I was not fortunate enough to make it to this year’s WWNC in Tokyo, Japan, but the announcements to the NewtonTalk mailing list this morning blew me away. The entire Newton community will benefit greatly from the work that everyone put into their projects this year, so those of us unable to make the trek to Japan need not have worried that they’d miss out at all!
So, on with the announcements:
Today he announced that the Einstein source code has been released under the GNU GPL and the project will be known as Open Einstein henceforth. Slides of his presentantion and the Mac OS X binaries of Open Einstein are immediately available.
New features in this release include:
In particular, an important investment was made by rewriting the emulator part (the JIT module) to support PC-independent rewriting and decrease the memory footprint, which was the first step towards machine-specific recompilation. In other words, while the speed has not spectacularly increased, the heavy work done these past weeks allowed me to design a new experimental module where NewtonOS instructions are executed natively on ARM PDAs.
He also notes that:
Within two days, Matthias Melcher and I got a working Cygwin/X11 port running on Tablet PCs (this was on Saturday) and a working Cygwin/Native GUI (with FLTK) port running the next day. The Cygwin/X11 patches have been committed to the subversion repository (this might be a little bit tricky for I do not have any box to check the compilation works fine), and I believe that Matthias will be able to produce a version compiled with Visual C++ soon.
So those of you running Windows will likely have native Open Einstein binaries in the not too distant future.
I have also been peeking at Matthias Melcher’s DyneTK cross-platform, open-source replacement for the original NTK in the hopes of using it and Einstein to do a little Newton development on Mac OS X. He put on a presentation regarding DyneTK and also announced his excitement at the prospects that this year’s other announcements bring to the table with a call for Newton developers to dig out their old projects:
The WWNC was very exciting! NewtonScript, the abandon child, all of a sudden starts to live a second life! I call for all former Newton developers to find their old NTK project files on that old 1GB hard-disk or 40MB IOMega cartridge and bring them online, either via Unna, your own page, or EMail them to me and I will create a section on Robowerk.com
This is huge news as he closed the registration to this driver (which was the sole support for WiFi cards in the Newton) back in December of 2005. I was fortunate enough to have registered it before that date, but others have been stuck without the ability to use WEP-encrypted networks as that functionality required registration after 30 days.
However, that should all change now and hopefully new features and bug fixes will be introduced by others.
I, and many others, tried contacting him on numerous occasions in the hopes of getting him to re-open registration, let us purchase the source code, or get him to open the source code. I’m ecstatic that he did the latter!
Paul also provided a summary of the developments from WWNC 2007, as follows:
Japanese hardware specialist Ken Shimoda (Shimoken) demonstrated various hardware repair including an explanation of the jaggies problem and a fix using a special cleaning pen. German developer Matthias Melcher demonstrated the latest version of DyneTK, an open source and cross-platform NTK (Newton Toolkit) replacement. Except for a bug that was quickly fixed during the coneference and the ability to cope with projects involving native code, I believe this is almost feature-complete and extremely good news.
On day Two, Japanese developer Makoto Nukui (GNUE) described what he calls the Newton DNA that lives in several project. But the biggest news was his demonstration of a cross-platform graphical toolkit (like Qt) that allow one to build NewtonScript-based applications running on MacOS X, GTK, Hildon (Nokia Internet Tablets) and of course the Newton.
Check out the conference programme to see the order of events. Paul commented that additional links to the slides and videos will likely be posted there soon.
Eckhart Köppen hasn’t been just sitting around either. He released Flashpoint, a task & project organization application for those who try to follow the Getting Things Done methodologies. As of late he’s also been attempting to get C++ compiling for Newton working correctly, but has been unsuccessful so far. Atleast he’s still attacking this major issue.
Here’s looking forward to another year of Newton developments!
Update: Paul mentioned he had forgotten the following in his summary (see above) of day two:
[T]he Conference Chair, Hiroyuki Saiki (Sai) presented how he is posting drawings made on his Newton on his website: http://26inch.net/
We also had several workshops where Newton users were able to exchange information and techniques. The Japanese community gathered there actually discovered Simon Bell’s NCX!