In a Suite101 editorial John Chandler writes about Eyetech’s upcoming AmigaOne PPC motherboard and that these will be open to alternative operating systems other than AmigaOS4 as well. The hardware design and availability should be as open and non-exclusive as possible. Hopefully many alternative OS developers/supporters will view the PowerPC Amiga platform as a safe heaven out of reach of current OS monopolies.
AmigaOne – Are you the One?
2002-05-02 Amiga & AROS 33 Comments
I think that it would be cool to build your own PowerPC computer. This is what I was hoping would happen when PREP was introduced years ago.
Is it for sale? Answer NO. Debugging will take at least 3 months. So why the
stirr up?? Besides the G3 is obsolete by the time of the release of AOne
there is a list of resellers, and many of them are evaluating the board
I wonder would there be an easy way of getting PPC BeOS working with this board?
Yet I think this should become the main target for the OpenBeOS team. I mean according to the FAQ the team also targets 12 year old (A3000) Amigas, I think targeting this hardware makes far more sense.
One thing about BeOS/OpenBeOS that boggles me a little is that BeOS5 application compatibility seems holy to the OpenBeOS team, while the biggest trouble with BeOS was the total lack of applications (despite being technologically a great OS, do tehy think this is going to change?). AmigaOS has a rabid developer community and over the years over 50 thousand software titles were written for it, so I do understand why the Amiga team wants to be as compatible as possible, but OpenBeOS? Is this really needed?
You answered your own question, but let me explain: if your OS has only a small amount of apps, keeping it only partially afloat, do you then toss those apps away? No. You try as much as possible to nurture the existing apps and cause more to grow.
Example: Gobe Productive: if OBOS comes out without binary compatibility, do you think that Gobe will be happy to recompile (or recode) Productive to work on an OS that they’ve pretty much had to move away from to survive as a business? Doubtful.
Now, if OBOS is a success and it brings more developers to “B eOS” then the future would likely allow for a point at which we ask developers to recompile their apps for a newer OS version (so we can transition to gcc 3, for example).
As I have been hunting for old-ish PPC Mac clones lately for my BeOS needs, I have also been looking at the Amigas of old. I’ve considered buying an Amiga 3000 or 4000 through eBay (or elsewhere) just to have a piece of history. Granted, $350 is a bit much for me to have a piece of history that doesn’t do much for me (I have no library of Amiga software or hardware to make use of).
I would love to see these new PPC boards come along and be supported by BeOS, Linux and Amiga OS. The trouble is that the inertial forces working against this in this economy are very harsh. Not just for the operating systems. The hardware faces more trials and tribulations. Early boards will not be competitively priced (compared to x86 stuff) and will need to be targeted at the existing Amiga market (small) and hobbiests like me (if we can afford such hobbies). Complete systems will doubtlessly be Mac-priced or higher (though anyone still holding on to their Amigas today is likely to be interested in buying a modern one).
Getting over the hump and reaching mass acceptance will be difficult and I fear may be impossible (at least if the market stays as it is, dominated by MS and Apple).
Anyway… I’m interested… If I can afford to be.
I believe the priority should not lie on BeOS compatibility per see. I believe they should try to implement the best features found in BeOS and re-implement them as best as possible. But where it makes sense break away from BeOS compatibility. Weren’t there good technological reasons like its threading meganism, why certain bigger applications were extremely hard to port to this platform? I don’t believe there are enough BeOS applications available to justify the effort of staying 100% compatible, certainly considering it will be 100% compatibility with some currently available applications anyway. Just a humble opinion though.
Certain NDAed Amiga developers already have developer boards. Apart from seeing pictures of a working AmigaOne motherboard running TurboLinux and screenshots of AmigaOS4 running natively on PPC hardware, what would you consider vapor? Keep in mind that the AmigaOne motherboard is already finished and Eyetech is mainly waiting for AmigaOS 4.0 to come out of the beta-testing/development process, before they release the consumer version.
I too would love to buy one of these PPC Amiga board/CPU combos.
Will I actually buy one for $600+ (US)??
