Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Freecell Solver 2.22.0 was Released, Now Under the MIT/X11 License

Freecell Solver version 2.22.0 is now available for download from the download page. This release converts from Public Domain "licensing" which is problematic for source code to the more explicit and less controversial MIT/X11 License. (Some source files that had been originated by other parties are still under the public domain).

Also in this release is some fixes to the build system (in part thanks to a contribution by Risko Gergely), including the ability to prepare a static library.

Happy solving, and enjoy April Fool's Day Tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freecell Solver 2.20.0 was Released, along with a Windows Installer

Freecell Solver version 2.20.0 is now available for download from the download page. The big news is that executables for Microsoft Windows (x86) are now available for it, for the first time since the early 2.8.x releases. And this time, they come in the form of an interactive "Next→Next→Finish" installer based on the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS).

Also in this release are a fix to a crash when using the range solver with the "-opt" flag (and other similar scenarios), a more comprehensive NEWS file and some other fixes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Freecell Solver 2.18.0 Was Released

As previously announced on the fc-solve-discuss mailing list, version 2.18.0 of Freecell Solver is now available for download as a source tarball from the download page.

Here are some highlights of the new release:

  1. Added the FCS_FREECELL_ONLY compile-time flag to hard-code the settings for Freecell and thus allow a faster run-time. When applied, it improves the speed of the solver from 140 deals / second to 164 deals / second.
  2. Fixed using libredblack for states and stacks storage, and also added a libJudy-based backend for them.
  3. Added the -Wall (= turn "all" warnings on) by default for gcc in the CMake build.
  4. Updated the "TODO" file in the distribution which was heavily out-of-date.
  5. Documented the "What's new" of some previous releases in the "NEWS" file.
  6. Got rid of the Hard-DFS scan, which was no longer useful. It is still accepted as an argument, but is now using the Soft-DFS routines instead.
  7. Many internal refactorings, cleanups, tweaks and fine-tunings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome to the fc-solve Blog

Welcome to fc-solve.blogspot.com. This will serve as the future blog and news-feed for Freecell Solver and related news, like general Freecell research, automated solving of other Card solitaire variants, and solving or playing other puzzles, riddles and games.

Freecell Solver started from a program I wrote (first in Perl and then re-implemented in ANSI C) to see if some ideas I had for solving Freecell would work. It performed well enough that I created a web page for it on my Technion's homesite, named it "Freecell Solver" and announced it on Freshmeat. Since then, due to the constant feedback I received from people who tried to use it, it was greatly enhanced and expanded.

One of the things I invested the most time in was the online resources for support and information. The web-site started from one page, and then had two pages, and now has at least ten different pages, all with a different purpose. I also started a mailing list at YahooGroups to discuss the program and related programs, and it proved to be very active and lively.

Another thing that I set up were release-news that were present on the front page of the site and the old news page. A few days ago, I thought to myself: "If I'm maintaining these news items, why not create a web feed out of them?" And if we're going to have a web-feed - why not have a blog, with comments and the whole enchilada?

So this is the next step in communicating about Freecell Solver and related matters - a weblog. It's also my excuse to play with Blogger.com, and see how it fares in comparison to other web-journal services I know. (Like my friend once said "You gotta move or you stone.").

So if you've got something to say, say it here in a comment. And remember: if you're not in it for fun - I'm out of here!