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Amiga and Hyperion Settle Ownership of AmigaOS

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-anyone-was-waiting dept.

Amiga 227

HKcastaway writes "Amiga Inc and Hyperion Entertainment announced a settlement over ownership and licensing over AmigaOS 4.0 and future versions. Since the bankruptcy of Commodore, Amiga's history has been littered with lawsuits that have affected the development of Amiga hardware and software. Having a lawsuit-free OS probably will help a great deal to the continuity and recovery of the Amiga heritage. Hyperion also provides AmigaOS SDKs for developers.'

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227 comments

Wow, my clock must be broken (5, Funny)

manicbutt (162342) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792345)

For a second there, it looked like I was reading a story about the Amiga OS in 2009. Ha ha ha! Silly clock radio.

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792405)

Hey now, don't be hatin' on the flying toaster.

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792781)

For a second there, it looked like I was reading a story about the Iphone being able to check a website in 2009. Ha ha ha! Silly clock radio.

For a second there, it looked like I was reading a comment from someone still poking fun at the Amiga in 2009. Ha ha ha! Silly clock radio.

Yep that's right - one Amiga article in a blue moon and the jokes start, yet Slashdot covers all manner of other platforms and systems, whether they're still cutting edge or not.

Hell, we still have stories about other old platforms too (such as old Macs). The Amiga has plenty of historical importance, but I guess it's sad that the anti-Amiga posters are still here, even in 2009.

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (0, Troll)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793475)

I think you'll find that the idea of an Amiga article in 2009 was the joke.... or indeed that AmigaOS itself is.

Its about as relevant to us or this site as a new release of the Amstrad CPC464 firmware.... or restarting production of the Zilog Z80. yesterdays technology, amply replaced.

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (2, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793757)

Zilog's Z80 is still VERY relevant. I learned Z80 assembler to properly program my TI-83 and TI-84 calculators. The TI-89 and up use the Motorola 68k.

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (4, Interesting)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793651)

The Amiga offered one helluva lot of bang for your bucks back in the day. The OS was relatively slick from both the user and developer perspectives. The graphics and sound hardware was pretty decent, too. A good quantity of third-party software and games. Genlock abilities and TV-standard screen modes made for great video-captioning abilities, etc.

But come on. Even a mid-spec'ed Windows PC can handle genuine video editing, multi-track virtual recording studios with awesome soft synths and effects plug-ins, 24-bit colour to massive resolutions. All without having to work too hard in order to play nice with other apps and the OS itself.

Great in the day, but only interesting in a historical context. The same could be said of the Atari ST or Acorn Archimedes.

(Ex-Amiga 500+ owner and developer.)

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (3, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793717)

Even a mid-spec'ed Windows PC can handle genuine video editing, multi-track virtual recording studios with awesome soft synths and effects plug-ins

Yes, but the Amiga did this on an 8MHz 68K with 1MB of RAM. Can you imagine an Amiga with today's hardware specs?

Re:Wow, my clock must be broken (4, Insightful)

rho (6063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29794153)

Can you imagine an Amiga with today's hardware specs?

Yes, it would be "in development" until 2015, and then released to practically nobody, who would promptly sue.

I've ceased to be excited by the "potential" of any hardware platform. The history of technology is littered with a lot of potentially great things that failed to do anything remotely great.

If you wanted to sum up Apple's recent successes, it would be "they delivered." Apple didn't promise the world, they merely delivered a continent or two. Here's a product: you can do these things with it.

let the flames begin (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792347)

I know I'll be flamed, but in all honesty, is the Amiga platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989, but 20 years later, is it really something all that different?

Re:let the flames begin (4, Funny)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792385)

is the Amiga platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989

Thats 20 years after Unix was released, right ?

Re:let the flames begin (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792511)

Ok, you convinced me. Now where can I get a version to run on a piece of hardware that is within two orders of magnitude from any practical relevance.

Re:let the flames begin (2, Interesting)

Gleng (537516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792789)

AmigaKit.com (and a few other resellers I forget the name of) sells OS 4.1 + ACube Systems' 733MHz SAM440ep.

Yeah, it's not fast, and it's very expensive, but considering that the platform has been through lawsuit/scammer/hoaxer hell for the last 15 years, it's pretty amazing that anything exists at all.

There's a lot of love for the Amiga out there.

Re:let the flames begin (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793131)

I've looked at that and similar systems for a while now, but honestly, I just can't justify that sort of price premium. In all reality if they had wanted to spur adoption, then they should have built it for plain-jane x86 hardware. No need to support everything under the sun - hell just approve a specific combination of hardware as a reference platform and go from there (for non-gaming applications there are several motherboards where the whole of everything a user would need is right there on the board, making testing easy).

I mean, honestly, $550+ for a motherboard/cpu that would have been fast-ish about 8 years ago (and is only good for an Amiga), versus ~$125 for an x86 motherboard/cpu that's several times faster and can be used for any other OS if I decide that AmigaOS isn't for me?

That's a pretty easy decision, and the results don't favor the Amiga.

Truthfully, if I wanted to play with a vaguely Amiga-inspired OS I'd try Syllable before going for the official AmigaOS these days.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

countach (534280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793299)

Wouldn't the appeal be to play the old games and software that runs on the original architecture?

