RISC World

PD World

Paul Brett with the latest freeware and PD releases for RISC OS.

Having returned from the christmas break I have found yet another massive pile of new software releases in my e-mail in box. With the large number of big new releases I have decided to split them over two issues, so here are the first ones that any RISC OS enthusiast really should have on their harddisc.

BackBoot - Thomas Leonard/Martin Avison

Opening a directory for the first time can be slow, as the filer boots all the !applications inside. One way round this is to Filer_Boot the contents of these directories when the computer starts, but this means that your boot sequence takes ages! BackBoot waits until the computer hasn't been used for ten seconds and then starts booting directories. As soon as you click with the mouse or press a key, BackBoot stops and waits for another ten seconds. In this way all your directories will become booted after a while and you can change into their directories quickly! It should now work on all versions of RISC OS from 3.00 onwards. Note that !BackBoot was originally written by Thomas Leonard, who has given permission to me to distribute these changes, which were prompted by the original v0.01 causing MAJOR problems when run on RISC OS Select v4.33.

CCREs - Dave Appleby

!CCres converts Toolbox Resource files (type FAE, RESF v1.01) to and from textformat. Run !CCres by double clicking the icon. To convert either file type, simply drag the file to the Iconbar, then drag the 'Save As' icon to a filer viewer. !CCres can be run without starting it as a wimp application by specifying both the from and to file names on the command line, eg.

*Run !CCres  

CCres can be run on RISC OS3.10 or later, however on versions earlier than 3.80 (Nested Wimp) you may need to install the updated versions of the TextGadget (v0.21) and Toolbox (1.63) modules available from the RISC OS Website.

The file format uses a simple C-like layout based on the equivalent OSLib header definitions. Some entry names have been changed slightly to avoid duplication and ambiguity where appropriate. String entries may be enclosed in quotes to ensure that trailing spaces are kept intact. CCres encloses strings in quotes by default, but they are not obligatory.

CCRes can be used for gadget renumbering, aligning and resizing gadgets, adding or reviewing interactive help, simplifying language translation, file compare of text format res files.

Res files created by !CCres may not be identical to !ResEd files for several reasons. Relocation information is stored 'sequentially' (ie ascending addressoffset) by !CCres, but not always by !ResEd. !ResEd sometimes saves superfluous information, which is stripped out by!CCres (eg FileInfo, - data_and_time and file_size). !ResEd saves button gadget validation_limit as 1 even if no validationstring supplied. !CCres sets it to zero. For these reasons a simple 'binary compare' of 'before and after' Res files will almost always say they're different, but this is really only a result of the incredible flexibility of the res file format!

Enigma - Paul Reuvers

Another program we have covered in the past, but this is the new 32bit compatible version. !Enigma is a realistic simulation of the war-time coding machine used by the Germans to encrypt their messages. It simulates all known variants of the Enigma very accurately and is to date the most complete Enigma Simulator on any platform.

New in this version:

  • Fully 32-bit compatible.
  • Support for serial port access [1].
  • Larger (configurable) message buffer.
  • Faster encryption of long messages.
  • Saving of user settings and configuration.
  • Ability to use multiple simulations simultaneously.
  • Improved sound handling.
  • Numerous bugfixes, etc.
  • Updated manual.

[1] Serial port access - This feature can be used to connect two RISC OS machines together, sending messages from one the the other. It is also compatible with a forthcoming DIY kit of an Electronic Enigma machine, known as Enigma-E...

FTPC - Colin Granville

FTPc is the premier File Transfer Protocol (file upload/download) application for RISC OS. it allows you to upload and download files to and from an FTP space, for example the space you have on a server for your website. We have covered FTPc before in RISCWorld but this is the latest version. Like many of our software items this month this requires the latest versions of the SharedCLibrary.

