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04.Apr.2001
Brad Webb per E-Mail


Amiga Update - Newsletter von Brad Webb
Brad Webb hat anlässlich der St. Louis Show eine Spezialausgabe seines Newsletters veröffentlicht:

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               A M I G A      |#010403 |      U P D A T E
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  "SO THE WORLD MAY KNOW"
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        AMIGA and the Amiga logo are trademarks of Amiga, Inc.      
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      *   S P E C I A L   A M I G A   2 0 0 1   I S S U E   * 

            O U R   " T A K E "   O N   T H E   S H O W 

   A M I G A ,   S H A R P   Z A U R U S ,   A N D   O T H E R S 

   S O M E   D E T A I L S   F R O M   G A R Y   P E A K E   . . . 

    . . .   A N D   D E T A I L S   F R O M   C T O   F L E E C Y

 
Editor's Thoughts and Introduction:
 Below are items pertaining to the just completed Amiga 2001 show held
in St. Louis, USA, over the past weekend (March 30 - April 1). Due to
the importance of the show, and the buildup before it, we thought
we'd put together a small special issue to get information to you. 
 As with most things, the true significance of events will probably
not be known for some time.
 Brad Webb,
 Editor
----------------------------------------------------------------------

            O U R   " T A K E "   O N   T H E   S H O W 

3 April, 2001

By Brad Webb

 It was billed as "1985 all over again". In some ways, for some
people, it probably was.
 It was definitely the changing of the guard.
 It had it's usual share of organizational problems.
 It was fun, and the place to be this last weekend.
 The most important news from the point of view of our readers may be
that there will be additional versions of AmigaOS, and they will be
Power PC native!
 The most important news from the point of view of the Community and
its continuation is that there are once again good ways to make money
as an Amiga developer!

Logistics
~~~~~~~~~
 There were problems with getting classes and seminars started and
ended on time, and there was a terribly long wait to enter the banquet
hall Saturday night. These things seem endemic to many Amiga shows and
can often be traced to the small number of people willing to help. We
hope as the new market develops and grows, more people will be
available to help run Amiga shows. In the meantime, those who worked
on Amiga 2001 did a fine job given the circumstances, and those in
attendance were able to deal with the minor logistical problems and
get real benefits from the events.

The Sales Floor
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 The sales floor was well attended, especially on Saturday, and there
seemed to be a good amount of buying. The number of vendors was not
real high (about 14 or 15 key Amiga stalwarts), but the large booth
belonging to Merlancia seemed determined to make that up by itself. It
looked as if all the stock ever assembled by Amiga International was
there to be purchased. They also had a nifty assemblage of items in a
sort of mini-museum of Commodore and Amiga memorabilia. The two large
vats of free bottled beer on Saturday didn't hurt matters, and went
well with the incredibly huge pile of pizza in boxes brought in by
Petro for his retirement luncheon. The pizza itself was first rate.
 There were only a few new products, the most interesting of which was
a PC on a card from Mr. Hardware Computer. We haven't seen it in
operation, but hope to have more information in the future.

Petro
~~~~~
 Genuine emotions and deep appreciation were everywhere in evidence
for Petro throughout the weekend as his retirement was was both
celebrated and regretted. The roast, which certainly had its
hilarious moments, ran quite long as many in the Community wanted to
share their affection and memories. It might well have been an event
by itself on another night, so much needed to be said. A standing
ovation for Petro was just one of many clearly deeply felt attempts to
express appreciation. And just because he's retiring, don't be
surprised if you see him very much in attendance at future Amiga
shows.

