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Amiga Development Update 130

Anonymous Coward writes "Looks like Amiga are stepping up the pace for their next gen machines - This article explicitly states "new machines before the New Year", and an ex-vice president of Gateway, Jim Collas is heading the Amiga subsidiary. QNX/Neutrino is the OS core, but still no word on the CPU. Check out Amiga Corporate News for more information. "
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Amiga Development Update

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  • Posted by nOMAAM:

    haha .... OPEN your EYE's

    Amiga is back for the future ...
    It has Gateway2000 standing next to them and this
    time there is no C= to screw it up.

    I think you never even used an amiga .. otherwise
    you wouldn't say the things you say
  • All of the documentation that Be would require to support the PMG3's exists in the form of MkLinux. JLG is just pissed off that Apple bought NeXT instead of Be, hence the FUD.
  • 'Nuff said. Not the *best* graphics around, but pretty sweet for 1993-94.

  • Looks like they're admitting they've been pissing in the wind for nearly a year, while everyone gets out competing products (Dreamcast, PSX2, etc). It's a shame this comes so late...
  • I've not heard about QNX's bad points (apart from it being "Unix-like") - could you elaborate, I'd be interested to hear another side. I assume you have a lot of QNX experience and aren't just spouting off?
  • Oh puke - you just showed me (the link) a diagram of Linux. What's the point in that? I run linux and love it, but it's not an OS for game players or graphic artists or a set top box, or any of the other markets AOS5 is aiming for.
  • Duh! I was asking about QNX's bad points. That demo doesn't show you jack-shit, except you can compress an OS with browser onto a floppy. Well we already had that with the Amiga, so it was nothing new.

    Tell me about QNX's (or preferably Neutrino's) bad points please.
  • The Demo is of QNX (not Neutrino), and it's nowhere near a full OS - you can't play around with it to do anything decent. I've tried the demo. I liked it. But it's not possible to use it as your everyday OS, and I can't come up with criticisms of the system as a whole based on that short demo. All I can say is "Yes, they have a reasonable web browser".
  • That's exactly what I thought when I saw the article, but I don't know enough about Be OS to know how well it would fit the new architecture.
  • I'm guessing it'll run on x86's too, but the new QNX kernel (Neutrino) is fully cross-platform, so technically, Amiga doesn't *have* to go Intel.

  • The reason QNX and x86 Linux have a 4GB memory limit is that i386 is a 32-bit architecture. It is natural to use word-sized pointers, and 32-bit fields can access precisely 2^32 bits of memory which equals 4 GB. This limit is rather fundamental to the hardware architecture. Perhaps you could write an system which used 64-bit pointers on a 32-bit chip, but the real fix is to migrate to a 64 bit architecture.

    I'm sorry you find this limitation "annoying", but if you really feel your applications need more than 4 Gbyte, than you should probably be using a 64-bit architecture anyway.

    Certainly some day 4GB will look small, just as 640K looks small now, but the fundamental problem lies in our hardware, not our software.

  • While I have always been a fan of the Amiga, I have zero respect for Commodore, and what they did to the machine. The Amiga had the best architecture of any home PC. What killed it? They never (er, rarely) marketed the machine. Yes, it was HUGE in Europe. It was also a relative success in the US. However, companies can't rely on word of mouth alone. This led to the demise of a spectacular machine.
    I sincerely doubt this new machine will be anywhere close to successful. As far as I'm concerned, Amiga is dead, and it's going to take a helluva lot more than CPR to bring it back from 6 feet under. Plus, the fact that Gateway is in charge of resuscitation is even more frightening.

  • QNX is a godlike OS..... ( to bad not open source though )

    These machines just may RULE.
  • The A4000 sucked compared to *contemporary* PCs in most departments - it had slow graphics, slow IDE interface, slow memory bus. Of course it had a few Amiga advantages, but it was really a disappointment.
  • Anyone know any good places to buy used amigas and/or video toasters? If they aren't much, I would be interested in getting ahold of one.
  • The only thing holding back the computer industry is the proprietary source code. If every "OS" had the ability to use the same filesystems and binaries, they could compete on an equal footing like DOS once did and Linux and *BSD do today.

