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Amiga

Nokia Set-top Boxes to Ship with AmigaDE 171

AtlasT writes: "Amiga Inc. announced today that Nokia will be shipping their Linux-powered "Mediaterminal" STBs with AmigaDE pre-installed. These news along with the previously announced cooperation with Sharp for their Zaurus PDA make the future of Amiga Inc. look a bit brighter indeed. What we who use computers more often than PDAs and STBs wonder is when we'll see the release of AmigaOS 4 and new machines. If you'd like to have a pre-view of AmigaDE and some applications you can buy the AmigaDE Player for Linux or Windows. I wouldn't mind running games like Payback, a GTA2 clone, on a PDA!" The Nokia Media Terminal was supposed to be launched in the second quarter of 2001, then by the end of 2001, now... who knows. Update: 02/23 21:24 GMT by M : It seems the Mediaterminal is already available but expensive.
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Nokia Set-top Boxes to Ship with AmigaDE

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  • Too expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sircus ( 16869 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @12:20PM (#3057409) Homepage
    With a 566MHz Celeron and that amount of RAM (64Mb), they won't reach the price point which would lead to mass-market uptake. There's also way too many connectors, etc., etc.

    Having worked on a set-top box project, the prime goal seems to be cost-reduction on a per-unit basis. Various developments are in the pipeline which will enable PVR/MPEG/DVD/DVB boxes to be made at a cost point where cable and sat providers can afford to subsidise them to a zero cost. This is where the market lies for these things, and the first company to succesfully bring such a box to market will be the one who wins the big share of that market.

    We've been hearing about STBs for a long time. Projects like these, with or without Amiga software, are the reason we hear a lot and see nothing.

    Amiga have been claiming to have deals with STB manufacturers for a long time now. Aside from press releases and cryptic mails from Fleecy Moss, I've never seen anything solid come from any of these.
    • Various developments are in the pipeline which will enable PVR/MPEG/DVD/DVB boxes to be made at a cost point where cable and sat providers can afford to subsidise them to a zero cost.

      This is true but... Looked at the bank balances of these companies recently? Most of them have horrendous debt already. Very few are looking at profit anytime soon. This close to the dot.bomb fiasco it is rather hard to get more investment.

      The future is retail again. Good. We have more chance of getting products with consumer features rather than just features designed to suck cash from your wallet to the cable/sat operators.

      • I'm under more NDAs than you can shake a stick at, but there's definitely ongoing interest from this kind of company in producing more functional STBs. Many of them need to provide STBs anyway, so they're obviously interested in providing more functional STBs that can generate additional revenue streams.

        Also, the US isn't the only market here. Europe's cable providers mostly aren't in much better shape, but the satellite business mostly still has money...

        Further, there's opportunities not too far down the road for FTA (Free To Air) STBs, since several governments are keen on the idea of moving over completely to digital, thereby freeing the juicy analog frequencies for sale to wireless ops.
  • by elem ( 411711 )
    Wow... I want one of these!

    I'm not sure exactly where its supposed to fit into the market though... it seems to be a jazzed up WebTV, RePlay and Cable TV box, all in one. But if people already own one or two of those allready why would they buy this?

    Although saying that I do like the fact that its Linux Based and it does look nicer than your average Set-Top Box (but the fact that you can't put the TV *on* the box may be a minus) I would almost buy one, but I don't want internet on my TV and I've got a Cable box already with Interactive TV.

    Very nice... but I don't think its going to sell that well
  • by mbrubeck ( 73587 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @12:24PM (#3057422) Homepage
    I believe in the second coming of Amiga! Death to the nonbelievers!
    • Already had its second coming, we're up to about five here...
  • by jockm ( 233372 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @12:24PM (#3057424) Homepage
    While the Zaurus was originally announced to use AmigaDE, the developer version is using QT/Embedded + the Jeode VM
    • Apparently the explanation for this is that DE wasn't ready when the developer version was launched, so it won't be added until the consumer release.

      Still, I'll believe it when I see it...

      A developer website for DE/Intent on Zaurus is here [amigadev.net]. NB: if you want to play with DE on your Zaurus SL-5000D, you currently have to reflash the ROM, removing everyting in favour of DE.

