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Opening Amiga Source Proposed 144

Count Fragula writes "Just wanted to pass this along to the OSS community. It looks like Eric S Raymond, among others, has assisted in working up a proposal to Open Source the AmigaOS. In light of the fact that the Amiga, as a platform, is (at least commercially) under some kind of curse, this may be a Good Thing. Heck, there's a lot of really good substructure there waiting to be brought up to to the present decade."
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Opening Amiga Source Proposed

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Remember that "open source" does not mean "free". The software is still copyrighted and any of that "really good substructure" that finds its way into Linux is a big legal problem waiting to happen. Now if Amiga were GPLed.......
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Amiga and its OS were pretty impressive at the time and they raised the expectations from PCs quite a lot. Nowadays Amiga as a computer is dead, and its OS is definitely outdated (might I recall that up to 3.0 parts of the OS were written in BCPL and not in C... as far as I know gcc has no BCPL frontend yet, but there should be one somewere). Still opensourcing it (even better: re-releasing it under a BSD-like or GPL-like licence) would be a great thing, both for the old users of the machine (I still have a working A2000) and for the `emulation scene' as well (UAE)... I don't know how much has to be gained from being able to peek into that code, but I am pretty sure quite a lot is lost in not releasing it
  • by Anonymous Coward
    All the pieces have fallen into place: - Motorola introduces 33mhz Dragonball (read:68000) processors with color support

    - Palm announces color Palms & is licensing like crazy.

    - Now, AmigaOS source is open

    Seriously..the new Palms will be several times faster than most Amigas, have more memory than most, and like a LOT of 'em, have no HD (for now). I have a hard time believing nobody else is thinking this.

    Now, Gateway..wanna do something worthwhile??? Yeah, baby. Bubble Bobble, ATerm, and DeluxePaint, in my pocket, running simultaneously. :->

    Now, about those 'pocket' custom chips...without which the Amiga's just an Atari ST.

    Okay, time for my medication.

  • Yes it does. Free software, as defined by RMS, is a synonym of Open source, as defined by the Open Source Definition. Sure, the licenses might not be compatible, but that's just a minor annoyance. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here.
  • I am all for this, but I have to be honest, if I were sitting on the other side of the table I would not find this proposal interesting at all.

    The proposal provides very few ideas on how the company is actually going to benefit, all it says is "publicity and company awareness", and then is vague from there.

    I also noticed that the publicity argument is a good 80% of the text. I just doesn't sound very solid if you ask me.

    If anything, I like the idea, but I wish that Eric would go through and add a little more meat to the proposal... Not any promises but at least some hypothetical money-making solutions that would give the people over at Amiga something to mull over. Right now it sounds like a lot of theoretical hot air and empty promises if you ask me. (even though we know it's not)

  • Maybe I'm just a cynic, but am I the only one who sees this as just an attempt to get some "cool" technology for Linux without having to spend the time to create it from scratch?

    Wkat Linux needs is API and UI standards, not yet ANOTHER cast-off technology rolled into it.
  • The AmigaOS was/is brilliant. I still use it every day at home. My Amiga is setup with Miami running IP-NAT. My PC has my Amiga setup as it's default gateway. Although my favourite web browser is Opera, I still prefer the Amiga for other things (Mail, IRC). I run Samba on my Amiga too, and can share files that way. And I don't have a graphics card - plain old AGA does me fine.
    And there are still new technologies coming out for the Amiga all the time - Voodoo 2 is available for it (Thank you phase 5 (, for example. It uses standard IDE Hard Drives (Although the new version of Workbench - 3.5 - is the only one that can access greater than 4Gb without any problems). Or SCSI Hard Drives. Most printer drivers are available for it - 3rd party, of course.

    Someone earlier said that a Psion is faster than an A4000/060 - most 68060 processor on the Amiga are 50MHz, some are faster. And the 68060 has more efficient instructions that the equivelent Pentium (80586), making is roughly equivalent to a 75MHz Pentium. I know - by todays standards its not all that fast, but when you consider just how low overhead the AmigaOS has, being only 512K. I don't think a Psion runs quite that fast yet.

    Yes, I know, I can get UAE. But isn't not the same as having and using a real Amiga. The Amiga is like having a really old car that still works. You can buy a Ferrari, but there is still something special about cruising around in a 1960s Chevey (sp?).

    Don't get me wrong - I love Linux, and I have it installed on my A4000 (Debian 2.1).

    The Amiga is far from dead. It's may not be up with the times thanks to it's owner companies, but the guys who worked with it really did work with it, and thought it through, and did an excellent job. It is a prime example of how an OS can tie in very carefully with the hardware - where the OS and the hardware were designed together, and integrated well.

    I do have another 2 Amiga, but unfortunately don't have monitors to use them on. And if I could get my hands on them, I would get more.

    As for what use the source would be, I personally would fine it very interesting to have a read through. I'd love to know more about the underlying structure. It's not all the big, so it would be perfect for students to study. The OS is based on Unix (believe it or not!), and would be perfect to study in College to see how things operate. 512K isn't all that big, and that includes IDE Drivers, Graphics drivers, Pre-emptive Multitasking, GUI, mouse drivers, interrupts, AutoConfig (the precurser to Plug&Play - except AutoConfig always works!). Such a wealth of info in such a small package.

  • You mean you haven't heard - Amiga are not producing any hardware, so the Transmete rumour, even if it was true, is not false. Amiga will be producing on the AmigaOS, and will be lisencing it out to other companies to use.

    Also, considering that they are about to release WorkBench 3.5 (which will only run on top of AmigaOS 3.1), I don't think they will be releasing the code just yet. I don't think it would make much sense from a business point of view. However, I hope they do. I'd love to get my hands on it.

  • Oops, had a typo there... the Transmeta rumour, even if it is true, is now false.

    Sorry about that.

  • Oh Rubbish!

    I have both as well and am devoted to the Psion Series 5 (and new Revo) as a PDA, but the fact of the matter is:

    1. That the Psions are slower than any desktop computer currently on the market (including Amigas, which are still available),

    2. Have poor displays with (at best) 16 shades of grey and no video or other display-out capabilities,
    3. Have limited expansion options, and even less software available than the Amiga.
    Can a Psion read a CD-Rom? Not unless you hook it up to an Amiga with AmigaNCP. Have you tried browsing the web with a Psion? It's really a joke at this stage...maybe Opera will make it workable.

    Okay, the Psion is a great little PDA with an outstanding OS (for a PDA), but please don't make it out to be something it isn't.

    Finally, if AmigaOS were updated and open-sourced, there's no reason it couldn't continue to support a committed user base. Most major applications are represented on the platform still, and hardware is still available.

    (Oh, and my nick has nothing to do with the company or its products.)

  • Yep, there's Cloanto's Amiga Forever []. It works fine on my PII 266, but it feels a bit slow. It's definitely not as responsive as my A4000T and a dog compared to PPC. It's a neat thing to see, but there are some applications that don't work. Imagine for example does a wonderful job of raytracing black screens. Photorealistic black screens.
  • I would find that hard to believe that the schematics would have been lost. I'm not a chip engineer, but I imagine that everything is done on CAD systems and numerous backups were made. At least, if anything, Dave Haynie has the schematics from everything he did. If even to go a little further, R.J. Micaels archives or someone has tapes or blueprints or something.

