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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 ...

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