    • I believe that the Zaurus will ship with AmigaDE applications.
  • by bgp ( 561076 )
    sounds cool ... I used to love my commodore 64 and the tapes to load games .. it seems so long ago .. LOL Anyone found a price ?
    • http://www.hansa-electronic.com/receiver-ci.htm is selling the Mediterminal 510S for 8295 SEK, this is about 907 EUR, according to oanda.com.
  • The Nokia Media Terminal was supposed to be launched in the second quarter of 2001, then by the end of 2001, now... who knows.

    According to Amiga Inc's CEO Bill McEwen, "before summer this year [amiga.com]".

  • Amiga (Score:2, Informative)

    by thedbp ( 443047 )
    I certainly hope that Amiga can make a comeback in this area. I don't really see them displacing any PC's to be honest. Its been too long, they're way out of the game, and any massive steps forward they have made with the Amiga OS have been dwarfed by the accomplishments of Linux and Mac OS X.

    This scenario makes a lot of sense, however. Back in the day when video hobbyists and professionals stood by their Amigas like tenacious terriers, Amigas really WERE on the forefront of things. Massive port expansion, insane A/V capabilities, fully protected memeory ... Amiga really had their sh*t together. I think that a STB from Amiga would be an awesome product if they ever actually produce it, and put in the time/effort to make it as good as the A2000 and A4000 were.
    • Amigas never had, and still don't have, protected memory. Several parts of the OS actually depend on this fact. There were a few things that tried to simulate the effect, but none of them were standard.
    • fully protected memory

      Ummm... I don't count 'Enforcer' as "fully protected memory". Amiga adopted a number of things from Unix, but that wasn't one of them. All memory was shared -- this is what made IPC so fast.

      Also, the people involved now have no real links with the hardware developers of the past, as demonstrated by their hiring of various 'software development partners' and spurious hardware platform announcements. It's always someone else doing the work... while the people behind the company itself do nothing but trade off the (once actually worth something) name of Amiga.

      I used an A1200 for years, so I'm feeling a little bitter about what has happened to the Name since then...
  • by tcc ( 140386 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @12:55PM (#3057522) Homepage Journal
    Of course a lot of you will say "where does it fit, why would I want this" well the fact is it's not a majority of people that owns a PVR or a media station box (new buzzword?) should ring a bell.

    I wanted one of these since I saw the replay/tivo hardware, but 2 things stopped me, first generation so probably there would be firmware issues, better revisions not too far ahead, etc.. and the other was the price for the non-upgradability (well without hacking it :) ) that it offered (and we can also add the price/meg of the HDDs that are getting very interresting the more the time go), and HDTV support, I could go on for days. OF COURSE the positive aspect of being an early adopter is that you already have the technology and can actually do something while the others wish.. but if I would have bought it right off I wouldn't have wanted to spend again on another box. The dream machine of course is some kind of tivo, with ethernet access, dual IDE brackets, divx codec in firmware, transcoder from grabbed->divx realtime, DVD+RW, and for most of you "not running windows" :).

    This machine is a step in the right direction, and yes I am an avid amiga fan, if you think all the amiga people are lame zealots, you probably never owned or programmed or enjoyed that piece of advanced technology way ahead of it's time. That being said, I don't beleive it would do a comeback on the desktop unless it doesn't repeat all of linux's errors or arguable moves, even then, there would be a great need of marketting power and it doesn't mean it would still take off...(just look at where BE is today...) Nevertheless, amiga was famous for video, for one thing, whether it was for video processing, all it's gazillion video output possibilities, colors or advanced features, when you heard amiga you were thinking "multimedia" before that term became a buzzword on a 486PC that had a cdrom.

    I think it's very nice to see amiga striking tangible deals like this and finally see a product, it's not what everybody wanted (i.e. a computer that rights off the bat kills windows mac and linux and is so revolutionnary that it will be the second video toaster), this will probably never happen because of the current infrastructure in companies, and besides, a lot of projects have tried before, and there are already 1000s of people paid just to think of the future and desings, and they aren't all FOC people. The time when one person could really change things in the computer realm is probably over (of course there's always exeptions so I keep an open mind) what you need to target now is "what is going to be the next electronic revolution and how can I bypass all my competitors" Cellular technology is gaining a lot since a few years, so is HDTV or any new video technology... I just hope they do the right moves and not to many errors, I wish them the best.

    • by Jhan ( 542783 )

      ...when you heard amiga you were thinking "multimedia" before that term became a buzzword on a 486PC that had a cdrom.

