Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 18th Dec 2013 00:11 UTC
Morphos

The MorphOS development team is proud to announce the public release of MorphOS 3.4, which introduces faster R300 graphics drivers, improved video playback on G5-based systems, support for non-native display resolutions on various PowerBooks, screen blanker password protection, and numerous bug fixes and other improvements. For an overview of the included changes, please read our release notes.

Some serious improvements in there. Their market is probably small, but they release new versions at a relatively stable pace. One of the very few alternative operating systems that has managed to survive over the years where so many others fell.

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jockm
Member since:
2012-12-22

From what I can tell, it seems like MorphOS only runs on discontinued Apple products, and discontinued Gensi products.

Taking my personal feelings and previous comments and put them aside, and looking at this objectively; this just doesn't bode well.

Were I on the MorphOS team I would be lobbying heavily to make the OS portable so it can run on x86 and/or ARM. Running MorphOS on a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone is much more attractive than running on legacy hardware.

Reply Score: 1

lancealot Member since:
2007-02-25

From what I can tell, it seems like MorphOS only runs on discontinued Apple products, and discontinued Gensi products.

Taking my personal feelings and previous comments and put them aside, and looking at this objectively; this just doesn't bode well.

Were I on the MorphOS team I would be lobbying heavily to make the OS portable so it can run on x86 and/or ARM. Running MorphOS on a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone is much more attractive than running on legacy hardware.


Yes that is correct, it runs on discontinued Apple products because it needs a PPC CPU to run and be fully compatible with many old Amiga programs. The Mac Mini G4 I have was discontinued in 2006. Development started on MorphOS back in like 2000, and continued while there was still a chance of PPC going somewhere. They originally wanted to make it for old PPC boards for Amiga's and custom PPC products like Genesi. Of course we know how that whole PPC story turned out.

I think going into recent times they realized it is too much work to port to X86. Even if they did, would anyone really use it with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux being available? I personally think it would be a waste of time for them to do a full port of the current MorphOS codebase to X86. Instead I think they decided to continue PPC support since the OS was engineered for PPC, and it continues to appease the current Amiga and PPC Mac fans.

If they wanted to develop an MorphOS X86 like experience with limited amount of time, they should just make a really good MorhpOS Linux distribution. Basically they could make a windows manager that runs on Linux, but incorporates an MorhpOS look (MUI) and feel, and totally integrates UAE (so it runs seamless). The GUI would look and feel just like MorphOS, but could run all the Linux applications plus the old Amiga/MorphOS apps using emulation. Both applications (linux and uae) would run in GUI windows that look and behave exactly the same (like what VMware Fusion does on Mac OS X with virtual machines). So it would be a seamless environment where Linux and Amiga/MorphOS apps run side by side. That is the realistic direction I think MorphOS or AmigaOS should take if they want to make it to X86 using the least amount of resources and time, and have a chance at a decent userbase. The closest thing to this type of setup was Mac OS X Snow Leopard, when it ran new X86 apps, plus ran the old Mac OS X PPC applications seamless. Actually I still use Snow Leopard and still think it is the best Mac OS X OS for the desktop. Most every OS after Snow Leopard was more to look and behave like iOS, and support power saving features.

Another possible direction if they wanted something more unique then using Linux, would be to use DragonFly BSD as the base for the next OS, since it is actually developed by a old Amiga user. DragonFly BSD with a good MorphOS or Amiga based windows manager would be fun to use.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Yes that is correct, it runs on discontinued Apple products because it needs a PPC CPU...They originally wanted to make it for old PPC boards for Amiga's and custom PPC products like Genesi.


I think you are missing my point. We can argue if PPC is an evolutionary dead end or not, but there is other PPC hardware out there. But MorphOS ONLY runs on on discontinued hardware.

This does not give me warm fuzzy feelings.

And it seems silly that they don't support the AmigaOne X1000. It may be niche and expensive. But it is still in production...

[it]needs a PPC CPU to run and be fully compatible with many old Amiga programs.


I don't think anyone says MorpOS is fully compatible, but let us say as compatible as possible and call it good.

But if you read the comments on just about every MorphOS post on OSNews, the bulk of the MorpOS website, and every MorphOS fan I have encountered; they aren't really running old Amiga Software.

They argue that is a fast and lean OS that gives new life to lower power hardware. That mission does not require PPC at all.

I think going into recent times they realized it is too much work to port to X86.


Which was a problem from the start. Portable OSs have been the vogue for decades, and the Amiga transition from 68K to PPC should have taught even them that platforms change.

They chose not to make a portable OS and are paying the price for it now.

Even if they did, would anyone really use it with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux being available?


Well Linux is available for PPC and all the Apple products MorphOS supports. By that logic there isn't much point in running MorphOS on Apple.

I am not trying to logically trap you, I just don't think the argument is a good one. Again the features I see people talking about are it being fast and lightweight.

I personally think it would be a waste of time for them to do a full port of the current MorphOS codebase to X86. Instead I think they decided to continue PPC support since the OS was engineered for PPC, and it continues to appease the current Amiga and PPC Mac fans.


So then the clock is running out for MorphOS then. It won't be that many years before it will start becoming hard to find Apple PPC hardware. It will have an increasingly hard time attracting new users which is the only thing that will fuel new development... unless they go open source.

If they wanted to develop an MorphOS X86 like experience with limited amount of time, they should just make a really good MorhpOS Linux distribution.


One could argue that is perhaps what they should have done in the first place, but with filesystems, and an API layer to support Amiga compatibility... but that approach would defeat the fast and lean thing.

But it really does come down to one thing: unless they support hardware that is still in production, the clock is going to run out on MorphOS sooner much rather than later. All the same arguments can be made about AmigaOS as well.

