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Amiga

Amiga Update: When Will The Creature Awaken? 106

morton2002 writes: "I read an awesome interview of Amiga head honchos by IBM's developerWorks folks. (Linked to from a cool microprocessor news site, www.jc-news.com/pc.) They discuss Amiga's new technology and marketing tactics, suitably referred to as the 'new Amiga.' Instead of developing new Amiga hardware, they're using a code-morphing virtual-machine to run on existing platforms ... but most notably it will translate their 'VP' code into native instead of interpreting it, running blindingly fast! Not only that, they'll be bringing awesome hardware acceleration to OSes like Linux when they port their VP translators to various videocard processors, allowing the 'new Amiga' to run directly on graphics-intensive hardware ... just like it used to!"

Reader Upsilon points to the same interview, saying "I have to admit, some of the stuff sounds very interesting, but it is hard not to be skeptical." (Anyone holding your breath, please raise your right hand so you can be counted before you keel over.)

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amiga Update: When Will The Creature Awaken?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    That is not dead which may eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How much BS can these companys spout just on Amiga's name?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here we go again, something about the Amiga is posted and the usual suspects start whining...

    "The Amiga is Dead","Why are they bothering" and the flame wars start.

    Why can't some slashdot posters here grow up?
    Amiga have finally started to get their act together, and whether or not they fail, I will still respect them. Because they have a dream - they want bring the Amiga name and the magic that made the Amiga back once again.

    I respect them for that? Why can't you?
  • interesting how back when it counted, Commodore couldn't market the Amiga to save their life, yet now they don't have a product to sell, they can survive

    next thing you know, IBM will find people to buy OS/2 :P

    smash (ex miggy owner.. very nice computer in its day, sadly it got left behind...)

  • To focus on a window which isn't on top, you need the Powertoys from Microsoft. It's a free download, and has a setting to give you that X11 mouse feel.
    • Java where it's not even possible to write directly in bytecode (at least not so far as I know
    You can.
    • The next time the code is called, the compiler optimizes that code a little more, and so on, until frequently used code is extremely optimized. ... No Java JIT that I know of can do this.
    Ummm... it's called "HotSpot" and it's been out about a year.

    Do you know anything about anything, or do you just like typing?

  • Take a pill. He was right. He said:
    " The Amiga pretty much passed by the USA. Europe and other bits of the world were too busy coding demos and playing with freeware to worry about the USA. "

    While the Amiga was pretty big in the USA and Canada, their *popularity* in North America was nothing compare the the popularity the Amiga enjoyed overseas.
    I was a (Canadian) Amiga freak back in the day and was very much aware of the extreme Euro influence--and very much liked it too, I might add. Strange games and things no sane person would ever create :-)

    The state of social/financial affairs in Europe is hardly relevant to this discussion. Who's on the high horse?

  • I know you're trying to be funny, but I think you've missed the point. In the dynamo stuff, the translated code runs _faster_ than the original code. This is because it performs optimizations based on usage patterns that could never be done at compile time. For example if you have two procedures that are defined in very different places in the source code, which happen to call each other often, the dynamo translation will move them onto the same memory page, thus making many more cache hits.
  • If programmers write in assembly, they get cool features, such as extremely modular code which is only loaded in pieces (making for much lower memory consumption and faster execution).

    Oh cool. With an MMU you can do such neat things like demand loading executables, which is what Linux does since version 0.0x and what any other Unix with any respect for itself does. Only the code which is executed gets loaded, without anyone except the kernel having to care about that.

  • Um. I'm not sure if you're from the USA, but that usually makes a difference.. The Amiga pretty much passed by the USA. Europe and other bits of the world were too busy coding demos and playing with freeware to worry about the USA.

    However, as someone who spent most of his time on the Amiga playing with other people's code, and writing code that I released for free, I would comfortably say that there was a lot of stuff out there where the source was available. Many orders of magnitude more stuff relatively, compared to the Apple/DOS/Doze worlds.

    Perhaps it doesn't meet the exact "Open Source" requirements, but the amount of freely available source was amazing.

    I think as someone who doesnt have this context, you assumed they were claiming the AmigaOS was open source or something similar. It wasn't. It was just a pleasure to program for, with well defined APIs. The amount of freeware available, with source, is probably what they were talking about.

    I dont know what you considered noteable. Obviously it was different from what I considered noteable.
  • These people finally managed to transform a concept that exists in the mind of every programmer in a reality.

    Java packs only very high-level bytecode/native code translation on a not-so-flexible language. Now this is truly perfect.

    I don't believe they could've done a better job,
    and I just hope people don't get too interested in processor-specific optimizations and lose the focus on the systems' whole intent.

    Flavio
  • Heh heh heh. I'm still using my somewhat souped-up Amiga4000 on a near-daily basis. Works wonderfully, even next to some of the other "more modern" equipment on the LAN at home. But I still have an A500 rotting in my parents basement. Had an A2000 rotting under my desk, but I ended up selling it for more goodies for the A4K. :^)
  • " I still have some floppies with some A500 software on them. Will they run on the "New Amiga" some people are still having orgasms about? Unlikely. Whatever that is, then, it's not an Amiga."

    Quite likely, in fact. The "new" Amiga, according to developer scuttlebutt, will likely be quite able to run the classic Amiga apps in emulation... something akin to kicking up UAE (bleah) on your *IX desktop. Personally I'd rather see it implemented in a more transparent manner, but nontheless, it will be done.

    Does that particular feature suddenly make the new machine more of an Amiga than it was before? Does UAE suddenly make your Linux machine an Amiga as well? What about WinUAE? It's a little hard to swallow a Windoze machine being an Amiga. I think there's more to a particular system being Amiga than the ability to execute Amiga 500 software.

