyone still use Edit? Other text editors, which allow this kind of thing to be configured, are available...

I can also remember the howls of protest when ROL changed the clipboard operation in Edit, with claims that the old Copy/Move system was far superior. It looks as if you can't win. :-)

Though I'm in agreement about not porting RISC OS 5 to the RiscPC.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 30/1/07 10:55PM
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On RISC OS Open licence in hands of lawyers:


"I am not speculating" -- funny, it looks very much like speculation that Castle don't own the necessary IPR. Your point about boxes of CDs is only even slightly releveant *if* Castle *don't* have the IPR, so it only becomes an issue if you start to speculate about that.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 16/01/07 12:22AM
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On Developers to discuss new Style Guide:

nx: It's OK saying it needs "drastically updating", but unless you can get everyone on board, drastic updates aren't going to be adopted by developers. And that's not even allowing for the fact that a lot of software isn't updated any more.

At least in the short term, any changes need to be aimed at taking into account things that weren't around back in 1993 (eg. things added by the Nested Wimp), not making radical changes to the look and feel of the desktop.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 22/12/06 4:02PM
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On RISC OS 6 to power Select 4:


"A good example of that is Steve Fryatt's Locate application. It works on all machines, but works as a filer plug-in on Select where it can. RISC OS 3 users similarly can use Configure plug-ins intended for RISC OS 4 - just not within Configure! "

The irony, of course, is that when I first released a FilerAction Plugin version of Locate, I got questioned at length by ROL (or by somone claiming to act as documentation guru for ROL) about where I had acquired the bootlegged copies of the FilerAction Plugin documentation from. The documents I had used were actually supplied by ROL on the most recent Select CD, as I was a subscriber at the time, and were hardly dodgy (I had previously been under the impression that they were for use by developers, but it seems that I could have been wrong on that).

The attitude they took over the incident discouraged me somewhat from doing anything more with Select-specific code; subsequent events only reinforced that view.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 21/10/06 3:19PM
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On New usergroup to launch at North-East roadshow:


I was assuming you meant by public transport; according to SPT, you can do Central to EK in 30 mins, though the hotel in question seems to be a bit remote even by EK standards (it might be nearer one of the stations just before EK, but the map I have isn't clear).

I'd have thought 30 mins from Woodlands to EK in the rush hour was a bit optimistic; I had to do it from Partick a few times, and it was nearer an hour, even avoiding the M8...

ROL have a track record of this kind of thing, though. I had planned to go to their Manchester show last year, but by the time I'd left work and crossed the Pennines, it would have been packing up. I realise that there are constraints both ways: the exhibitors have to go on somewhere else afterwards, and in the case of the "roadshows", this may well be to a stop somewhere on route to the next venue. In the end it's a compromise; the problem is that at present, it seems to be assuming that most RISC OS users are either students, unemployed or retired.

Also, hiring a venue in the centre of Glasgow, while desirable, is going to cost significantly more than doing the same in a hotel on the EK ring road. With only four companies shown as attending (plus NAUG), each exhibitor has to pay for travel, accommodation and 20-25% of the venue hire costs. I don't know how many users are likely to attend, but a city centre location may not even be viable once the costs are added up.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 15/10/06 2:27PM
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On Open sourcing RISC OS won't help says ROL:

In reply to markee174:

"ROL asked for 100 potential names and they got that...."

And oddly enough, now that they have 120 people interested, that isn't enough. It seems that every time they are in danger of getting enough interest to actually have to *do* something about the Iyonix, they just move the goalposts again. I don't care about the personal feuds; I just want a version of Select that I can buy, please -- is that too much to ask?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 4/9/06 1:13AM
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On RISC OS 4 caught on Mac OS X:

In reply to Jess:

Which bit of Richard's answer did you not follow? Even if you do detect the OS version and ignore useful features based on that, it's still significant work to do that for all the things that OS3.11 doesn't do.

Then there are the other, non visible problems. There are a number of bugs documented in the PRMs (and elsewhere) which must be worked around on OS3.1 but which have been fixed in OS3.5 and later. Supporting OS3.1 means that the (often messy) workarounds are still required. Features such as Dynamic Areas, which should be used in preference to the RMA when available (to prevent problems like RMA fragmentation) aren't present on OS3.1, so either you need more complex code, another layer of memory management, or just go with the lowest common denominator (and inflict RMA fragmentation on users of the latest systems). And so on, and on, and on...

Demanding that developers continue to support a 16 year old OS, just because you have a copy of VA5000 on your laptop, holds back software development. It will never be possible to use the new features in RISC OS 4 and 5 (let alone those in Select and Adjust) if we must continue to support the die-hards who insist that they must be able to run the latest software on their antique systems. Many of the new features are there to make developers' lives easier, so software development takes longer if they must continue to re-invent the wheel.

Do you actually want RISC OS software to go anywhere, or are you just interested in it as a nostalgia exercise on an emulated A5000?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 02/09/06 2:04PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

"If developers want to take advantage of Select features then they need to subscribe to the Select scheme in order to be able to test their work. We do not agree with the sentiments of those who claim that they should be able to get the documentation for free in order to develop software that takes advantage of Select, without they themselves owning a copy of Select."