    But then again.. what good would it do to reproduce these chips? It would be like PC people going out and brewing up a batch of EGA chips


  • and neither is AmigaOS. You could make the same arguments for opening BeOS source too
  • I swear there was a story on /. just a moment ago about Linux vs/NT..

    HERE []
    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?
  • And you call the Mozilla Effect a Bad Thing? You probably see it as, "Hey lookit that fish of a project flopping around out of water." But I'm running Mozilla right now, and I see it as, "Hey look, they pulled that project out of the dark closet, figured out it really was junk, and rewrote it!"

    The Mozilla team is FIXING the Netscape browser. They're doing the Right Thing(tm) this time. It's not out yet, but it will be. And it will be good. And that was the goal. Sure, the have secondary goals such as meeting arbitrary deadlines, making a product, etc... but the main thing was to see if an Open Source development community (and that includes coders, debuggers, testers, thinkers, and well wishers) could do one better than Netscape, and they are.

    So it would be sweet if a group could do that with the Amiga. Hell, it'd be sweeter if they could make the Linux-Amiga hybrid Amiga, Inc was talking about. (Tho somehow, I don't think that was going to use any original code from Amiga CLassic.)

  • AmigaDOS (not the AmigaOS as a whole) including the shell, FS, etc was written mostly in BCPL; but for 2.0x I rewrote the DOS in C/ASM, while retaining compatibility libraries for older BCPL executables. 3.x had no BCPL-based code in it, and I'm happy to say I never once even ran the BCPL compiler.

    The Exec was written almost totally in assembler for efficiency (not that it's very big... I seem to remember that Exec was circa 16K or less). Of course, Exec didn't do all that much compared to a Unix kernel. Exec was _loosely_ based on XINU.

    As for the OS and Open Source: I think that'd be a great idea, even if the OS itself is considerably out of date in some ways. There are lots of good ideas in there and some pretty nice code.

    I'm constantly amazed how a PIII/450 running Unix (or MSware) can have worse UI response times than an A3000. Not that there was anything magic about the Amiga's response times other than straightforward design and attention to detail. (Lack of VM helped too of course.) It was fast; an A3000 68030@25MHz could boot to Workbench (GUI) complete with TCP/IP up and various directories NFS mounted in around 11 seconds (cold boot; I think it was more like 7 seconds on a warm boot since the kernel was already loaded).

    Another thing about it was that it was very easy to program on. Simple things were simple without adding 6 layers of toolkits.You didn't need to write hundreds of lines just to open a window.

    Async IO (which it excelled at, including async filesystem IO) was easy and clean. Sure, it had it's idiosyncracies and compatibility bugaboos (remember, I was the one who kept it compatible with those evil BCPL binaries), but overall it was clean, and one of the most stable OS's ever made.

    You have to be stable when you have no protection hardware on a multitasking system... We even ran test programs that randomly failed allocations; the system stayed stable, and even many/most applications would stay stable (and not crash/exit). I used to run for months between reboots, and I was doing development and testing of code.

    One thing to note is that considerable parts of the low-level code is in ASM; however with the source it'd be fairly easy to transcode most of it. Some modules are rather more hairy - the disk filesystem, for example. It's full of coroutines, lots of hacks to save bytes in the ROM, etc. (Do they still teach coroutines?)
  • Come on, I loved the Amiga...four years ago. Hell, I still have my 3000T with Vlab Motion, GVP Spectrum, etc etc. But I DO NOT expect the Amiga to suddenly rise from the grave and suddenly become viable.
    Yes, it rocked. Yes, the gui and cli were integrated at a level that still hasn't been replicated. Yes, it was inventive, creative, and downright sexy. Then again, so was Marilyn Monroe,but she's DEAD...and I don't expect anyone to be lusting after her corpse anytime soon.
    The nearly tens of diehard Amiga users left in the world need to realize that we all had our chance to make the platform worth something, and in the end we lost. Let's take a quick look at what would be needed to make the AmigaOS even remotely competitive now....

    1. memory protection (which cannot be implemented without breaking existing Amiga APIs, rendering the existing software base obsolete)
    2. virtual memory (see above problems)
    3. halfway current graphics drivers (which I assume would be done under the CyberGraphX or Picasso API...hope those get opensourced as well if you want to have something compatible)
    4. new scsi.device that supports very large partitions. Yes, I'm aware of td64 and the AI version, neither of which are remotely reasonable IMO.
    5. rewriting Exec for a new processor, which should be especially amusing since it's all ASM/BCPL, as is much of the kernel.
    6. multithreading
    7. umm, apps. these are rather helpful, and will have to be generated anew since updating the OS will break all the older stuff.

    Starting to see just how difficult it would be to bring the OS to current standards? By the time you get kernel hackers to actually bring things into spec for 1999, we'll be sitting at 2001 and the rules will have changed yet again.

    Look, I sympathize (well, used to anyway) with those that bemoan the loss of the Amiga, but there ARE options out there that don't require you to run Microsoft software. Turn your energy to QNX, *BSD, Linux, BeOS, whatever... and mold those into what the spirit of the Amiga represented to you.
    Unfortunately, platform loyalty has all the trimmings of religion, and asking the zealots to change gods will generate an amusing number of emails in my box I imagine.
  • Everyone seems to be confusing the AmigaOS with the Amiga hardware, and that's a big mistake. The underlying OS was a joy to program--it did shared libraries better than anything else I've seen (and I've see a lot), had a very sweet message-passing system deeply integrated, and was generally very nice. To be very blunt, the core AmigaOS is significantly better in quite a few ways than the Linux kernel. While it's too late to change things, tossing the linux core for the AmigaOS would be a bigger win than tossing the AmigaOS for linux...
  • Yea.. all that nostalgia kinda brings a tear to the eye :~) ..

    I got an A500, about 10 years ago (exactly 10 years in a couple of weeks time, as I think about it) and it was great. As was the A1200 I got in 1993 (eventually a 50MHz '030/882 with 16MB RAM).

    Since then though in 1995/6 I moved onto Linux on the PC, and of course games under Windows95.

    I felt then that the Amiga hardware was left for dead (It was Red Alert that made me feel that the most), even though AmigaOS was as fast as Linux/X on my 486/133 at the time.

    I don't know, maybe it might be interesting to get it working again, not least to have an Amiga in a window or something cute like that, but I doubt it's got much to offer now, considering how much further on technology has marched since the latest incarnation of AmigaOS (1992 wasn't it? when the A1200 came out?)

    Nice to think about it again though. I still have my Amiga, although being a Brit and living in the USA now I've left my Amiga1200 at home in England, as the PSU I have doesn't work over here.

