RISC World


David Bradforth has a few views about RISC OS... 

When preparing to write this article, I invited input and musings about the RISC OS market in general and peoples own experiences. John Evans (of Midas Software) was the first to reply.

I have just started this year's pantomime program for our village - and each year include thumbnail photos of the cast. As I had a dodgy back, someone else took the digital photos. Unfortunately, DPingScan wouldn't read the JPEGs so I read them into Ventura on a PC ready to export them in a standard file format.

So I thought why not do the whole job on the PC? I set up the picture page and added the photos. Then I though one or two are a bit light and a bit low in contrast. It became quickly clear that Ventura lacks any basic form of picture processing. (I experienced this myself a number of years ago, the recommended solution was to use Corel’s complimentary bitmap editor that quite frankly was bloody awful - Ed).

It was much easier to go back to RISC OS instead of having to fiddle with separate programs for every function. Thank goodness for Ovation Pro / Impression; which offer such processing features and can make editing easy with the minimum of keystrokes. It’s a shame that printing is somewhat slower. (It’s worth remembering that Ovation Pro is available directly from David Pilling for the PC

There is one plug for Ventura though - it does provide an excellent bridge between various file formats and JPEGs.

Alan Calder followed up the posting with:

A cheaper (free) PC solution for conversion would be the excellent Irfanview. It converts nearly everything to nearly everything, and for a Windows program is tiny being just under 1Mb.

It’s worth remembering that there are a number of RISC OS programs capable of file conversion Studio 24 Pro, ProArtisan 24 and Photodesk being just three examples. It’s usually fairly easy to convince each of these programs to load variants of file formats they understand anyway. Be persistent, and if you run into difficulties ask for help from the companies supplying the products that’s after all what they’re on hand for.

Doctor J. Frink observed that:

The RISC OS way (and UNIX way) is to have a lot of small programs, that are very good at their task, and interoperate well. As such perhaps Ventura lacking photo-editing capabilities is a plus. With non-RISC OS software frequently getting bashed for being bloated it’s nice to see software that for a change isn’t.

Bringing the conversation back into the RISC OS sphere, John Williams recommended a visit to JClean JClean is a RISC OS front end for the official utility JTrans allowing you to convert between various JPEG formats with ease. While the last version was in 2002, it’s still fairly successful with JPEGs from a variety of PC and Mac sources.

As the conversation progressed, Alan Calder reminded us that Impression Publisher has always had the ability to mess about with graphics. Click ‘Frame’, ‘Alter Graphic’ then ‘Colour Map’ to open the relevant option window.

Harriet Bazley pointed out:

You can alter the contrast/map colour to greyscale (or to any other 'scale' - you get to pick the colour to use, although it defaults to black) without altering the original image. You can even have the same image linked to two different frames with different scales and contrast levels, using only memory for the one copy.

It doesn't process the actual picture - it tweaks the way that the data is displayed by Impression itself, in the same way that you can choose to 'hide' one or more of  the images in a document to save memory or to speed up printing without actually deleting the image.

Which does raise an interesting point about Impression; and also another point to muse about before I bring this article to a conclusion. Will we see the much-discussed Impression X in the near future? While I understand that the conversion process has taken considerably longer than intended, it would be nice to know that copies of Impression were still available for those who want them.

Hmmm. More musings, no doubt, in the next RISCWorld - feel free to email them to us at

David Bradforth