Home > Amiga & AROS > Ars Technica reviews MicroA1 and OS4 pre-release Ars Technica reviews MicroA1 and OS4 pre-release Mike Bouma 2005-01-18 Amiga & AROS 52 Comments Ars Technica has published a review of the AmigaOS4 Developer Pre-release (+Update 1) and the MicroA1-C. For a short summary regarding the most recent AmigaOS4 happenings I wrote a small update summary. About The Author 52 Comments 2005-01-18 6:58 pm The Article contains a big lie. As soon as ESCOM bought the rests of Commodore they started to continue the production of AMIGA 1200 Computers and they sold them in their stores. It is possible to see if it is an ESCOM or Commodore AMIGA1200. As far as I know ESCOM indeed developed a new AMIGA called Walker. Besides it looked more like a Vacuum Cleaner it was a truely developed unique 68030 System with AmigaOS and so on. You can find information about the Walker over google. It featured a stackable housing, so expansions were planned to be “sandwitched” into the computer. The Walker was a Prototype, cause ESCOM went bankrupt during a horrible winter holidays season. As you can see, don’t believe anything you read on the web or in a book or a magazine- there is always the small chance, that it is untrue. 2005-01-18 7:29 pm mmmm, $1375 G3-800 system. LOL 2005-01-18 7:32 pm And people are complaining that a complete Mac Mini is $499US??? LOL!!! Hopefully, when AmigaOS 4 is complete, and this system sells a little better the prices can come down a little… Here are the Walker pages: http://amiga.emugaming.com/concept/walkerconcept.html 2005-01-18 7:39 pm The Walker looks sorta neat. I loved my Amiga in the day, but I’m not forking out heaps of cash for one right now. 2005-01-18 7:59 pm @ nothing_of_your_concern > The Article contains a big lie. The article contains some errors, not lies. There’s a lot of confusing misinformation floating around the internet and the interviewer is pretty new to the Amiga platform. 2005-01-18 8:09 pm @ Al Hartman > And people are complaining that a complete Mac Mini is > $499US??? Really? Most people I read comments from thought the Mac Minis are very cheap. Anyway there are two main reasons why Amiga systems are far more expensive. – The most important one being the ‘economy of scale’ (The decrease in unit manufacturing cost that is due to mass production). – Also a weak US dollar compared to the EURO and other currencies. Most AmigaOS4 developers work in Europe and the boards are being manufactured in Asia. Although you can use MacOSX through MacOnLinux, the main reason to buy an Amiga system is being able to get hold of AmigaOS4. 2005-01-18 8:18 pm I’m not sure it was a lie – what would anyone gain from lying about Escom? It looks more like an error, rather than a “big lie”. The history of the Commodore and the Amiga is rather convoluted, and I’ve yet to see a clear account of it. 2005-01-18 8:21 pm OK, let’s say accidential misinformation, lie sounds hard, that’s true. 2005-01-18 8:22 pm The first page does contain some errors but given the rather turbulent history of the platform it’s not surprising. It’s quite correct Escom did put quite some effort in, they produced machines and yes, developed the Walker. To save you searching I’ll point you here for more info on the Walker: http://www.blachford.info/computer/walker/walker.html “smug git” mode=”on” 😀 2005-01-18 8:53 pm Can anyone point me in the direction of a good account of the Amiga’s history? 2005-01-18 8:59 pm @ Cal Green > Can anyone point me in the direction of a good account of > the Amiga’s history? Some in depth info about the past: http://amiga.emugaming.com/ahistory.html 2005-01-18 9:00 pm >Can anyone point me in the direction of a good account of the Amiga’s history? There’s loads of information on the Amiga History Guide: http://amiga.emugaming.com/amigahistory.html 2005-01-18 9:24 pm My memory of the late 90’s is hazy but I was a pretty hard core Amiga user back when all this was happening. I don’t ever remember VISCorp actually owning Amiga. My recolection is that it went C= -> Escom -> Gateway -> Amiga Inc. with nothing in between. VISCorp ring a bell..but not as an owner. Can anyone clue me in? As for Escom, well they always seemed lukewarm towards the Amiga to me. I know they re-started A1200 and A4000T production, but then there was that whole “Escom A1200 floppy drive” problem and the Walker was just silly and too little, too late. Now if they had formed a good R&D department and finished off AAA the story might be different. Shame. 2005-01-18 9:26 pm Still a good article…. 😀 I am looking for pictures of prototype casing, for the following machines: – 500 – 2000 – 600 – 1200 – 3000 + 3000T – 4000 Not the prototype machines, just the prototype of the casing wich were serial produced. 2005-01-18 9:26 pm @aviva > $1375 G3-800 system. LOL This A1 with OS4 feels faster than actual MACs. LOL. 