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Amiga to use Linux Kernel 358

Posted by justin++
from the talk-about-a-180 dept.
Pseudonymus Bosch writes "Amiga has selected Linux as the OS kernel for the new Amiga Operating Environment that is scheduled for release later this year." I wonder what caused such a sudden about-face. Regardless, I hope Amiga does well, and makes some interesting changes to Linux. Even if they don't go into the mainstream kernel, I'm curious to see what they have up their sleeves. Update: 07/09 12:35 by J : A Letter from Jim Collas which might help explain things.
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Amiga to use Linux Kernel

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't Amiga improve bewoulf or make something like that transparent clustering thing QNX has by themselves?

    That would be *way* cool. I mean if I could just turn on additional computers and share the processor power on all those computers on my network.

    I mean, is something like this allready in the works for Linux?

    Enabling people to run programs distributed without having to make the programs specifically for use with beowulf would be a major cool thing for all computer users.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:10AM (#1811488)
    If you thought Linux Advocates were obnoxious now, wait 'til you see the new, improved Linux Amiga Advocate! ;-)
  • In fact, before I got a harddrive for my 1200 I was regularly using a RAD disk. (RAD: is a device in AmigaOS that survives a reboot. Very nifty)


    /Andreas
  • by Erich (151)
    This further supports My Claim. [slashdot.org]

    This is all just a big E theme. That's it. Amiga will make their own distribution (RedHat with AmigaFS support compiled into the kernel) and will ship with an AmigaOS theme for E and GTK.


  • By the way, the reason that Quake was slower was because Mesa was not as optimized as the 3Dfx miniGL drivers for Windows. They focus more on correctness and completeness than speed.

    However, Mesa 3.1 is going to be MUCH faster, mostly due to heavy optimization work done by Keith W. and some others. I haven't tested Quake, but my own applications saw a speedup of 50%, and sometimes more. Keith reports that on both the Banshee and the Voodoo 2, Quake 2 timedemos are 10-15% *faster* than the running on 3Dfx's miniGL in Windows. Plus Mesa is a real OpenGL implementation, with all the bells and whistles!
    I imagine that even Windows users will want to start using 3Dfx/Mesa with the release of this new version.

    Don't quote me on those numbers, go look for Keith's timedemo posts on the Mesa-dev mailing list (www.mesa3d.org is the site). And Mesa 3.1 beta 2 is quite stable from what I've seen - download it and try it for yourself. I've been using it for Q3Test and it's quite speedy, certainly just as good as my Windows-using co-workers.

    This is why I love open source/free software. In the time it takes you to say, " isn't as good as it could be", it's already better. In the meantime, 3Dfx has been working on their OpenGL driver for going on three years now and still have yet to make a "real" release.
  • by Eric Green (627) on Friday July 09, 1999 @05:52AM (#1811492) Homepage
    The nifty thing about AmigaOS (and BeOS, for that matter) was the fast message-based IPC mechanism. I suppose they could hack that into the Linux kernel to get them the speed they would need to compete with BeOS, or even hack MkLinux to get them that, but it's not a matter of just taking the normal Linux kernel and plunking it in place. At least if they want "classic" Amiga programs to be re-compilable on this architecture without running like crap.
    Sockets just won't get it. I've been doing a lot of work with sockets lately, and they're too bloody slow for the kind of IPC work that BeOS and AmigaOS-Classic do.
    But maybe they're just dumping the whole Amiga project and going to become just Yet Another Linux Distribution. Maybe this is how Gateway is going to maintain their relationship with Microsoft while jumping on the Linux bandwagon, i.e., by taking this defunct brand name they bought for near nothing and attaching it to their new Linux line. SIgh.


  • Posted by _DogShu_:

    I looked at the products that they offer, so I can get a feel for what they make. (The last amiga I saw was a gaming system from the 80's)
    I looked at the computers that they have... and they seem like they're 10 years out of date!
    The most RAM I saw them offer was 32 MB, but that's not the kicker...
    25 mhz!!! Their chips run at 25 mhz!!! They also had 50 mhz chips, but it looked like 25 was standard.
    ummmmmm, how are you supposed to do anything useful with this machine? People actually pay for this stuff? Is there something I'm missing?
  • If I got the message right, a new great AmigaOS is basically a thin wrapper around Linux kernel now?

    I wonder how much "Linux" will be left underneath? Just the kernel+modules, or all the non-graphical stuff, or even X?

    What is it exactly the new "Amiga" will implement on top of Linux - new windowing system, or yet another desktop?

    Actually it would be the best if they just make a new desktop and a set of libraries nessesary to port existing Amiga aplication to X11- This would allow the Amiga-users a smooth transition to Linux, withouth too much pain, and add another desktop to Linux. I actually like the idea.

  • Amiga has a history of screwing things up (mostly due to Commadore), but if they pull this off, they could end up being the company that brings Linux into the mainstream consumer market.

    By selling the OS preinstalled on their own hardware, they sidestep the old and tired "but Linux is so hard to install" arguement. A new Amiga should come out of the box with X configured and the sound card working, and with any easy to use ppp utility. If they do this, and provide good support, they will have addressed the major concerns that keep most "normal" people from using Linux.

    I wish you success Amiga -- this is your last chance!

    TedC

  • Um, right now Linux is more mainstream than Amiga is.

    There are a few companies pre-installing Linux (VA Linux Systems, Penguin, Dell, etc.), but none of these systems are available at retail stores where most people buy their computers. Linux does not even exist at CompUSA and Best Buy, except in a box on the shelf. All of the systems they sell are preconfigured with either Windows or MacOS.

    If Amiga is smart, they can change this.

    TedC

  • You don't seriously expect them to use X, do you?

    Yes, I do.

    TedC

  • What have they said to make you think that? All they said was "Linux kernel." Can you even think of one reason why they would want to use X?

    By using X they instantly gain access to a software base of thousands of existing programs, as well as anything written for Linux/BSD in the future. A lot of operating systems have failed in the marketplace because they didn't have a sufficiently large base of user software; by using X, Amiga can avoid this trap.

