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BALL and BALLView 1.3 released

We are pleased to announce the release 1.3 of our molecular modeling and visualization packages BALL and BALLView. Release 1.3 marks a considerable milestone for BALL and BALLView due to numerous changes to the visualization architecture and cross platform support.

We are particularly happy that a number of new highly motivated and
talented programmers have joined our project. Particularly we would like
to mention Stefan Nickels and Daniel Stöckel, who invested great effort
into this release.

BALL/BALLView should run equally well on all three major (desktop) OSes:
Linux, MacOS X (other Unices should work but are not tested regularly),
and Windows.

Furthermore, BALL now has officially been accepted into Debian testing,
making it easily available to a broad audience. For this, we want to
particularly express our thanks to Steffen Moeller and the whole
debian-med team, who did an incredible job in helping BALL along!

Packages for RPM-based distributions are currently in preparation.

Some of the highlights of the new BALL version are:

  * Added plugin-system
  * Usage of Boost data structures, e.g., Quaternions
  * Improved handling of DNA/RNA
  * Automated bond order assignment
  * Compilation with GCC 4.3
  * Improved HashGrid / HashBox Iterator
  * Rewritten Icosahedron code (numerical SAS, Connolly)
  * Fixed problems with LC_NUMERIC !=3D "."
  * Added a deprecation mechanism
  * Split python modules in BALLCore and VIEW part
  * many many Bug fixes   :-)

Some highlights of the new BALLView version are:

  * Spacenavigator plugin (3D input device)
  * Improved 3D stereo settings
    (stereo half images + 3rd operator window)
  * Implemented VRML export (3D printing)
  * User customizable shortcuts
  * Binary project files
  * Povray export handles clipping planes
  * GUI for automated bond order assignment
  * Improved some icons
  * and a nice splash screen   :-)

The full change logs can be found at
http://ball-trac.bioinf.uni-sb.de/wiki/ReleaseNotes_1.3

In addition we have

  * Migrated to a newer Plone version for the main homepage
   (http://www.ball-project.org/)
  * Set up a new Wiki-page and bug tracker based on Trac
   (http://ball-trac.bioinf.uni-sb.de/)


Plans for the next release and organizational notes:

  * As we have to physically move to a new building, there might be some
short downtimes concerning all web services (Wiki, homepages, and git
repository) that hopefully have settled by mid of November.

  * The next release (1.4) is planned for 1.4.2010. If you want to
contribute to this release, please get in your code as soon as possible
so that a two month stabilization phase can take place. For this
purpose, make sure that your commits apply to the current master branch,
that your commit history is clean (no empty commit messages and bogus
email addresses), and that your commits respect an atomicity principle
(for further information see
http://ball-trac.bioinf.uni-sb.de/wiki/HowToCommit). We will work out a
protocol after our move.

  * As mentioned above, we now have a Wiki system to which you can
easily contribute, e.g. code snippets, howTo's, etc. In order to prevent
spam, we need to authorize your account first. Just send an email to one
of (an(hi|ne)|dstoeckel)@bioinf.uni-sb.de.

  * After our move, the mailing lists will be also moved to a new
interface. This will hopefully improve their usability. Until then, you
are strongly encouraged to use the old lists.



Enjoy the new BALL release and happy coding!