    I'm sure Gateway, Apple, Be, etc. ( not to mention all the *nix folks ;) would love to get their hands on the source for Win32... the promised Amigas would run Windows Office apps fast enough just in emulation. It would then be an attractive platform for consumers, thus making it accessable to developers who want to take advantage of something as reliable and lean as QNX.

    What if everyone freed their code?
    I guess a competition of merit is not the most desirable situation for the greedy... too bad for the rest of us.

  • The New Amiga fills a very important niche, offering an alternative for people dismayed by the runaway popularity of BeOS.
  • I was the person who came up with the directory-name == cd there idea back in 1985 or 86. I put it into a shell I wrote for my own purposes, and after I joined the Amiga OS team in '88 I twisted Andy Finkel's arm to add it to the Amiga Shell (I also added all the support in AmigaDOS for alternate shells, and did the rewrite of AmigaDOS into C/ASM from BCPL (yuck), much of the SCSI/IDE work, hdtoolbox, ramdisk rewrite, notification, dircache in the FS, the whole prefs: idea, etc, etc, etc).

    I was always annoyed (and still am) at Unix shells giving useless errors when I forget to type cd.
  • QNX can run on small embedded systems on up to full SMP machines and multicomputer networks. It is a technicaly impressive OS.

    To date, it only runs on the x86. This means that unless the Amiga folks did a port (unlikely),
    the next Amiga will run on x86 clone PCs.

    and yes, it seems a direct challenge to BeOS.
    I love Be Inc., but the BeOS doesn't become
    a seemingly-single parallel computer when muliple BeOS-boxen are networked together like QNX can.
  • The new boss is an interesting move in light of all the recent rumours that Gateway management were getting very pissed off about delays and leaks from Amiga Inc (apparently we're not supposed to know who the OS developers are, but they had to reveal it because it was extensively leaked). Putting a new guy in charge with specific orders to "ship something - anything!" shows they aren't willing to drop the whole project at this stage. If they were really sick of it all they'd have disolved the company by now, I reckon.
  • I'm pretty sure that Amiga Inc have officially disclaimed any relationship with Transmeta. Of course, we can always assume they are lying...:P
  • by Axe ( 11122 )
    Ooh, how intelligent. You must be a tall, handsome super programmer? Now, go look into mirror. No, do not pull in you belly. Ugly, aren't you? And you, anonymous coward, is a moron as well.

    If QNX is so good, why is it so that Linux has 10 million users, while QNX is limited to a niche market? Whatever its quality - it will never succeed, and never will be a reliable future investment. If you need your code to run now, on one particular system, fine. Want to be sure it compiles and runs 15 years from now. Use non-proprietory system.

  • by Axe ( 11122 )
    you IS a moron!? Well, I see that you have your english down pretty well

    Why should I? I am Russian. And I did not bother proofreading a stupid flame post ;)

    They may be proprietary. But they work like nothing else

    Correct. It can be very good to solve the problem NOW. We use VxWorks for our project - not Linux.
    I was talking about long term reliability of your code, and portability. Hardware does change. Your goal do change. With a proprietory system - there is no guarantee it will be ported. People still buy awfully overpriced VAX boxes. If it was an open system - it could have been ported to cheaper hardware. And so on.
    Yes, buying a good proprietory system to solve some project right now is a very good solution. Just be aware that in the long run you can overpay thru your nose.

  • No. PPC is the non-official future (and current) path for the "Classic Amiga". Amiga Inc. have not announced the processor for the next generation Amiga but the PowerPC doesn't really fit the description (PPC isn't really that unknown).

    I think you are getting confused here. Firstly, the processor you mean is called the PowerPC 750. And it is made by both IBM and Motorola. Apple only uses the processor in their computers. Be's problem is with Apple refusing to give information about other parts of their computers, not the processor itself (which Apple doesn't make, nor own). It could also be true that Be does not want to support their OS on a hostile platform (Apple does not want Be on their hardware so they may continually change little things to introduce incompatibilities).

