Home > Amiga & AROS > Ben Hermans of Hyperion Entertainment InterviewedBen Hermans of Hyperion Entertainment Interviewed Submitted by Ruben Monteiro 2003-05-21 Amiga & AROS 28 CommentsBen Hermans, project manager for AmigaOS4 has been interviewed by the Amiga.org staff.Update: Ben has agreed with nOMAAM of Amiga.org on interviewing him once every 3/4 weeks, until the release of AmigaOS4.[MikeB]About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 28 Comments 2003-05-21 7:19 am I think that a lot of the old demo scene codes would return to the Amiga platform(s) – if AmigaOS4.x would ship with some cool development tools (c++ RAD IDE, or AsmOne-PPC :o)… 2003-05-21 8:06 pm Every 3/4 weeks Ben Hermans will be interviewed by nOMAAM of the Amiga.org portal. In advance Amiga.org visitors can use the forums to suggest questions to be asked. 2003-05-21 11:18 pm One can only note the stellar commentary here on Ben’s interview.Do you think Ben will be giving somewhat more concrete answers in the future or will the interviews continue to be similar to White House press conferences?What is holding the company back from giving more specific and detailed development status? Are we a month from ship, six months, a year? What’s the reality of the situation?Also what are the graphics/sound capabilities of the new OS running on _new_ hardware? I would think many of the cool features of the Amiga are no longer going to be available. 2003-05-22 1:39 am Shipping dates have been announced and then not honored so often in the past by companies in the Amiga market that there’s a strong aversion to making that kind of commitment now. I imagine the fact that there is a relatively small team working on OS4 makes it even harder to project progress. (Health problems of one guy delayed a central component, for example, in one case.) 2003-05-22 2:25 am Unfortunately, the design decisions for AOS4 have put it at adisadvantage, namely their need for a pen-based GUI approach andcontinuing use of a 256-color palette for the desktop. By removingthe hardware, they also lost the features that the chipset offered,such as multiple resolutions on-screen simultaneously,screen-dragging, inserting video into the desktop w/o bogging down theCPU or GPU with heavy calculations, even such little things as using apen or touchscreen are no longer there.For Graphics, they’re using the Picasso 96 API, which was abandonwarefor years and written for a Cirrus Logic gfx chipset originally.For audio, they’re running AHI, the same API that is used by the otherneo-AmigaOS project, MorphOS. Ironically, this means that whateverimprovements one submits to the AHI team the other one benefits from.(I have seen on the AOS4 feature list cards whose drivers are beingcoded by the MOS team, a real irony to me)I’d not expect miracles here, as they’ve essentially had to code awhole OS from scratch in 18 months, and don’t even have their 68kemulation code running yet. 2003-05-22 7:56 am Several statements made above by Nathaniel are incorrect. Please note that he isn’t one of the 90+ NDAed beta-testers, nor is he otherwise priviledged to any insider AmigaOS4 status or general information. As a developer of a rival solution he may know something regarding rival platforms, but please consume his AOS4 ‘information’ with a grain of salt. 2003-05-22 10:23 am @DownesIncorrect. 68k emulation is running. 2003-05-22 10:33 am I left the so called Amiga community because of all the bickering, disinformation, and mud slinging. Now, can you please take your squadrons and get the hell out of here as you’re only doing more damage to “your” respective projects than good.In real life, people aren’t stupid enough to buy all the words of grandieur coming from Amiga Inc. and Genesi, but they will buy products IF and only IF said products match their needs. Low-quantity, overpriced PPC boards won’t take over the world – it’s only on Amiga/Genesi cultist sites such pissing contests that you embark on make it seem otherwise. Had you two been my PR-managers, I’d not only fire you, but I’d fire you into the sun… 2003-05-22 11:01 am > I left the so called Amiga community because of all the> bickering, disinformation, and mud slinging.Then please calm down yourself as well. Micheal’s posting was just a double post and if you would have read this thread more throroughly you would have noticed this.> Had you two been my PR-managers, I’d not only fire you,> but I’d fire you into the sun.Well luckily I am nobody’s “PR-manager”. I am only interested in keeping the amount of misinformation to a minimum. Opinions are opinions, but IMO one should not spread misinformant “facts” regarding stuff one has no real information about. 