      Interesting side note: the term "multi-media" is in fact a trade mark, much like "Ping-Pong". It was first used as the name of the presentation program Scala MultiMedia, for the Amiga of course. One of the slickest presentation programs ever designed, in fact it still slaughters Powerpoint even on a 7.14 MHz A500...

      They've since migrated to PC, check it out a www.scala.com [scala.com]. Try doing a site search for "Amiga"... They still write about it and somewhat support it (kudos to them!)

      • As a former Commodore/Amiga OS engineer (AmigaDos/SCSI/IDE/FS/networking/etc) and former Scala engineer, I think I'm qualified to comment. ;-)

        The preferred term back in the Old Days was "Desktop Video". Still not something that most PC's even with TV-outs do super-well, though it's partly a software issue.

        Scala was founded in Norway, but a US office was created, and now it's primarily a US operation, with almost all the remaining engineers being ex-Commodore engineers hired right before or after Commodore went under. The CEO is now Jeff Porter, who was head of hardware engineering for a number of years and later head of "special projects" (i.e. pushed aside by cronies of Mehdi Ali, the person who ran Commodore into the ground).

        Scala has been growing in popularity, though the focus is mostly on larger commercial installations (HR depts, airports, point-of-sale displays, waiting rooms, cable companies, etc, etc). The local cable company (Comcast) has a local-info channel thats run by Scala software.

        Scala has been proving since the days of Pentium 60's and 486DX66's that with the right software (and video card), you can do some very professional amiga-like smooth video generation, and have a really nice UI for building it. Of course, it's a lot easier nowadays than it was in '94.

        Scala uses "MMOS", a multimedia dynamic-OO OS we built that runs on top of the host OS (which in most cases is NT/2000/XP nowadays). It's a pretty clean design, given that the people who designed it were mostly from the core of the OS team at Amiga, along with some talented Scala engineers.
  • Take a look at the shipping announcement [ostdev.net] from November 21st last year.
  • ...this thing is totally Linux/Mozilla based. And the best part -- check out the "developers" pdf [nokia.com], the want people to hack it! I think someone finally figured out what the hacking community is all about :) With a slough of A/V hardware and simple x86 arch this could be fun. A sleek little set-top box that I can hack from the couch :)

    Cheers,
    Mike
    • ...this thing is totally Linux/Mozilla based. And the best part -- check out the "developers" pdf [nokia.com], the want people to hack it!

      I've heard that Mozilla will be dropped soon in favor of Konqueror. This is a bad news, at least for me being a fan of Mozilla and GNOME but I guess is the evidence of the higher level of maturity reached by Konqueror and the KDE.

      Correct me if I'm wrong!

      Andrea

  • Why are we so busy coding a clone of .NET's IL when we could be cloning Intent? Intent truly is language neutral, because its assembler is extremely low-level, and yet nicer than most ASM; indeed, it's almost a mid-level language, if there is such a thing. You have registers, but you have an infinite number of them, and you can give them names instead of referring to r823 and so on. You have looping constructs, but you also can jump around. As on .NET, you can include fully native methods in your code if you wish (and even have the VM automatically pick between a bytecode version and a native version of a function if both exist). Because of the lower-level nature than that of .NET, functional languages can be fully implemented, including tail-calls. Further, while the VM is object-oriented, objects and methods are really little more than mini-programs that run in the current stack space. (It's really tough to explain this; the best I example I can think of is shell scripts, where tasks are done by calling other programs and then parsing their output--only imagine then that this were done lower-level and was the way all programs were built, such that a program's functions were even little programs like this.) And, simlar yet better than .NET, as you run a program, the VM begins writing out a native version for the next run, but continues optomizing it. Think about all of the problems about getting a decent compiler for something like Itanium: now we'd have a VM that could continue to analyze program flow so that a program really could take advantange of an VLIW chip. The compiler doesn't need to do profiling; the JIT does, the upshot being that older programs will run faster and faster as the JIT improves, without a recompile.

    What I'd kind of like to see, to be honest, is for the community to make an Intent VM and then make the C# compiler compile to that instead of IL. Throw in a .NET->Intent bytecode converter, and you've got yourself a winner, I'd think. However, I vaguely recall that there are patent problems here. Still, at least we could reimplement some of the concepts...
    • An infinite number of registers? Are you a troll, or just a crackfiend? You know nothing of assembly language, or you would be laughing as hard as I am now. If you emulate a cpu, and you design the virtual cpu in such a way that there are unlimited registers, they are no longer registers, but rather the equivalent of variables and/or pointers. Registers are good because they are incrdibly faster than pulling things out of system ram, even if it happens to be cached. If a virtual cpu can't take advantage of that, that is if these "unlimited virtual registers" are any different than variables, it would be in cycle times for instructions... and since there will almost always be more virtual regs than literal, this might only happen once in awhile, if ever, and then only if designed to.

