The Amiga section

The AmigaOne XE motherboards are now trickling to the people who bought them now, finally, considering the amount of time the "earlybird" buyers have had to wait for them is a bit shocking, but delays are delays and they do happen. Still no sign of AmigaOS4, and at least from my point of view the information about its progress in development is conflicting to say the least, and a bit scary considering it was due for release at end of Q1 this year (and I think a few deadlines before that, but they were made up of the classic Amiga Inc. vapour :-). The most worrying [and I think to be reliable] piece of information was that the developers have managed to get a workbench screen from boot. That may be for classic Amiga support or getting it working on the AmigaOne, I'm not sure which was their primary development platform, but judging by the workbench screenshots that have been released by the people developing AmigaOS4 for Amiga Inc, Hyperion, I think the primary development/testing platform was a built-up classic Amiga with a PPC accelerator, as the screenshots said 2MB graphics memory (will the graphics memory entry on the default workbench titlebar be a thing of the past? It seems a bit useless on future AmigaOne builds that might hopefully have nice meaty graphics cards, at which point, do we really care how much graphics memory is available at any given time? Ok, it's useful information to be able to get hold of, but it's not necessarily on the workbench titlebar, IMO).

I guess the current progress of OS4 suits me quite nicely, as I don't currently have the money to spend on an AmigaOne XE, that'll have to wait until my business idea starts bringing home the bacon. I'd like to think one day that I'll be supporting Amiga users as well as the Greater-Spotted Windows User :-)

The Amiga community, are paying a bit of attention to IBM's PPC 970 CPU that is 'coming soon', a nice little 64-bit CPU aiming for the 2GHz range. Maybe it'll bring PPC back into respectable hardware circles, not just an architecture for a sad operating system, but I think we should be hoping that we get AmigaOne XE's running AmigaOS 4.0 first, let alone OS 5.0 with 64-bit architecture support :)

Recently, I've been thinking a bit about how things might change if and when AmigaOS4/AmigaOne becomes a reality, particularly how it will affect the Mac market (forcing it to make cost cuts that might actually get it more sales?), or the PPC market, but also websites that review hardware and software, whether we might once again see regular cross-platform benchmarking. To be honest, I'm surprised there isn't more Linux-based benchmarking around already for testing new hardware, but I think maybe with another competitor in the stable it might open things up in that department a bit more.

Another thing I'm wondering about is what will Amiga Inc/Hyperion's stance be on DRM (Digital Rights Management, how the recording/movie industry gets full rights to the contents of your computer), and also if they will stay 'clean', staying away from dodgy practices such as the kind of draconian EULAs (End User Licence Agreement) Microsoft keep coming up with. Both those issues are persuading me strongly to get away from Windows as my OS of choice on my primary machine as quickly as possible, and as I've probably said before, UNIX variants won't be ready to compete as long as they have the pile of crap commonly known as X to run the graphical user interface on. Getting back to the point, some [of the Amiga community] say that Hyperion are already down the dodgy practices path with the ROM chip on AmigaOne motherboards that is looked for by AmigaOS4 so that it can boot (note: AmigaOne hardware can run any OS designed for it, the chip doesn't stop that). Personally, provided the bit in the brackets I just wrote, which is the case (as Linux is being shipped on AmigaOnes at the moment due to the lack of AmigaOS4), it's not a problem, nor is it a dodgy practice. If they were stopping other operating systems from being installed or dual-booted with AmigaOS4, that would be bad, but the latter part of that remains to be seen. Even Windows allows you to dual-boot with other operating systems, so a company tightening up on that would set a new record for the shortest amount of time taken to get a bad reputation with users :-)