    Ah, nostaglia indeed :)

  • The multitasking abilities of the Amiga were ahead of their time, certainly, but other OS's can do that today. What I see as the lasting advantage of the Amiga is the multimedia capability: multiple simultaneous screen resolutions, etc. For that to work, you need the custom Amiga chipset (and rumor -- and this is only rumor -- has it that at least one of the schematics was lost during the Commodore - Escom - Gateway transition). Without the chips, the OS is largely been-there-done-that if you want to port it to new hardware.

    Does anyone have any knowledgeable opinion as to whether incorporating the Amiga chipset into a PC video card is technologicaly feasible (assuming the chips can be reproduced)?
  • Ahhh, memories. I just gave away my A2000HD this year to a friend of mine that still uses multiple Amigas. I grew up on C= equipment. Vic-20, C=64, A500, A2000. I was very much into the Amiga scene even doing some consulting work for a local copy shop and technical college.

    It's for that very reason that I would love to see the AmigaOS Open Sourced. To finally see the insides of the computer platform that fueled my interest in computers which still burns today.

    Why let an old dog wither away and die locked behind a closed source door. Let'em out to run free while he's still got alittle breath left in him.

  • Holistic system design. The OS was built during a time when good small powerful code was necessary for the operation of the machine. The display portion of the OS was pretty well dictated by the display capabilities of the computer, not the other way around. This is why the Amiga was revolutionary during its time. Everybody else was looking at building general solutions that pretty much limited what was possible with respect to multimedia solutions. (Can't resist saying that it also ran on a Motorola chip which at the time made Intel chips look pale in comaprison...) Also I guess you can't forget Jay Miner. He was the one who developed the initial chip designs. He also developed the early chip designs for the Atari 8 bit machines. On a low level all of his chip sets are similar. They were designed to give the programmer both a high level, and low level of control over what is being done with the display. It is these features that makes the Amiga distinctive even to this day. A developer could choose to make a general OS call for a bitmap, and overlay a few sprites to get the job done, or maybe tie the display to low-level interrupt driven CPU code to generate new and interesting displays, pretty much anything was possible even at the low clock speeds of the time. These types of graphics engines are very hackable. The smarter you are, the more the display will do for you. Contrast that to todays current crop of display systems. They are fairly rigid structures with general intent. Given todays general purpose computing enviroment, it is pretty hard to build something that is Amiga like using the current crop of off the shelf stuff.

    Todays general purpose PC is just that. General purpose. The Amigas, SGI IRIX machines, and some others that I don't know about really excel at certain things because one entity was able to design the system, and tweak the OS to achieve pretty high goals.

    I do not have an Amiga today (wish I still did!), but I still have a number of IRIX machines to work with, and they run circles around PC's in the areas where the system was designed as a whole to perform. (Just try to compose a letter, or edit a spread sheet though!) I do not believe that general purpose machines will ever reach this level of excellence just because of their design. Their focus is just too broad. Even if the OS was perfect, the machine would not be.

    Making the Amiga OS open source will no doubt expose some great tools, and Linux will benefit, but none of it will really shine the way that machine, or others like it do because it will be for the most part be running on an X86 Intel driven PC.

    We need a machine that runs linux that is not necessarily a PC. Another chicken and egg problem, but an interesting one. Lets say we take a couple of cases where a machine like this could complement the current PC. Most users don't need all these features in one box, so why not build them in smaller ones that they can use with the box that they have? Maybe use that box as a sort of traffic cop to control the other smaller ones that they might have. Linux is GREAT at this. It has evolved on the net, and thus is very net-centric.

    1. Modeling engines. I think of the Sony engine that will be released in a short while. It is capable of realtime visualization tasks that would really boost productivity for engineers, animators, simulators and the like. They need a "real machine" with lots of disk, network, and CPU to hold the data and deal with their computing enviroment. Lets say that this "engine" connects with a network wire to the box that they already have. Maybe even utilizes a pass through cable to take advantage of their display. Make it big enough to be able to do the job it is supposed to do, (crunch on geometry) yet small and cheap enough that it is not a big deal to own one. Lets face it people will spend $3000 or more on just Graphics cards. Why not a modeling rendering Linux running engine with a chipset to die for?

    2. Media stations. Having a large boxy computer to perform many different multimedia tasks is expensive and wasteful. Have a series of networked appliances that do various things. Compositing, editing, audio mixing, and processing. The interested party just gets them in the quantity needed, networks them, and a larger "server" type Linux machine could administer and direct them. They would be very portable, kind of like SCSI devices are today only you should not have to shut everything them down to swap them in and out. The users of this type of computing enviroment would also be capable of many parallel workflows that would require lots of expensive general purpose machines to duplicate.

    My whole point here is that each item could be very flexible and powerful but well focused. Having the operating system and tools open sourced would allow the vendors of these sort of tools to compete on system design and function. They could use anyone's CPU, graphics, IO, whatever, or they could roll their own. Each unit could be very Amiga like in its design yielding the best performance for the least dollars.

  • At least they knew how to name chips ...
    It is so much more interesting to talk about Paula,Denise etc. Certainly beats "G200 SuperTerminator" or crap like that ...
  • Obviously you don't know that much about BeOS, or you would understand that it was basically designed to be MacOS with the power of AmigaOS and UNIX... read what JLG has to say about Amiga, and you'll realize that it inspired him to create a modern, efficient, high-powered operating system. From the dawning of the BeBox, a large percentage of Be developers and users have been ex-Amiga fanatics. Half the websites of Be developers house Be software _and_ Amiga software. It's a natural progression. Sounds like you need to appreciate your heritage more, boy, or pappy's gonna whoop ya.
  • Psion already has a perfectly good multitasking OS which is a damned sight more stable than AmigaDOS.

    As someone with three (count 'em) Amigas on my home LAN, I really think it's a dead end technology, and of historical insterest only.

    Without memory protection, and indeed support for modern devices (ie, things which aren't made of wood and flint!), it's really just a cumbersome beige white elephant.

  • Oh, and the other thing to remember is that the current psions are more powerful than the average Amiga, anyway :-)

    A Psion netbook could leave my A4000/060 for dead...
  • 2. virtual memory (see above problems)

    Try this. []

    I used this a lot on my A3000 with 8MB, especially when trying to build larger programs with gcc.

    It's not very fast and many programs don't like it, but it is user space virtual memory. (Although wasn't most of AmigaOS, including device drivers, user space).

  • AC (because I don't need annoying flames!)

    What, like the annoying flame you just posted?

    Stop being an AC, get an account and filter the news you don't find interesting. It saves your time in more ways than one - you don't have to read it, and thus you save the time that you would have otherwise spent writing pointless flames in response to it.


  • AmogaOS from 2.04 up can certainly boot without launching the WorkBench(tm)

    Er, probably not what he meant. Even if you do boot to a CLI rather than the GUI, how's it running? In a windows, resizable and draggable. VERY nice - character consoles should have died a death years ago and been replaced by proper displays! - but if the OS is running, it's using the GUI.

  • I think it's a good idea.

    What I don't get is why people still want to revive the amiga. Sure it was a good system (I still fond memories of my A500), but due to commodore's problems it failed to keep up with computer evolution.

    Why don't people just get the good elements of the os and incorporate them in an open source solution, and leave it at that? Why does it have to be called 'Amiga'?

