Home > RISC OS > RISC OS & AmigaOS: Are They Really So Dissimilar? RISC OS & AmigaOS: Are They Really So Dissimilar? Eugenia Loli 2004-05-03 RISC OS 20 Comments Chris Williams wrote an editorial analyzing the troubles RISC OS and AmigaOS had over the years and finds many common missteps and common problems. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 20 Comments 2004-05-03 3:22 am they run on different CPUs. RiscOS is embedded, Amiga isn’t. RiscOS and Castle (they both own each other i think) are like apple but without a cooler OS. They need some big investors 2004-05-03 3:28 am this article makes a good point. they both have had similiar history in the upbeats and downbeats. Dispite being on different types of hardware, they are infact simliar. You know what the OSS community would say… Open Source it! 2004-05-03 7:03 am 800 MHz? That thing is going to be obsolete before it ever arrives. *IF* it ever arrives, rather. 2004-05-03 7:06 am And besides, what exactly would the Amiga be bringing to the table at this point? Their original innovations are long-since folded into the mainstream, and the “new” OS doesn’t stand out 2004-05-03 7:45 am > Their original innovations are long-since folded > into the mainstream… Ah, if only it were so! I’d really love to see… * datatypes, * plug-in driver support (DEVS:usb.device, DEVS:DOSDrivers/USBStick, there you go), * a case-aware-but-insensitive filesystem (‘test’ and ‘TEST’ mean the same, but if I name it ‘TEST’ it will always be displayed as such), * physical / logical drive naming (df0:, MyDisk:), * ARexx ports (or a similarly generic replacement), * a GUI with decent user interaction feedback (button goes in *immediately* and doesn’t come up until the action it stands for is resolved), * a simple, understandable, and maintainable file system (even most Linux libs still follow 8.3!), * … …”to be folded into mainstream”… > …and the “new” OS doesn’t stand out Granted, they don’t have the financial ressources to catch up in the numerous areas where AmigaOS falls short due to a decade of neglect. 2004-05-03 7:48 am @Steve “the “new” OS doesn’t stand out” Ah, used it have you ? I’m sure everyone here would value a more in-depth analysis from you. Tsss 2004-05-03 8:23 am Whilst the RISC OS and Amiga scenes have surprising similarities, although as minority/marginalised platforms they are likely to share a certain amount of angst, infighting and misfortune, the principal difference is that the “next generation” Amiga technologies have always had a much lower boiling point. 2004-05-03 10:52 am “a case-aware-but-insensitive filesystem (‘test’ and ‘TEST’ mean the same, but if I name it ‘TEST’ it will always be displayed as such),” Windows XP does this. 2004-05-03 11:58 am * a case-aware-but-insensitive filesystem (‘test’ and ‘TEST’ mean the same, but if I name it ‘TEST’ it will always be displayed as such), Windows has had that since Windows 95. (I use Linux now, I don’t miss it.) I thought Macs had it too, and for even longer. * a simple, understandable, and maintainable file system (even most Linux libs still follow 8.3!), Nonsense! I don’t even thing 8.3 was ever an issue for Unix-type systems. Indeed, in my /lib directory, the only things that fit 8.3 are folder (and a name like `modules/’ doesn’t really need to be any more descriptive). As to the `decent visual feedback’, you like what you’re used to. I would probably interpret that as the application having crashed, at least initially. I don’t understand the rest of your issues. Care to elaborate on the simple memory-joggers you’ve provided? 2004-05-03 12:00 pm Ah, if only it were so! I’d really love to see… * datatypes You have them in BeOS. Oh, wait – that one’s dead too. 2004-05-03 12:20 pm Thanks for taking care, but sorry to correct you: My 800 Mhz (933 downclocked) AmigaOne has arrived Jul, 10, 2003 and serves me well (Linux ’til now), as the author writes for small and low footprint OS’es like RiscOS and AmigaOS are, 800Mhz is plenty of computing power. Also it’s better to take 2 or even 3 steps that you can handle at a time than to stumble through the yard in trying to keep the hardware up-to-date now (that it is equal to Apple eg). _If_ AmigaOS continues the hardware _will_ upgrade and once it will be on par with Apple and the PC’s, not just now and probably for a few years to come. We have been waiting for 10 years now for _anything_ new, so what.. 