The Future
~~~~~~~~~~
 When Bill McEwen finally got to the main presentation during the
banquet, he tried to compress his remarks to save time. As it turned
out, he had a lot of good things to say, and anything that had to be
left out was covered later during the weekend.
 Much applause greated the statement that Amiga OS is planned out
through vresion 5.0 and they're not going to stop there! The OS will
become native PPC, beginning by moving OS 3.9 to PPC. Eventually, at
version 4.2, the "old hardware" will no longer be needed and
standalone machines can be built. Once again, emphasis was made that
Amiga will not be making hardware itself. 
 For the short term, a completed Amiga ONE board for the 1200 was
shown. We discussed the status of an Amiga ONE for the A4000 the next
day with Alan Redhouse of Eyetech. He tells us it's still firmly in
the plans, but must be a money-maker to remain there. If it doesn't
see the light of day, it will most likely be due to completion taking
longer than Amiga OS requires to reach 4.2, when it will no longer be
needed. It all depends on how fast the new versions of Amiga OS come
along.
 The Amiga ONE is headed into beta in the June/July time frame and
just might (no promises) be ready in time for the west coast Amiga
show in Sacramento, California, at the end of July.
 The other key point made by Bill McEwen during his banquet
presentation is that there is now, finally, a new and huge potential
market for Amiga developers, where they can actually make money! This
is where the comparison with 1985 has some merit. In 1985, Commodore
created a new market for developers with the original Amiga. Now, the
new Amiga Inc. has created another new market for developers with
Amiga DE.

New Market
~~~~~~~~~~
 Bill pointed out that the cell phone and handheld markets are
starving for content. This content needs to be small games and
utilities of the kind Amiga developers are well equipped to create. 
 The Amiga DE provides a single solution for this new Java-centric
small appliances world. In Japan, the Sharp Zaurus is already
Amiga-able. More are coming, and coming to the rest of the world as
well. We have a press release below which should answer most questions
you have. Bill did point out there were over 1800 new Amiga developers
now due to this new market.
 Bill noted that after the Zaurus comes the Psion, and that's just the
beginning.
 It's a simple market. The user of the cell phone or PDA downloads an
application / game / ringer sound / what-have-you and pays for it
on-line. Price is perhaps $10 for a small game. 60% goes to the
author, 40% to the distributor. There are no boxes, no shelves full of
inventory, no manuals to take care of, and no returns. Simple,
elegant, and with millions of potential customers.

New Amiga OS Versions
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Bill also stated that Amiga DE would roll into the Amiga OS as it
goes forward. During discussions Sunday morning, Bill explained the
reason for going forward with Amiga OS was a business one, which means
there's a good chance it will actually happen close to plan. The
business reason is simple - the new Amiga needs server machines it can
control for use as it's home server. There's nothing better for the
job than the existing Amiga OS. A second, but very important reason,
is that Amiga knows a number of the talented developers in the
Community won't develop on anything else.
 There are a couple words of caution. At this point, it's not clear
how compatible existing PPC based machines will be with the future
standards. Compatibility will not be ignored, we're sure, but of
course can't stand in the way of success for the future.
 In addition, this does mark a change in direction for Amiga from what
was announced in the past. The Amiga DE was supposed to be scalable
from PDAs to servers. Now it seems it is not, due primarily to its
lack of memory protection as we understand it. A change in direction
is not all bad when it's fine tuning an overall strategy. The problem
is the Amiga community has seen little other than changes in direction
in the past, with no direction lasting long enough to produce growth
and meaningful product. This change doesn't seem to be in the same
category as previous ones, but we're not surprised Amiga is being
taken to task in postings on the net by long term disillusioned
Amigans. As we've said so often in the past, "time will tell" - but
we're inclined to be more reassured than frightened by this change.

The Transition
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 It might have escaped notice by some, but this event marked a
significant transition for Amiga. Petro's retirement was one element
of this, though mostly symbolic. The second is more subtle, but more
important for the future. Amiga Inc. is now taking a firmer guiding
hand. In the past, Amiga OS 3.5 and 3.9 (for example) were pretty much
farmed out on a "bring us something" basis. From now on, Haage and
Partner and other key contributors will be functioning more as project
managers within an overall strategy maintained by Amiga. This will
give the market some much needed direction and should be a help to all
who depend on it. It's a sign of the maturing of the company, and is
quite welcome.
 Interestingly, Bill McEwen stated Amiga enters this new state with a
new Vice President of Engineering, a person he would not identify yet
to spare him loads of e-mail, but who came from MicroSoft. The
operating system side of development is being handled by Fleecy Moss
and his team.

