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[Rant] Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideasANN.lu
Posted on 01-Feb-2001 18:12 GMT by Christian Kemp13 comments
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Henrik Mikael Kristensen writes: Well, this is actually both an opinion and a news item. Certain events taking place right now in certain companies could be important to the future of Amiga Inc. And it should show why charging 99$ for an SDK is very reasonable, IMHO.
I read an article on a Danish news service SOL.dk, which makes me think that many large companies are trying to duplicate Amiga's idea of the "write once, run anywhere" philoshopy, thus pushing Amiga out of the market before they even get in there.

The US based company QualComm are trying to build a standard operating system to be used on all cell-phones. The standard is called BREW™, Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless. If you take away "Wireless", you'd have what TAO Group is doing. Almost.

Here's a description from their own site: The BREW platform allows developers to create applications that operate on all handsets with QUALCOMM CDMA chipsets. BREW sits between the chip system software and the application, making the phone's functionality available to the application without requiring the developer to have the chip system source code or even a direct relationship with a handset manufacturer. One concern here is the narrow scope of the operating system: Cell-phones and wireless only.
Another concern is that Microsoft, Symbian and Ericsson are mentioned in the article, making similar systems each with their own standards. Amiga isn't mentioned at all. Just bad journalism? Hopefully.

Worse yet, QualComm want to electronically certify all BREW™ programs before they can run on consumer products and ask a fee of those spreading the programs (phone-companies). That's called the TRUE BREW™ compatibility test. Of course the test itself costs money. End-users will also have to pay for all applications. So basically both users and developers are forced to pay QualComm for application development. Freeware is no option.
This approach is far more hostile towards developers and end-users than what Amiga Inc. have in mind. Even Microsoft aren't this hostile.
Yet still, the largest cell-phone company in the US (Verizon) are following the standards of BREW™, and others are following as well. Amiga may have lost many potential customers there.
Another limitation is that BREW™ currently only runs on a certain CDMA chipset, which resides in over 70 million cellphones spread over 75 different manufacturers (and that was a year ago). Guess who's making this chipset? That's right: QualComm. Sniff... I smell monopoly...

The technology also seems to be inferior to what Amiga are doing (programs are interpreted in runtime, not at load time, thus giving performance losses, environment isn't selfhosted).
So in short: QualComm's solution looks limited both technologically and the way they want to use it.
The solutions provided by the companies previously mentioned won't neither charge developers nor users. I couldn't find much information about their solutions, as only their names were mentioned, not what exactly they were working on.

The point is: Amiga's system has the best technology and Amiga have the best relationship with developers and users, but only they may want to use them. Despite all the efforts at Amiga, everyone else look the other way and can't take Amiga seriously, now that the big players with the big bucks have spoken. This is already apparent in the cell-phone area. Will the situation spread to PDA's, palmtops and appliances? Amiga would then continue to loose customers.
This mirrors the situation we had 10 years ago, where Amiga was slowly sinking into market oblivion, thanks to greedy companies with inferior technologies. I definitely hope that Amiga Inc. will yell out loud enough this time, or the end users will never hear them.

Also this should show those, who think charging 99$ for an SDK is outragous, that there are companies out there who would happily charge your mother and brother-in-law for every interaction you do as a developer with that company. And those are companies that aren't exactly short on money, like Amiga are now. So I think 99$ is very reasonable.

Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 1 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Have you never given it a thought that maybe, possibly, Amiga is trying to duplicate Java's write once, run anywhere?
Amiga's plans are nothing original.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 2 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Wan on 31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Anonymous):
Have you ever thought about the possibility that Tao finally makes the Java dream a reality for Sun? Not for nothing are they so happy demonstrating Tao powered Java enabled devices at their conferences. :)
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 3 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Troels Ersking on 31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Nice article but a bit frightning.
As I see it our (AmigaDE's) future depends on how fast Amiga can develope AmigaDE and get some hardware manufacturers to buy and use it.
The hardware manufactures Amiga have presented so far is probably really nice people and so... but they are small small companies which won't be enough for us to establish a new AmigaDE userbase.
Amiga need support from a Sony, Ericsson, Sega or Nokia sized company to really get back in focus.
I had hoped for an agreement with Sega or Sony but it doesn't seem like any of the bigger companies will use AmigaDE, atleast not with their own knowledge.
Even though it might not be very vise to do something Sony wouldn't like, I see it as an option to make an native AmigaDE version for ps2 available for free DL.
If Amiga could do so without signing the Sony licensing contract they wouldn't have to pay a royalty to Sony.
It is NOT (as someone have stated) illegal to make an operaitng system that works with ps2 but I don't think we should expect any help from Sony making it:0)
And if AmigaDE was available for ps2, developers wouldn't need the expensive PS2 devkit. What could Sony do about it? AmigaDE developers would not develope for PS2 but instead develope for a multiplatform OS.
It is legal to sell and market software as "works with ps2 (or DC, win95, linux..)" without paying royalty to Sony, but only because the software is not made specificly for ps2 or with the ps2 devkit.
What do you think Amiga should do -focus on the stb market for a start and then later on try the desktop market as they do now?
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 4 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Henrik Mikael Kristensen on 01-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Troels Ersking):
Well, going for the STB market first isn't the worst thing they can do. It's a growing market, which hasn't been entirely established yet, and there's no clear leader yet in that area. Going for the desktop market afterwards, would definitely require them to speak up about the Linux/Windows bridging features.
I don't think the standalone desktop machines will be very successful in the beginning. I think they will be making much more through licensing to STB mass-producing companies. Later the handhelds will get sold, possibly in a small amount at first, because Pocket PC and Palm are already there.
I can see Amiga's aim go get as much money inboard as possible to solidify the foundation, by getting a few companies with them and startup basic sales. Then when the money is there, bigger marketing campaigns can start and they can begin seeking out new, bigger well-known partners and through that get a firmer grip on the market.
Their credibility should grow, but I don't think that will happen until after partnering up with well-known companies.
I know a company (I will not name it), where most of the employees curse Windows and largely prefer Linux, but still their servers are being converted to NT from Unix and their forthcoming products will rely on MS software.
Why? Because it looks really great to put "Microsoft" under the "Partners" section of their website! It really means that much and it increases credibility. Some of them are even very aware of what Amiga are doing and think it's very cool (actually AmigaDE would suit very well in their products, but WindowsCE is their choice). Reputation rather than technological innovation appears to be first priority.
Their biggest problems aren't here yet. It's when Amiga starts selling the AmigaDE, it will be critical. The numbers sold, satisfied customers, how the other companies will react, how news sites will react.
Will there be reviews of the products?
Will the reviewers clap their hands in excitement over the next AmigaDE product?
Will customers return to buy more AmigaDE products or was the experience not good enough for them?
Will people say in three years: "Amiga? Who the heck is that?" or "Amiga? It's all over my house!"
There are so many ways AmigaDE can fall flat on its face, no matter how much a technological beauty it is. Amiga's friendly attitude may not be of much help either given the QualComm example above.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 5 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Gil Knutson on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Although I do not totally understand all the implications in the article, I do
have to admit that what I do understand makes it clear that Amiga had better get
more seriously agressive... within its limited financial range... about letting
all other people in the world know about what they are doing! As the author says,
it looks like a repeat of the past: the best technology being overcome by a less
sophisticated product totally because Joe and Suzi Sixpack don't know about any
other options...
Gil
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 6 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Hagge on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Humms.. I think Ericsson would stop make mobile phones, and concentrate on what they do best, gsm systems and such. Humms, 99$? Well, maybe I'll buy the SDK then amiga inc has studentprices. As long, I'll stick with OpenBSD.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 7 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Matt Sealey on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 1 is exactly right: Amiga and Tao's plans are nothing at all original.
Nobody is stealing anyone's idea, they're all just implementing something that
is, in fact patently (unpatentable :) obvious to anyone who knows what they're
on about.
BREW runs on Qualcomm phone chipsets. This is like Sun's MAJC (I think) Java
running CPU, and Transmeta's morphcode technologies. The ability to run binary
code that is different to that native to the underlying processor is NOT a new
