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[Rant] Should AmigaOS be Open Source?ANN.lu
Posted on 27-Oct-2000 12:06 GMT by 16 comments
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Georg Steger submitted a short essay on whether AmigaOS should be Open Source, and how to a certain extent (for some people) it already is, or was. A few days ago I have heard from a reliable source that there are quite a lot of people who are in possess of the AmigaOS 3.1 (and older) sources. And this since very long time (> 5 years).

And this people are not Amiga Inc. or Haage&Partner people. Most of them are very well known and famous among Amiga freaks. For example former employees of Commodore, authors of Amiga programming books, some "butterflies".

It seems that the AmigaOS sources have helped this people in making their products/software/hardware/whatever for Amiga. It's very likely that without the AmigaOS sources some of the products would not even have been possible to make. So it was probably no bad thing for Commodore/Escom/Gateway/ Amiga Inc. More likely the opposite: maybe Amiga would have been (really) dead since long time, if this accidents (AmigaOS source going out of their hands) had not happened.

Amiga Inc. says they are commited to open source. But anyway they don't seem to have any intention to really release AmigaOS Classic as Open Source, for everybody. They must have very weird reasons for this. "Protect their IP"? Then why are the people mentioned above no problem for them? (and I cannot believe that Amiga Inc. does not know anything about other people having access to AmigaOS sources). I guess it's clear why: these people were and are good for them.

But then why not release AmigaOS source for everybody? The argument that it would hurt Haage&Partner, Cloanto, ... is not true, IMHO. After all Amiga Inc. is working on a new OS, and AmigaOS 3.9 seems to be the last update to the classic OS. Even if the AmigaOS sources would have been released a year ago, there is very little chance that this would have caused any competition to AmigaOS 3.9 once it is released.

So if certain non-Amiga Inc. people are allowed to have the AmigaOS sources, maybe even make money based on what they learn from the sources. Why aren't other people allowed to do the same, like the AROS team? Who do everything for free, where the source already is free and which everyone can use for whatever he wants.

Without AmigaOS sources as documentation it of course takes very long to finish AROS. But one day it will be finished - if Amiga Inc. is so kind not to kill us shortly before ;-) BTW: I'm wondering which source will then be worth more: AmigaOS source (mix of ASM/C/BCPL and very hardware dependant) or AROS (almost C only, almost hardware independant, RTG, RTA, portable). I don't know ...

Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 1 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Ben on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
Is this news?
Linux is a good supported Open Source OS - so what use is AmigaOS or AROS source?
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 2 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Marcel on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
Maybe after the AmigaDE is out, AmigaOS will have a decent chance of being opensourced. Right now AmigaOS is still a potential revenue stream for AInc, and I doubt they will "set it free" anytime soon.
That said, I would like to see AmigaOS opensourced. But, there should be some sort of overseeing community group, maybe led by AInc, that will oversee an "official" AmigaOS distro.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 3 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Ben):
: Is this news?
Well, to me it was news, that there are people who have the
AmigaOS source, some of which are even in competition with
Amiga Inc. and that this does not seem to be any problem
for the Amiga Inc. guys.
: Linux is a good supported Open Source OS - so what use is
: AmigaOS or AROS source?
Well, some people still prefer the classic AmigaOS over other OSes,
and maybe even over the new OS Amiga Inc. is making. Some people
dream about a powerpc native AmigaOS or an AmigaOS which runs on
actual hardware, which is much more powerful and cheap than anything
possible with the actual Amiga computer, which for many people one
day will stop working, because the hardware is already many years old.
And with AROS this is possible. It is already in a very advanced
state of development. In certain areas much more than the new OS of
Amiga Inc.
For example programs like Lightwave, Cinema4D would already work
*now* under AROS if we had the source to port them. And porting is
really easy as there are only minimal differences between AmigaOS
and AROS.
And speaking about Ami, the new OS from Amiga Inc.. It will take
many years until a good amount of applications are available. Because
it is basically impossible for many Amiga applications to be ported
to this OS, as it is differs very much from AmigaOS. Most Amiga
applications were not written with portability in mind, so to port
these programs would take far too much time and you would probably end
up with having to rewrite 90 % of the code. Therefore you will rather see
new programs written for Ami, than AmigaOS applications being ported.
Okay, you can use some emulator. But no matter if interpreating emulator
or just in time compilation emulator. This will never be anywhere near as
fast as an app running nativelywhen you port and recompile it for AROS.
And as said AROS one day could as well run hosted under Ami, or, less likely:
Ami running hosted under AROS. Why not. Then you could have the best things
of both OSes at the same time. AmigaOS classic programs running at full speed
and new Ami programs running at full speed.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 4 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 2 (Marcel):
: Maybe after the AmigaDE is out, AmigaOS will have a decent chance
: of being opensourced. Right now AmigaOS is still a
: potential revenue stream for AInc, and I doubt they will "set it free"
: anytime soon.
I don't think that after open sourcing AmigaOS they would all
of the sudden make less money. They would anyway not release
the newest OS. We would even be extremely happy with OS 2.0.
And they of course would not (have to) release all of the OS,
for example the parts which are owned by others, like ARexx.
So the Sources would not be compilable anyway. And that would not
be a problem at all for us. It would mostly serve as documentation
for us. So even if they released only some very small parts, like
console device, or amigaguide.library, we would be still extremely
happy. And how can such small parts of the OS be of any risk for
the revenue stream for Amiga Inc.?
And BTW: Everybody is allowed to make money with AROS, also Amiga
Inc. And people who would make money with AROS, would not even have
to pay anything to the AROS coders.
Once Amiga Inc. made the AROS team an offer which would have allowed
us to have access to the AmigaOS sources. But the offer was not very
good. A minor problem was that we would have been allowed to only use
the sources as documentation, but not for copy&pasting. We could have
lived with this without any problem. But other things were not so
nice. They wanted that AROS for 2 or 3 years must run exclusively
hosted under Ami, their new OS. So no standalone version for this
period of time. And to make sure that noone ported it to some other
computer, AROS would have had to go even close sourced for that
period of time :-(
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 5 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by m0ns00n on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 4 (Georg Steger):
Hey!
.
I thought you AROS guys was consumed by Amiga already. Great news that you are not. So you have choosen to take the path to finishing AROS for a public release? What is the legal status?
.
AROS has been my best bet for 2 years now, so get it going ;o) When is the next update happening on your site?
.
All the best!!!
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 6 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by XDelusion on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
Linux IS a good open Source OS, too bad the GUI's for it suck ass.
I would personally love to see Amiga OS go into a controlled open souce, but like these guys I don't think that will be anytime soon, if ever, hey maybe it ain't open source cause it plays such an important role in the new OS!!
Doubtful but never hurts to be hopeful. :)
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 7 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by greenboy on 26-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 4 (Georg Steger):
Thanks for the essay and the update, Georg. Regardless of how things turn out, I am glad you guys didn't let your project be closed off from alternate platforms for several years.
As an aside, I had wondered what happened to COSA/OAF. Sudden silence and no farewell.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 8 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Thomas W├╝rgler on 27-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
AmigaOS won't be open sourced, so don't get your hopes up.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 9 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Elwood on 27-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (greenboy):
Amiga Inc will kick "their" ass even without OpenSourcing. lightwave will be ported
to OS 4.0 even without Open Source. Many many apps will follow, what do you need more ?
Open Source is completely useless...
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 10 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by noname on 27-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
