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Dec 22, 2020

Icaros Desktop 2.3 now available for download

A brand new version of Icaros Desktop is finally ready for everyone. What you have under your eyes is the result of a very long work of analysis and revision, which covers different aspects of the distribution, in its native soul and in the hosted one. We wondered what users would love and how we could make Icaros Desktop more useful and, thanks to the work of third-party application programmers, today we can offer you an operating environment that's more useful and more beautiful than ever. The novelties to talk about are many: from the Leu spreadsheet to the SilkRAW image reader, from the incredible RNOPublisher DTP to new games, but, above all, the hosted version of Icaros Desktop is the one which has taken a decisive step forward, both for Linux and Windows. The news are so many that, this time, we will list them in different sections.

Upgrading and availability

As usual, Icaros Desktop 2.3 is available in the Live! and Light flavours, targeted for DVD and CD (re)writable medias. Live! edition includes everything you need to make the most of your AROS system, while the Light edition includes the bare system with mandatory applications and extensions only. This time, however, we've included also a pre-built image of a USB pendrive. Please handle with care: it has not been extensively tested and it may not work on your system. We could successfully boot an Acer Aspire One netbook with this pendrive, however many motherboard BIOSes just refuse to boot from it. When re-creating the pendrive from the provided image, please use a 2 GB, clean USB pendrive. Remaining space on bigger ones will become unusable, until all partitions will be removed. Please refer to the download page and the README file in the archive for further instructions.

Icaros Desktop 2.3 must be installed from scratch, no upgrade path is provided from Icaros 2.2.x. Manual upgrading is possible (as usual), but absolutely not supported.

New programs and games

Icaros Desktop 2.3 includes some gems like ALB42's Leu 0.08, a little but already quite powerful spreadsheet application which can read, to some degree, files from Microsoft Excel and LibreOffice Calc. We bet the inclusion of this program will increase your productivity under AROS. If you're in digital cameras, you'll probably be happy for Domenico Lattanzi's SilkRAW, a great RapaGUI-based front-end for dcraw (compiled for us by Olivier Tigréat some time ago): with these programs, you can import and convert RAW image files from several different devices and file-formats. It is a very welcome addition, since I have myself many images in .ORF format that I simply could not use under AROS. if you followed our news, you should know that Domenico also brought us Amifish, a customizable and skinnable chess game: I am very fond of that game, not because I love chess, but because I gave my little contribution by compiling Stockfish for AROS, which is Amifish' chess engine needed to play against computer. Icaros Desktop lets you read comics with Jörg Renkert's ComicOn, but if you wish to create your own publication with AROS... now you can! It's, in fact, time to include the incredible "AROS first attempt to DTP" RNOPublisher by jPV (with support by Salvatore Abbate), same author of the great image converter RNO Effects. With RNOPUblisher you can compose your own PDF file and redistribute them. What you can do? Here's an example. Icaros Desktop, however, has always been 'fun': for this reason, we added some new amazing games too, both for accelerated cards and not. Between them, there's one I sincerely loved in the past: Frets-on-Fire CPP, a open source Guitar Hero clone you can play with your keyboard, or with a better USB controller. Here's the complete list of new additions, with some screenshots as well:

- added Leu 0.08 to system/Utilities
+- replaced Leu icon with a new one from Icaros Desktop

Leo: a little but powerful spreadsheet program which can handle
basic LibreOffice and Microsoft Excel files. 

- added Saga to Extras/Games
- added IconPoser to Tools

With IconPoser you can create your own dual-state icons from two PNG files

- Added AmiFish and StockFish to Extras/Games
+- Added a collection of styles for AmiFish

Amifish and Stockfish provide a skinnable way to play chess against
your computer or a human opponent

- begun work on installation manager
- added Frets-on-fire-CPP to Extras/OpenGL/Games

Frets on Fire CPP: a Bemani-style open source re-implementation of Guitar Hero.
Play guitar like a monster with the keyboard or with a USB GH controller.

