posted by Eugenia Loli on Wed 11th Dec 2002 19:06 UTC
IconThis weekend was the official launch of a brand new platform, by Genesi. New platforms are rare these days, so this one is something to watch out for. MorphOS is a fully 32bit, pre-emptively multi-tasking operating system for the PowerPC range of CPUs, and is included with each Pegasos motherboard sold. We have some information about the system, three screenshots, and we also talked to Nicholas Blachford, Eclipsis project manager about MorphOS.

Here is the MorphOS platform at a glance:

  • Native PowerPC Operating System

  • Supports Pegasos and Amigas fitted with PowerUP cards

  • Runs Native PPC and Amiga OS (to v3.1) RTG Applications

  • 68K JIT compiler runs applications at up to 75% of native PPC speed

  • Hardware 3D support (3dfx, 3DLabs, SiS + more to come)

  • New Ambient Desktop with 24 bit colour support

  • Fully Skinnable user interface

  • MUI Object Orientated GUI Toolkit

  • Media Player (Frogger)

  • Multi-threaded Image viewer (MysticView)

  • Web browser (Voyager)

  • PDF viewer (APDF)

  • Built in Software Development Kit

  • AHI Audio

  • USB Support

  • Multiple 64 bit Filesystems supported including FFS2 & SFS
  • Click for a larger version

    Pegasos MicroATX Mainboard with:

  • 600 MHz PowerPC G3 (to Dual PowerPC G4)

  • 133 MHz processor slot

  • VIA SouthBridge

  • 2 PC133 RAM sockets (up to 2 Gbytes)

  • AGP X2 slot

  • 3 PCI slots, optional Riser Card.

  • Firewire (IEEE1394) to 400 Mbit data transfer rate

  • 10/100 Mbit Ethernet connector

  • 2 USB connectors + 2 headers

  • Built in Audio (Mic input, line in/out and headphone connectors)

  • SPDIF Audio out

  • IRDA connector for infra-red remote control

  • ATA100 with two channels for up to four ATA devices

  • PS/2 mouse connector

  • RS232 (serial) port

  • Parallel (Centronics) port

  • Floppy drive connector

  • Gameport for PC-compatible joysticks

  • OpenFirmware based BIOS

  • MorphOS and Debian Linux included

  • Low Power consumption: Low Noise
  • Multiple Operating systems supported: MorphOS, Debian Linux, SUSE Linux

  • More info about technical details, read here.

    1. Is a port of MacOnLinux emulator a possibility for Morphos in order to run MacOS9/X?

    Nicholas Blachford: Hmm, this is a difficult one because Appleís EULA forbids you from running their OS on a different platform. If someone wants to port it they can feel free but I donít know if itís something we can get involved in. On the other hand weíve heard BeOS PPC might run on MacOnLinux and we are actively investigating this. That said MOL does run on the Pegasos Hardware (we supply Debian Linux along with MorphOS).

    2. Is a port of MorphOS to x86 planned?

    Nicholas Blachford: Not at the moment. I would be interested to see some version available under x86 though even if it was just under emulation, that would allow x86 users to see what MorphOS was capable of.

    3. What are the media capabilities of MorphOS? These days people crave for video editors, digital camera support, USB 2, Firewire...

    Nicholas Blachford: We supply a very capable media player built in called Frogger which handles dozens of Audio and Visual formats including of course MP3s. There is TV card support built in.

    There is also third party Multimedia support for: Digital Cameras. A DV video editor is in the works called Motion Studio. Analogue Video was very big on the Amiga (and still used to this day) and this too is in the works.

    Click for a larger version

    4. To which audience MorphOS is targeted exactly?

    Nicholas Blachford: At the moment our market is ďAlternative ComputingĒ starting with current and Ex Amiga users, it provides a very similar feel and runs a lot of their software via a 68K emulator (provided it doesnít access the custom chips). There was and is a great deal of software available some of which has never appeared on any other system so this provides a body of mature software for users to work with, somewhat unusual for a brand new platform.

    Going forward we are up against Windows, MacOS and Linux. We havenít a hope attacking these markets so we intend to target different niches, there are many specific markets out there which are not dependant on Windows or Unix, they may use one of these Operating Systems but the computers primary purpose in these cases is for use as a tool and we can address these markets, looking at what they need and providing it.

    Even then we canít stand still, we have to provide advanced and unique technology if we want to survive. So we have other products in development based on our existing technologies such as the Eclipsis which is a powerful convergence device which combines the worlds of Phone, PDA and Laptop and still fits in your pocket.

    On the other hand our hardware is an open platform and we are actively looking for other Operating Systems. We ship with MorphOS and Debian Linux and we are talking to other OS writers / vendors (Gentoo, Mandrake, NetBSD, OpenBSD etc.). We also hope to get Zeta and OpenBeOS working at some point.

    Table of contents
    1. "MorphOS, Part I"
    2. "MorphOS, Part II"
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