Monday, April 6, 2020

Not the best "beginning of the year" so far, but...

In Italy there's a old motto saying "anno bisesto, anno funesto", which we might translate into "leap year, fatal year", and it basically places its roots into superstition. Rationally speaking, the need for adding a 29th day to February every four years just compensates a 6-hours error accumulated by our way of computing years, and the fact that this year is '2020', and not '2019' or '2021' or '10767', is just a matter of convention. I never believed into fate, or into numerology or other forms of new-age superstition. But, that's odd, this year can really be considered a very unlucky one, at least according to the news during its first three months. My country (but others are following) is dealing with the scariest and hardest crisis since the end of World War 2, and probably this is not the right time to think about light matters like an AROS distribution, but I would like to thank some people here.

First of all, I would like to thank our patrons for their support, and anyone who still donated to Icaros in the latest weeks. I have some good news for them, at the end of this post.

This site remained untouched since last Christmas, and not a single news or screenshot has been posted here. This can be an issue for a project like ours. Well, reality is that Icaros Desktop didn't proceed with the usual pace, for a series of reasons: I continued collecting 3rd party software from people releasing it on Aminet and on the Archives, but I could start integrating it into the distribution only recently. In the weeks before, I had been quite busy at work and all my spare time was taken over. Moreover, there had not been so much progress on the AROS side, at least on ABIv0, while almost all the effort on ABIv1 has been directed to the M68K flavour, in order to make it work as best as possible on Vampire cards. I cannot blame anyone for this. For the last 10 years, Icaros got much attention and time from AROS developers, and now it is something else's turn, with different goals and a different vision. Icaros Desktop, however, will continue refining its features and adding new ones, while continuing its difficult and very slow transition to 64 bits.

Second, I would like to thank people on AROS-EXEC and Amigaworld who continued advocating the project. It's so sad to read that x86 AROS is "completely useless", by people who have actively collaborated to its success until yesterday. We've always done this for fun, but all this delusion and bad wording is not funny at all. Get real: not only we'll never catch up with Windows or Linux, but we've always been aware of this since day 1. We're only making our best to do something different, something good, even if it's difficult. Demotivation is not something which will help here.

Third, let me thank some people in particular. Michael Riddle for his improved BMP datatype: I could finally run Xabier Payet's SnapShoter on AROS, which always crashed at startup, before I installed the bmp datatype he kindly sent me. SnapShoter is amazing: it handles fullscreen and portion grabbing, taking both still and videos, it includes a post-it like function and has even an integrated image editor; so I sent an email to the author asking for permission to include it with the distribution. Let's cross our fingers. :-) [update: permission gotten :-)]


Then I would like to thank Nicola Scendoni for his efforts on the hosted soul of Icaros Desktop. We share the same idea of what HostBridge should (and can) do, and I sincerely hope this will bring many "former Amiga, now Linux" lovers to join us.

Moreover, I would like to thank Salvo on AROS-EXEC, who kindly asked me to add econding options to OGG and Flac formats for Wave files. The option is now included in Magellan, and - for now - they encode WAV files at fixed compression/quality ratios. I already have some nice ideas about how this can be furtherly improved, so stay tuned and... thanks again for all your patience, Salvatore!

Then, a sad news about this site: as of today, I can't reach mirror files stored on lezard-visuel.com, the site which has been helping us from the beginning of our journey. While I'm trying to contact them, I hope this will just be a temporary issue. Lezard-visuel space is really precious to your distribution.

...and now the good news for our Patrons: I am uploading a new beta version of Icaros Desktop 2.3 which will be available to them only, at least at the beginning. You will receive notification of its availablity as soon as possible.

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