Let’s just see what that would get me:
A dual CPU Athlon system, complete with two CPU’s, fans, and a motherboard.
About 400-500 GB’s worth of 7200RPM storage
2-3 Complete 1.2 Gigahertz systems (sans monitor)
A super nice wireless LAN setup with Access Point
About 2-3 used A3000 Amigas, more than likely with a ton of software as well.
2 really nice used 21″ monitors (3 19″ ones!)
And so on…
I mean, yeah, I’d love to have one of these boards to play with, but by cutting out the X86 support (Amithlon proves it can be done -Don’t even start arguing about custom chip sets and all!), they also cut out about 98% of all the hobbyists, and Amiga fans who have moved on after 10+ years of hollow promises from the Amiga camp.
Unless they re-focus their target audience, and/or drop the price on these puppies, this too will be short lived project, for which the Amiga is already too well known for.
True… You can throw out there “But you can run Linux and BeOS on it also!”, to which I reply “I already can run both of these faster than s**t on my x86 system.”
There’s always that hope that you could hack OSX onto one of these (and you should be able to based on some of the G3/OSX hacks that are on the Net), but still, you’ll be stuck with an underpowered, overpriced machine.
Hell… If Mac’s your thing, there’s a ton of similarly powered G3’s being sold on the Net all the time for a reasonable amount -Entire computers too, not just a motherboard and CPU.
I miss the Amiga, but the people who are currently behind it still are living in the past… You can argue all you want to that a PPC based machine is better than a comperable x86 one, but when you look at todays economy, the market, and the price of the hardware, it’s very apparent that most of your potential users for such a system are currently running x86 hardware. And it’s pretty likely that they’ll have the same feelings on the price of this that I’ve outlined above.
I hope that the manfacturers are listening… they’re putting a lot of effort into this, but I’m afraid that they’re going to fail hard unless they open their eyes rather quickly to the PC world of today.
I don’t believe that the AmigaOne motherboard really is that expensive. Note that you get things like a G3 CPU, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, AC97 and modem integrated with the board.
All additional hardware is just plain and ordinary mainstream PC hardware. An ATI Radeon graphic card for a PPC Amiga platform will be just as cheap/expensive as for an ordinary PC (Just <a href=”http://www.elbox.com/“>like using Voodoo3/4/5 cards with your old A3000/A4000 system), the same goes for other (USB/PCI/AGP/monitor/mices/etc) mainstream hardware you acquire, taking driver availability into account of course.
You could solely purchase a motherboard and build your own desktop system. Though local Amiga dealers would be happy to sell you a pre-made system.
Ha ha ha….
I thought you said “local Amiga dealers”.
That would have been funny.
>>Ha ha ha….
I thought you said “local Amiga dealers”.
That would have been funny.<<
I think he is talking about the Amiga dealers within your country!
I do agree that the price is a bit high for me to go buy one right now, but …
This first series of board is supposed to be a test, for the most part. Sure it will work fine, but it is mostly for developers and ‘hobbiests’ to get e feel for the new environment. OS4 isn’t even finished yet, and this seems to me to be primarily a way to spark interest again umongst the Amiga community. BTW 600 MHz is nothing to scoff at, and the price ($779 http://www.computing-extreme.com – 128 MB Ram/20GB HD/CDROM+Mobo integrated perif.) is not that bad when you look at comparable PPC options.
I think the thing I like the most thought is the choice. My reasoning is, the more chioces, the better. Consumers can get what they really want, and companies are challanged to provide better and better solutions. Compatition is good.
🙂 There still are little over a hundred authorized Amiga dealers left worldwide. For these small local companies it was hard to survive, considering that there weren’t many new Amiga products released these last years. Finally there are new products on the horizon for them! 🙂
Even as a once loyal PPC Mac developer guy, I know in my heart PPC is already irrelevant.
OBOS should ignore completely the PPC both Apple & Amiga HW. Apple will shaft anyone who tries to use their HW. Amigans can offer little support & both will be utterly overpriced. I would hope the exact opposite would happen, OSX & Amiga to use x86. I know the x86 is the worst possible cpu architecture ever to become so succesfull & the PPC surely desrves more market share, but the world is very unfair & x86 won.