  • There is product. The release of the SDK is proof postive that Amiga Inc. is making good on the promises they have made, fairly quickly at that. Unfortunately, they are forced to live under the shadow of the repeatedly shattered promises of their predecessor companies. While they're trying to counter the Amiga-promise reputation by not making announcements in advance without product to show for it, the past few years of Amiga users screaming "lookie lookie, we're back this time... see... wait... what? no? oh shit... never mind" is more than a little difficult to ignore. I have faith that Bill, Fleecy & the gang will be able to put forth an extremely interesting and worthwhile product. They've made a lot of progress in the last few short months... more power to them!
  • Don't blame Fleecy Moss for that one! I think it was under the Jim Collas regime that QNX was completely and thorougly alientated from the nouveau-Amiga development process. QNX and Phase5 (Germany) were making strange bedfellows as far as a new direction for a QNX implementation on PPC-boosted (with Phase5 accellerator cards) Amigas.

    Of course, Phase5 is dead now...

  • Surely complete optimization is equivalent to
    the halting problem?
  • Surely it's at higher levels that the compiler
    has enough context to make better optimizations.
    If you present an assembler with a program there
    is very little that can be done to optimize it
    without knowing exactly what the programmer
    intended (which is computationally infeasible),
    whereas the semantically more meaningful constructs
    in a HLL make it easier for the compiler to reason
    about the program.
  • Having been a quite intensive Amiga user when it was the time for it, I'd love to see some kind of rebirth of this machine. But I dont think, that just having the same name as a product that was very innovative at its time will be enough to compete with PS2 and the other "fast graphic" devices which are available.

    Let the legend sleep, it had its time !
  • by eMBee ( 27441 )
    so...
    the new amiga is code-morphed to run on intel,
    hmm, code morphing? where did i hear that before?
    ahh, wait didn't...?
    yeah, what happens if i run amiga on a transmeta chip?

    morpheus:
    i tell you, the world around you is not what you think it is.
    amiga user:
    what do you mean? i don't understand!
    morpheus:
    if you take the blue pill, i will show you what the world is really like.
    if you take the red-white checkered pill, you will forget what i said, and the world of amiga will remain to you as it was forever
    amiga user takes the blue pill.
    morpheus:
    see, i told you. the world of amiga was once glorious, but then intel came and destroyed it, and now amiga is running on intel, because they fear a revolution of amiga users!

    a while later linus torvalds comes along:

    linus:
    i tell you, the world around you is not what you think it is.
    amiga-on-intel user:
    what do you mean? i don't understand!
    linus:
    if you take the yellow-green pill, i will show you what the world is really like.
    if you take the blue pill, you will forget what i said, and the world of amiga-on-intel will remain to you as it was forever
    amiga-on-intel user takes the yellow-green pill.
    linus:
    see, i told you. the world of intel was once glorious, but then transmeta came and destroyed it, and now intel is running on transmeta, because they fear a revolution of intel users!
    amiga-on-intel-on-transmeta user looks confused.
    amiga-on-intel-on-transmeta user:
    what is happening?!?!?
    where am i?
    make it stop!!!!
    please!!!!!!
    the pain!!!!
    this is to much!!!
    i need some morphium to kill the pain!!

    linus hands the amiga user a red-white checkered pill, amiga user takes it, and returns to the world of amiga, forgetting all about reality living happily ever after in his dreamworld.

    greetings, eMBee.
    --

  • I've got an Amiga 2000 in a closet somewhere... upgrades in the thing are a 68030 processor, some RAM and a hard drive. Although it does have an early Video Toaster card in there... and an old TBC unit... too bad the video software on the HD is corrupted so I can't use the vtoaster and the disks are long gone... =[
    BRTB
  • I just have brought mine back to live today. The Power-Supply of my A3000-Tower was broken.
    I replaced it with a normal PC-Power-Supply, connected the wires to the correct wires coming from the motherboard.

    Plus, I had to rejumper J350 to "_vsync" since the new supply was lacking a wire with a 50 Hz rate.

    I found a some very helpful infos to do this on the following website:
    http://www.casema.net/~kroone/3000

    I'm happy as a little kid on christmas eve - My Amiga is alive again!
    And it has Ethernet (I'm on IRCnet right now).

    Sorry for being a bit off-topic.
  • If you don't want to read amiga stories, you can very easily make that so. All you have to do is get yourself a Slashdot login, and go to your Preferences, and in a little clicky here, and a little clicky there, and tada: No more amiga stories. Apparently, complaining is easier for you, though, so I guess you'll have to live through these stories, because there are people here who enjoy discussing this.
  • Actually, you're looking at the wrong level for analogy. If you talk about infrastructure for cars (gas, roads, etc.), then you should talk about infrastructure for computers (electricity, microchips, etc.). I'm targetting a level above that: purpose. You buy a car to get you from A to B. A particular style is nice (as the new Macs have shown), but if you can't get it out of the garage it isn't very useful.

    The purpose of a computer is many. People want to write reports, surf the web, send messages to friends, listen to music. These things have nothing to do with anything below the application layer. While geeks like us might know and care about how a particular OS make it easy to develop applications that twiddle bits in particular ways, the user still just wants to get from point A to point B without having to be a mechanic. From that perspective, they should be buying systems that do the things they need done, and do them well. We don't see them doing that, though, and I find that very strange. They shop for a long time to buy a machine that moves their bodies from place to place, but don't think twice about the machine they use to move their ideas from person to person.

  • I almost pity the new car buyer. BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mazda, and all the GM models out there. Is it too much? I loved my Kia, but will it be profitable now that the market has been beaten with the Honda stick?

