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Restless native Dec 19 2012, 1:42
[Ports] [Open sourced REBOL 3 programming language on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7]

As we predicted many years ago, version 3 of the REBOL programming language has finally been open sourced, under the Apache 2 licence. REBOL originally constituted our main cross-platform strategy, but we are now also free to use it in the Syllable base platform, which should not contain closed parts.

So far, REBOL 3 ran on Syllable Desktop using the Linux version of the interpreter library. Now its source code compiles natively on Syllable, and we have integrated it in our build system. To compile REBOL and start it, enter the following commands in the terminal. You need the latest version of Builder. On Syllable Desktop 0.6.7, do:

    build update
    build log
    package unregister Builder
    package register Builder
    build REBOL-Core--current
    build install REBOL-Core--current
On Syllable Server, install the newer Builder package. Then do:
    s build update
    build log
    build get REBOL-Core--current
Install the binary version of REBOL 3 in the REBOL-Core--current/make/ subdirectory as r3-make. Then from the parent directory again:
    build REBOL-Core--current
    build install REBOL-Core--current

We now have the choice between the interpreted REBOL language and the compiled Red language. We have already contributed a bridge between them, that allows to write REBOL extensions in the Red/System language. Previously, REBOL 3 extensions needed to be developed in C, which has proven unpopular. This currently requires a development branch of Red on Windows, but this will be extended to Syllable.

[Ports] [Red programming language alpha 1 on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7]

The first alpha of the high-level Red programming language has been released (demo program, video on Software Freedom Day at the Science Park in Amsterdam). It was developed to support Syllable Desktop after the first code was available. Red compiles to the low-level Red/System programming language as an intermediate format before compiling it to native machine code. Red/System was already ported to Syllable, but more porting work was needed for Red. It requires Syllable 0.6.7 for its POSIX mmap support.

Ready to run test programs (download, instructions) are now available for all Red's targets: Syllable, Linux x86, Linux ARM (screenshot on the Raspberry Pi, video on Hardware Freedom Day), Android, OS X and Windows. For Syllable Server, you need the Linux x86 versions.

Enlightened at ten Jul 16 2012, 16:22
[Ports] [Enlightenment Evas canvas animation on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7]

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the first release of Syllable Desktop, then plainly called Syllable 0.4.0. The original website and announcement are gone, and many other circumstances of the time have changed quite dramatically. We are happy that Syllable is still here - which, judging by comparable ventures, is a feat to be proud of.

We would like to celebrate by presenting the port of most of the Enlightenment E17 graphics stack to Syllable Desktop. The screenshot shows a 3D animation in the Evas canvas engine. (It shows tearing because the animation runs close to full speed and Syllable does not lock the display when making a screenshot. This is not present in the actual display.)

[Enlightenment Evas canvas object stacking on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7] The Enlightenment Foundation Libraries constitute a cross-platform application framework, from a graphics engine up to a widget set and a desktop environment. The stack is modularised into more than ten packages, so we can use only what we need. We have ported most of the stack but not the desktop and not yet the widget set.

The Evas canvas is a scene graph rendering engine. It does not just draw bitmaps, or even vectors, but handles such elements as objects. Because it knows where they are, it can redraw and therefore move and otherwise manipulate them at will. The screenshot shows three Evas squares objects in a stacking order that can be changed.

[Enlightenment Edje layout perspective on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7] On top of the canvas engine is the Edje layout engine. It can do all sorts of manipulations on its layout objects, including 3D transformations. The screenshot shows a text in a rectangle, transformed in a 3D perspective that can be changed and animated.

A number of subsystems that are common in other open source projects have been ported to Syllable Desktop to support Enlightenment. Font rendering is done by FreeType, which Syllable already used, and font management by FontConfig. Other libraries that Enlightenment supports can be ported in the future, such as FriBidi for right-to-left text and Harfbuzz for font shaping of languages with complex glyph interactions.

[Enlightenment Edje layout engine swallowing events on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7] Enlightenment is an integrated stack. It can be programmed at a high level, for example in the Edje layout engine, but lower levels can be addressed when needed. The engine is consistent across these levels. Events and graphics effects are propagated through this stack until they reach their proper destination. The screenshot shows an Edje layout object programmed to swallow user interface events.

This graphics stack is running on top of the SDL subsystem in Syllable. Therefore, it is currently limited to a single window per application. In the future, a native Syllable backend could be written for Enlightenment. We have ported the latest version of Enlightenment, the new E17 from a month ago. In this, Evas doesn't have a specific SDL backend anymore, but integrates through its generic memory buffer backend. In a similar way, Evas could already be used in a native Syllable C++ application.

[Enlightenment Edje layout slider dragging on Syllable Desktop 0.6.7] We hope to port the E17 widget set Elementary in the future, which reached version 1.0 only a few months ago, to complete this cross-platform application framework. We already have it working on Syllable Server. It is built on top of the Edje layout engine, so widgets can be manipulated in the same ways as Edje and Evas objects.

The screenshot shows an example of how a slider widget can simply be programmed on top of Edje.

Syllable Desktop 0.6.7 Released Apr 12 2012, 23:42
[Syllable] []

After two months of testing the release candidate, we are happy and proud to present Syllable Desktop 0.6.7. We thank all of the volunteers who contributed to this release for their generous efforts. This version brings many changes and additions. The full release notes are here.

The screenshot shows a sample of the first 3D functionality in Syllable. (The screenshot shows tearing because the demos are animating at full speed. This is an artifact of the screenshot process, not of the actual display.) Other highlights include that REBOL 3 and Boron are now included and that the system is now prepared for the upcoming high-level Red programming language.

Download and installation instructions are here. The official location for extra software is here. Further, almost hundred SDL programs are here.