      It's nothing more than marketing buzzwords created by those who don't understand technology.

      Besides. Amiga's strength was awesome hardware that allowed you to dig deep into it, and write tight code. What you're describing is Java on steroids, and sooner or later its testicles will shrink.

      Go ahead, moderate me as flamebait and a troll. Just as you do for all my amiga comments. Then ask yourself, Mr. Moderator, if you've ever owned an amiga. I have 5, want several more, and I'm even designing hardware for the platform. Funny, huh?
      • An infinite number of registers? Are you a troll, or just a crackfiend? You know nothing of assembly language, or you would be laughing as hard as I am now. If you emulate a cpu, and you design the virtual cpu in such a way that there are unlimited registers, they are no longer registers, but rather the equivalent of variables and/or pointers.
        Neither troll nor crack, although if you haven't seen the AmigaDE documents I do understand why you think I might be. AmigaDE registers are 32-bit integers only which may be pointers or data. AmigaDE also has variables (data stored that must be fetched by pointer), just like every other assembly language. Without this, you couldn't have strings or complex data structures. It just so happens that it also allows you an infinite number of registers. In common use, I'd say a function uses maybe 12 or so registers on average when written in the Amiga's virtual assembly. On an x86, only 4 to 8 get to be lucky enough to be register variables. The rest will be regular variables, with all the lag associated with them. On a PowerPC, which has 32 integer registers and 32 floating registers (and 32 vector registers on a G4), you could fit them all in registers. On an x86-64 as well, you could fit all of them on there, and on an Itanium, with its 320 registers, you could probably keep all pointers and integers in register space. It's not really any different from declaring a variable "register" in C. The compiler tries to make it a register, and if it can't, it won't. Similarly, as long as a variable happens to be a 32-bit number, you can make it a register in VP, and if you're lucky enough to be on an architecture with lots of registers, it will be one. Further, if you use named registers, when the code is compiled, the assembler aggressively checks scoping to see where a specific register may be reused. When no additional registers are available, and for more complex data, you need pointers anyway, and you've got them.

        Thus, they are not variables; but I suppose that, you are correct, they are not full registers, either. That said, you might want to be slightly less aggressive when you say someone's wrong. I understand why you think I'm nuts, but surely there was a more polite way to point that out.
        • My apologies. I'm not trying to troll or start flames, but this is a very sorer issue with me. I'm a relative latecomer to the amiga community, just in time to see the last remnants die. I was there when it was being traded around like a hooker at a bachelor party. The gateway purchase hurt, but McEwen makes even that look good. Truly, if people want to write code that will run anywhere, that has already been done, Java. We don't need another, but we're gonna get an even more pervasive and arguably more powerful substitute with .NET. Not that I like that either. And the "new amiga" is going to compete with that? AmigaDE is a joke. A bad joke, that no one laughs at, and the room is silent except for a few in the back crying softly.

          What is this even supposed to be used for? That holy grail of marketing morons, the stb? Wow, if that isn't a multi-trillion dollar industry just waiting for the earth to slip into some parallel universe where reality doesn't matter. Or maybe its the PDA os market that M$ is gobbling up left and right. What is PalmOS's marketshare again?

          The truth is, no matter how many dumb ideas/vaporware get volleyed back and forth by the media, no matter how many stupid little tricks try to ignore it, the ONLY WAY to have a chance at success for a computer company, is to make computers. Be Inc thought they'd get away with writing software and OS, even though they had a kickass machine that might have found its niche. Be is dead. NeXT did the same thing, and only survived in that they were merged back into Apple. There are people that are actively trying to avoid the x86... cater to them. Of course, Amiga Inc. won't do that, so it will die too. Just not fast enough to suit me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Humm, C# is an open spec, no reason it couldn't be ported to AmigaDE, heck its already got C/C++/Eiffel/Java and a few others besides VP (Amiga/Tao's nice take on assembler).

      Java had it half right- Amiga gives you a fast VM machine that you can program in any language from assembler on up.