Word Pictures
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 There's always so much more to an Amiga show than the speaches and
sales. We'd like to share a few "word pictures" with you from the
weekend.

 40 or 50 Amigans talking about every Amiga topic under the sun at
Amiga's Hor's D'overies party Friday night. We finally got to meet
Phil Vedovatti, the man behind New Icons, and found him delightful.

 Living in yet another hotel with strange floor arrangements. Last
year's Henry VIII was torn down due to airport expansion, but this
Sheraton maintains its spirit. We entered on the ground floor, then
took an elevator down two floors to our room on the first floor.
There, we had a door out onto a ground level patio. Shades of
"Castrovalva" from Dr. WHO.

 Getting tossed out of the dining room along with "Mrs. Brad", JoAnn,
Florence and John Zacharias (of "AE Mail" fame) when they closed it
for the night. There was a lot to be gone over, so we just moved on
...

 The first day, the phones didn't work. Not just in the hotel, but all
over this section of St. Louis. Someone cut a key cable somewhere. It
was NOT a MicroSoft plot to keep the word from getting out.

 The Mardi Gras beads being handed out by Kermit Woodall of "Nova
Design". No, we're not going to tell you what you had to do to get
some. Yes, we do have some. They were everywhere in evidence, all
weekend long.

 Seeing Dave Haynie and Leo Schwab again, Leo in full medieval costume
as in days of old. Wonder where he gets the hats? "Schwabbies"
(remember them?) might be just "the thing" for the new small appliance
market.

 Rollie and his clarinet, performing "A Very Good Year" for the
banquet crowd. Actually kept everyone quiet in appreciation of the
music, no small task! High marks for the organizers for this one!

 The dancing Petro baby during the Petro roast video. Not to mention
the speach by video from Bill Gates - or a darn good rendered
likeness, anyway.

 The stories of Petro's driving. It's a good thing he's skilled at it,
or we might be short a large number of Community members.

 The UGN folks in the corner, doing their best to get the word out to
the world. We didn't get to discuss the phone failure and how it
affected them, but it can't have been a help.

 The many good restaurants, bars and shops in the West Port area right
outside the hotel. Definitely an improvement over the old venue. There
are a lot of word pictures to come from events in a few of the bars,
which we won't be bringing you.

 The collision of the Amiga crowd waiting to enter the sales floor on
Saturday morning and 100 or so children with parents heading through
the same area on their way to an early Easter Egg hunt. Can't blame
the organizers for this one. Incidentally, the wandering Canada geese
outside the hotel seemed slightly confused by all the colored eggs
lying about.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   A M I G A ,   S H A R P   Z A U R U S ,   A N D   O T H E R S 

 ST. LOUIS, MO, March 30, 2001 - Amiga Incorporated, a pioneer in the
development of multi-media and content, today announced a long-term
partnership with Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer of
innovative products and core technologies in electronics, in which
Amiga will develop content for next-generation Sharp handheld
computing devices.
 
 In March, Sharp announced its plans to market the Zaurus PDA in the
United States and Europe as one of the world's first Linux-based
handheld device. The Linux operating system is gaining wider
acceptance in the computer server market because its underlying code
is freely distributed on the Internet. Easily adaptable for different
hardware devices, the Sharp handheld will be able to run software
written in Sun Microsystems' versatile Java software language that
supports different operating systems.
 
 In this partnership, Amiga announced that its developer community
would either develop new content or adapt existing content for PDA
applications, using their reputation for innovation and leadership in
gaming, 2D, 3D, animation, video, and music applications.
Amiga-developed content can be downloaded directly through wireless
networks, using desktop computers, or ported directly into the new
device.
 