2003-05-22 11:12 am >Micheal’s posting was just a double post and if you would >have read this thread more throroughly you would have >noticed this.I stand corrected. 2003-05-22 1:15 pm “Unfortunately, the design decisions for AOS4 have put it at a disadvantage, namely their need for a pen-based GUI approach and continuing use of a 256-color palette for the desktop. By removing the hardware, they also lost the features that the chipset offered, such as multiple resolutions on-screen simultaneously, screen-dragging, inserting video into the desktop w/o bogging down the CPU or GPU with heavy calculations, even such little things as using a pen or touchscreen are no longer there.”This is interesting, because in the latest issue of Club Amiga Magazine (of which I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose the exact content), there’s a long article about how they plan to move from the OS3.x ways of doing things to the OS5.x ways of doing things. And that very plan is OS4.x.It also has to do with Amiga Generation 1 and Amiga Generation 2 machines, which Fleecy Moss has mentioned in the weekly Q&A’s on amigaworld.net.Much like there is a 68k emulator in OS4, there will most likely be changes in the graphics area that will allow it to break free of the old palette based GUI along with other parts totally rewritten. This way you can get a gentle transition as opposed to screwing current 68k Amiga users (and it would give MorphOS an advantage).Also this is a necessary step to have a platform on which Amiga Inc. can test their OS5 ideas, and I believe that one of those plans is to reintroduce screen-dragging using modern graphics hardware along with other functionality which goes way beyond what we’ve seen in AmigaOS so far.I don’t think OS4 will be the major showstopper release, but will instead give us and developers a platform on which we can work to build new things. We won’t anymore have to depend on our old, increasingly unreliable and slow A1200’s and A4000’s. 2003-05-22 1:47 pm By removing the hardware, they also lost the features that the chipset offered, such as multiple resolutions on-screen simultaneously, screen-dragging, inserting video into the desktop w/o bogging down the CPU or GPU with heavy calculations, even such little things as using a pen or touchscreen are no longer there.Anyone who isn’t absolutely starved for cash and at all serious about their Amiga hasn’t been using the original graphics chips for years. Actually developing new graphics hardware would not only be an entirely unfeasible venture, it would also upset people because custom hardware isn’t in vogue. Really, even since the Commodore days, “retargetable” and “hardware independent” have been les mots du jour. Very few people want special graphics circuitry over the opportunity to go out and choose any graphics card they want.Oh, and what support for touch screens and pens has disappeared? There is even a new, device-independent input API for OS4, so it can’t be all that bad, can it?Overlaying video has been a Picasso 96 feature since a long time.For Graphics, they’re using the Picasso 96 API, which was abandonware for years and written for a Cirrus Logic gfx chipset originally.That’s funny, I’ve never heard of P96 being abandonware any more than Cybergraphix. The authors would certainly beg to differ. And what does it matter what card the first driver was for? It’s been running on a multitude of chipsets basically since first shipping. 2003-05-22 2:51 pm @Bodie According to Petunia’s website (AOS4’s 68k emulator) as of 4 weeksago, the 68k emulation was not running on ExecSG, so if this haschanged since mid-April, then I stand corrected. But as of the lasttime I checked, I am correct, and there is no 68k emulation running onAOS4 yet. (and, as MikeB will verify, I have pointed out that withAOS in all of it’s incarnations being modular, once the emulation isrunning, it would be simple enough to incorporate)@friden I don’t blame you. I am not a PR guy, unlike MikeB. I just codeweb pages and check out forums for curiosity.@Henrik You are correct there, it does offer then a transition element…but one problem: there’s no mechanism *for* transition. One cannotcode out the limitations of the design without breaking apps and evenelements of the core OS. It’s the same issue MacOS was having foryears. While yes, improvements can be done, one can not eliminate allissues without breaking the design. 