Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Easter preview, beta-testing and everything

A new preview version of Icaros Desktop 2.3.0 is now available for download. This time, however, it won't be available to everyone, but to a precise audience only: patrons and beta-testers, in a nutshell whoever actively supports our distribution, either by helping me paying the fees or by providing bug reports and feedback. Public betas, by the way, weren't an habit for Icaros Desktop: once upon a long ago, we had an active team of developers and users who tested the distro, finding bugs and weak functionalities, reporting them to me, so I could fix them and release 'stable' versions and updates of the system. Unluckily, Icaros lost most of its beta-testers over the years, and this meant less bug reports, less fixing, less reliability.

For this reason, I started releasing betas to the public, even if this collided with the costy '$15 tier' on Patreon, which granted exclusive access to beta versions. I hoped this would have increased bug reporting but, honestly, the results I got weren't exactly the ones I expected: very few precise feedbacks, but a general feel of unstability increased. I also lost all $15 pledges, but this wasn't unexpected. Well, it's time to clean the mess and reorder.

No more unstable beta versions will be released to the general public, unless for special reasons (for instance, a Xmas present after many months of no updates, like it happened for v2.2 and v2.3), no more '$15 tier' on Patreon to access betas, but only two ways to get them:

  1. Becoming a Icaros Desktop betatester. This means being added to a mailing list, receiving a link from time to time to download a ISO of either Icaros Desktop Light or Live!, try things as soon as possible and report feedback or bugs to me. I might also ask to test specific functions when they are added to the distribution and, obviously, the beta-tester status expires if no any answer is given for a reasonable amount of time.
  2. Apply for a '$5 tier' on Patreon, which will continue giving early access to final releases and updates of Icaros Desktop and, starting with today, also to beta and preview versions. 
The $2 tier, which was previously used to friendly support the distribution with a little monthly fee, will now give access also to our video-tutorials, which were available only to patrons who pleged at least $5 every month.

THE NEW BETA

The new beta of Icaros Desktop 2.3.0 is available on Patreon, while the download link has already been sent to our beta testing mailing list. Follow the instructions below to apply for beta-testing.



New in this beta, from the Xmas one:

- fixed Lilcalendar database  > no unnecessary alarm when starting it the first time.
- added S:waitforfile to somehow replace C:waitnotify on unsupported filesystems
- added ComicOn to Extras/Multimedia > this program allows reading comic strips online, however this version does not work as expected and will be fixed
- added AmiBrixx to Extras/Games > new game
- added FIGlet to Extras/Misc > a command to create ascii-art text titles using a variety of fonts
- added AminetReadmeMaker to Extras/Development/Tools > useful if you publish on the Archives
- updated AnimWebConverter to v4.00 > new version of this great anim conversion tool
- updated LoView to v2.91 > picture viewer
- added SnapShoter to Tools > handles screenshots and recording
- ScreenGrabber and ScreenRecorder moved to Extras/MediaEditors > superseded by SnapShoter
- updated unrar to version 5.80 > compatible with current version of the famous compression tool
- fixed ZuneARC cfg file to handle unrar 5.80
- updated VIM to latest release > we now have 5.82 available!
- added Odamex (ag-odamex) to Extras/Games/DooM > new AROS tool for Doom
- added Jumpman to Extras/Games > new compelling game
- updated MUIMapparium to latest release > new version of this route planning tool
- updated InstallerLG to latest build > a mandatory replacement for Commodore and AROS installers
- added Chromium to Extras/OpenGL/Games > another compelling game, for accelerated cards
- added pgp/k to C > pgp and pgpk for AROS

BECOMING A BETA TESTER

If you wish to apply to Icaros Desktop beta-testers mailing list, please send me a private message either on Aroex-Exec (ae.amigalife.org), or by email to paolo(dot)besser(at)gmail(dot)com, or on Facebook (send a PM to Icaros' page), with the subject "I wish to apply to Icaros beta tester list" and specify a valid email address. In order to become a beta-tester, the following are required:
  • Being expert of Amiga-like systems
  • Being able to test Icaros Desktop on compatible hardware, or in a virtual machine
  • Being able to test Icaros Desktop either in native or Linux-hosted mode
  • Have a spare computer or a virtual machine to test Icaros with (no complaints about broken data/setup will be accepted: beta software is beta for a reason)
  • Being able to write down all necessary steps to reproduce issues
Have a nice Easter, even if I know that - for many of us - it will be just another day at home. :-|

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