    In case it's not blindingly obvious, your argument is silly. Consumer choice is not a bad thing, as there are an exceedingly large number of automotive makers and models, and most of those "systems" sell in even very small quantities for $20,000+. Yet, strangely, Wintel systems have an 85% market share. This should shock everyone who doesn't own a Honda Civic.
  • Contrast this approach with what Hejlsberg had to say about C# and other languages compiled to Microsoft Intermediate Language (IL) a few articles back.
    And when you install your code we give you the option to compile it at that point; to compile the IL to native at that point, so that when you run it there's no just-in-time compiler overhead. We also give you the option of running and compiling code dynamically, just-in-time compilation. And, of course, having an IL gives you many advantages, such as the ability to move to different CPU architectures and to introduce verifiability in type safety and then build the security system on top of that.
    A higher level language aware of types seems to afford more opportunities to be smart in generating optomized native code. And people who compile their own kernels have to see the advantages of compiling to native code at install time as opposed to JIT while running.

    Unless the new Amiga has some benefit not made clear by the article, it just looks to be laps behind.
  • Yeah yeah yeah, yadda yadda yadda, etc. etc. etc.

    Heard it before, we'll hear it again...

  • Maybe they never get anything out because the rest of the IT industry moves on faster than they can implement their ideas. e.g. One day someone at Amiga has an idea that seems 2-3 years ahead of it's time. 6 months later they're still working on it, but now it only seems 1 year ahead of it's time. Another 6 months on and they're ready to implement it but there's already stuff out there just as good. In another 6 months - 1 year they might get a product out but by then it would look pretty lame...
  • That's not the point. The assembler doesn't do any optimisations at all (well, maybe on a per-instruction level). But if you write code in assembly language you understand the program you're writing far better than any compiler possibly can, and you can make optimisations yourself.
  • See Cygnus's GCJ, and Matt Welsh (Berkeley NINJA group)'s Jaguar. The combination of both projects (GCJ+Jaguar) helps to achieve through Java what the new amiga seems to be striving for. Mainly, platform independance while having direct but responsible (security/privilage-wise) access POKE/FETCH of low-level system calls. If they are aiming for different things (maybe GCJ+Jaguar needs OpenGL and SDL binding to compare well with the new Amiga, and when you write Jaguar programs.. you need to write in either Java or some other language you can translate to JVM-runnable bytecodes), I think both will make good comparisons. C# however could be very different from what Jaguar or the new Amiga are trying to achieve.
  • The continued shambling of the Amiga name reminds me of the airline industry. "Pan Am" was a world-spanning airline which launched the 747, built airfields and operations from nothing on Pacific islands, etc etc etc. Now the name is owned by an airline that flies from second-tier airports to half a dozen cities.

    Not to mention the three incarnations of Braniff, the multiple Midways, and so on.

  • All right. How does this differ from the Amiga process they're talking about in the article?

    Email me.
    Don't trust anyone over 90000.
  • not because it's got better hardware, but because of the cleverness of the hardware and software combination - the particular combination that Amiga uses


    Well if the main reason it was (is) so much better is the combination of hardware and software that the Amiga uses... the "cleverness" of that combination, as you put it... I'm guessing that taking that clever combination of finely tuned hardware and software, putting it in a Just-In-Time compiled setting, and putting it on all the crappy generic (not finely tuned) hardware is not going to achieve the same effect at all. In fact from what little I admittedly know on the subject, I don't see how it can compete...


    -Uberminy (not logged in on his computer)

  • FYI - the original Amiga chips, done in Commodore's 1.5 micron HNMOS process, topped out at something around 60,000 transistors. The Lisa chip, part of the "AGA" (formerly AA, formerly formerly Pandora) chipset, ran up to around 120,000, as the only CMOS chip in the main Amiga chips (there were CMOS gate arrays in most Amiga systems, glue chips that basically implemented the specific system differences).

    Back in 1985, Amiga hit so strongly in the sound and graphics areas because Jay was a genius, but also because no one else really tried to do it at such a level. Commodore could have made their own CPU, like in the 8-bit days, but it made no sense: you couldn't compete, in a market of maybe a million units a year, with a whole CPU family sold in the 10's-100's of millions.

    The graphics companies today are like the CPU companies back then -- they're locked in a constantant battle of one-upmanship with each other, working on very complex designs which sell in the 10's of millions for pretty little cash. The only possible way Amiga or anyone else can compete is to do something very different. If your target is still the desktop, that would be a hard one, especially given all the graphics chip talent these guys have sucked up from the workstation world.

  • Hmm. Atari Falcon? Launched -93, built in DSP and 16 bit stereo sound?

    I know the Swedish state radio used a Falcon ... and in Europe musicians still use Atari Falcons (and clones) for Midi.

    No flames, just curiosity :) I've never even heard of anyone using Amigas for music before.

  • Is that why you posted Anonymously?
  • I know a little about a lot of things, and as it happens I don't follow Java closely. So sue me.
  • If you read the article, it appears that the reason their JIT is so much faster than, say Java, is that they've really designed their environment so that programmers will want to code in assembly and use high-performance features, unlike Java where it's not even possible to write directly in bytecode (at least not so far as I know, anyway). If programmers write in assembly, they get cool features, such as extremely modular code which is only loaded in pieces (making for much lower memory consumption and faster execution). This is detailed further in the article.

