"I consider stability to be an area in which most modern operating systems have improved over the older generation. Some people seem to have a different memory of these things than I but I seem to remember that my RISC OS, Amiga OS and OS/2 based machines would crash quite often."
And I stand by that, it would take quite a lot to convince me that a modern AmigaOS could archive the level of stability that most people have to come to expect while still being based on a design model that does not feature extensive memory protection.
On the one hand, the overall architecture of the OS is, in some respects, Unix-like which eases the efforts of programmers porting applications. On the other hand, the Amiga GUI system doesn't make any concessions towards compatibility with anything else. So, full GUI apps will take a lot of work to port and command line and server type apps less work.
Over the years, the graphics and sound APIs have been updated so that modern applications are no longer tied to the legacy hardware. Amiga OS is also small and fast. Amiga OS has a dedicated community of users and hobbyist developers. The size of this community and their loyalty are a huge asset that should be included in any assessment of the viability of the platform.
In my opinion, the viability of a new AmigaOS hinges on the one Achilles heal of the entire OS, that of the stability and security problems raised by the lack of proper memory protection. It seems quite possible that if a viable, architecturally sound AmigaOS could be created in the near future, a substantial user-base and developer base are guaranteed.
The AROS project is an attempt to create an open source, portable implementation of AmigaOS. It aims for feature set roughly equivalent to that of AmigaOS 3.1. As it is largely source code compatible, Amiga applications can be recompiled for the OS or run under the AROS port of the UAE Amiga emulator. This high degree of compatibility at the source code level is a mixed blessing as it means that the OS has to make some concessions towards the legacy deficiencies of the original Amiga OS. For example, the FAQ has this to say on the subject of memory protection.
Several hundred Amiga experts (that's what they thought of themselves at least) tried for three years to find a way to implement memory protection (MP) for AmigaOS. They failed. You should take it as a fact that the normal AmigaOS will never have MP like Unix or Windows NT.
However, it should be noted that they do present, in the FAQ, some ideas to work around this lack.
There is good overview/review of the OS in this OSNews article.
And another overview on Wikipedia.
MorphOS is another attempt to create a Amiga-like operating system. It aims for good source code level compatibility with AmigaOS applications. The development uses a combination of open source components with proprietary closed source development. The OS is tied to the PPC platform and can run on either the special Pegasos [see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasos ] hardware or original hardware Amigas which are equipped with PPC accelerator cards.
See also the wikipedia page.
About the Author:
Once, at school, Mike attempted to explain why Amigas were better than Spectrums to a member of the opposite sex; he's regretted it ever since. Check out his website to learn more about his never finished writing and music projects.
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