🙂 2005-01-18 9:35 pm @ Vanders > I don’t ever remember VISCorp actually owning Amiga. Correct, that’s another error. Many of the PR coming from VISCorp back then (lead by current Genesi CEO Bill Buck, a company selling an Amiga compatible) was very confusing and premature: http://www.cucug.org/amiga/aminews/1996/at960621.html “It has come to our attention that several companies plan to build their own “compatible” or “extended” versions of the Amiga without obtaining the proper licensing from VIScorp. These companies will be placing themselves at legal risk, because their systems will undoubtedly infringe on Amiga intellectual property rights, including copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. In addition, we have recently become aware that versions of the Amiga System ROMs are being reproduced and distributed without proper licensing. This is a violation of international copyright law, and VIScorp will prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law. Realize that VIScorp is purchasing Amiga Technologies at great expense for ownership of precisely the above property rights and considers them a fundamental asset of the company. As such, VIScorp intends to aggressively defend its position as the owner of the Amiga and its related technologies. Companies that choose to violate the law are well advised to consider the easier and less costly path of obtaining a license.” They never actually bought Amiga’s assets making everything even more confusing for researchers. This is just one of many examples of Amiga’s colorful history. 2005-01-18 9:42 pm Apple’s Mac Mini -is- the concept of the Amiga, born again. Microsoft’s ventures into the PVR/PC mirror the Amiga/Toaster pairing. Dig it: The beauty of the Amiga was the sense of “Organism” that came from the custom chips and “Whole Widget” OS Application. Plus, it had a port, so you could connect just about anything – TV, video, STEREO (in 1986! – digital stero sound on 12″ woofers! WHOO! http://www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org/amiga500/edge1.jpg ), joysticks, you name it – SCSI, Parallel, Serial, it was *the* plug and play machine. This integration of chips built a PC/video/memory/DSP/display architecture like the world had never seen, which begat games, video, etc… Now, the special thing was the genlock-capability, video overlays, digital video – in total, was on the Amiga. Period. Commodore had both coals burning with these two areas under development. The time is right for *somebody* – makes no difference at this point – to pull off an Amiga again. IBM/Moto can fill a void, Companies looking for a board to surf on the HD/DigitalAudio/PVR/Filesharing world we’re coming up on. Another friendly computing “organism” would do the world some good, especially if it was the real deal. itomato 2005-01-18 9:43 pm Hyperion did NOT “write” U-boot. They merely ported the existing U-boot codebase for their Amiga board. (Albeit they did tons of work, including a ROM BIOS Emulator for the PPC). 2005-01-18 10:22 pm Yeah but the Amiga didn’t have a line in port, so Eugenia wouldn’t have liked it 🙂 Seriously though, I have to agree the mini Mac is seriously amiga like : custom built, relatively powerful and flexible but easy OS. But it also shares some of the pitfals : supported by a single company (I’m an ex-amigan, believe me apple fans I wouldn’t wish Apple going bancrupt on you) and not very expandable. I mean the Amiga had at least 1 extra internal slot (the trap door slot) But you have to hand it to Apple, at least they keep the personal home computer dream alive : real computing power in the hands of the user. Unlike some other companies that seem to want to disempower users. Now I just want 1 more thing, the Mac mini built into a keyboard 😉 2005-01-18 10:24 pm I think your’ll find that Hyperion were contracted by MAI to code Uboot because it was beyond their current coding teams capabilities. So YES …Hyperion wrote Uboot.. And were paid for doing it as well 2005-01-18 10:29 pm “$1375 G3-800 system. LOL This A1 with OS4 feels faster than actual MACs. LOL. :-)” HAHA your right that is funny a G3/800 faster than a G4/1.25-1.4! 2005-01-18 10:44 pm Now how will this match up to the almost 80% ready amigaOS 3.1 port running on standard hardware. That one that is open-sourced and easaly portable between different cpu´s. The amiga is now 3 different OS´s. Namely MorphOS (the most complete), AmigaOS 4, and….the opensource projekt…(snaredrum) AROS. http://www.aros.org (very interesting) I wish them all luck and hope they will become one in the future. 2005-01-18 10:46 pm > I think your’ll find that Hyperion were contracted by > MAI to code Uboot because it was beyond their current > coding teams capabilities. I think you’ll find that Uboot is an open-source project that was not originally written by Hyperion. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/u-boot/ Hyperion ported it and improved on it for AmigaONE. > (Albeit they did tons of work, including a ROM BIOS > Emulator for the PPC). The BIOS emulator was written by SciTech. It’s the same emulator that’s included with XFree86 to soft-boot the BIOS of a secondary VGA card. 2005-01-18 10:53 pm > The amiga is now 3 different OS´s. Namely MorphOS (the > most complete), AmigaOS 4, and….the opensource > projekt…(snaredrum) There is still only one AmigaOS. MorphOS and AROS are somewhat compabatible clones. MorphOS offers binary compatabilty with 68k Amiga apps (but not OS4.0 apps), while AROS currently offers only source-level compatability with OS3.x code. And MorphOS is not more complete than OS4.0. For instance, it does not have a TCP/IP stack, a complete ARexx implementation, etc. 2005-01-18 11:07 pm _That_ would be sooo beautiful 🙂 With Mac Mini I think, the “Home Computer” is back. And with Amiga OS, “Home Computer’s” OS is back… 2005-01-19 1:09 am >HAHA your right that is funny a G3/800 faster than a G4/1.25-1.4! But it is, LOL. Specially when you add Mac Bloat X 2005-01-19 1:38 am So when is it likely that I can purchase an Amiga with OS 4 installed… And my second question; is the OS now a multi user OS? I know the earlier OSs were not (don’t know about 3.9 though). 2005-01-19 3:21 am Now: Look at http://eyetech.co.uk/dealers.php for dealers in the UK, AmigaOS4 is bundled with the following models: AmigaOne XE, AmigaOne SE, µA1 (Micro AmigaOne) C and µA1 I. The latter is still not out and intended for industrial use. The Micros are miniITX cards. As for AmigaOS4 it’s _only_ a beta version originally targetted at early adopters and developers who wanted to get ahead by buying the hardware, but now it seems every Amiga afficionado has one. The OS is usable but still only a pre-release, being a beta-tester getting updates virtually every day the OS is starting to really stabilize. For more info about the Amiga models head over to http://intuitionbase.com, for development on AmigaOS head over to http://utilitybase.com or http://amigadev.amigaworld.net. Amigaworld.net and Amiga.org are community portals. For software try http://os4depot.net or http://amirepo.net. 2005-01-19 6:17 am Nice to see the Amiga get some positive mainstream coverage. Lots of people don’t know it is back and is now PowerPC based. 2005-01-19 9:15 am At the end of the article there’s talk about PDAs, tablets and such. Unfortunately there isn’t that many PowerPC based gadgets and even if there were, OS4 is not supposed to be portable (because of the use of some ROM based stuff). I think the makers of OS4 should start thinking about making OS4 more portable. Much of the legacy stuff support in OS4 is already all emulation anyways. As some sort of a self/proclaimed hobbysts OS it would really help Amiga image a lot to see OS4 running on some popular off the shelf products. Just imagine running OS4 or that new Apple tin can or even some popular PDA! One can dream … 2005-01-19 12:23 pm Reading this guy’s article brought me many memories, I was a die-hard Amiga fan until 2001, when I decided I had to let it die. If there’s someting like computer love, this is what I had for my Amiga3000, I absolutely loved that machine, I could starve, but I could not spend any day without using my beloved Amiga. And yes, way back on it’s era, no PC or MAC could match it. And to be honest still today some AmigaOS paradigms remain science fiction on current windows, Unices and MACs, examples: The languaje catalogs The Dynamic RamDisk The RAD The way devices were handled The simplicity of the boot process The small footprint The Datatypes The “Monitor” concept The Dragabble screens The Extremely Partitioning and naming system The System assigns How the preferences could be linked to icons to change settings or the whole system config on the fly with a simple double click. The Tooltypes on Icons, a mecanism that allowed an icon to start a command line app with parameters… those tooltypes could be associated not only to an executable icon, but also to a data file, so when clicking on a data file it will load the application with a different configuration… Etc. Take no ofense, I see a lot of value on AmigaOS and MorphOS, even on Aros, but they have been on the making for more than 5 years, and provide far less functionality than the originals, and do not enhance what was wrong on the original. Of what value is an uncomplete system that no one understands nowadays on today’s posix/win32 world???? 