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                        DIRECTORY OPUS 5  -  CONFERENCE
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In late August, Amiga Report Magazine held an IRC conference with Jon
Potter, author of the DirOpus 5 directory utility package. 

This transcript is Copyright 1995 Amiga Report Magazine and may not be
reprinted without permission.

(After introductory notes, Jon was asked to make an opening statement.)

jonp: Only that all questions have to include their 19 character serial
  number :) And hey, thanks for coming, you wild and wacky bunch :) Oh
  yeah, Nudel has a survey for everyone to fill out too For constructive
  criticism.

[The survey is available in this AR as well. -Jason]

HammerD: two questions: 1) Did you add lister backdrop pattern ability yet?
  :) and 2) is there a limit to the size of the lister icons?  the stock
  ones look terribly small on gfx card screens...

jonp: 1) yes :) and 2) in 5.11 there's a 64x64 pixel limit, which will be
  gone or at least raised in the next version

HeadQuake: Is there any chance of InterNet FTP support in/from DirOpus ?
  (FTP command with server choice, UL/DL buttons.  ((a TCP/IP version of
  Dopus maybe..  so I can DL gif pics and view 'em direct..  :) ))

jonp: There is an Opus FTP module available now on aminet (in /biz/diropus
  or /biz/dopus or whatever it's called)

Tau: OpusFTP.lha comm/tcp 94K 1 An FTP Module for Directory Op

jonp: This is a freeware "demo" of the full-blown FTP module which will be
  part of the Opus 5.2 upgrade It supports pretty much all you'd want an
  FTP module to support, and doesn't even need its own buttons to run it
  (the standard Copy/Delete/etc buttons work fine) As far as any further
  Internet support goes, we're open to suggestions...

NAN: Maybe this question is a little early but: You have strong views on
  piracy.  How do you as a developer feel with the piracy still going on
  and the current situation of the Amiga market?  Is Opus directly affected
  by this?

jonp: Opus is badly affected by piracy but I think that's true of any
  software.  Piracy is inevitable, but it's too easy to get complacent
  about it.  It's wrong and there's no other way to look at it.  In the
  case of the Amiga I think people who pirate are particularly stupid.  The
  computer is barely hanging on by its teeth as it is; if it wasn't for the
  developers keeping it alive it'd be bye bye baby.

ElViSp: jonp two questions....Is the Dopus 5 survey on aminet official, asI
  have lots of things to say about dopus5.11 and speaking of registration
  codes...how do you feel about the registration code generator found on
  several bbs's ??

jonp: The survey is officially "approved and supported" :) Talk to nudel
  for more information about it, but we're interested in any comments you
  have As far as the registration code generator goes, see my answer to the
  previous question.

MrX: Are you planning on releasing an updated version of Mouse Bounce :) -
  What other major new features will be implemented into 5.2?  and are you
  dedicated to the platform?

jonp: rofl :) Yeah Mouse Bounce 95 will be out soon :) 5.2 will be a fairly
  substantial upgrade

Nudel: Survey answers will be put into an AMigaguide for Jon + beta testers
  to look over and read, however anyone who doesn't want to be named won't
  be.  So call it semi-official :)

jonp: The major features are too numerous to list and also we're not sure
  exactly what they'll be yet.  But for example, there's the FTP module,
  and there's changes to the program to make things like the FTP module,
  LHADir, etc easier to write and use

MrDaniel: When will the next version be out?  And whats new in it?  (I'm
  assuming there will be a next version...  ;) ) How many copies of DOpus5
  have you sold so far?

jonp: 5.2 will be released probably at the Cologne show in November.  Other
  changes include GUI improvements (borderless button banks with alternate
  images for the Toolmanger freaks :) lister backdrop patterns arexx
  changes..  basically most things people have been complaining about and
  the occasional bug fix here and there :)

HammerD: Are you working on a HOT-JAVA web browser that could be launched
  from dir opus?  :-)

jonp: no comment :) but I will say that if I were, it could certainly be
  launched from dir opus :)

