From the AmigaOne mailing list: "
Whilst Amiga Inc are getting all the details of OS4/5 up on their own website I thought it might be useful to give my own views as to where we are, where we are going and why the St Louis announcement was so pivotal to the future of the Amiga. Its quite long I'm afraid, but hopefully a useful basis for further discussion. If the general consensus is that it helps clarify the issues involved I'll also stick it in the AmigaOne section of our web site. If I've got some details wrong I'm sure Fleecy will comment ;-)"
Here's the original message written by Eyetech Group Ltd's Alan.
Over the last few months we have been working closely with Amiga Inc to ensure that the AmigaOne is worthy of being the next generation Amiga - and
that of course means that it must have a robust, expandable, secure,
efficient real time operating system. But that was meant to be the Amiga DE
wasn't it? Well yes and no. The Amiga DE is a quite basic real-time
operating system designed primarily for single tasking - and certainly
single user - operations on embedded systems such as set top boxes, PDA's,
cell phones etc. And since these devices have both low power cpu's and very
limited user interfaces the DE needs to be free of much of the clutter that
we normally take for granted in a desktop operating system.
On the other hand a home server - the central box that coordinates all the
Amiga DE devices and runs 'proper' desktop applications - needs many more
facilities, such as task-level memory protection and OS-level virtual
memory, that are not practical to implement within the DE without completely
compromising its portability and speed.
So what we have now ended up with is the best of both worlds. Desktop Amiga
users will have a desktop/server OS, natively coded for the PPC, with added
memory protection, virtual memory and a much improved file system, whilst
still retaining the efficiency, real time responsiveness, elegance and
familiarity of the Classic Amiga OS. The DE will follow its own development
path but be totally integrated within OS4+
Developing the new OS is to be a 4-stage process:
OS4.x will only run on PPC boards conforming to the Zico specifications
which excludes BlizzardPPC & CyberStormPPC accelerators - even when coupled
with a Predator-SE PCI bus. We (and Amiga Inc) are pressing DCE, the current
manufacturers of these boards, to come up with a 'Zico compliance kit' to
preserve the investment of existing BPPC/CSPPC users and allow them to run
- OS4.0 will be an updated version of OS3.9 with special facilities added to
allow existing classic Amiga applications to run on the AmigaOne, accessing
the classic Amiga hardware via the hardware bridge on the AmigaOne
1200/4000. Much of the operating system will still be in 680x0 code with in
line instruction conversion to PPC code.
- OS4.2 will add additional features and the recoding of much of the OS in
native PPC code. However the major milestone in this release will be the
complete retargeting of all operating system I/O away from Amiga specific
hardware/chipsets. This means that retargetable 'Classic' applications can
be run on the AmigaOne (or any Zico-compliant PPC board) without any
'classic' Amiga hardware present. At this stage the Amiga DE will also be
ported to the Amiga OS so that the AmigaOne can be used as a
development/porting platform for Amiga DE content (as a more familiar
alternative to the currently available Windows/Linux development
environments). Drivers will obviously be provided for those resources which
are retargeted to the AmigaOne motherboard (USB, sound, graphics, UDMA etc).
- OS4.5 will be an entirely PPC-native, entirely hardware independant
version of the operating system, with full driver support for all Zico
resources (FireWire, Matrox NG graphics cards, SCSI etc)
- OS5 is a full 64-bit fully distributed SMP operating system which will
implement virtual memory, memory protection and the Amiga DE in a
fully-spec'd, modular home-server/desktop OS.
Of course this means that - from OS 4.2 on - you will only need a existing
'Classic' Amiga for those few applications that are genuinely not
retargetable (ie those that still insist on 'hitting' the classic hardware).
All of the existing application software developers we have spoken to are
more than willing to port their applications to a fully hardware independent
PPC AmigaOne. This also means that by the time we would have scheduled the
design and production of the AmigaOne 3000 it would probably be an
irrelevant piece of hardware as far as most users are concerned. We're not
closing that door just yet, but, because of this hardware independance from
OS4.2 onwards we believe that existing Ax000 users will be able to run their
applications on stand-alone AmigaOne PPC hardware much sooner than we had
originally anticipated. And as far as that most famous of all big-box Amiga
accessories is concerned - the Video Toaster - we are going straight round
to NewTek ask them to port drivers for their existing PCI-based Toaster to
OS4.x as soon as production AmigaOnes are released!
Finally, one of the most significant parts of the announcement is that Amiga
Inc have decided - quite properly in my view - to take their ownership of
the Amiga OS seriously. They are taking development control, standards
definition and quality assurance for the Amiga OS back in house for the
first time since 1984. This is the first step in ensuring that we are no
longer blighted with compatibility issues between different software
modules, or 'kernel wars' between third party developers. Provided everyone
is sufficiently unbiassed to see the move in this light there is no reason
why Amiga shouldn't choose the best elements from Haage & Partner's WarpOS,
Ralph Schmidts's MorphOS, the work from the AROS project team and the
existing Classic OS in developing OS4 & 5. The important thing is that we
now have - in the shape of Fleecy Moss - a combined helmsman, navigator and
Captain for the Amiga OS. And I for one am fully committing our AmigaOne
hardware to Amiga's new OS strategy - for the sake of forward compatibility
and reliability - and without the diversion of seeing if we can get Linux,
MorphOS or anything else running on the AmigaOne board.
Hope this helps