Friday, October 11, 2019

Icaros Desktop 2.3.0 mid-term preview for testers and supporters

We know you're all thrilled about the future 64 bit releases of Icaros Desktop but, as you may have noticed, there is still too much to do before a user-friendly release. In the meanwhile, mainstream 32-bit Icaros Desktop continues to mature. We have still many amazing projects for this version of the distribution and we would like to give you a glimpse of the recent additions. Beta testers and supporters on Patreon should have already got the download links but, if you wish to try yourself, you can become a Icaros supporter on Patreon too!

Office program LEU is opening and editing XLS and ODT streadsheets on AROS

VERSION 2.2.9 OR 2.3.0?

It was the first decision to take, and this is a mid-term preview of Icaros Desktop 2.3.0. What does this mean? Basically, that we've made some relevant changes on paths used by Icaros programs and made some different decisions about contents to include in the Live! and Light edition. The immediate consequence is that, if you'd try to update files like you're accustomed to, you would probably end up in a little mess of duplicated programs, here and there. So, you're now supposed to install it onto a clean environment: a new virtual machine, a different directory of your hosted setup, and so on. You can also install this version on your hardware like you did with the older ones, obviously, but we can't assure changes are over: when the final release of Icaros Desktop 2.3.0 will be uot, you might be required to install from zero again. We have some very interesting plans for the near future (I will surely talk about these later), so maybe I would have saved the 'point release' for something else, however... Stay tuned!

WHAT'S NEW

I've been quite silent in the latest weeks, but this does not mean I stopped development of Icaros Desktop. many things changed since version 2.2.8 and it's time to make a little recap. 

NEW PROGRAMS
- updated fpc and components to latest release
- added LEU 0.07 to system/Utilities
+ replaced Leu icon with a new one from Icaros Desktop
+ added Spreadsheet filetype to Magellan
+ edited Spreadsheet def_info file to open them with LEU

This is really interesting. ALB42 created a tool we really missed so much: a program that could read spreadsheets from modern office applications like Microsoft Excel and LibreOffice. And the best new is: it can also modify them! Yes, you can enter fields, change values and see applied formulas updating results in real time. Obviously, the program is still at its first stages, but simple spreadsheets will work flawlessly. I haven't called it a 'complete spreadsheet program' because the current interface includes just the most common tools, but LEU has great potential. 


CHANGED FUNCTIONS
- updated DOpus5 Magellan to v5.92 (latest available nightly build)
- added LUA Scripts filetype to Magellan
+ removed duplicated DOpus manuals to save space
+ removed pointless double check when deleting files
- changed behaviour of Magellan's "Archive" button
+ destination archive filename now requested to user
+ fixes former single-files compression errors

DOpus 5 Magellan has been updated to the latest available nightly build for i386 AROS, which should improve its stability. I have also corrected a long-standing issue with the Archive button in our interface, which was not able to handle single files being compressed. With the old implementation, you had to select at least two files and left or right click to create a LHA or a ZIP archive including both. The functionality has then been extended to TAR archives using the central button, but the real news is that these actions will now ask you the name of the resulting archive, letting you save it where you prefer, and you can now compress single files as well. 

- removed DigiClock from WBstartup, now running from Commodities
- cleaned up DigiClock directory, sources now in Extras/Documentation
- updated Icaros Settings to add options for calendar and clock

DigiClock is a commodity and should stay with other commodities. There were many unneeded files included with Icaros Desktop (mainly executables for other operating systems) and they have been deleted to save space. All distributed files have been included in the archive provided with Extras/Documentation which is, by the way, the place to find the sources for included programs, when available. Icaros Settings has been updated to reflect the change, with a new tab handling user-interface related programs being launched at startup.  