    While he doesn't say so in the article, I would suspect that another way they've greatly sped up their JIT is that their design is closer to Crusoe's dynamic translation than Sun's HotJava: the first time code is called, it is merely translated, like a classic JIT. The next time the code is called, the compiler optimizes that code a little more, and so on, until frequently used code is extremely optimized. The result is that the more you use a specific feature of a program, the faster it becomes. Combine this with modular code as discussed above, and you get a program which is extremely quick to load, and in which the most commonly called sections are optimized on-the-fly not only in general, but for the specific processor on which it's running (e.g., AltiVec on a G4, MMX on a Pentium, etc). No Java JIT that I know of can do this.

    Granted, I did not see him detailing this as the way their JIT works in the article, but it might explain why he believes their JIT is so much superior to what's currently out there.

  • If you too read the article you might learn that there may be no need to win anyone "back". Go figure.

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Well, that's probably the biggest problem with amiga. When you mention it everyone goes "Oh that old gaming machin with all the cool games", referring to old A500's...

    Not so many have seen what can (well could) actually be done with a expanded A4000. As late(?) as 1995 there was, for example, nothing that could beat an A4000 with sunrize studio as a digital audio recorder, for midi and video. Not at a reasonable price for use at home, anyway.

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Ahhh... You're just beeing jealous...

    Grow up.

    Or start submitting OS/2 stories. (If you can find any?)

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Moron!

    We are not talking the same old amiga concept any more... Read the article before posting goddamnit!

    Too bad I'm out of modpoints right now... :/

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Yes, of course you're right, Falcon was way ahead of Amiga in the MIDI/HD-recording/Music business. I don't remember the price though.

    We used the amiga for HD recording of audio, syncronized via SMTPE to record soundtracks for video. In that area it was pretty outstanding.

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Preferences/User info/Exclude Stories from the Homepage/[x]Amiga

    ...might be a good choice then. I, for one, enjoy these amiga stories, even though I haven't used an amiga for two years...

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Or start submitting OS/2 stories. (If you can find any?)

    Actually slashdot supports two different "slashboxes" about OS/2. Maybe "the red pen" missed them.

    So? Where are the OS/2 stories then?

    Grow up.

    Yes, you're flamebait was a model of maturity.

    Maybe... Even slightly more than... Your header?

    Have a nice day mr AC! :)

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • I forget where I got this (probably Ars Technica), but they said that developers could still produce optimized machine-dependant code.

    --
  • That would make a great slashdot poll: Which model of the Amiga do you have rotting in your parents garage?

    The cops took my 500, but my 600 still sits in my mom's garage...
  • The amiga was used in the u.k. by a *lot* of dance music creators. You get 2 amigas, 2 copies of med/soundtracker and you get 4 channels of stereo sound. Aphrodite/urban shakedown/meat beat manifesto.... i could go on.
  • I almost pity the new computer user. Amiga, BeOS, Windows, MacOS, and all the *nix distros out there. Is it too much? I loved Amiga, but will it be profitable now that the market has been beaten with the Windows stick?
  • Of course, the Amiga wasn't released until 1985, after other home computers with full color graphics, sprites, and multi-voice sound had been available for years (6 years for the Atari 800, 3 for the Commodore 64, to mention a few systems).

    Even before the Commodore 64 there was the VIC-20. 8 colors, 3 sound channels, and even with only 3.5 of RAM it still played a mean game of GORF!

    I think if anything, Amiga helped turn the corner from fun action games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong to bloated overkill like Defender of the Crown...

  • Yeah, can some Amiga fan out there explain why there is such loyalty to the Amiga name? The original Amiga hardware was really cool. But the company currently called "Amiga" is no longer producing anything like it, or descended from it. And it is an entirely different set of people running and working at the company.

    This is really not meant to be a troll. I actually want to know if I am missing something here.

  • The problem they've attempted to sugar coat over is the lack of memory protection (although they promised it in the future which I'll believe when I see it) and no multiuser. As a recovering Amigan living in the Linux world, those two items are a complete show stopper for me.

    Oh why did Fleeky have to screw up that QNX deal they had...
  • forget 'em both - i miss PrimOS!
  • --I remember fighting with my friends parents who wanted to buy him a computer "for school" (ha ha ha ha) and they wanted to get hin a 386sx16 WITH GeoWorks! I yelled, cajoled and mocked them. Certainly an Amiga A500 with a GVP (I think) 52MB HD and a 68030 chip (@25mHz) was a better purchase! Sure it was like $3000 but the Amiga had 4096 colors AND half brites!

    --My A500 sits in its original box with an epyx 500J (?) joystick a 1084 monitor and the extra floppy (Willy Beamish sure would have sucked without that!) and all the software I... obtained in my basement. I miss that machine Gurus and all.

    --However, I don't care what Amiga (or whoever) does now. I am stuck multi booting NT, 2000, 98 and RH6.2 without any fear that I will have any sort of meditation (save for when 2000 is booting, lots of time for meditation then) from my Amiga Gurus. But do you think someone could port SpeedBall 2 for chis'sake?
  • Whiles PCs' dont. I bet you if I bought a second hand Amiga A4000 full tower Video Toaster with all the zorro upgrade cards, a 680/PPC G3 asymetrical upgrade card & a professional Amiga Sony monitor for $3000 or something, it would still be worth that in 2 years time, While if I spent that much putting together a Ghz 'god box' PC it would be worth buggerall in 2 years time.
  • ROFLMAO...

    "Ia:! Ia:! Shub-Commodore! The black computer of the woods with a thousand pixels!"

    Seriously, doesn't this sound like Fundie Xtians saying that Christ is due back, like, any minue now? Check out The Rapture Index [novia.net] to see what I mean, and tell me that some Amiga fan somewhere won't start up The Amiga's Return Index of their own.