2003-05-22 3:16 pm “@BodieAccording to Petunia’s website (AOS4’s 68k emulator) as of 4 weeks ago, the 68k emulation was not running on ExecSG, so if this has changed since mid-April, then I stand corrected. But as of the last time I checked, I am correct, and there is no 68k emulation running on AOS4 yet.”If you checked by reading the interview that this thread is about, you would have seen that the integration of the emulator has been working for about a month. So that is one major problem sorted.The next major problem they have to sort is removing the last of the hardware dependencies so that the OS can run on the AmigaOne. Ben estimates this will take a couple of months, so you can apply the multiplier of your choice to that.The real point is that bit by bit they are getting there. 2003-05-22 3:36 pm @ Nate> I just code web pages and check out forums for> curiosity.Don’t try to pull off that innocent bystander nonsense please. LOL We know eachother longer than today. This contradicts your involvement with Genesi, let me give you an example:“Damien McKenna and Nate Downes and their wives were on hand. These are the guys we are depending on to help make things happen in the USA.”http://www.amicue.org/ArchNewsLetter/2003Jan.pdfThe fact is you (Downix) work for Genesi, including the PR stuff you are doing stuff for them.http://en.genesi-support.com/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=15http://www.morphzone.org/userinfo.php?uid=4 2003-05-22 3:49 pm RE “Don’t try to pull off that innocent bystander nonsense please. LOL We know each other longer than today. ”Let’s not have a war between two PR representatives (paid or unpaid). 2003-05-22 3:54 pm “According to Petunia’s website (AOS4’s 68k emulator) as of 4 weeks ago, the 68k emulation was not running on ExecSG, so if this has changed since mid-April, then I stand corrected. But as of the last time I checked, I am correct, and there is no 68k emulation running on AOS4 yet. (and, as MikeB will verify, I have pointed out that with AOS in all of it’s incarnations being modular, once the emulation is running, it would be simple enough to incorporate).”According to the status update in Club Amiga Magazine on May 1st, Ben Hermans states that it is possible to boot 68k Workbench on ExecSG and launch programs from there. There were a few glitches to be ironed out at that point. In the amiga.org interview from May 21st he states that an 68k Workbench booted up successfully for the first time under ExecSG a month earlier.So I would say they are going well along with testing the 68 emulator and it was also said by Fleecy Moss in one of the Q&A’s that the 68k emulator won’t be approved until it’s possible to fully use OS3.9 under ExecSG.“While yes, improvements can be done, one can not eliminate all issues without breaking the design.”That’s true for OS4.0, but according to the Club Amiga Magazine again, this will not stay that way. I gather there will be another transitioning point for OS4 to OS5 to rid ourselves of the limitations of the existing AmigaOS architecture.First of all hardware dependency goes out the window with the initial OS4, which is a nice big step.Next step towards Amiga Generation 2 will be to introduce services into OS4 which gradually replace the existing libraries. That is a new powerful graphics service, new printing service, sound service, etc. The new services would handle older library calls to maintain compatibility. This goes on in a similar fashion to how the ExecSG handles 68k programs, just now with libraries vs. services instead of 68k vs. PPC. I believe this is what the main goals will be with OS4.1, OS4.2, etc.How exactly this will be executed and what these services will be capable of will be interesting to see.The article really explains a lot of this, and I hope they will release it. 2003-05-22 4:04 pm > Let’s not have a war between two PR representatives> (paid or unpaid).Don, I am nobody’s PR representative. What I do, I do purely for fun.Of course I am a wellkown Amiga enthusiast and quite a bit more active than the average Amigan who tries to support their platform for fun, but this fact still doesn’t make me anybody’s PR representative.If it wasn’t for the Amiga community I wouldn’t be doing any of this at all. And I think it’s sad to see that many true Amiga supporters are being silenced by all the mud-slinging and ridiculing targeted at people who are trying to accomplish something constructive or being enthusiastic regarding their platform of choice, by a small group of individuals pushing forth their own agendas.Luckily lots of people contact me privately to state their support and disgust for all the trolling and this gives me enough hope to carry on my efforts, like for example here on OSNews or for the AmigaWorld.net community portal. 