Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Profile / My Blogs + The Curse of the Amiga Computer

  1. Quality Amiga games mainly released from 1996-2003.
  2. Open Source ... - Free ... / Free Open Source ... / Free Libre Open Source ... (OSS - FS/FOSS/FLOSS)
  3. Innovationsblogg...
  5. Fjärran östern
    About me: Gender Male
I remember when I was a little kid – my only dream was to have an Amiga computer. I used to dream about it everyday – every single day! I had a Commodore 64 that I really loved but what I really wanted was an Amiga. I wanted it because it had, by far, the most advanced graphics and sound in that era, and it had the best games. It was also considerably faster than other personal computers. Back then, Intel barely existed, and each company used either house-made processors or exclusive processors for its line of products (mostly Motorola). Now, almost all of us are using Intel products (including those on a Mac) or Intel clones (such as AMD processors).
Amiga was a dream for any boy at my age then, and, it was also the dream of many other computer companies: It was profitable (in the beginning), its technology was the best, and people liked the brand. Even the US government was using Amiga computer in its mission critical agencies (such as the NASA). The problem is, each company that bought Amiga ended up filing bankruptcy or shrunk significantly:
  • In 1984, Commodore, the then computer giant, bought Amiga, which was a small startup at the time. It started selling Amigas en masse as of 1985 and that was the start of Amiga’s golden era. In the early 90′s, Commodore started facing competition from IBM and the likes. In 1994, it declared bankruptcy and was sold to a German company called Escom.
  • Escom tried to revive the Amiga line with new machines such as the Amiga 4000 (which was used by NASA until around 2003) and the Amiga 1200, which was a decent replacement to the super successful Amiga 500. But alas, Escom spent a lot on expansion and marketing to the point where it had no more money. Escom declared bankruptcy in 1997 after its shareholders refused to bail it out. The Amiga name was purchased by Gateway 2000 (later Gateway) – the Dell like direct computer retailer that used the cow design to brand its products.
  • At that time, Gateway 2000 was a great company – its products sold like hot cakes because they were well-built (I have 2 Gateways myself – the P5-133 Gateway 2000 which my parents bought for me when I was 18 and another one). Gateway 2000 thought the Amiga brand had a great value and that’s why they bought it, but they never, ever, released a single Amiga product. A few years later, in 2000, Gateway 2000 sold the Amiga brand to Amiga, Inc. Gateway 2000 shrunk dramatically in size ever since they bought the Amiga so it re-branded under the name Gateway and tried to revive itself. The company eventually got sold to to Acer for a mere $170 million.
  • Amiga, Inc. looks and feels like a fan company whose main objective is to revive the Amiga one day by telling people how great it was, decades ago. I personally don’t think there’s any more future for the Amiga.
The history of the Amiga prompted a computer journalist (in the Computer Shopper print magazine, if I’m not mistaken) to ask a Gateway 2000 representative (prior to Gateway 2000′s purchase of the Amiga) whether they were afraid of the curse of the Amiga considering each company that had the Amiga line went bust. I remember that the representative’s answer was something along the lines of “the predecessors just did not keep up to date”. I wish ????


Commodore International (1954-1994)
Amiga Corporation (the first giant leap was that Hi-Toro developed Lorraine 1982-1985)
Commodore-Amiga, Inc. (became a subsidiary of Commodore International that lasted for ten years 1984-1994)
Escom Amiga (1994 Escom created the subsidiary company Amiga Technologies and Escom went bankrupt in 1997)
Gateway (the trademarks and the copyrights were sold back to Amiga and they licensed the patents to Amiga, Inc. in 1998)
Amiga, Inc.
Amiga, Inc. (South Dakota)
A-EON Technology Ltd
Hyperion Entertainment
Amiga Forever
AmigaOS (built on genuin AmigaOS/Workbench => also have a look at - the most interesting official replacement of the original GUI - Scalos <=)
MorphOS (built on WarpOS kernel)
OSNews is Exploring the Future of Computing
10 amazingly alternative operating systems and what they could mean for the future
AROS Research Operating System
The Natami Project [facebook]

These alternative operating systems are usually developed either by enthusiasts or small companies (or both), and there are more of them than you might expect. There are even more than we have included in this article, though we think this is a good selection of the more interesting ones and we have focused specifically on desktop operating systems.

As you will see, many of them are very different from what you may be used to. We will discuss the potential of this in the conclusion of this article.

Enough introduction, let’s get started! Here is a look at 10 alternative operating systems, starting with a familiar old name…

->In September 2008 AmigaOS 4.1 was released. Although AmigaOS is a veteran in the field (many have fond memories of the classic Amiga), its current version is a fully modern OS.

AmigaOS only runs on specific PowerPC-based hardware platforms. The company ACube is currently marketing and distributing AmigaOS and is going to bundle the OS with their motherboards.

Source model: Closed source

License: Proprietary

Platform: PowerPC

State: Final

Read a review of AmigaOS 4.1 at Arstechnica.

