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[News] New Rumour Mill postedANN.lu
Posted on 03-Apr-2001 11:50 GMT by Christian Kemp8 comments
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Now everyone's clamoring for me to write a Rumor Mill to make sense of it all, and I don't even know what 'it all' IS. But then, not knowing what the hell I'm talking about never stopped me in the past. So let's take a quick tour of the Web and try to figure out what really went on, since Moo Bunny (usually my first stop for news - that's why I built it!) is basically just line noise right now. Read More.
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 1 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 02-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
I have to agree with some of his thoughts, with MorphOS, AROS and other products actually existing...I was almost hoping Amiga would be killed off, as strange as that sounds.
Get out of the announcement game and onto the real products game. Amiga, Inc. sometimes goes quiet on announcements, but that doesn't mean they are shipping real solutions.
Here we had some great news recently, finally PCI cards, drivers for Voodoo3, cheap ethernet, etc. You can buy a PPC card now if you want PPC now, and get the G3 later.
But along comes Amiga with more announcements, killing any incentive to buy. My mediator won't work with OS 4.0, my PPC card won't work with OS 4.0.
I don't own an Amiga anymore, but I was about to jump back in because I like the community and it's fun. But now I don't want to buy. Why get stuck with Commodore Iron....
It's just like last year and the year before, everytime I want to buy something from an Amiga dealer, Amiga, Inc. jumps in and says wait, that won't work...we've got plans....
It was fun for a while to think the Amiga was going to be resurrected by a big company like Gateway, etc. but at this point I wish Amiga, Inc. didn't exist...they have the Amiga name and their influence is there...but they don't influence with real products, just with announcements....
oh well...I'll check back in another year...
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 2 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by John Payne on 03-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
1) AmigaOS (the venerable) is still alive and will see further development
2) AmigaDE is still alive and at least a modest version of it is now or
will very soon be shipping on a Sharp PDA
3) Amiga has gotten religion with regard to home servers, and will be
developing AmigaOS in that direction while at the same time integrating
AmigaDE more tightly into it
4) (unless I've misunderstood) part of all of AmigaOS will eventually be
moved onto the VP, making the system either more easily portable or
entirely hardware independent (depending only on the VP port). The
partnership with Matrox would seem to place some limits on this.
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 3 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 03-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Anonymous):
> I have to agree with some of his thoughts, with MorphOS, AROS and other
> products actually existing...I was almost hoping Amiga would be killed off, as
> strange as that sounds.
Actually, NONE of the above exists in a final commercial version ...
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 4 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 03-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 2 (John Payne):
Amiga OS 4.0 will most certainly be a 3.9 (68k) with some addons, running under H&P's 68k emulator for PPC. On top of this there will be AmigaDE.
Porting AmigaOS to another processor (PPC or VP) would take a HUGE effort, especially if the OS is to be further developed at the same time. And porting the OS to PPC would be quite dumb since that would limit the OS to one single platform. That goes against the whole idea with VP-code (even if VP is part of AmigaDE and not the OS). So IF they are going to port the OS to another processor, let's just hope that they make it VP and nothing else. That would be the only way to 'merge' it with the AmigaDE ...
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 5 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by John Payne on 04-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
Don't forget that Motorola is behind both the 68K and (together with IBM and Apple) the PPC, and that the transition trail from 68K to PPC has already been blazed by Apple, and simplified in every conceivable way by Motorola. This isn't exactly unexplored territory. Add to that the effort that's already been invested (by H&P and others) to port AmigaOS to the PPC, and the confidence with which native PPC code was promised in relatively short order, and your cynicism (3.9 on 68K emulator) looks pretty silly. As I recall (and I did own a set of ROM kernel manuals once upon a time, both 1.3 and 2.?), the preponderence of AmigaOS is written in C, not assembly, which should make the port pretty straigtforward. The hardest part won't be the difference between 68K and PPC architecture and instruction sets, but the substitution of Matrox hardware for the Amiga chipset. I expect that will be major rewriting of the graphics library.
> And porting the OS to PPC would be quite dumb since that would limit
> the OS to one single platform. That goes against the whole idea with
> VP-code (even if VP is part of AmigaDE and not the OS).
I think the port to the PPC is happening because it was available for the investment of a few months effort, and because people wanted it.
But, since no one has yet bothered to correct me here regarding my speculative interpretation of Fleecy's words, I'll venture again to guess that the VP port is also a plan, to follow right on the heels of the PPC port. This will take longer, I'm sure, since there will be restructing involved in going from a procedural language to an object-oriented environment, as well as whatever new facilities they plan on implementing, and I'm expecting it to happen in stages, with more parts of the OS moving onto the VP with each new release.
I could be wrong about moving the OS onto the VP being part of the plan at all, but that would beg the question what Fleecy meant by answering the question about "hardware independancy" with "4.2". (Maybe it was a reference only to video hardware, since that had been an issue, and part of the plans for development of the OS in the past, under a previous regime.)
But, since we're in agreement that porting the OS to the VP makes sense, I'll hazard a guess that's what they're planning.