🙂 The AmigaOS4 pre-release CD’s are being duplicated as we speakto be delivered to dealers and then AmigaOne (earlybird) users shortly thereafter. So the question really is “when?” (soon) not “if?” (definitely) Hope RiscOS will continue too, there was a time it was on my radar for a 2nd platform of choice.. (which then became OS/2 eventually). 2004-05-03 1:12 pm @ Felix: * a case-aware-but-insensitive filesystem > Windows has had that since Windows 95. (I use Linux > now, I don’t miss it.) No, Windows does its own funky magic with all-caps or CamelCase namings in certain cases. Linux is hell in bags in that department, and Mac is hardly mainstream. 😉 > I don’t even thing 8.3 was ever an issue for Unix-type > systems. Not an “issue”, but the Unix people crave for cryptic abbreviations. rm? dd? cp? ls? libgdbm.la? gcrt0.o? What the **** is this about? > As to the `decent visual feedback’, you like what > you’re used to. I would probably interpret that as > the application having crashed, at least initially. Plain logic. You want some immediate feedback that the system actually registered your click – even if it can’t process it ATM due to some high load or lock. And you want feedback when it’s ready to do the next thing. Right? > I don’t understand the rest of your issues. Care to > elaborate on the simple memory-joggers you’ve provided? Datatypes – AmigaOS provided a generic interface to media files – a “datatype.library” doing the handling, a “picture.datatype” / “sound.datatype” / … doing the abstraction… and neat tiny plug-ins like “WAV” or “JPEG” doing the conversion. You have a graphics program that can read in bitmapped graphics through the “picture.datatype”. Add a “PNG” datatype, and suddenly it can read .png, too. Plug-in driver support – Windows drivers come with a setup.exe that scatters a handful files all over the place. Linux requires you to grab a tarball, ./configure && make && make install, and then doing some arcane stuff I have yet to figure out, sometimes even requiring you to recompile your kernel – or upgrading / downgrading it, breaking any number of other things. AmigaOS driver installation was usually a thing of dropping two files (*.device and a handler) into their respective drawers. Physical / logical drive naming – each *hardware* drive had a name (not a letter, a name), and each *media* had one. The former called “physical”, the latter “logical”. A fully qualified file path was e.g. df0:MyFile.txt (always accessing the first floppy drive), or MyDisk:MyFile.txt (accessing the file on whatever media is called “MyDisk:”). You could assign artificial drive names to one or more file directories (somewhat akin to a search path). A nifty feature which you have to use for a time to realize its power. IMHO much superior to the “universal root” of Unix or the infamous drive letters of Windows. ARexx ports – ARexx was a scripting language that came with the OS, and which made it easy to “remote control” applications. As such, virtually all macros, scripts etc. were written in it, instead of the multitude of languages controlling your average Linux system, or the subtly incompatible dialects of VBA. 2004-05-03 3:52 pm “800 MHz? That thing is going to be obsolete before it ever arrives. *IF* it ever arrives, rather.” No, your 800MHz or even 2GHz PC will be, an 800MHz amiga will never be obsolete with the speed of current software development. 2004-05-03 4:46 pm What is obsolete? I’m typing this on an Apple Mac Performa 6400. Now how obsolete is it, when it can run KDE 3.2 with KWord 1.3, but can’t run OpenOffice fast enough to be usable? And is my other computer, the Pentium 350 / 128 MB RAM, obsolete when it can run OpenOffice 1.1? And is the Compaq laptop with Celeron 667 / 56 MB RAM obsolete when it needs to swap huge amounts of data when one is browsing the web, when it has so few RAM that the OpenOffice 1.1 installer crashes Windows entirely? And is your HP palmtop of $ 700 obsolete because it runs only at 400 Mhz? Or even better, is your Palm of $600 obsolete because it only runs at 126 Mhz? It all depends on what you want, I think. And speedy operation depends on more than CPU power alone – my P350/128 works fast and runs even Windows XP fine, though the C667/56 can’t even run Windows 2000 or the preinstalled ME at an acceptable speed. 2004-05-03 5:07 pm maybe we should concentrate on AROS, its features can be incorporated into amiga fine. they are short staffed right now— volunteer! 