  • Your analogy doesn't hold. All these cars run on the same gas, on the same roads. OSs (in general) don't run on the same hardware, and they don't run the same software.

    As for the previous poster, since most people only see two choices (PC/Windows, Mac) and the PC has a clear lead (they see them at work, being used in stores, etc.) the choice is an easy one to make.
  • [slashdot.org]HOW OOG FAVORITE CAVE-BITCH DOING??? OOG RUN OUT OF CAVE-WEED TO SMOKE AND NEED CAVE-SEX AND CAVE-HEAD!!! OOG WANT BRITNEY COME HERE SO OOG CAN CLUB BRITNEY OVER HEAD AND BRING HER BACK TO CAVE!!!

    [slashdot.org]OOG WONDER WHY BRITNEY SPEARS POST TO SLASHDOT!!! OOG THINK BRITNEY SHOULD BE BACK IN OOG'S CAVE GIVING CAVE-SEX!!! OOG HAVE NICE ONE NIGHT CAVE-STAND WITH BRITNEY AND WANT MORE!!! OOG GIVE BRITNEY MANY FISH HEADS FOR MORE CAVE-SEX!!! OOG ALSO BREAK HEAD WITH OPEN SOURCE CD IF BRITNEY NO COME BACK TO CAVE!!!
  • Logic 101: give examples.

    I loved DeluxePaint III (I still have it on a working A500)----animation and paint in one program in 2.5 MB of RAM. (My computer was upgraded.) Things I still miss on my PC:

    • (Anim)Brushes based on the you-can-see-it-before-you-get-it idea, without long pauses between moving the mouse and showing the brush image.
    • The Snowflake tool.
    • Tilting ovals when you draw them.
    • All the modes of painting, especially Smear.

    [Place my biggest Win95 gripe here----no way to focus on a window that's not on top.] PCs may have reached a gigahertz, but they have yet to surpass my 68000-based machine.


    --
    LoonXTall
  • Fleecy Moss has seen a graphics card inclusive os work before and it will work again

    So could you now please explain to me exactly how Amiga running on top of Linux will exploit the video card in this way? Given that the Amiga will be portable across different processors and different graphics chipsets? Somehow, do something magical with the hardware that the graphics card manufacturer's themselves haven't been able to do with their own drivers?

    Vapour, vapour, vapour. When whoever is bastardising the Amiga name now can reveal benchmarks showing a real application running faster on the Amiga VM than the native system, it might start to be worthy of attention.

  • Code run through dynamo runs faster than code natively optimized.

    Well, I'll believe it when I see it. This has been claimed over and over for the past 30 years. The argument normally goes like, "compilers will inevitably create code that is better than human optimized code because whatever trick the human used we can build into the compiler!" -- which is a great theory, but we have this little obstacle called the "strong AI problem". Code optimization is a more complex version of the travelling salesman problem. Add to that the problem that compilers don't have enough contextual knowledge for really agressive optimization, and I take a very "show me" attitude toward this whole subject.


    --

  • errr...that would be because the rate of progress in the PC market is about 10,000 times that of what's going on in the Amiga 'market'.

    if intel only brought out a new processor speed revision every 3 years, then the GHz 'god box' that you bought today would still be holding its value in another 24 months.
  • Okay now smart boy, how much did this PC cost compared to the Amiga? And we won't even mention OS footprint size now will we? Hmmm?
  • By all reports, the technology they are working on is quite impressive, but it's a shame that so many /.ers can't ignore the 'amiga' name for a few seconds and see what they are actually producing. Here's my prediction: if it works as they say it does (good bet) and they can get enough interested coders on it (sales look good right now), then it will be a success. At that point, the amiga name will be an asset.
  • I agree with you, the owners seem to be using the name Amiga primarily because everyone knows it. Inventing a new system and a new brand is more difficult.
    Wm
  • I've only skimmed over the GPL once and yet even so I could see plenty of ways to make money. Yes the obvious one is support. But, lets say you write a program based on GPL code that is GPL'd itself.. lets say a game.. but this game can have *content* that isn't GPL'd. for example. You could distribute the game itself for free, but charge for extra levels, adventures, characters, expansion packs, use of your hardware (servers, services) etc. Jesus man, have some immagination :P
  • OK, why do I think that Amiga Inc. have the right to call it an Amiga?

    Because they are trying to do things that nobody has done before:
    No nonsense portability on a base level rather than application level for many processors and different computer systems and heterogenous multiprocessing.

    Nobody in 1985 had the chance to buy a computer system for less than 5-10000$, which at the time allowed for full screen animation, video effects editing, had a real multitasking OS with a color GUI, stereo sound and the works. The Amiga creators gave people that opportunity with a custom chipset and an OS.

    Today, to make the same leap, you can't create a custom chip set, because many companies today can create chips with incredible horse power. So you have to be smart in other areas: Software.

    The point: To be revolutionary, you can't keep on using the same formula. To win a war, you can't keep on reinventing gun powder. You have to resort to different methods.

    I'm an Amigan and I would say that building a new computer with a custom chipset would be a waste of time and downright silly.

    The other point: The way I see an Amiga, is not by looking at the chipset (most of us have already replaced parts of the chipset with higher performance current industry standard parts). I don't look so much at the OS either (though that is what really is left of the classic), it's more the principles and the philosophy in use here.

    Principles:

    Keep it small. Optimize. Choose the solution which will work well, instead of the one which will just work. Spend time designing carefully.

    Philosophy:

    Elegance, simplicity, flexibility, ease of use and functionality.

    If they can keep those principles intact from the original Amiga as well as the philosophy, they can call it an Amiga.