2005-01-19 12:24 pm “The Extremely Partitioning and naming system” I meant: “The extremely ‘flexible’ partitioning and naming system” 2005-01-19 1:19 pm I thought the PPC is a 64bit design, with a 32bit subset… So is Amiga OS4 64bit in design? Does anyone have a detailed description of the internals of the OS? 2005-01-19 1:23 pm Not yet. There were many more important things to do before that. 2005-01-19 3:32 pm $1300 to run a G3 system with an OS that looks like an old version of Linux….get real. 2005-01-19 3:33 pm Just adding that much of the hardware is just “developer” level, and most of the OS (as yet) is largely the result of 68k Code re-compilled to run on PowerPC. Pricing is reflected by these factors, and the extremely small production run/s. OS versions 4.1 upwards are where features are to be added to make the OS more up-to-date. Originally version 5.0 was slanted to include other CPUs, but there’s been little recent information in THAT regard. (- from Mozilla on Debian) (At this stage Opera & Mozilla offer more than does AWeb) 2005-01-19 4:29 pm Yeah, I do consider the Amigaone to expensive, but “$1300 to run a G3 system with an OS that looks like an old version of Linux….get real.” adds nothing. What you mean “looks like”? Linux looks like nothing. The intresting thing is which features the OS have or haven’t. I for sure would be so much happier for a new Amiga-LIKE OS which new ideas, creativity and cooperation instead of this 3x OH-the-Amiga-was-great-let’s-do-it-again. “Just adding that much of the hardware is just “developer” level, and most of the OS (as yet) is largely the result of 68k Code re-compilled to run on PowerPC.” Uhm? no? Quite much is rewritten and for PPC now. MorphOS has always been PPC. “OS versions 4.1 upwards are where features are to be added to make the OS more up-to-date” That was the old plan, for 5 years ago. Expect them to have changed.. Current AmigaOS4 beta is way ahead what the AmigaOS 4.0 was said to have. 2005-01-19 5:55 pm I will clarify then. The GUI has the dated quality you see when examining old versions of Gnome or KDE. It also is missing most of the features present in modern OSs like protected memory and true multiuser functionality. It is not useful for anything really. The only new apps you are liable to see appear on the platform will be ported, linux apps (maybe)becausen they are GPL. No commercial developers would give it a second look. We don’t need another crippled OS. If MorphOS hardware were cheaper I would consider it as it looks useful, but Amiga is a 68K port of an ancient OS. A curiosity…no more. If the code were open source it would have a chance, but in it’s current state it is dead. 2005-01-19 6:00 pm “I see a lot of value on AmigaOS and MorphOS, even on Aros, but they have been on the making for more than 5 years, and provide far less functionality than the originals, and do not enhance what was wrong on the original.” AmigaOS 4 has everything you listed except draggable screens. It has public screens, but they are only flippable, not draggable. It does have new or newish features, notably the Dock, and support for far more current hardware than a few years ago. Yes, there is plenty to do, but they have come a long way toward bringing it up to date. 2005-01-19 6:12 pm “The GUI has the dated quality you see when examining old versions of Gnome or KDE.” Which screen grabs of which programs are you talking about? The ones I see have no great resemblance to any Linux desktop, and as each program can have its own screen display, the GUIs vary somewhat. However, IMO functionality is more important than fashion styles in a GUI. “It also is missing most of the features present in modern OSs like protected memory and true multiuser functionality.” That’s two features. Actually, some parts of memory are protected; but memory protection is only a means to and end, which is crash prevention. Does everyone want a multi-user OS? I don’t. Only one person uses my computers. I think this is part of the old client-server model which Unix is based on, as used in University labs. If you access the server through a web interface rather than when booting the OS, then the setup can be fully multi-user and cross-platform. I can’t see that, for example, a freelance video editor or a creative musician needs a multi-user OS, any more than he needs a multi-user camcorder or music keyboard. 2005-01-19 6:29 pm You are missing my point. Without features such as multiuser and protected memory (I use linux, but I do not need multiuser either) a commercial niche will never be found for it. If a niche cannot be found for it it will not be used for video editing or sound editing and processing because developers will ignore it. In it’s current state it is useless for anything but a curiosity, and it is likely to stay that way, because the companies who have owned the property are more interested in milking their small user base for cash by promising and never delivering. If they truly cared they would sell the hardware cheaply and put effort into their development. Amiga 4 has been at a standstill for a long time now. If they would open source the OS while still selling the hardware at a reasonable price they might make something of it. 2005-01-19 7:29 pm There are a number of errors, some of which have been pointed out, but it’s a really good article. I haven’t noticed anyone correct what he said about the Storage drawer. As I recall, it’s not “a duplicate Devs”, but a place to store Devs that aren’t currently active. If you want to use these files, you move them from their Storage sub-drawer to the corresponding Devs drawer. Can anyone confirm or correct my undertsanding? I’m emailing the author. 