    X isn't perfect, but with XFree86 adding OpenGL to 4.0, it should suit the Amiga faily well.

    TedC

  • Because a 'relative failure' will look bad to people outside the OSS community. Think LONG TERM here -- whilst gaining one extra 'member' is a 'good thing'(TM), it isn't good thing if it is to our detriment in the long run. We don't need to Hype Linux, and indeed shouldn't. I've already read sone articles in papers (one particular instance is in the technology section of the UK Telegraph) in which people have refered to 'calling the bluff of Linux' hype', which is something that must be dealt with. Above all, the Linux and Free Software community must getg to grips with is that, to most people, being 'Free' isn't inherently a good thing -- respect must be earned -- and that must be via the sheer quality of the software alone. So far as my opinion is concerned, I think that Amiga should have used QNX's OS, since the realtime capabilities of that are far better proven than Linux'. I would have personally been intterested to see how AmigaOS progressed with QNX Neutrino at its core, though I imagine that the porting effort was (relatively) small in any case (given the well touted POSIX conformance of QNX's OS's). Anyhow, don't just think blindly, THINK John
    John
  • Because a 'relative failure' will look bad to people outside the OSS community. Think LONG TERM here -- whilst gaining one extra 'member' is a 'good thing'(TM), it isn't good thing if it is to our detriment in the long run.

    We don't need to Hype Linux, and indeed shouldn't. I've already read sone articles in papers (one particular instance is in the technology section of the UK Telegraph) in which people have refered to 'calling the bluff of Linux' hype', which is something that must be dealt with.

    Above all, the Linux and Free Software community must getg to grips with is that, to most people, being 'Free' isn't inherently a good thing -- respect must be earned -- and that must be via the sheer quality of the software alone.

    So far as my opinion is concerned, I think that Amiga should have used QNX's OS, since the realtime capabilities of that are far better proven than Linux'. I would have personally been intterested to see how AmigaOS progressed with QNX Neutrino at its core, though I imagine that the porting effort was (relatively) small in any case (given the well touted POSIX conformance of QNX's OS's).

    Anyhow, don't just think blindly, THINK

    John


    John
  • ...select Amiga window decoration from the Be menu, and call it a day.

    Jón
  • What can I say? This sucks. Linux is nice, but for the "new" Amiga? Gee, I guess I'll just put mkLinux on a iMac and call it iAmiga! :
    QNX/Amiga would have been more exciting...
    But I'll keep an eye on the development, as I have for the last YEARS!...

    Jón
  • It will be a cheaper Mac-Wannabe just like it was before. It will be a remarkably simpler and inherently more maintainable system (by a novice) due to design. Plus it will have full driver support for all the hardware that comes with the box itself.

    This trumps Linux on Intel somewhat at the moment.

    It impresses the types of people you really do want impressed...
  • No, the 680x0's were all 32bit chips no less 32bit than a 386SX.

    If the original is engineered well it really doesn't matter what the original came with.
  • No, QNX looses to it's stupidity and price schedule just like the Macintosh.
  • At the time my 486DX100 could not even attempt to replicate, specially under windows , and old PCs used to love making you wait while it accessed a floppy. Admittedly the amiga was under a bit of strain now and again, but it opened my eyes to think that clock speed is not the answer, a solid multitasking enviroment on sillicon is.


    So why wasnt anything learnt from the amiga?
    That reminds me, my boss' PII/266 running NT Workstation hardlocked the other day trying to copy a file from a floppy with badblocks. ;) The sparcstation I've got here recognized the filesystem enough to mount it with volcheck, but received an IO error trying to copy the file. No OS troubles, of course, just some messages in the xterm I was doing the cp in.

    Regarding learning from Amiga, I think at least Microsoft did. Specifically, that all the technical abilities in the world doesn't mean squat in the mass market, that's decided by marketing. And, this was even back when there were fewer computer users, with presumably a higher average IQ. I suppose at least this time around the cost of a system is such that the adventurous types can better afford to have multiple systems around for amusement... or even dual boot.

    Btw, I had the occasion to witness an amiga 500 a few years ago, and thought "Wow!". The UI felt nice, even though I'd never used it before, multitasking worked impressively, and it did all this on hardware that was ancient compared to my pc at the time, which did all those poorly, as it was running something from M$. I remember mentioning its elegance to a windows whore once, who proceeded to call me a dumb kid, and quoted her 80k income as evidence. :) Whee.
  • by Nite_Hawk (1304)
    Well, I have mixed feelings on this whole affair. QNX sounded like a really great OS, and I really would why they are scraping it. It doesn't make very much sense, especially with all the work that has been put in. At the same time, He really says some flattering things about linux, that I'm not sure are completely true. I'm a linux advocate all the way, but linux being the most stable OS out there? I really think BSD gives it a run for it's money.

    The next thing is that he says linux already has good hardware support. That's good, if you are planning to use PC hardware. Lets think about this for a minute though. In the linux kernel, the most extensive list of drivers are there for sound, network, and scsi, with some others thrown in. Now I don't know about you, but it seems like it would be silly to take a box, and support all the pc hardware under the sun, when it would be easier to just build it into the machine. It'd be nice to have upgrade options, and I think it's worth supporting the pci bus, but honestly, if your building in 100BT, 4speaker 3d sound, and a scsi controller already, and can do it outside of the pci bus in a better way, why bother? From what I've seen in driver development, Videocards seem to be some of the most important, but unless they are planning to run X or GGI, they are going to have to do it all anyway. I guess this is just wearing away at my hopes that we would see a really revolutionary box with a really cool hardware design, rather than just using your run of the mill PC components. It really sounds like Amiga is trying to take the "safe" "garanteed" road, and in doing so, isn't going to come out with anything spectacular like they did back with the original 1000. :(
  • All your arguments about things coming to Linux (Flash, Director, etc) because of Amiga still don't create a compelling reason to use Linux instead of "Amiga-Linux". They do create a compelling reason to use Linux though.