    If a company wants to run their OS on a computer based on the PPC, it has nothing to do with Apple unless they also want their OS to run on the Macintosh.
  • <gag>WinNT?&lt/gag> eeeeeeeeew!
    thank you.
    and considering by reading all of the posts i've
    seen here, most of which are good, the amiga sounds like a
    pretty nice platform. Probably faster than my 486
    running linux, that's for sure.
  • Eh, and since when did this site become exclusively
    linux-only? Try IT'S NOT only linux. If you
    read the title of the page when you came in, it
    doesn't have a damn thing to do with linux. I believe
    it's more along the lines of 'News for nerds, stuff
    that matters.' If it doesn't matter to you then
    Thank you.
  • ..until you get some hard facts, not rumours. No amiga post ever posted on slashdot has come true (and there have been dozens).

    Amiga is a dead platform, and the rumour-mongers need to get on with their lives (perhaps move their energies towards free software)!
  • Watch your language!
  • I've been an Amiga4000 owner for years, and I still prefer my 'mig as my primary system. As far as I'm concerned, I'd far rather use an Amiga to any of the "high powered" "top of the line" PCs I see everywhere else. Granted, a stock Amiga doesn't compare in terms of sheer hardware muscle to current machines, but realize that they haven't been updated since Commodore took its financial nose dive so many years ago. The fact that it's still a viable platform without a major central hardware upgrade, or a company for that matter, is itself pretty impressive.

    To give you an idea, my A4000 is running off a CyberStormPPC processor card, with 68060@50Mhz/PPC604e@200Mhz dual processing... as well as UWSCSI support to my 9gigs of HD space and my 36X CDROM drive (I tore out the IDE drives, as the on-board controller is slow and horribly out of date). Got something just under 128megs of RAM, though the only time I ever need that much is when I'm running an emulator. Might not seem like much from a PC perspective, but running a compact and efficient OS like AmigaOS, it's pretty blazing fast.

    I have a second SCSI card dedicated to my flatbed scanner, as well as perks like multiple monitors and an IV24 video processing card (titling, genlock, balancing, screengrabber). Not bad for a dead computer system, eh? 2gig set aside for my Mac emulator, and 2gig currently lying in wait of Linux... which I'll happily install the SECOND someone (Jes?) finishes the driver for my specific UWSCSI card.

    There are plans in the works to bring Amigas to a fully PPC platform, with the 68K code run entirely in emulation. Developers are working on dual-G3 boards which would actually run a Mac emulation faster than an actual Mac. Man, would I looooove to run LinuxPPC on one of THOSE.

    I could keep going on forever, but it would appear as though I already have. For more amiga news, check out A HREF="">Amiga News, and for those of you who want to resurrect your old Amigas or have specific questions you'd like answered, contact one of the largest (and few remaining) authorized Amiga retailers around. []

  • x86 is the architechture being used for the development box on which
    AmigaOS v4 is being constructed. That's just because the parts are cheap and
    readily available. The release box for the public, running OSv5 (basically
    OS4release vs OS4developer, above), will be based on a chip
    yet-to-be-announced... though the minimum criteria for the chip have been
    publically available, and are quite impressive.

    You get the impression from all of this, though, that Amiga Inc. is quite
    staunch in it's stance that Intel's x86 architecture, much like the 68k, is

  • There's talk about integrating the TCP/IP stack, but not of integrating a
    browser directly into the OS. As for an OS tax, you can currently get Amigas
    without the OS without a problem. The Kickstart chip is required to get
    things up and running (chip-based segment of AmigaOS), but you can always
    jump right into Linux with no problems at all. In fact, the A3000UX came out
    with Unix right out of the box.
  • Bad hardware design --> it was considered revolutionary in its time.
    Crappy unstable OS --> more stable than anything M$ has going.
    Amiga500 --> stripped down bargain version of the A2000.
    Amiga is dead --> mine is fine
    Obsolete --> mine is fine
    WinNT --> bahahaha
    Intel --> bahahaha

    I love sarcastic posts, don't you?
  • The new AmigaOS is being developed on x86 machines (they're cheap),
    but the "Next Generation" Amigas will be running on a yet-to-be-announced
    chip. No word on custom chipsets, though the current market as it is seems
    to be encouraging development of platform-independent operating systems. I'm
    personally hoping Amiga will be able to fall into this stream fairly
    comfortably... but first I just want to see them do SOMETHING.
  • Check out the online prices at National Amiga A
    They're one of the largest, and few remaining, authorized Amiga retailers
    around... and one of the few I trust. They also specialize in Video Toaster
    Flyer systems, if you're curious.
  • ...All the hot air. Stop talking and get something to the market! At the moment you're as trustworthy as Sun's performance estimates for new sparc chips...