2004-05-03 9:35 pm > datatypes, This feature sounds neat, but it’s hardly essential. taking your graphics example, all the graphics apps I use already support every graphics format I’ve ever needed to open. My media player supports just about every video format under the sun, and my music player supports the formats I keep my music in. Were I designing a new operating system from scratch, this is the sort of feature that my be worthwhile to include, but its hardly worth rewriting a whole bunch of apps to support functionality like this. > plug-in driver support (DEVS:usb.device, > DEVS:DOSDrivers/USBStick, there you go), Again, this is quite a neat feature, but its hardly essential. Windows’ model of using an installer is probably easier in some ways – the average user doesn’t need to know anything about where to put them, he just follows the on-screen instructions, and the hardware gets installed. Linux’s model is quite different, but largely out of necessity – whilst its easy enough to write a driver for an operating system with stable version progression, like Windows and AmigaOS, Linux’s kernel development moves at a much more rapid pace – the only way a third party driver developer can come close to ensuring that the driver is able to be run on a wide variety of kernels is to release it as source, or get it put into the kernel. This level of complexity isn’t great for newbies, but I’d argue that people new to computers probably shouldn’t be using linux anyway. > a case-aware-but-insensitive filesystem (‘test’ and ‘TEST’ > mean the same, but if I name it ‘TEST’ it will always be >displayed as such), Personally, i don’t see any benefit to this. All case-sensitivity requires is that you look at the case of a file before trying to type its name. Anyway, if you’re using a GUI tool to open a file, the case makes no difference. > physical / logical drive naming (df0:, MyDisk:), Unix has this too, just in a different form. Your first ATA hard drive is always /dev/hda, the first partition on that drive is /dev/hda1. I find that just as logical as some semi-descriptive name. Yes, the unix way is less-newbie friendly, but as I said above, unix isn’t a system designed for general use, it’s a system designed for programmers or more advanced users. Windows’ Logical Disk Manager displays a similar system to this as well for setting up disk mappings. > ARexx ports (or a similarly generic replacement), I don’t see anything new with this either – unix has had shell scripting since its inception, we’ve also got languages like perl for this as well. Even windows has VBA to do basic scripting with. > a GUI with decent user interaction feedback (button goes > in *immediately* and doesn’t come up until the action it > stands for is resolved), This just seems like a matter of preference – If the action’s quick, it works the same either way. And if its a long action, a better solution than either way is to show a progress box with a time estimate concerning how long the action’s going to take. This is more of an application issue anyway – plenty of applications I use take this approach. > a simple, understandable, and maintainable file system > (even most Linux libs still follow 8.3!), Like someone stated, there isn’t a single library i can find that artificially limits itself to 8.3 names. And in reply to what you mentioned with the crypticity of the unix commands – what you’re saying is true, the unix commands are far from obvious. The learning curve is steeper than for other systems, but once you have learnt the various “cryptic” commands, they make things a lot simpler. Its simplicity and ease of use at the cost of requiring the user to do a bit of reading and properly learn how to use their system. 2004-05-03 11:36 pm No, amiga logical volumes are not like hda/hda1 ! They ARE a bit like devicemapper in new linux kernels. Basically, the name of the MEDIUM i.e. the disklabel is the mountpoint, not (only) the physical disk location. So if I have three CDROM drives, and a game wants its first CD, I can put it in any free drive. On linux, multi cd games insist on being put in a particular drive, or sometimes have ad-hoc code for searching all available drives. But on the Amiga, it was simple and handled by the OS – disks and disk drives were fully separate entities. Windows and linux confuse them. 2004-05-04 4:20 am No, Windows does its own funky magic with all-caps or CamelCase namings in certain cases. Linux is hell in bags in that department, and Mac is hardly mainstream. 