Software

Pluto time and text file import fixes, third party website update

Sent messages no longer travel through time.

Rob Sprowson, aka Sprow, has fixed a couple of minor niggles with Pluto, Jonathan Duddington’s popular email and news client, originally released in 1997 as a commercial product, and since made open source.

In early July, Sprow addressed a bug which, for some people, caused the time to be displayed an hour ahead when looking at a sent message. About a month later, he fixed another bug whereby dropping a text file with DOS line-endings (a carriage return followed by a linefeed – though I suspect the same problem was present with any line-ending that included carriage returns) into the editor window caused a hash character – # – to appear at the end of each line.

Pluto’s official home is now on SourceForge, after Jonathan decided to make the source code available under the GNU General Public Licence version 3.0 (GPLv3) and, in order to have that version updated, Sprow needs to be able to contact Jonathan, either to submit the changes to him for approval and inclusion, or for Jonathan to grant Sprow suitable rights to commit the changes himself. However, attempts by Sprow to contact Jonathan haven’t yet succeeded.

Not entirely surprisingly, Sprow doesn’t like the idea of providing an alternative download for the software, which can lead to users having more than one place to check for updates, as well as a potential fork in the software, with further development being made to either version, without taking into account changes made to the other. However, since people were expressing an interest in the update, he made it available (as an update to the latest official version, 3.06) as a direct download from his website.

A StrongHelp manual and some alternative templates and sprites for Pluto have been available for over ten years from Martin Avison’s Avisoft website and, with Rob Sprowson’s update, that meant there were three different addresses people needed to check in order to obtain the most up-to-date version of the software, along with any resources – possibly more if they still had Jonathan’s old ArgoNet or Clara.net websites bookmarked, and checked those before discovering its new home.

So in August, as an initial attempt at simplifying the situation, Martin has updated his Pluto web page to try to include all the current Pluto resources in one place – linking to the official source, with a direct link to the most recent build, and providing a new home to the most recent of Sprow’s updates (which he has since removed from his own site), as well as to the Pluto support forum/mailing list on YahooGroups.