      Oh, yeah, Amiga has no problem with people writing GPL software, in fact they are very open about helping people write software for it, There's an SDK for Linux (RedHat, SuSE, Corel, etc.) or Windows.
    • If memory serves, Parrot a VM which is developed for Perl (and maybe Python and Ruby) is using the "infinite number of register" scheme.

      Maybe you should have a look.
      • Just went to check this out. Unfortunately, it appears that it in fact only has 128 registers: 32 int, 32 float, 32 string (!?) and 32 "Perl Magic Cookie," which would mean more to me if I knew Perl. On the whole, though, it does look like an interesting project. Thanks for the heads-up.
  • Actually, I think this is possible running Linux and an emulator.
  • I always wondered why the other machines of the Amiga's heyday don't have the same bull-terrier style fan base.

    Why am I not hearing rumor after rumor, year after year, about the return of the Atari ST, for example?

    I seem to remember some vicious flame wars between these two camps back in the eighties, when Commodore and Atari were not only still in existence but actually relevant to the computer industry. Why are the Amiga folks the only ones still carrying the torch for their long deceased platform?

    --saint
    • speaking as someone whose 'torch' only finally flickered out a matter of months ago I can tell you that if you'd ever really used an Amiga, you wouldn't have to ask.

      put simply it was further ahead of its time by several orders of magnitude than any 'contemporary': you wouldn't find anyone still using an ST as their main machine because they just weren't up to it, the 'mig however was (and for many people still is... best of luck to 'em)
      • It was ahead of its time, but time moved on and it didn't.


        I tried to buy an A4000 when they came out but CBM hiked the price that week. This caused me to think again and I bought a PC instead. For less money, I got twice as much memory (4mb wow!), a monitor, twice as much hard drive space, 24-bit graphics at 800x600 and a faster processor.


        In fact, once I replaced Windows 3.1 with OS/2 2.1 on it I didn't miss the Amiga one iota.


        It didn't have to be this way. Commodore just fucked up on the marketing big time. I had been an avid Amiga fan but I was exasperated that CBM seemed to be twiddling their thumbs. The price hike was the last straw for me and I'm glad I bailed out.

    • The Amiga world has been rife with one bullshit rumour after another of next generations Amiga for the last 10 years. This has bred a hard core of rabid fans who even now probably would claim the Amiga isn't dead.


      I owned Atari STs and various Amigas but even I saw the death knell nearly a decade ago. It came when I tried to purchase an A4000 around 1994 and the bastards in Commodore hiked the price by £100! They went bust soon after. So instead I bought a 486sx which, including monitor was £200 cheaper and never looked back.

    • I always wondered why the other machines of the Amiga's heyday don't have the same bull-terrier style fan base.

      Why am I not hearing rumor after rumor, year after year, about the return of the Atari ST, for example?

      Well, that would be because Amigas rule and all the other machines suck! Duh!

    • I can't speak for these "new comers" but I'm still waiting for my TI-99/5.
      How's THAT for a torch!?!

      The TI-99/4A was a sweet platform, with a whopping 16k ram and BASIC built right in.
      Add a big ole Periferal(sp?) Expansion box with a 5.25" floppy drive and you were in the big time.
      It was also home to the original Parsec game. It kicked!

      Jonathan
    • Well, I was one of the earliest developers for the AtariST ('HabaWriter'); and frankly, the machine just wasn't all that cool. Seemed like every bit of hardware had its own power supply, and the whole thing was a jumble of cables. Also, the GEM component of TOS (its OS) was really buggy (although x86 GEM was solid and way ahead of anything MS had at the time).

      It was kind of cool, though, having EMACS (actually, MINCE) as the editor.

      As for fans of other platforms: I take it you haven't heard of TeamOS/2?
  • You can learn all about the latest Amiga stuff if you're going to be in the Baltimore, MD area at the end of March. On March 29th-31st at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn there will be the first east coast Amiga show in at least eight years! Go to www.amigaexpo.com [amigaexpo.com] and find out about it.
  • Amiga is back ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SuperDuG ( 134989 )
    Amiga is back, amiga is dead, amiga is back, amiga is dead, etc.. I think we've finally seen that Amiga is back in somewhat full force now. I remember back in the good old days when amigas were the coolest thing next to sliced bread. But I was silly, while all the other kids were playing with apples, amigas, and commodores, I was playing with my 286.

