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Runtime Revolution has released a beta version of its Hypercard-like cross-platform development tool with upgraded Linux support. Version 2.9 of the tool is the first version to offer full Linux support since version 2.6.1 was released in October 2005.

Version 2.9 includes 200 enhancements, including a better graphical user interface which matches the look and feel of Linux's desktop manager. Runtime Revolution says fonts are now smooth and anti-aliased. Other improvements include support for alpha-blended windows, window shapes, per-object transparency, blending modes and smoothed vector graphics. The new version also includes language enhancements made to the Linux environment in the past two years and optimisation of existing functions, such as the specialFoldersPath.

While the new tool is compatible with a range of Linux implementations, the company has concentrated on Ubuntu 7.x and OpenSUSE 10. Developers wishing to take part in the beta test programme can find details here.

Runtime Revolution sees the Linux upgrade as timely - citing feedback from its user base on the growth of Linux as a popular development environment. It says one in five users now base development on Linux, with 41 per cent seeing Linux as either essential or important as a deployment platform for applications.

"We have supported Linux for a long time and the original Runtime Revolution was developed on Unix. But since the last Linux version it has been a difficult job to update the engine and needed a lot of effort. Plus the Linux user-base is still quite small compared to Windows and Macintosh," says a spokesperson for the company.

"But we are watching the Linux market carefully to see how it develops."

Runtime Revolution evolved from the influential Hypercard development tool devised for the Apple Macintosh in the late 1980s and offers a simple approach to cross- platform application development. ®

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