    My argument was about What, over and above what Linux will offer when Amiga-Linux comes out, will compell people to buy Amiga, rather than (say) Red Hat Linux? - not about what would make people choose Amiga-Linux over something other than Linux. Given that, your arguments about commercial support, multiple platforms, etc, are moot. Linux has that today.

    And yes it was a waste of my time. I was Manager of the ICOA PMWG. But I'm not bitter :)

    Finally, you say it's interesting because it's based on concepts newer than 2 decades. Which part? The Object model? Well, that remains to be seen - and what is an Object model if not an Object oriented API to the OS? We've had API's for decades. And Linux _is_ based on decades old technology.

    I say it would have been interesting if it was going to be QNX based, instead it just looks like a Linux distro with a new commercial look and API. Woo hoo. Not.

    perl -e 'print scalar reverse q(\)-: ,hacker Perl another Just)'
  • by Matts (1628) on Friday July 09, 1999 @03:54AM (#1811510) Homepage
    A year ago Amiga made this big announcement about this secret chip that they were in talks with, that had 10 times the power of anything currently on the market. Later that changed into "We're evaluating different options, including the G4".

    At the same time they were in talks with BeOS about using their kernel for the new OS (yes, I know this was never public knowledge, but some day someone official will leak this information to the press). Then Amiga pulled out of that deal 'cos Be asked for too much money - so QNX was picked, and announced as "the best technology available". Now even that is down the pan.

    So what happened to the statements like "realtime is important to a multimedia OS". I guess it is'nt. And I guess neither is QNX Neutrino's transparent clustering technology (that would have made beowulf look hard to work with). In the meantime Amiga developers drop like flies, as the Classic update gets pushed further and further back, and the specs for it shrink.

    So who is going to buy this new Linux box? Not current Linux users for sure - they're happy with what they've got (I know I am). Not current Amiga users - there's nothing to tempt them to buy the new Amiga over and above Linux. I guess they'll have a good shot at the embedded/palm/consumer market. Good luck to them.

    Sad really. In all that time we haven't seen one iota of progress from them development-wise. What are they going to do with their current code? Bin it and re-write for X, instead of Photon? (yes, I know the POSIX stuff will be portable). We've seen constant changes in direction. There's no faith left. Today I read comp.sys.amiga.misc for the first time in a while and there's only about 2 people defending Amiga's actions (and only to the extent of "wait and see what they deliver"), compared to many more a year ago.

    So, since the only revolutionary stuff is gone (the QNX Neutrino OS) - what's left? An unknown Object model running on top of Linux? I think I'd rather stick with Corba and what I've got right now. What a shame - I was very hopeful a year ago. What a waste of time.

    Matt.

    (all the above quotes are paraphrased)

    perl -e 'print scalar reverse q(\)-: ,hacker Perl another Just)'
  • I have it on good information, that it isnt
    any of that. Amiga Inc., is in very deadly serious talks with BLAZEMONGER SuperCorp. This hidden, underground company secretly controls most countries. Their new chip is rumored to be a real killer with cybernetic implants to convert digital signals directl into brainwaves!

    Amiga, the drug for the future!

    sri

    :-)
  • I don't believe it's a microkernel but a message passing OS. Processes are able to talk directly to other processes without having to go through a kernel. This is primarily through a shared memory model. Part of the reason why exec was so fast in those days.

    sri
  • Technical issues aside completely, this is a really smart move. With QNX, they'd be throwing an entirely new platform (for consumers) into the market. This way, they've got something with a lot of momementum (and applications!) to start with.

    I'll buy one.

    --

  • This way, they've already got a working emulator [linux.de] to run legacy amiga apps (Lemmings!).

    (Sure, they could port it to QNX, but this way they're a step ahead already.)

    --

  • I agree. It's very plausible that their prototypes were linux-based all along, and the engineers have just now convinced management that they ought to stay with that.

    --

  • Sounds like QNX didn't know this was coming.

    --

  • Amiga has been in secret talks with Transmeta [transmeta.com], and have decided to go with their upcoming superprocessor. And at the same time, they've made the logical switch to Linux, which already runs in native mode. (Not just x86 emulation mode.)

    This article [amiga.com] explains:

    On the CPU side we have selected a CPU that will bring exciting new capabilities to the Amiga. I can't disclose what instruction set it uses at this time because of confidentiality agreements. I can tell you that it's very exciting and NOT an x86 architecture processor. Our plan is to disclose the CPU in several weeks at the World of Amiga and AmiWest shows. At this time I hope to disclose all of our technology choices and partners.
    Transmeta's processor, of course, is able to emulate x86, but isn't x86 architecture. And if it were going to be PowerPC, there wouldn't be anything "exciting" -- that's what everyone is expecting.

    Remember, you read it here first....


    --

  • Even if there are no OS improvements -- multimedia object oriented, distributed, or otherwise, this will still be a big name non-Intel box that ships with Linux. Where else can you get that?

    (And personally, I'm expecting some cool software stuff too.)

    --

  • Amiga is not just selling software. They're selling hardware. They may or may not have proprietary software (or enhanced open software) that they're selling on top of that, but that's just icing on the cake, as it were.




    --

  • That's a troll, right?

  • They probably created the animated GIF on an Amiga...

  • Sorry to disappoint you, but GNU/Linux is not a company, hence it cannot be destroyed as you suggest. ;)
  • You are missing the point. The "hype" is about more than some kernel called Linux. It is about free software development, a revolution in the making. It is not hype. It is for real and it will not go away, unlike many proprietary efforts. What is there to be upset about? Now it will be possible for anyone to help improve the Amiga at very low levels!
  • Only the kernel is GPLed. Even binary-only drivers may be distributed with it. It looks like Amiga will be adding proprietary value mainly outside the kernel, so I do not see what the problem is.
  • Ouch, that really made me laugh! :^)
  • I am not trying to be beligerent here. I myself try to be different, for example, trying out the exokernel, Haskell, SML, etc.