That's all very nice, but PM's logic falls over when it comes to (part time) developers like myself who use an Iyonix. I may not want to make use of the new features of Select and Adjust (though if it were available for my machine, I would be a subscriber and probably would use them), but I need to know what changes have been made. Some of the changes in Select and Adjust, particularly the peripheral ones, have affected all third-party software -- whether or not it makes use of the new features.

Denying non-Select subscribers access to the documentation is only going to reduce the software available to RISC OS 4 users. In my current position, it's far easier to say "Sorry, I don't support Select, Adjust or the A9home" than it is to try and make my software run on these machines. Can somebody explain how this helps anyone?

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 22/8/06 11:36AM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

not_ginger_matt: Your idea would make sense if RISC OS was still a thriving market with all of the key pieces of software actively developed. Sadly, it isn't.

As has already been pointed out, Castle appear to have considered including this kind of check in RO5 and ruled it out because it would have broken everything; if they felt that four years ago, the situation is even worse now.

Having such a check makes a lot of sense, and in some situations it is nearly essential. I can fully understand why it has been included, as OEM customers are likely to consider the lack of it a show-stopper. But, for desktop systems, it has come too late. By all means include it, and allow savvy users to turn it on if they understand the consequences -- but don't ship it on by default.

And *in* *particular*, don't ship it on by default having failed to tell what remains of the developer community about it (the app note doesn't count: it had been ignored for ten years, so there should at least have been an announcement to the effect of "we're now going to implement this in a few months' time"). That is what is really getting up people's noses from what I can see. That and people claiming that trying to get dead software, for which a proper update isn't likely to happen, around the tests is "subversive" and "working against ROL".

It's another PR own goal by ROL, and coming on the heels of similar problems in the past, it doesn't give a good impression -- whatever good intentions may have been behind the changes. And given the entrenched views of so many people in this market now, it's the *impressions* that matter.

Principles are great, but they're also going to deny A9 users access to a lot of old software (and potentially support for new software, if developer goodwill is lost) unless we're very careful.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 3/7/06 11:12PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

Hmm. Netsurf and I made a bit of a pig's ear of that last post between us. What I had meant to add was...

Suggesting that those complaining about the change are doing so because of "chips on their shoulders" isn't particularly clever, either. It would be more useful to try and identify the real reasons why so many developers appear to be fed up. In a market this size, the constant back-biting and one-up-man's-ship isn't helping anyone.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 2/7/06 10:47PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

No-one is saying that adding AIF checking is a bad idea (although I think some of the RO5 developers have stated that Castle looked at it and decided that breaking an even larger amount of legacy software was a bad idea).

The problem is that there was no warning of this to developers. Claiming that it was in an old (and largely ignored) Acorn apps note from 1996 isn't enough: ROL should have told developers about this 6 months to a year ago, in the sense of "This will happen, in mid 2006", and then it could have been prepared for. As far as I know, not even Select subscribers were given the heads up: there certainly wasn't a mention of it on the Select mailing list.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 2/7/06 10:39PM
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On An idiot's guide to making PDFs:

"As a certified idiot it's interesting to see this article as I had similar frustrations a while ago... To date I stick to just reading PDFs." Have you tried installing a recent version (GhostScript 8.50 or 8.53)? Installation with these versions is a lot simpler than it was with 7.03, as everything required comes in a single archive. In addition, you just need a front-end, and you're away; if you go with my PrintPDF, the documentation for that comes with full installation instructions to guide you through getting GS set up as well. You do need to be using RISC OS 4 or 5, with a hard disc format that supports long filenames and more than 77 files per directory. That includes all post-Acorn hardware, virtual machines (HostFS) and any RiscPC which has had its disc reformatted, so it isn't a major problem now.

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 25/6/06 4:17PM
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On An idiot's guide to making PDFs:

"I would like one simple drag and drop operation. At present GS8 requires two: one, Print to PoScript2, and two, Save PDF file." I don't think this is correct: if you use PrintPDF as the front-end, it requires just one step. Starting a print-job to the "PDF Printer" opens a save dialogue allowing the PDF file to be draged to disc. There is no way to simplify this further without including dedicated support into individual applications (eg. ArtWorks and EasiWriter).

As for "I would like to see the option to keep the input filename when output is it to a different directory, with a safeguard dialogue to prevent overwriting the original file.", that's doable for PrintPDF/GhostScript when converting an existing PS file, but less easy to do when printing direct as there is no original filename information available (it gets lost as the file passes through the RISC OS printer driver in most cases). I can't speak for RiScript, but since it's also based on output from the PS printer drivers, the same limitations will probably apply.

It's usually a good idea to email application authors with feature requests like this, too, as we can't always be relied on to spot such comments in forums. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userstevef on 25/6/06 12:17PM
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    RISCOS.org.ukRISCOS.orgRISCOS.infoFilebaseChris Why's Acorn/RISC OS collectionNetSurf

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    The RegisterThe InquirerApple InsiderBBC NewsSky NewsGoogle Newsxkcddiodesign

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