The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Peter Pays it Forward

I introduced you to Peter Hewitt some time ago.  Peter is a retired Educator from Down Under that has dedicated much of his "leisure time" to writing software for kids.....

And he's done a good job of it. 

Peter was one of the first developers to respond to our ill-fated attempt to bring learning software to Autistic kids.

As it turns out, there may be a piece of software coming down the pike that addresses this issue, so it might have been for the best that we didn't acquire funding for our project.  There is far too much "wheel reinventing" in the FOSS world.  I am keeping an eye on it and I will let you know should there be any forward movement on the Linux version. 

As it stands now, the author(s) of this project based their Linux version on Adobe Air....which promptly dropped support for Linux in the interim.  A workaround is being considered by the Zac folks now.

But between now and then, take a look at some of Peter's work.  I want to offer my personal thanks to Peter for not only his efforts but his compassion and understanding.  Two attributes of which we could use more.

From Peter via email:

Just wanted to let you know that I have made my linux efforts public in the hope that some folk may enjoy a little romp.

Here's the link:

It also includes a version of Mulawa Dreaming Easy that does not try to use Pulse Audio natively and so does not crash when Pulse Audio is not present.

I've received many e-mails over the years from my jigsaw subscribers telling me what an absorbing distraction the puzzles provide. The irony is that now in my changed circumstances they are doing the same for me!

Best ... Peter

Inspired by the work of Ken Starks I've decided to make two of my popular games freely available to Linux users. Sadly I'm a Linux ingénue so I can't offer any fancy packaging. Also I've been unable to master the wonders (?) of Linux sound - more of that later.

 I'd be most interested to hear about your experiences so that I can build up a list of distros that work. My e-mail address is on my home page.

Peter's Jigsaws


We'll start with my 300 piece jigsaws where the sound is not important. In the Windows and Mac world these are delivered weekly to subscribers all over the world. I've collected 56 of my favourites into one package for you.


Magnetic Revisited


This was my swan song. The game is set on an Australian tropical island. It involves solving 16 puzzles (some of them original) and mastering 16 games (ranging from Senet to Chess). The sound is very important so if you don't hear the title music, check out my note below.


Mulawa Dreaming Easy

A very simple little program for introducing anyone to mousing on a computer for the first time under the guidance of a mentor.  


Note about Sound...

If you're not getting sound and you have Pulse Audio, I've found that you can get sound from my games by using padsp. Here's what I do:
  1. Right click on the Desktop & Create document, Peters Jigsaws
  2. Open with Text Editor:
    cd ~/PJ56
    padsp ./Peters_Jigsaws
  3. Properties - make executable
  4. Drag in the icon (pj3.png)
You should now have an icon on your desktop which when you double click will run the program with sound.

So give Peter's work a go and see where you might find opportunities to improve it or better yet, create Linux installation packages.  Myself, and the larger Linux and Open Source Communities would appreciate it.

All-Righty Then...