I also heard the story that when Apple/SJ canned the clones, the PPC board business that Moto was all set to start up, left Moto with a million (?) PPC boards they couldn’t sell, that sure pissed Moto off so they threw all their Macs out the door. I don’t think the desktop PPC has a strong case.
Besides, the Hammer (Opteron) truly is the wickedest chip to come along, I just saw Amd presentations on upcoming technology (Hyper Transport, 2..3 Ghz etc), you can expect to see low cost easy SMP, not just 2 cpus, but more if you handle the heat etc. 75W/chip.
Also OBOS must stick with binary compatibility for several reasons, some already outlined
1) It just makes plain sense to use that not so small library at BeBits (about 2000+ items, some priceless, some junk). Ok it doesn’t include much commercial stuff, but the utilities are there.
2) Testing, only by running current apps will the OBOS bugs get worked out. If it doesn’t support current apps, it will be almost impossible to test it for true compatibility & it would be dead on arrival. It is well known in the SW industry that x lines of code will have y no of bugs. OBOS is in a great position to debug by swapping in single modules at a time and largely avoid cross dependant bugs.
3) The OBOS developer community has an incredible amount of good will behind it, no binary compatibility, & that will just evaporate. Few developers are going to show up if they have to start over. JLG already pissed off enough developers, OBOS doesn’t need to do that again.
My 2 bits
Prototypes are always expensive to produce, hence the somewhat high price tag. If and when these motherboards come in volume production their cost to manufacture will go down and so will the retail price.
I’m starting to like the Machintosh, and I think another PowerPC platform on the market will actually help Apple. A second PPC platform might give IBM & Motorola an incentive to push development of PPC processors for desktop usage. Motorola’s attention is with embedded processors for embedded devices right now, they need to take another look at what they’re doing on the desktop. If AmigaOne succeeds, we’ll see competition in the family like the kind observed in the x86 family: Intel vs. AMD.
>>I don’t believe that the AmigaOne motherboard really is that expensive. Note that you get things like a G3 CPU, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, AC97 and modem integrated with the board. <<
Ah AC97 the chip that is supported but doesn’t work right for beos. Very minor thing but just seams like slap in the face to having a PPC beos box with it. Like a cruel joke.
…is right on the money! I also believe that with Amiga coming out help spur some much needed competition between IBM and Motorola which will in effect push development on PowerPC technology. I am willing to adopt the Amiga as my alternative platform and keep my Mac (or Macs I shall say) as my main platform.
I am hoping things will look bright for Amiga in the short distant future, and Mike Bouma’s prediction is right!
Do you really think you could sell so many Amigas that IBM and Moto get into a competition ? I mean for that you have to sell a lot more machines than Apple, otherwise it’s to expensive to make the research like AMD or Intel.
I hope that the Amiga is selling well, but I think it will never sell as many machines per month as Apple.
Perhaps I shoudln’t have said “competition”, instead use the word “interest”. CattBeMac had said: “I also believe that with Amiga coming out help spur some much needed competition between IBM and Motorola…” I think he and I meant to say is “spur some much needed INTEREST from IBM and Motorola”. I don’t know how those companies are doing financially, but given the resources they already have, they could make great improvements to their desktop PowerPC chips.
Because Machintoshes are currently the only wide spread, desktop computer to use PowerPC CPUs, perhaps IBM and Motorola don’t see a potential for that market and therefore focus their resources more on other things. Adding Amiga to the game would make desktop PowerPC systems more interesting. It will all depend on how much support the new Amiga receives from the industry. People will start to ask “Why choose Amiga? How is it going to be better than Windows or even MacOS?” Obviously they’re not bringing Amiga back solely for the sake of having another PowerPC computer.
IMHO: AmigaOneG3-SE is mainly meant for existing users, developers and for those extreme computer hobbyist who try everything.
Something cheaper or something a lot more powerfull is needed to get more signifficant market.
And I think also AmigaInc knows that very well…
Currently there just is not any money for Amiga HW R&D.
>>Currently there just is not any money for Amiga HW R&D.<<
That is why Amiga Inc. wanted the AmigaONE board to be an open platform, and make it easy for other hardware developers to adapt and make products for or with it. Rather than spend money on R&D like Apple does, Amiga Inc. leaves that to other companies, while Amiga Inc. will just forcus on the OS and embedded OS.
The AmigaOne and AmigaOS4 is mainly targeted at (ex-)Amiga owners and other alternative OS geeks. PPC AmigaOS targets exactly the same user/developer community as Be Inc did when they rolled out the BeBox. So at first it is certainly going to be a niche platform. But judging the Amiga community from my personal experience over the years, I expect the community to support this platform to its limits.
The Amiga community is notorious for staying alive and developing new solutions against all odds. Now Amiga developer community is in the position, where it delivers software solutions to multi-billion dollar companies. The AmigaDE is a revolutionary new technology which has huge potential and will add new exciting possibilities to the Amiga desktop platform also. Meanwhile more and more people are becoming aware of how current OS monopolists abused their position to stiffle competitors and technological advancements over the years. The time may be just right to start a clean new and open platform solution.
Yeah my wording was a little off, TLy summed it up correctly. I think that having 2 Desktop platforms supporting PPC than just 1 would be ideal for Motorola and IBM to get off their arse and get us what we want, PowerPC is an awesome technology being mismanaged into the ground by a less than clear vision (mostly by Motorola). I think IBM is trying to push PowerPC with their weird experiments, so maybe something will pan out with their mad science 🙂
One thing people should have learned from the classic Amiga platform is that the CPU is not the one and only important component to determine multimedia performance and overall responsiveness of the system. Sadly modern day consumers mainly look at the Mhz/Ghz tag on the box to determine its performance.
Just comparing a 25 Mhz A4000/040 with any 25 Mhz PC clone would make anyone understand that clockspeed solely, is no good way to determine the overall performance of a machine. The operating system and graphic chipset are in my opinion far more important components for multimedia applications. Current PPC chips will be sufficient for almost any task thinkable, for which the average user is interested in. Do users need a Ghz CPU to write emails, surf the internet, listen to MP3s, watch movies or use a spreadsheet? I don’t think so!
Although I do agree that mainstream OS developments do amaze us at times with the ability to make us feel the need for even more raw computing power to just do simple things, this due to unexpected slowness or hickups. This is a problem with the OSes and some very inefficiently written programs and are not problems caused by the raw computing power of our hardware.
Some people have brought up some more misconceptions about the AmigaOne again which need correcting.
1. They are being evaluated by dealers
Nope. In order to evaluate boards the dealers would first have to receive them. Despite ordering back in March no dealers have an A1 G3 and none are expected to arrive until the end of next week at the earliest.
2. These high prices are temporary
Nope. In fact the initial run of boards are *cheaper* than those which will be bought by ordinary customers, presumably subsidised by a desperate Eyetech/AInc. G3s are more expensive than would be justified in a competitive market and these are custom motherboards hence high manufacturing costs.
3. They are comparable to modern PCs
Depends on what you call ‘modern’. If a mid-range PII is still ‘modern’ to you then sure, but for those of us who actually buy new hardware every three years the G3 is already obsolete.
#1 is news to me.
#2 has me a little worried.
#3 I saw that one coming. There will be G4 mobos later on, but if delivery of these G3s are still sketchy, there’s little hope for the G4s.
As far as comparing them to modern PCs, even “modern” Macs sometimes have trouble keeping up with modern PCs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the AmigaONE face the same problem.
>>As far as comparing them to modern PCs, even “modern” Macs sometimes have trouble keeping up with modern PCs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the AmigaONE face the same problem.<<
You mean keeping up with the modern and trendy acronyms like DDR and etc…
I am not sweating that one bit 🙂
“3. They are comparable to modern PCs
Depends on what you call ‘modern’. If a mid-range PII is still ‘modern’ to you then sure, but for those of us who actually buy
new hardware every three years the G3 is already obsolete. ”
So is the G4.
Amiga users want unique, advanced hardware as well as a good OS.