 "By working with Amiga as one of our content partners we are able to
expand the applications and content available for our new devices,"
said Dr. Hiroshi Uno, Ph.D. Division General Manager - Mobile Systems
Division, Communications Systems Group, Sharp Corporation Japan.
 
 Amiga has an outstanding reputation for software development. We
anticipate that the alliance with Amiga will create a lot of momentum
for the Zaurus PDA."
 
 "Amiga is excited to be part of the Zaurus PDA project, and we look
forward to bringing the excitement, brilliant content and magic of the
Amiga community to Sharp," said Bill McEwen, President/CEO of Amiga
Incorporated. "Amiga is adding new dimensions of content for the next
generations of computing devices, and we see the new PDA platform as
an important area of strategic business growth and applications for
the Amiga community. We intend to develop some really great
applications as consumers more fully understand the great potential
and skill set of the Amiga community."
 
 About Sharp Corporation
 
 Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer of the core digital
technologies that are playing an integral role in shaping the next
generation of mobile computing products for consumer and business
needs. Since creating the Wizard(R) electronic organizer in 1989,
Sharp has led the market in introducing innovative handheld computing
products. Sharp is also the global leader in LCD technology, which is
incorporated into leading-edge LCD monitors and projectors. From the
small office/home office (SOHO) to large corporate environments, Sharp
provides a variety of innovative, computer-related solutions designed
to help increase productivity while providing functionality to meet
customer demand. Dedicated to improving people's lives through the use
of advanced technology and a commitment to innovation, quality, value
and design, Sharp Corporation employs approximately 60,200 people
worldwide in 30 countries. More information is available at
http://sharp-world.com/index.html.
 
 About Amiga
 
 Amiga Inc. provides technology to developers for writing and porting
applications to a new multi-media operating systems which is hardware
agnostic. AmigaDE is a joint development effort between the Tao Group
of Reading England, and Amiga Incorporated. AmigaDE based applications
can run unchanged on x86, PowerPC, M Core, ARM, StrongARM, MIPS R3000,
R4000, R5000, SH 3, SH4, and NEC V850 processors. The Amiga OS can run
hosted on Linux, Embedded Linux, Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, CE and
QNX4. Amiga is based in Snoqualmie, WA, 28 miles east of Seattle and
has offices worldwide. Amiga can be reached at (425) 396-5660 or visit
Amiga on the web at http://www.amiga.com.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   S O M E   D E T A I L S   F R O M   G A R Y   P E A K E   . . . 

 {The following items were found posted on the net and should help
clarify the announcements from Amiga 2001. Brad}

3 April, 2001

As has been discussed here several times, AmigaDe has no 
memory protection. This and a couple of other issues are 
the reasons for the announcement.

Basically, here is what we are doing and why:

1. Developers are starving to death and will leave 
unless we find a way to help them make money fast. 
Dealers have the same problems. We need more oomph to 
take advantage of higher fps games, etc. This IS a 
multimedia platform community after all. My mail box 
tells us developers and dealers need something quickly. 
We can get AmigaOne and OS4.0 out by summer without 
losing any time developing the DE. This is with our 
thanks to Haage & Partner and Eyetech who have agreed to 
meet PRD's we set before them. We could not implement 
this plan so quickly without their valued help. Also we 
should include Hyperion who is assisting our team with a 
level of GL and video capability that will enhance game 
developers potential.

2. Users want new hardware. Amigas are starting to fail 
and frankly it is just too expensive to start R&D for 
new (modified) chips in the amounts we would probably be 
able to sell and just as expensive for fabbing the older 
chips as well. So, off the shelf, open designed, new 
machines based on PPC is the most inexpensive way to get 
the Amiga user onto a newer platform.