2003-05-22 5:45 pm “If it wasn’t for the Amiga community I wouldn’t be doing any of this at all.”Honourable. Personally, I got fed up by the vocal minority of the “community”.“And I think it’s sad to see that many true Amiga supporters are being silenced by all the mud-slinging and ridiculing targeted at people who are trying to accomplish something constructive or being enthusiastic regarding their platform of choice, by a small group of individuals pushing forth their own agendas.”Such as the platform of their choice? Now, there is always tow sides to every story and you should be aware that many in the Genesi tribe considers you to be one in “a small group of individuals pushing forth their own agendas”. Today there are so many in the Amiga “community” that push their respective agendas that what we can call the Amiga spirit is so drowned in FUD that it is not only stone cold, but half-rotten. IMNSHO almost all true Amigians have left the platform for greener grass with a few noteworthy exceptions such as the AROS project.The point is that the community isn’t worth much these days and the only way to rebuild or rejuvinate it is to release exciting new products instead of relasing ad hoc press releases, uninformative Q&A sessions, interviews de void of news, and above all, flame wars. I wouldn’t say that you’re the worst, or that you can be blamed for the current state of Amigaland, but I think both you and Nate should know better. 2003-05-22 6:27 pm One thing I noticed is that Amiga users almost never troll against MorphOS, but the other way around it’s almost unbelievable, even signing up to troll on ‘dedicated’ pro-Amiga websites. In the meantime only pro-MorphOS people seem to post on MorphOS ‘dedicated’ websites! 2003-05-22 7:05 pm Good point. This is due to the fact that Genesi tribe has pushed MorphOS as “Amiga”-like but “completely different”.Basically Genesi et al want us to consider MorphOS to be a subset of what we consider to be Amiga while at the same time we’re suppossed to recognize that MorphOS is a completely new platform. I’m still having a hard time swallowing all this. 2003-05-22 7:06 pm @ Lennart> Now, there is always tow sides to every story and you> should be aware that many in the Genesi tribe considers> you to be one in “a small group of individuals pushing> forth their own agendas”.I have nothing to troll against. IMO the Pegasos hardware is well designed just like I have always been saying. I also consider MorphOS to be interesting and I appreciate many of its similarities with the classic AmigaOS. I actually consider myself to be a MorphOS/Pegasos advocate, but most people will never know how I have tried to push the platform behind the scenes, even after alot of childish nonsense I had to go through.The problem is that I am also an Amiga ethusiast and sadly being both don’t seem to mix well for someone in my position. When I state simple truths like the fact that MorphOS was still unstable at a time when the OS crashed every couple of minutes, the vocal minority could not handle this and attack me for this. But I am pleased to see how well behaved MorphOS supporters and Genesi employees behaved in response to Eugenia’s review and some pretty harsh criticism. > The point is that the community isn’t worth much these> daysI don’t agree, behind the scenes there are many people still doing many genuine efforts. They may not like to partcipate on forums as much as in the distant past, but they are still waiting for all the nonesense to blow over.For the time being I believe both communities could better leave eachother be for while and try to compete with eachother by making their products better instead of starting misinforming rumours and FUD regarding the competition. 2003-05-22 7:30 pm >According to the status update in Club Amiga Magazine on>May 1st, Ben Hermans states that it is possible to boot>68k Workbench on ExecSG and launch programs from there.Sure but as you can also read from the Frieden brother forexample on amigaworld.net is that they have only a staticemulation running so far, not the JIT one. 2003-05-22 7:37 pm “The problem is that I am also an Amiga ethusiast and sadly being both don’t seem to mix well for someone in my position.”And what position is that?From my observation of your many many postings, it certainly appears to be unpaid PR man for fleecy Moss. This is why IMO it is inappropriate for you to be moderating this forum. 