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20.Jan.2004
AmigaWorld (ANF)


Fortnightly Q&A's with Fleecy Moss - episode 26
The English online magazine AmigaWorld has published episode 26 of the regular questions and answers session with Fleecy Moss, CTO at AMIGA, Inc. (Update 2012-03-15, cg: as the original document is no longer available, the following content was moved into our database):

1) rayt: Is it still planned to release the CyberstormPPC version of OS4 before the Aone version or will they be released at the same time now?

Fleecy: Whichever one is done first will be released first. The CSPPC version was a long way ahead of the AmigaOne version but in recent months that has ceased to be the case and the AmigaOne may even now be ahead of the CSPPC version. We still aren't ready to give a release date for either but once one is released, a majority of the spare resources will go into bringing the other to release.

2) Hondo_DK: Could you perhaps tell us about the changed plans with 4.1,4.2, etc. ??? and maybe give us a new timeline for these versions.

Fleecy: Such things are always going to be subject to change, as they have already. Just generating the final requirements set is hard enough but trying to add a timeline to it is virtually impossible. We hope to have AmigaOS4.1 out within 12 months of AmigaOS4.0 but that could change depending upon a number of things.

As we move forwards, the feature set for each successive release will obviously build upon the other but will be a combination of;
  1. fixes from the last version.
  2. enhancements to AG1 code that will remain.
  3. introduction of AG2 services, such as visual, audio, 3D and such.
  4. introduction of the digital living essentials services.
  5. Introduction of a formal development environment for developers.

The Digital Living Essentials project is dedicated to bringing core user activities to the AmigaOS, so that we can provide an acceptable alternative to other competitors. For example a world class browser, an email client, a media player etc.

3) MycoMedical: I was reading up on Intent, and they have recently comeout with a new version. If I buy the SDK now, am I entitled to the upgrade or should I wait untill the SDK is updated before I invest?

Fleecy: The recently released ADK from Tao is based upon Intent 1.4, the same version that we are using in the construction of the new SDK. If you buy the SDK now then yes, you will receive an upgrade - remind me if anyone causes you any trouble over it.

4) Santa: How does the AG2 services based approach relate to WebServices? Are they comparable technologically?

Fleecy: A service is simply a description of a set of logically related operations. A service provider implements a service for a particular resource. These exist within an abstract domain that allows for the resources and the services to be distributed and dynamically advertised, discovered and queried. As such they are a key part of the development architecture and environment for the future.

As for WebServices? Do you have anything particular in mind? Email me if you need a better answer.

5) mjohnson: How extensive has the beta-testing been for the filesystem/diskvalidator and the Partition Wizard? (If you don't mind, throw me all the gory details! I.e. how badly crashed disks have been successfully rescued, how thoroughly have your attempts at finding bugs been executed?)

Fleecy: These information comes from various members of the development and beta groups so may be a little bit disjointed, but you did ask for the gory details.

"OK, the gory details on the file system (maybe Jörg could comment on the data recovery practice) include in about two serious 'incidents' over a period of two years which required the use of a disk structure repair program (no, not Partition Wizard, which wasn't handy at the time the fix needed to be made). Apart from this the file system has run remarkably robust and stable for all the time. The 'period of two years' refers to the time the author of the file system would use it on the busiest partition of his Amiga, namely the one which holds the e-mail client and the web browsers. The author has been using the file system for almost as long on all his other partitions, including those which hold the Amiga operating system source code and private development projects. The new file system was written to be paranoid about the data it manages and it tries to minimize the impact of data structure changes on the disk: if, for whatever reason, the system should crash or hang before all the necessary data has been written, then the contents of the disk should still be in a consistent state. In many cases not even a revalidation is necessary."

"Partition Wizard has 2 data recovery functions:
  • 'Repair' checks all FastFileSystem meta-data blocks, and in case of OFS the data blocks as well, of the partition and removes all files/directories/links which have errors. The result is always a error free partition. It does not attempt to restore partial files/directories, that's where some of the other tools can fail and even destroy more as they repair. Repair makes sure not to modify any data which could help the 'Salvage' function.
  • 'Salvage' doesn't fix the errors on the partition itself but scans the whole partition, rebuilds the filesystem structures and copies the rescued files/directories to another partition. That way more data can be recovered, for example it's impossible in a fix-in-place repair to find out which file is the correct one for "block used twice" errors for all possible cases, when copying the files to another partitition instead both (or even more) files can be restored. Of course only one of them will be correct, but the correct one is always rescued which is not the case in a fix-in-place repair.