GhostScript - supplied under the Aladdin Free Public Licence

GhostScript is a PostScript interpreter that can turn PostScript files into raster image files. PostScript is an industry-standard page description language defined by Adobe. GhostScript has been ported to RISC OS by Graham Jones. He has done all the porting work and he has written the RISC OS sprite device that allows you to create sprite files using GhostScript, which is most useful, in particular in conjunction with the GView front-end, so all credits are due to him.
When using GhostScript, you are likely to be interested in GView as well: GView is a front-end for GhostScript. It displays PostScript documents in RISC OS windows, supports multi-page documents, allows you to go backward and forward in the document, jump to specific pages directly, save Sprite files for pages, convert complete documents to multiple Sprite files and gives you a range of output options. We have included both GhostScript and Gview in the software directory on this issue. Also included is Martin Wurthnurs 32bit compatible version of the main GhostScript program.

Goggle Toolbar - Andrew Poole

This is the latest version of this rather wonderful piece of software that we first features in Vol 3 Issue 3. The Google Toolbar for RISC OS is an attempt at making the Google Toolbar, which is an add on to Internet Explorer (which allows the user to search the Internet from any Internet Explorer window without going to the Google website), available for the RISC OS platform. The Google Toolbar should run on any RISC OS 3 machine, but to get the most out of it, you will need an Internet connection on the RISC OS machine, and a web browser. Google has been tested with as many RISC OS web browsers as possible, but there are currently problems with Fresco. You will also need a copy of !JFShared installed on your machine. You can get this from Justin Fletcher's website.

MouseAxess - Christian Floter

MouseAxess provides a number of various enhancements for the RISC OS desktop. Window functions include:

  • Scroll a windows work area by holding MENU + dragging.
  • Drags a window in which the mouse pointer is located with MENU + SELECT/ADJUST.
  • Performs a page up/down if SELECT/ADJUST is clicked repeatedly while MENU is still being held down.
  • Window menus will appear if MENU is released without dragging.
  • Adjusts a window horizontally/vertically by dragging the vertical/horizontal scroll bar with MENU.
  • Adjusts a window vertically (or moves it completely) by dragging the title bar with MENU.

Filer & Pinboard functions:

  • Opens directories, applications & files by clicking for about 0.35 secs on 'em.
  • ADJUST-dragging Filer icons moves the files instead of copying them; the Filer window remains open.
  • MENU + SELECT over a close icon iconises the window

Iconbar functions:

  • Clicking & releasing MENU at the screen bottom toggles the iconbar.
  • While dragging an icon the icon bar is toggled each time the screen bottom is touched with the pointer.

Hiding windows:

  • Clicking & releasing MENU at the screen top toggles all visible windows so that they temporarily disappear from the desktop and vice versa to provide better access to the pinboard
  • Clicking & releasing MENU at the top-right screen corner brings a menu of tasks which have currently visible windows on the desktop; a tick shows that a task has hidden windows:
    • SELECT : Brings the windows of selected task to the top
    • MENU : Hides all windows except from the selected task
    • ADJUST : Hides the windows of selected task Temporary directory:

Dragging a Save icon to the bottom-right screen corner saves the file to the temporary directory. Clicking & releasing MENU at the bottom-right screen corner opens the temporary directory

PDF - Colin Granville/Leo Smiers/Derek B Noonburg

PDF is a Public Domain PDF file viewer for RISC OS. It is a port of Derek B Noonburg's xpdf program and further develops Leo Smiers PDF program. This is the latest 26/32 bit compatible version. PDF allows RISC OS users to view and print PDF files (often called Adobe Acrobat files). This latest version uses the new version of the SharedCLibrary.

StrongHelp - Christian Ludlam

StrongHelp is a simple hypertext program for reading and designing on-screen manuals. StrongHelp has two main areas of use: Application help and programming manuals. For the first, the manuals are usually hidden inside the application directory somewhere, and you don't have to worry about it. The second kind is normally freestanding manuals that you either double click on when you want to read them, or you can organise them in the !Manuals directory so StrongHelp always knows about them, and shows them in its root page and can include them in searches.

26bit/32bit !System - Castle Technology

This is the new version of the 26/32 bit !System. This is required for many new software releases that have been produced using the new version of the Castle C compiler. If a program you are trying to run asks for SharedCLibrary 5.34 (or a similar number) then you will need to double-click !SysMerge to update your !System files. Select users may also require a ROM patch to allow a replacement CLib to be loaded. Don't forget to back-up your existing !Boot first!

Paul Brett