  • Proper "screens"

    With different resolutions/bpp per screen. I miss that one. I'm not sure if it can be added cleanly to XFree. Would love it, though.


    I use to call them "named $PATHs" when I try to explain them to the Unixphiles. I don't ever expect to see it retrofitted in Linux, though. :(

    Catalog files

    I'm sure the GNOME and KDE guys will come up with a proper internationalization standard if they haven't already.


    Both KDE and GNOME is adding this in some way.

    Oh. And how could you forget to mention AREXX?! An easy to use scripting language with IPC support, and most "modern" Amiga applications supported it. You'll probably get a somewhat equivalent in Linux when applications start to expose their functions through CORBA.

  • Let's see.

    Amiga was recently spun-off from Gateway, if I remember correctly. Gateway is a big customer of Microsoft. If Gateway does anything to make MS upset, their software costs could go up.

    Microsoft realizes what a threat Open Source is becoming. I think they'd either buy Amiga to stop them from releasing the OS as open source, or if Gateway still owns a majority stake in Amiga, they would put pressure on Gateway to stop it from happening.

    99 little bugs in the code, 99 bugs in the code,
    fix one bug, compile it again...

  • As if anyone cares...
    That was the entire point of the article!
    I use BeOS myself, it's a great OS. The article, however, was arguing that AmigaOS should be Open Source, so the comparison was valid.
  • Yes, But BeOS isn't Open Source
  • You're wrong about that.. The original AmigaDOS command set was written in BCPL by Metacomco, and continued up to and including 1.3. After that, pressure from the ARP project resulted in the command set being written in C.

    This is the COMMAND-SET we're talking about - programs like copy, rename etc. Not the OS, which was based on C from the beginning, and initially developed on SUN workstations.
  • Silly question, I know, still.

    What parts of the AmigaOS are usefully salvageable for other OSs? File system, graphics, GUI?

    I just can't see Amiga becoming anything more than a reminiscing toy (although that's quite a nice place to be in, really)

    I had an Amiga. All I did all day was play Turrican2, maybe Swiv, and some games by Bullfrog. Also, I read Amiga Power [] but I rant about that in other places [].
  • ...same reason why they never sold new chevy NOVAs in spanish speaking countries (correct me if I am wrong).

    The truth about the Nova [].

  • My opinion exactly... Amiga was cool (I had one) but it is completely dead technology today. Now that chips like the GeForce 256 are coming, stories about Paula, Denise and Agnus are deads. If they had to design an up-to-date Amiga it would only be an Amiga by name, and probably look kind of like a G4 Mac (PowerPC chip with PC hardware around it).
  • Firstly, I still have and regularly use my Amiga (sometimes just as an xterm for my linux boxen and sometimes for web browsing (IMHO Voyager and IBrowse on Amiga are more stable than ns on linux) but not for too much else these days)

    Secondly, and I think other ppl who have up-to-date Amigas (if that's not a contradiction :/) would agree, the custom hardware really doesnt matter these days - ppl use their Amigas for the OS, the s/w and the people. My AGA hardware is very rarely used as I have a gfx card (and I dont use my amiga for games) and many others have additional sound cards leaving most of the custom chips sitting idle.

    Finally, it _is_ possible to reproduce original-amiga-hardware compatible chips and it is being / has been done. (Search for "amiga boxer")

    Martin G
  • Think, for a moment, what BeOS would be like, if it had its great architecture, mixed in with the advantages of open source. It would have already taken over Windows.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • If you don't need custom chips, then how the hell can't I get UAE to fully emulate a simple A500 on a P233? The fact is that the old PC architecture is bulky and cumbersome. Too bad that next-generation Amiga didn't come out.

    Oh well, I'll have to wait until I get older and rich enough to resurrect the Amiga, the right way.

    Things that good are not easily forgotten. Just nobody seems to be smart enough to pull it off.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • Yep, you have. Stupid Amiga Inc. (Commodore), changed it to "Task:" and "Address:" or something on OS 3.x.

    They also got rid of that cool disk-in-hand logo, and changed their official logo from that cool checkmark to that stupid ball.
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • Those strings could be decoded with a handy program called Guru2u (?). Their actual definitions were in a header anyways (alert.h?) which you'd get with your C compiler or could find in the RKM. When they were truly useful, they'd tell you which library & what the specific problem was.
  • Hey Josh - I've still got that Amiga 1000 stashed
    away at my parent's attic. $10 and a cup of
    coffee and it's yours. (maybe you can teach Rich
    a thing or two about programming on it....)

  • My first computer was an Amiga 500, 500 bytes upgraded to 1 whole megabyte of RAM( I think), the cheapest one they had. I dont remember what the heck the harddrive was. I forgot what programs I used, but I used it to edit video...
    It was the prelude to the video toaster they priced outta my league.
    I always hated that name, same reason why they never sold new chevy NOVAs in spanish speaking countries (correct me if I am wrong).
  • Um, if the AmigaOS was a joy to program (which, I admit, it was), then the hardware was outright hilarious! ;^) On no other computer could you do such amazing hacks so easily. To fill the screen with glorious colors in a totally non-destructive way, just do:

    flash: move.w $dff006,$dff180

    btst #6,$bfe001

    bne.s flash


    And it stops on a mouse click! (If you listen closely now, you can hear old Amigacoders all over the world thinking something nasty, since the code above is not exactly considered cool). Anyway, I agree that the OS was a beaty, but never forget the hardware!
  • Come on now. Network support including SAMBA is available on the AmigaOS, Virtual memory is simply not required when the code is so compact, efficient and elegant.

    Platform Independence and multi-user security would certainly be added very quickly.

    So the only issue is the GUI built into the kernel. Which is not built into the kernel. It resides in libraries loaded if desired. AmogaOS from 2.04 up can certainly boot without launching the WorkBench(tm). You can even unload the Workbench without reloading, just be sure to leave a CLI running before loading WB.

  • OK, for the sake of argument let's suppose:
    1. The source for the entire Amiga OS, from the lowest levels all the way up to WorkBench and Intuition are open sourced
    2. The code is joyously clean, well structured, and easy to hack

    3. The code will build with gcc

    OK, this helps us how? Without the Amiga chipset, much of what made the Amiga interesting is not possible. So, to what end can I spend my free time on this code?
    • Making Workbench into an X window manager/desktop? WB was ok, but there are betters wm's out there now. Why duplicate the effort?
    • Making a better Amiga emulator for [Linux|Be|Windows|*]? Possibly, but again, emulating the Amiga chipset isn't going to be easy. Have they Open Source'd the specs for those chips (not just the programming specs, but the actual implementation)?
    • Making compatibility layer for AmigaOS to allow it to run X apps? Maybe, but without virtual memory (68000 based Amiga 500s need not apply) you aren't going to easily port most X apps.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I love the idea of open sourcing the Amiga OS, just as I loved the idea of Caldera open sourcing GEM and Atari open sourcing TOS. However, how much activity has the latter generated?

