Some time ago I wanted to use remote desktop so I could take over my Icaros desktop when I would be sitting downstairs with my laptop. The downside of course is that you have two computers on and also I found it to be a bit slow and also the resolution was not that great. With very little time I don’t want to sit upstairs in my office every day instead of sitting downstairs with my wife in the living room. Some of you might know how that is. You work all day and the few free hours you have in the evening are used upstairs (or a different room) which can lead to some issues with the missus. So better would be if you can do the work in the living room so you sit with the missus. My wife is never without her laptop for long so we are both busy but if I can join her in the living room it just works so much better. So remote desktop was not the solution so what now?
I can of course install Aros on my laptop but I need to use Windows so that is not an option for me. Also I don’t want a dual boot system. I suddenly remembered that in the past I ran Aros within Windows so after posting at the Aros-Exec site I was directed to the Windows hosted version. Soon it became clear that I could not run it in full screen so that was not the solution for me. I started to think about a virtual emulator like VMWare that will allow you to run a different operating system within Windows. I used VMWare before in the past. But it is not for free so I Googled for open source alternatives.
I came across VirtualBox from Oracle. (** The site seems to be not accessible for some days already) This just rocks and it turns out this is even discussed in the Icaros manual. The problem you will run in to is the resolution. You can’t set anything resolution in the Prefs settings for the screen mode. But as always there is a solution for this. Over at VMWAros you can find the solution for the screen resolution. I have the same resolution (1366×768) so I could just follow the instructions and now I am running it full screen. The speed is perfect and switching between VirtualBox and Windows a lot has no influence on the speed.
With having Icaros running hosted I thought about my issues with not having a C syntax highlight editor. What if I can have a shared folder available on both Windows and Aros? This way I can use a C syntax highlight editor on Windows and save it to that folder and right away compile it. I use SMBFS on OS4.x to mount these Windows shares to exchange files. Sadly due to the buggy network on my A1SE it is far from being the best solution. SMBFS can also be used on Icaros and again it is described in the Icaros manual. Sadly there is a problem with VirtualBox in combination with Windows 7. Files on Aros will be truncated in the first 49 bytes or so. Sadly this will prevent me from using this as a solution. I have not tested it yet but this would also affect a FTP connection. So using a FTP client on Aros to connect to a FTP server on my Windows 7 installation would also cause issues. I guess this is the first “major” issue I have found with Aros.
Currently I am playing with the syntax highlight settings of Annotate. You can change it to your liking. Sadly there are some issues with Aros when it comes to setting the colours. There is a solution that requires you to run a script that calls a utility that fixes the colours issues. I have done this but I am still experiencing issues. For example if I set something to yellow the next time I reboot it will have the colour red. When I reboot again it will have another colour. It could be, and I guess it is, that I am filling it in wrong in the syntax file since for example comment in my C source file keeps its colour. I hope this can be sorted soon. For now I am over the moon with VirtualBox and Icaros. It runs really great and I can switch between Aros and Windows 7 without everything coming to a halt. If I can have the syntax highlight issue with Annotate fixed nothing can stop me from doing some serious coding.
I left my Redhouse file manager project on hold for some time already. Started out on OS4.x I thought it was a good time to continue with it on Aros for now. I am getting myself familiar with Aros so what better way better than to involve Aros in to it. One thing I really miss, and “highlighted” already several times is a editor that supports C syntax highlights. Being used to CodeBench and Cubic IDE it is a big must for me. I really hope someone will create this. For now I am using the NoWinED editor. When the code is not that large yet it is fine but once it grows you just loose that great ability of oversight.
Programming on Aros is somewhat different compared to OS4.x. The approach to libraries and the GUI toolkit of choice are different. When it comes to libraries we will switch back to the old classic way of opening them. I actually like this since it is true to the classic way of doing things and since I invested a lot of time in Amiga OS libraries the classic way and new OS4.x way it is not really a problem to switch back to this way of opening libraries.
Instead of ReAction which is used on OS4.x we are using Zune on Aros. Zune is an object-oriented GUI toolkit. It is nearly a clone (at both API and Look&Feel level) of MUI, a well-known Amiga shareware product by Stefan Stuntz. I have no experience with MUI so for me this will be a bit of a hurdle. I always got the idea that there are more and better MUI classes one can use giving you a more easier way of getting your code done. So far I already have small example of a window that is being displayed with some control code that will close it again. That will be the basis from which I will continue. First I will start with a split window look which is the basis for each Amiga file manager if you ask me.
I have been using Aros (in the form of Icaros Desktop) for a while now and it is about time I write about my verdict on it. There is a bit of a dilemma for me in some weird way as I am a OS4.x fan boy. From the start I suppose to hate it, right? Some kind of wannabe Amiga OS on X86 hardware. How could I even consider thinking about it let alone install it? How wrong could I be? Well beyond my dreams because it was love on first sight.
It runs on my old x86 hardware that became absolute due to the fact Windows would not run on it anymore. It’s fine if you are happy to wait 5 minutes every time you move the mouse. That was a great start for Aros because I did not have to go out and buy new hardware for it. Imagine if it runs on old outdated hardware like this it will shine on new modern hardware.
If you got some spare hardware lying around you should really install Icaros to give it a try. You can also run it within Windows or even boot it as a Live DVD. Personally I would recommend to run it on real hardware to experience it to the max.
One program I am really missing on Aros is a syntax highlight C editor. I really can’t work without one anymore since I start using Cubic IDE and CodeBench on Amiga OS4.x. For now I will have to do without but as you start working with larger portions of code you start loosing the oversight and it becomes hard to get to grips with it. I really hope someone will create this because this is something I really need.
To my surprise Icaros contains VNC Server so I can sit downstairs with my Acer laptop and connect to my Icaros desktop upstairs. I use TightVNC Viewer in my Acer laptop to connect to my Icaros desktop and it works great.
With my upcoming holiday I will be able to use Icaros a lot more which is something I am really looking forward to. Mostly I will try to do some more programming and playing some games with the emulator. Of course I will be writing about it like I always do.