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My-T-Soft for Linux 2.20 Release 8 now available!

IMG is pleased to announce that a maintenance update for Linux is now available as My-T-Soft for Linux 2.20 R8 for the following platforms: i386 (32-bit), AMD64 (64-bit), and armv7l (Raspberry Pi 4). This is an ongoing process to bring improvements, new features, and new platforms to the Build-A-Board run-time targets. There are several notes regarding this update that we will cover here. First, in testing on the Raspberry Pi build, a specific sequence issue was discovered with the communication between the My-T-Soft process and the MacroBat process (the keyboard user interface is handled by My-T-Soft (mytsoft), and the Macro Batch processor (macrobat) handles system events/keystrokes/etc.) The ultimate issue was due to the 2 processes, its cross communication, and a code sequence that put a communication event a few lines ahead of a required preparation step to receive acknowledgement. As it turned out, on faster systems with good multiple CPU process handling, the issue never appeared, but on the Raspberry Pi, there were some cases where this sequence issue created an error. This has been addressed in this update, and it also shows why supporting many different platforms helps ensure the best code.

Additional updates include better minimize handling for some specific desktop environments (GNOME/Cinnamon), support for PNG image libraries (1.2 and 1.6), and some new capabilities to be rolled into other platforms. One important aspect of the My-T-Soft family has been the ongoing customizable capabilities to address specific customer needs and the flexibility this brings to the software - the ongoing evolution of the user interface...

Now that the libpng 1.6 is more common than libpng 1.2, updates to allow either version have been added. Linux and its various distros are going through a "backwards compatibility" reality, and this is being addressed in various ways by different groups. Things like Snap, Flatpak, and Appimage include required libraries packaged with the app vs. relying on the underlying system, but then these pre-packaged software sets then require an environment able to handle these packaged versions of code. Along those lines, My-T-Soft for Linux has always been built at a "lowest common denominator" level, and dynamically links to the PNG image library, so even though the 1.6 was on a system, earlier versions of My-T-Soft simply reported the issue, but ran normally (without image support). With this update, it will handle image display whether the 1.2 or 1.6 version is available.

One interesting aspect of Linux is the ability to have different desktop environments and window managers, X servers, etc., etc. These are identified by names like GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, Budgie, and others. It would be awesome if there was a standard way to create a program that relies on the graphical environment and have it work flawlessly in all of these disparate environments, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. My-T-Soft, by relying on the XLib interface (which goes back to the beginning of graphical environments for Unix/Linux), runs properly on all of these, with some exceptions based on specific environments. Now with the 2.20 R8 update, a system inquiry is used to determine which environment is in use, and if needed, code to accommodate these differences will be used. One notable exception is the GNOME 3 interface, where in their default environment, My-T-Soft will not type. This is due to the decision not to support the X Lib based interface for allowing virtual keystrokes due to design implementations made by the GNOME 3 development team. As one option, they provide GNOME 3 on the XOrg server, where My-T-Soft then operates properly. So this backwards compatibility issue means that My-T-Soft would have to accommodate GNOME 3 vs. GNOME 3 handling an interface that has worked for decades, and works on every other environment we have tested on. This compatibility issue seems to be becoming more prevalent, which is unfortunate, because it either means writing exception code, redoing code to accommodate problematic environments, or living with incompatible systems. None are truly acceptable to the world view as seen by My-T-Soft, but it is the reality which seems to be upon us. To the average user, having to deal with something like this is confusing and certainly not conducive to "ease of use" concerns.

To see some sample layouts and the run-time for Linux that allows layouts built by Build-A-Board to run in Linux and Raspberry Pi systems, see the My-T-Soft for Linux Downloads page.

About IMG

Since 1995, Innovation Management Group has been the primary supplier of onscreen keyboard user interfaces and designer utilities to major corporations, manufacturers, integrators, and users worldwide. IMG's products run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on some of the most secure, advanced, and critical systems in the world.

The My-T-Soft® Family along with IMG's Build-A-Board Keyboard Designer offers a consistent cross-platform onscreen user interface that is fully customizable and programmable for various hardware / software platforms. It allows customers to control user input in any field or any application and maintain a higher level of security than with a traditional physical keyboard or membrane panel. The My-T-Soft product family is ideal for use in environments such as automation, field service, food and beverage, instrumentation, in-vehicle, kiosk, laboratory, logistic, medical, military, mobile, pharmaceutical, ruggedized, utility, warehousing, whiteboard, or other extremely clean, dirty, or hazardous interactive user environment.

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