2005-01-19 7:37 pm Looks like you will beleave in AROS more. And to be honest…I do to. Its not binarycompatible with any Amiga but is API compatible so old developments can easely be ported. AROS is allready running on x86. Everyone who has a PC can try it and if they like it have it as a second OS. Its free and will boot up in a heartbeat. Everyone interested and who have the know-how can develop it as its opensource. I think the AROS user/developer base will grow very fast because its so easy to get and will probobly even run on handhelds as it allready run on Palm hardware. AmigaOS has allways been stuck in expensive hardware but soon it will fly free! 2005-01-19 7:40 pm That´s correct!! 2005-01-19 8:30 pm well, the mini mac is the come back of the amiga home-computer concept ? Are you kidding ? well, dead zombie wolking… the amiga was original a desing of a game console, and the main use was gameing. remember the guru meditations ? you want them back ? Use an old version of Windows and interpret the blue screen of death as a guru meditation. 2005-01-19 9:27 pm The amiga computer became popular for gameplaying because it was way ahead of the competition when it came to graphics. However, those of us who really used the computer for other things and became familiar with the AmigaOS have a hard time getting pleased with OS´s of today. I miss the OS and not the graphic-chips. There are no OS´s that can replace the amigaOS as of now for me. I can get my work done with windows but why run a 75 ton steamlocomotive to fetch your mail? There could be a better computerworld OS wise. AmigaOS boots faster from floppies than windows does from a modern HD(does´nt mean you have to use floppies). Its a very flexible system. And you can build it up to be very complex and userfriendly but its still blistering fast. And it fits perfect into a handheld device. Don´t underestimate the potential of this brilliant OS design. The odd hardware os4 runs on is another issue however. It needs to run on standard hardware to get the userbase it needs. 2005-01-19 9:28 pm I think this is their aim, atleast according to the latest speech by Garry Hare.. It will probably not be the case before some future versions though. 2005-01-19 9:42 pm If you research a bit, then you know that this OS is totally customizable.. You can make it look exactly like you want it. The screenshots you see in the review is just the default look of this current pre release version. Take a look at all the different screenshots here: http://amigaworld.net/modules/myalbum/viewcat.php?op=&cid=4 2005-01-19 9:44 pm Thanks for the link! I’d forgotten how terribly the Amiga was handled by Commodore after the A500 (in the UK, at least). Talk about corporate loss of focus… 2005-01-20 2:55 pm This is an OS that was technically light years ahead of Windows and MacOS and all you can say is “remember the guru meditations ? you want them back ?” If you don’t want crashes, you need memory protection. I think it says something for this “games console” OS that a small developer like Hyperion can add memory protection, something that was impossible for Microsoft and Apple. It’s there and will be enabled in OS 4.1. You play a few games over your mate’s house and you think you’re an expert… 2005-01-21 12:41 pm I’ll be buying one soon, I haven’t enjoyed computers since selling my Amiga so long ago, I like the feeling of being in control and just knowing where to look when things break, it just makes sense.. I’m a programmer and I’ll do what I can to help, of course I’ll use portable development tools so I can afford to eat but hey all it needs is what’s available on other platforms to become a real alternative. Well that and a price reduction. 2005-01-28 10:42 am Ok then, a new platform we can really buy, based on the best OS of the time! Finally! I’m a developer and I now have three Macs to work on, but I really can’t resist the temptation of having a new, future-ready Amiga in my room… I will surely buy one as soon as I can afforf it and develop some nice things on it! I still remember the Aminet and the Amiga community… the best chaps in the World, I travelled to England for 3 AmiWorld shows it was worth every penny and minute I spent there! I really believe we can revive this community and this platform. I’m sure there are a lot of developers out there that had a connection to the Amiga some time in their past. I know the Amiga meant a lot to me, I started my computing life with it and I am sure going to “give back” now. The platform deserves it, and so does the community. NOW I believe we are back… for the future (whatever it may bring or head to)! I’m taking this ride; anyone care to join me?