    All I am saying is that this is interesting, but not earth shattering. Perhaps, if the rumors are true, and Amiga and Transmeta release an ubercomputer, this will be a seminal moment in personal computer history, but unless that happens, I fear that this won't even be a footnote. The hacker community won't take up the code and make it wonderful, it will just sit around taking up FTP server space.


  • The Amiga was light years ahead of it's time.
    And it was due to the combination of amazing hardware, and an amazing OS for it's time. While opening the source will definitely prove useful, (provided that there is a focal point to submit changes etc to ie. not chaos) the fact remains that the hardware isn't around to support the software this time. As a previous post has mentioned, what we really need is a add in PCI/AGP card that will enhance today's systems the way the Amiga back then was more than the sum of it's parts. This isn't that unfeasible: with T & L video cards already available, who knows what a solid piece of hardware coupled with an Open Sourced revitalised Amiga OS will result in. One can only wait and see.

    Every Jedi needs a lightsaber. Use the Force. Need a lightsaber. =)
    (just my 2 cents. IMHO. )
  • The Amiga was light years ahead of it's time.

    And it was due to the combination of amazing hardware, and an amazing OS for it's time. While opening the source will definitely prove useful, (provided that there is a focal point to submit changes etc to ie. not chaos) the fact remains that the hardware isn't around to support the software this time. As a previous post has mentioned, what we really need is a add in PCI/AGP card that will enhance today's systems the way the Amiga back then was more than the sum of it's parts. This isn't that unfeasible: with T & L video cards already available, who knows what a solid piece of hardware coupled with an Open Sourced revitalised Amiga OS will result in. One can only wait and see.

    Every Jedi needs a lightsaber. Use the Force. Need a lightsaber. =)

    (just my 2 cents. IMHO. )

  • I agree. The main reason for making the Amiga OS open-source is not to sink energy updating it (which would be silly) but to take those rare (but priceless nuggets) and implement them in Linux, *BSD, or any other OS du jour. Surely the Amiga OS has things Linux's developers can simply lift (guilt-free since it's OSS) rather than wasting time reinventing the wheel.
  • Psion already has a perfectly good multitasking OS which is a damned sight more stable than AmigaDOS.

    Yes, but it isn't open source. There is probably more software available for the Amiga, too.

  • The amiga was cool in its day. That day is now long past. Any proposed new machine will bear little relation to the original, so why bother?
    I'm all for new computers if they do something no exising one does, but the Amiga (in any of its guises) seem to do nothing a PC running Linux or BeOS can't do.

    Linux can't run multitasking GUI apps in 512K. AmigaOS can.

    AmigaOS was designed for computers with (by today's standards), small screens, small amounts of RAM and secondary storage, and slow processors. So it would make an ideal open source operating system for Psions and other portable/pocket computers.

  • The subject line says it all...

  • Isnt it about time that Linux is released under an open source license such as the GPL [] ???

  • Ugh, I feel stupid for having to defend this. I thought several relevant points were brought up --but some moderators don't read the entire comment before making a judgment.

    Who knows? Maybe the Amiga OE will actually ship. I don't see it appealing to geeks, newbies, or anyone inbetween. Even if it does, there's no money to be made on support alone -- Amiga's market is Joe Sixpack, not the PHB's who buy Red Hat and get those $$$$ support contracts. Businesses can justify those costs, so there's no problem with free software (beer or thought). The home user (Amiga's market) isn't really interested and won't pay for it. Amiga can't make hardware, thanks to the whole Transmeta fiasco (they can afford free thought software, because they own the hardware), OSS advocates want the software to be free, and there's no money in support -- bye bye VC money, and Amiga (once again).

    They have to make money somehow. Amiga is a company, not a community. If they do fold, they'll have the great legacy of Netscape, which is another company that gave up on a shoddy incomplete product, gave it away for free (as in thought) and then the world realized that it *was* a gift horse worth looking in the mouth.

    That's my two cents -- it's all the money I have left after dropping VC into Amiga. I wonder if I can get some of it back by extracting it out of /dev/null ...
  • This does seem to be a Good Thing. We have recently seen what free source can do for software, specificly the Doom modifications to kill processes (don't have the link right now...) that was on /. yesterday. Freeing up the code for people to work with will almost invaribly produce new and interesting products.

    I have never worked with the amiga OS, but I know a lot of geeks who insist that it was the best OS on the market in it's day. It will be interesting to see if it can be made into a competitive product now that it's strangely ineffective business model has been dismissed.
  • by Fjord ( 99230 )

    Just when I thought I'd seen my last Guru Meditation!

    Hey! Now I can look thought the source and find out what those hyper long strings of alphanums where in the GM error. This is a good thing.

  • SabrinaOL [].

    Eric W. Schwartz is a REAL talent,
    you can visit his home page here [].

  • why careing then about it ? i love this approach, since there _is_ an AMIGA community which cares about its baby and develop it further (up to now by supplying the great AMINET with superb tools) -- so why not makeing/applying these improvments into the core OS ?
  • I've seen and worked with several OS's (MacOs, BeOs, OS/2, Windows, Linux, etc.). AmigaOS might be old and outdated on some aspects but it still has a vast array of nifty features built in which i could not find in other OS's. There are loads of great other OS's but there is only one AmigaOS. If AmigaOS didn't have something special we wouldn't have this discussion.
  • I knew a few of the software developers who worked on AmigaOS (well, actually I work with the guy who wrote the AmigaOS SCSI driver and API for tape drives!). They say that the actual code base was actually fairly clean, as soon as they got rid of the BCPL cruft.

    Remember, Commodore never had the thousands of engineers munging the code that Netscape had, and the OS was modular in the first place (with the exception of the graphics system, which would need to be totally re-written a'la' Mozilla), which made it much easier to keep things clean.

    Of course, it got crufted a bit at the end, as Commodore died, but so it goes. There wasn't enough engineers left at Commodore by that time to do TOO much damage to it...

    Actually, the hardest problem with AmigaOS nowdays would be compiling it. It was written in pre-ANSI-C days, and I suspect that modern compilers would choke on it :-(.

  • ..and not that I'm upset about that, because I think it is the one machine that people actually loved. I mean, really.. the machine has been beaten to death over ownership and progress, and the darn thing still has a following! I can't say as much for Atari STs, Apple IIs or C64s, though they all have their numbers (don't get me wrong..)

    Open sourcing the OS would be nice, but I don't think much would come out of it other than someone might go out and add memory protection or (ooh!) integrate ShapeShifter into the OS? It'd be like gutting a vintage stereo with modern equipment because the asthetics please you. I would vote for someone to made draggable windows and virtual memory for starters.

    I recently dug my old A2500/30 out of the dark to revive a bit. Granted I am just working on backing up my 1.2GB of hard disk storage for use on an emulator, but I get such a kick out of using it again.


  • I'll take it! But I won't share it with Rich... It can join Kramer, Bushwood, and my iBook in the Geek Room instead where I'll give it the respect it so richly deserves.