HeadQuake: Have you had any contacts with Amiga-Tech?  How do you like
  their "plans" for the Amiga _computer_?  Also, will DirOpus come on
  CD-ROM anytime soon?  (I'm much more intelligent than HammerD..  right? 
  :)

jonp: We've had some contact with AmigaTech recently, specifically the
  English branch.  They seem to be just like Commodore were :) I doubt
  DirOpus will come on CD..  it's not big enough to warrant it, despite
  what some people might say..  and not that many Amiga owners have CDs
  yet.  And I'm sure you're much more intelligent than HammerD :)

Nudel: BURRITO-Opus is almost finished.  But don't tell anyone, it's top
  secret and the launch will be bigger than Win'95.

JigSawMan: I do not have version 5, but am considering upgrading from
  version 4.  What is the "replacement" of workbench feature I've heard
  about?  What further capabilities does this add instead of just running
  along with workbench?

jonp: Opus could always replace Workbench if you were so inclined..  by
  that I mean it could always do everything Workbench did.  However the
  main thing about Opus 5 as far as Workbench replacement goes is the
  ability to display icons.  You can make it look almost exactly like
  Workbench if you like.

jcompton: Except the About window is much more interesting.

jonp: And if you do, there's certainly no need to run Workbench as well.
  Hence, it's replaced.  It's a lot better than Workbench too :)

MisterX_: Just 1 question.  Considering the huge user base of the PC, are u
  considering a PC version of DirOpus?

jonp: We are..  and have been for ages.  I actually got halfway through a
  version of Opus 4 for Windows a couple of years ago, but I didn't like
  the way it was going..  and Inovatronics had some problems at that stage
  (and since then :) But I wouldn't be too surprised to see an Opus for
  Win95 pop-up in the future.  Opus96 maybe :)

MrDaniel: Will the next version support CyberGraphX?  (Picture viewers,
  anim players etc...) (Btw..  I also much more intelligent than HammerD.;)

jonp: Frankly I doubt it.  I'm sure there are plenty of viewers and players
  out there for CyberGfx already, what would the point be in reinventing
  the wheel?  It's impossible to support every graphics system..  although
  CyberGfx does seem to be somewhat of a standard But it's ridiculously
  easy to configure Opus to use external viewers if that's what you want
  Opus does, at last, seem to work properly with CyberGfx btw :)

Long_Shot: Two Questions: Will the 5.2 update be distributed the same as
  the 5.11?  If a PC version comes out will there be cross platform
  upgrades?

jonp: At this stage 5.2 will be a pay-for upgrade, but won't be too
  expensive.  The other question is a marketing one, and Greg's not here at
  the moment.  :)

Aesculape: Jon, you mentioned the ability of DirOpus5 to display icons as a
  Workbench replacement.  Does DirOpus 5 work with NewIcons icon images? 
  Also, with DirOpus4, when you display an icon image, the NewIcon image
  displays, but the colors are wrong.  Has this been fixed.

jonp: NewIcons is somewhat of a kludge system and I'm not at all surprised
  that it doesn't work with Opus 4.  As far as Opus 5 goes..  when it first
  came out, everyone who used NewIcons complained that it didn't work with
  Opus 5 Now the complaints seem to have stopped..  so I'm assuming that it
  does work now :) But I don't use NewIcons and never have..  maybe someone
  else here knows more about this?  The only real problem with NewIcons is
  the palette If you're running Opus5 on the Workbench screen there
  shouldn't be any problem

Nudel: Apparently, NewIcons do work for the Lister ToolBar icons.

Troels: Jon, have you seen DirMaster for OS/2? :-)

jonp: No I haven't.  I've heard that it's almost a direct Opus 4
  conversion..  I'd like to see it.  I think it's a bit rude of the author
  not to send me a copy actually.

AdamH2: Thanks for your support of Amijam.  Is there an upgrade policy for
  people who bought the cover disk version of DirOpus 4 (as was indicated?)

jonp: AFAIK the coverdisk upgrade offer is valid indefinitely..  I can't
  remember what the price was, and I think you would have to go through the
  distributors in England

Nudel: It was around 35 pounds when I upgraded from the cover disk in the UK

Tau: if you "replace WB" with DirOpus, what happens to workbench.library? 
  aka.  AppIcons and AppWindows, and WBInfo()?  Does SwazInfo work together
  with DO5?

jonp: workbench.library is in ROM so it doesn't go anywhere..  Opus
  intercepts all the AddAppXXX() calls and emulates them, so you don't
  notice any difference.  SwazInfo works fine apparently though it doesn't
  trap Opus' own Icon information requester..  yet..  but I did give the
  info to swaz and he said he'd do something about that.

amigaman: if and when you make the jump to the pc do you plan to continue
  to support the amiga..  and what kind of future do you think the amiga
  has..  thanks ..  also opus 5 is very good work and thanks for the
  program support..

jonp: I'll probably support the amiga for as long as the platform is viable
  Or until I take up gardening :)

Nudel: ...or POTTERy... :)

Tau: the question was how long you consider Amiga viable ;)

jonp: As far as a future goes, frankly I don't think it looks very good.
  Escom would have to do something really radical to prolong its life much
  further, and they don't seem to be.  They seem like Commodore all over
  again.  But it might be too early to judge, I'm keeping an open mind. As
  long as I can afford to run my motorbike on Opus sales I'll consider it
  viable :)

Long_Shot: Comment: DOpus 5 did not start working with NewIcons, we just
  gave up.  Question: Will we ever be able to edit and use more than 16
  colors?

jonp: re: NewIcons..  I'll look at it before 5.2 is released..  I'm just
  loathe to install it since it's impossible to get rid of it again
  afterwards.  I would follow your question up with : Do you really need to
  use more than 16 colours?  :) You can have the screen with as many
  colours as you like, but why would you need more than 16 for Opus itself?
  well, image buttons aren't limited in colour :)

Tau: jonp, actually, it's not.  it's just a program after all, you don't
  have to copy the (sucky) icons over your old ones.

Nudel: LockColors etc can be used to set all the other pens, if you need it
  for any reason.

MrDaniel: Do you laugh or cry when you use FileManager in Windows?  Is it
  possible to run Dopus5 on the Workbench screen?  Is it possible to open a
  24-bit CGfx DOpus screen?

jonp: I don't use FileManager in Windows :) But seriously..  FileManager is
  ok for what it does..  it was never meant to be very powerful, and it
  does that very well.  The Win95 explorer isn't much better btw

Nudel: It does not being very powerful very well.

jonp: DOpus5 runs fine on the Workbench screen, I'm doing it at the
  moment..  it's actually designed to work that way (though you don't have
  to).

Tau: agreed, filemanager definitely does stand in your way in a very
  effective manner

jonp: I don't think it would be possible to open a 24 bit screen for Opus
  but if your Workbench screen is 24 bit there's no reason it wouldn't work
  on that (that I know of)

moster: Compliments for a great piece of programming - My question: Have
  you tried to include a particular feature in OPus5 but which you had to
  give up ?  If so - What?

jonp: There's lots of things I'd have loved to have put in Opus5 Time was
  the main problem..  things like LHA support should really have been
  built-in, but there just wasn't the time for it.  Although I specifically
  try NOT to build too much into Opus..  people complain that it's too big
  already.  They'd prefer to have an external 50k program instead of an
  extra 10k in the main program :)

Tau: how about supporting the ObjectArchive concept?

jonp: Tau: whassat? :)

Tau: ObjectArchive.lha  util/arc    48K  31 Access archives (lha, tar...)