    Clearly, an Amiga on top of QNX sets you apart from the crowd better than GNU/Linux.

    With the very tasty suggestion that Amiga has something going on with Transmeta, I don't see any reason why Amigans cannot have their established OS and still be differentiated by cool hardware.

  • Actually, the original Amiga 1000 OS was not built into firmware, it was on the first disk (called "kickstart"). The firmware only had enough smarts to load this disk image into a special section of RAM, which was then write-protected in hardware (they called it "write-once memory", or WOM), so it would survive a warm-reboot. The second disk was the "workbench", which gave you the desktop and a few utilities.

    All models after the 1000 had "kickstart" in ROM, though it was possible to modify the function jump table and replace a ROM routine with a patch in RAM.

  • When I switched from my A4000 to a Linux box, I was amazed by how slow and bloated X was. I still am. Using X as the native interface is not necessarily a good idea for an "Amiga" (depending on what that name means to you).

    Also, I think they could modify gtk, Qt, lesstif, etc. so that they ran on top of the native Amiga graphics library (whatever that is for the new OS) rather than Xlib [or whatever it is; I've never ventured into those depths on Linux].

    However, for compatibility reasons, an X server will be required. One way of dealing with this is to have a native desktop, then an "X" screen behind it. [If you've never seen an Amiga, "screens" are a *much* cooler version of Linux's "virtual consoles"].

    On the Amiga, if your mouse pointer ever froze it meant something was seriously crashing and thrashing memory. On X, it's normal. There is definitely something to be said for physical-only memory (no swap) and sensible OS/hardware integration (the Amiga "mouse port" went right into a quadrature counter in a custom chip, and the OS just read the X and Y position registers when it wanted to know where to position the mouse-pointer sprite. No RS-232, no IRQs, no drivers, no nonsense).

    Another area where Linux could learn a lot from the Amiga is removable-media handling. If you eject a "mounted" floppy from an Amiga, you get a message asking you to please re-insert volume 'name' in any drive (or if the system was actually accessing a file, a more urgent "You MUST replace volume 'name' in drive DF0:".

    ------------
    My computer history:
    Vic20 -> C-128 -> A500 -> A4000 -> Pentium -> K6 , Netwinder(StrongARM) -> ???



  • And the nice part is that even if they don't base the OS on GNU tools, you'll still be able to install gcc and friends if you want to (I had gcc on my A4000, but I used the commercial SAS C package more).

  • Yeah, it's pretty funny that on a machine with no swap and 1M of RAM (which includes the "video card" memory), you could still use half of it as a RAM disk. :-)

  • >Regarding learning from Amiga, I think at least Microsoft did.

    You mean when they finally got around to releasing a 32-bit, pre-emptive multitasking, multimedia-capable OS with long-filename support and auto-configuration of hardware cards?

  • I always thought MMCs were the mapper chips that NES cartridges used to bank-select their memory. =)
  • I wonder if this means they'll spend some time working on RTOS extensions for the Linux kernel. They've said all along that you need a RTOS for high-end multimedia, Be has said the same thing, if in different words.

    Any kernel guru's know how much it'd change the compatibility of the Linux kernel if a more RTOS-type scheduler were present in the kernel instead of the stock one? I remember seeing a while back a group that was working on a replacement for the scheduler to provide better networking performance, how about multimedia performance?

    It seems that high-bandwidth multimedia is where the convergence technologies (gak, marketingspeak!) are going. Lots of places are modifying Linux to allow the sort of real-time operations that are needed for such high-bandwidth data processing (Tivo or Replay, whichever is the one using Linux says they made changes to the LinuxPPC kernel to make it more realtime). I don't keep up with the 2.3 kernel discussions, but has this been talked about? It would seem to me that part of the redesign for even better SMP performance should be a look at the needs of a real-time scheduler so Linux can be used in a stock form to provide the sort of eye-popping multimedia demonstrations we see on BeOS, the old Amiga's (for their time), and to some extend modern workstations like SGI's. (Although SGI seems to be a more brute-force approach, largely based on their hardware architecture)

    I think it'd be cool if Amiga approached the consumer market with a Linux-cored operating system with a non-X gui. X is awfully resource intensive for a consumer OS where a defined break between the GUI server and application clients are not needed. It'd be cool to see that GUI working with a linux kernel that made Linux THE platform for high-bandwidth multimedia applications.

    It'd also be cool to see those extensions work under X for people who want that added power.

    Wishful thinking? Probably. But I'm still curious about the RTOS issues with the Linux kernel.
  • QNX leaks info on a deal to try to force Amiga to
    partner with them, and you say that Amiga are the
    backstabbers? As the Canadians say, fuck off, eh?

    No one forced QNX to do anything, and if any
    contracts were violated, then I'm sure that they
    can sue for relief. Otherwise, that's life in
    the big city for a commercial software vendor.
    If you don't like it, then hack on free software
    and lead a worry-free existence.

    Why would anyone want to work on QNX anyway?
    RTOSs are crappy environments in general; they're
    barely worth the trouble in embedded work and
    not worth it at all in other cases.
  • Yeah, DOS is smaller and faster, too, but that
    doesn't mean that I'd use it. It's amazing how
    small and fast you can make an OS when you don't
    care about "memory protection" and other recent
    fads in OS design.

    RTOSs suck; GPOSs rule. Get over it, eh?
  • Yes, I want to be stuck with only one OS.

    As for reasons, I gave a good one in my previous
    post: memory protection.
  • And quite a few of them, even most of them, don't.
    The ones that don't are primitive platforms
    unsuited for real applications. Those that do
    are still horribly unfriendly programming
    environments. Remind me again which RTOS has
    a decent windowing system? I've seen QNX's,
    and that ain't it.
  • N.b., I never contested that RTOSs were good for
    embedded work, I just asserted that their
    constraints made them sub-optimal for desktop
    and multimedia purposes, just as Linux is an
    inappriopriate OS for embedded work.