Additionally to FastFileSystem2 (all 8 modes) Salvage supports SmartFileSystem as well."

"You could add to the answer as well that you can recover lost partitions (due to a lost RDB). It worked very well for me :)

PW generates a list of found partitions the user can use with Media Toolbox to recreate the partitions. PW has undelete, unformat, etc. as well,"

6) koan: As this series continues, will you put together a work-in-progress List of AG2 "specifications" as you have described them on the AI homepage? Or does such a document exist and I have missed it?

Fleecy: Once AmigaOS4.0 is out the door, then I will put up more documentation relating to AG2. The first four AG2 projects that will commence will cover visual services, audio services, ROSE (Resources and Services Environment) and Persistence (Data storage and organisation). The Interactive Environment will start but obviously cannot be implemented until the visual services are complete. As a result there may be a project which builds a new or updated Workbench/Intuition as a fill in.

Be assured that as soon as we have something to show off we will but the last three years has seen the community make itself perfectly clear. Show us when its ready.

7) JCC: Would XML preferences be an example of an OS4 feature that is a stepping stone toward the final destination (the concept sounds great since it makes system configuration very accessible)?

Fleecy: For me it is clear that XML preferences are the way to go as
  • the programming interface is way more fail/crash-proof compared to the currently available binary accessed formats (true also for the current IFF/iffparse.library as the chunks themself do contain proprietary encoding, too).
  • the application developer doesn't need to reinvent the wheel for storing preferences over and over again.
  • one commonly used preferences format will help to wipe away all proprietary used .ini/.iff/.bin/.cfg etc. file formats.
  • the XML format is human-readable and even -editable (it is even very easy to write an editor for it like Apples PropertyListEditor, something that is planned.)
  • the textual representation of data within XML doesn't has any endianness-dependency [this makes it easier to exchange data between platforms (if it should be needed)].
  • the human-readability makes it easy to verify what (probably personal and confidential) information is stored within a references file (impossible in case of a binary encoded scrambled] prefs file).
  • the hype-factor should not be accepted. XML really is as important as people claim and is not another overhyped technology.

Perhaps these arguments don't convince some people but you just need to look at Mac OS X and see how successful the application of a common XML preferences format can be. The implementation within application.library is an attempt to bring some of these benefits to AmigaOS4.0.

8) VidarL: What's happening with the Safe-C programming language you talked about a long time ago?

Fleecy: It is still a key part of the AmigaOS5.0 plan but it has been absorbed into another project that has yet to be announced.

9) GregS: I heard that Alan demonstrated an MS box running as a client within Linux on an A1 (I could have misread this). Is such a facility (alond with Mac emulation, and linux within Amiga) planed for the future OS4-5?

Fleecy: I played with Windows running on MoL on the AmigaOne at the Micromart show and it was very impressive. We have no plans ourselves to provide other platform emulation or hosting within AmigaOS4.0 but I'm sure some third party will find interest in that area.

10) Toaks: What happened to the new games from "KALIKO" and "ZEONEO" , any news on them? will they appear on DE soon ? and whats the general info atm (why its been so slow this year)

Fleecy: These games are still in development or test due to the authors being busy with their day jobs. Kaliko's new Brainteaser is a very promising looking game which my wife adores and which is, as far as I can tell, almost finished.

Zeoneo I know have just completed beta testing their Crossword Evolution product for both PocketPC and Windows desktop. Their amazing new game, Invasion, has been in beta test for a few weeks now and is one of the best space invaders/galaxians/Zalaga games I have ever played.

It has been a slow year for many reasons - lack of resources, the time it has taken to get the latest Intent update, prospective customers umming and arring, Microsoft warning OEMs away from card based solutions until they fixed the problems we found, waiting for PocketPC2003 to become dominant and waiting for the Smartphone product to become more stable.

We do intend to have new products ready in the first quarter of 2004.

(Copyright © 2004 Amigaworld.net. All rights reserved.
Originally available at http://amigaworld.net/modules/fleecymoss/index.php?cat_id=27
You may freely redistribute this article, providing that a URL is provided to the original source,
and the copyright notices remain intact)
(nba) (Translation: gf)

[News message: 20. Jan. 2004, 00:00] [Comments: 0]
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