- added Ezekiel to Extras/Misc
- added ComicOn to Extras/Multimedia
- added AmiBrixx to Extras/Games
- added FIGlet to Extras/Misc
- added Odamex (ag-odamex) to Extras/Games/DooM
- added SilkRAW to Extras/Design (works on native installations only)

SilkRAW allows to import and convert RAW image files from digital cameras

- added Jumpman to Extras/Games
- added Chromium to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- added BlocksOfTheUndead to Extras/Games
- added Extreme Tux Racer to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- added IceBreaker to Extras/Games
- added Jigzo to Extras/OpenGL/Games
- added RNOPublisher to Extras/Applications

With RNOPublisher, AROS' first attempt at DTP, you can compose your pages in PDF format

- added MCAmiga to Extras/FileSystem
+ modified mc, mcdiff, mcview to reflect Icaros file structure
- added XMP plugin for Hollywood to Libs

Improvements to UI:

We are constantly enhancing Magellan and other components of Icaros GUI to make our environment better. Magellan is now able to detect some new file types and to address them to the right tools. We changed the way the 'Archive' buttons (LHA, ZIP, TAR) work to make them more reliable, and we added a wonderful application at Icaros startup, LilCalendar. It allows you to save your appointments and reminds you of them a few minutes before. Inclusion of this program required a lot of work, because we wanted it to run in the background and being hidden/shown with a specific button in AmiStart. LilCalendar will be automatically disabled on hosted versions of Icaros, though, since both Windows and Linux have similar programs already available for the user. Icaros Desktop 2.3 now includes SnapIT, an incredible tool to grab pictures and videos from the workbench: it even embeds a image editor to modify them on-the-fly. Here's the complete list of UI improvements:

- added LUA Scripts filetype to Magellan
- added Spreadsheet filetype to Magellan
- edited Spreadsheet def_info file to open them with Leu
- 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
- fixed Lilcalendar database 

LilCalendar keeps track of your meetings.
Save them and Icaros Desktop will remind them to you.

- updated Icaros Settings to add options for calendar and clock
- 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
- added UserMenus to Commodities
- added Snapshoter to Tools (handles screenshots and recording)
- added Petme Fonts (Commodore 8-bit fonts remake)

Petme fonts: Isn't Icaros sexier, with 80-columns Commodore 128 chars?

- new "cubic sea" background by Paolo Besser
- enhanced: inverted Icaros and Amiga buttons in GUI Selector
- added multiple OS disk icons in Storage/icons with proper settings
- added def_ISO and def_LNK in Envarc/SYS
- ISO files now recognised by Magellan (right click to mount/unmount)
- Added terminus bitmap font
- added new BMP datatype from Miker

Improvements to Hostbridge:

HostBridge is the technology which got the greatest overhaul. We expanded and improved it as much as we could, to let you exploit it beyond its potential. Icaros Desktop, in hosted mode, can now be used like a GUI for your host operating system. The first time you run Icaros Desktop in hosted mode, both on Linux and Windows, it will try to find all installed applications and make a HostBridge shortcut to them. In other words, they will be integrated at startup. Old Sys:System/Hosted/HostApp drawer has been replaced by Sys:Linux and Sys:Windows depending on your host operating system, and HostBridge is now able to parse and import Linux' .desktop files and Windows .lnk ones: this way, you can import an app from its shortcut on the desktop or in the Start Menu. Windows executables are now launch-able from Magellan: just double click on them, and HostBridge will run them for you. We have successfully run Icaros Desktop as a GUI for Windows Hyper-V Server 2019, a core-only, Explorer-less version of Windows as a proof-of-concept, and we could use it to run programs, move files, launch scripts in a natural way. We're really proud of what we achieved with HostBridge and we have several projects incoming for the next releases...

- backport from Icaros 64: updated icaros launcher for hosted modes
+- added options to reset, stop, add/change/delete parameters at startup
+- Magellan now shows Linux/Windows 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
- backport from Icaros 64: MyWorkspace management scripts
- updated windows and linux hosted setup scripts to reflect changes
- 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 hosted installations
- HostBridge: added 'dotconvert' and 'sync_app' to handle .desktop files
- HostBridge: applications can now be added at startup
- HostBridge: HostApp now replaced by sys:Linux and sys:Windows
- LNK files now recognised by Magellan (right click to add to HostBridge)
- fixed: mounting Windows drives now adds a icon for them
- fixed: Home: now pointing to user home directory on Windows hosted
- Windows executables now launched by HostBridge on Windows hosted
- enhanced: hbiconselect now converts the selected icon only, saving time
- fixed: pathconv better handles AROS paths under Windows
- HostBridge: a convenient icon is placed when not found in an EXE file
- HostBridge: Windows programs now added automatically after installation
- HostBridge: hbadd now uses %PATHEXT% to handle executables
- HostBridge: new ASSIGNs for Program Files and Windows drawers
- HostBridge: enhanced Windows launch script
- HostBridge: added dotlnk to handle Windows shortcuts in Start menu

Development stuff:

Icaros wouldn't ever be Icaros without the hard work of third party developers. We can collect so much good software only because there are people coding it. So we try to do our best to provide a complete and updated development environment to them. 

- Added Picture Datatype creation package in Extras/Development/Build
- Added ZuneHexEditor to Extras/Development/Tools
- updated VIM to latest release
- replaced FPC (FreePascal) 3.1.1 with 3.2.0 in Extras/Development/Languages
- updated MuiRoyale.hwp to latest release
- 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)
- added AminetReadmeMaker to Extras/Development/Tools

Software updates and fixes:

...and here's the list of programs being update with this release of Icaros Desktop:

- updated SQLMan to latest release
- updated Timekeeper to v1.09
+- removed duplicated DOpus manuals to save space
+- removed pointless double check when deleting files
- updated all TrueType fonts definitions
- updated AnimWebConverter to v3.00
- updated Hollywood's AHX plugin to latest version
- updated ZunePaint and ZuneView to latest release
- updated spu.datatype to latest release
- 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 potrace to latest version
- updated MUIMapparium to latest version
- updated AnimWebConverter to v4.00
- updated LoView to v2.91
- replaced AcuarioFV with Acuario2020
- updated Africa in Extras/Games to latest version
- updated InstallerLG to latest build
- updated ModExplorer to v3.1
- updated VAMP to latest release
- updated VidentiumPicta to latest release
- updated EasyRPG Player to v0.6.1, restored icon for Player
- updated FPSE in Extras/Emu

Improvements to CLI/shell:

You don't need a GUI to perform actions. CLI utilities can be the quickest and easiest way to do things, once you understand their syntax. Moreover, most of Icaros Desktop magic is due to a smart use of them in its scripts. If you look at Icaros' S directory, you will find a lot of stuff there, which might be uncommon for an Amiga system. Fact is that we place in S all the scripts meant to be re-use in several parts of the distribution and, some times, we add new ones to work AROS limitations around.

- added deark to sys/C
- created the new alias 'ltasks' to replace broken TaskList command
- created S:ctask to check if a specific task is running
- Added ViewT to C
- added S:waitforfile to somehow replace C:waitnotify on unsupported filesystems
- added pgp/k to C
- updated Flac in C and development libraries to latest version
- updated unrar to version 5.90
+ enhanced ZuneARC cfg file to handle unrar 5.80 and upwards
- added a guide file for ProcessIcon
- fixed: now more scripts in S get executable flag

Other fixes and housekeeping:

- fixed a bug in LiveUpdater not copying new Icaros settings in Env-Archive
- moved IconEditor from Utilities to Extras/Design
- removed DigiClock from WBstartup, now running from Commodities
- cleaned up DigiClock directory, sources now in Extras/Documentation
- 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
- Lua is mandatory: moved it from Development stuff to SYS:Tools
- ScreenGrabber and ScreenRecorder moved to Extras/MediaEditors
- removed Dragon Memory as it was reported not-working anymore
- removed Net Bubble as it was reported not-working anymore
- removed Soliton as it was reported not-working anymore
- removed Sqrz as it was reported not-working anymore (broken sound)
- fixed: added missing icon to Rocks'n'Diamonds
- fixed: rationalised icons in Extras/Demos/kdp
- fixed: removed redundant AROS_intro file in Metadiary drawer

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