->HAIKU (why not an Amiga native called HAIKUGA ;) is an open source project aimed at recreating and continuing the development of the BeOS operating system (which Palm Inc. bought and then discontinued). Haiku was initially known as OpenBeOS but changed its name in 2004.

HAIKU is compatible with software written for BeOS.

Source model: Free and open source

License: MIT License

Platform: x86 and PowerPC

State: Pre-Alpha

Read more at the Haiku website.

->ReactOS is an operating system designed to be compatible with Microsoft Windows software. The project started in 1998 and today it can run many Windows programs well. The ReactOS kernel has been written from scratch but the OS makes use of Wine to be able to run Windows applications.

Source model: Free and open source

License: Various free software licenses

Platform: x86 (more under development)

State: Alpha

Read more at the ReactOS website.

->Syllable Desktop is a free and open source operating system that was forked in 2002 from AtheOS, an AmigaOS clone. It’s intended as a lightweight and fast OS suitable for home and small office users.

Source model: Free and open source

License: GNU General Public License

Platform: x86

State: Alpha

Read more at the Syllable website.

->SkyOS is a closed source project written by Robert Szeleney and volunteers. It originally started as an experiment in OS design. It’s intended to be an easy-to-use desktop OS for average computer users. Well-known applications such as Firefox have been ported to run on SkyOS.

Source model: Closed source

License: Proprietary

Platform: x86

State: Beta

Read more at the SkyOS website.

->MorphOS is a lightweight, media-centric OS build to run on PowerPC processors. It is inspired by AmigaOS and also includes emulation to be able to run Amiga applications.

Source model: Closed source

License: Mixed proprietary and open source

Platform: Pegasos, some Amiga models, EFIKA

Read more at the MorphOS website.

->AROS (AROS Research Operating System or former Amiga Research Operating System) is a lightweight open source OS designed to be compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 but also improve on it. The project was started in 1995 and can today be run on both PowerPC and IBM PC compatible hardware. It also includes an emulator that makes it possible to run old Amiga applications.

Source model: Open source

License: AROS Public License

Platform: x86 and PowerPC

Read more at the AROS website.

->MenuetOS, also known as MeOS, is an operating system written entirely in assembly language which makes it very small and fast. Even though it includes a graphical desktop, networking and many other features it still fits on a single 1.44 MB floppy disk (for our younger readers, that was the USB stick of the 80s and early 90s ).

Source model: Open source (32-bit version), freeware (64-bit version)

License: Menuet License

Platform: x86

State: Beta

Read more at the MenuetOS website.

->DexOS is an open source operating system designed to work like the minimalistic ones on gaming consoles, but for PCs. Its user interface is inspired by video game consoles and the system itself is very small (supposedly this one also fits on a floppy disk, like MenuetOS) and the OS can be booted from several different devices. Its creators have tried to make it as fast as possible.

Source model: Free and open source

Platform: x86

Read more at the DexOS website.

Visopsys is a one-man hobby project by programmer Andy McLaughlin. The development began in 1997 and the OS is both open source and free. Visopsys stands for VISual Operating SYStem.

Source model: Open source

License: GPL

Platform: x86

State: Final

Read more at the Visopsys website.

What about the future?

Even if none of these operating systems ever were to “make it” and become mainstream (and admittedly, some of them simply are not intended to be mainstream), the passion behind them is real, and many have the potential to introduce new and fresh ideas.

All this independent development can act as a kind of think tank, if you choose to look at it that way. It’s quite possible that concepts introduced by a niche OS will later be adopted by a larger player on the OS market.

There are lots of interesting things happening today with the rise of virtualization and the “always online” nature of today’s computers that opens up incredibly interesting possibilities. For example, what we have read about Microsoft’s internal research OS Midori (the one that will retire Windows) sounds highly interesting.

Wherever the future operating systems may come from, be it from the already established players or some kind of newcomer, we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for us. We suspect that there is a significant “jump” in the evolution coming up just around the corner.

Who knows, a couple of years from now maybe all the computers here in the Pingdom office will be running the UltraMagicalSuperVirtualOS version 1.2?

What are your predictions for the future of operating systems?

My idea is an Amiga clone of HAIKU where everything is Amiga native and ready to engage directly when installed on hardware (that the community - some people think that HAIKU is an Amiga clone already but I don't agree because people normally want everyting to be both easy and ready to use from the beginning when they buy a new and expensive (if you take into account that you as a human being have to eat, drink, and pay all of your taxes and bills also :-) computer system or if you prefer automatic data processing system - could call HAIKUGA) that is compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 (classic), AmigaOS 4.1 (both classic and next generation naturally) and MorphOS (including AROS and UAE of course) in its natural approach...

EMBEDDED VIDS: Haiku-OS - An Inside Look Haiku OS demonstration 

Spellista Monkey Island 1-5

Manolo Daza on Youtube

1 comment: