Saturday, September 12, 2020

Porting .\icaros to Windows

by on Saturday, September 12, 2020
One of the best commodities of Icaros 2.3 will be the fact that the 'icaros' launch script for hosted version will be able to accept parameters. Unluckily, I could not work on linux hosted and windows hosted features at the same time, but after releasing beta 3 I started working also on the latter. For now, Windows "icaros.cmd" script accepts some of the Linux parameters, but my goal is having both versions perfectly aligned (or almost). I also had to refresh a lot of MyWorkspace-related scripts on the Windows version to let Icaros boot correctly but, as you may see below, I am already getting some results. Moreover, I finally fixed one of the most annoying differences between Linux and Windows hosted: the Home: volume will now point to user's home directory on Windows too. 

My crowded and apparently meaningless Windows Desktop finally appearing on hosted Icaros too.
Now I have only to understand why DOS shell is so pedantic and apparently uncoherent... :-(

Friday, September 11, 2020

New beta of Icaros Desktop 2.3

by on Friday, September 11, 2020

Hello, I am very happy to announce that a brand new beta version of Icaros Desktop 2.3 is now available. As usual, the direct download link has been sent to our beta testers, to interested 3rd party application coders and patrons pledging $5 or more. You may have noticed that our "Support us" section on the right has slightly changed in the latest days: the Patreon button has been removed, and replaced by a simple link. The reason is Italy's tax-rate for Patreon income, which is incredibly high for an individual (6 euros out of 10 go to italian government). Total income earned by this project is simply too low to justify the creation of a company with a VAT number, or even a not-profit entity, which might help about this. Whoever would like to support this project with a monthly donation, should set up one with PayPal and let me know. I will add their address to the beta testers mailing list (if they are interested into beta-testing) and they will get download links for betas as well. Or maybe I will create a new mailing list only for this purpose. I will keep the Patreon page open at least up to december 31st, 2020, and see if something will change in the meanwhile.

But let's talk about something funnier.

As I already wrote here, one of the most noticeable changes between 2.2.x and 2.3 is the way hosted installation is considered. Hostbridge has incredibly improved, thanks to the efforts of Nicola Scendoni, and I also made my duty ensuring that MyWorkspace: would use host folders inside user home directory for images, pictures, downloads and so on. Well, just some days ago I realized that there was still a component missing within MyWorkspace, which was the Desktop drawer. Magellan can use a drawer for user desktop contents, and this was already silently set to MyWorkspace:Desktop, at least on native installation, while on hosted it was set to Home:Desktop. What was missing, was just a Desktop: assign to these directories. So I placed the assign command in S:myworkspace-Startup script and modified Magellan's settings to use it instead. I created the ISO of Icaros beta, installed it, and since it was working OK I uploaded it to the main server, ready to be published here.

However, I noticed a really strange behaviour: every time I saved a document, its icon popped up automatically on the desktop. If I deleted it from the Desktop, the project would vanish even from Documents:. I looked into Magellan options many time to understand what I accidentally changed to make it work like this, when I discovered where the bug was. While editing S:myworkspace-Startup, I accidentally set the Desktop: assign to MyWorkspace/Documents, instead of MyWorkspace/Desktop, and this affected only native installations (which explains why I didn't notice the issue while working on the distribution, from my hosted setup). Hence, if you're downloading Icaros' beta, please do what follows to fix the issue:

1. open a shell and enter this command:
edit s:myworkspace-startup

2. locate the section beginning with Lab MKASSIGN

3. change this line:

assign Desktop: ${envarc:Icaros/MW/Documents} DEFER
with this line
assign Desktop: ${envarc:Icaros/MW/Desktop} DEFER

4. save and reboot

Well, at least now you know another trick: would you like to automatically show on the desktop something you save in a specific drawer? Just assign Desktop: to that drawer's path and enjoy! There are many many reasons to use this beta instead of version 2.2.8: it's much much more advanced and includes a lot of new interesting stuff. It's been a long way and there is still much to be done before final release (the most important: fix Windows hosted installation). Here is a list of what changed since the last official release, with a section for the latest additions

- fixed a bug in LiveUpdater not copying new Icaros settings in Env-Archive
- backport from Icaros 64: updated icaros launcher for linux hosted mode
+- added options to reset, stop, add/change/delete parameters at startup
+- Magellan now shows Linux user when hosted on Linux
+- replaced all 'more' instances with 'cat' to enhance reliability
- modified Linux installation script to allow 32bit Icaros run on a 64bit system
+- fixed Linux installation script to install ifconfig command, if missing
- updated fpc and components to latest release
- added LUA Scripts filetype to Magellan
- 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
- added Saga to Extras/Games
- added deark to sys/C
- updated SQLMan to latest release
- updated Timekeeper to v1.09
+- 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
- 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
- added IconPoser to Tools
- moved IconEditor from Utilities to Extras/Design
- 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
- 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
- backport from Icaros 64: MyWorkspace management scripts
- updated windows and linux hosted setup scripts to reflect changes
- Lua is mandatory: moved it from Development stuff to SYS:Tools
- fixed: AmiStart now saves its settings in Envarc:Icaros
+- no more overwriting of AmiStart settings during updates
+- Added the new Hosted setting to AmiStart for Linux hosted environments
+- AmiStart settings now identified as 'Custom' after modifying bar items
- MyWorkspace now using HOME: for hosted version
- updated all TrueType fonts definitions
+- disabled sharing of fonts between x86 and M68K environments
+- Magellan now shows user name in the top bar, in hosted mode
- Added AmiFish and StockFish to Extras/Games
+- Added a collection of styles for AmiFish
- updated AnimWebConverter to v3.00
- added new BMPX datatype from Miker
- updated Hollywood's AHX plugin to latest version
- Added terminus bitmap font
- Added ViewT to C
- Added Picture Datatype creation package in Extras/Development/Build
- Added ZuneHexEditor to Extras/Development/Tools
- updated ZunePaint and ZuneView to latest release
- updated spu.datatype to latest release
- added UserMenus to Commodities
- updated HivelyTracker to new version 1.8
- updated ModExplorer and cut off _AROS from program name
- updated ActivateWin to handle windows from process name and id
- updated HostBridge files (PathConv) to handle ASSIGNs
- updated MyWorkspace scripts to handle localized user directories
+ installation script does this as well!
- no more pointless "pendrive installer" on Linux hosted
- begun work on installation manager
- fixed: Icaros linux scripts now use 'cat' instead of 'more'
- added Frets-on-fire-CPP to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- HostBridge: added 'dotconvert' and 'sync_app' to handle .desktop files
- HostBridge: Linux applications can now be added at startup
- HostBridge: HostApp now replaced by sys:Linux and sys:Windows
- updated potrace to latest version
- updated MUIMapparium to latest version
- added Ezekiel to Extras/Misc
- fixed Lilcalendar database
- added S:waitforfile to somehow replace C:waitnotify on unsupported filesystems
- added ComicOn to Extras/Multimedia
- added AmiBrixx to Extras/Games
- added FIGlet to Extras/Misc
- added AminetReadmeMaker to Extras/Development/Tools
- updated AnimWebConverter to v4.00
- updated LoView to v2.91
- added Snapshoter to Tools (handles screenshots and recording)
- ScreenGrabber and ScreenRecorder moved to Extras/MediaEditors
- fixed ZuneARC cfg file to handle unrar 5.80 and upwards
- updated VIM to latest release
- added Odamex (ag-odamex) to Extras/Games/DooM
- added Jumpman to Extras/Games
- updated MUIMapparium to latest release
- added Chromium to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- added pgp/k to C

- updated Flac in C and development libraries to latest version
- replaced AcuarioFV with Acuario2020
- updated Africa in Extras/Games to latest version
- added BlocksOfTheUndead to Extras/Games
- updated ComicOn to latest release
- added Extreme Tux Racer to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- replaced FPC (FreePascal) 3.1.1 with 3.2.0 in Extras/Development/Languages
- updated unrar to version 5.90
- added IceBreaker to Extras/Games
- added Jigzo to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- updated MuiRoyale.hwp to latest release
- added SilkRAW to Extras/Design (works on native installations only)
- added RNOPublisher to Extras/Applications
- updated InstallerLG to latest build
- added MCAmiga to Extras/FileSystem
+ modified mc, mcdiff, mcview to reflect Icaros file structure
- fixed: now more scripts in S get executable flag
- updated MCC_BetterString to v11.34 (x86 and m68k)
- updated MCC_Nlist to v0.126 (x86 and m68k)
- updated MCC_TextEditor to v15.54 (x86 and m68k)
- updated MCC_TheBar to v26.20 (x86 and m68k)
- updated ModExplorer to v3.1
- added XMP plugin for Hollywood to Libs
- updated VAMP to latest release
- updated VidentiumPicta to latest release
- updated EasyRPG Player to v0.6.1, restored icon for Player
- added Petme Fonts (Commodore 8-bit fonts remake)

- new "cubic sea" background by Paolo Besser

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Integrating unrar 5.90

by on Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Today I've been testing some new components of Icaros Desktop, including unrar 5.90. I had to modify ZuneARC'c configuration file, because the stack I already set for version 5.80, 400000, wasn't enough. I raised it to 800000, and now RAR archives can be easily managed, as the following screenshot demonstrates. By the way, what do you think about this Commodore-128esque font?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Catching up in a hurry