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • What kind of architecture does it have?

    MC680x0 and special purpose ASICs.


    AmigaDOS, Linux and, IIRC, some BSD. The early systems without MMU only runs AmigaDOS AFAIK.

    What hardware does it support?

    AMIGA hardware ;-). The early systems were SCSI only, the A1200 has an IDE ifc (2.5" internal bay). The expansion slots are Amiga only.


    Graphics (I miss DP3, better than GIMP on some things ;-P) both still and moving, Audio (*Tracker) and games. Lots of games.

    Was it popular some time ago?

    Yes, late 80s and early 90s. Unfortunelately Commodore killed it by being the worlds {largest trators, largest idiots}.


    bwz now connects his A500 to his TV tuner and plays Turrican 2!! ;-P ;-P

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • God forbid you should look at the demo and decide for yourself what's good and bad.

    He should look on something that is not a demo? A truck-load of hot air? A heap of lies?

    If you're just looking for someone else to tell you what to think,

    He wanted someone to list and explain the bad points of QNX, not to tell him what h should think.

    head on over to

    Don't! Just trust me, you'll regret it ;-)

    They'll be happy to oblige.

    Last time I looked they had no information about QNX, could you please tell us where it is?

    I'll make a try at QNX bashing ;-) Warning I am certainly not a QNX expert..

    It's a microkernel based RTOS! Microkernels are bad for you! And there are no such thing as a 'Real Time Operating System' by any sane definition of 'real time' I've seen. Further, a system designed for real time embedded systems will have made design decisions that will be inappropriate for a general purpose desktop O/S..

    Warning! this QNX bashing is itself a truckload of hot air

    bwz is actually playing Turrican 2 by now!! ;-P

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • What definition of Real-Time OS are you using?

    A system able to process events before they become old.

    The rate-of-failing should also be documented (once a month? 1*(10^(-10)) chance during your lifetime?)

    My point is that it isn't the OS that is real-time, it's the whole system that is real-time for a specific set of timing parameters.

    If you have a good definition of real-time that allows an OS to qualify in and of itself I'd love to hear about it..

    Real-Time means 'able to act in time to make a difference'.

    Clearly a characteristic of hardware and OS and application.

    Real-Time is different for different apps...but QNX holds up darn well on blood analyzers... my company's and the competition, and keeps up with about 200 different motors, servos, A/Ds, etc.

    If you only cared about real-time when choosing OS and not when choosing/developing hardware and/or application I would not like to depend on your equipment. However, I believe you've taken care during the design of the whole system.

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • I just don't get it. *How* could use a computer about as fast as a 386 to edit graphics???

    Depends on the definition of 'graphics' ;-) For the skilled 32 colour hi-res is just a bit tricky for high quality images.. And the CPU wasn't alone - the system is probably best described as an asymmetrical shared-memory multiprocessor.

    You need LOTS of RAM and LOTS of megaflops to do that.

    It didn't store tv quality video, it processed it.

    Unless of course you actually means something like a paint program - but I could do that on my 386.

    DeluxePaint 4 on PeeCee?! BAH!! ;)

    How could you use 65 meg HD to store graphics and music??? They just wouldn't fit. Unless by music you actually mean mods / mids - but hey, my 386 had 100 Mb HD, enough to store lots of "music".

    MODs, and some damn high quality mods too.

    And finally, how can you squeeze a GUI in 300k??? It just doesn't make sence.

    512k ROM too, the workbench program was more like 60k IIRC, can't check as I'm currently being 'retro' and plays Giana Sisters on my A500 through my bttv tuner! :-P

    I think you are exagurating.

    He is NOT!

    And finally, how much did your A1200 cost? My 386sx25 with 2 Mb RAM, 100 Mb HD was $1050

    With HD the A1200 was something like that. My A500 was ~ USD500 or so (don't remember USD/SEK ratio back then, SEK 4 or 5k).

