Desktop Modernisation Engine comes to ROUGOL – 18th July

If you come to RISC OS from another platform, or use any alongside it, you will know there are many features on those other platforms that are lacking on RISC OS. Some of those features can actually be quite useful, and would be beneficial to have, not least for the benefit of people trying RISC for the first time, so that they are more comfortable using it.

A not uncommon criticism as well amongst users of other platforms trying RISC OS is that the desktop looks ‘dated’.

Paolo Fabio Zaino has been working to address both of these issues over the last couple of years, developing tools and applications that can improve how the RISC OS desktop looks and behaves from the point of view of newcomers, managed by a central tool; the Desktop Modernisation Engine (DME).

At the next RISC OS User Group of London (ROUGOL) meeting, Paolo will be talking to attendees about the project, and demonstrating various aspects of it.

The DME includes improved theming of the desktop, with new icon sets and window furniture, a ‘dark mode’, more variety in desktop sounds than just the usual beep, and more keyboard controls. Utilities are planned that will make it easy for users to design their own themes, which can be exported and copied to other machines, and the target platform for this is every version of RISC OS from 3 to 6.

A key component is Launchpad, a new application launcher designed to replace the Apps facility that has been a part of the system since RISC OS 3, and which has significant limitations. Launchpad will be the centrepiece of Paolo’s presentation, and what visitors will see is a much more powerful and capable application launcher than Apps, with fast searching and sorting, categorisation of applications, and much more.

The meeting, which will take place on Monday, 18th July, will be hybrid, with an in-person element as well as an online one, and as usual everyone is welcome.

To attend in person, you need to head for:

The Duke of Sussex,
23 Baylis Road,
SE1 7AY.

The venue is conveniently located behind and only a couple of minutes walk from Waterloo Station – opposite the Old Vic Theatre, next to Millennium Green – and as such is easy to reach using public transport. For drivers, there is parking available outside the pub on Coral Street after 6:30pm. The bays are directly below the usual meeting room window – but do note that if you use a sat-nav, the postcode will take you to the front of the pub on Baylis Road; to access the parking you need to come in via Waterloo Road/Pearman Street, and turn onto Coral Street from there.

Once you’re there, head upstairs to find the meeting in either the Chichester or Petworth Room. There will likely be ROUGOL members on hand from around 6:30pm, with the meeting itself commencing at 7:45pm.

To attend online, you need a device on which you can run the Zoom software (or a web browser capable of logging in to the Zoom service), a comfortable place to sit, and the log-in details. These are unchanged from other recent ROUGOL meetings if you’ve joined any, but if you haven’t you can request them from ROUGOL. You will be able to log-in from around 7:30pm.

London Show banner

ROUGOL also organises the annual London Show, which is scheduled this year for 29th October. However, the usual venue – the St Giles Hotel, Feltham – is expected to be closed until April 2023, so the group is currently looking for an alternative venue. If you are have an idea for somewhere suitable, please let them know.

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