😉 Mac influences mainstream, and if Linux counts as mainstream, I’m almost certain that Mac is close enough. I don’t quite understand your issue with Windows. If you name a file ‘This is a File.DOC’, you can access it as ‘this is a FILE.doc’ or ‘ThIs Is A fIlE.dOc’ or whatever you want, but the computer will refer to it as ‘This is a File.DOC’. I never said Linux had case insensitive but memory, I just said I didn’t miss it since converting to Linux. Using a GUI, it’s not like I ever type the names of most files. As to abbreviated filenames, abbreviated filenames are useful if you’re often typing things. I know I would much rather type ‘cd’ then ‘Change to directory’. Oh, but what about tab completion? But what happens if I still have 137 a dozen programs starting with ‘C’? Now we’re at a loss, I’ll need to type at least three characters before I’ve got the equivalent of two. ‘dd’ is the only truly arbitrary name with no mnemonic of the programs you listed. (As to the names of libraries, what difference does it make, really? How often do you care about a library name? Just about never, right? And this isn’t necessarily an issue of Linux per se: take a look at the names of ROX AppDirs/LibDirs. Though no doubt you’d object to the name ‘ROX’, but ‘Amiga’ is so much better, isn’t it?) Plain logic. You want some immediate feedback that the system actually registered your click – even if it can’t process it ATM due to some high load or lock. And you want feedback when it’s ready to do the next thing. Right? I don’t see how it’s plain logic. Immediate feeback is pretty much obvious, but I also want immediate results. High load schmigh load. If I say do something now, it means do it now and other stuff your doing can wait. Me now is more important than me ten minutes ago. I suspect that covers the feeback when it’s ready to do the next thing—it should always be read to do the next thing. Much better than freezing with a button stuck in. As to datatypes, well, most GTK apps handle images without actually having any image handling code. It simply asks it to be rendered. It supports whatever GDK supports. Seems to be a similar idea, even if the implementation isn’t exactly identical. Plug in driver support? Ho hum. You prefer what you’re used to. Physical/Logical drive mapping sounds like it’s something that can’t be tacked on to an already-designed system. As you desire it, it sounds totally incompatible with Unix’s universal root (though I think a step in your direction from Linux’s current implementation will be coming with udev/sysfs stuff). If it can’t be tacked on, it won’t be. Could be useful, but I’m happy enough with my current system. (I’d be happier with a Mac-like system, though… But I understand this, too, is coming with HAL & DBUS and such or something.) AREXX ports does sound like it’s missing, I’ll certainly concede that. I would so love to see something like that. 2004-05-04 12:48 pm On the Macintosh (Classic) you could also install drivers (extensions) by just putting them in the System folder. That does not mean, however, that such a system is more user-friendly than that of Linux. For example, take the RealTek 8139 network chip. On Linux you need to install the kernel sources, do configure-make-install and add it to /etc/modules.conf. On the Macintosh, you need to take a hex-editor to replace pci10ec.8219 with pcixxxx.yyyy (of which you can find the numbers in the system info) before the extension can properly detect the card. Now which is more user-friendly? That makes me think that some things depend more on the implementation than on the architecture. No, amiga logical volumes are not like hda/hda1 ! Doesn’t Solaris have mount points that depend on the volume name? Something like /dev/cdrom => /cdrom/Install CD The only problem is, is that it is implemented in CDE so that it is not automatically used when you try to mount disks from the command line. The Amiga (and Macintosh and BeOS) way of handling mountpoints seems to be rather practical with removable USB devices, because you never have that the drive letter depends on which device you attached first. 2004-05-05 8:53 am @ Jim, Felix: I heard all those arguments before, and answered them before, but I fear this thread has dropped out of your sight already. *If* you are interested in a reply, drop me a mail.