Re:let the flames begin (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793399)

You can do that with an Amiga 500 or 1200. There are dozens, hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of these sitting unused in attics and garages around the world. Post a want to buy and you can get one for less than $125, probably from someone in your town.

Re:let the flames begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794249)

The new boards aren't original hardware anyway: they're PPC machines with no custom Amiga chips in them. "Old" software is just run on top of UAE. There's no reason that can't be done on x86: in fact, AROS are working on doing exactly that.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

Gleng (537516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793319)

I agree with you. It's far too expensive, and I doubt you'll find too many Amiga users who would disagree. It's a way of keeping the platform alive while the problems with Amiga Inc. were sorted out though.

The decision to go PPC was made way, way back when there was a lot of money around, and m68k -> PPC made the most sense with regard to endianness.

Since then, with the contract with Amiga Inc, and all the legal difficulties, Amiga OS has been effectively nailed to PPC.

I remember reading that the developers would love to port it to x86 if they had the resourses, but for the moment it's PPC only.

For a couple of cheaper Amigalike options, the Amiga OS compatible MorphOS has just been released for the G4 Mac minis, and the open source AROS (in the form of Icaros Desktop) is available for x86 hardware.

Re:let the flames begin (2, Informative)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29794459)

I've looked at that and similar systems for a while now, but honestly, I just can't justify that sort of price premium. In all reality if they had wanted to spur adoption, then they should have built it for plain-jane x86 hardware. No need to support everything under the sun - hell just approve a specific combination of hardware as a reference platform and go from there (for non-gaming applications there are several motherboards where the whole of everything a user would need is right there on the board, making testing easy).

Some of this is a bit of legacy. Back when Commodore went bankrupt there was a lot of talk about moving to PowerPC since Motorola basically EOL'd the 68k series of cpu's and the Mac used PPC chips it seemed a logical path to take. ESCOM even talked about moving to PPC before they went bankrupt, and Phase 5 came out with the Cyberstorm CPU card for the 3000/4000 - which essentially was a 68060 and a 604 PPC cpu on a single board - these machines effectively became a development platform for the next version of Amiga DOS.

So there is a decent amount of PPC development already done for the Amiga - even though now most of it is obsolete (arguably). The PPC platform has never been a really mature environment - every PREP machine I've ever had (even the Pegasos II) had buggy firmware that took hours to get working just to boot the base OS. Every step of the way you felt like the machine you had in front of you just barely made it out of the prototype stage.

So yeah I'd welcome a x86 version. Amiga DOS still has a lot of potential for being user friendly, but extremely powerful and flexible at the same time - which there really isn't an OS out there that covers this fully. Even if it means re-writing a lot of software already written to take advantage of PPC cpu's.

Re:let the flames begin (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792513)

is the Amiga platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989

Thats 20 years after Unix was released, right ?

Yeah, because UNIX was the last and latest OS to be revolutionary, its impossible that something else, after UNIX, might have been revolutionary.

Now, the question remains whether the Amiga was revolutionary, but my point stands - UNIX is not the be-all end-all.

Re:let the flames begin (3, Informative)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792617)

You've obviously never used an Amiga.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792745)

I used an Amiga extensively between 1992 and 1999, before switching to firstly Linux, then FreeBSD and ultimately ended up on Windows 7 and OSX 10.6.

The Amiga can be considered technically revolutionary in its day, but that day is passed imho - significant investment would be needed to rejuvinate the platform today.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792861)

So it turns out you're an Apple user - I do find it funny when we get these arguments between users of niche platforms.

The Amiga can be considered technically revolutionary in its day, but that day is passed imho - significant investment would be needed to rejuvinate the platform today.

Same could be said of the Mac. Oh wait - to be fair, they already did that. MacOS and the hardware was ditched.

It wouldn't require significant investment - they could just go the Apple route, and release some PCs with an Amiga logo on them...

Re:let the flames begin (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792927)

What, how did we get onto Apple bashing here? Seriously...

Have you seen the state of AmigaOS these days? Its pretty pathetic, plus Amiga lost that 'cool' factor a decade ago - it has no base to build upon unlike Apple (the new style iMacs were released well before OSX, Apple basically rebuilt their styling with an existing customer base). Plus theres the application base and getting big names back onto the platform.

And no, this isn't a case of 'if you build it they will come'.

You also seemed to miss out on the fact that I'm also a Windows user...

Re:let the flames begin (2, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793355)

So it turns out you're an Apple user - I do find it funny when we get these arguments between users of niche platforms.

Um, one of those "niches" is approaching double-digit market share in the US. By comparison, the Amiga is a "microniche". Which doesn't mean that the Amiga isn't worth talking about, of course. There was a time when Windows was a niche product, after all (I was there, I remember), and will be again some day.

Re:let the flames begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793881)

And significant investment and improvement has already been done and is continuing to be done. OS 4.1 is way ahead of previous versions and large parts of it has been rewritten from scratch to make it work better on more modern hardware.
WIth OS4.1 we already have a modern browser, composition hardware acceleration and so on.
OS4.2 will also get support for SMP cpus. It is still not for the average person, but is improving with every new release.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792739)

Wow, did you miss the point, that being that UNIX, even at 40 years old is still relevant, so why can't a 20 year old platform like amiga still be relevant?