3. Amiga users have always been partial to PPC. Dean 
Brown, Dave Haynie, Mick Tinker, and Joe Torre (four of 
THE best and brightest Amiga minded hardware gurus I 
know) are all for a PPC based platform advance. Dave had 
the PiosOne design that he allowed us to release openly 
to help people see what can be done with an open 
hardware design based around PPC. We did not release 
Dave's specs the week before the announcements by 
accident. It was to open people's minds to what can be 
done by thinking outside the box. Dave Haynie doesn't 
know what a box is. Remember, we already run on a bog 
standard PC.  :)

4. Our Zico base specs are an open spec based around 
PPC. Alan Redhouse at Eyetech has a full plan, knows 
when to freeze the design and ship, and has met our 
Product Requirements Document. Dean Brown has approved 
his design. Dave Haynie saw it in St Louis and thought 
it was cool. Joe was there also and while I didn't ask 
Joe specifically for his ideas, he is open enough to 
have said if he thought the design was bad. Haage & 
Partner have met our PRD's on the software side. Both 
have excellent reputations for actually meeting 
deadlines and shipping product when they say they will.
While they are contracting to us, these projects are 
being managed by us now.

5. Amigade provides us with binary compatibility, 
distributed processing capabilities and many other 
things we can get no where else. This line of 
development will continue as previously planned. Note: 
There are NO changes to what you have been told we plan 
to do with AmigaDE.

6. We intend, as we have stated all along, to cover 
everything from PDA's and cell phones, set top boxes, 
and servers. This plan allows us to do that with ease.

7. AmigaOS will continue to be developed and will be 
merged into or under AmigaDE so that we eventually have 
our own familiar base to play on and it will be a full 
AMIGA base that is server capable and cell phone capable 
as well. But we will not drop Windows and Linux 
compatibility either. Think of this as adding yet 
another playground for AmigaDE. It is no different from 
deciding to also play on top of Be or any other OS out 
there. We will continue to find playgrounds that provide 
us, our developers, and dealers even more opportunities.

8. As far as splitting the community and the developers: 
We have over 2,000 developers currently involved with 
us. Another 30 added themselves today after the news 
from St Louis. My mailbox is so full I spent all day 
JUST answering new mails from developers and companies 
wanting to come to Amiga and play and I didn't get them 
all answered yet. Half of the developers are firmly in 
the PDA, cell phone, and set top box camp. The other 
half are either desktop oriented or want to do both. 
This gives everyone a place to utilize their talents and 
make money.

9. Most notable request from developers I have 
is "please also give us a desktop". As Bill noted in his 
banquet speech, he made certain promises to me based on 
what Team AMIGA members (6000 plus) and others in the 
community have said they want from whomever has the 
Amiga name. I took this job based on those promises. 
Bill keeps his promises.

10. This is a business and this is fun. We do what we do 
because we want to and we can. If someone tells us we 
can't, we do it just to show them we can. This is also a 
family. This was very evident over the weekend. I hugged 
more people in St Louis than I do at a family reunion. 
Bill had tears in his eyes as he talked about us losing 
Bob Cosby. We care. We have to make sure our friends and 
family can finally make money but we have to do it in 
ways that keep us afloat as well from a business 
standpoint.

11. Tao Group is a great partner and is providing Amiga 
with opportunities we have never been able to land 
before. Good business means taking advantage of this 
opportunity they provide and we intend to do that with 
their help and asistance.

12. Listen to the facts and ask questions here and in 
other Amiga forums where we are there to answer your 
questions truthfully. Don't listen to the naysayers, the 
hype, the conjecture, and the innuendo of people who 
have no clue. We will tell you the truth. Bad or good, 
you get the truth.

13. We have taken flak from certain people because they 
say we provide no value. Our value is in uniting as many 
people as we can into a formidable force. We can not do 
what we plan alone. It takes unity, solidarity, team 
work. All of us must work together and together we will 
slowly conquer the world ... just because we want to.


Sincerely,

Gary Peake
Amiga Inc.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   . . .   A N D   D E T A I L S   F R O M   C T O   F L E E C Y

{Also found on the net, and dealing with things at a bit more
technical level, are these notes from Amiga's CTO, Fleecy Moss. We
found this as a posting from Alexander Lohrmann and answers from
Fleecy, which we indicated with *s. Our thanks to Mr. Lohrmann for
asking the questions! We've removed a few things for clarity but added
nothing beyond the *s. Brad}


Apr 1, 2001 

 Will there be any improvements over OS3.9 like:

 - A really integrated TCP/IP-stack
 
 *Brand new, written from scratch.
 