Georg,
Why don't you approach Amiga Inc. once again? I mean, there's
a new leadership there now. Or maybe you've already asked Bill
and Fleecy.
I sure would like to see AROS running on a x86, a normal friggin'
PC. My A1200T is just a mess, lots of small bits and pieces glued
to the motherboard (so to speak:)). How nice it would be if one could
buy a AROS 1.0 CD, and use a normal PC and install it? Just like Windows.
But without the extra luggage.. I wonder when this day comes... I sure
would be one of the first to buy it..
(OK, this is a future issue, I know, but it's nice to dream sometimes ;))
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 11 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 27-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (greenboy):
>As an aside, I had wondered what happened to COSA/OAF. Sudden silence and no >farewell
They claimed to be a registered charity, and asked for money under this false premise, they claimed they would build a terrific operating system but refused to say how, or who would do it, they claimed many things and delivered only requests for cash. I believe they got "donated" about 500 US dollars now have disappeared.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 12 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by greenboy on 27-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 11 (Anonymous):
If that is the case, I wonder if there was ever even a "they". Pity; that perhaps makes it tougher for others like AROS.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 13 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 28-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 5 (m0ns00n):
: I thought you AROS guys was consumed by Amiga already. Great news
: that you are not. So you have choosen to take the path to finishing
: AROS for a public release? What is the legal status?
Hmm ... I don't really know this myself. If someone
knows, then it's Aaron Digulla, the project coordinator
of AROS. I'm afraid Amiga Inc. could kill us at any time
if they really wanted - their lawyers once told them stuff
like ~ "you must protect your intellectual property.
If you don't you loose it. That's American law". Most of
us don't have any clue about this legal stuff. So we can
just try to behave as nicely as possible to not give them
any reason ;-)
: AROS has been my best bet for 2 years now, so get it going ;o)
: When is the next update happening on your site?
Oh yeah ... the website :-( It's really ugly, I know. But Aaron
is working on a better one.
On http://www.aros.org/screenshots/index.html you can see
some (not really up to date) screenshots.
The lasted things going on in AROS were:
- MultiView and datatypes now working (text, ascii, binary).
Other datatypes should come soon.
- In the x86 native (standalone PC) Version you can now use
mouse and keyboard (but not all mouse/keyboard types work
yet) to drag around windows etc.
The only thing missing to be able to play Quake/Doom/Mame
or run DOpus 4.x in AROS standalone on a PC is a filesystem.
We'll probably some time get Smart File System (the author
said he wanted to clean up src, before get the src from him)
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 14 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 28-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (greenboy):
: As an aside, I had wondered what happened to COSA/OAF.
: Sudden silence and no farewell.
I have no idea. I never really heard very much about
them while coding for AROS (I'm relatively new). Only
that they wanted to convince Amiga Inc. to make AmigaOS
Open Source. Aaron probably had deeper contacts with
them.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 15 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 28-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 9 (Elwood):
: Amiga Inc will kick "their" ass even without OpenSourcing.
: lightwave will be ported to OS 4.0 even without Open Source.
: Many many apps will follow, what do you need more ?
But it will take quite some time until this apps come
out. And speaking about Ami: even Q3/2001 is not very
realistic IMHO. I guess it will be more likely Q1/2002,
except maybe for PDAs and similiar things.
: Open Source is completely useless...
Hmm ... when I see all this people whining about the bugs in AmigaOS 3.5,
I wonder if most of this bugs wouldn't already be fixed if the
OS was open source.
Should AmigaOS be Open Source? : Comment 16 of 16ANN.lu
Posted by Georg Steger on 28-Oct-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (noname):
: Why don't you approach Amiga Inc. once again? I mean, there's
: a new leadership there now. Or maybe you've already asked Bill
: and Fleecy.
Yep, we did. This "2 or 3 years exclusively hosted under Ami" offer
came from them.
We also thought first that with this new leadership an Open Source
AmigaOS was more likely than ever.
But now I'm not so sure anymore. I would almost say that in the
late Gateway days it was almost more likely to have it open-sourced
one not so long away day, because at this time they did not care
that much about AmigaOS anymore, but then the Amiga rights were
sold to Bill and Fleecy.
: I sure would like to see AROS running on a x86, a normal friggin'
: PC. My A1200T is just a mess, lots of small bits and pieces glued
: to the motherboard (so to speak:)). How nice it would be if one could
: buy a AROS 1.0 CD, and use a normal PC and install it? Just like Windows.
: But without the extra luggage.. I wonder when this day comes... I sure
: would be one of the first to buy it..
Depending on what you want to do this day might be closer than you
would think. As said for playing games only thing really missing
is a good filesystem. Okay, sound would also be still missing. But
we have AHI sources, only no time to port it, yet.
OTOH things like printer support, Internect access (TCP/IP) might
take much longer, I'm afraid.
But the situation would be much much better, if someone ported
AROS to some computer with PowerPC (or some other big endian CPU)
cpu. Because then we could use a 68k emulator for still missing
partssimply take the binaries from AmigaOS.
But on a little endian CPU like x86 this is not really possible.
Maybe there would be some change to run at least some 68k binaries,
if we used a 68k emulator which emulates a little endian 68k cpu,
even though such a cpu does not exist (all 68k cpus are big endian).
This would only work with programs which are endianess independant,
or endianess aware.
PS: little/big endianess is the way a cpu stores values in memory
which are bigger than 1 byte. On a 68k cpu (which is big endian)
for example the hex value 0x12345678 is stored in memory like
this:
0x12 0x34 0x56 0x78
Here the most significant bytes are stored first. On a x86 cpu
(which is little endian) the same value is stored in memory like
this:
0x78 0x56 0x34 0x12
Here the least significant bytes are stored first.
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