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08.Apr.2001
Martina Jacobs


Sven Drieling's Evaluation now also in English
Martina Jacobs has translated the evaluation by Sven Drieling entitled "St. Louis 2001: Nothing has changed".

St. Louis 2001: nothing has changed - 05.04.2001 Translator: Martina Jacobs

Last weekend Amiga published their current plans in St. Louis which beforehand were announced to be a ground shaking event. According to what I have read about that in the Internet since Sunday it seems to me that nothing has changed.

Amiga's long term target further on is a portable, independent running AmigaDE combined with TAO's Elate. New is that the plan to develop AmigaOS v5 including memory protection, SMP, and other features as an further foundation component for this system was added. Furthermore there is Sharp featuring a cooperation to develop applications for Sharp's Zaurus PDA basing on AmigaDE.

Unfortunately no changes happened to Amiga's information policy, too, thus it is very hard to understand, what Amiga's plans are about and I'm not quit sure if I realized their plans correctly.

Indeed it effects me if Bill McEwen and Fleecy Moss are talking about one single plan, but concentrating on opposite tails. Bill McEwen is focusing on short term targets (AmigaOS for PPC, PDA, hosted AmigaDE) and Fleecy Moss is focusing on the long term targets (independent running, portable AmigaOS v5 + AmigaDE for hardware from PDAs through servers including the desktops). Those two different focal points might be one reason for the current confusion. A second reason might be that Amiga didn't publish any contiguous texts clearly stating their future plans, by now - a.o. still almost nothing is known about the AmigaDE.

As I've got it the plans are now as follows, whereas I'm absolutely not sure, if my version is correct, since it is very hard to read what Amiga now actually wants to do from the input coming from Amiga and there is range for personal interpretations.

Short term targets are the AmigaDE hosted on Linux and WindowsCE for PDAs, an an AmigaOS v4.x plus the hosted AmigaDE for PPC computers, which meet the Zico specification. For example this applies to the AmigaOne 1200 by Eyetech.

The long term target is a portable, independent, run-anywhere OS basing on the AmigaOS and combined with TAO's Elate and the AmigaDE. That OS will offer memory protection, virtual memory, SMP, and similar and will be available scalable for from PDAs through servers.

In this there are no changes in plans for and further development of AmigaDE. It still will offer the VP, the Sheep language, OpenGL, and the other planned and still unknown features and it will run hosted on other systems, as well as it will be available as an independent system, on the long run.

The d'Amiga also might still will act as a computer for software development with an advanced SDK. I don't think/hope that Amiga will nominate the Zico-PPC for the only development computer for AmigaDE.

By that and 15 month after their foundation Amiga should now meet the wishes of both, the people wanting an AmigaOS for PPC as well as the people recommending AmigaDE, and not at the expense of any of these groups.

It is completely incomprehensible to me, why Amiga is not capable to put this across the public.

What makes me bothered by St. Louis

Calamitous information policy

Amiga finally has to realize that it is absolutely impossible for outsiders to understand and to comprehend what Amiga actually is planning and for what reason. This is due to all of the necessary information published only bit by bit on account of tempered reactions from Amiga users, who were completely confused and misinformed after the announcements in St. Louis.

What sill is missing are texts illustrating Amiga's plans clearly, understandable, comprehensible, and without contradiction - on amiga.com. Such would not only be helpful for the Amiga users, but even for Amiga's staffers, who again got a flood of tempered reactions lavished on them after St. Louis, while they could have spent their time doing more suggestive things.

No new SDK

Contrary to what was anticipated by many of us there was no new version of the SDK presented in St. Louis already containing e.g. OpenGL, a glimpse on Sheep, and offering other elements. That might have been a reason for the impression that Amiga now would disregard the AmiaDE and instead would put their focus on AmigaOS.