Re:let the flames begin (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792967)

No, I didn't miss the point at all, but you seemed to have misunderstood both my post and the post I was replying to. There is no reason why something other than UNIX could be revolutionary, regardless of whether UNIX came first.

Aye, I had no idea these existed anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792547)

I am a second year student of software engineering, which means I was born after Amiga came to markets. (Sorry for any "Am I really that old?" feelings that I have invoked)

It is a famous system so of course I have heard of it but I certainly had no idea that some sort of Amiga Inc. company would still exist. For a moment, I actually thought this was some sort of a joke.

Re:Aye, I had no idea these existed anymore (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792885)

For a moment, I actually thought this was some sort of a joke.

It's sad that there's so much ignorance around here.

Personally I thought it was a joke when I saw the "Iphone can access a website" story.

Re:Aye, I had no idea these existed anymore (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792989)

Well, the Amiga still had plenty of enthusiastic (read: Zealous) users as late as the early years of this millenium, really, I've been to demo parties where there were guys still running their A3000 towers with NetBSD and telling anyone who wanted to listen how awesome their rat's nest of a machine with soldered on components, G3-expansion cards and all that was. The Amiga scene seems to be pretty dead these days though (but the even older 8-bit scene has made a comeback since it somehow attained some sort of "retro cool").

/Mikael

Re:Aye, I had no idea these existed anymore (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793011)

The Amiga Inc company was running the brand into the ground via incompetence and very weird behaviour (asset switching between companies to avoid bankruptcies, etc). Hyperion have been trying to develop the market for a long time, so it is good that they have control now. I hope they port to ARM for upcoming Smartbooks.

It's well worth reading reviews c. 1985 - 1992 of the Amiga, to see how special it was back then. Hardware-wise, any modern PC in the last ten to fifteen years has been Amiga-like, with dedicated co-processors for graphics, audio, etc. OS-wise, AmigaOS is behind modern systems, but it had some niceties, I found the filesystem layout nice for example, nicer than Unix. In 1985 to 1995 it was simply far ahead technically. Lack of investment killed it though.

However my Amiga related shortcuts live in a bookmarks folder alongside my 8-bit computing links - the folder's called "Retro". I wish them all the best of luck, but I think they're five years too late. Actually, in 1998 I made a post here saying that AmigaOS would be perfect for a Palm-like device. Shame.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792595)

The amiga was still a good system in 1994, but unfortunately C= went bust. I owned amiga computers from 1986 til 2002 and the only reason I sold the last of them was I emigrated and couldn't bring all my stuff with me.

Re:let the flames begin (4, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792823)

"I know I'll be flamed, but in all honesty, is the Mac platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989, but 20 years later, is it really something all that different?"

See, if I posted that to every Mac story, I'd get modded down in an instant. Please, mod the parent down, as it's no different a troll. Why must every Amiga story (it's not like we get them often, unlike the three Apple stories a day) be bogged down with these flames?

In answer to your question - go to an Apple versus Windows debate, note that every pro-Mac argument is simply an argument against Windows, and therefore note they can be applied here in favour of the Amiga too. E.g., you don't have to worry about viruses, DRM, bloatware. Or perhaps borrow from Iphone arguments - e.g., "it doesn't matter that it gets features later, it just does them better. Amiga are a market leader, because other companies looked to them in the past. If it lacks certain features like Flash or Java, that's obviously a good thing, as they're obviously bloated".

See? I used to have trouble arguing for the Amiga in the late 90s, but now supporting a non-Windows platform here on Slashdot is easy :) A shame the anti-Amiga trolls are still around though - why not moan about the platforms we hear more often about?

Re:let the flames begin (2, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793035)

...note that every pro-Mac argument is simply an argument against Windows,...

Of course, the pro-Windows arguments tend to be even sillier (including such classics as complaining about shortcomings that OS X or the hardware it runs on got rid of ages ago, I've encountered people IRL as recently as a few months ago who were utterly unconvinced that Macs supported mice with more than one mouse button, and that they actually ship with mice with more than one button (technically "no" buttons but that's just semantics) was unpossible).

/Mikael

Re:let the flames begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793095)

Welcome to the world of zealotry -- a land where facts don't belong.

Re:let the flames begin (4, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793135)

Well indeed, in general it's true that most "pro-" comments are simply poking criticisms (usually in an unfair manner) at other platforms. But for certain products, like the Amiga, it gets held to some unreasonable standard of "But you must tell us what this can do, that no other platform can do, otherwise what's the point!"

I see it with other products too - e.g., Opera. Internet Explorer is disliked, Firefox is loved. But when there's an Opera story, despite it also being a decent alternative to IE, that was around long before Firefox, it still draws out legions of "But tell me why I should switch to Opera when I'm happy on Firefox!"

Re:let the flames begin (2, Insightful)

iroll (717924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793337)

DERP

In one corner we've got a global powerhouse of a company that commands 10% US market share (shipments) of personal computers, with even better numbers if you look at laptops only, and a huge share of the smartphone market. That's about 6 million computers per year. Oh, and their OS has no problems dealing with Windows-centric networks and filesystems, and is POSIX-Certified. On top of that, major software houses produce software for the Mac OS, in addition to Apple's in-house software which (in some cases, like Shake) is recognized as some of the best in the industry.