by on Monday, September 07, 2020
Today Icaros Desktop 2.3 has made some real progress. I have now included in the distribution most of the software that has been published for AROS for the last 4 months. I can't hide that my favourite ones, at least for this summer, are RNOPublisher and SilkRAW. The former is the first attempt to a DTP application for AROS, and it's an incredibly sleek tool for compositing PDF documents. You can add images, text boxes and simple page elements, then save the project as a (proprietary) .rnd file, or export it to a PDF document. Domenico Lattanzi's SilkRAW is a frontend for dcraw, a post-processor utility for digital camera images. I sincerely missed two programs like them on Icaros Desktop, and I cannot thank their authors enough for the time they spent on them, and for having let me include them in the distribution. I have also made a new Icaros build but I cannot share it with you at this stage, since it randomly and repeatedly opens an annoying "Insert MUI disk" requester. Luckily, finding the cause was easy: TextEditor 15.54 might have some MUI: path hard-coded somewhere, so I immediately sent a bug report to its developers. While waiting for a fix, I reverted to the quite recent 15.53 beta version included with the last public WIP of Icaros Desktop (the Easter 2020 one).

Edit: Thore Böckelmann just confirmed that a MUI: assign is now needed for recent version of TextEditor, NList and BetterString.mcc. I'll let coders discuss about this, but for the meanwhile I am adding a new assign to Icaros Desktop...

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A little status update

by on Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Hello my friends. First of all, I wish to apologize for this late update and reassure all of you about the Icaros project: it's still going on, although there hasn't been a lot of action. I am currently testing some new programs for AROS (above all, the incredible RNOPublisher, first attempt to DTP on our platform) and my 'real life' job kept me busy a lot. More than me, it kept busy my old ADSL line at home - due to Covid-19 counter-measures, I've been working at home since March - so I had very little chances to upload new Icaros builds to the site. The good news, however, is that the phone company which is in charge of the lines infrastructure finally upgraded my house to a brand new FTTC line. This means that I do not have to wait for 10 hours to upload a 4GB file anymore, but in half-an-hour the task is managed. It's still slower than a 'real' fibre line, but quick-enough to manage Icaros jobs. I've started today, uploading again to our main site the AROS x64 development environment, which was formerly available on our mirror site, and turned into a broken link in the latest months. In fact, our mirror site on is dead. I tried contacting someone who could be in charge for that, but got no answer at all. I've already cleaned off the Download page from broken links, but I might have forgotten something around other pages. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Hollywood Designer 5.0 available for AROS

by on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Usually, I don't speak about (or advertise) AROS software here, but this time I wish to do an exception. AROS needs software and programs to create software, and what might be better than a IDE and a language that let you write your application once, and compile it for AROS, AmigaOS3, AmigaOS4, WarpOS, MorphOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS? So, if you're interested, have a look to Airsoft Softwair's Hollywood Designer 5.0, a wonderful multimedia authoring system for Hollywood 8.0 (you need both). Here's the press release:

Hollywood Designer 5.0 is a massive update and boasts lots of new features and improvements over the previous version, released almost 8 years ago. We do not want to bore you, so here are just some of them:

* Ready for Hollywood 8.0: Supremacy!
* Full Unicode support
* Guide and grid support for convenient layouting
* Multi-user support with advanced permission management
* Import objects from other projects
* Full support for Hollywood video layers
* Control bars for video objects
* Curves are now drawn as real Bézier splines - looks so much better!
* Multiple sound streams can be playing at the same time
* AROS version available for the first time
* Objects can be exported as images
* Full support for MUI 5.0 on all platforms
* New browse mode for projects
* Much more efficient I/O
* Support for presentation remotes
* Advanced search functionality
* Plugins can be linked to executables
* Lots of new action events
* Many more options for embedding custom code
* Full support for Hollywood 8.0's plugin interface
* Lots of other changes, optimizations and bug fixes

Hollywood Designer is no longer limited to "just" being an authoring software, it can now also be used as a flexible graphics editor because it supports many features of modern graphics editors like multiple layers with over 30 filter effects, vector graphics, image import, and text.

Having been in development for almost 20 years, Hollywood Designer 5.0 is a very stable and mature multimedia authoring system. We would like to emphasize that it is not only suited for personal use, but also for professional commercial customers. Ferrule Media, for instance, have created an info channel containing over 2000 (!) unique slides in a single project with Hollywood Designer. Hollywood Designer was designed to handle these huge projects efficiently so that they can run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without any visible memory fragmentation! Ferrule Media's info channel, created with Hollywood Designer, is running in dental clinics all over Norway.

More info, and order options at:
> Airsoft Softwair's website

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Easter preview, beta-testing and everything

by on Thursday, April 09, 2020
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 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


If you wish to apply to Icaros Desktop beta-testers mailing list, please send me a private message either on Aroex-Exec (, 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. :-|

Installing Icaros Desktop onto the Hard Drive

by on Thursday, April 09, 2020
This video shows how you can perform a clean installation of Icaros Desktop onto the hard drive. The whole procedure is described on the user manual, and this video covers the following situation:
  • Installation from CD/DVD-ROM
  • 2 AROS partitions already created (AROS and WORK)
  • Default packages for the Live! version
  • FTP file share being activated at first post-installation setup

The user manual can be downloaded from the Download page.