    The notion that QNX would be a good substrate
    for a consumer environment like Amiga is
    laughable.
  • > Are are you just another 20 something college dropout
    > with no social skills and a big mouth?

    Yes!

    And QNX's windowing system is a joke. Not 1/10
    good enough to host something as sophisticated as
    KDE.
  • It's really raw compared to something like QNX's stuff, but it's a step in the right direction.
  • I've been following the RTLinux project for a few months. It uses a very innovative approach to combining RT features with a standard Linux kernel. Basically, there is a minimally small RT kernel, and the Linux kernel running on top of it as an idle task.

    This approach has a number of advantages. The main thing is that you can factor your programs into the parts that really need RT (like your video and audio codecs and mixing) and the parts that don't (like the initialization and configuration). Life gets easier on several counts. First, the RT part can get much simpler because it doesn't have to support a full, rich operating environment. Second, your apps get simpler because the bulk of them don't have to be specially made to fit in the RT box.

    The other cool thing is that you're not burdening the mainstream Linux kernel with the requirements of being realtime. The Linux kernel doesn't have to worry about scheduling RT tasks while it's in the middle of a complex internal operation - the RT scheduler will just "make it so". Thus, we get to take advantage of all the cool development in the Linux kernel, including drivers and so on, without having to have an incompatible RT branch.

    So my feeling is that this approach has great promise for building kick-ass consumer multimedia systems. I mean, you'd really be able to play skip-free MP3's and videos while doing multiple compiles or intensively surfing the web. Audio effects box? Sure!

    The main thing standing in the way of this RT mecca is compatibility with existing stuff, almost all of which was designed without RT in mind. Some of the RT stuff can be kludged on top of the existing stuff, but a clean design is appealing for a number of reasons.

    So to me, this announcement is good news. If Amiga has a codebase of RT multimedia stuff that can be readily ported to the RTLinux platform, then they really have a chance of delivering something interesting and useful. The smartest thing they could do is ship a computer that's just as good a Linux box as a Linux box, and just as good a multimedia platform as, say Be. It looks to me that both technically and marketing-wise, they now have a chance at it.

    The Amiga is dead, long live the Amiga!
  • The last amiga I saw was a gaming system from the 80's

    You said it yourself - you haven't seen a real Amiga in years. It's easy to get stuff done on my Amiga [smsu.edu].

    More to the point, though, I have fun using it.

  • Granted, unlike iToaster the new Amiga (if it happens) will presumably actually use Linux instead of just sticking its name in the press release, but one can't help but suspect it's being done for similar reasons. Linux is the buzzword to be using now if you're challenging Microsoft.

    And, if you need to get a new operating system out real fast, what better approach can you take than to use someone else's operating system... that you can use for free?

    Personally, I'm skeptical as to whether or not the "great new hardware" for the next generation Amiga is still in the works, too. What about all the developers that are supposedly waiting in the wings to support the system? How many of them were developing for QNX? How many of them were developing at all? Will all of them be willing to develop for Linux? Will they be able to develop for the Amiga "OE" without developing for Linux itself?

    That sounds like an odd question, but it isn't--there's no reason to believe this "operating environment" will also be GPLed. Of course, if it isn't, it'll have to run in a "closed box" on top of Linux. Is this going to be able to compete in real-time performance with BeOS? Or for that matter, QNX?

    Or for that matter, the original AmigaDOS?

  • I know Amiga for years, i know QNX4 for 2 years, and just yesterday i had a presentation of Nto2 by QSSL people, man this microkernel rocks! it's very powerful, small, SMP, message passing, whatever you want!
    i'm thinking that using linux kernel for amigaOS instead of Neutrino is a big big big mistake!!!!
    i cannot believe this... amiga had very difficult time in the past, they made mistakes, and they continue, they never learned from the past?!?
    why use a OS based on linux? just use linux instead! between NtoAmiga and BeOS i would have used both! between LinuxAmiga and BeOS, i'll use ONLY BeOS.
    --
    http://www.beroute.tzo.com
  • So, are Amiga and QNX in a very tiny (somewhat pathetic, if you want my opinion) version of the old OS/2 vs. WinNT split?

    no, QNX exist for 20 years, way ahead before microsoft... QNX was the first OS to use HD, was the first OS to run in protected mode on a 286, was the first to this, was the first to taht, etc. you can learn more on http://www.qnx.com somewhere. QNX/NTO microkernel rocks!
    --
    http://www.beroute.tzo.com
  • Do a "man sched_setscheduler" if you want to know how to include it in your own programs, or hunt down the (years old) "rt" utility if you want to be able to set any arbitrary program to be scheduled realtime. It's a nice thing to do with your MP3 player, for instance: in my experience, any system that can play MP3s at all can play them with zero skips if the player is running realtime.

    The biggest problem here is security on multiuser systems, and safety against broken programs. Basically, if you run a program with SCHED_FIFO or another realtime scheduling strategy, no non-realtime programs get to run until the realtime one is in a blocking system call. In other words, if your realtime program infinite loops, you've just locked up one CPU in your system. For this reason, only root (or a suid root program) can set a process to run with realtime scheduling; otherwise running "rt cat /dev/zero > /dev/null" is a pretty sweet denial of service attack, freezing the X server and console by starving them of CPU cycles. You can still ping the system, and you can still open TCP connections... but inetd will never get a timeslice to spend answering those connections.
  • Hi, it's Utter formely known as the AC that you replied to.

    Thanks for you clarification. I must admit that I have built my own homegrown view of graphics in Linux.