    Rich is a pretty good programmer for a business dweeb - he does 4GL stuff well and he was a whiz on the Newton when it came out (he wrote a Sybase front end for it - it was cool). But I think that an Amiga might be beyond him a tad.
    - -Josh Turiel
  • Clause critique:

    1) The software is still copyrighted

    All software ever written in all history that has not been explicitly placed by its copyright holder into the public domain is copyrighted, including everything under the GPL. In fact, software that is not copyrighted cannot be effectively GPLed, since agreeing to a license is unnecessary to use the code.

    2) any of that "really good substructure" that finds its way into Linux is a big legal problem waiting to happen.

    If and only if the open-source license adopted is not the GPL and is not GPL compatible.
  • Seriously, if you want a fully buzzword enabled OS with some raw power behind it (not to mention something that is up to date, clean, an quite free of cruft) I don't think you can do much better than BeOS.

    Try it! It really is Bliss expressed in 1's and 0's!

  • I'm sorry, but I think you (and a bunch of other people here) have missed the point. One of the advantages of Open Sourcing the Amiga OS would undoubtably be to decouple it from the hardware dongle, which even the owner doesn't want to sell anymore. Trust me: almost nobody cares about the hardware anymore. Those who do, are viewed as fanatics even among the ranks of us Amiga fanatics. :-)

    Amiga hardware was very cool up until through the early 90s, but as mass-market commodity chipsets caught up, a lot of Amiga users tried to adopt them. My Amiga [] has a graphics card and a sound card based on PeeCee chipsets. I don't use the Amiga chipsets for those things anymore. Hell, I don't even use the built-in serial port anymore. She's a Frankenstein machine (and it's only going to get worse once I put a G4 PPC in it).

    But the hardware isn't the only Frankenstein part -- it's the software too. The OS is tied to obsolete things like the Amiga chipset and even the 68k processor itself, and over the years, all sorts of competing hacks have been used to extend it and make it more device independent. They sorta work, but there's a lot of reinvention and infighting. (The Phase 5 vs H&P approaches to PPCs, for example, and the earlier CyberGraphX vs P96 wars.)

    Open Sourcing AmigaOS would permanently fix this problem. Imagine being able to run AmigaOS on a fully modern computer, instead of an AmigaDongle that has a bunch of cyber implants to modernize it! Oh, and some people say, 'What can the Amiga do that OS ___ can't?' Well, turn the question around: What can OS ____ do that AmigaOS can't? There are in fact a few things, but not many. If anyone advocates against Open Source AmigaOS, I have to wonder: What are you afraid of?

    Would I use an Open Source Amiga OS? No, probably not. If it had been done a few years ago, maybe. But a few months ago I finally decided to commit to Neutrino. Yet there are still a few people who don't want to go to Neutrino (for whatever reason) and I think an Open Source AmigaOS would be a great way to give them a fighting chance. Why would anyone be against that?

  • What I don't get is why people still want to revive the amiga. Sure it was a good system (I still fond memories of my A500), but due to commodore's problems it failed to keep up with computer evolution.

    You answered your own question. They want to revive it so that they can update it to use modern hardware.

    Why don't people just get the good elements of the os and incorporate them in an open source solution, and leave it at that?

    Because it is a lot of work to write a new OS from scratch. The AROS people seem to be trying to do this, but it isn't ready yet.

    And existing open source OSes (e.g. Linux) are already so tainted with Unix-thinking that it would be virtually impossible for it to ever elegantly incorporate the things that made the Amiga good. Either the Amiga values or the Unix values (or both!) would end up getting mocked and kludged.

    Why does it have to be called 'Amiga'?

    It doesn't. In fact, an independantly made open source Amiga clone can't be called that, or there would be trademark problems.

  • The Amiga, as I recall, was a hardware *and* software combo.

    To GPL the Amiga, you would have to GPL the whole she-bang.

    A lot of talk about making the PLEB project's boards GPL has been going around (we got feedback from RMS about it).

    The bottom line is that the GPL is not made for hardware. Period.
  • Disclaimer that probably won't be believed
    This is a question. I'd like to know the answer. Flame if you must, but this isn't flamebait.

    The amiga was cool in its day. That day is now long past. Any proposed new machine will bear little relation to the original, so why bother?
    I'm all for new computers if they do something no exising one does, but the Amiga (in any of its guises) seem to do nothing a PC running Linux or BeOS can't do.
  • cleaver hack
    LOL...was this intentional, or a typo?

    What is the real utility of that kill process code?
    Umm...what is the real utility of Doom? What is the real utility of a GUI for that matter? you can do the same thing with a CLI.

    It's an interesting thing about pure research. It can produce a long chain of useless (but neato-cool) stuff. Then somebody comes along and says "I can take these six useless research projects and create something AMAZING out of them!" What many people forget is that the amazing thing is merely the final link in a long chain of useless things.

    So what good is the "cleaver hack"? Don't know, but I saw a lot of creative thinking in the discussion that resulted from it...some of it might be useful some day.

  • Can't address the others, but I must go on record as being rabid over the C64, and there are still many active C64 users out there, even more rabid than me.

    The C64 "OS", of course, is already open sourced. Just disassemble it from the ROMs...

    Are there any Amiga emulators out there for the PC?
  • If anyone wants to try making Linux (or whateer - I've jsut picked that as the only completely open-source option listed) as easy to use and configure and as fast as my old A1200 then they've got my support. But I don't see it.

    I've no idea what the technical state of relative operating systems is today so I can't say whether the Amiga's got a wonderful deterministic scheduler with sensible multithreading (to pull terms out of the air) that hasn't been equalled elsewhere. It wouldn't surprise me though and, even if we're not unique, look at the footprint! This thing will run on little more than fresh air in modern terms, for goodness' sakes. I'd love to see an Amiga PDA...

    Anyway, getting back to my original point, I've no idea about the technical side of things, but anything as nice to use as my old A1200 gets my vote. That wonderful, easy to use and understand shell and startup-sequence. Commodities. That icon system, especially with NewIcons or MagicWB. That lovely clean, clear, simple GUI. MUI. Directory Opus. OK, so I've just listed two add-ons, but I haven't found them elsewhere and I miss them :( I loved my Amiga (still do!), I loved the ease with which I could tinker with it and the near-impossibility of breaking it. I loved its compact efficiency. I loved the user community, so friendly and with such a strong freely distributable market. I loved the way that almost anyone could pick it up - I mean, my mum was fine on the old Amiga! When we moved to Windows 95 and Word, though, she got confused, she got agitated. She also got a Brother Word Processor.

    OK, I'm going on, but they were lovely. And anything even halfway that nice gets my vote and my money.

  • Actually, software written in the US before 1976 which wasn't expressly copyrighted was public domain.

    Strange laws in the US before it signed the Berne convention said that anything copyrighted must contain the words "copyright xxxx Copyright Owner" and be registered at the Copyright office. If you didn't do that, it was public domain. Since 1976, anything copyrightable is born copyrighted.

  • > Col. Sanders' secret blend of 11 herbs and spices

    Flour, salt, pepper and MSG.

    Really. That's it. The key is the way it's cooked, not the spices.

  • Perhaps I did misspeak myself, at least in the use of a catchy title. :-) My concern is that making it open source might not be enough to resuscitate it. If it's in a decrepit state, it might need a large team of paid engineers to bring it to the point where it can be used, praised, and worked on by all kinds of people -- just like Mozilla is today.