    Figures that the x86 wasn't really useable until the 4th revision. I'd say the 3rd revision, but that whole deal with the mathco and what-not, the bugs weren't worked out until 486. Amiga was always before its time. And a little out of my price range, besides who used a computer for video and sound editing? That's what complex dubbing and recording tools were for, not computers. Sheesh, if I only I knew where dreamworks would be 12 years ago, if only ..

    It still amazes me that these machines are selling for hundreds of dollars on ebay now, along with the apple II's, and commodores ... but 286's are a dime a dozen. What's this tell me? Absolutely nothing :-) ... just information.

    Personally I think the day of MS is over, the day of apple is nearing, and the day of the underdogs is going to rise upon us once again. There will be hundreds on non-standards, software will be written for multiple platforms and operating systems, only to have one more victory to which we will be locked into another companies ideals and software. It's a vicious trend that does not have a foreseeable end to it ... maybe one day ... maybe.

    But right now, Go Amiga! :)

  • I used to own one once. A 2170, with rubber keypad and that menu rocker bar thing. Had a lousy antenna that kept bending and whose holder kept cracking but it was a good phone, with a nice big display, soft musical button tones, a nice design that fit in your pocket but was large enough to hold in your hand.

    So I can understand the enthusiasm but let's face it, the Nokia 21xx series phone is dead and we need to get over it. They're not going to make any more, and putting the Nokia logo on every phone out there isn't going to bring back the 21xx series phone we knew and loved. Doubtless assocating with Amiga will bring more brand recognition and let people know that the name of Nokia is still alive, but it just will never be the same phone as we knew and loved. And furthermore... [...continued on page 94]

    • I too used, and loved, a system now passed away. Zealots still continue to say that it will rise again, but I saw long ago that - "It's dead, Jim."

      None of your pathetic hopes are going to bring Windows back, it's dead, dead, do you hear me?

      The latest hope (and there's always a new one) is that Microsoft seems to be making a appearance at Amiga's booth at the Embedded Systems Show in San Francisco, CA, March 12 (booth #1602)...

      Seriously, the above is true (except in reverse). Amiga will be displaying DE (+ more announcements?) at Microsoft's booth at the above fair, check out Amiga Network News [www.ann.lu], comment 7 (and horrified replies). MS buying AI? MS embracing (and extending...) Intent/DE? MS actually supporting Amiga? Find out in the next episode of Soap!
      • Now that's interesting. Why would Microsoft buy Amiga though, if it's really true (it kind of seems unlikely, given .NET presumably is a head-to-head rival to AmigaDE, they're not going to throw out the CLI now and replace it with DE surely?)

        Or are they just itching to get their hands on the AutoConfig(tm) patents that prevented P&P from being efficient? Seems a little late for that, but...

        • Why would Microsoft buy Amiga though, if it's really true (it kind of seems unlikely, given .NET presumably is a head-to-head rival to AmigaDE, they're not going to throw out the CLI now and replace it with DE surely?)

          • Because Elate is at the machine code level and thus allows true language agnosticity, which is a point that MS pushes hard for .NET, but can't deliver on?
          • Because the CLI could easily be layered upon Elate, and then run on most any handheld or desktop?

          ...Or are they just itching to get their hands on the AutoConfig(tm) patents that prevented P&P from being efficient? Seems a little late for that, but...

          That bit about AutoConfig is interesting too... For those that have never experienced it, Amiga AutoConfig allowed all expansion (Zorro) cards to have drivers in ROMS on the cards. You would just plug in the card, reboot, and the driver would be uploaded and run.

          This is all very tied to a single platform (Amiga in this case), but Sun has made a lot of progress in this field with JINI [sun.com], where the drivers are made in Java, and there's also actual interface programs built in.

          The coolest demonstration I ever saw was when some Sun guys hooked up a FireWire HD and a digital camera to the same box. Two little icons appeared in windows (Camera, HD). By double clicking on the Camera icon, a (Java, stored in the camera) interface appears, displaying the pictures in the camera in an explorer like way. Clicking the HD made the contents of it (from the Java program stored in the HD) also appear in a explorer like window.

          Then, they just drag a picture from the camera to the HD...

          True Plug-and-Play (on any system!) requires an architecture agnostic solution of this kind!

          You will need a virtual language, and I guess Tao's version is as good as (or better than!) any...