2003-05-22 8:10 pm I do respect both of your opinions in this case.I would like to try and explain MorphOS’s position a bit, to betterexplain the situation.MorphOS began as a migratory step for AmigaOS, a new platform w/ a boxto load up the existing kickstart ROM and run the legacy applicationswith. Various issues ensued, and access to the Kickstart ROM wasclosed off, so for future work they needed to clone the kickstart andreplace workbench in order to not loose steam for development. As aresult, MorphOS became more than it’s original mission, of being astepping stone, and became a platform in it’s own right.By having this box for legacy apps, MorphOS now has room to grow, muchlike what I was discussing with Henrik above. It has a plotted-outmechanism for the new API’s to be developed. But for now it runseverything in the ABox, that is the kickstart clone along with theirown Ambient desktop, which replaced Workbench.So, by the hearts of some MorphOS users, they are both an Amigasub-category as well as a new platform. To ignore the Amigacompatability found in the ABox kickstart clone would do a disserviceto the original design goal of the project. To ignore the newcapabilities to be found in the QBox once it arrives is equallyincorrect and again ignores what the project was originally foundedon. Genesi and Amiga might not see eye to eye, but they love thecommunity, and see their solution as the best one. You can’t blamethem for that. They also see the other one as an obstacle, which istrue.Of course I think it is more interesting in that because there are twosuch camps, the whole platform is prospering. There is a healthycontest of one-upsmanship going on here. One group has to out-do theother one in order to proove their product superior. One group fixesthe bugs in the northbridge, the other one releases G4 CPU cards. Onegroup shows off their 3D API, the other one scrambles to code onebetter. It’s a great show, as both platforms are starting to becomestronger as a result, and the people to benefit are the consumers, whohave a choice.— note, all of my opinions on osnews are just that, my opinions.Clarifying that before someone twists my words into some pro or antistatement. 2003-05-22 8:21 pm > From my observation of your many many postings, it> certainly appears to be unpaid PR man for fleecy Moss.> This is why IMO it is inappropriate for you to be> moderating this forum.I know Fleecy only personally for a couple of months. (Not counting a 2 minute conversation with him in Germany three years ago) Only because Fleecy agreed to do Q&A Sessions for AmigaWorld some people spread such nonsense.I do like Fleecy though, my communications with him have been genuinely positive, honest and straightforward. 2003-05-23 12:10 am @NateAs a “consumer” who owns a Pegasos and has a AmigaOne back ordered (and am impatiently awaiting delivery). I would like to see both platforms and OS’s succeed.I like your last response as it reads as balanced and reasoned.I would be even happier if the coders from both camps could get together (formally or informally) and develop a set of “OS API Standards” which would make the coding effort for third parties easier (Eg a standard set of API’s respected by both OS’s would make coding for both platforms easier and reduce duplicated effort).I understand and even appreciate that both Morphos and OS4 will deviate from each other in the underlying OS structures and functions but hope that (at least at the interface level) that some common API’s can be made.Here’s hoping that both products continue to develop and evolve and can carve successful (and hopefully non competitive) niche markets and can profit and grow without harming each other.RegardsDarren 2003-05-23 11:26 am @ Bouma“But I am pleased to see how well behaved MorphOS supporters and Genesi employees behaved in response to Eugenia’s review and some pretty harsh criticism. ”Personally I liked some…ehm…”less informed” persons calling Eugenia a “Windows user” in the derogatory sense over at amiga-news.de. It is such trolls that drove me and others from what’s left of the “community”. Even though most of the official representatives for the Genesi tribe and the amiga clan have behaved somewhat lately, there are far to many flame warriors left making the Amiga-oriented sites unbarable to me – hence my anxiety that OSNews will be infected by the same disease…@ NateThat’s more of a “real” comment to me. Keep it up!