  • Wrong. VP code is not interpreted as it is executed. It is translated at load time into native assembler before execution. While the program is running, there is no interpretation process.
  • Amiga claims to have created the Video Game market?

    From the interview: The Amiga created what we know today as the video-gaming market.

    This is completely bogus! Atari showed that there was a huge market which they then proceeded to crash and burn. Nintendo created the modern video game market from those ashes.

    The PC, Apple, and other systems (like the Amiga) have always had a steady market, but it is also a relatively small market compared to video games at large.

    This guys comment makes me wonder if he is just ignorant, or smoking his own special brand of crack.

  • Oops, "hear" even. Darn keyboard! Grr!
  • Long live PuffDaddy, suckaz.
  • Okay, this idea has a LONG way to go. The Amiga community that I was a part of was about users. The Amiga users loved the machine and eachother. They would gather together and marvel over what it could do. Am I supposed to believe that all former Amiga users are now coders that want to come home at night and try to make a new idea work? Or are these coders the only Amiga users that are willing to drop some cash on something that says 'Amiga' on it? So far, there is nothing here for the consumer. I have a bad feeling that this $99 SDK will be as far as it's going this time. That 'Wow!' impression that they are trying to recapture is not going to happen this time. I used to be able to boot up my Amiga and impress any member of my family, anyone from work or school. Only people geeked out on code and nostalgia will want to pay attention to this. Sorry Amiga, come back with a product next time.
  • OK the VP-translator runs on top of the native OS,and runs almost as fast? hmmm... Virtual Amiga?
    I can see it now: "Run this classic OS on your piece of junk PC... just add googles of RAM..."
  • So what we have here is Crusoe without hardware? If you can't give me an Amiga with a case, chips and such, then open source the VP thing. Someone will figure this magic out and gut shoot these guys eventually. Why bother?
  • But the amiga was a pioneer in the fields of shareware and Public Domain software which is only a short stretch from open source.
  • It`s not the machine that is being reborn (although there is new hardware on it`s way). It`s the OS. BTW Sony own a stake in Tao. Don`t be suprised if the PS2 can be upgraded to use Amiga`s new OS. Failing that there`s always the PS3
  • What do they do? A smart compnay would build on Amiga's strenths: bring the existing architecture up to techological speed and harness the power of the existing user network by open-sourcing the OS
    But you can`t bring the hardware up to spec. It`s just too old. We`re talking about stuff from 1992 remember! All you can do is to bring the OS up to spec which is what Amiga are doing. If they choose to do it in a proprietary manner that`s their choice. The Community instead of tinkering with the OS can then spend their time writing applications that will make people want to buy the new Amiga
  • Actually OSOpinion says you can take their stuff as long as you link back to them so you`re more than welcome to post it.
  • Again Someone doesn`t do their research. AmigaOS 3.5 was released last year and is still on sale.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and he was using an amiga!
  • This all sounds cool, but I really wonder what in the world it has to do with the Amiga besides the name?

    It reminds me of a young child that learns a 'cool' word. What's that Johnny? Amiga and that? Amiga No, that's an elephant. Amiga! No, that's a giraffe. AMIGA!!! No, Johnny, that's a hippo. AMIGA!!!!! No, Johnny, that's .......

  • OS/2 isn't dead, either. In fact, it's still for sale from a real company, unlike the Amiga.

    Also, unlike the Amiga, OS/2 has been mentioned once on Slashdot this year. The Amiga has been a headline seven times and it has it's own fucking category.

    Good products fail and fade away. It sucks, but it's true. For every one, there are the core faithful who still use it. Good for them. Slashdot's techno-necrophilia regarding the Amiga is just silly.


  • Geez.. I am not sure to be impressed with the Amiga comunity or .. ashamed? Who knows...

    I must admit, I would love to see the Amiga live up to all it's prommises and would probably buy one just because. :) I still have a broken A-500 at my parents house. heheh




    --------------------
  • I have messed with the Amiga2k SDK and also have been talking to the guys at the Tao Group (the real authors of Amiga2k). Here is an article I wrote comparing it with MS's .net platform. This article assumes you have some knowedge of both system so read the /. article first.

    http://jonathanclark.com/diary/amiga/ [jonathanclark.com]

    --
  • I find it interesting that so many supporters of the classic Amiga cannot imagine that another group of engineers (under the same name) could innovate again. There is really nothing to hold innovation back in any group...but yet we don't believe?

    I am skeptical as well. I've heard too many "We're back" claims from companies who have purchases Amiga...and seen too many revolutionary development systems, OSs, libraries, etc., that ended up as crap. There are good systems, don't get me wrong, but just too many that made great claims that were not fulfilled.

    It could be the fact that most Amiga (Atari, AppleII) lovers have grown older and jaded against the claims of innovation from many $oftware and hardware companie$. We found something amazing in our first systems (Atari800 for me), and have never really been able to find that same passion since. I, for one, am still looking for a language as cool as STOS (an ST compiled Basic language with bitchin' libraries) or as easy as Turbo Pascal (x86), and games like those European ST games (weird & wonderful stuff).

    Could this latest Amiga claim be true? I dunno. It sounds too-good-to-be-true, but so was the orriginal Amiga platform...and it was one of the most amazing consumer platforms in history (IMO).

  • More nonsense:

    dW: In one sense, the Amiga community missed the open source revolution, and in another sense, they were pioneers of open source before it was known as such.

    There was no open source pioneering on the Amiga. It was a closed system. The OS was a closed system. All notable Amiga applications were closed systems. The above statement is without basis. No one has ever considered the Amiga to be a stepping stone to what's now called Open Source.
  • Amiga was revolutionary and truly changed computing. You remember what it was like back then: we had green screens, blips, and bleeps. Then suddenly, we had full-color animation and graphics. The Amiga created what we know today as the video-gaming market.