Unfortunately, nobody has the billion-dollar budget that would be
needed to make a hardware leap. So people are clinging to the belief
that the PPC CPU, which was the latest thing 8 years ago, is still
Amiga users have to accept that right now, only the OS is unique and
(in many ways) advanced. For now, the only practical thing is to run
it on whatever hardware is around. That means, to me, standard
AMD/Intel based motherboards.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to run it on PPC too, for those who
already have PPC-equipped Amiga hardware, and even offering a PPC
based motherboard for those people makes sense. But they have to
accept a major loss in performance.
>>But they have to accept a major loss in performance.<<
Take a major performance loss compared to what… x86? Yeah I have heard that FUD before, I think Amiga made the right choice going to PPC, because the x86 is overhyped, overmarketed and overclocked. The x86 ISA is getting long in the tooth. I can’t blame Intel to try and make all the revenue they can on old tech, helk we do it all the time in the satellite industry, if a satellite has a design life of 15 years, and at the end of that 15 years there is enough fuel and battery life performance left, you keep it in orbit until it’s time to de-orbit, we already have 2 sateliites flying years beyond their design life, and that is only adding value to an already longterm investment. The great thing about the PowerPC technology is that it has been ahead of x86 since day one, and other than the last 6 months (to maybe a year) where Intel and AMD have had an upperhand in performance over Motorola and IBM offerings, it’s not going to last forever, just like the PowerPC’s upperhand didn’t last forever. I have more faith in PPC than x86, but that is because I have seen both in action and seen the pros and cons of their ways on a daily basis now. AMD and Intel should enjoy the fruits of their hardwork, they deserve it… but don’t count Motorola and IBM out or spread immature FUD over the PowerPC techno, because it is only going to get better and better!
Everyhing is obsolete.
Nothing is redundant.
It looks like most people seem to think that the computing industry is very advanced and that the x86/Windows legacy software monopoly direction is going to preveal for ever and always. Believe me, this is not true, we still are making our first baby steps with regard to general computing. Microsoft may try to kill all competition before we move away from x86, they will be the only ones left able to make this step. They will not succeed at this though. 🙂
If the current OS monopolist wouldn’t have been so overprotective, about their software monopoly and so determined to destroy viable competitive solutions, we would have had far more efficient/smaller processors, more responsive and compatible solutions today.
Regardless the current vision of one CPU being the major factor of increasing overall system performance is not going to preveal. Multiprocessing and distributed computing will in my opinion offer far more efficient solutions in the future. However computing performance will go beyond More’s predictions. The only thing which is needed is an operating environment which can make many different CPUs/OSes/Systems properly cooperate with eachother. Also a solution which is designed to take advantage of whatever processing solution is offered in the future.
Some Japanese companies and the Tao Group have a very clear and promising vision with regard to this. The Japanese are already doing key research with regard to (heterogeneous)multi-processing and distributed computing, not for nothing do the Japanese now have access to the most powerful supercomputer solution ever made.
Here’s a question: Why don’t Intel create x86 compatible processors for PDAs or future cellphones. The answer is simple the ratio between: costs, size, efficiency and performance. A desktop system has alot more space and can also offer space to huge fans keeping the processor cool. PDAs/Smartphones etc need far more elegant solutions. Currently x86 legacy compatibility by far outweighs the need for compactness, efficiency and performance on desktop systems.
Think like if you were the CEO of Intel for a moment (let’s say 2 years ago). Would you invest 1 billion dollars of investment in a solution which will double the performance of a x86 compatible solution or would you invest this money in the development in a new solution (incompatible with both x86 and PPC) which will offer 3 times the performance of current top desktop CPUs, at a smaller size and producing less heat?
If you have any business sense you will probably have chosen for x86 compatibility instead of a much better CPU. Currently most applications are tied to Windows and desktop Windows is tied to x86, just like Microsoft wants it to be. Java was dangerous for their monopoly and Microsoft halted its success on the desktop, but within the embedded market Sun still is very successful. Microsoft knows that they can’t hold back the entire industry forever. New solutions and better visions will eventually have the upper hand. 🙂