          • Because Elate is at the machine code level and thus allows true language agnosticity, which is a point that MS pushes hard for .NET, but can't deliver on?
            I absolutely agree that Elate is better than CLI (as someone who hasn't studied either in depth but has read the marketing ;-) but it just seems... I dunno, it'd be like Microsoft basing the next version of Windows on Linux + WINE or something. Still, I guess Elate is obscure enough that MS can get away with refering to ".NET with Elate technology" or something.

            That bit about AutoConfig is interesting too...
            I threw it in because it's the only case I'm aware of where Microsoft were unable to do something because C= had a patent on what it was they wanted to do (and presumably were unwilling to let the PC have the edge in that area.)

            I don't know if it's even still an issue in the way it was. Autoconfig was wonderful, but as you say, the solution was tied to a particular architecture. Worse in my mind, it was tied to a particular platform - you couldn't use it for MINIX or AmigaUnix. To be honest, a Java solution or something similar only hides the fact that the solution is platform specific - a PC could theoretically be designed to work with Amiga autoconfig by, amongst other things, incorporating UAE into whatever OS you want to run, but you wouldn't want to.

            In practice, I wonder how possible it is to create a framework for platform independent device drivers? And if the only way is to produce an intermediate platform, as in the Java solution, would it be best to optimise that platform given its role as a go-between rather than an OS in its own right?

  • Last time I looked, the booth number quoted [amiga.com] by Bill McEwen will in fact be occupied [tscentral.com] by Microsoft, at least according to the official show website [esconline.com].

    This was first discovered in the comments [www.ann.lu] section of ANN [www.ann.lu] (where this news item is also extensively discussed), after a news item [www.ann.lu] was posted this morning.

  • by CondeZer0 ( 158969 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @03:24PM (#3058004) Homepage
    Hi

    michael: FYI the media terminal *was launched by the end of 2001 [ostdev.net]*, I live in Sweden, and they
    have been selling for quite a while now.

    We also had a demo of the new version, that will be launched in 2 weeks or so, in the FOSDEM, at
    the Mozilla developers room, it was really great, it runs Linux(2.4.10+ I think), uses an embedded
    version of mozilla as browser(0.9.5+, and will be upgraded automatically to 1.0 when it's released),
    have 2 USB, 2 FireWire, 1 PCMCIA, Ethernet, and I don't remember what else, but it was really cool...
    (full specs here: http://www.nokia.com/multimedia/tech_specs.html [nokia.com])

    I don't have a TV, so I doubt I'll buy one, but you can be sure that it will take very short
    time to be hacked, also almost all(if not all) the software it runs it's opensource, and you
    can find it at: https://www.ostdev.net/ [ostdev.net](I think they are
    going to release even more software there in the very near future)

    A really cool project, that uses opensource software... <rant>ah, sorry, I forgot that this
    days slashdot is full of M$ zealots that run WinXP/IE and think that in linux you have to do
    "./configure; make; make install" to install anything(have you heard of RedCarpet? that makes
    me think.... RedCarpet/Ximian desktop for the MediaTerminal? that could be cool...(not for me,
    of course ;) )</rant>

    [End rambling, back on topic ]

    I think it's great that somebody is doing something like this, have in mind that this
    will compete directly with the next version of the X-Box(HomeStation or whatever it's
    going to be called), and I really prefer to see people using a product based on opensource
    (so I can hack it if I want) than having to run windows on their TV(<troll>anyone wants to get
    a BSOD in the middle of his favorite movie ;) </troll>, ah, and one last thing, the person
    from nokia(hi Magnus!) that made the presentation, said that they are going to release xDSL modems
    for it, that means that this modems will have drivers for Linux, something that in the past was a really
    big problem... in resume(I have to go back to work!) this is a "Very good thing(tm)" and
    anybody that cares about open source should be happy that it exists..(even if like me, many
    of us aren't probably going to ever use it, after all, we don't have a life, right? ;)


    \\Uriel


    P.S.: I use FreeBSD with Ion instead of any desktop, but it's really funny
    to see people complaining that linux is hard to use when even a 3 years
    old could install RedHat(in my experience much easier than installing any
    WinXX)

    P.P.S.: Hmmm. I think in the end it could be useful for me: a Plan9 CPU or file server...
    and I could mount the TV screen(if I had one) from my Plan9 termianl ;)
  • Launch (Score:3, Informative)

    by labil ( 410837 ) on Saturday February 23, 2002 @03:33PM (#3058033)
    The Nokia Media Terminal was supposed to be launched in the second quarter of 2001, then by the end of 2001, now... who knows.

