One of the reasons I prefer Open Source software is that you can customize it to your personal needs. If you’re looking for a particular program, usually someone else has already written it. However, sometimes you’re looking for software to perform certain tasks and what’s out there is very close, but just not it. With the source available, you can build it yourself and make the modifications you want faster than you can write a program from scratch.
Comical is a good example of this. I wanted to find a cross-platform CBR and CBZ file viewer. I wanted a program that was compiled preferrably in C/C++ so it would run quickly, not something written in an interpreted language. Comical fits most of my needs, but I do prefer portable apps that I can take anywhere or move customized settings easily between machines. I checked various portable application web sites, but couldn’t find the solution I wanted. So, I made a few minor modifications to comical and rebuilt it using the ini file support in wxwidgets instead of registry support. Apparently, I’m not the only one who wanted a program like this; Critical Press Media has provided space to upload and share the program with others who might like it too.
So, here’s a compiled version of comical for anyone interested in trying it out. It’s offered strictly as is with no guarantees, warranties or support of any kind. I use this program myself on my own computer, but in other words, use at your own risk.
In order for ini support to work, you need to have your HOME environment variable set so the program knows where to store the ini file. Included is a sample runit.bat file that shows how to set up the environment variable and run the program portably.
To meet the licensing conditions for distributing Open Source software under a GNU license, you have to make the source that created the program available and let users know how to build the program themselves if they care to. With Open Source licenses like the GNU license, if you’d like to make your own modifications and improvements, you’re always welcome to.
Download the original source code and license information for comical here:
My patches and flags used to compile and build are listed here:
You’ll also need the wxwidgets library in order to build the program. I used version 2.8.9 for Windows. You can find it here:
To build projects on Windows, you’ll need a good C/C++ compiler. If you don’t have one, I recommend using MinGW and msys. Both are freely available from http://www.mingw.org
I don’t know if the Comical project has any active support, but the web site for the project is here:
You may be able to contact the originators of the project from the site. One of the nice things about Open Source is that even after a project is no longer actively supported by its creators, it can still be brought back to life by interested developers. I hope if others find the program as useful I did, someone will adopt it and continue to work on and support it.
Laura’s website about programming, writing, and cooking (among other interests) may be found at http://distasis.com.