ICAROS KEEPS TRACK OF YOUR MEETINGS
- added LilCalendar to Utilities
+ Icaros now loads LilCalendar at startup to follow your schedule
+ added LilCalendar hide/show script in S:, with icon in AmiStart

This required an incredible lot of work. I've been in contact with Nathan Hesterman, author of LilCalendar, since the day he uploaded it to aminet. I've helped him finding bugs and ironing out the user interface, begging him with feature requests. He's been incredibly friendly and let me fullfit a need I felt for many many years: a program which would start with Icaros and remind my schedule when needed. But, in order to keep the workbench clean, I had to set up a quite complex mechanism using the Activatewin utility. When Icaros Desktop starts, Lilcalendar is hidden to your sight, but it's working in the background. You can obviously change this behavor with Icaros Settings, which has been updated to handle this. 

QUICKLY CREATE YOUR ICONS
- added IconPoser to Tools
- moved IconEditor from Utilities to Extras/Design

Quickly create your double-state, PNG icons using IconPoser, which was originally created to help develop this distribution... but it can be handful also to Icaros users!


ENHANCEMENTS FOR HOSTED ENVIRONMENT
- backport from Icaros 64: updated icaros launcher for linux hosted mode
- modified Linux installation script to allow 32bit Icaros run on a 64bit system
- fixed Linux installation script to install ifconfig command, if missing
- backport from Icaros 64: MyWorkspace management scripts
- updated windows and linux hosted setup scripts to reflect changes

There were many issues found by hosted Icaros users that have been addressed in the new version. First of all, if you installed hosted Icaros on a 64bit Linux distribution, it didn't work until you installed also some 32-bit libraries. This has been handled with the installation script, which now downloads them from your Linux distribution repository and installs them automatically. Moreover, modern distros are not providing the ifconfig command anymore, which is still used by our scripts. This has been handled as well. Please remember our scripts are tailored for Ubuntu and Ubuntu derived distributions only, you will have to adapt them to other distributions by yourself.

You can spot even the first backports from Icaros 64. Yes: some of these features were originally developed for the 64bit edition and then ported back to the mainstream one. While the rework of MyWorkspace is much a 'under the hood' thing, the new ./icaros script for Linux hosted Icaros is a great addition to this distribution. It now behaves like a command, so you can give it arguments to customize your next Icaros session as you wish. Here's a little summary of new options:

./icaros             starts Icaros Desktop
./icaros -q | -s   shutdown running sessions of icaros desktop
./icaros -r         restarts icaros desktop
./icaros -v  variable value     changes value of envarc/icaros/variable
./icaros -a  variable value     adds a envarc/icaros/variable and its value
./icaros -l          lists available variables and values
./icaros -f          force fullscreen for this session
./icaros -x         stops ./icaros execution (used in combination with -a and -v)

OTHER ADDITIONS
There are also many other little/great additions and enhancements here and there, like the following:

- added Saga to Extras/Games
- added deark to sys/C
- updated EasyRPG-Player to v0.6.1
- updated SQLMan to latest release
- updated Timekeeper to v1.09
- updated MCC TextEditor to v15.53 beta (i386 and M68K)
+ This version is setting RPTAG_PenMode for AROS in every situation
- added/replaced many missing icons (shell, AAEDT and others)
- created a new directory in Extras, "Trackers" for all audio trackers
- moved all trackers out of Extras/MediaEditors, changed description
- moved Protrekkr to Extras/Trackers: no more available in Light edition
- created the new alias 'ltasks' to replace broken TaskList command
- created S:ctask to check if a specific task is running
- fixed a bug in LiveUpdater not copying new Icaros settings in Env-Archive

As you can see, many new programs and potential additions aren't included here. Please understand, we've been very busy with 64-bit version, hosted enhancements and other developments I will surely talk you about in the future (for now, let me give our welcome to Nicola Scendoni, and thank him for his precious help). Final version of Icaros 2.3.0 will also include AmiFish, StockFish all the other AROS software which could not make it in this preview. Please also remember this is just a beta: you can already use it instead of your old 2.2.8 installation, but there might be still some little issues to address. Let us know what you think in our forum @Aros-Exec!

DOWNLOAD

Outside of the beta-testers and developers community, download links are available for supporters only. Supporters are our $15+/month patrons on Patreon.com. You can find the page here:



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