Monday, November 14, 2005

The Curse of the Amiga

Is the Amiga Dead, Yet?
Not Yet.

Is it cursed?
No doubt.

Even me, as I was writing this post, had Firefox crashed for the first time ever and lost about an hour's work. Previously I had tried to post from Elicit and Zoundry with similar results. In more than 3 years blogging I had NEVER experienced anythithing even remotely similar. When I restarted, my right button search function had disappeared, and all that put together have made this post the one that has taken more effort to create by far. But, you see, I am an obstinate bastard, specially when it comes to something I've spent so many years working and playing with (rather the other way around) and that is so close to my heart as the Amiga.

I have been a fanatic user of the Amiga from 1991 until the turn of the millenium, and I still think it was the best machine mankind has ever created. What has happened to this computer is a real techno-tragedy and I am sure it has altered the course of History, and not for the Good.

I haven't tried the latest hardware and software, but here is an excellent review of Jeremy Reimer, who bought an AmigaOne Micro with OS4 on November 2004:

The Micro-AmigaOne and Amiga OS4 Developer Prerelease
Jay Miner started the Amiga Inc. computer company in 1982 before Commodore bought them out.
The Amiga computer was first commercialized released in 1985 by Commodore, that eventually went bankrupt in April 1994.
Commodore was bought at liquidation by Escom AG, who had no real interest in the Amiga. Escom itself went bankrupt a few years later, and the Amiga was briefly bought out by set-top manufacturer VISCorp, before they too filed for liquidation.
Its new owner was Gateway Computers, who were only interested in Commodore's old patent portfolio. When it became increasingly clear that Gateway was never going to do anything with the Amiga, a consortium of investors calling themselves Amino Development bought out the rights to the Amiga hardware and OS in 1999.
The new AmigaOne motherboards were first released in 2002, but there was no OS to go with them, so they shipped with Debian PPC Linux. After an agonizing 18-month wait, the first Developer Prerelease CD of OS4 was shipped to AmigaOne owners worldwide.
AmigaOne OS4
OS4 boots remarkably quickly. From a cold boot, including waiting for power up, BIOS messages, straight to a usable desktop took slightly over 30 seconds. A "warm boot," which bypasses the BIOS startup and merely reloads the operating system, takes slightly over 10 seconds.
One feature of the original custom Amiga graphics chips was that you could "pull" down screens with the mouse to see screens that were behind them. This feature, called "draggable screens," was never duplicated by any graphics card manufacturer since, so sadly it is not available on the AmigaOne.
A cold boot, including power up, BIOS messages, takes less than what it takes you to get accomodated in your chair. Compare that to any Windows/Mac OS start-up. They usually give me enough time to go and make coffee (Mac OSX is not that sluggish, to be honest).
I am sorry to hear that there is no "draggable screens".
Another cool feature was the abilty of clicking on several menu items at once (holding right-side button and clicking with the left), and get the commands batch-processed at once.

Many people, upon reading the hardware specs of the Micro Amiga One, will feel that the performance (800MHz PowerPC 750FX, SDR RAM) is far below modern gear. This is true to a certain extent, but it does not give the whole picture. AmigaOS was originally written for a 7.14 MHz 68000, and the last Classic version released by Commodore, 3.1, was optimized for a 12 MHz 68020 platform. According to Hyperion, over 90% of the OS code has been converted from 68k to PPC, and the only code yet to be translated (serial port code, AREXX macro routines), does not typically impact on performance.
Because the OS is so small (About 60MB on disk for a complete install), it fits very nicely in 256MB of RAM, with room for several applications, most of which have a similarly small memory footprint. This means that you can run the OS and multitask between several applications without ever swapping to the disk.

I have created and run multimedia presentations for TV stations on as little as an Amiga 500, 1Mb RAM, 720 Kb floppy, no Hard Drive. Gosh, I miss Scala so much...

In speeches around the world, Alan Redhouse of Eyetech always opens by saying that everyone always asks them: "Why are you doing this?" And the answer he gives, with a smile, is "We don't know!" There is an infectious enthusiasm among Amiga users...

Infectious enthusiasm defines the feeling of Amiga users at that time.
As of today, if you visit Amiga's Headquarters (http://www.amiga.com/) you'll be presented with the latest technology in ... Jackpots!!!?
It has broken my heart.

Better visit this one: http://www.amiga.org/

Is there a future for the Amiga?
Some people seem to think so:
http://www.amigaworld.net/
http://www.amitopia.no/

Jeremy Reimer has a website full of undiscovered gems at:
http://www.pegasus3d.com/jer_main.html
where among other things he promotes StudlyOS, as the Only Operating System You Will Ever Need.
I wish I had the time to try it out.
I liked the Amigan comment on it, though:

"StudlyOS sucks!!!1111 Y00 think itz c00l but your rong!!!!!11111 I Cant run it on my Am1ga so what yoos is it????/ My Am1ga beats yor peecee anyday!!!!!! !!!11111111 Peecee even with StudlyOS cant beet Amiga because Amiga rules!!!! Amiga iz better because it is Amiga!!!1111 Nothing else is Amiga!!!11111" - B1FF



The Amiga Boing Ball is a mythical object in the computer industry. It was created as an example of the machines ability. The demo showed a red and white ball bouncing around the screen and interacting with the environment- it bounced off the walls, spun, while multitasking in the background.



That demo helped sell a million Amigas displaying smooth animation in full colour in a time when other computers were only just managing colour display.


scala



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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Reimer has no degree or certifications in computers and no professional hands on years to decades of experience in them either.

Jeremy Reimer was caught email harassing, impersonating, & bothering others online needlessly. That ended up having Jeremy Reimer's website have portions removed and his friends that helped him in it (a Mr. Jay Little of Atlanta Ga. USA) had their websites removed in their entirety. See here for that:

http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=41095&cpage=212#feedbackAnchor

Also, others from educational institutions where actual professional journalism & writing are taught, are questioning Jeremy Reimer's validity & credibility as a writer, period, here:

http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/node/933

All Reimer does is spit back what others wrote already anyhow. He is an ambulance chaser at best. A mere "hack" reporter.

Jeremy Reimer and his friends were also caught here:

http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=41095&cpage=213#feedbackAnchor

Posting as others (i.e. same person posting under multiple names/guises/nicks/handles) along with his friend Jay Little above to "support one another" when they were found SO technically inaccurate, they were laughed off that site and both of them outright left & that was after law enforcement were called on them both. Windows IT Pro is a widely read publication in the field of computers.

1001 Webs said...

First of all, if you want to post accusations, we think that you should at least identify yourself.

We have sent a note to Jeremy Reimer, in case he wants to defend himself.

Please note we take no side in the dispute, since we lack any understanding of the facts in order to judge anyone.

We just liked his well-informed review on the AmigaOne and that's why we quoted and linked to it.

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