Eight new preview AmigaOS4 screenshots have been released, demonstrating some of the default GUI customizability. However should be noted, none of these new screenshots yet show the default AmigaOS 4.0 appearance. However “In the end, it is you that will decide what your AmigaOS 4.0 looks like…”. Consumer AmigaOne boards will be delivered before Christmas, with the AmigaOne version of AmigaOS4 following shortly after them. The official mainstream launch of these new AmigaOS4/AmigaOne computers will be at CeBit in Germany, to be held March 2003.
New AmigaOS4 Screenshots
2002-11-22 Amiga & AROS 72 Comments
and that this isn’t the default theme but highlighting screenshots that use a denim pattern and clouds as background images doesn’t do much to impress potential customers. It seems that every screen shot has a repulsive color scheme, a background image that seemed like a good idea 10 years ago (but clearly wasn’t), and all the windows skinned with no sense of uniformity. Great, it illustrates that everything is changable. We realized that with the first set of shots. But please, for the love of god and all things holy, show us a screenshot that makes all this custumizability (that’s probably not a word) look USEFUL!
But otherwise, good work. Keep the dream alive!!
Unfortunately, I will have to agree with Krammit. The Amiga team need (desperately) a UI designer/artist. These colors, background images and all, are just repulsive indeed, they get on the way. The UI does not feel “clean”. And the fact that this is “customizable” does not matter one bit. The defaults matter! Amiga should fix these issues and make it look professional, not like it got tweaked by a 15-year old.
As you can read in one of the links, neither Amiga Inc, Eyetech nor Hyperion will have a booth at the upcoming Amiga Messe in Germany. This is due alot of AmigaDE, AmigaOS4 and AmigaOne activity taking place behind the scenes. Full presence at this 2 day fair, would take too much of their precious time.
However Hyperion may do an AmigaOS4 presentation at the fair, if they find enough spare time that is, so stay tuned. More info about this fair: http://www.amiga-messe.de/
However there will be plenty of other stuff being released and demonstrated at this fair as well.
Among these the Catweasel MK3 PCI/Flipper board – which will allow AmigaOne, Pegasos, Classic Amigas and even ordinary PCs to read just about any disk format using ordinary mainstream diskdrives, connect digital c64/Amiga/Atari joysticks, connect Amiga keyboards or even add a real c64 SID soundchip’.
Here’s a picture:
Also the Deathbed Vigil DVD will be released containing behind the scenes coverages by Dave Haynie about the happenings at Amiga when Commodore bankrupted.
Apparently not everyone knows that the GUI will be largely configurable. These screenshots are even partly intentionally using repulsive color schemes and textures, this to emphasize the customizability and make sure people don’t think this will in any way be the default GUI.
There are several excellent graphics artists working on the GUI art. Maybe the Amiga team will soon release some of this, but it may currently not have be the best time to release them, as others could copy these or the team may still want to add some final touches.
It is not just the colors… Closely looking at the shots, I saw two kind of scrollbars, same but with different colors. The fact that some windows were using the one color scrollbar and the others were using the other color suggest that these were not simply focused/unfocused scrollbars, but truly derived from different widgets. I think there is a consistency issue there. 😮
First thing I thought when looking at the shots: Ugly fonts! By now, almost all of the apps I use are Xft 2-enabled. What a difference. I rebooted into Win2k, I couldn’t believe the difference! Xft 2 and LCDs sure make a good combo.
Nifty looking OS, though. Now, is this the AmigaOS that runs on top of QNX on PPC or x86 chips, or is it something different again? Can I put it on my Athlon laptop? The website seemed to only mention 68k and PPC, so I’m guessing not…
Are any of you actually running AmigaOS? Is it fast? Faster than BeOS? How about apps? Any real web browsers, NFS, smb, ssh etc?
> I think there is a consistency issue there. 😮
No, Eugenia, that’s a feature. You can completely customize the GUI for each application seperately! That’s what they are trying to show you.
This feature is very popular among AmigaOS fans as some applications just don’t show up nicely like other some other applications do, while using different themes.
> First thing I thought when looking at the shots: Ugly
The Amiga team have a very good font-engine (FTManager) based on the open-source Freetype project. They have licensed some great looking Agfa fonts for AmigaOS4, stay tuned.
> Now, is this the AmigaOS that runs on top of QNX on PPC
> or x86 chips, or is it something different again?
This is a PPC version of AmigaOS using the ExecSG kernel (AmigaOS kernel). This kernel is extremely fast but offers many new, more modern features. The kernel offers better response times than even QNX!
>No, Eugenia, that’s a feature.
I am sorry Mike, but I find this as a really bad feature when looking at the big picture. Less is better. This is why OSX does not want you to customize anything, and even Windows did not support much customization out of the box until recently (theming developers had to resort to hacks). I believe that creating such an incosistency on a per-app basis, even if intentional, is ultimately a bad thing for the platform, not a good thing. No matter if it might sound cool to some people, changing the behavior/look of individual apps can never be good overall.
> No matter if it might sound cool to some people,
> changing the behavior/look of individual apps can never
> be good overall.
I do not agree, it work pretty well on AmigaOS. Just keep in mind that you don’t *have* to use all these features!
Here’s are some screenshots of YAM, an email client:
You can easily change toolbars, icons, textures, etc with most Amiga application since the early nineties. AmigaOS is famous (and much loved by its users) because of such unique GUI freedom, must we give all this up (while you don’t have to use this functionality), while this sets us apart from the rest of the offerings?
However IMO, the top 3 benefits for using AmigaOS, will be:
1) High efficiency, low bloat, responsive OS.
2) Modular, logical, understandable design and structure.
3) High degree of user customization options.
>Full presence at this 2 day fair, would take too much of their precious time.
Exactly! And we don’t want them to miss the Cebit release because of some small
Retro fair, do we? %-)
When I visit OSNews, my IE scrollbar look and feel suddenly changes from the standard. The scroll buttons are no longer raised, and it’s this odd green color.