    I think I got it from that I had to build a specific 3dfx module and insert it into the kernel. And I also had to compile the kernel with MTRR support. Without these two, the Linux version would run half the speed of the Windows version. I assumed that the windows version directly could set the MTRRs from glide. (And also that NT had support for graphics in the kernel. Which got NT the reputation to do the famous blue screen with certain screen savers)

    But back to why Linux is slower. According to the glide porting guy, he used the same code as in Windows. And ID ported the mini GL, which also is the same code as in Windows. Result, 37 fps in Linux and 42 fps in Windows. (Even faster on NT)

    When I compared the Q3 test the differences were larger. (But there 3dfx had optimized the GL drivers up and beyond, so it looked awful) The Linux version looked nice but was SLOOOW.

    Conclusion.. I will never buy a 3dfx card again. If they can't support Linux or give me an open source driver, they can have it.

    Not that this has anything to do with Amiga. ;-)
  • Amiga Inc has no interest in Amiga hardware. Their intention to use Linux as a basis for future Amiga software has nothing to to with the existence of Linux for Amiga hardware.
  • The AmigaOS was always very Unix-near,

    Oh, not this old claim. AmigaOS has nothing to do with Unix. Some Unixisms (such as line editing keys) were retrofitted onto it in releases 1.3 and 2.0, and a lot of Unix stuff was ported or reimplemented at user level. Its origins lie elsewhere.

  • Oh, it's not that complicated:

    eor.b #2,$BFE001
  • Uh, how about an accelerated 1200? I would do this, only I can't fit a CD-ROM drive in there and my original 1200 keyboard broke in some inexplicable way, and decent power supplies are expensive, so now it relies on a PC keyboard and a PC case. The motherboard, floppy and accelerator are still in the original case...
  • No, you haven't got this quite right. The Amiga floppy controller uses a motor control signal that is separate from the drive selection signals. This means that an Amiga drive can be selected without turning its motor on, after which its disk change indication will be available. However, the disk change signal is latched (to ensure that a change can be detected by simple polling) and will only be updated after the disk heads are stepped. This results in a regular "click" sound from Amiga floppy drives as the device driver polls for disk insertion. Newer floppy drives will refuse to step the heads outwards beyond track 0, so you can set the driver to poll by sending "step out" commands which will update the signal without causing a click.
  • GPL'ed programs can be sold for profit.
  • That would be *way* cool. I mean if I could just turn on additional computers and share the processor power on all those computers on my network.

    I mean, is something like this allready in the works for Linux?

    Check out MOSIX (in particular, MO6): http://www.cs.huji.ac.il/mosix/ [huji.ac.il]


    ---
  • so it really has nothing to do at all with the x graphics system or whatever.

    No, but the hardware is still accessed directly from userspace in exactly the same fashion as XFree86 and SVGAlib. I was using X11 as a particular example of the problems with the "get overly broad i/o permissions and then beat on the hardware directly from userspace while ignoring the kernel" approach to hardware support.

    (Actually, the next rev of XFree86 likely will do 3d graphics support, so there :P)


    ---
  • For those who are unfamiliar with the phenomonon of BLAZEMONGER ("If you don't shout when you say it, you suck when you play it."), you can read the complete archive [umass.edu] of BLAZEMONGER "press releases." Still funny after all these years...

    Schwab

  • Very true, all early PC OSes were small. But the AmigaOS fit on two floppies and gave you a fully multitasking OS with GUI and CLI interfaces, and could run quite usably in 256K or RAM (which was what my first A1000 had initially). Looking at PCs around the same time, we had MS-DOS 3.1 (this was 1985), which had almost none of the capabilities of AmigaDOS/Workbench, and would gladly hog up all of your PC's 640K...

    The Amiga was a mightily impressive machine it its day, doing more with less than any of its competitors. I still remember the awe I felt when I saw the Video Toaster for the first time... I'm glad to see a glimmer of hope for a possible comeback, and maybe some new life into the A1200 I still have in the closet...

  • Will the new Gnu/Linux/Amiga OS be available for download along with source-code?

    I didn't see anything about GNU in the two articles I read. All I saw was the plan to use the Linux kernel. I suspect the rest of the OS will be Amiga's own stuff, not GNU (why would they make YALD [Yet Another Linux Distribution]?) I suspect that any code they modify in the kernel will be released, but there's nothing that says they have to release the whole OS, if libraries and the GUI and such are written in-house with no GPL code.

  • Just a tadbit to tack on to that is that Linux has pretty good support (or will have) when altivec comes out. gcc will support altivec in the future, you can add support for it today, by getting the patch from motorola.

    What does Altivec do? Well, as described by David McEvery [mackido.com], it is MMX implemented correctly. Basically its a set of additional instructions to the standard PowerPC RISC proccessor, adding support for better proccessing of graphical and related stuff. Sounds like MMX? Well it is, in a sense, basically what it has larger and faster processing of things, and implements cache correctly.
  • hmm... those 68060s must be pretty warm and large chips similar to the Pentuim IIs. That was one complaint about the 68040 was they were just slow, hot and uneffectent chips...

    The PowerPC did improve on most things, but early PowerPCs were so slow at 68k emulation, that some early PowerMacs actually had hardware working on 68k emulation (not quite a full processor, though)
  • Yes, I do rember when a 68040/40mhz could have preformance close to a 486/50-66mhz, but it would be pushing it to compare to any pentium.

    The 68060s may have had pretty good preformance, but since I have never used or seen or seen benchmarks a 68060-based machine I will never know.

    At any rate, having a lower clock rate, always looked bad compared to 486s. People would compare a 486/66 to 040/40, and think that the 486 would be like 1/3 faster or so. Of course that wasn't true, but it looked that way to stupid consumers and stupid sales staff.

    This was one reason why Motorla pretty much droped the good old 68k out of the line of mainstream processors (not embedded), another was some of those 68040s and highers were kind of like the Pentium III -- power hogs and hot chips. And they were fairly big chips. Bad for both the embedded and PowerBook production.

    And yes, the Pentium II and up does more work per cycle then the 68k chips, since they have been hacked up to preform decently.