In the other, we've got the defunct today, not-quite-dead tomorrow zombie remains of a corporation that was cool but probably didn't ship that many computers in its HISTORY. Oh, and their OS really *is* a niche OS--it's has no developers, no compatibility, and nothing special to recommend it over anything else.

derp derp derp yeah, questioning the relevance of Amiga is "just" like questioning the relevance of Apple. If you want to try that line of reasoning, you should pick a better target for your angst: drop some trash-talk on FreeDOS, or Minix. I was going to throw in VMS, but then I realized that I actually use VMS all the time and people are paid to use VMS. Amiga, not so much.

Re:let the flames begin (2, Insightful)

Troy (3118) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793403)

The difference is that what made the Amiga so revolutionary was it's ability to get mid-90s quality media and performance from mid-80s hardware. While the OS doubtlessly played a role in this, the question of the relevancy of AmigaOS in 2009 goes back to that same issue: does Amiga have the potential to out-perform contemporary hardware to the same degree that it did back in 1985?

Given the people at the helm today and the rate of development of modern PC hardware, I would be kind of surprised if they could. It's a shame, because I upgraded from a Commodore 64 to an Amiga 500 back in 1987, and used it faithfully for several years until I went to college.

Amiga had its chance to make its mark in the mid-80s, and Commodore unfortunately squandered that opportunity.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793835)

As much as I love (or at least loved) the Amiga, to be fair, there is a difference between 20 years of near stagnation (notice I don't say complete stagnation) with Amiga development, and 20 years of continuous development for Windows, Mac, and Linux. And while the goal with Amiga seems to be to keep it as much like the original product as possible, Windows, Mac, and (as far as I know) Linux have each had almost complete transformation since their original releases.

This argument has nothing to do with the quality, impressiveness, or relevance of what the Amiga was, but of what it is now. Legal dispute has kept the product from evolving with the market as the other operating systems have done. That's not a slam against the Amiga. Its simply the reality of where the product is.

I sincerely hope that this latest development can change all that and that the Amiga's inherent quality will let rise from the ashes, like something that, er, rises from ashes.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793843)

"I know I'll be flamed, but in all honesty, is the Mac platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989, but 20 years later..."

...they have been through 20 years of intensive development in order to stay competitive in the market. The hardware platform has changed fundamentally - twice - and the original Mac OS has been torn up and replaced. Enough software developers have been kept sweet to ensure a substantial set of quality applications for the platform. Because Mac has a non-negligible market share, there is reasonable support from peripheral manufacturers.

Basically, Mac has been a going, evolving, concern with a significant user base for 20 years, while AmigaOS has been in the doldrums, kept dimly flickering by a few die-hard fans.

However, as a media-optimzed OS, I'm a re-vamped AmigaOS might be able to make serious inroads into BeOS's market share. :-)

Re:let the flames begin (1)

ArmyOfAardvarks (1281154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793923)

While I'm not a huge fan of Macs, they DO have an actual user base. But Amiga? I'll admit, obscure systems can be kind of cool, but in all honesty, they're not relevant enough to warrant these kind of debates. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the OS. It just means that no one really cares.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29794547)

"I know I'll be flamed, but in all honesty, is the Mac platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989, but 20 years later, is it really something all that different?"

If someone came out with a modern Mac Quadra that ran all your old System 7 programs, then yes, it would be safe to say it's irrelevant.

The impression I got is that the modern Amiga is a hobbyist machine for nostalgic users, they're not really attempting to be "relevant" in the modern PC market.

Re:let the flames begin (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793005)

I'm an old Amiga user/programmer but you have a good point. For one, all the bankruptcies and bad hardware/software has run enough people off from it to even be able to make a real profit or become relevant again.

The best thing that could come of this would be to open source the operating system and let the hackers convert some of that goodness over to something usable with Linux or BSD.

Re:let the flames begin (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29795123)

is the Amiga platform even relevant any more? The hardware and OS were revolutionary in 1989, but 20 years later, is it really something all that different?

Certainly not. I clicked a menu on my PC back in '94, and it responded this last Saturday. Now that PCs have finally caught up, I can forget the amiga and move on.

Hardware? (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792357)

Why? Is anybody still making consumer boxes that can run this? Does the OS support MMUs yet?

I can only see this being interesting of the source is released and ported to things.

Re:Hardware? (1)

Gleng (537516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792825)

The SAM440ep [acube-systems.biz] exists.

Now that the legal troubles are out of the way, Hyperion are free to port the OS to whatever they like.

Re:Hardware? (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792981)

You don't need an MMU, you need careful programmers.

Re:Hardware? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793161)

If only it were possible to build careful programmers into a few bucks worth of silicon...

Re:Hardware? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29794801)

Ironically one of the developer tools Commodore shipped with the SDK was Enforcer - which used the otherwise unused MMU to detect improperly referenced pointers and invalid access to memory.

Still a pretty crappy way to save money on all those Amiga's with 'EC' 68k's.

Amiga filter (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792403)

heh, I bet that's not used too often any more. In all seriousness, though - the Amiga community is pretty stubborn. Most of them have a single machine, and just order new parts as stuff breaks - some of them are pretty brilliant about diagnosing problems and hacking their software. It'd actually make a pretty interesting study - take a group of computer hobbyists, then give them the same hardware to work with for 20+ years. It'd be interesting to see what they could probably reverse-engineer if they had a mind to.