Neglect of current AmigaPPC computers

In the beginning disregarding the AmigaOS and concentrating on the AmigaDE. There even wasn't the definite statement that a third-party company will port AmigaDE to the current AmigaPPC machines and that AmigaDE will contain a Classic Amiga emulation right from start (with accentuation on definite statement). Because of such statements one could have purchased hard- and software for the existing Amigas in peace of conscience, since one would have known that one would be able to use those components together with AmigaDE in the future. That way Amiga companies and distributors could have continued to transacted their businesses from early 2000.

That's why I don't understand why Amiga makes the same mistakes, again. AmigaOS v4.x was announced for Zico PPC machines, but there is no definite statement that AmigaOS v4.x also will be available for existing PPC-Amigas. Equipped with a PCI board plus adequate FireWire cards, and similar, these computers would meet the Zico specification, moreover.

I understand that Amiga themselves is focusing the easier to handle AmigaOne. With this Amiga will not forfeit time and they can concentrate on their real target in a better way. But I cannot understand why the possibility for third-party companies to port the AmigaOS v4.x for AmigaOne to the existing PPC-Amigas wasn't mentioned in one single announcement. Though somewhere Fleecy Moss denoted that possibility, there doesn't seem to be any definite statement on that.

Amiga would not deteriorate by such a port, but probably there would be some 1,000 AmigaOS v4.x users more. Nobody would mope because of the expensive PPC hardware suddenly becoming useless, though this hardware would be proper for the AmigaOS, and Amiga companies and Amiga vendors could earn money with PCI boards, and similar, already now, instead of being forced to wait for the AmigaOne in summer.

Neglect of desktops

Regarding the AmigaDE Amiga first put their focus on PDAs. Due to the existing cooperation with Sharp and - as I think - because it is easier to gain a secure market position in the PDA section than in the desktop section, they are doing it right. But since AmigaDE must be available for desktop machines (developer machines), and because one certain point in case of PDAs is the easy data transfer between PDA and desktops, in my opinion nothing objects to talk about desktops in one breath. Since just AmigaDE would make it possible to execute one single application on PDAs as well as on desktops. The desktop variant then would run hosted on the widely spread Windows and Linux machines, and in addition on AmigaOS v4.x on PPC-Amiga computers.

Conclusion

With AmigaDE plus applications for PDAs and AmigaOS plus the PPC-hardware, in my opinion Amiga takes two ways on which Amiga, as well as third-party companies, could have gains in a short term, already. Additionally Amiga now meet the wishes of the PPC and AmigaDE backers, without changing the initial targets.

I don't know why Amiga now reclaims the AmigaOS. Reasons for that might have been the claims to further develop the AmigaOS, and that Amiga learned to know reality during the last month and while that learned that yet it takes some time to transform own ideas, no matter how good these are.

The Zico PPC computers are still a very small corner of the market only addressing the existing Amiga users, for the first time. With a LinuxPPC for those machines the ring of users can be extended with another hand full of people, who then might become aware of AmigaOS and AmigaDE, too. But in my opinion it will not be possible to address a bigger market with that. But this might be possible by a hosted AmigaDE for PDAs and desktops. While I still don't know what AmigaDE is about in detail, so I absolutely have no idea how much interesting this system would be for users of other systems.

But if there would be an independent running AmigaDE, already yet, that would represent only a small part of the AmigaDE systems installed, cause most of AmigaDE systems probably would run hosted on another system, as I think. Because this way users were able to use the system and software they know and additionally the new system with the run-anywhere software. They would not be forced to switch to another system, overnight.

Because I don't have any details about the AmigaDE, I cannot estimate Amiga's future chances, at the time being. But I think they now have put their plans on stable ground, thus they have good conditions in the beginning.

But in my opinion a possible breakthrough will not come overnight, but will yield over the years. One important thing in this then will be the portable AmigaOS v5, in which assumedly AmigaOS and AmigaDE will melt together as one, making Amiga independent from other systems. (unk) (Translation: unk)

[News message: 08. Apr. 2001, 21:08] [Comments: 0]
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