    Oh, and my PC had Windows 3.1

    The only Microsoft program I've ever paid for was ms basic for Amiga that came with the '500. it was THE WORST TRIPE ANYONE HAS EVER DARED TO NAME 'PROGRAMMING TOOL'!!!.. If we compare MS Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS to AmigaDOS and Workbench (1.3) I'd choose the non crashing of them every time. You guess which one is the non crashing ;)

    Finally, there were *tons* of games for PCs. Of course Doom didn't run on my system :-( but I did play Wolfenstein, Civilization, Prince of Persia, Golden Axe, +lots of other awesome games. Did you have anything like it on your Amiga?

    He he, most of those were released for the Amiga before they came for the PeeCee. Wolfenstein 3D (Think that's the one you're talking 'bout - never seen original Wolfenstein for PC) was a PC game and I don't know if it ever was ported. Games were the great thing about the Amiga, lots more and much better graphics and sound than PC contemporaries.

    Oh, btw, was AmigaDOS 32 bit? Was it Unix-like?

    32bit yes, UNIX like? nooo.. Got the slashes right and the commands were more UNIX like than the MS-DOS commands, but the internals were only Amiga like. The most sorrowly missed feature is that I can't say "dir foo:" and get prompted "please insert volume foo" on Linux ('foo' being a name of the media, not the media reader) :-(

    bwz gropes amongst his 2,500 880k floppies, which will the next game be? Ah, better dead than alien.

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • Can I buy one without an operating system?
  • If memory serves correctly here goes:

    The Amiga 4000 could easliy outperform a Win3.1 @ 100Mhz. And beat up on 95 at 133 Mhz when it comes to multitasking and overall responsiveness. The best features were the hardware--with an OS COMPLETELY tied to it.

    The processor was a 68040 @ 50 MHz there were CPU upgrade cards that took the machine to the '060' @ 50mhz--clearly as powerful as the p90 or 100. Remember the 68k family had a flat memory model and I believe was clock doubled internally.

    The Amiga coprocessors truly ran in Parallel with the CPU. The only thing the CPU was responsible for was executing code. That's it. The chipset did everything else over a separate memory bus. The Amiga had TWO memory buses. One for the chip set in the low 2meg space, and one for the CPU for all memory. The chipset had priority in low memory. Some quick features of the chip set which operated INDEPENDENT OF THE CPU:

    25 DMA channels were used like so

    16-bit word blitter with 8-bit minterm. The blit used 3 DMA channels, two sources and one destination

    4 8-bit digital to analog converters utilized DMA

    The video coprocessor had a few instructions to control the video beam. Funky things like multiple color depths coexisting on the same screen were easily programmable--the Amiga pull down the screen trick.

    System software:

    True Mutitasking, intra application communication using message ports, fully scriptable OS and appications with AREXX. The batch language could do "back-ticks" whatever that is. Although no API existed for it, a programmer could make the Amiga "spawn" tasks in a standard way--can anyone say thread.

    Exec was one of, if not the first micro-kernel.

    First loadable/unloadable shared library.

    Devices. Best explained as the baby brother to something like Be's "server" architecture. The interesting thing is that Devices were a super-set of Libraries. One of the Amiga legends is that the Intuition--the GUI API--was supposed to be implemented as a Device, making it replaceable, but there wasn't enough time to get it done.

    And so on and so on and so on.


  • I think Amiga have missed the boat on the current wave of OSes. I was an Amiga user way back when, but since Commodore went under the platform has lost a lot of steam. Sure, there is a lot of activity, but the user base has totally shrivelled up.
    To get the OS off the ground, there need to be a lot of people using it. This isn't going to happen unless it runs on x86 and has a lot of hardware and software support. Let's face it, this just isn't going to happen overnight. There are other OSes already out there. BeOS is well placed to fill the market that the AmigaOS is aiming for. Linux is gaining a lot of server ground, and will be on the desktop in 2-3 years, with KDE and Gnome. Linux and BeOS have a lot of ex Amiga users, those who faced reality and went to x86 years ago.
    Do we really need another OS for the x86 platform, when most of the advantages of the Amiga OS can be had on other OSes now, and the hardware advantages have long since been superseded?
  • So they're making it into a set-top box then. The amiga is dead, all that's left is a name, which they're flogging for all it's worth.

    Shame, it was my third computer system and my third favourite.


Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak