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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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

lancealot Member since:
2007-02-25

"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...

"I think they decided to use discontinued Mac hardware because more of that sold and is out there then any other PPC hardware I know if (except PS3 consoles if you consider that a desktop computer). If you have numbers showing other PPC hardware more available (in numbers and price), then by all means let me know. I think their goal was to hit the largest PPC hardware market MorphOS could run on, and that was discontinued Mac hardware. Yes I agree it is too bad they didn't support other PPC hardware also, maybe they felt resources were better used targeting a larger section of PPC hardware.


"[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 agree, "fully" compatible might have not been the best words. As you said they try to be as compatible as possible. I personally ran old Amiga software (Jabber client for example), and it worked fine. Usually I try to find a MorphOS version, and if not I fall back to an Amiga version. This approach has given me access to a lot of software to select from which is the point I was making when it came to amount of software available (where you hinted at there being very little).

As I said prior, on my Mac Mini PPC G4, it seems to run the leanest then either Linux or Mac OS X when I triple booted. So their mission seems to be valid in my use. Now would this be true if MorphOS ran on other CPU hardware, who knows.


" 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.

"Agreed if their goal is to run the current code on another CPU architecture.


"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.

"Huh!?!? As I stated several times before in my comments, in my personal opinion MorphOS ran faster and leaner then both Mac OS X and Linux on my Mac Mini PPC. Actually Linux was the worst by far and I tried different distributions and Window managers. So yes there is a point to running MorphOS on old Apple PPC hardware.

I think my argument is a good one. Basically I am saying in my tests on my old Mac PPC hardware, MorphOS ran the best. I wanted a retro type Amiga machine, that could at least run a web browser decently. It served my needs. If they ported the current MorphOS codebase to X86, I wouldn't dump Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows in favor of MorphOS. If you want MorphOS on X86 and would pay for the software, then good for you, I wouldn't. I will stick to Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows desktops on X86, and MorphOS on old PPC where it found a niche. If they make a MorphOS X86 that supports all the Linux/BSD software ports, has a clean and nice GUI that feels like MorphOS, and seamlessly has emulation (UAE using VMware Fusion integration), then I would consider using it, and even pay to support development of this.

If you think a cutting edge new X86 OS can make it (like a MorphOS X86 port), then I would use SkyOS as an example of a noble attempt that went nowhere.



"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.

"Yes I agree, I think MorphOS is a dead end road. As I said in my other post, a better option would be for them to make a MorphOS Linux (or BSD) distribution, with a emulation layer. That at least allows them to tap into all the existing Linux/BSD ports available.


"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.
"

[/q]I agree, they should have done this earlier for sure if they wanted a path forward. There is a end of life for MorphOS and AmigaOS as we now it, and it will always be a niche market for past Amiga users (like myself). MorphOS or AmigaOS will not be popular as a desktop OS unless it is based on something like Linux or BSD with a large software base. That is the only chance it has going forward.

If they want the approach of being fast and lean on the desktop (mobile area is dominated by Android in fast and lean), then they should do what Apple did, take a Linux/BSD core, and clean-up the GUI foundation. The lean, fast, and familiar interface can come by way of optimizing the GUI layer and make it looks like the familiar MorphOS (MUI) interface. I think they need to take the direction Apple took with Mac OS X.

Reply Parent Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

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

MorphOS and AmigaOS4 camps were kinda hostile to each other in the past... might be one of the reasons why they don't share efforts more.

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

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Use MorphOS as the basis because of its advanced kernel (with better support for multi-processor and multi-core systems)...


You sure about that? A good friend of mine had a conversation with someone from MorpOS and they don't support SMT (simultaneous multithreading). So what is your basis for saying that MorphOS supports multiprocessor/multi-core systems?

Reply Parent Score: 1