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Acorn News Service Newsletter

Issue: 149 (11 January 2004)

Featured site this issue: http://tofla.iconbar.com/

General News


AcornEvolution <http://www.acornevolution.com/> was launched at the start of this year and aims to provide comprehensive, accurate and timely news and views on all aspects of the RISC OS scene, with an emphasis on serious investigative journalism.

Companies and individuals are encouraged to e-mail press releases and news to: <news@acornevolution.com>.

tofla - the RISC OS programming notes web site

tofla - the web site dedicated to programming under RISC OS, has just hit the 150th article mark, and has moved to its new home at the Iconbar <http://tofla.iconbar.com/>.

Contributions from everyone would be appreciated, from a simple link on your web site to an article on an aspect of programming.

The RISC OS Packaging Project

Following the release of RiscPkg, RISC OS now has a package manager - but only a handful of available packages. The "RISC OS Packaging Project" was created to rectify this situation, and aims:

  • to build and distribute a collection of RISC OS software packages;
  • to provide a convenient mechanism for users to install, update and remove packages on their computers;
  • to promote consistency and peaceful co-existence among packages in the collection by setting policies to regulate content and behaviour;
  • to provide a systematic mechanism for recording, characterising and fixing bugs in the package collection;
  • to ensure that the legal status of all software in the package collection is understood and respected; and
  • to promote the development of free and open source RISC OS software.

There are many possible ways to contribute, such as:

  • maintaining a package or packages
  • writing documentation
  • checking copyright and licences
  • reporting bugs

Package maintainers do not generally need to be programmers, although familiarity with obey files and the structure of an application directory is quite important. The workload for any single package is unlikely to be onerous. For further information visit <http://www.riscpkg.org/>.

Commercial News

Castle and Tematic merge

Castle Technology Ltd and Tematic Limited merged at the end of 2003. The combined business will trade under the Castle Technology Ltd name, with a new "Tematic Division" focused on offering full design and engineering resources to customers wishing to licence RISC OS for use in new products.

The Tematic Division will continue to be based in Cambridge and will develop and support an embedded version of RISC OS, which has been designed for use in the new generation of multimedia products for the high volume consumer electronics market.

Jack Lillingston, CEO of Castle said, "The combination of Tematic's engineering skills and Castle's marketing and product skills means that we have a company structure that can really tackle the opportunities that lie ahead."

In a separate move Castle also announce that they have appointed Peter Wild as Chief Operating Officer. Peter Wild said, "It is great to be back in the RISC OS world. We hope to clinch substantial licence deals with a variety of household names over the coming months. Things have never looked more promising for RISC OS."

<http://www.iyonix.com/> <http://www.tematic.com/>

Refurbished Acorns January Sale

Future Computer Services Limited have recently started a new web site which features their refurbished Acorns, and will also be Apple and other PCs. The complete list of refurbished ex demonstration and IT suite Acorn computers is now available online and you can purchase direct from the site <http://www.cheap-refurbished-laptops-computers.co.uk/>.

January Sale prices include:

  • A7000+ machines from GBP35+VAT
  • Risc PCs from GBP75+VAT
  • StrongARM Risc PCs from GBP235+VAT

Linux for the Iyonix updates

A new version of Iyonix Linux is available, which is a consolidation of recent improvements and bug fixes. Iyonix Linux, based on the Linux kernel version 2.4.21, supports most of the Iyonix hardware, including the real time clock and sound, and had an accelerated video driver for the X Window System. <http://www.iyonix.com/linux.html>

Iyonix Linux can also be purchased on CD from GBP28 which includes one month support and everything needed to install a comprehensive system.

A complete, plug-in-and-go option for Linux for your Iyonix is now also available, supplied on an 80GB hard disc. The drive contains a pre- configured system partitioned to your requirements with a large array of installed software, including desktop environments (GNOME and KDE), editors, browsers and other productivity software.

Preinstalled Iyonix Linux starts from GBP105 with IDE cable and CD including UK P&P. For purchasing information, visit: <http://www.chocky.org/linux/>

Latest news from VirtualAcorn

From 1st January 2004, VirtualAcorn is VAT registered. Prices are now slightly higher, for example:

  • VirtualRPC-SE now retails at GBP169 inc VAT (plus p&p)
  • Upgrades from VirtualA5000 are now GBP149 inc VAT (plus p&p)

More details: <http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/order.htm>

However although the prices have risen, all copies of VirtualRPC-SE supplied now include the VVRAM facility, first seen on the A6 from Stuart Tyrell Developments, allowing you to use extended video modes up to 8MB in size. This allows RISC OS 4 to use resolutions up to 1600x1200 in full 24 bit colour. Existing users can download a free upgrade that will add this feature to existing VirtualRPC-SE installations.

Also all copies of VirtualRPC-SE now include power management support developed in conjunction with RISCOS Ltd. Power management is primarily intended for laptop computers and will reduce noise, since the machines' fan(s) will not be running continuously, and will significantly extend battery life when running RISC OS. A free upgrade that adds power management support will be available shortly for existing users.

PD/Shareware News

Updated software summary

  • 65Link v1.35
    A freeware 'remote DFS' system for your BBC B/B+/Master. It allows you to store files on the hard disc of a Risc PC, and use them exactly like you would under DFS. New version includes bug fixes and allows quick access (without explicit unpacking) to SSD and DSD disc images as found on most BBC nostalgia web sites.
  • Bogofilter v0.16.0
    A Bayesian spam filter. It inspects e-mail messages and inserts appropriate headers into the mails that indicate whether or not the message is spam. Bogofilter should now work with Messenger without losing the last few bytes of an e-mail.
  • GnuPG v1.2.4
    A complete and free replacement for PGP encryption software. Bug fixes.
  • MakeKISS v3.00
    A RISC OS development program for the KISS (Kisekae Set) paper doll game. This version includes support for version 4 of the FKISS scripting language. 32 bit compatible.
  • PlayKISS v5.02
    Program for the KISS (Kisekae Set) paper doll game. Bug fixes.

Club News

Upcoming meetings

ANS Information

Contact ANS

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How to subscribe to ANS

If you are reading this on the ANS web site, or have received a forwarded copy of ANS and would like to subscribe to the mailing list, simply send any e-mail to <ans-subscribe@ans.acornusers.org>. Alternatively use the form on the ANS web site at <http://www.acornusers.org/ans/subscribe.html>.

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