Re:Amiga filter (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792917)

I'm not sure what your evidence of this claim is - my experience of looking at Amiga forums is that most people there have a range of computers, including PCs too (much like Mac users, according to that recent survey).

It's not like the OS and hardware being talked about here is the same OS that most people remember - some of the comments here are like making "Macs can't multitask" comments, or joking about DOS and Windows 9x. Sure, it's not cutting edge or used by the majority anymore, but Slashdot covers plenty of OSs and platforms that aren't, or in some cases, have never been.

Brutality (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792419)

There is little good in them coming out of their litigation.

Winding back the clock a little, Amiga Inc came out of the broken bones of the old Amiga organisation. They came up with some plans, most of which broke down.

What they did do, was ally themselves up in an evil triumverate, with two other companies.

Amiga Inc, Hyperion, and a third company, Eyetech.
These three cooked up a goofy plan to ship a half baked OS, on severely half baked PPC hardware, so broken it became an in joke. The worst lunatics in the 'community' bandwagoned this complete junk, and the vast majority of people who fell for it, paid a lot of money for over priced junk. The warranty was worthless. A great many people walked away during this time, and a great deal of friction arose because of these antics.

The fact that two of these were killing themselves through litigation led to a hope they might destroy themselves, if for no other reason than they be denied the ground to sell their next 'release' on the unwise, the ill educated, or the stupid.

Putting that aside, its hard to consider Amiga OS, and the hardware choices are appallingly bad (unless you like crippled and old PPC equipment tied to old junk from the PC world) - so unless this 'new' start comes up with very serious improvements in every area, including warranty and support, and merchantable quality in their goods and services, and decent, reasonably priced hardware, then there is no reason for them to even exist. And on past events, they don't deserve to.

We should be happy (1)

Vexar (664860) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792629)

You know, the Amiga community is probably pleased that the announcement page got slashdotted. I really wish that things had worked out differently, that when Escom AG or even Gateway 2000 bought them, they would have committed to the platform. There were some ideas in the later Amiga OS designs which are only just now showing up in Vista. And, if I'm correct, they pulled it off without the same, disgusting overhead of Vista. I think, to honor the dedication of the Amiga community, we should all enjoy [youtube.com] a moment of their perspective on things. Let's not forget where a lot of the Amiga community went, shall we? XFree86 seems to have a few high-profile Amiga developers working on it, or did when it was created. My co-workers, there seems to be a distinct lineage of former Amiga users, and if you run into someone who is a good programmer, it's worth the trouble to ask if they used to program on the Amiga. That clapped out old beastie was really fun to program, and I, for one, miss it.

Re:We should be happy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792821)

fuck you and your furry bullshit.

Re:We should be happy (2, Interesting)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792969)

Someone who learned programming on the Amiga checking in.

For me, it was the most awesome platform ever to learn on. Full hardware docs, very cleverly constructed hardware where a lot of stuff could be bypassed etc. Taught me about multithreading, message passing, modularity, the beauty of micro-kernels and similar architectures, and the flexibility afforded by those. Moving on to Windows and various Unix-derivatives/plagiarisms was, and still is, painful, and you run into too much stuff that's obviously created for short-term benefit, but in the long term is just pure trash.

Considering how, on a global scale, few developers come from the Amiga scene, there's a disproportionate number of us in the top end of many fields, like HPC(Developing Infiniband and similar drivers for example), embedded stuff(software for jet fighters, radar systems etc), graphics and video(Given the niche the Amiga had, this is the least surprising field, especially since the Amiga, with the Video Toaster, kicked off the Small Computer Based Editing Studio before anyone else, even though Apple-tards try to claim differently)

Re:We should be happy (2, Interesting)

hollywench (646205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793889)

I wish things had worked out differently, i.e. before C= went bust. We know who to blame for that (and not Jack Tramiel.) :-p Some of the Amiga community is still here reading /. I may not own a Miggy any more, may not post all over FidoNet and AmigaNet via dial up or uucp either, and I don't give a damn about Hyperion or Amiga Inc any more... I quit doing those quite a while back.. but I still consider myself a member of the Amiga community. There are a number of people I met via Fido's Amiga echo that I am happy to say are still my friends, 15+ years later. Married one of them, and not just because he programmed in C on the Amiga either. :) I like to think that he's the best thing I ever downloaded. ;)

Re:Brutality (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792961)

Yes, it's sad that a series of PC companies drove the Amiga into the ground. It says something that the Amiga is still around in some form, despite all these set backs (remember the jokes we used to get about a new Amiga being vaporware? Then witness the back-pedalling when one was released (years ago, in fact) - they're suspiciously silent in this thread).

Imagine what computing might have been like today? We might have had something better than a choice between one monopoly, and a niche platform that still did all the same tricks as the aforemented platform.

A little late? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792441)

I would think this would be a little "late to the party" situation here. Does Amiga even have the resources or funding to create ground breaking or even interesting new hardware? Can they seriously compete with Intel, Motorola, AMD, NVidia, and Texas Instruments at this point?

Do they have any IP or expertise to develop a new OS that can provide a reasonable alternative to Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows?

