A few months back, I started to read about the new AmigaDE environment, AmigaOne, and the new technology Amiga is using. After Tao released their Intent/AmigaDE ADK on a cover CD bundled with Digital Magazine (and being an old Amigaen), I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out what all the fuss is about. During my search on the web, I couldn’t help being a little disappointed.
One thing that made the Amiga stand out from the rest when it was released back in the Eighties (which applies to any new format) was that it made a difference. It was possible to fulfill almost every need one could want met with a computer. I could efficiently: Play action and strategy games, DTP (introducing WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get), do all sorts of graphic editing in high resolution and many colors, compose music in 8 bit 4 channel stereo, use word processors and spreadsheets (at the same time), perform 3D rendering, explore the huge amount of freeware/shareware, and lots more!!!
Most importantly the eXPerience was superb. AmigaDOS was a joy to use and Workbench (the window environment) did make computing fun. I have never used an OS that made its use more simple and joyful this way. And even compared to modern OS’s, it was a powerful way to get work done. Today we know that
the competitors at that time had a long way to go before we had todays WindowsXP.
True, the Amiga lacked some of the modern features of an operating system (mainly virtual and protected memory). I suppose that is to be expected from a system that started its days on a 68000 CPU.
So my question (and the point of my web search) is: What does the new Amiga have to offer, and what will once again make it stand out? Given the result of my search, not much!!!
Visiting Amiga.com didn’t reveal much. No screen shots of promising AmigaDE software. No animated films showing how the environment is used. No words about when the next Quake3 will be running on the platform.
There is no information about the Amiga SDK (except of course that you can buy it). I read many evaluations of the new SDK, and people seem to enjoy it. But, there is no information or documentation about the SDK, the IDE used for programming, and what power it has to offer.
Information on the new AmigaOS 4.0 is also lacking. I saw some release dates and a list of buzz words describing the OS, but again, no pictures. And will Amiga redefine the use of a GUI environment, for example by using skins or having a new type of taskbar or whatever?
The only thing that have been in the PR mill on Amiga, it how nice it is to have “Planet Zed” running on Windows and on a PockedPC (and properly on the Nokia set top box). This is truly great, but the code once run anywhere is already present in Java, .Net, and the new “Java game thing.” And given the amount of new game consoles, powerful cheap PC windows running WinXP (or any other OS), Planet Zed on a Nokia isn’t enough.
Amiga has done a lot of good things to promote upcoming of Amiga. Releasing a player (now called Amiga anywhere) on Windows and Linux is a good way to push the platform. Having an SDK ready will give a lot of new software.
I am looking forward to see the result of Amiga’s work, but given the information available at the moment, it is very confusing what the target is and what to expect. If I bought an AmigaOne (or installed the AmigaDE player), will I be able to say I have a system that is remarkable and at least a little better that the rest? Personally I hope so, but I doubt it.
About the Author
Vandre Pind lives in Denmark and he is educated as bachelor in mathematics and computer science. For the past 4 years he has been working as a software developer. On top of that, he has spent a lot of time on computers. From his first C64, his lovely Amiga, to various PC’s. For the last year or two, he has been trying to find an OS that in his mind would “make his day” both experience-wise and as a software development platform. This means that he tried Win95, WinXP, Linux (a few distributions), and Mac OS X…