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 6 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 04-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 5 (John Payne):
I don't think that Apples transition from 68k to PPC would make it a lot easier for Amiga. Apples transition wasn't done over a night. They practically wrote a whole new OS before the transition was completed. It took years. For a very long time they had to emulate important pieces of the OS written in 68k.
It's not official just how much work that Haage&Partner and others has ivested in porting the Amiga operating system to PPC. But I surely can't believe that they are even near completion, especially not since PPC hasn't been the official way for Amiga for a long long time now. Porting apps and jpeg datatypes is one thing (I know that kind of things has been ported since Blizzard PPC was introduced), but the OS? If a beta tested PPC OS is to be released before summer, it has to be darn near completion this very moment. Even such trivial things as manufacturing and distributing the CD-ROM's takes some time. So I don't think I am the least cynical when I claim that the Amiga OS 4.0 will be a 68k version 3.9 with some new things added to it, running under H&P's 68k emulator. It makes perfect sense. It's the only way to do it in such short time. And I can't recall that Amiga has promised a PPC native version of the OS, just an OS running under PPC / the upcoming Amiga One.
Porting to VP makes sense. Porting to PPC doesn't in my opinion. The difficulties in cutting the OS loose from the custom chipsets is the same in either way. Everything written in C can be ported to VP aswell as PPC. But a port of the OS won't happen in a near future. Especially not before the summer. Not in 6 months after that. Hardly in another 6 monts after the first 6 months.
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 7 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by John Payne on 05-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
> I don't think that Apples transition from 68k to PPC
> would make it a lot easier for Amiga.
Not directly, but Apple's experience was also Motorola's experience.
Perhaps I'm wrong in assuming that Motorola would be looking out for their own interest (encouraging the use of the PPC) by providing whatever tools they've developed for the 68K-to-PPC transition to anyone making it, but it seems more likely that they would be as helpful as they can be without running up expenses of their own. ("You need a cross-assembler? Yeah, I'm pretty sure we've got one of those around here somewhere...")
> It's not official just how much work that Haage&Partner and others
> has ivested in porting the Amiga operating system to PPC.
Understood, but don't you imagine that they'd already at least taken a good look at what would be involved and estimated how many programmer-months would be required to complete the task, long before the recent decision to go forward with it? They may have already had it mapped out, step-by-step, what they would have to do, and may even have already made some progress on some of those steps. Certainly they had some notion and weren't just going into it cold.
> But I surely can't believe that they are even near completion,
> especially not since PPC hasn't been the official way for Amiga
> for a long long time now.
"Near" is relative to the intensity of effort. Programmer-months is
as divisible by programmers as resources, the availability of programmers with the necessary skill set, and the divisibility of the project allow.
> If a beta tested PPC OS is to be released before summer, it has
> to be darn near completion this very moment.
Well, now...if APPLE can release a public beta operating system, Amiga surely should be able to. ;-) But it didn't sound like 4.0 was going to be much of a change from 3.9 aside from the PPC port (and accomodation of the new hardware), so if it feels unfinished it's more likely to be due to less optimization than you might like rather than a bunch of bugs.
> So I don't think I am the least cynical when I claim that the
> Amiga OS 4.0 will be a 68k version 3.9 with some new things added to
> it, running under H&P's 68k emulator. It makes perfect sense. It's the
> only way to do it in such short time.
That they could do in no time at all, except for the changes made necessary by the different hardware.
> And I can't recall that Amiga has promised a PPC native version of the OS,
> just an OS running under PPC / the upcoming Amiga One.
My recollection differs, but I'm not going to go looking for the source now. You may be right.
> Porting to VP makes sense. Porting to PPC doesn't in my opinion.
I see several things going on here. First there's the user community, which really wants to get it's hands on a new Amiga _computer_ (not just a PDA running AmigaDE, although those are nice too), and the PPC was clearly the preferred cpu - no need to run a poll, although I seem to recall such a poll having been run on this site or Amiga.org. And Amiga was content to let others proceed with filling that niche...until the home server became central to their plans, motivating their decision to pull control over the development of AmigaOS in-house.
So what's the connection, and why does it dictate the PPC port? Why did they decide to use AmigaOS instead of Linux for the home server? Does it have something to do with the GNU Public License? Or is it maybe a matter of AmigaOS being better suited to the purpose?
I can only speculate, and I'm already somewhat over-extended in that regard, so let me leave those as questions. Feel free to answer them if you like.
Hopefully a new issue of AmigaWorld will be out soon with the answers to all these questions.
New Rumour Mill posted : Comment 8 of 8ANN.lu
Posted by John Payne on 06-Apr-2001 22:00 GMT
Here's the explanation of what Fleecy probably really meant when he responded to "hardware-independancy" with "4.2"...
"Eventually, at version 4.2, the "old hardware" will no longer be needed and standalone machines can be built."
Source: Amiga Update #010403
http://www.realdreams.cz/amiga/local/4_4aun010403.html
So mluch for all my speculation about moving AmigaOS onto the VP, although I still think it makes sense to do so.
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