    Let me try again with a definition of what I call the "Mozilla Effect": open source in an of itself is not the magic bullet by which excessively large chunks of previously proprietary code can achieve greatness; it's just a building block. You need to infuse a project with a large team of knowledgeable people with oodles of time on their hands to achieve the next step.

    HTH, and I'm sorry if I misspoke.

  • I'm beginning to wonder about ESR. His quest to get any and all software on the face of the planet open sourced is noble, indeed. (I would love to see it.) But I think his credibility is beginning to be damaged every time he tells someone that ejecting an aging codebase into the 'net is going to magically resuscitate it.

    To be fair, I haven't read the proposal yet, and I certainly don't have any idea what state the code is in. But I'd wager that it's in a similar state to the Communicator code when Mozilla was first launched: lots and lots of interesting code, but you can't really compile it into much.

    Mozilla required almost complete rewriting with extensive corporate support to start shaping up as the awesome browser it will be. (One or two more Milestones, and I'll be happy to retire my well-worn copy of Communicator.) I wonder what AmigaOS will need, and if there is sufficient support to bring AmigaOS into the next millenium.

  • Adopt Amiga's message passing and asynchronous
    I/O archicture for Linux, or some variant.
    (also similar to NT completion ports)

    Amiga's thread-based (Amiga called them processes,
    but they were really threads) MessagePort
    based I/O is lightyears easier to program
    and more scalable than Linux select/poll(),
    and POSIX AIO sucks, and SIGIO doesn't look
    much better.

    Basically, Amiga OS is deficient in every area (device independent graphics, memory protection, virtual memory, resource tracking, etc) except the one area where a real-time OS kicks ass, which is I/O.

    Under AmigaOS, you could send off requests for thousands of different I/O requests and have buffers filled in by device drivers, and then
    notify the threads that new data is available.

    Almost zero-context switch overhead, no "copying" between kernel/user (device drivers would actually DMA data directly into your memory buffer if possible), which would lead to highly scalable servers.
  • That is a good point, but I think the same can be said about any "new" OS as well. The Linux zealots insist it is best, the Mac zealots insist it is best, a few people insist NT is best.
    They all have their place.
    Why determine the philosophical necessity of a new(old) product?
    Let's just see what we can make it do!
  • Okay, I'll start by admitting a slight bias here. I started with an Amiga 1000, moved on to a 3000, used my brother's 500 while the 3000 was in the shop (CIA chip, of course), my brother bought a 1200, and a few months ago I traded some stereo equipment for a 2000.

    I learned how to work with a CLI on an Amiga, and loved the integration with the GUI. The multitasking was great, and I still think it did many things better than any other OS out there.

    But let us say that the OS is open sourced. What do we do with it? Am I wrong in thinking that it is so outdated that it would have to be completely rewritten? Is there something else we can get out of an open sourcing? Intellectual property rights maybe?

    Maybe somebody could hack this thing into a window manager? Nico Francois, are you still out there? I want Powersnap under X.
  • The chipset isn't particularly interesting anymore, in this day of graphics chips running 600x faster than poor old Agnus/Alice, Paula, and Denise/Lisa, audio chips with more DSP performance than the fastest Amiga ever made, etc. It's important to know that the simulataneous screen resolution display was kind of hack, or chip limitation. Yes, there was a nice display list coprocessor that switched the screens. But the reason you could mix resolutions was the fact that the pixel clock was fixed at around 35ns. So every display ran 35ns, 70ns, or 140ns pixels. In a modern graphics card, you're mucking around with a PLL to independently vary refresh and resolution, and PLLs inherently take a more-than-scanline while to sync up to new frequencies. The cancelled Amiga Advanced Architecture project supported this trick by allowing up to four independent PLLs to exist in a system. But sure -- you can make an Amiga card for the PC. This was actually proposed twice while I was at Commodore, the first time it even made some sense (I did an engineering analysis). In practice? Look here: The point, really, is "why bother". If you run an Amiga emulator on a reasonably fast PC, using the graphics API targeted to Windows or X, rather than Amiga chip emulation, you'll have an Amiga faster than any one that has ever existed in the real world. The OS, on the other hand, is still pretty damn cool. Some of you may recall a time when hacking was for fun, not profit. I think lots of people would love to hack the AmigaOS. It would be good, really, for an industry so caught up in ancient architectures like Windows and UNIX, to learn what AmigaOS has to teach. It's probably too late to make it anything that takes the world by storm, but that doesn't render it useless. In fact, most of the lessons of AmigaOS seem to have not made it into the PC mainsteam, whereas all of the hardware tricks did long ago, and then were soundly exceeded. As far as making new chips, a really sharp guy called Mick Tinker claims to have reimplemented the Amiga chips; don't know if he's using an FPGA or a true gate array (or possibly just simulating in VHDL or something). Of course, there's some extensions in there too; Amiga chips as they were implemeneted aren't terribly interesting today.
  • In essence, I agree. People want this for fun. I still use a number of Canon and Leica rangefinder cameras, even in this day of digitals and SLRs smarter than any human. Because they're fun, because there's a degree of excellence there not available in today's "wonderbricks". AmigaOS is very much the same way.

    Your details are wrong, though. AmigaOS was NOT "based on Tripos". The AmigaOS was largely original work. In order to get to market in time, Amiga had the DOS subsystem (a tiny piece of the greater whole) from Tripos ported to the existing AmigaOS. That's the only Tripos connection.
  • It kind of exists already. Take a look at AROS []. I have been coding in man different OSes, and AmigaOS IMHO is the nicest one to work with, especially in combination with MUI. I find it so easy to whip stuff together in A-OS.

  • We have now seen company after company go down the drain, after promising us one wonder amiga after another. But the question that I am asking myself is, will the Amiga curse spead to Open Source if AOS is open sourced? And what would happen if Micro$oft bought Amiga?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 1999 @06:44AM (#1597556)
    For some reason I see a lot of negative reactions from people when they see any mention of the Amiga going open source.

    To start with, I have friends who have been saying for the past 6 years that the Amiga is dead, the fact that they are still have to say it to me is an indication that it is not dead. If the Amiga really were dead then we wouldn't be talking about it now.

    Secondly, a lot of people are saying that it would be impossible to bring the Amiga up-to-date, because it's lacking this, or that. From what I know about it, the only thing it's lacking is memory protection and the AROS ( project is working on that already.

    The AROS project has already built an Amiga compatible cross-platform Exec (the Amigas multitasking kernel to those who don't know). The AROS Exec can already boot on both PCs and Amigas, what AROS is missing is all of the Amigas extras and utilities. If the AmigaDos code were open-sourced, it may become possible to merge the AROS code and the AmigaDos code giving everybody in a small amount of time a new alternative open-source operating system.

    I know a lot of people here are die-hard Linux fans, who are afraid of having more than one open-source operating system, they seem to think that all deviation from the path of Linux is some kind of heresy. I think differently, I think that in order for open-source operating systems to truly flourish there must be competition between very different operating systems.