I think these features are good, if only advanced users are confronted with them. If these options are placed in front of non-Amiga fans and first-time end-users, they will be confused and uncomfortable.
If I understand Eugenia’s comments, I think she may be suggesting that the Amiga marketing and design departments get together and focus on One Unified Default Look that can be the “new look” of Amiga OS that users see on the advertizing, websites, package images and the OS on first boot. Something that can be identified and recognized and that is entirely consistent from app to app and window to window.
I think this is a good idea. I also see that it may be that the screenshots offered to us lately are really just intended to give little fun morsals to the fans and OS-lovers, and isn’t meant to demonstrate the final OS look. But the cautionary note is still valid, I think. 😉
For many years Amiga users have been running add-on programs, hacks and patches to alter the apperance of their window gadgets, add textures to window borders, and change the behaviour of the menus.
The main purpose of these screenshots (and the previous ones) is to demonstrate that many of these options have now been intergrated into the GUI system itself. So these are intentionally over the top. I’m sure no-one would really want to any of these as there real desktop look.
The screen shots really are saying, “Hey you wanna have a texture in the screen title bar/scroll bar/background – no problem. You want transparent menus – ok. You want to completely change the window close gadget – you can.”
Most of the changes in OS4 are beneath the surface, and cannot be seen. Many of these will not be fully realised until futher on in the OS4.x line. Full GUI skinning has been promised for 4.1 or 4.2, but alot of the ground work for this has been done already.
Also so far the screenshots have only shown us a small part of the OS. Some parts are still having their GUIs finished. Other parts are being kept under wraps. A much simpler cleaner default look will be defined and this is what will be shown to the general public when the OS is released.
Some example of YAM customized for different user environments:
As you can see YAM behaves rather well when customized for usage with different environments. I believe even beginners will find these features, interesting to play with. Of course it should be easy for them to change back to default settings, but such features interested me alot when I was a young teenager, don’t underestimate such beginners.
that is perhaps the ugliest thing I’ve ever looked at. yuck.
i agree with eugenia…less is better. consistency is important.
this is ugly. ugly fonts. ugly themes. just fugly.
probably works good though doesn’t it? still too ugly though.
Ugh, each and every one of those examples looks bad to me.
They pretty much all have quite low contrast, and most of them have distracting backgrounds.
If i didnt know better, i would think this was something made in early 90s. I even think it makes CDE and OpenWin look good.
> No matter if it might sound cool to some people,
> changing the behavior/look of individual apps can never
> be good overall.
I completely disagree. I think that some applications should in fact have their own look and feel, for one simple reason: it’s just plain dull otherwise. I hate seeing completely different applications like an email client or a 3d modelling package having exactly the same behaviour/look; that’s boring.
I see apps much in the same way as games: each should have it’s very own fresh feel.
Eugenia. There is no way to justify locking user’s out of customizing the way they want. The job of the OS is to serve the user, not the other way around. Nice defaults are fine and good, but if I want to customize each application seperately to match the funky multi-colors of my custom-repainted fleet of 1963 VW Beetles, then the OS better let me do that! A major negative point (to me) for OS X is that it makes UI customization harder than necessary, and thus the results of hacks are not always perfect. In a way, Apple embodies everything people hate about the media industry: their insistence that they have better taste than you, and you’ll just have to eat whatever they serve.
Other examples are that with most applications running on AmigaOS or with AmigaOS itself you can easily change your default language or the (available) languages for each application seperately. IMO it does not make much sense that you only include 1 language with an OS. It is all just text, and OSes are today distributed on CDs, surely disk space is no obstacle. Why must we have a German version of the OS, a English version, a Dutch version, etc when we can have them all in one release like with AmigaOS!?
Also by using easy to use Tooltypes you can specify just about anything about the application behaviour, like the exact location where should be opened, its measurements, sheduling priority, start priorty or other specific command the developer thinks of.
I am assuming based on your post that this site uses IE scripts to change the color of the scroll bars. I wouldn’t know because I don’t use IE and after for years, wooohoo for Mozilla! Anyways, if you do not like the script I believe there is a way to disable it in IE, I think there was in 5.x. Although i have heard that IE 6.x doesn’t allow you to access as many settings as IE 5.x…
Looks a bit like LightWave, somehow (http://files.sho-online.com/lightwave/lw75_modeler.png).
>There is no way to justify locking user’s out of customizing the way they want.
Rayiner, you are not the average user. You are a (geek) Unix developer and you are an advanced user. For you, having this feature might be fine, for the rest 99% of the people, it is not (and no, I do not try to patronize you, I just don’t believe that most people who frequent this site will get my point exactly).
>The job of the OS is to serve the user, not the other way around.
Yes, but sometimes it is necessary to do some sacrifices on (mostly unecessary) functionality, in order to help the user in the long run, even if he does not realize that. This is the BeOS, Windows and OSX paradigm for a desktop OS, and I must say, I endorse it 100%.
AT LEAST, make sure that the AmigaOS 4’s default themes is good. Because if it not good, then Houston, we have a deeper problem…
> They pretty much all have quite low contrast, and most
> of them have distracting backgrounds.
Well there will be some excellent backgrounds included with AmigaOS4! These are just some user example, and just about any user on the Amiga customizes his AmigaOS for the simple fact that the basic OS hasn’t been updated much since 1993.
One reader in reponse to the following screenshot taken by me for my OSNews classic emulation tutorial, responded to me: “I really didn’t like the screenshots of Amiga OS 4 that were shown a while back, but the first screenshot in this article”. He probably did not understand that AmigaOS4 will be customizable better than AmigaOS3.x, and so did not get the point of these preview pictures. What the addition of a nice background can accomplish…
Screen1_P3.png is my favorite; I’m very impressed by how the GUI authors managed not only to make radio buttons look almost identical to checkboxes, but also make them inconsistent in shape with the radio button widgets in the menus.
There is simply no sustainable argument for having two instances of the same widget look different (as occurs in many of the examples Mike showed). Having reusable widgets (which look the same) greatly adds to learning, comfortability, and propogation. This isn’t new stuff; the entire Macintosh was built around these principles. Sure, it might be a bit “boring”, but arguing that interfaces should be like game interfaces? Are you kidding? Watch someone playing a game and see how productive they are with the interface. They’re only really usable because there’s not much you can do within them. Maybe set a few options and never go back, or every now and then save/load a game. Ever play Rogue Spear, Serious Sam, or one of the countless other games that forgo dropdown menus, instead just displaying the current value and making you click to change it to the next value (so, of course, you have no idea how long the list of options is until you’ve cycled, and even after that, selecting what you want can be a total pain)? Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I want throughout my applications!
You obviously want to approach each new application with a sense that I won’t know what to expect. That’s fine; I’m sometimes the same way. But that’s because we’re interested in this kind of thing. You need to understand something: the majority of people see computers as tools, not toys. Making interfaces demonstratively more non-standard and difficult in the name of “fun” might appeal to a few geeks and will turn off the vast majority of the world. Which would you rather have as your market?
I admit that this last screenshot doesn’t look as bad, as it looks more clean and more consistent than the rest we saw today.
Of course, I agree with BKakes 100%. Listen to him, he is a good fellow.
> Rayiner, you are not the average user. You are a (geek)
> Unix developer and you are an advanced user.
Why should these features be a problem. The user needs to go to the preference drawer and open the appropriate preference editor. Many people solely interested in gaming/internet will never get this far.
Why should the Geek (or Artist, AmigaOS user, poweruser, developer, etc) need a different OS to realize their personal preferences? Simply use this functionality or don’t.
I agree that computers should have the ability to function as easily for end users as possible. In fact that was exactly what the original Amiga did, simply insert a disk, turn on the computer and play your game, write your document or start painting. Done? Turn it off. Sadly no computer is this easy anymore, neither will new Amigas anytime soon, but this is planned for the future however. AmigaOS4 will at least boot almost instantly and you will not need to shutdown the operating system.
Other steps towards bringing back the elegance of modern computing will be the integration of the AmigaDE. The basic idea behind the AmigaDE is that the user should not need to worry about the underlying operating system or hardware, he should be able to run his software with any type of AmigaDE enabled device, be it a cellphone, PDA, settop box, game console or desktop computer. Of course there still is long way to go before Amigas will again offer a vastly superior product, but IMO it would be a shame not to give it our best try, especially considering the low quality solutions modern computers offer today.
I think beside the optical GUI design they need some kind og GUI syleguide that regulate the arrangement of the widgets. Many of the dialogs look very messed up. I hope in future releases they could hire a gui professional.
Feels like travelling in time when watching these, since they obviously are supposed to represent something created recently, not nostalgia shots. I have no doubt that the under-the-hood stuff are top notch, but a good default GUI is really really important.
I remember seeing some screenshots a couple of years ago of some AmigaOS (or similar) that apparently never was finished or something according to some of my amiga using friends, anyone know what I’m talking about? The colorscheme was lightgrey and it had some type of bar at the bottom, with misc stuff like VWM, mem monitor etc… If AmigaOS4 GUI looked like in those screenshots, I would be alot more interested in it.
> Sure, it might be a bit “boring”, but arguing that
> interfaces should be like game interfaces?
Not by default, but if the user gets a kick by making the GUI look like Quake4 or some other game he is a fan of then I see absolutely no problem.
> They’re only really usable because there’s not much you
> can do within them.
I should note that the AmigaOS GUI is very powerful and with poweruser additions like DOpus Magellan (will become available for AmigaOS4 as well) alot more powerful than almost any other OS I can think of.
> Maybe set a few options and never go back
Are you suggesting that users will customize their GUI every day, because these features are offered to them?
> You obviously want to approach each new application with
> a sense that I won’t know what to expect.
By default you can expect a default behaviour. A customized behaviour will only happen when you customize it.
> Making interfaces demonstratively more non-standard and
> difficult in the name of “fun” might appeal to a few
> geeks and will turn off the vast majority of the world.
Why can’t you appeal to both? Why must a poweruser use (an IMO slow bloated geek) OS like Linux and an ordinary user (an slow bloated unflexable) OS like MacOS or Windows? If there was a good default Linux offering today, why should users get confused by other Linux desktops used by people who like their OS a little more customizable? Because they can use the same applications?
> I hope in future releases they could hire a gui
There are several professionals working on GUI art. Note that AmigaOS4 has not even been released.
This GUI is just like a wrestler: powerful and ugly.
I agree with Mike B. completely. I see no reason why having the option to change your GUI could possibly be bad. Eugenia, could you explain exactly how this could be detrimental to the user?
I never said that having SOME customizability is bad. What I did say is that having that customizability on a per-app basis, is _bad_.
(Edited by MikeB due to illegal URL)
One of the people working on GUI art for AmigaOS4 is Matt Chaput, a well respected graphics artist within the Amiga community. He also designed the default GUI for the AmigaDE which has been implemented, take a look here:
Note that this GUI is targeted at simple devices (This GUI even works quite well on PDAs!~), but maybe this fact may solve some of the worries you may have, that the Amiga4 team will for instance release something bad looking (hard to understand) by default.
> I never said that having SOME customizability is bad.
> What I did say is that having that customizability on a
> per-app basis, is _bad.
Actually this is very good IMO. Imagine you are using a great looking theme, but this cool setting ruins the layout of one particular application. So you tweak the settings for this application and voila your application works correctly with your prefered user environment.
Offering this feature does not mean every application needs to be completely different from eachother, despite the user is free to do so. Every application will look like you have specified as defaults, but you can tweak individual applications as well.
That concept shot restored my faith (alittle), kudos to Matt Chaput. I like concept shots, they are pretty.
> That concept shot restored my faith (alittle), kudos to
> Matt Chaput. I like concept shots, they are pretty.
Good to hear, note that among others, wellkown Amiga graphic artists like SimoAmi and Mason have offered art contributions to the AmigaOS4 project as well. Stay tuned! :-))
SimoAmi’s AmigaOS4 GUI concept design:
Mason’s Icon website:
Hopefully this sets most of your worries behind.
> should be like game interfaces? Are you kidding? Watch
No. I’m sure you already heard of something called “skins”? I’m not exactly suggesting anything outstanding here. There are tons of applications that are widely used and well known that use this concept and I don’t see people complaining. Take Winamp, for instance. It has it’s own interface and it’s one of the most popular players ever.
>someone playing a game and see how productive they are >with the interface. They’re only really usable because >there’s not much you can do within them. Maybe set a few
This depends on each application and what it’s supposed to do.
>not toys. Making interfaces demonstratively more non->standard and difficult in the name of “fun” might appeal >to a few geeks and will turn off the vast majority of the >world. Which would you rather have as your market?
Well, following that line of reasoning, every OS out there should be an exact replica of MS Windows because that’s what “the market” expects. I’m sorry, but I still believe in the phrase “doings things differently”.
And again, I’m not suggesting that you should implement a GUI that only someone from outer space would understand. Of course certain features that we all are used to should be there. I’m just saying that not everything has to look *exactly* the same.
Well, there’s no deying that Windows does some things pretty well – im(h)o.
Anyway, I think this level of customizability is a good thing. Now, all that is needed is a professional looking, easy to the eyes default style. Let’s wait what they’re going to show us.
> No. I’m sure you already heard of something
> called “skins”?
> There are tons of applications that are widely used and
> well known that use this concept and I don’t see people
> complaining.Take Winamp, for instance. It has it’s own
> interface and it’s one of the most popular players ever.
Exactly complete OS skinning is planned for future AmigaOS4.x releases. Ideally this should be as much compatible as possible to other OS skins already available. For instance with AmigaAMP you can easily use the same skins as you would use with AMP for Windows or other OSes. http://www.amigaamp.de/
> Well, there’s no deying that Windows does some things
> pretty well – im(h)o.
IMO looking at the size of the company, the amount of money they are making and the fact that most drivers, software, etc are being written for the OS by 3rd parties, IMO their product sucks pretty much. Don’t get me wrong, the best desktop OS currently available on the market today is IMO Windows.
The OS is bloated, slow, untransparent and extremely unflexable. The difficulty of competing with Windows is not due to its technical excellence, but rather monopoly issues. It is a chicken and egg situation, if there are no users, developers will not write drivers or software, where there is no software or drivers is of no interest to the average user. The Amiga community is special we go against all odds.
>The OS is bloated, slow, untransparent and extremely
It is none of these things. You musn’t have used Windows for a time!
> It is none of these things. You musn’t have used Windows
> for a time!
LOL, maybe with regard to the first two mentioned issues not compared to MacOS X or Linux. And yes I do own a fast/slow WindowsXP box. (hardware – Athlon 1800+, 640MB RAM, 60 GB HD)
Maybe you haven’t ever used a 50MHz/060 Amiga before?
>>The OS is bloated, slow, untransparent and extremely
>It is none of these things. You musn’t have used Windows >for a time!
I use WindowsXP on a daily basis, on an AthlonXP1700 / 384Mb. With only a few programs installed, the thing is taking 3Gb drive space, boot time goes up to 1.30 mins, certain apps take 10 seconds to clean up, browser always crashes eventually… Not exactly my notion of excelence.
It could be worse (i.e. Linux) but it could be a lot better as well.
My flatmate runs WinXP with a custom GUI and skin and I have never in my life had such an awefull user experience with an OS. He loves it but to access applications you have to go through such hard to read and complex menus. Accessing system settings are hard and the GUI responsiveness is pathetic, makes OSX seem lightning fast.
I prefer running XP with a no thrills classic desktop where everything might look plain Except for my wallpaper but the OS responds and my computer isn’t locked down trying to impress me. Personally I think BeOS 5 had the best User interface (with Open Tracker) and I loved the responsiveness of it. Maybe with some more help GNOME will get there for Unix based desktops, why I don’t like KDE, too bogged down with menu chioces and clutter. Anyone designing a GUI should remember the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid. For my this applies much to anything in life. Too much time can be pissed away on complicated and unnecessary proceedures and although our life spans are getting better, I much prefere to use mine not stuck in time wasting situations.
I hope the Amiga guys come out with a gem. Diversity is great and if they can show the world that current computing power can be much better utilised than under Unix/Windows/MacOS then, I’m all for it.
Nothing in computing has blown me away like BeOS. I loved that OS and hope to high hell that computing on the desktop can return to that state and develop cause I don’t see it happening at the moment.
Who really uses Amiga? And if you do use it, what for? What advantages does it have over, say my XP Pro and Red Hat 8.0 boxes?
Can somebody give us non-Amiga users a quick run down?
Sure, you want to have someone dictate how your application should work, then sure, develop for Microsoft Windows and be happy.
I’m an ex-Amiga user, and the screenshot is the prime example of why I like the Amiga, conservative, not fisher price crap that Windows XP is. If one has to complain about defaults I’d rather have some so-called “fugly interface” that some fisher price interface designed for the sheep too bloody lazy to learn how to use their $3000 investment.
Straight from the front page:
“None of the new screenshots show the default AmigaOS 4.0 appearance, although some of them contain certain elements or concepts that will become part of it. However, it is of little importance what the default will be as most every aspect of the GUI can be customized.
A few of the examples are deliberately overloaded, just to be able to show all the possibilities offered by the new GUI. We expect you will produce much better results once the engine is finally in your hands. You will find even more configuration capabilities in the consumer release of AmigaOS 4.0 and in subsequent updates.”
Now there will be Windows lovers, and BeOS lovers, and Amiga lovers… and Windows haters, and BeOS haters, and Amiga haters… get over it.