    Of course, the Amiga wasn't released until 1985, after other home computers with full color graphics, sprites, and multi-voice sound had been available for years (6 years for the Atari 800, 3 for the Commodore 64, to mention a few systems). Yes, the Amiga was better, but lets not rewrite history, okay? There was even PC semi-compatible with hardware accelerated graphics released earlier which was very Amiga-like in many ways, but it never found a market.
  • transforms PA-8000 binary code into PA-8000 binary code

    Hey, I've got a program right here that translates x86 binary code into x86 binary code at BLISTERING speeds!

    It's called "copy".

    - Isaac =)
  • 5 years ago sure. But that's becoming less and less true. Hp has a research system called Dynamo [hp.com] that does this. Code run through dynamo runs faster than code natively optimized. Granted dynamo is a research system, and transforms PA-8000 binary code into PA-8000 binary code, but the techniques they used in principle could transform an arbitrary instruction set into another one. Ars Technica has a good article with some performance numbers here [arstechnica.com].
  • The whole point of the concept, correct me if I'm wrong, is that we get a fast multiplatform OE, something like what JAVA once was supposed to be.

    My objection then is, that every layer that you apply (OS/OE) is going to slow down the running task (program). That was probably Javas biggest flaw, the lack of speed.

    Amiga says their VP-translator is much faster, and will be able to run almost as fast as a native OS app.

    I for one find that pretty hard to believe, but if they succed, boy do we have a winner here... :)

    Some more info on the SDK is here [amiga.com].

    --

    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • A lot of people are ripping on this without having any experience with it, automatically associatng it with everything crappy about Java. Although I'm not an Amiga enthusiast, I think this thing has a lot of potential, and I'm eager to try it. Of course well done hand-coded native assembler is and will always be faster- but with the speed of computers today the flexibility a system like this promises makes up for time.

    A while back I saw some benchmarks of Java on TAO Elate (year+ ago? Before all this Amiga stuff) and it looked quite fast- a lot faster than the then-current Java VMs.

    Every programming language or framework that makes life a thousand times easier for programmers (both during design and coding) always gets a load of crap from people cranky about it being slow. After all these years, it has become evident to me that the time of assembly programmers and spartan C coders is worth almost nothing. Either that, or they have a K&R book shoved too far up their bums.

    In closing... well, I'd like to say that before you get the twitch to start freaking out about the speed of asm or C compared to something which alleviates a programmer from mundane and obnoxious porting or running after memory leaks, give this, and languages and frameworks which provide similar benefits, as much of an unbiased try as you can.

    Aaron >> "Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right." -- Dennis Ritchie
  • The Amiga was an awesome machine *for its time in the 80s blah blah blah.

    That's all we here from these morons. It's simply not true. Even today, there are areas where the Amiga outperforms any other platform (hardware and software platform), not because it's got better hardware, but because of the cleverness of the hardware and software combination - the particular combination that Amiga uses.

    Up until 1999, even AGP-equipped PC's could not compete with original Amigas when it came to certain graphics/syncing tasks, and even now that high-end PC's have surpassed it, there are STILL areas where the Amiga is superior. The Amiga is not dead, even in it's old form. It won't be "dead" until someone creates something that can do what it does better than it does it - and at the moment, such a beast is too expensive for most people to afford.

    Although the old Amiga will be left behind eventually, it's still a machine that really cooks, esp with the latest PPC technology. In fact, Amigas can run Mac apps faster than the Mac itself! Bullshit? No - fact.

    Amiga is not dead and it's still a testament to what human engineering is capable of.

  • dW: OK, now let's talk about Linux. How do the new Amiga and Linux work together?

    McEwen: For the development systems that are out, Linux is required. As we move forward, we can run the new Amiga OS on custom hardware, embedded Linux, or a Linux desktop environment -- a lot of it has to do with the partner we're working with. That's when you can view the flexibility; we can go native [on custom hardware], or we can utilize Linux.

    Well, all I have to say is... WERD. :)
  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @07:31AM (#878193)
    Emulation isn't so difficult for running older stuff -- for example, there's an Atari ST emulator out there (PaCifiST [fatal-design.com]), and that's a similar platform to the original Amiga.

    --
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @06:18AM (#878194)
    They have a portable binary like Java, and dynamic compilation like Java (actually it sounds a bit like ust a simple JIT, and not a HotSpot like compilation). However, they get a lot of speed improvments out of only compiling and loading methods or functions (that they call tools) instead of whole classes at a time.

    Tools however, can also be replaced with purely native versions. That means for instance that some feature of your hardware could be taken advantage of easily just by replacing a few "tools" (methods or classes) here and there with native versions. It's seems like a nice setup becuase in theory no Amiga code has to be written to indicate it uses native code anywhere - an interesting example might be a Math class of some sort that you write Altivec native code for to provide for fast scientific calculations.

    The Amiga SDK also has seperate virtualizations of the Motherboard and CPU - in theory you could provide a box with different types of CPU's, and code would run just fine!

    I think the most important thing to learn here is that they have created something like a Java VM, only at the lowest (hardware) level (OK, the procesor level like Transmeta's engine is a step lower).

    It also complements the Java platform. As part of the Amiga SDK, they include a Java VM that's supposedly the fastest Java VM around. It's also Sun certified.

    Development for the Amiga requires a Linux box, though in the future they said that the Amiga can also run directly on hardware or on top of other OS'es (I'm not sure if that's yet possible). They sell the kits for $99. From the article, you can get it here [amiga.com].