    Actually, it's already available [expert.se] in Sweden, and I guess the rest of Europe, though at a price of 8.495 SEK (~ $1000), I can't imagine they sold many of them...
    • Actually, 8495 SEK = ~$813 USD, and Expert ain't the cheapest place around either. Still, it's rather hefty. Sweden overall isn't a very cheap when it comes to electronics. I don't know if the fact that Nokia comes from our neighbour country Finland helps the price in the right direction. I'd guess not, since it's probably manufactured in Taiwan or something anyway.

      Regards / ushac
  • Hehehehehehe... did anyone read the technical specifications? [nokia.com] I wonder how they accomplished to implement IP over MPEG? (heheh) Is this similar to DWDM, but rather splitting a wave length, they use the already split framerate? LOL...just thought i'd toss this out to the void...
    • What they mean with "Ip over MPEG" is nothing else than IP over DVB - Digital Video Broadcast. DVB is the digital television standard in Europe, and NOKIA is a major player in it, as is Fujitsu-Siemens and others. There exist three DVB transmission styles:

      • DVB-T (terrestrial, antenna)
      • DVB-C (cable)
      • DVB-S (sattelite)

      and a similare audio-standard, named DAB - Digital Audio Boradcasting. DAB will replace the FM tuners over the years, and DVB will replace the conventional TV broadcastings.

      Still we do not know what "IP over MPEG" is, right ? Well, DVB transmissions consist of a subset of MPEG2. I think this is what they meant with this. I have such a DVB-Card [hauppauge.com] in one of my PCI slots. Together with my USB Host-To-Host bridge, my D-Link NIC this is the third (never asked for, since I use DVB for Television only) network card I have in my system. The DVB standard not only transmits audio/video but also (since we are talking digital, you guessed it...;-)) generic information, as in this case, TCP/IP packets. With this it is possible to use a sattelite (with the SAT version) as network-downstream. This still would require the upstream to go through a conventional method, however. I guess this will change in the next ten years, and DVB will become a standard way to access the Internet...

      What is especially interesting are the things going on "behind the scenes", especially from an Open Source point of view:

      • NOKIA is a major player/contributor to the MHP - Multimedia Home Platform specification/project.

        MHP is a standard, that will incooperate DVB but make it a real standard. At the moment each broadcaster tries to enforce its own modifications and incompatibilities on the users (Germanies largest broadcaster did so, some French pay-channel did, etc.), just as we know similare practices from M$.

      • Now, another important developer of MHP is noone else than Convergence.De [convergence.de] AKA LinuxTV.Org [linuxtv.org], AKA DirectFB [directfb.org] (a related project is Diet LibC [freshmeat.net], for the interested).

        LinuxTV.Org also wrote and/or hosts the important (GPL'ed) software for the DVB cards on Linux, both the v4l compatible TV drivers as well as the IP over MPEG ;-) driver. In addition they host a very cool Linux project, named VDR, which makes a harddisk-video recorder out of any linux compatible PC with one ore more DVB card(s).

      BTW: see also DirectFB stuff on Freshmeat [freshmeat.net] and for Gods sake, have a look at this amazing GTK+ desktop with full aplpha blending [directfb.org] or the "rootless X Server"(1) [directfb.org] (2) [directfb.org] or "ten MPEG Videos playing at once, blended, without framedrops" [directfb.org]. You will find their GTK+ patches here [directfb.org] and the DVB stuff here [linuxtv.org]

      All in all this is perfect for embedded systems and desktop boxes as well as it will be for full blown deksktops. (Linux desktop without X, digital video and audio broadcast based on free and open standards etc.)

  • by gUmbi ( 95629 )
    Remember when Sony released a Internet terminal that used BeOS? It certainly cemented BeOS' future.

    Jason.
    • That Evil-la you are talking about was a piece of crap! It had a tied-in $20 month subscription, was dialup only, and BeIA (the BeOS part) was so buggy it was practically unusable. Only a couple dozen or so were ever sold.

      Hardly a good comparison IMHO.

      -adnans
  • Loki's gone. I wonder where they get games for it now....
  • This [slashdot.org] article [slashdot.org] is [techtarget.com] beginning [gospelcom.net] to look like [celebrity-doubles.com] something [something.com] I'd see [oaa.org] on memepool [memepool.com].

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