Resurrecting a brand name might be one thing, but I am somewhat skeptical that Amiga can begin producing hardware and operating systems that are going to compete with current market players in any meaningful way.

What's next? Coleco announces they have a Windows 7 killer in a brand new updated ColecoVision 2009?

Re:A little late? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792479)

I agree, it sounds so much out of the loop that the only way out might be to open-source the whole thing.

Of course not (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792585)

If they're smart they'll either work on support for fat binaries for x86 and powerpc or powerpc and arm. If they couple that with a solid WebKit or Gecko-based browser and get Flash ported over, Amiga would be a very competitive platform for netbooks.

Re:Of course not (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793461)

There are a few niches where an OS that is dedicated for video and audio would be nice. When I mean dedicated, I mean with the facility for as low latency as possible, and full realtime capabilities.

Combine this with hardware that has multiple cores (not just the same type, but perhaps some cores that turn on for higher CPU tasks, while basic I/O loops are handled by low power cores, as well as cores for DSP use.)

Of course, ports are necessary. USB ports on different I/O channels (so the hard disk would be doing I/O on a separate bus from MIDI controllers.) IEEE 1394 (400 and 800), AES/EBU, S/PDIF, multiple channels of analog in/out, multiple MIDI channels, gigE, and eSATA channels would all be a must. IMHO, historically the two machines which had the "ports for your musical storm" were the Amiga, but there was another machine which had an amazing amount of things, and that was the SGI Indy.

The result would be an OS and hardware platform that would be genuinely idea for a studio or video production system. The low latency would mean that one can pile the tracks on (with quality ADCs and input hardware, 48-96 isn't out of the realm of possibility.)

Now, take all the above and focus on optimizing for A/V work for not too high a price, and the Commodore successor would have a place in every home studio and video lab out there.

The key would be having the machine not just have the DSPs and the cores to throw at A/V jobs, but have the software available that can handle stuff like VST plugins out of the box. This way, someone buys the machine, takes it home, plugs the I/O stuff in, and starts jamming.

Filesystem wise, it would be nice to see a later generation filesystem like ZFS present. This way, data integrity is assured (64 bit CRCs), adding storage space becomes easy, snapshot functionality allows recovery of corrupted/deleted files without requiring a restore from backup, and backups become easy because one can just make a snapshot, copy it off to disk or tape and call it done. It would take some UI design work to make a robust interface so a nontechnical person could get the most out of ZFS or btrfs, but it can be done.

Last, but not least security: Probably the best way to implement modern security is to have a hypervisor that does its tasks on a dedicated CPU core. The music stuff sits in one VM, the Web browser sits in another (or at least in a BSD-like jail), and so on. This way, if a blackhat managed to take over one VM, the whole system wouldn't be at risk. Of course, signed executables, ASLR, install-time profiles [1], TPM [2] and disk encryption would be present.

Conclusion: If someone took the time to bring AmigaOS up to speed and aim for the audio/video niche with hardware in the machine to handle the demands, I'm sure that this would be a machine that would sell well. It won't sell as well as Macs, HPs, or Dells, but it would always be needed and a profit center if done right.

[1]: Upon installation of an application, it comes with a list of access lists that it requires, another list of stuff that would be nice, and a maximum permission list (so a program that touches untrusted stuff like a Web browser isn't accidentally run with root rights). Once the program is installed, unless a patch is applied that asks the user for more permissions, it doesn't get any more access than what it originally asked (and got approved for). This limits the damage a hijacked app can do. For example, if a spreadsheet tries to access an unrelated database file, the OS will deny it access.

[2]: TPMs are controversial, but here it would be a net benefit to the user to detect if a blackhat has tried booting from OS media and resetting passwords in order to gain access, or some malware tried editing the boot area.

Re:Of course not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793751)

We already have a Webkit browser on OS 4.x. Also scores a nice 100/100 in acid 3 test and renders most sites perfectly. We also now have gnash which at least works fine for flash videos like youtube and such. Firefox is also currently being ported by some of the OS4.x team.

A decade a head of it time 20 years ago. (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792897)

The Amega OS was almost 10 years ahead of its time in features, however that was 20 years ago. Because of the rather stagnate growth in Amega it is now basically 10 years behind the times. While that is a far way it isn't as bad as it seems.

Because of Vista failures most people are still using XP (Windows 7 hasn't gone out yet) so right now Microsoft is about 8 year behind the time... However because of Windows 7 and the fact they they learned from vista. They are expected to be caught up real soon.

Linux in terms of graphics and User Interface it is about the same now as XP... With some more modern elements so I will be nice and say Linux is about 5 years behind the time, in GUI. Some of the internals are state of the art the other are 30 years old and probably should be re-looked at but probably won't in fear of breaking compatibility.

OS X is mostly pretty modern. However some parts like Linux are 30 years old tech that are left behind. (Having to reformat my drive because of bad iNodes remind me of that)

So Amiga has a chance to get caught up. And I think there is a hungry market for an other OS.

Sure Most people use Windows however people want a good choices.

OS X will only work with Mac Hardware... Although Mac Hardware isn't more expensive then PC for the same specs you really have a limited choices for models and specs.