  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @05:05AM (#878195)
    The sucess of the early amiga proved that taking full advantage of a great graphics card allows the user to get more from their peecee. micros~1 is trying to reimplement this amiga idea in their xbox.

    From the article:
    "Nowadays, you've got nVidia, you've got Matrox, you've got 3dfx -- all these companies are spending billions of dollars just to produce graphics chipsets. I think the original gate counts in some of the chipsets that Amiga did were up in the tens of thousands, maybe a hundred thousand. You look at an nVidia GeForce, and it's over 20 million gates! And there's an entire company with a huge resource group behind it, just making graphics chipsets. The Playstation 2 chipset supposedly cost between a billion and a billion and a half dollars to develop. Even Intel makes one thing, the processor -- and maybe some chipsets -- but they jumped out of the graphics market."

    Intel and AMD spend a lot of money convincing the market that it's all about .Ghz, but Fleecy Moss has seen a graphics card inclusive os work before and it will work again.

  • by florin ( 2243 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @05:08AM (#878196)
    I don't buy this. The Amiga was a Motorola 68k class machine with some very special chips in it. The magic of a set of talented engineers for whom it was the next challenge after the equally amazing Atari 8 bit series. It was not some grand vision or quest, and it certainly isn't the hardly revolutionary idea of having architecture-independant binaries. Their software doesn't become any more interesting just because they happen to be sitting on the trademark. Might as well say that Amiga was always really about household appliances and start a line of that.
  • by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Saturday August 05, 2000 @05:36AM (#878197) Homepage Journal

    "This is one thing people don't understand, and they keep on saying, "The new Amiga provides portable binaries. Portable binaries are slow." Now, in the past they've been slow because portable binaries have always been interpreted. But what happens with Tao's Intent is that they are dynamically translated into actual native machine code. It only has to be translated from VP code to native code once.

    Er, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is popularly referred to as "Just In Time Compilation". Dude, it's been done, and yes, it's still slow. There is no such thing as a magic compiler. Hand-tuned assembly is faster than compiled source code, and compiled source code is faster than translated machine code. This shouldn't be that surprising. At each lower level, you have more context in which to make optimizations. Automatic translation of machine code has almost no high-level context.

    See also the x86 emulators on the Mac. They use the same principles. They are slow.

    These are the kind of things that make me think this is all smoke and mirrors.


    --

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @07:35AM (#878198)
    While past Amiga stories have been, um, bizarre, there's something to this one that shows at least someone is on the right track. It may have nothing to do with the original Amiga, but it is a good track nonetheless.

    The Amiga and other home computers from earlier years were about predictability and overall system design. An Amiga--or an Atari 800--wasn't about being the best in terms of CPU power or OS capabilities or raw graphics performance. Those machines were designed from the start to be balanced systems. Each subsystem was clean and well-integrated into the rest of the machine, without being an obvious bottleneck or weak link. On a typical PC, you might have a blazing CPU and a blazing graphics card, but you have a horrible bus between the two. And you have mishmoshes of horrible APIs that frustrate more than they assist.

    Predictability was a great feature of old machines that has been lost. When you do something as simple as read a memory location on a modern PC, you aren't sure what's going to happen. You might hit the on-chip cache. You might hit a slower layer of cache. You might have to wait for a cache line to be filled from RAM. You might hit untouched virtual memory and have the OS intervene. You might have to wait a really long time while the OS pages some memory out to disk to make room for the memory you need. When you make an OpenGL call to draw a triangle, you're never sure if your request is simply going to be queued, if it is going to result in 200 previously queued requests being processed because a buffer has been filled, if you're using states that will take you down an unoptimized driver path, etc. Layers of unpredictability like this have always been the difference between heavy iron and smaller machines.

    What the Amiga folks seem to be doing is trying to hide all the nonsense from the developer, letting him live in a fantasy world where everything is clean and pretty. If that prettiness is at the right level--that is, in terms of very small, understandable chunks and not highly abstract and complex system calls--then there's much peace of mind to be gained by living in such a world. After all, most programmers choose to live in the world provided by C++ and Windows or Linux APIs and libraries. That's a virtual world too, but it comes with a lot more niggling details and mental baggage than what we're talking about here, and not making any significant use of the available capabilities as a result. One of the great unfortunate truths about current PC hardware, is that is it is being tremendously under utilized.

    Yes, we're still looking at some form of emulation here, but that's not a bad thing. The old Apple II let the programmer feel like he was the master of the machine, something that is rarely felt nowadays. If you decided to do Apple II development in 2000, you could get an emulator running under an OS, and you'd get the same feeling. You'd be emulated, but you wouldn't care. You'd be dealing with a much smaller world, and you'd feel less technical stress. I see the Amiga plan as being similar to this, but based on more recent hardware capabilities. It might provide a much needed focus for developers, rather than wading around in ever-changing this and that. One of the great unspoken truths is that modern PC hardware is tremendously under utilized. Lack of focus is the primary reason for this.
  • by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Saturday August 05, 2000 @05:03AM (#878199)
    Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] posted this as well. Hannibal had an interesting comment: So they're not requiring that all AmigaOS software and tools be written to the virtual processor, which is interesting because this at first seemed to me to be a sort of fence sitting approach that would reduce the advantages of translation -- why not just go ahead and use an OS that's completely portable at the source code level, like Linux? When I thought about, though, I realized that what Amiga wants is to release an OS in binary form that runs on a variety of platforms from the start, and have people start moving pieces of the OS into native binary form for their specific platform as they see fit. This would be the opposite of a Linux-style approach, where you initially release an OS in source code form that runs on one platform, and then let people port the entire thing to their individual hardware.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

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