JohnG: Can Opus be the next OS for PowerPC Amiga or other platforms (as
  HRP)?

jonp: Opus isn't an OS by any means, it's just an app..  there's no reason
  why it couldn't be the next Workbench though

AdamH: This is more GPSoft than DirOpus <g> but do you know if Greg is ever
  going to release the long awaited GPFax update?

jonp: He'd love to..  I've seen it and it's pretty hot Unfortunately Opus
  is taking too much time at the moment But look for it early next year if
  not by Christmas this year

ash: Is there an DOpus5 specific FTP site in the works?  There was one
  mentioned awhile ago.  And have you had to upgrade your number plates?
  :) GA.

jonp: I've actually got a site running now, but it's on such a slow link
  that I haven't told anyone about it You can check out the dopus home page
  at http://birch.apana.org.au/ though if you like :) And no, I haven't
  upgraded the number plates :) There's also a mailing list btw, if you
  want to subscribe to it send mail to majordomo@birch.apana.org.au and put
  "subscribe dopus5" in the message body.

wmaddock: I know this isn't about Dopus, but there have been some
  questioons about Timm Martin, Author of SID.  For those that are
  interested, do you know anything official about his status?

jonp: I don't, know..  I've never had any sort of contact with him at all.
  He was always sick though and I heard a rumour that he'd died, but it
  might have been just a rumour.  I hope he's still out there, the Amiga
  needs all the developers it can get...

amac: Jon, have you considered being able to print buttons/functions with
  ASCII text?  This would allow people to put functions and buttons in mail
  messages and the like.

jonp: I have actually..  the never-released Opus 4.5 had the ability to do
  that.  It might make it back into 5.2 actually..  I'll put it on my list

Nudel: The button files are small enough to UUEncode into a message without
  any problems.

jonp: Yes but for publishing in magazines or something, it wouldn't hurt...

Intex: Have you been considering allowing the use of more than one user
  menu (similar to 4) - and is there anyway for dopus to search for for
  what toolsmenu/appicon are present - on mine it only recognises additions
  to these after it has ran

jonp: Opus 5.2 will most likely have multiple configurable menus, I'm not
  quite sure about this though It's impossible for Opus to find out what
  AppThings were added before it is run..  Workbench doesn't make that
  information publically available So the only way to get hold of it is to
  patch the library functions and grab it on the way in If you don't want
  to run Opus all the time you can still get it to work by doing a "loadlib
  dopus5.library" in your user-startup Since it's the library that actually
  handles that stuff

_Bernie: I heard that DOpus5 misses some useful features of version 4.  It
  acquired many new options, but it lost some other.  is this true?

jonp: It lost a few, but I question how useful they were..  and one thing
  it lost (SoundTracker support) is back now (against my better judgement)
  There were a few useful things that have gone back in for 5.2 though..
  it was more a question of me forgetting to put them in rather than
  deliberately leaving them out :)

BuZz: trivial question. but how big is the source code for dopus. :)

jonp: the main program is about 1.5 megs, libray is about 500k and the
  modules are mostly around the 30-40k mark

Jkay: I'm curious about your link with Inovatronics ...  are you the SOLE
  owner/marketter of Opus now?

jonp: I always was the sole owner of Opus..  the copyright is now held
  jointly by me and GP [as in GPFax] Software.  Inovatronics were only ever
  the publisher, they never had any rights to it

Nudel: MWB_DOpus_7.lha will be on aminet soon, and it'll have new ARexx
  scipts, some assembler semi-modules (WinCopy commands and stuff) as well
  as all the icons.

Josef: Sorry if this was already asked, but do you plan on implementing any
  sort of TCP/IP related utilities directly into DOpus (for DCC, FTP, etc,)
  besides the arexx scripts?

jonp: There is an FTP module on aminet, ask Nudel for more information

amac: A nice question for the Amiga Report.  Where should
  suggestions/requests for features be sent.  I've emailed you directly
  before, but should it go to Greg, now?

jonp: It's best to mail Greg directly (zzgperry@mailbox.uq.oz.au)..  or
  subscribe to the mailing list (majordomo@birch.apana.org.au) and post
  them there..  but direct to Greg is best

Nudel: Or send your ideas in with the survey.