 - Memory Protection for new apps (I know it is impossible for old
ones)
 
 *Virtual Memory will come in OS4, which will make a big difference.
MP is much harder and will be done in OS5.

 - recource tracking

 *the Amiga Component Model will give you that.

 - SMP

 *OS5

 - A new datatypes-system, especially for streaming and anims

 *The ACM and streaming system will give you that.
 
 - a new and better soundsystem, with support for surround and 3D
 
 *The Audio system will be the best of any system out there. We have 5
of the best audio people in the world working on it.
 
 - 2D and 3D APIs, integrated into the gfx-system instead of hacked-in
like now
 
 *Already underway, and with our close alliance with Matrox, there
will be not only standard high level APIs but GLIDE like low level
APIs to really take advantage of Matrox cards.
 
 - a new Workbench
 
 *OS4.5
 
 - an improved intuition.library (we really need one !)
 
 *OS4.5
 
 - hardware-independancy
 
 *OS4.2
 
 - a new filesystem
 
 *OS4.0 -
 
 - a good printer-system with drivers for more printers
 
 *Probably OS4.2, waiting for USB, and for the full benefits, OS5, the
PDP media system.


  2) AmigaDE

 We always heard that the AmigaDE will run on everything from PDAs to
servers. I think you have left this idea behind, I have understood it
that way that it will run on STBs and PDAs and the new AmigaOS 4. Is
this right
 
 *That's correct.
 
 ? Do you think that there will be a really native version for x86 &
co, I mean a real desktop-os, later in the future ?
 
 *It will integrate into existing desktop OSs. That is what all of our
big customers tell us is necessary for success.

 What I liked about the AmigaDE as it was announced in the past was
the fact that (as I understood it) developers would have the
possibility to write an application or a game for the AmigaDE and
contribute some kind of runtime-environment including all necessary
stuff like the translator, the Elate-kernel, GUI, Sound and 3D-APIs or
whatever is needed by the product for every supported operating system
with it. This could bring developers to the AmigaDE and if there is a
version of AmigaDE hosted (or really part of) on AmigaOS 4 then there
would be many new apps and games and then maybe there will be some new
(or old ? :-)) users. Will this still be possible ?
 
 *Yes.

 Will the AmigaDE still contain stuff like OpenGL, a sound-API or some
gui-stuff ? Or will it only contain things PDAs need ? If it would
contain everything needed by big apps like office-packages or games I
think many developers would come along, even companies, because they
could increase their sales from let's say only Windows-users to Mac,
Linux and AmigaOS 4 users without the need to make several version.
Write once run everywhere
 
 *The AmigaDE has a capabilities system which dynamically matches
requests to capabilities. If you are on a desktop, you can use AmigaDE
desktop apps.

 P.s.: Will AmigaOS 4 run on existing PowerUP-hardware ? I think this
is a must-be, otherwise many users will feel traited ... (Is this the
right word ?)
 
 *At the moment no 8-( Anyone who has bought PPC accelerators
understands the drag the architecture has placed on those products. To
code an AmigaOS4 around that solution is to condemn it before it even
begins. The new AmigaOnes will be cheap enough and expandible, and
will be orders of magnitude faster than the existing products. It is
hard, but this is the first Amiga certified hardware in over five
years - the line has to be drawn somewhere, and this is it.
 
 *There is a possibility of a software compatability layer, but the
performance would most likely kill its usefulness compared to an
AmigaOne.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Amiga Update on the net:
 All back issues available at:
    http://www.globaldialog.com/~amigaupdate/index.html
Stop by and check out our archive! 
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2001 by Brad Webb.    Freely distributable, if not modified.
======================================================================
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                    amigaupdate@globaldialog.com      
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