Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Enabling VMware SVGA driver in Icaros 2.2.7

by on Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Work on Icaros 2.2.7 continues. You know we finally got a driver for VMware SVGA (and our supporters already got the chance to test it) but, in the next distribution release, it won't be enabled by default. We felt, in fact, it was still too early to be 'in production': speed issues and graphic artifacts are still present so, for now, VESA modes should be a better default choice for VMware users. If you wish to test the new driver, and use wider resolutions like 2K and 4K, however, you will need to use the VMware driver, since VESA modes can't handle them. The following video shows how you're supposed to enable the VMware SVGA driver with Icaros 2.2.7.

I'd love to spend a couple of words about the topic "how can Icaros understand it's running under VMware?". It's a good question, specially for an almost-completely-dumb guy like me about coding. There was simply no way, for me, to code something that would be able to probe the video card, so I needed to check among already available tools on AROS. PCItool can read the system configuration and list PCI components, however I could not run it with a parameter to save the config somewhere, so I needed something else.

I recalled there is a 'Tests' directory in AROS nightly builds (Extras/Tests on Icaros) with many useful CLI programs inside. There MUST have been something useful to me, and I found it very soon: a program called pcilist in Tests/Misc. This little gem produces a bare list of connected PCI devices in their basic vendorid:productid form so, assuming that 15AD is VMware's vendor ID and 0405 is VMware SVGA II card product ID, I only had to grep the list for the string '15AD:0405': if it occurs, the card is present, and the new driver is suitable. Icaros 2.2.7 will have pcilist in C and a new script in S called 'testvmware' to check wether the card is available or not. If you wish to reproduce this experiment on your current installation, just:

1. copy pcilist from extras:Tests/Misc to sys:C
2. be sure you've got grep in Development/bin (or copy it to sys:C as well)
3. open a shell and create a script like the following:

pcilist >t:pci
grep -c "15AD:0405" t:pci >t:cnt

if ${t:cnt} GT 0
  requestchoice "YES!" "VMware SVGA II Detected" "Continue" >nil:
requestchoice "NO!" "VMware SVGA II NOT Detected" "Continue" >nil:

delete t:cnt >NIL:
delete t:pci >NIL:

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Beta of 2.2.7 with Vmware SVGA support on Patreon

by on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

As usual, in the middle of an update development, a restricted beta is made of Icaros Desktop is made available on Patreon, to let beta testers and supporters try it. This beta brings a recent build (not the latest one) of the anticipated VMware SVGA native driver, which basically allows using the virtual video card of VMware products like any other natively supported video card. As for now, these features are enabled:

- 2D
- screen dragging
- resolution selection with prefs/ScreenMode, up to 4K
- emulators, games and other SDL apps work

and there are still many quirks here and there

- pixel buzz when moving windows/screens
- slow screen refresh on SDL applications
- cursor sometimes disappear
- vmware player may crash

But, hey! That's a very good situation for a work-in-progress device driver! In this beta, the VMware driver has been enabled by default. This means that if you wish to run the VESA driver like in the past, VMware users should select the Advanced options for Icaros Desktop line in GRUB's menu, and then their favourite resolution. The Icaros Desktop manual explains how to make a GRUB selection permament, if you prefer. This new beta also adds the following:

- fix: replaced SANAutil from system/network/AROSTCP/C with the one in Extras/Networking/Utils
- did the same also for NTPSync and SetPrism2Defaults
- removed Extras/Networking/Utils, not needed anymore
- fixed a typo in Create Installation Pendrive script (makedit->makedir)
- updated TimeKeeper icon with 1.07+ tooltypes
- added PCX datatype
- updated ZXSCR datatype to latest version
- updated MUIRoyale Hollywood Plugin to support ESC-A image embedding
- updated vim to latest release
- added HydraCastle to extras/Games

Icaros 2.2.7 Early Beta is available to beta testers and supporters only (who are patrons pledging 15+ $/month).

> https://www.patreon.com/posts/24837571

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Icaros Desktop 2.2.6 has been released