    * Think Different
  • I wouldn't expect source level compatibility with the original Amiga IPC mechanism. Classic Amigas have no memory protection or virtual memory. Everything is in the same address space. Message passing was so quick because you could pass a single 4-byte pointer to a structure. "Hey, look at this over here!" That doesn't work in environments like Linux that have virtual memory.

    Yes, a shared memory scheme could be worked up, but that would imply one of two things: Either you'd have to explicitely create the shared space (losing source compatibility), or all Amiga processes would have to execute in one giant shared address space. They'd essentially all be threads in one big mega-process. There goes your inter-application memory protection though.

    They could however run all older applications in a single shared space assuming that the processor architecture will be 68k compatible (like PPC). Newer applications would probably have to use a different IPC scheme that accounts for virtual address spaces. Then your "classic" applications could still stomp on eachother, but at least they'd leave all of the newer apps alone. This could be easily extended to have multiple "classic Amiga" address spaces. Apps that need to communicate with eachother you'd have to run in the same space, otherwise they can be separate and hence protected from one another. I suppose some sort of weird "auto-merging" mechanism could even be worked out, where if one classic-Amiga process sends a message to another, the page tables of both processes are merged. That's pretty crazy though.
  • Hmmm... if they change processor platforms, Intel... If they change desktops, KDE... and then if they change back to their original processor platform, Motorola...



    --
  • Given the Amiga's history of destroying companies, I'm rather pleased they left QNX before serious damage could occur.

    Bye bye, linux. :)
  • by sad_ (7868)
    I have been keeping myself updated on the latest amiga developments, and there is a difference between the amiga operating SYSTEM and the amiga operating ENVIRONMENT.
    new amigas are comming, and that is a fact (what HW they will be using we do not know yet etc...)
    the OS they will be running is based on QNX (with screenshots seen in an earlier /. article). now there is also the amiga operating ENVIRONMENT, this will be an environment that will run on ALL platforms, PCs, MACs, old amigas, etc... therefor it comes to me as no surprise they choose linux (as it covers the most platforms)
  • While trying not to sound too serious, I'll have to remark that Motorola's AltiVec CPUs could also be called "exciting" and they're rather new. They'd probably be cheap enough, too.
  • by deusx (8442) on Friday July 09, 1999 @04:16AM (#1811572) Homepage
    A year ago Amiga made this big announcement

    That's their problem-- they should have never made announcements. But they had to do something to keep up interest. Things change though.

    (stuff about BeOS and QNX)

    Maybe BeOS asked for too much money, maybe they weren't quite what they wanted. Maybe the original announcement should have been, "We're investigating BeOS, and it looks good." As for QNX, maybe it was the best technology and better than Linux-- but compare the developer bases. I've never heard of QNX (tho granted, I could just be oblivious), but I've sure heard of Linux.

    Maybe they have faith that Linux can *become* the best technology with their help.

    So what happened to the statements like "realtime is important to a multimedia OS". I guess it is'nt.

    Could just be PRspeak. Or, could be that they'll be incorporating realtime themselves or using realtime extensions by other people for Linux.

    So who is going to buy this new Linux box?

    Me.

    Not current Linux users for sure - they're happy with what they've got (I know I am).

    No I'm not. I can't run Macromedia Flash or Director, and any multimedia performance under Linux sucks rocks. Love the OS, use it at home, but I still have to boot into Win98 occasionally to do part of my job. (i.e. Flash on the web, CDROMs with Director, QTVR creation, etc, so forth...) I see this as what Amiga might bring to Linux.

    Not current Amiga users - there's nothing to tempt them to buy the new Amiga over and above Linux.

    Umm... maybe an OS that runs on multiple platforms? Maybe modern hardware? Maybe renewed contemporary commercial support? I've got an Amiga 1200 myself, and let me tell ya, tho it still rivals my current PC in a lot of ways, it's aging.

    Sad really. In all that time we haven't seen one iota of progress from them development-wise.

    That's what you get with a non-Open project. *Shrug*

    What are they going to do with their current code? Bin it and re-write for X, instead of Photon? (yes, I know the POSIX stuff will be portable).

    I would like to think that what they have is flexible enough to change easily. (i.e. the object model has low level classes to interface with the low level os and drivers, and so not everything up the line has to be rewritten)

    Or maybe, they can use something else. LIke Berlin, or an Amiga windowing system with an X compatibility layer. But that's what I'd like to see, not what I think they might be doing.

    We've seen constant changes in direction. There's no faith left.

    I have no faith in Amiga. It's a machine. It was a religion, but I'd hope that people have learned. But it seems to have a promise to deliver multimedia to Linux now, and I think that's pretty significant.

    So, since the only revolutionary stuff is gone (the QNX Neutrino OS) - what's left? An unknown Object model running on top of Linux? I think I'd rather stick with Corba and what I've got right now.

    Hmm, I'm thinking the AmigaObject architecture will be the revolutionary stuff. Corba's just a framework. The AmigaObject environment will be the flesh in the framework. You can already see the seeds of it in the old AmigaOS, with datatypes for multimedia, etc...

    Imagine-- a multimedia OS based on objects. Oh, wait, that's BeOS. :) Well, maybe Amiga can do better for Linux.

    What a shame - I was very hopeful a year ago. What a waste of time.

    *shrug* Let 'em waste their time. Or wait, was that a waste of your time? Ignore 'em and stop worrying. :)

    My thing is that my ears perk up whenever I hear of someone trying to make a new operating environment that has concepts newer than 2 decades. Granted, those are tried and true concepts in Linux, but we've got better ideas by now one would hope.
  • Well, Amiga had Multitasking, but as for User interface -- Ugh! Atari's GEM interface, as bad as it was, beat the crap out of it.
  • The 68000 has 32bit internal registers, 24-bit addressing and a 16-bit bus. It is usually considered a 16-bit system, although it's a hybrid.
  • Um, right now Linux is more mainstream than Amiga is.
  • Yeah, you're missing a lot. For one, you are doing the mistake and equating more MHz for more
    performance. The 680x0 CPU's give you a lot more power pr. MHz than any x86 CPU ever has.


