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25.Apr.2003
AmigaWorld (ANF)


Weekly Q&A's with Fleecy Moss - episode 7
The English online magazine AmigaWorld has published episode 7 of the regular questions and answers session with Fleecy Moss, CTO at AMIGA, Inc. (Update 2012-03-17, cg: as the original document is no longer available, the following content was moved into our database):

1) ikir: Are Elbox working with Amiga Inc/Hyperion for OS4? Or for their SharkPPC compatibility?

Fleecy: We have a 'gentlemens agreement' with Elbox that we will not make any announcements or discuss plans, projects and products until they are ready to make those plans, projects and products public. If you want them to share that information, I would suggest you contact them.

2) sgm: Is the corporate market a possible target (in the light of the surging WebServices fever)? If so, is a high-performance XML parser being considered for OS4.x?

Fleecy: All markets are obviously targets but there is no point in entering them until you have a product, a pitch and a story. The creation of such obviously requires an expenditure of resources and since we are, as with most companies 'watching the pennies', we have to decide which subset from the whole range of opportunities is to be targeted first. If by corporate you mean 'enterprise' then that is not a first stage target but if you mean OEM or embedded then the answer is very much yes.

As for the XML parser, XML has been introduced with AmigaOS4.0 and will continue to spread until it is a system wide service.

3) Jose: It's been said and known that if AmigaOS is to be a server OS it will lose it's hardly earned advantages, and stop being AmigaOS as we know it. Could in the future be various versions of the OS with one being the continuation of the Classic in PPC, like most amiga users that have supported the platform for the past years seem to want?

Fleecy: AG1 was created with a very specific set of configurations in mind - workstation and desktop. Consoles, STBs and servers didn't really exist during its key definition and the idea of Smartphones, PDAs and digital consumer devices were science fiction. Having said that, the CDTV and then the CD32 were moves in the right direction but as anyone familiar with those devices knows, there were really a computer repackaged with extra bits hacked on.
AG2 is designed to accept that hardware is a commodity and that it can be configured and deployed in many different markets. This is part of the reason for the move to a service based architecture, because multiple configurations can then be created from a core set of services with configuration specific services being added or replaced by ones more tuned to the target device profile.

This will allow Amiga to offer a 'toolkit' to OEMs and to create 'distributions' for shrink wrapped markets - a console product, an eFamily product, a SoHo product, a hacker's product etc. Such flexibility gives us a distinctive advantage over having to custom chop a single product for each potential customer.

Rob: 4) Books on programming the Amiga are out of date and very difficult to obtain these days. Have you any plans to get some books published covering modern Amiga programming for the beginner. It is important to get some fresh talent into scene and not just rely on existing developers. Topics covered should include Warp3D, AHI and other more recent developements to AmigaOS.

Fleecy: I couldn't agree more. We intend to expend considerable resources on a full development toolchain, with good documentation and tutorials covering all levels. These will be developed in parallel with the development of the AG2 domains.

5) ssolie: Does Amiga Inc. still plan to take back control of the AmigaOS 4.0 source code (i.e. purchase it back from Hyperion) and produce your own releases beyond AmigaOS 4.0?

Fleecy: Absolutely. The transfer of AmigaOS4 to Hyperion was done for a number of strategic reasons, one being to protect the AmigaOS for the community and prevent it being left in limbo if anything should happen to the parent company as was witnessed after Commodore and Escom went bankrupt. We will reassert ownership when both Hyperion and Amiga judge the time to be right, and there are certain less than obvious benefits to maintaing the current situation.

The location of ownership has nothing to do with the future plans. Amiga Inc is fully committed to the development and expansion of AmigaOS way beyond AmigaOS4.0. Detailed planning and design for AmigaOS4.1 is already underway alongside the parallel path of AG2. AG2 technology will be rolled into the AmigaOS4 release family as and when it is ready but the two will not be dependent on each other - in other words potential delays in one will not affect the other. Contrary to the occasional speculation that Amiga doesn't care or has no plans for the AmigaOS, that product line is and always has been vital to our future success. Back in 1999, it would have been impossible to gain interest and investment in a company offering a desktop competitor to Microsoft and so our public strategy had to be tailored to fit that reality.