Linux for desktop and UI still isn't that great. And there is a lot of idealism that the average joe just doesn't care about... Why can't linux support this driver? Well because the manufacuture won't make it open source so We will not put it in our pure distribution. So what I want my hardware to work for the OS! And if you get people who are above grandma and below Tech Geek. You get a lot of questions on how you do a lot of rather basic (advanced) things.

Re:A little late? (3, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793013)

Indeed, they probably can't, but would they have to?

Apple realised they were no longer able to compete with their MacOS, or hardware, so now we have Macs that are PC hardware running an OS derived from Next.

Does anyone mind? On the contrary, Apple fans seem to love the new platform better than the old. They seem to be doing better than before, now they've made the switch.

can begin producing hardware and operating systems that are going to compete with current market players in any meaningful way.

But you're conflating things - just because they can't compete on hardware doesn't mean they can't compete. I don't see how it isn't "meaningful", when you can make money and sell computers doing it. The market's moved on - people don't make custom hardware anymore, not even Apple.

Coleco announces they have a Windows 7 killer in a brand new updated ColecoVision 2009?

More like Apple announces they have a Windows 7 killer in a brand new updated Mac.

Re:A little late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794199)

You got it all wrong.. Amiga or Hyperion is no hardware company. Hyperion could port it to whatever hardware that suited them and i am pretty sure they are working on something behind the scenes. Why would they plan SMP support for OS 4.2 if they dont plan to port it to modern hardware?

Slashdotted (0, Troll)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792463)

Database Error: Unable to connect to the database:Could not connect to MySQL

I guess it was running on an Amiga... :-(

How do they even keep the doors open? (2, Funny)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792555)

What are these companies running on besides fumes?

Re:How do they even keep the doors open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29792783)

MySQL, evidently.

Anyone have a mirror link for TFrA?

Worth the legal fees? Who uses this OS? (1)

strangemachinex (1659711) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792645)

How does this company stay in business, and why would they pay legal fees to fight for ownership of this dead OS? Does anyone aside from a few dozen hardcore devotees use this operating system? If someone could give me a good answer, I would appreciate it, as I have wondered this for awhile.

Re:Worth the legal fees? Who uses this OS? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793105)

There's about a thousand or so users I guess.

The past ten years have been gutting for the platform. Poor owners of the trademarks, poor hardware that was late, late delivery of the new OS (although bringing an OS from 1991 on to a new platform ten years later isn't easy), community splits (Genesi, MorphOS), and more killed it.

The hard work of the OS developers and a few small hardware companies have kept the platform trundling along. Now the OS developers own the OS rights, maybe things can be done to move forward. A port to ARM Smartbooks seems the most logical step (or creating PowerPC Smartbooks using embedded PowerPC cores), the competing platform are Android and Chrome OS, Windows Mobile, and netbook remixes of traditional Linux platforms.

Re:Worth the legal fees? Who uses this OS? (3, Informative)

Gleng (537516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793159)

As far as current guessing goes, there were around 1500 AmigaOne systems sold, and there's been around 300 SAM440ep boards sold. (Disclaimer: This is purely what I've read elsewhere.) Those systems run OS 4, so that's about 1800 users. (There's way more users of OS 3.x out there, though.)

I think Hyperion also do contract work outside of Amiga stuff. I'm not sure what though.

On the Amiga Inc. side, one of their main financiers, Pentti Kouri [wikipedia.org] , died back in January. Whether this has "encouraged" the end of the legal action is open to speculation. Whatever's gone on in the background though, it's good for the platform that Hyperion have come out on top. Amiga Inc. have done almost nothing productive with it for the past 9 years. There's been a lot of weirdness going on on the Amiga Inc. side for a long time, but that's another thread entirely.

Why use Amiga OS in 2009? It makes me smile. It's fun. It really is as simple as that. I wouldn't run a business on it, but that's not what it's for. :)

Decades too late... (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792695)

Introducing a completely new OS was barely possible in 1985. If the OS had developed with unbroken continuity it might have gotten somewhere, but by the mid '90s the writing was on the wall. OS/2, BeOS, consumer QNX... if an OS didn't already have a committed user and application base, if it wasn't UNIX or Windows, it was doomed... and even then it wasn't anything like certain.

The operating system is like the roads. Most people don't care how the roads are built, and they're not going to buy a new car just to go down your driveway.

In other news.... (2, Funny)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792723)

...Ford reintroduces the Model T! All new for 2010!

Re:In other news.... (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792955)

...Ford reintroduces the Model T! All new for 2010!

Maybe not Ford, but in about 30 seconds I found two places to buy new Model T / Model A parts. Not junkyard specials but newly manufactured for the classic enthusiast market.

http://www.superiorglassworks.com/Ford-Model-T.html [superiorglassworks.com]

http://www.rootlieb.com/html_files/ma_spd_kit/ma_spd_kt.html [rootlieb.com]

Personally I'm tired of cookie cutter cars, and would pay good money for a new model T, just to have something unique. That strategy worked for the "new VW bug".

What I hate about Slashdot (2, Interesting)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792737)

I wake up on Monday morning, do a quick Slashdot check. Then I see a story about the new Amiga OS. From there, I feel compulsed to find out why a business actually developed a new version of Amiga, why anyone cares, etc. From there I found out that not only did this happen but the people involved were actually in a lawsuit for many years. How much could this product be worth that you'd actually litigate over it? I suspect the litigation ended primarily because the parties ran out of the crack they were smoking and realized they should just bring whatever they had to market. Now I'm down on time, confused, and have nothing to show for it.