The world is (and will continue to be) dominated by a couple of major platforms. However there is most definitely a place for alternative operating systems, but they simply can't run on legacy hardware alone.

Edited 2013-12-21 02:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

xfce_fanboy Member since:
2013-04-09

Another possible direction if they wanted something more unique then using Linux, would be to use DragonFly BSD as the base for the next OS, since it is actually developed by a old Amiga user. DragonFly BSD with a good MorphOS or Amiga based windows manager would be fun to use.


I definitely agree that DragonflyBSD should be the basis for a next-gen Amiga! I've toyed with this OS a little bit and it definitely needs a lot more polishing before it's ready for desktop computing; it seems like a task that would take forever to accomplish unless a commercial software vendor took up the task. Porting the hosted version of AROS from FreeBSD to DragonFlyBSD should be straightforward, so there'd be a way to maintain compatibility with programs from the days of Amiga OS 3.1 and prior. DragonflyBSD has a lot of potential as an OS for servers and supercomputing, regardless of whether it is used for a next-gen Amiga.

Porting MorphOS to x86 seems like it'd be redundant with what AROS has already accomplished. MorphOS is the more advanced OS, but AROS has already achieved the goal of running Amiga software on x86 hardware.

IMHO, the best way ahead for the Amiga-PPC community is for Hyperion (Amiga OS4) and MorphOS to combine efforts under the banner of Amiga OS 5. Use MorphOS as the basis because of its advanced kernel (with better support for multi-processor and multi-core systems) and merge the two API's for compatibility with old software. Port the drivers for Amiga-PPC systems like x1000 and SAM over to the new OS. But I suspect personalities will get in the way of practical decisions for saving the Amiga-PPC platform.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Intuition Member since:
2013-05-28

From what I can tell, it seems like MorphOS only runs on discontinued Apple products, and discontinued Gensi products.

Taking my personal feelings and previous comments and put them aside, and looking at this objectively; this just doesn't bode well.

Were I on the MorphOS team I would be lobbying heavily to make the OS portable so it can run on x86 and/or ARM. Running MorphOS on a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone is much more attractive than running on legacy hardware.


MorphOS 3.4 running on an Acube SAM460 motherboard.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/1410816_33695...

"MorphOS NG" is currently under discussion by the MorphOS Team and will most likely be for ARM or AMD64. From what little i know of it, it will probably break source and binary compatibility with Amiga software though.

If you don't want to shell out for MorphOS and some PPC hardware then you can use AROS on your existing x86 hardware. It's much faster obviously but not quite as polished as MorphOS.

http://www.icarosdesktop.org

Reply Parent Score: 2

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

[MorphOS 3.4 running on an Acube SAM460 motherboard.


Very interesting, but can I point out that isn't on the supported hardware list: http://www.morphos.de/hardware

So I will amend my statement, they don't officially support it on anything but discontinued hardware. Still doesn't give me warm and fuzzies.

MorphOS NG" is currently under discussion by the MorphOS Team and will most likely be for ARM or AMD64.


Link? I Just did a number of searches and could find references to speculation, but nothing that said anyone actually knew anything.

From what little i know of it, it will probably break source and binary compatibility with Amiga software though.


Binary sure — for PPC — unless they are doing some kind of JIT or AOT PPC compilation. Source would be a more complicated story. The 68K and PPC chips in question are all Big Endian (or are configured to be Big Endian); x86 and ARM are Little Endian (or are configured to be Little Endian).

68K code would continue to be handled by the AROS portions of MorphOS, and should be fine (probably).

Some code would break in such a transition, code that tries to read directly from the hardware assuming bit order, or read or write files serializing data structures directly.

It is hard to say what percentage of apps would just compile and run, but I bet a majority would. It really depends on how defensive the coders were. But even the ones that don't should be relatively easy to port (if the developers have the will).
[/q]

If you don't want to shell out for MorphOS and some PPC hardware then you can use AROS on your existing x86 hardware. It's much faster obviously but not quite as polished as MorphOS.


Missing my point. I am not saying I want to run some Amiga like thing, I am talking about MorphOS specifically. I don't have an interest in running old Amiga software (that ship sailed for me a very long time ago), and if I did I would just use UAE — for the ilk of software I might care about.

No, the reason I might be interested in MorphOS is the first thing I hear everyone say about it: it is fast, light, and polished... which are the reasons I might be interested in it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

From what I can tell, it seems like MorphOS only runs on discontinued Apple products

Which makes the hardware quite easily available and inexpensive, as far as recent ~Amiga hardware goes. :p

Were I on the MorphOS team I would be lobbying heavily to make the OS portable so it can run on x86 and/or ARM.

They likely couldn't do it, too many Amiga-isms to port over. Plus, large part of Amiga community seems to have an irrational hatred of x86...
We always have AROS going forward.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Which makes the hardware quite easily available and inexpensive, as far as recent ~Amiga hardware goes. :p


But for how much longer? I think we are past the tipping point, and Apple PPC hardware is going to become harder to find, and start failing.

If their only plan (and I am not saying it is) is just to run on someone else's discontinued hardware they only have a handful of years to go.

They likely couldn't do it, too many Amiga-isms to port over. Plus, large part of Amiga community seems to have an irrational hatred of x86...
We always have AROS going forward.


Well they aren't dependant on any Amiga hardware so they just have to port the hardware layer, deal with endian-ness, and run on a single core (for now). I am not saying it is easy, but it isn't rocket science.

But honestly if they don't port to something — and it doesn't have to be x86, it could easily be ARM — then they have no future.

Reply Parent Score: 1