It isn't 1999 anymore.

6) DaveP: With the advent of AOS4 and AmigaONE series board are you also investigating the more lucrative possibilities in the heavyweight commercial sector or is it still far too soon to start? ( example: solutions, services and bringing even lightweight transaction processing products onto the fast reliable messaging codebase of ExecSG ?)

Fleecy: The Amiga Development Pipeline (ADP) starts with the Opportunity Analysis stage. Each AG2 domain thus considers every possible opportunity and attempts to identify every potential customer for that domain, both internal and external. This is then feed into the next stage, the Solution Description stage. This ensures that we will design a solution that covers as wide a customer base as possible, even though the actual implementation versioning may chose to spread out that complete design over a set of releases.

So to answer your question, yes we are looking at a huge range of potential markets, open, embedded, horizontal, vertical and total but our ability to exploit them is determined by the short, medium and long term strategic implementation plan.

7) alx: Will there come a point when you stop supporting accelerated "classic" Amigas? If so, when?

Fleecy: Yes there will. As to when, that will be decided by the simple equation of when the cost and effort of developing a version for those accelerated Amigas is more than the revenue that that version brings in. We want people to upgrade to the new hardware and we do recognise that we have to support the existing investment made by Amigans in the short term but ultimately the platform can only advance if people advance with it.

It should be obvious to most people that AmigaOS4 is going to run far more impressively on a new, cleanly designed, higher specified AmigaOne than an accelerated classic Amiga. It should also be obvious that the cost of maintaining and extending an AmigaOne is going to be substantially less than that of maintaining and extending a classic Amiga.

8) donV: Do you know of any plan or project to produce a laptop that will run AmigaOS4?

Fleecy: There are lots of plans for many different product, both from ourselves and from third parties but I do not want to comment on specific products until we have prototypes in front of us since many plans and good intentions often come to nothing. We'd obviously love to have an AmigaOS4.0 powered laptop as well as an AmigaOS4.0 powered STB, games console, PDA and Smartphone.

9) Bodie: In a previous Q&A, you mentioned the development of a highly advanced calculator for AmigaDE. Could you provide any extra details in terms of its functionality?

Fleecy: The calculator was created by a prominent AmigaDE developer in response to a demand from a large customer and I'll see if he is willing to write an article about it, possibly for CAM. It is particularly impressive because of its modular design, essentially a framework for functional units so it can be as simple or as complex as the set of modules that are installed. This means it can be used for a variety of functions - standard maths, computing, physics, chemistry, stock taking and with the ability for third parties to write their own modules.

It also features a variety of graphic and interface modes - static and dynamic graphing (and I know we have a customer interested in volumetric modelling), standard single line, multi-line and plans for a shell like page set.

10) Jose: Can a service based architecture(future AmigaOS) be as much effective as the Classic AmigaOS, comparing the services both provide? I mean to how much extent does a service based architecture would compromise the efficiency and the character of AmigaOS, if it does at all ?

Fleecy: A service based model is very efficient and not that much different at its heart from what the existing Amiga does now, a testament to its advanced original design. Its main extension is that it adds abstraction and management capabilities that open up distributed computing, all the way from simple home networks to parallel matrices. For developers there will be some new things to learn but quite a bit of that has been added to the new library model. The existing user interaction model can stay the same on top of it but it also opens up the option of far more advanced user interaction models, in particular moving from an application centric system to a content centric system - for example bring a set of content together and then being presented with the set of services that can be applied to that content.

(Copyright 2003 Amigaworld.net. All rights reserved.
Originally available at http://amigaworld.net/modules/fleecymoss/index.php?cat_id=8
You may freely redistribute this article, providing that a URL is provided to the original source,
and the copyright notices remain intact)
(ps) (Translation: dr)

[News message: 25. Apr. 2003, 22:14] [Comments: 0]
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