concept, or one anyone can "steal".
Add that to the fact that Tao *aren't* "making Sun's Java dream a reality",
considering that Tao's JVM is no faster or better than IBM's JVM, or even
Microsoft's JVM, in many regards, and is only an implementation of a small,
for embedded systems and the like, subset of the full Java implementation that
others can boast.
Why don't we all stop deluding ourselves that Amiga are going to do something
amazing? They missed the boat on this by about 5 years.
Matt
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 8 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Alex Klauke on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (Matt Sealey):
> Comment 1 is exactly right: Amiga and Tao's plans are nothing at all original.
> BREW runs on Qualcomm phone chipsets. This is like Sun's MAJC (I think) Java
> running CPU, and Transmeta's morphcode technologies. The ability to run binary
> code that is different to that native to the underlying processor is NOT a new
> concept, or one anyone can "steal".
True, it is not an idea originating in 2001. Tao does this kind of things since 1992 and within 1995 there was a discussion on 'Taos' even within the
Amiga community (also as a possible new OS foundation... look at AmigaSDK.com also).
And BREW only brews on Qualcomms very own hardware chip ;-) We should go away from proprietary hardware.
> Add that to the fact that Tao *aren't* "making Sun's Java dream a reality",
> considering that Tao's JVM is no faster or better than IBM's JVM, or even
> Microsoft's JVM, in many regards, and is only an implementation of a small,
> for embedded systems and the like, subset of the full Java implementation that
> others can boast.
Comparing IBM JRE 1.1.8/1.3.0 to AmigaSDK's intentJTE (is pj 1.1.6, Java 2 in the works) shows not very much difference on my P133 on top of Linux and I have not seen AmigaDE running native anywhere, did _you_?
> Why don't we all stop deluding ourselves that Amiga are going to do something
> amazing? They missed the boat on this by about 5 years.
You're right here. Amiga missed on facelifting AmigaOS then (even since 1992).
Amiga-2000 at least let some work do (by H&P). And they concentrate not on reviving a basically 9 yr. old OS, but try something new. That is what is missing from any Amiga company within the last 5 years. And be not to sure that they will _not_ deliver anything amazing, explicitly including a desktop OS (and an OE for 1,5Mio. STB, 7Mio. PDAs, what else..?).
Maybe you get the point later this year. Hope so..
> Matt
Alex
ps: apologies for quoting nearly everything, it needed to be done ;-)
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 9 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by szutoman on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 8 (Alex Klauke):
I concur
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 10 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Casey R Williams on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Off topic slightly; but isn't that Athena Linux thingie something we should be
into? I mean the next generation of Amigas could have a use for that thing, too. The other day I was thinking about the old Games Master System project, one of those things I was amazed people didn't get more into. It was supposed
to be an object oriented API for Amiga games, then was abandoned by the author in favour of something he had named EOS. That was when the author became disenchanted with the Amiga and moved to Linux. I think his name was Paul Manias and i believe he's the main coder on this Athena thingie.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 11 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Torsten on 02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Troels Ersking):
>And if AmigaDE was available for ps2, developers wouldn't need the expensive >PS2 devkit. What could Sony do about it? AmigaDE developers would not develope >for PS2 but instead develope for a multiplatform OS.
Eeeehhmmm - if you make playstation-games on AmigaDE - why playstations? Just think. They had to run everywhere.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 12 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Colin Wilson on 03-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
RE: making games for PSX2`s - if they were developing on a PSX2 and able to make it cross-platform compatible at the same time, then as long as Amiga Inc didn`t mind having the OS included with the games (like my comparison with DirectX a few days ago), then great.
<BR>
Otherwise, why write for one platform in AmigaDE, then have to rewrite the code entirely for another hardware platform, due to lack of inclusion of the OS to enable that code to run anywhere else.
<BR>
If anything, that would be a worse situation than Amiga currently face - trying to ask developers to write in portable code they haven`t used before, and not allowing them the flexibility to use that code anywhere else.
<BR>
Licensing the OS / AmigaDE with games is the only way I can see us getting wide exposure to the masses, and quickly, and allow the versatility of the system to be taken up by developers. A royalty payment to Amiga Inc for every copy sold wouldn`t be that bad - after all, that`s how Sony / Nintendo / Sega ran their business models. The one advantage Amiga have is they`re not making loss-leader hardware required to run it on.
<BR>
I think it would be naive to imagine major companies talking about developing on similar / competing OS`s if they hadn`t already used it and thought it was suitable for their needs.
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 13 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Troels Ersking on 03-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 11 (Torsten):
Hi Torsten
"Eeeehhmmm - if you make playstation-games on AmigaDE - why playstations? Just think. They had to run everywhere."
Im not sure I understand what you mean but... Sure the programs would have to run anywhere (that is anywhere were AmigaDE is). Even though the games could run on lots of diffrent processors you would still need a HW platform with AmigaDE available.
Why PS you ask....well since games is so important nowadays it will be very important to be present on both PC's and consoles simply because it is a very few companies that can afford to develope for one platform only.
PS2 was just one idea, it could just aswell be xbox, gamecube or DC.
It is just that if AmigaDE was available on these platforms it would give game developers some economical advantages that otherwise woulden't be available.
Troels Ersking
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