Welcome to TechWorld Readers Sep 1 2011, 1:42

We were recently asked to do an interview for IDG. The article is now published as the top story on TechWorld Australia. There is a summary article, written by Rohan Pearce. We congratulate Rohan on his new position as the editor of TechWorld. He was kind enough to publish the full interview, as well. The articles are even discussed on Slashdot.

Webster Respinning Aug 6 2011, 16:35
[Applications] [Webster browser with fixed cookies on Syllable Desktop 0.6.6]

The Webster web browser in Syllable 0.6.6 fails to remember cookies, because it tries to store them in the location for the old ABrowse browser that it succeeded. The development build of Syllable Desktop has a newer version that fixes this, which is also on the new Syllable 0.6.6 live CD. You need it for example to make web sites remember your log-in status. We have now made this Webster version available separately in our additional downloads, so it is easier to install on Syllable 0.6.6.

New Transferrer Version Jul 2 2011, 21:36
[Applications] [Transferrer on Syllable Desktop downloads from and uploads to FTP servers]

Anthony has made and published a new version of Transferrer, our FTP client application. He has made a number of fixes to the functionality and the appearance, and has integrated work from contributors. The application is not done yet, but it is becoming usable for your downloading pleasure, and your uploads if you are so inclined.

Remember, Transferrer is our community project, so you can help creating it, and we supply extra facilities to support you.

Number 0.6.6 Is Alive! Jun 14 2011, 22:16

We have released a live CD for Syllable Desktop 0.6.6. It has been a long time since the last live CD, so we skipped Syllable 0.6.5. The creator of the original live CD left the project, without releasing the build scripts. Further it turned out that a needed patch to Syllable wasn't available, either, so we had to create a whole new live CD, including a modified kernel.

The goal of this live CD is to make it usable for many more real tasks. This is the first Syllable live CD that can run from a USB CD player. Compared to the old live CD's, it also has specific support for emulators and some netbooks. The default screen resolution is more comfortable and virtual desktops are used to provide other resolutions at a keypress. The desktop is arranged with quick access to functions that are useful when running the live CD. The old ABrowse is succeeded by the Webster browser. CUPS, SANE, CDRTools, SimpleBurn, 7-Zip, OpenSSH, Transmission and NetCat are now included. More drivers are also included, such as BFS and the native AtheOS network file system. There are also several improvements over Syllable 0.6.6. For the first time in a Syllable release, it ships with the REBOL 3 programming language, including the cURL binding that was written by us. The Boron programming language is also included and the Webster browser is a fixed version. The boot menu is based on the enhanced one in the current Syllable development build and has extensive troubleshooting options.

Be sure to read the Welcome document on the desktop. It was written especially for this live CD to introduce its (new) features.

Easter Eggs Apr 24 2011, 23:25
[Ports] [MilkyTracker on Syllable Desktop]

“Bogomips” has been working hard to bring us many goodies. He has opened a website for French Syllable users with instructions in French, and another website for many SDL applications that he is porting to Syllable. He is providing instructions for compiling them, and also software packages ready to install. There are over fifty packages already, in multiple categories such as games, music and graphics software, so you may want to have a look. :-) And finally, he made a nice video of the Power Manga game.

[Warmux on Syllable Desktop] We have wished for many years that people would take up the many SDL programs that can be ported to Syllable, so we commend him for this effort.

Picture Perfect Mar 24 2011, 0:40
[Ports] [Pig demo SDL game]

User “Bogomips” on the forum has found that our SDL subsystem on Syllable Desktop doesn't support PNG images yet. We tracked the problem to the SDL-Image component and found TIFF image support missing, as well. We have published a fixed resource package for SDL-Image that you need to port modern SDL programs or to run programs ported by others. Installing this will not remove the SDL-Image in the system, but will override it. Although JPEG (and GIF) images already worked, you need to install the new LibJPEG package, too. This is now a shared library, and used by SDL-Image.

Since SDL-Image is missing from the current Syllable Desktop development build, you can also use these packages to fix that.

In the process, we published new packages for LibPNG, GIFLib and LibTIFF, that you can use to develop or port software. Finally, we made a package for the Pig example game.


Syllable is a volunteer project that creates a family of easy to use, free software operating systems. You can use them separately, or you can use them together to form network platforms. Read our full introduction and go to the Syllable Desktop and Syllable Server sites for more information, news and software downloads.

[Syllable Desktop]Syllable Desktop is an original, modern operating system design, in the tradition of the Amiga and BeOS, but built using many parts from the GNU project and Linux. It is designed and optimised for your desktop PC, making it exceptionally fast and responsive and easy to use. It is under development, so it is interesting and even exciting to try out, but you have to decide for yourself whether it fits your needs already. Syllable Desktop runs on industry-standard Personal Computers with a minimum of a Pentium compatible processor and 32 MB of memory. It can make a new computer extremely fast and an old computer usable again.

More specifications
Syllable Desktop site

[Syllable Server]Syllable Server is a small and efficient Linux operating system. It uses the Linux kernel and is compatible with Linux software, but is otherwise built to be as similar as possible to Syllable Desktop, using mostly the same parts. It is optimised for server computers, yet inherits a lot of efficiency and speed from the Syllable Desktop design. The current version only has a text mode console interface suitable for server use and elementary support for running some graphical programs (it is shown here running on Syllable Desktop under emulation). Nonetheless, the clean Syllable design and straightforward documentation make it easy to use. The graphical user interface from Syllable Desktop will be added in later versions to enhance ease of use further. Due to its Linux base, Syllable Server is a stable and usable system. It runs on industry-standard Personal Computers with a minimum of a 486 processor and 16 MB of memory. It can make a new computer very fast and efficient and an old computer usable again.

More specifications
Syllable Server site

Power Manga on Syllable Desktop - video
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