Well, I agree that the Windows XP default style is very ugly, too. I’m using the Classic theme, which I personally like very much. I’m using a similar window decoration in my KDE setup, actually. While KDE probably is bloated in many ways, it’s also the most integrated suite of GUI applications out there in the Unix world (at least to my knowlegde). Gnome might be fast and sexy, yes, but it just doesn’t provide all the funcionality I expect from a platform. The really cool thing is, both are available.
So, I’m all for some sort of plain default style. Let’s face it, you want to provide a viable alternative to the Windows world. So, innovate only where innovation is really needed, where it truely can enhance the user experience – just doing things differently, on the other hand, will only create confusion (and yes, I know, Amiga was there first). Keeping the default simple and clean while offering a lot of customizability for those who actually want to do things their own way seems to be the way to go.
This question is truly out of ignorance and is not meant to imply any insult.
Besides customizing it, what other types of tasks can I do with this OS? Are there any tasks that it particularly excels at?
Again, my circles never really crossed Amiga’s so I really know nothing about this platform.
these shots remind me of default Mozilla skin, which is outdated crap and should be scrapped to separate itself and its new code from the bad reputation of the Netscape 4.x class (horrid) browser.
I loaded up Mozilla for a friend, and the first thing he did was looked at the GUI and uninstalled it. He was reminded of (and expected) Netscape 4.x and all its instability & bugs.
If the default Amiga GUI isn’t good, clean, low on frills and high on functionality, and consistent, I reckon the same negativity will occur. It is fundamentally important to get the defaults right.
>>The OS is bloated, slow, untransparent and extremely
>It is none of these things. You musn’t have used Windows
>for a time!
At least try some other OS before claiming XP is fast.
Ok I’ll qualify it for him. Windows XP is fast compared to OS X. 😉 Happy now?
Not to come off snotty, but do you work for Amiga? Just wondering because I’ve only seen articles from you about Amiga related information. With extremely optimisitic posts about what Amiga is/will be doing Its just very striking compared to Eugenia’s kicking ass and taking names later approach to everything (no offence Eugenia.)
I promised myself I would never become dependent on any OS company again after experiencing first the demise of the Amiga and second the breakdown of BeOS, but I’m starting to feel the Amiga fever coming up again (:-))
I used to own an Amiga 500+, 600 and a 3000 and never had so much fun using a computer, not even with BeOS.
I’ve since used W98, W2k, MacOS 7, 8, 9 and X, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and QNX and still haven’t found a similar experience. Of course each of the above mentioned OS’s has there strong points but it simply isn’t that fun anymore, maybe it’s my age (:-))
> Can somebody give us non-Amiga users a quick run down?
Professionally there are quite a few people who still use Amigas for video editing, painting or for media presentations. For instance Disney animation movies like Dinosaur were animated with usage of classic Amigas. (If it’s enough for Disney, it can be so for most graphics amateurs out there, don’t you agree?). Also Amigas were used for mission critical embedded settings in the past, many will be replaced by newer machines by now (i.e. running QNX), but in 1999 NASA still used Amigas:
(Apparently the US military still uses Amigas for flight simulator trainings!)
An old list of some other known Amiga uses:
> Not to come off snotty, but do you work for Amiga?
No I do not. I am an AmigaOS fan, but I know alot of the involved people in various Amiga projects. I do not exclusively report about Amiga Inc projects, but I report about rival Amiga-like solution like MorphOS/Pegasos as well. I write about that what I like to write about, as my ordinary job is being a physical therapist. But due to my position within the Amiga community, I do receive alot of insider information and provide feedback to various project leaders.
“I never said that having SOME customizability is bad. What I did say is that having that customizability on a
per-app basis, is _bad_.”
I totally disagree. Bear in mind that each Amiga program (except small
utilities) runs on its own screen.
A 3D modelling program like Lightwave does completely different things
from a word processor, or a MIDI sequencer, or a file manager, or a
Each needs a GUI to suit its functions. Standardisation should be
confined to common functions such as file requesters, and to general
layout of common menu items (“Quit” as the last item on the first
There is no reason why Lightwave should look like Bars & Pipes, any
more than a lathe should look like a trombone.
The argument against user customisation is only valid in large offices
where one computer may be used by several people. It is a benefit to
management, not to users. It is not relevant to a computer for
personal use, whether at home or in the studio.
Even some of the themed/skinned shots look like early 90’s crap. It’s even worse when the amiga people try to play it off like the user is uninformed or trivial with pre-release screenshots and don’t see past the disgusting gui to the fact you can have a transparent menu and options that may or may not even make it in the final release! Woo!
I don’t know about anyone else but to me it looks like Macos8 themed to look like an old amiga with gif files right-click-save’d from the web. That hardware shot of the amiga card was awful too. Reminds me of the first time I opened up my tandy. But hey there’s a concept screenshot from another project! I forgot all about how ugly it looks!
Amiga hasn’t changed in my mind, they’re users still boast the potential VERY LOUD to anyone that listens. “If it’s good enough for Disney, and artists, and people that are lost in the eighties, shut the f^*k up! You don’t understand the untapped power it has!”
For amiga’s sake I hope none of these shots get picked up by a mainstream publication, will immediately turn of a lot of users, especially Mac people, who don’t mind paying for expensive, propritary hardware on the pretense the OS is more advanced.
damn it´s so ugly, but again to a OSX user everything else is.
>Ok I’ll qualify it for him. Windows XP is fast compared to >OS X. 😉 Happy now?
You got me. Damn, I’ll go sit in the corner.
Well I’ve read all 60 comments, and one question hasn’t come up. Who is the target audience? If it’s Windows, Mac users then the customability could very well be seen as a detriment. However if it’s former Amiga users already use to those qualities that the platform offered? Then the high degree of customability will not be the liability that people think it will be. The important thing however is the default experience. What will the first hour be like? First impressions are importent in both people and computer interaction.
BTW This site needs a “preview comments” button.
> Who is the target audience?
For AmigaOS4/AmigaOne they currently target current AmigaOS fans, ex-AmigaOS users and Powerusers/Geeks.
For the AmigaDE they target just about amy computing device user, but currently mostly handheld gaming (cellphone/PDA) focussed.
> customability could very well be seen as a detriment.
They could hide the preference icons, so to make sure these users (demanding lesser choice) never know they can costumize their user interface.
> First impressions are importent in both people and
> computer interaction.
Yes, I agree and I believe the AmigaOS4 team does so too.
Reading through these posts, the only thing I can derive is that no matter what the AmigaOS developers do, there’s always someone to complain. I mean, if the GUI is “fully configurable” people moan that it won’t be “consistent” or look “unfamiliar” (i.e., not a replica of MS Windows). If t is not fully configurable, people moan that they don’t like the defaults and they can’t change it.
What I think AmigaOS will do is allow you to use custom themes and such. Who cares about default looks? If you don’t like i you’ll be able to download a theme that someone else created. You don’t have to be a geek to do that. Just a click on a button and there you have your new OS look.
I’ll never understand why do people make suge a fuss about this…
“Besides customizing it, what other types of tasks can I do with this OS? Are there any tasks that it
particularly excels at? ”
1. Reasonable range of software for an “indie” OS – more than BeOS, I
think, but less than Mac. Big range of shareware and free
2. Very responsive GUI
3. One scripting language (Rexx syntax) for all programs, so you can
write one script to control two or more programs
4. Small community gives direct access to helpful developers
1. Web browsers are weak (but mail program is excellent)
2. Some software types lacking (engineering stuff particularly)
3. Slow CPU (PPC), somewhat made up for by fast OS.
4. Printer support hopelessly outdated (but up to date driver set
available as a commercial product). Postscript works fine.
I use it for web browsing, mail, audio, DTP, writing, paint and image
Well, I must say it seems very unpolished (the GUI, that is).
Now, whether or not the OS is technically superiour (If I could spell), responsive (It seems people say it’s extremely responsive), or good.
The GUI is kind of appealing, though. Sort of says “Hey, look, I’m using a computer you’ve never seen”. Then again…it harkens back to the days of Win 3.11 (I used 3.11, not 3.1).
Well, I’ll stick to Mac OS X, thank you. Open Source base, clean GUI that I love, and all of my Unix tools. Maybe once AmigaOS is Unix-y, I’ll try it. Or if it turns out to be really good =p.
There seems to be a lot of Users here that are confusing the look of the OS with the functionality
of the OS. Just because a GUI looks “ugly” doesn’t make a program difficult to use. For example
it sometimes takes up to 4 or more mouse clicks to perform a simple save picture operation in some
windows applications. I’m smart enough to know when I’m replacing a picture that already exists
under the same filename, I do NOT need applications (that are following windows guidelines — or is this an oxymoron?) holding my hand or treating me like an idiot. This is something that the AmigaOS has never done.
Someone asked above who uses the AmigaOS & for what purposes. I use my Amiga for:
1. Tracking my IRA stock portfolio with a spreadsheet.
2. Write my own applications & programs.
3. View pictures & read text files.
4. Just about everything else that a windows/Mac user does with their system.
In summary, I don’t really care what the GUI looks like (anyone that had an Amiga running V1.1 knows
just how ugly they can be), as long as I can select the colors, the gadget imagery, the menu rendering,
window & SCREEN wallpaper, run more than 100 tasks & not notice any lag time due to disk-swapping (or whatever else Windoze 98SE is doing to require more than 500 Mhz of clock speed),
turn things off that I don’t like, not have to worry about secret files or processes, keep upgrade money
in my pocket.
Why in the world should I care what Windows/Mac/Linux users think about the AmigaOS? It just might become too popular & ruin the good thing I’ve got going right now.
Stay Away, please!
Jim Steichen, Author AmigaTalk
One of the reasons that I really like AmigaOS is that it’s a very honest OS which you can study in detail in run-time.
Nothing is hidden from the user, no registry, no dll-mess, no obscure directory structure or a thousand files stuffed in one directory. It’s very clean and easy to learn how things work.
It basically does the things which you miss from unices and Windows, namely having an easy to learn directory structure with filenames that actually make sense, such as graphics.library or audio.device. The file which makes up the startup-sequence of the OS is named… startup-sequence. 🙂
When nothing is hidden, you can investigate anything in the OS. It means that you can install programs completely manually and extend on the existing directory structure, spreading the system over several partitions if you like.
And you keep being in control and you rarely feel that something is too hard to figure out. If something goes wrong, a program won’t start, you can actually debug that with SnoopDOS, a program I’ve never seen done on anything else but AmigaOS. It tells you what libraries are loaded, what events go in and out of the system and what files are attempted read from the harddrive. If one file fails, that’s probably it. Get the right file of the right version off Aminet. Pluck the single file out from an archive and put it, where SnoopDOS tells you where the file was missing from.
The failing program doesn’t have to tell you. SnoopDOS does it for you and lets you fix it yourself, instead of having some obscure repair tools to do it for you. So simple and elegant, it’s hard to believe other OS’es don’t do it the same way…
The TCP/IP stack is not built into the kernel, which means if you don’t like the one that comes with the OS, just use another one. The same thing goes for everything in the OS. Don’t like Workbench? Just use Directory Opus or Scalos instead. Try completely replacing the user interface in Windows… There’s even a replacement task-scheduler for the kernel!
And I haven’t even mentioned assigns, the Ram Disk, Tool Types, Datatypes or ARexx scripting yet, which I won’t, because I want you to find out yourselves. 🙂
I’d say if someone was to learn how an OS functions, AmigaOS is as close to ideal as possible. It’s the near-perfect balance between usability and power we miss from other OS’es.
And I didn’t even bother to mention the GUI. 🙂
In reply to Ben:
I use an Amiga 4000, every day. I don’t have any PCs or Macs or whatever, and that is by choice. I don’t like them much.
The Amiga runs a very fast OS. The things I do on my 25 MHz 040 (I’m a poor student, I can’t afford much upgrading) just aren’t possible with other OSes running on same-specced hardware. The responsiveness of AmigaOS is just about unequalled, and current apps are very efficient.
NFS is no problem. The Amigas at our user group all access our BSD fileserver using NFS, and I’ve used an NFS server (though very ill-implemented, the UNIX/NFS notion of inodes doesn’t exist on Amiga FSes) on my Amiga for BSD clients to use.
SMB (Samba) has been available for ages, and gets more and more polished, but I haven’t used it since I don’t interact with Windows systems; NFS is much more suited to the environments I’m in, and more efficient.
SSH is no problem. I regularly update my web pages with SSH, using AmTelnet.
I haven’t played enough with BeOS (lack of access to my Mac, and lack of PPC apps) to judge the responsiveness well, but BeOS hasn’t stricken me as very responsive, really.
The fonts used on those screenshots haven’t been included in former AmigaOS releases, I have no idea whether it’ll be included in this one. We shouldn’t be too hard on these screenshots, since the person responsible obviously creates them using a random number creator. 😉
And finally, no, this one won’t run on your PC. It’s not an emulated OS, and it’s for PPC only.
The Amiga still has got so much for the rest of the computer industry to mimic, since it never was a big hit in Silicon valley. The only OS I know of which actually looked to the AmigaOS for some inspiration was BeOS (rest in piece).
Like Henrik wrote, it strikes a perfect balance between newbie usability and power-user needs. It’s got a GUI from the second you turn the power on. But it’s also got a shell. I really love AmigaShell. It’s not a deprecated old MS-DOS mess like in Windows, it’s not inexistent as in MacOS, and it’s not a teletype-optimised archaic thing like on UNIX. And unlike Windows and OSX, it’s really integrated with the system. Lots of programs can be accessed through both the GUI or the shell, using the same binary (and it’s not named .EXE). I like the fact that the shell (or, more precisely, the console handler) doesn’t assume that you sit on a teletype or a VT100. If I tab-complete, I can get a file requester with all matching files, which is a lot more handy than the tab-completion variations found in popular UNIX shells such as Bash and ZSh. Naturally, those methods are available, too, but I prefer not to use them.
Datatypes is a lovely concept. Introduced with OS 3.0 back in 1992, it’s a generic, class-based system for access to file formats. A great example of datatypes and their use was when the PNG format first cropped up. Do you remember how many years it took before PNG was accepted by the two big web browsers? I downloaded a PNG datatype, and then most graphic apps, including my web browser, accepted PNG. It’s really nifty, since you don’t have to spend time converting obscure or unsupported formats into that handled by your favourite application. If you have a datatype, the format will load into most apps. I really appreciate it with backgrounds, since the AmigaOS, ever since 3.0, loads desktop patterns using datatypes. Windows is AFAIK still limited to that sad excuse for an image format called BMP, unless you choose to waste CPU cycles with Active desktop.
Similarly, AmigaOS can identify the file type of a file and display a fitting icon automatically, using a filetype database not unsimilar to the UNIX “file” command. Not the retarded Windows insistence on relying on arbitrary file suffixes, not the advanced MacOS way of using two forks, one for data and one containing rich metainformation, without which the OS is left in the dark.
Unlike UNIX, the kernel is not monolithic (and it’s no microkernel either, it’s based on a bizarre concept which only programmers understand). You install drivers into DEVS: (which is an assign, more about that later), and you don’t have to recompile your kernel, nor will it waste memory or even be activated until needed. And devices are, like the rest of the file system layout, friendly. Look into your C:WINDOWS drawer and try to find out what all those “8.3” style filenames do for you. I certainly prefer a filename like scsi.device to that.
The file structure is transparent. No hidden or forbidden drawers. A lot of drawers are hidden from the user by virtue of lacking an individual icon. They’re visible from the shell, or by going into the “Window” menu and choose “show all”, for anyone to access at will. Not only does this prevent the first-day user from going where he shouldn’t be before learning how to double-click, it also prevents clutter. Only the drawers and programs useful to the GUI-only, naive user are visible at a first glance.
The file system layout on the system partition consists of Prefs, for preferences. This islike Control panel in Windows, but implemented within the file system using a usual drawer and usual executables, unlike the special non-executable files of Windows, which means you can’t easily access the Control panel from the command prompt, for example.
Devs is for devices. All devices are named scsi.device, serial.device, fastata.device, and so on. Inside Devs are also four drawers; Keymaps, Monitors, DOSdrivers and Datatypes. Keymaps contains keymap definitions, as you might guess. The keymap is chosen by the “Input” prefs program, or by the “SetKey” command. Monitors contains screen mode and monitor definitions. These are utilised or altered by the “ScreenMode” and “OverScan” prefs programs. DOSdrivers can be described as Datatypes for disks. In there, you will usually find the PC0 file, for accessing PC-format disks on drive 0. I also stick PC2 there, since I have some extra drives. Other popular options is the reset-safe RAM disk, called RAD, and MAC0, for reading Mac disks. I also have some for ZIP and MO disks. The Datatypes drawer works in the same way, it contains icons with names such as GIF, JPEG, BMP, ILBM, WAV, 8SVX and so on. If any of the files in Devs are not constantly used, you may move them to Storage, which is a replica of the Devs structure. If you then desire to use any datatype or DOSdriver or keymap, you may double-click it for activation, or move it back into Devs for immediate availability at every restart.
Libs contain shared libraries, known as DLLs in the Windows world and as .ld.so files (and what have you) in the UNIX world. Libraries are named something.library.
In System, we have some very critical programs, such as the Format program, and some not so critical. Tools contains less critical system tools, such as the icon editor, while Utilities contains tools not directly related to the System, such as the clock and MultiView, a generic program for accessing all kinds of files using datatypes. The difference between System, Tools and Utilities isn’t that clear, but it helps in order to avoid clutter. Programs and tools unrelated to the system are better placed on the non-system partitions.
Next we have Fonts, where you may place your… fonts. Standard Amiga bitmap fonts are called Helvetica.font, and standard Amiga AGFA Compugraphic vector fonts are also called .font, with another file containing additional info. I also place my Truetype and Type 1 fonts here.
In C, you place your Shell commands. Since this drawer is of no relevance to the GUI user, it lacks an icon definition, though it is, as mentioned before, directly visible to the Shell and through the desktop, too, with one menu selection.
In Prefs, we also find Env-archive. This contains program settings, lots of them. In Windows, it’d be called a Registry, but unlike the Windows Registry, it’s a normal drawer, full of normal files. On each start-up, Env-archive is copied to the RAM disk, where it’s just called Env (as some of you might have guessed, this is short for Environment, and it is also where system-wide environment variables are stored). This means that you can use any Prefs program, select “Use”, and the settings chosen will be used until you reset or cut the power, since only the settings on the RAM disk are altered. If you instead choose “Save”, the settings are saved to the Env-archive, and it’ll remain so forever, or at least until you change them again. This is a very useful trait, since you can try out any settings without them being permanent.
C is short for commands, and there is a corresponding drawer called S, for scripts. Here are, for example, the file named Startup-sequence, the first file executed on power-on. Startup-sequence runs necessary commands for system setup, and sets assigns. It then proceeds to run a file named User-startup, which is where the user usually adds his own commands and assigns, so that one doesn’t run the risk of disturbing the Startup-sequence. Said script also runs the contents of the WBStartup drawer, which is visible to the GUI user by default, and is where said user will add his startup programs.
Assigns are very useful. The system sets up a lot of assigns on startup, which abstracts the system away from any particular filesystem layout. The standard system partition layout is very well-thought-out, but if you’re a UNIX weenie, you might want to rename the “C” drawer to “bin”. No problem, since the system expects commands to be available in C: (which doesn’t mean “the first partition encountered” as in the Windows world, it just means “Commands:”, and is accessed as a disk in its own regard, as pointed out by the trailing colon). Just re-assign C: to SYS:bin, for example. Some might want to separate UNIX ports from Amiga commands. No problem. Keep your “C” drawer, add a “bin” drawer, and alter this line in S:Startup-sequence…
Assign C: SYS:C
so that it reads:
Assign C: SYS:C SYS:bin
Or, since one shouldn’t tamper with the Startup-sequence when unasked for (especially since it might be replaced by an OS upgrade), you’d add this to your S:User-startup:
Assign ADD C: SYS:bin
This also shows a bit about how AmigaShell syntax works. Far from the cryptic UNIX lines, it looks like terse english. Though I capitalise arguments, that is just since it’s an example. Everything in the AmigaOS is case-independent (as in any sensible OS =). The order usually doesn’t matter, either:
Assign C: SYS:bin ADD
This will do the exact same thing, namely adding SYS:bin to your C: assign. It will now point at two physical directories, which can be quite useful.
SYS: is another assign, created by the OS. It refers to the boot volume (partition, in case of a hard drive). That way, you may use the same Startup-sequence on several boot drives, since it doesn’t address any particular volume.
While SYS: is an assign, it’ll usually point at your first partition, quite possibly called HD0:. That is the physical name of your partition. It’s got a volume name, too, which is what it will be referred to as well. Some name it Workbench:, some name it System:, some name it after their cat. What is really nice is that you may take your drive or disk out, take it to your friend and plug it into his SCSI or IDE chain, and all the names will remain. Your first partition will still be called HD0: on your friend’s computer, and it will still be named after your cat. This is far more flexible than the seemingly random name of assigning a letter to your disks in Windows, or the /etc/fstab file on UNIX systems, which points to exact device IDs. You can rejumper your hard drive as slave or give it another SCSI ID on the Amiga, and it will boot and behave just like before.
Other assigns are ENV: and ENVARC: pointing to the drawers containing your settings mentioned previously. LIBS: points to SYS:Libs, and quite possibly other drawers as well. If you run out of space on your system partition, you could move your 500 MB Fonts drawer, or parts of it, to another partition, and reassign FONTS:. Isn’t that nice?
This kind of freedom is not offered on the classic MacOS, though I have much respect for that system and recommend it to anyone without intense computer knowledge. It is certainly not offered on Windows, not without forcing you to guess at strange filenames, and without the flexibility of AmigaOS. On UNIX-based system, you may dig through the file system all you like, but not without guessing at really obscure names. And you have to put up with UNIX shell syntax, which isn’t a lot of fun, albeit fast to type once you’ve memorised the command in question.
The AmigaOS stands out as very integrated in comparison to OSX, which hides a not quite compatible and very un-Macesque file system and command line interface under its bonnet. The same applies to Windows, which hides files from the user, obscures it through naming conventions from 1981 and deprecates its 1981 CLI.
This is a bit behind the scenes, but quite compelling if you’re an advanced user. I’ve used the Amiga for ten years, and I still come to learn and love new things about it. Take the ARexx scripting language, for example. Shell scripts have their place, but are useless when it comes to interactive and GUI apps. I’d say that nowhere is GUI application interlinking and scripting so widely used and standardised as on the Amiga.
No offense intended here but…
FOR GODS SAKE!
These are only ment to be demostration shots. People say that they are bad colors, poor fonts etc. Have any of you used Windows Themes? Half of them are just downright ugly and they are with a finished OS.
I am sure that Hyperion are well aware that they will need to have a good clean default look, but at the moment this is just one of the programmers showing off (I belive Ben has said that the guy lacks colour coordination!).
So please just hold on, and lets see what the default look is going to be BEFORE we start slagging it off.
I don’t know why some person don’t like the new possible GUI of AmigaOS 4.0 but for me it’s great!