Re:What I hate about Slashdot (4, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29792805)

How d'you think I feel? I just wasted a minute reading your complaints. (apologies to anyone reading this)

Re:What I hate about Slashdot (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793071)

I know, it's annoying when on a news for nerds site, we learn about tech companies that you might not have read about in the mainstream news. Please take me back to the three stories a day, where we can learn about accessing websites or downloading apps on one particular make of phone, as if no one ever knew you could do that.

Hyperion/SDK (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793253)

Hyperion also provides AmigaOS SDKs for developers

If it contains anything like their Hyperion Intelligence Designer (IDE-wise), I'll pass. The API leaves much to be desired. If it's just a barebones toolchain, might not be so bad.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793411)

In other news, the way is open for new Peterodactyl harness companies to prosper-- the basic patent has been overturned.

Amiga comeback (3, Interesting)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29793435)

I'mma gonna let you finish but OS/2 came out with the greatest OS that's going to take over the world. I always hear about these OSes like OS/2 and Amiga OS, BeOS, and Linux that are going to take over everything. I had an Amiga. It was a great machine and it took a long time for the PCs and the Macs to catch up(Long after it was dead). What Amiga taught me most was that you would not win in the computer market by being better. I also learned to let go of past technology.

Re:Amiga comeback (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794107)

What Amiga taught me most was that you would not win in the computer market by being better.

It also taught me that, plus that users cannot rely on proprietary software.

Sure, I wanted the Amiga to "win," but as a user, what was really important was not whether it won or not, but whether it continued to be maintained and developed. Even with a small marketshare, a platform can totally kick ass and make that minority wonder why they're a minority. But if you don't get a serious update since 1992, then there's really nothing to wonder about.

When you get down to it, proprietary means "killable," whether killed by competitors or the parent. Linux may not win, but at least it's not killable. The only person who has any say in whether or not I can use Linux forever, is me. The Amiga OS copyright holders (whoever they are), not me, is who decided that I don't get to stay on Amiga OS. Never again will I spend a lot of money on something and remain vulnerable to that.

Oh good, I can breathe now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793467)

Because I have been holding my breath waiting for the return of Amiga since 1994.

I'ld buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793577)

I grew up with the C64 and Amiga 500, I remember it being ahead of any other pc functionality wise, until fps's were made.
THAT was the only thing this machine lacked I remember when PC's were catching on with the public, and the average Joe Schmoe was able to afford them..
I wouldn't break the bank if they started producing things again, but I would definately support them and buy stuff...

I mean cmon, even until 1998-99, my high school used a Video Toaster setup for video editing.

If you look at movies and the timelines, the original Stargate was fully created with the Amiga video editing powas...and it was incredible for it's time...

Yes, times have changed, and the world is in an Intel vs Mac vs Microshaft vs Nvidia vs ATI vs every other company...
And the Amiga is nowhere to be seen, but as soon as it is mentioned, the old support base comes out of the woodwork.

It's not the hardware, it's the people and ideas behind it, and they made it work once, whos to say they can't do it again, they've got my vote.

Anyways, I've still got a pic of Bill Cosby and a promotional setup selling a C64, he can't be wrong! :D

OK, I'll buy it, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29793721)

Amiga heads all. I agree the Amiga was totally ahead of it's time in many ways... etc, etc.

What I'm curious about is (and I ask this without a hint of trolling) what do you use your Amigas for now? Are there still relevant contemporary uses for this system?

The brilliance is hard to see but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794039)

...there are GREAT things to come out of this, and I'm surprised no one caught on or figured out how this will ~.,,,(a6 ** GURU MEDITATION ERROR **

Why do people still fight for Amiga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794139)

I imagine there are patents involved with the hardware and operating system that earn $$.

The hardware chips in the Amiga were years and years ahead of anything similar in the PC world.

Oh god, I see it is that time of year again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794635)

Man I really hate this. Time flies by so fast that without me even realizing it, it is April first again. I really hate this time of year, when slashdot is filled with a bunch of annoying April Fool jokes that try to be funny but... :(

yayayayayayaya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29794813)

As someone who still uses classic Amiga HW/SW (along with windows and linux on x86 and morphos on ppc), these two companies have been so far below my radar for so long, this news is new, but less than newsworthy, IMO. I did buy AmigaOS 3.5 andd 3.9, but I never really used them much as it seemed to me that the benefits were outweighed by the hassles of upgrading. I also have a copy of that AmigaDE SDK thing that was basically Tao Group's ElateOS, but I never got very far with it. I *can* say that my ca. 1991 A3000 running AmigaOS 3.1 is a far more dependable system than newer (dell) windows boxes we've bought at work. So when I need to do stuff that isn't impossible to do on a 25Mhz 68040, I use my desktop. If I need more speed, or resolution, or whatever, I use my WinXP/Inspiron 8600 (6 years old). All my web stuff runs on my CentOS x86 server. And if I want to hack, I turn to my Pegasos I running MorphOS. (As long as one of my cats hasn't already commandeered it for mouse research purposes.) IMO, this story is about as useful as an announcement that scientists have discovered that chocolate and peanut butter taste good together.

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