    There are still many good things about the Amiga.
    Efficiency, multitasking with very little memory.
    System of datatypes.
    System wide macro language, a single interpreted language can be used to get all of the Amigas applications to talk to one another
    Extendibility, if something's not already in the operating system, it can be added on, like TCP/IP, graphics/sound card drivers, virtual memory, PC/UNIX/Mac filesystems etc., there's none of that recompiling your kernel rubbish whenever you add some new hardware.

    I really love my Amiga and I would really love to see the Amiga go open-source, because I, and many thousands of people like me, would work on making AmigaDos the best operating system once again.

  • by Eric Green ( 627 ) on Thursday October 21, 1999 @09:27AM (#1597557) Homepage
    The Amiga GUI and WorkBench probably would need to be totally re-written to operate in today's environment, but the core OS itself was fairly well written (after they dumped the BCPL cruft!). Device driver writing is still easier under AmigaDOS than under Linux, despite the fact that device drivers run as separate tasks under AmigaDOS rather than being in the kernel proper, and the core multi-tasking kernel still kicks rear on task switch time and inter-process communications ability. The filesystem plugin capability was also great, though few people took advantage of it (filesystems could be "plugged in" to the system quite easily by dropping them into a particular directory). And AREXX did in 1987 what Microsoft only started trying to do in 1997 -- i.e., made all user interfaces scriptable.

    A derivative of AmigaOS would be great for tiny palmtops and etc that don't have MMU's. As a general purpose OS it's not so great nowdays due to lack of VM support, but being written for a non-MMU environment is actually an advantage when you're trying to make it run on some embedded processor that doesn't HAVE an MMU. Linux can be hacked to run in such environments, but not well. AmigaOS thrives in the non-MMU environment (well, as well as can be done in such an environment!), and its low resource usage means that you could get away with crappier hardware than with, say, WinCE (wince!).


  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Thursday October 21, 1999 @03:19AM (#1597558) Homepage Journal
    You can stab it, shoot it, poison it, drown it, and let the platform wither with neglect, but IT JUST WON'T DIE!!!!

    This isn't intended to be a troll (I really don't know the answer), but how much cool stuff was in Amiga anyways that we can't get out of today's operating systems? I know that Amiga was way ahead of it's time for 1985 (I, with my lowly Apple IIc, drooled with envy at my friend Ken's Amiga 1000), but wouldn't it be simpler at this point, technically speaking, to try and duplicate the Amiga's best features in Linux, BeOS, or MacOS X?

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by The Mighty Git ( 27891 ) on Thursday October 21, 1999 @03:50AM (#1597559)
    Why bother?

    Why does anyone ever bother? Because they find it fun.

    Why do some people renovate old cars? Do they believe that it'll really outperform a modern car?

    No. They are having fun, damn the usefullness of it.

    I would find it fun to poke around in the guts of the OS that I 'grew-up' on.

    And to all those people saying "it's so old and unless, we have all this new stuff now, and the Amiga is sooo old."

    Duh! That's _why_ we'd want it Open Sourced, then it can be altered to run on XYZ super hardware.

    "Ohhh, but Linux is already there", yeah, and a few years back you could have said "why bother with Linux, Amiga is already there".

    Do these people who ask such questions use anything old at all? Do they refuse to read old books because "they're so out of date, and they don't use modern book printing technology, and the paper is a bit yellow - so it must be useless".

    The Amiga was based on Tripos, a unix-alike, which is why familier things like crypt() crop up in the kernel, which is why it had proper multitasking. It _was_ unix with a GUI. Yes - it does have some major holes compared to current OS's - big gaping holes ----- so what's the best way to fix them? Yes, finally, are you seeing the light, are you catching on -- the best way to fix it is to Open Source it. If it were perfect then what would be the point?

    Yes, it's out of date, yes some people will find it fun to update it, and yes, some won't.

    Err, rant, rave, etc.
  • by gabrieltss ( 64078 ) on Thursday October 21, 1999 @03:59AM (#1597560)
    The complete 'C' source code for the Amiga's Intuition code was released to the public domain back in the late 1980's. It was released on the Copperstate PD disk series. I think it was either disk #14 or Disk #24. I have it on one of my DAT tapes. I still own two amiga 2000's. But you just can't get replacement hardware anymore. I hope they release the Source so the emulator writers can improve the amiga emulators. They just aren't good enough yet. I have tons of cool amiga software that I would love to run under an emulator under Linux.

    Open the Source!

    Maybe Microsoft can learn how a real operating system is written! (no offense to Linux).
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Thursday October 21, 1999 @04:00AM (#1597561) Homepage


    I'm as surprised as...well, I guess none of you have any reason to be surprised. But I've never owned an Amiga; hell, I've barely even seen one.

    OK, so I grew up drooling over the concept of having a pimped out Amiga system, and can completely identify with the rabidly loyal Amiga community(I had an Apple IIgs and lived in the city Applefest used to be held in. 'Nuff said.)

    And, now that I think about it, a very large proportion of the music I grew up listening to was downloaded to my IIgs via a 2400 baud modem, straight from Aminet sites. Ah, yes, the good old days of blasting data through *FSP*(does anyone else remember this beautiful little hack of a UDP protocol?) so I could get around FTP user limits...not to mention, downloading to my system that didn't even possess a hard drive! 800K floppiez, K-RAD 3133+...;-)

    No, but I think the real reason I've been loving Amiga's lately is this comic strip I found off of Memepool []--it's called Sabrina; the archives are here [], and this is undoubtedly one of the most dementedly weird strips I've ever seen.

    It's joined User Friendly and After Y2K(mmm..TTB...mmm...NTZC...) for "gotta read it" value. Imagine this strip about a bunch of Amiga-addict Anthropormophized Kitten/Skunk/Squirrels-Cum-Hot Chicks who have lives that traverse the range of Web Site Designer for Porno Director to pregnancy.

    I really can't describe how strange of a geek strip this is. It's definitely geek. It's obsessively geek. In someone else's hands, it'd be Geek Sold Out. In this guy's hands...just go. Go now.

    Oh, yeah. The Amiga. The point that the Amiga was an insanely efficient OS with 512K ram should be muted by the fact that there was significant amounts of extremely useful custom hardware embedded within that system. I think one of the slowest realizations the industry is going to eventually come to grips with is that general purpose processors are really f*cking slow at many tasks, at least compared to hardwired solutions.

    Just consider how many Pentium III's you'd need to match a Voodoo 3 at bilinearly filtering the texture coatings for large amounts of polygons.

    One of the major things I'm looking forward to seeing out of Transmeta is the degree to which they've bridged the specialty opcode vs. general purpose architecture divide that's somewhat divided the industry over the last few years. I'm tremendously interested, for example, in if we're going to see things like Routing and Firewall Opcodes dynamically programmable into the Transmeta CPU.

    If Transmeta doesn't do it, those guys with that mass FPGA programming language will. Sooner or later, we're going to have hardware morph itself into the configurations various applications and utilities require. Should be interesting to watch.

    What do you guys think?

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research


The absent ones are always at fault.