by on Wednesday, February 06, 2019

A new, exciting update for Icaros Desktop is now available for download. This time we made several great additions. First of all, the newer version of muimaster.library from Neil Cefferkey added support for ESC-A method of embedding images into strings, which basically allows rapagui-based applications to show images into buttons and other GUI gadgets. This is a feature coming from MUI 4.0 and the first practical advantage it brought is Icon Editor finally showing its real interface, as the author originally intended. Moreover, it's a little nice step towards a bigger compatibility among AROS and other Amiganoid systems, which should make developers life a little easier when writing/porting their applications. And the second addition we made is tailored exactly to them: how many times an application that was supposed to work, when launched, simply didn't? Where is the issue? Icaros Desktop can now record debug logs to help catching the bugs, or at least wrong interactions with the system. Did you stumble in a not-working option or in the sudden freeze of a program? Just start recording the log, launch the broken app and make it crash again, then send log to its author: he/she will have one more clue to fix the issue! But, obviously, there are some new applications as well. Digital camera users can now use a newer version of dcraw to edit or convert their RAW images, coders can now use a better version of VIM, digital music lovers can play and discover new mod files with ZuPaPlayer and AmiCast Player. But maybe the funniest addition of the month is EasyRPG Player, a great interpreter à la ScummVM for games created with RPG Maker 2000 and 2003, ported to AROS by Szilárd Biró. As usual, we also included two great games under kind permission of their authors, The Kidnapping of Princess Pri and Grimps: Squeaking of the Dead. The former is a classic 'japanese RPG adventure' you might play on a Super Famicom or a Sega Megadrive, with a funny plot and a lot of humour, and the latter is an amazing Pengo-meets-Bomberman puzzle game which requires a lot of imagination and strategy to solve all levels. But you can find dozens of games, on rpgmaker.net and other sites, which you can now play on AROS: you just need to download them and place the right files in the right drawers, as explained by Icaros 2.2.6 updated manual! Other little enhancements regard useability: as promised, the vic command is now graphical; we got a modified VMware SVGA driver which adds support to Full HD, 2K and 4K resolutions (please beware of the fact that this is still the same slow stub as before: you'll have to manually enable it as it always happened), and we added two lines in GRUB's advanced options to run Icaros Desktop in VESA mode at 1366x768 and 1920x1080 pixels, which will - unfortunately - work only if your VGA BIOS explicitly support them (VMware does, VirtualBox can be instructed todo so as well).

NOTE: the driver for VMware SVGA included with Icaros 2.2.6 is not at the current development stage. It's the first preliminary build from middle january. The current, more advanced one, is not publicly available yet. An alpha version will be included afterwards, during the 2.2.7 cycle.

Icon Editor now uses its orignal graphical buttons

New from Icaros Desktop 2.2.5

- added DCRaw 9.28 to C:
- deleted the obsolete (and wrong) 'dcdraw' drawer from Extras
- updated InstallerLG for i386 to latest version
- updated LibPNG to latest release
- updated MCC_NList to v1.25 for i386 and M68K
- added support to MUI4 ESC-A method to embed images
+ updated muimaster.library
+ updated rapagui in Libs/Hollywood
+ fix: Icon Editor now uses image buttons instead of text ones
- updated AmiCloud to v2.0-final
- updated webptools to latest version
+ included also the webptools development libraries
- updated VIM to latest release
- updated vic to output in a window
+ added to Magellan an option to show Icaros version
+ renamed the 'About' option in Magellan to 'About AROS'
- updated vmware svga hidd to use FHD, 4K and 1440p resolutions
- updated AROS kernel
- added EasyRPG Player to Extras/Emu
+ added the game 'The Kidnapping of Princess Pri'
+ added the game 'Grimps: Squeaking of the Dead'
- added a launcher script for EasyRPG Player in the same drawer
- updated AmiCast Player to latest release
- added Hex2 calculator to Extras/Applications
- added def_Script.info for scripts
- added generic script icon to user-executable scripts in S:
- added debug mode: logging can now be easily performed
+ added debugmode script in S:
+ added "Create debug log" option in Magellan's Icaros menu
+ modified default snoopy.prefs in Envarc: to log everything
- added ZupaPlayer to Extras/Multimedia
- added 1366x768 and 1920x1080 resolutions to VESA grub options(*)
- updated Icaros manual to reflect changes
- fixed a wrong reference in "Create Installation Pendrive" script

(*) notice: they might or might not work depending on your VGA BIOS

EasyRPG Player with included games

Farewell, Google+

by on Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Google+ is being decommissioned by Google and there's no need to keep the "share on Google+" button on our post pages anymore. I would like to thank anyone who shared Icaros Desktop news on this unlucky social network, because - in a way or another - they contributed to spread our news. Icaros Desktop has a page on Facebook, please follow it to stay in touch with us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

New VMware native driver for AROS!

by on Wednesday, January 30, 2019
This news, my friends, is really BIG. I had to keep my mouth shut for some days, but I can now announce something great for Icaros and AROS in general: we finally have a native SVGA driver for VMware! What does this mean? In a nutshell, that we can now abandon VESA modes under the most famous virtualisation platform and we will be able to change screen resolution with Prefs/ScreenMode. But that's not, obviously, the only advantage. We're getting 2D acceleration as well, with all the good things it can bring. Our hero, this time, is Claudio Russo, who was absolutely not satisfied with the old stub included with AROS and decided to give it a go. Users of Icaros 2.2.6 can already notice that the vmwaresvga.hidd included with the distribution is different from the one in AROS nightly builds: it enables Full HD, 2K and 4K resolutions. But this is just the first evidence of Claudio's work on the driver. Since then, development went on for some weeks, and now VMware SVGA driver allows screen dragging, many more screen resolutions and fast screen refresh. You can see it in action in the following video. There are some little and bigger quirks still to be fixed here and there, but we are confident that the new driver will be ready for debuct on Icaros Desktop 2.2.7, when it will be released. A very big thank you to Claudio Russo for his effort!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

How to add new games to EasyRPG Player

by on Thursday, January 24, 2019
We've added a new tutorial on our Patreon page, which explains how to add other games to Icaros 2.2.6 and play them with EasyRPG Player. Not so difficult to do (we've summed up the procedure also on the user manual), however this video better explains the necessary steps.

If you're interested, this is the link to follow. The tutorial is available to patrons pleding 5+ dollars/month.