    That was true in days of 8086, 286 and 386es, but today's Intel and Clone processors do more per CPU cycle than any 680x0 processor that I'm aware of.

  • Since Amiga/Linux would be the Linux kernel without the GNU tool chain, the GNU/Linux moniker is inappropriate here.
  • I must agree with some of the posters that this is a very disappointing move. Not because Linux would not make a good kernel (I cannot comment on that), but because it is once again an Amiga "savior" changing its tune as soon as it is called on to deliver a product. Now, maybe they'll actually deliver on this, but my hopes have been lowered some as a result.

    It seems to me that this decision was probably based on the fact that the Linux kernel is free (as in free beer) and has a lot of driver support. With QNX they were partnered with a company that looked like it was trying to finally invade the consumer space to increase its profits, whereas with Linux Amiga has to share no royalties. And of course, having lots of drivers for Linux already makes it much easier for Amiga to make its computers look supported.

    The question really is what this means technically. If Amiga is going to be just another Linux distro with a different wm or something like that, forget it, who cares? With QNX at least they had something to differentiate the Amiga from the crowd - "the realtime OS with a microkernel that is used by NASA and nuclear power plants" - sounded nifty, didn't it? Now they've got the Linux marketing juggernaut, but is it really better for the Amiga?

    Now, I wouldn't mind having a Linux-based Amiga running on a PPC G4, but it's just wait-and-see time again for the Amiga.

  • Back in the same era, the MacOS originally shipped on 2-3 400K floppies (and some firmware) too. Now it's what? 30 MB?

    I'd guess that if AmigaOS was in actual development over the years, it'd be about that size also.
    --

  • I don't know if I'm raving or not, but the update post seems to indicated that QNX wants to crack the consumer market with-or-without the Amiga brandname. It's not like the blessing of Amiga is really all that important in this day and age.

    (I'm not really sure how much the Amiga brandname would really help you nowdays. Even the oldline Amiga fans would know that just because it's called the "Amiga" doesn't mean it's the *Amiga*.)
    --

  • I have a feeling that in 2032, I'll be browsing the 3D-Holo-Web, and I'll stumble across a Amiga-versus-Atari flamewar (crossposted to holonet.deathmatch.alt.os.QNX.SuckedRocks.)
    --
  • It doesn't have anything to do with whether it's "commercial" code or not - Redhat has been selling GPL'd code for quite a while now. As long as Amiga supplies the source code to any GPL'd software they use (including the kernel) and obeys the other terms of the GPL, they should be OK.

  • Keep in mind that the Amiga Linux version has been around for some time now. There is both a good PPC version and maybe even a Motorolla version (not sure here).

    You mean a MC680x0 version; remember that the PPC is made by Motorola too :-)

    The Linux/m68k project has a web site. See it! [linux-m68k.org]

  • If you have ever used the Amiga OS you would know that it is extremely compact and well written. The original release fit on to two floppies.

    Don't forget that a lot of it was built into firmware. That doesn't alter your argument, of course; a 256KB ROM and two floppies is still pretty compact :-)

  • With the exception of the multi-user aspects and proper memory protection, it is pretty much up to par with modern OS requirements.

    The lack of memory protection really bugs me. One crash and that's it, everything falls over, time to reboot. A real bummer when you're coding (especially if you make as many mistakes as I do :-) Not so bad for day-to-day use; my A1200 isn't on 24/7, but I can spend a happy evening's computing without something crashing it.

    Other than that, I agree with you. The lack of swap doesn't bother me 'coz I've got enough silicon to multitask pretty well. My biggest gripe with my machine is the poor graphics. That problem would go away if I threw money at it, of course :-)

    I like AmigaOS. I like it enough that it's my regular desktop OS at home, and I'm not really interested in anything else at the present time.

  • If I remeber correctly the 68000 was 32bit internally but only had a 16bit bus. I guess thats why the Amiga, ST and MAC were marketed as 16bit computers.

    Yes, they had a 16-bit data bus and 24-bit address bus.

    Sinclair's QL was based around the MC68008, which had an 8-bit data bus and 20-bit (I think) address bus. It was still 32-bit internally. Sinclair initially wanted to sell it as a 32-bit machine, and got in trouble with the advertising standards people :-)

  • They were DD floppies, formatted to 837KB (though the OS said 880KB, you lost a few KB 'coz the usable sector capacity was 488 bytes). Later Amiga filesystems really did give you 880-odd KB per floppy.

  • Actually, the original Amiga 1000 OS was not built into firmware, it was on the first disk (called "kickstart").

    Ah yes, forgot about that. I was a Johnny-come-lately whose first Amiga was an A500 :-)

    All models after the 1000 had "kickstart" in ROM, though it was possible to modify the function jump table and replace a ROM routine with a patch in RAM.

    Or even replace the entire ROM. I still have my A500. One of the last things I did with it was dump the ROM to a file so I can softkick it into my A1200 for those rare occasions when I want to play a really old game.

  • Amiga has selected Linux as the OS kernel for the new Amiga Operating Environment that is scheduled for release later this year.

    Is it just me, or does Amiga sound like it's incredibly easy to plug in some OS kernel and ship it as a product? They have just made the decision to use the linux kernel, yet it'll be plugged in and ready to sell within half a year. Is it really that trivial?

  • Amiga Operating Environment = AOE

    Call it:
    Amiga Independent User Operating Environment (AIUOE)

    Then just call it "Vowel".

    And when everybody jumps on the bandwagon, it will be called the "Vowel Movement".

    /* Ok, that last line probably wasn't necessary. :) */
  • Amiga won't be able to make a multimedia OS that can compete against BeOS if they go with the linux kernel instead of QNX. Now if they were building an amiga server OS off of linux then I would say that they would probably do very well, but that is not their plans. Frankly BeOS has a better chance of winning than Amiga since it is a really good OS and it is already being preloaded by atleas 6 OEMs.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. -- Ernest Haskins

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